FYI: I have been posting updates for those of us who have already read the OP below. For anyone new to the thread, it might be best to skip down below all of these updates, read the body of the post (beginning with "THE OP BEGINS HERE") and THEN read the updates.
Z71 4x4 has weighed in on these ~$5 ebay panels mentioned below; the 36-1210 panels vs the 24-5050s vs 1141 incandescent bulbs. His conclusions are as follows...
"The 24-5050 looked green to me and my DW. These will end up in my basement storage.
The 36-1210 were very close to the natural 1141 color, maybe a shade more white (which we like), and seemed a little brighter."
When searching for LEDs that are comparable to the incandescent bulbs they are replacing, the rule of thumb that I use is 1:5, i.e. a 3W LED bulb will give you roughly the same lumen output as a 15W incandescent bulb. A panel that focuses all of the light where it belongs should beat this a bit... perhaps more like 1:6 or 1:7. So a 3W panel might get you the same output as a 20W bulb or so... maybe.
Also... if you want incandescent color temperature, i.e. if you want the LEDs to look as close as possible to incandescent bulbs in color... look for units in the 3200-3500K range. 6500K is more like "blue white." I have one that is 4200K. It's not too bad, but it is noticeably "bluer" than my 3200K LEDs and incandescents.
***UPDATE*** 36 SMD LED Panels now come with BA15S (1141, 1156) male socket ends. Other socket options here. And then there's this version from eric1514. This 24 LED panel with brighter LEDs is probably a little brighter than the 36 LED panel. Both are brighter than an 1141. The 24 may be as bright as an 1156.
Dave-Sparky has done some thorough testing on these 36 SMD panels with excellent results for 8 months now. Post Here
Though far from the majority... a few are having trouble with the $5 LED panels staying stuck with their sticky back tape. Below is a solution from Kamphiker, though beware that 3M tape may be TOO good and when LED panel replacement time comes... you may have a problem...
Those inexpensive LED panel lights from China are a PITA to keep mounted in the ceiling. The South Florida heat just melts the foam/adhesive that came with these lights (I have seen 94° F. inside the RV with the A/C off ceiling temps are even higher).
I tried adding a dab of silicone with no luck, Tried hot glue gun stick better than silicone but still failure.
I found the solution, 3M VHB Tape. Maximum Temperature 300° F. excellent adhesion. There are a lot of sources to purchase (Mcmaster, Fastenal etc.). I looked in Grainger and they have some on closeout like 3M VHB High Temperature Tape
When looking at the tape there are several different ones available, standard is good for 200° F. & High Temp. 300° F.
THE OP BEGINS HERE...
I created this thread as a canned response to anyone asking about LEDs.
I have done a ton of research on LEDs and sampled several different types. These are what I have in my rig, and I am very happy with all of them. And at present, the prices I paid are tough to beat.
(The following is a bit of stumping on the merits of LEDs for boondocking. If you're already sold on the idea, just skip ahead to "My LED's" above the 1st photo.)
I have found that LEDs generally use about 1/5 the power and heat of incandescent or less, per the same color type and amount of light. For boondockers, LEDs are a no-brainer. I started by replacing one each in my double overhead fixtures and the light is more than adequate for our family... including the DW. All this for a mere hundred clams.
I later added a few more, but I doubt I'm up to $150. I still have 1 incandescent bulb in each of the 3-double overhead fixtures and 1 in each of the 2 bunk bed reading fixtures. The bunk lights never get used and unless we're hooked to shore, we refrain from using both bulbs in each of the overheads; yet this still allows for more light than we need.
The best part about the LEDs is the peace of mind. I no longer care one bit if lights are on because I know they're drawing such a negligible amount of energy: for example the one in the exterior door handle. If I left it on all night for say 10 hours, it would cost me about 3A. This is less than 1/100 of my total battery bank capacity. A typical inverter uses almost twice the power in standby mode!
If every single one of my LED lights are on at one time (rare)... I figure they're using about 3A. My 13" TV alone uses 6! (The TV is on the upgrade list, but that's for another thread.)
Some more perspective...
A typical 1141 RV bulb is rated at about 18W. With comparable light output, 9 of mine are in the 3.6W range and the rest are rated much lower.
Depending on temperature, my battery bank is capable of a solid 170A before it runs down to 50%. I could leave all 13 of these lights on 24 hours for almost 2 and half days before reaching this point.
I have 8 of these total. 3 in my overhead fixtures, 2 in the closet (thanks to RoyB,) one in the shower and one in the exterior door handle fixture. I also have 2 of the ba15d versions in my little bedroom lamp. Some RFI noted by ham radio guys, but I have yet to experience any. This is caused by the built-in regulator that gives these bulbs a wide range of voltage handling. This should allow for very good longevity.
