After our long dry camping stay in Yellowstone, we knew we were going to have to find a way to monitor and minimize our energy usage. We used the heater quite a bit while we were there, and we were nervous about using up our battery. It got a little scary that last night, as we were sure we were going to be without power by the next morning. Fortunately, we were able to make it, but we decided never to put ourselves in that position again. One way we found to keep track of our energy usage for future trips, was to install this battery monitor. Now we can keep track of our energy usage when we are off the grid, which is awesome. We still needed to work on ways to minimize our usage, though. One of the easiest ways to reduce your energy usage is to switch to LED lighting. We knew that was the next step for us, and here’s why…
Why LED Lighting is Best
- LED lighting is extremely energy efficient–most of the estimates I’ve seen say that LED bulbs operate at about 1/10 the energy required for incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. That is going to be significantly less drain on your battery.
- LED bulbs last longer. Without a filament to break or burn out, LED bulbs can last over 100,000 hours. That’s 20 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb. You may never have to change your LED bulbs for the whole life of your camper.
- LED lighting produces cleaner, brighter, whiter light. LED bulbs come in a variety of whites–from bright to warm, and somewhere in between–so you can be sure you’ll find a hue that fits your tastes.
- LED bulbs don’t generate the heat that incandescent bulbs do. Those little lights might not seem like much, but have you ever reached to turn off your light in the summer? It gets hot up there! LED bulbs stay cool when lit, and that is a huge plus for me–for both safety reasons and energy efficiency reasons.
- LED bulbs don’t contain mercury, like fluorescent bulbs do, so they are safer to dispose of. I’m in favor of anything that reduces the amount of toxins we are dumping into our environment.
- LED bulbs produce almost no UV rays. That means long term use won’t fade your interior like exposure to incandescent lighting will.
LED lighting was pretty much a no-brainer for us. We knew we wanted to make the switch, I just wasn’t sure what type of bulbs to go with. I contacted Derek at Coleman Pop Up Parts for advice. I’ve always had good experiences with Coleman Pop Up Parts, and they have a great selection of interior camper lighting. He recommended these new LED lamps (which are also available on Amazon here) and sent me a couple of sample fixtures to review here for my readers. I love that they are a nice, natural white, still bright, but not hospital bright. I also love that they have a 2-way switch, so I can turn on one light or both lights, and they have a dimmer switch. How cool is that? We’ve often had times when one of the family members goes to bed earlier than the rest… yeah, it’s usually me. 😉 When everyone comes into the camper to get ready for bed, they turn on all the lights. I’ve always wished for a dimmer switch or a way to turn down the lights at night. So when I saw this feature, I was sold.
I was like a kid on Christmas when my new LED fixtures arrived. They are so pretty! They look much sleeker and modern than my old, outdated incandescent fixtures. Here’s what I had in the pop up before. Yeah… 1999 called. They want their light fixtures back. 😉 And, ew! How dingy looking are those bulbs?
So the first thing Mr. TypeTwoFun and I did was remove the old fixtures. That was probably the hardest part of this whole installation. (Seriously, these new lights are so easy to install.)
The old fixtures were affixed to the ceiling with a type of pop rivet. It took a couple of tries, but we realized that a sharp 3/16″ drill bit was the perfect tool to drill out the rivets.
Once we drilled out all the rivets, we removed the wiring connections and caulked the old rivet holes. Caulking the old rivet holes may not be necessary, but we didn’t want to take any chances with moisture getting in the ceiling. Better safe than sorry. The new fixtures are affixed to the ceiling with screws, so we lined them up and marked where we would be drilling holes for those screws. Once you’ve got your screws marked, you can drill a few pilot holes.
Now we’re ready to wire up our light fixtures. It is a really simple process. It doesn’t matter which wires you connect where. Just make sure that you’ve connected each wire from the ceiling to one on the light fixture.
Here’s a picture of the wiring on the old lighting and the new, just so you can see what I am talking about. There is no black wire on the new lamp, so it doesn’t really matter which wire you connect it to, just connect both wires to the new lamp, and you’re ready to attach it to the ceiling.
Don’t they look so much better than the old fixtures? I’m pretty happy with the color of the light, too. It feels more like daylight and less yellow.
Even the kids loved the new lights. Of course, any excuse to play in the camper is good with them, but they loved the brightness of the new lamps. Daughter #2 even commented how much better it was for reading.
Have you considered switching to LED lighting in your PUP? Maybe you’ve already done this modification yourself. Feel free to leave us suggestions and comments below. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope this little tutorial was helpful. If you have any other questions about LED lighting (or anything else pop up related), drop me an e-mail. I love hearing from you guys!
*I was not financially compensated for this post, but I did receive a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience. Please know that I write my honest opinion on all product reviews, regardless of how the product came to me. The content of my review will always be my true and honest experience with the product. If you see a review here on The Pop Up Princess, you know I like the product enough to give it my stamp of approval.*
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