Now that all of the winterizing was completed, I was going through the rig checking for burned out bulbs, loose screws, etc. During this I noticed that one of the overhead fluorescent lights was dim.
Thinking that one of the fluorescent tubes had burned out, I removed the plastic cover and a tube fell out! Luckily I caught it before it hit the floor and broke.
What had happened is that the sockets for the tube had broken in the fixture. After removing the existing fixture so that I could take it to a parts store/search online for the parts required, I noticed that one of the rivets that held the side of the fixture to the back of the fixture was missing…apparently messed up during manufacture. Also, when they installed the light fixture they only screwed 3 out of a possible 4 points into the ceiling. Apparently the vibration of this combination caused the sockets for one tube to crack and eventually fail altogether. I suppose I’m lucky that at least nothing shorted out while on the road.
Regardless of the cause I needed a new fixture and so went looking for an exact match so that the replacement would match all of the other fixtures in our rig. To make a long story a tad shorter, bottom line is that I couldn’t locate an exact match and a replacement fixture (this was a 12″ 2-tube unit) was going to run me $45+.
So, instead of just replacing it I looked into LED replacements and found one from the Cabin Right company. Basically they provide a set of LED panels wired to a harness that you use instead of the fluorescent tubes. In my case I went with the 6 panel model which ran me $43 at Amazon.
The instructions stated that you could leave the old ballast & sockets in but since I already had the fixture out I elected to remove these by drilling out the associated rivets. Then I found a small sheet metal screw to secure the side-to-base plate that was missing a rivet.
The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. They even include an alcohol wipe to clean the old surface with so that the adhesive pads on the LED panels will adhere properly.
After installation I can definitely state that I’m glad that I took this route. Not only does it draw less power than the fluorescents, it is significantly brighter. In addition, since it is the old fixture on the outside it matches the rest of the rig.
Definitely a worthwhile alternative to replacing fluorescents that fail…might be a tad expensive if it’s only a bulb, but if you want to reduce power draw and increase the lighting I think it is a great improvement.