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Did I create an issue in the 12 Florescent volt system?


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I want to convert the florescent overhead lighting system in my 2006 Windsor to LED lighting.  I purchased a kit for the bathroom overhead toilet room, from the internet, as a test and it went smoothly but it was much too bright white and way too costly.   Being a model railroader, I have rolls of the LED lights which are three bulbs and a built-in resister that you can cut to length.  (This is basically all the kit was, but it included all the fittings and clamp on terminals.)   The roll is adhesive backed so all you do is remove the florescent bulbs, remove the ballast, attach a strip of LEDs, attach the strip to the 12v (First pick the color kelvin LED you want to use).   Well before I got started, I went into Walmart and spotted in the lighting section, LED tubes to replace florescent, so I picked up two as they were about $8ea as I recall.  That was a lot cheaper than all the work I was about to do to switch over to LED lighting strips, or so I thought.  

I went to the Windsor, figured I would try with the fixture over the sink with my newly purchased tube LED florescent replacements as this circuit has one switch and only one florescent ceiling light and one 12v puck light.  I made the switch of tubes, turned it on and we had light.   It looked great.   Turned of and on a few times and compared the color with the living area ceiling lights and they were similar.  I thought I had a good cheap solution to a LED switch from the florescent ceiling lights.  Then that circuit went off and never came back, not for the puck light, not for putting the florescent back, not for a volt meter.

I cannot find a multi-plex fuse that appears blown.  Would there be one blown or would the circuit be messed up?  Suggestions to get 12v back to that circuit.

Thanks

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I have been looking at replacements leds for my fluorescents, what I learned is that some of them require removing the ballast.  I found some that work with the ballast, they are $17 each. You may have the type that you need to remove the ballast?

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Yes, the tape type that come in the kit, require removal of the ballast, or just bypass.  You just connect those LEDs to 12v.  The tube type do not say.  In retrospect, I assume they were meant to replace the tubes in 120v systems and ballast systems, not our 12v systems and ballast systems.  So what could I have screwed up if any thing.  The 120v system florescent tubes work in our 12v ballast systems so I assume those LED tubes should work in the 12v ballast systems as well, which they did for a short time.  Now I do not have 12v in that circuit.

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Rich, an LED bi pin replacement for a florescent tube requires a 120 V AC source. It has a built in 120V AC/12V DC power supply. One has to remove the ballast as it boost the voltage up to 175 V or so depending on the tube wattage in order to ionize the gas in the florescent tube. The LED strip on the other hand requires a 12V DC source. You most certainly blew a 12 volt fuse. Kind of hard to visually detect a blown fuse in the panel sometimes. I'm just surprised that the tube worked long enough to even light up.

Edited by Gary Cole
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The LED Florescent Tubes I purchased from http://www.ledrvlighting.com/index.html many years ago work in our coach fixtures whether you remove the ballast or not. However you will not realize the advantage of using the LED tubes with saving the battery drain IF the ballast is not removed.

I chose the Warm White as I hate the Daylight as it is TOO bright and harsh for me.

http://www.ledrvlighting.com/T8-tube.html

I just looked up the LED bulb you purchased from Walmart and the description clearly states, "designed to work with most electronic and magnetic ballasts (check ballast compatibility list before installing)"

Edited by Dr4Film
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Gary,

It was the tube light, not the LED strip that was using the ballast.  Direct replacement to the florescent as Richard has referenced is what I tried as that is what I figured compatible meant and it works with the florescent..   The LED strip kit I installed , yes the ballast was removed and I don't like the bright daylight effect.  it is OK in the isolated bath toilet.    I will install my own strips that have a lower kelvin temperature, or at least test them out to see the effect.   I and the wife also dislike the DAYLIGHT type.

I liked the tube LED if it would not have blown something.  I guess I will look closer for a blown fuse again.   There are so many of those darn things in the cabinet and my eyes are not as good as they were.   I did not realize that the ballast would have to be removed as it said compatible with most.   

Maybe upgrades are not worth the effort all the time.  I just did MCD shades, and regardless of what they say, the don't just "easily snap in" even with the upgrade clip.   You also need a 4 inch thick head to get into the valence to attach the clip and see what you are doing.   

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Rich,

All of the domestic 12 VDC fuses in my coach are located in a panel within an overhead cabinet in the bedroom. There are a number of them for different lights etc. There is also a paper listing each fuse and a description of what circuit it protects.

Domestic 12 VDC Fuse Panel.jpg

Domestic 12 VDC Fuse Descriptions.jpg

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That's interesting information about the RV LED replacement tubes. Something I wasn't aware of. Makes me think that the RV ballasts are designed to use a type of florescent tube which uses a preheater filament and when the gas is ionized the tube then operates on 12 VDC without a voltage boost. I really don't know how energy efficient such a design would be considering the lumen/watt ratio.  I upgraded my coach to LED lighting sometime ago and did not keep any of the old ballasts or I would check one out to see exactly how they work and measure the current draw. Maybe I didn't save as much energy as I thought I was going to.  