There appear to be unregulated bulbs of this type on ebay now. They may or may not last as long as regulated. They may run a little warmer and if they are truly unregulated, they shouldn't cause any RFI... for those who have this concern.
Also, you might Try These. They appear to have the same LEDs, but for about a third the price. I haven't tried them yet, personally, though. But for the price, I would definitely try one. They also have 24 LED units, which I'm guessing would be more like 1156 incandescent bulbs.
One in overhead is the bulb above. The other is an 1141 incandescent. Both are clearly warmer in color than fluorescent...
1 of these in my range hood. Excellent deal! No RFI. Longevity is yet undetermined. (Update) Note that THEY NOW COME in a ba15s (1156-type) base. Color is slightly to the red of incandescent. The bulbs above are closer in color, but not by a huge margin.
I have 3 of these in my courtesy floor fixtures. Couldn't find warm white and standard, blue white was too bright. My wife and I really like the amber color of these. Reminds us a bit of the movie theater. They're perfect for us and chew up almost zero energy, I believe about 0.1A for all 3!
And most recently, one of these in the airliner-style, swivel reading fixture over the couch. They also sell them in pairs for a hair less each. This one comes right to the edge of my fixture. It is just the right diameter. You can see the LEDs, but it doesn't bother me. It is not warm white, but is not blue-white either (more photos below.) Retailer was forthright with light color temperature and I found his auction pages to be especially detailed, honest and accurate.
The bulb puts out a very comparable amount of light to the OEM bulb at about 1/10 the power draw... about 0.2A...
OK. Got some photos of the reading light installed. You don't notice it unless you're looking right at it.
And here it is in action. I took the pictures this afternoon. Of course the only time the sun decided to peek through the clouds today was right when I wanted to shoot. But I think it's clear the bulb is plenty bright for the application. Again... I feel it's very similar in brightness to the OEM incandescent bulb. These 2 photos were taken with the same aperture and shutter speeds. Evaluative white balance was also used for each. Also note that the light color is not blue-white...
More and more folks have now ordered these 1139F replacement reading bulbs and the response appears to be overwhelmingly positive. Here's a thread on it.
Command Electronics has been a popular place to get some panels, but they were always too bright for my tastes. Recently they have added a smaller panel that is similar to the one I have above, but does have the ba15s adapter.
These 21 LED panels are on this page along with the brighter 30 LED ones.
Good information, thanks for posting. I've had two LED's (the 6x6 square ones replacing the 1141s) in my TC for several years now and love them. One over the sink, another over my bed used as a reading light.
I also installed three Cold Cathode Florescents (one over the door as an exterior light, one in the bathroom, and a double tube one over the dinette). Those were advertised as using just 0.16 amps, but after installing a Trimetric meter I discovered that in practice they use about 0.35 amps, or 0.7 for the double tubes, while the LEDs use about 0.2 each. Either way, they're both much more efficient than incandescents.
Gary and Zahra
93 Dodge Ram 250, 5.9L Cummins Turbo Diesel, 5-speed stick
87 SixPac 8' Truck Camper
94 Alpenlite 29RK DL 5th Wheel RV Solar 101
For those with 921 bulbs (they are 264 lumens BTW), I have used THESE also from LEDWholesalers. They are only 75 lumens but work great in the not so important light fixtures. In other fixture where I really need the light output, I used THESE. They are 380 lumens. I bought two 357 lumen from Command Electronics, HERE (21 Warm White LED Upgrade for 12-30 volt applications) to try out. If I like them, I will use them in my living room (replacing 380 lumen bulbs have in one fixture already). I'll try and get some pictures up so everyone can see for themselves.
Yeah. Just saw those. I like the looks of those! They must be relatively new, eh? The other panels from CE were just too bright for my tastes. But the specs of these are more reasonable. I might add these to my OP as a suggestion.
One cool thing about this technology, it's changing rapidly! I mean, just within the last year or two guys had given up on the "older" LEDs for RVs because the color wasn't right and they burned out quickly.
At this point, there is no longer a reason to shy away from them.
* This post was
edited 02/19/11 07:34pm by KendallP *
Yeah. Just saw those. I like the looks of those! They must be relatively new, eh?
I hadn't seen those before which is why I went with the LEDTrailerLights bulbs initially. I forgot to mention that I have a few 1156 bulbs over my dinette. I replaced those with THESE from LEDTrailerLights.com. They're 300 lumens. BTW, all my bulbs are "warm white", didn't like the "bright white".