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Arcon LED lights shine bright

Energy-saving LED lights are brighter, cooler
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4.5 stars
$13.12 to $40.92
  • 90%


Summary:

After living and working in my motorhome full time for 10.5 months in 2014, one of the things I needed to do was increase the amount of light in the main living area. The long fluorescent tubes that came with the motorhome were adequate, but I needed more light, especially in the work area. A friend in the industry suggested that I replace the traditional lights with new LED lighting.

The folks at Arcon Electrical asked me to test their lights and sent replacement fixtures for each light fixture in the motorhome. Arcon offers two types of replacement LEDs -- soft white and bright white. Because I was working in my motorhome, I choose the bright lights.

Replacing many of the bulbs was as simple as pulling out the incandescent bulbs and popping in these strange-looking LED bulbs in their place. The difference was noticeable. The reading lamps in the bedroom were much brighter and made it considerably easier to read a book at night. The closet, which was kind of dreary under traditional incandescent lighting, was significantly brighter as well.

However, replacing the larger 18-inch florescent bulbs proved to be a more complicated job than I was comfortable doing, and I had to rely upon the expertise of an RV technician to complete that job. To install the larger LEDs, wiring changes had to be made to the florescent ballast itself, which involved removing the ballast and splicing some wires together. The bulbs themselves pop in just like standard florescent lights, but additional wiring is needed to make them work. The dealership charged $65 per light fixture to make the change, so I opted to rewire only the four big lights in the work area, kitchen and bedroom. In hindsight, I should have changed the light above the desk as well, and will do that the next time the RV goes in for repair.

The process to replace the fixtures took about 25 minutes per light, and people experienced in electrical wiring could probably do it themselves. The company does not offer a video at this time to show the steps required to make adjustments to the ballast.

The picture above is the most striking example comparing an old incandescent light bulb to the new LED. It's obvious the light is brighter. That's because the LED bulbs are designed to direct light down, where other bulbs just shine when the filament is charged. The LED bulbs burn much cooler. The old bulb on the right was too hot to touch 30 seconds after the light switch was turned on. However, I could hardly feel a difference touching the LED in the on position. Later, I discovered later that an LED bulb produces 3.4 Btu of heat per hour, compared to 85 Btu for filament-type bulbs.

A side benefit to the conversion is that bugs don't like LEDs. While they might be attracted to the light, they don't stick around because there is no heat to keep them warm. I had another product installed last year that was a combination LED light and Bluetooth speaker on the patio side of the RV. The bug problem virtually disappeared, so I would highly recommend replacing outdoor lights with LEDs, too.

Replacing compartment lights may be a good idea too. I drained a battery in a week when the motorhome was in storage because I left a light on in one of the compartments. LEDs use about 90 percent less energy than traditional light bulbs. They also last 50 times longer than standard light bulbs and 10 times longer than florescent bulbs, according to the company. Because the light is directional, adding LED bulbs to compartments will allow light to reach further into the compartment.

LEDs are cooler, brighter, longer lasting and use less energy. With the exception of the additional wiring required to switch from a florescent bulb to an LED, replacement is super simple. The bulbs are more expensive, but they'll last longer and the benefits certainly outweigh the cost. If a bulb does break, it is covered by a five-year warranty.

Arcon LED bulb Arcon LED replacements Arcon LED replacement for florescent

Pros

  • Burns much brighter than incandescent and florescent bulbs.
  • Burns cooler, is not hot to the touch.
  • Replacement of standard incandescent bulbs is as simple and twisting the old one out and twisting in the LED.
  • Uses up to 95 percent less energy — a necessity when boondocking.
  • LED replacements for incandescent bulbs last 50 times longer; LED replacements for florescent bulbs last 10 times longer. You may never need to replace a bulb.
  • LED bulbs are designed to direct light down.
  • Five-year warranty on all new LED bulbs.
  • Because LEDs don’t create much heat, the lights don’t attract bugs nearly as much as the hotter incandescent bulbs.
  • Arcon LEDs are designed specifically to withstand highway and off-road use.

Cons

  • Replacement of florescent tubes requires modification to ballast that may need to be done by an RV dealer.
  • Initially more expensive than standard LED bulbs.
  • The company needs to produce a video to demonstrate how to replace florescent fixtures with LED fixtures.

About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is the editor of Let's RV and the editor of RV Daily Report. A Wisconsin native and father of three grown daughters, he is now based out of Arizona and travels the country in his Winnebago Adventurer motorhome interviewing industry professionals and interesting RVers alike. He can be reached at editor@letsrv.com

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