 

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Rich- my eyes aren't what they used to be either.  Looking for blown fuses is a challenge.   I've started using the voltmeter with the sound on to check continuity.  The back of the fuse is open so I just probe both sides while it is still installed.

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I’ve just finished converting all the lighting (except the vanity lights) to 12v LED strips. I did the same thing on my last coach. All I do is cut the BLK12v wire after the switch leaving about 3”, doing the same to the WHT ground wire. Purchase the correct width pigtails from the LED supplier to fit the light strips.  Wire each strip to the the two wires that were cut. I use small wire nuts to join them together. I leave the abandoned ballast in place, put the cover back on. I purchase everything from a local company and pick up in person. SuperBrightLeds.com  When to cut these strips to length as you know it shows where to cut them, but if it falls on a solder joint made in manufacturing you will have to use use the pigtail on the other end of the strip on one section of that strip you cut in half or the pigtail will not slip over the strip. Because of that the polarity will be out 180. Keep that in mind when wire nutting them together on that modified strip. Sounds confusing but you will see if you do it. I can provide a mock-up of what I’m saying in a picture later if needed. 

 

15848435-5DA5-462E-B6A7-EF7897D35597.jpeg

31BD8251-A623-43B9-A5B3-E6E61607B7BC.jpeg

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Didn’t know a 06 Windsor has the multiplex system. I would be looking for a 12V fuse in the bathroom fuse block like Rich posted above.


Over the last 15 years I’ve bought a lot of different LED lights/bulbs. I’ve had good luck out of most of them…still use some 120V ones that are 15 years old (small round chips) but they put out half the amount of light.

I’ve had terrible luck out of ever strip I’ve bought… 12V or 120V with multiple chips stop working in a couple hundred hours or less. Bought an expensive 120V rope light that had multiple 1’ sections stop working in 6 months. 

The amps savings converting fluorescent to led is approx 1/2 while replacing halogen is 1/10th the amps. I would only us voltage regulated LED panels when converting.

Edited by Ivylog
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Going back to the original problem of no power, Rich, do you have power at the switch?  No sense in doing anything else until you can measure power at the switch.  If there is no power at the switch, the most likely problem is a blown fuse.  You can make sure the switch isn't the problem by measuring the feed to the switch. 

I've found the most pleasing light I get is in the 3500-4000 Kelvin range.
http://www.recessedlightinglayout.com/2017/04/led-color-temperature-chart-scale.html

color+temperature+chart+scale.jpg

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I have been using the Walmart replacement LED tubes for about 2 years now, right out of the box into the fixture with no problems at all.  I did not remove the ballast or anything else.  I have them in 5 fixtures, one is switched at the light and the others go through the multiplex individually.   A couple are daylight and a couple are warm white light. Hope this may help.  Happy Trails Bert

Edited by Jobert
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Rich, I'd trace back from the switch to figure out why there's no power getting to it.  After you know what caused the loss of power, it will be easier to work on the lights.  If the lights turn out to be the cause of a blown fuse you'll know where it stops and can try doing something different with the lights.  All the LED replacement tubes I've seen say to leave the ballasts in place and just swap the bulbs.  I did as many have said - I bought a roll of the LED lights on a strip and took out all the guts of my fixtures when I glued them in place.  I like the brighter fixtures after making the change. 

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H Higgins.  

You have an older coach and I assume without the multiplex system.  I am wondering if that caused issues.  I hope I did not screw up the system software or something.   I will get back to the coach in storage in a week or so, then start looking at the suggestions received.    Thanks to all.

Rich 

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One of our more knowledgeable deceased members, Bill Groves RIP, always strongly suggested that everyone who had a coach with a multiplex electrical system should have all of their programming backed up just in case of a catastrophic failure.

It could cost thousands of dollars to reprogram the multiplex system if in fact it can be done at all.

Just a heads up for all of those owners who have such a sophisticated system.

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Hi Rich,

I know absolutely nothing about the multiplex system. However it sounds like the more knowledgeable members here are describing a digital system which probably uses something called an RS-485 protocol (Modbus) which transmits digital bits of information. One cannot troubleshoot these systems with a multimeter. The only thing one can check for is conductor integrity and the presence of a standing voltage, about 5 volts.  The switches, input, and other output devices, relays for example,  require a unique address, sometimes programmed, sometimes set with dip switches, depending on the age of the system. If your switches use dip switches then you can obtain another switch and simply copy the dip switch settings. The switches are dumb. The software program is contained in a CPU with a certain amount of memory somewhere in the system. Unfortunately one cannot access the controller and examine the programming without expensive, most certainly OEM software.  

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Just to be clear, the software would be specific to the controller manufacturer, not Monaco. A wild guess would be Allen Bradley given the age. Anyone with Allen Bradley's, software, or other could locate and diagnose the problem.

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