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Why LED Lights are Perfect for RVs & Boats

Are you interested in installing custom accent lighting in your RV? Or are you exploring a new build and looking for an energy efficient, easy-to-install solution? This article provides a comprehensive breakdown of why LEDs are the best option for both RV lighting and boat lights.

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Advantages of LED Lighting

While LED lights have been in existence for well over 50 years, the technology has only recently been converted to be applicable to low-voltage systems that are found in boats & RVs. These days it is possible to find the perfect LED lighting option to fit your specific lighting need. LED lights have several advantages over halogen and incandescent lighting, that make LEDs the perfect option for boat lighting and RV lighting. These advantages include:

Energy Efficient: LED lights are on average 75% more efficient, for both power consumption and light-output, than comparable incandescent options. For example, an Armacost Lighting PureVue Soft-Bright LED Puck Light at 100% brightness consumes 4 watts while producing 375 lumens. This is compared to 35 to 40 watts for an incandescent bulb.

Low/Minimal Heat: In addition to being energy-efficient, LED lights put off very low heat (80F to 100F). Conversely, halogen and incandescent lights can burn at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Because LEDs operate at much lower temperatures, they will not increase the temperature inside of the RV or boat, reducing the load on air conditioning systems.

Do Not Damage Interior: LED lights do not produce UV light. Therefore, LED lighting will not fade or damage drapes, furniture, or upholstery overtime. Both halogen and incandescent bulbs produce significant amounts of UV rays, that overtime wear down and damage interiors.

Long Lasting & Durable: Many of Armacost Lighting’s Pro series lighting has an average operating life of 60,0000+ hours. That equates to nearly seven years of continuous use. <link to RFPro> In addition to being long lasting, LED lights are tough. Because they are solid state and made mostly of plastic and copper, Armacost Lighting products can withstand the bumps and vibrations of the road or sea.

Safe: LED accent lighting, like LED strip lights, puck lights and linear lighting, use low-voltage power in the form of 12V or 24V depending on the application.

Variety: Armacost Lighting LEDs come in a huge variety that include LED strip lights , LED puck lights , LED tape light kits, and Weatherproof LED Tape Light

RV & Boat Installation

Easy-to-Install

LED lights technology in the last few years has drastically improved. With these improvements the applications for LED lighting have expanded to include solutions for both RV lighting and boat lighting.  Installation of LED lighting is surprisingly simple. Since both RVs and boats typically use low voltage systems for power, there is no need for LED drivers or power supplies. Instead, power can be derived directly from the vehicle’s electrical system in the form of either 12 Volt or 24 Volt DC power.

wiring LED lighting to a low-voltage battery

The first step in the installation process is to determine the type, quantity, and location of lighting desired. LED strip lights are generally the preferred choice for running a length of lighting and are often used as under cabinet lighting, for gunwales, awnings, and other accents. Puck lights are generally used to light a more select or specific area.

If outdoor led strip lights are needed, be sure to select waterproof led strip lights that are rated IP64 or greater<link>. Interior led boat lights and RV lighting do not need the high IP rating so greater focus can be placed on style, usage, and white color temperature and/or color.

Control methodology is the next decision to be made in the installation process. One possibility is to tap into existing RV or boat wiring that is controlled by a switch. Alternatively, a new control system will need to be installed such as a manual dial or remote control. If the intent is to tap into the vehicle’s electrical system, the lighting selected must match it, for instance both the vehicle and lighting must be 12 Volt DC.

Once the lighting and controls selections are made, the layout and installation can begin. Installation in camper and marine applications is generally simpler than in residential applications because there is no need to utilize a driver to transform 120 Volt AC to low voltage DC (12V or 24V). Power from the vehicle must be wired into the new control and the lighting must be wired back to the same control device. Or the lighting can be wired into the controlled circuit that currently exists.

Many users will wire waterproof led strip lights directly back to the battery of their boat or RV. In these camper and marine led lights 12v waterproof cases, we suggest the addition of a fuse into the circuit near the positive battery terminal.

Photography courtesy of the team at Holland Motorworks. Check out more custom builds from the Holland Motors team on social media and their website