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Outside Back-of-Van Nightlight

5722 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  proeddie
Prompted by another thread, I just remembered to list one of my latest projects:

I added a very small amber LED the the license plate trim that shines downward. It is turned on by a switch in the rear corner column, and is designed to provide a bug-free way to shed light in the area behind the van.

We often use the passenger back door while camping, and this is a great way to light the rear step and the bumper step.

It throws about a 6' semi-circle of subdued no-glare light on the ground behind the back doors.

The 12V LED light


Note: these lights are great! Waterproof, 12V, lots of light in a small package, many color choices (or white), easy to install, about $1 each!

Mounted on the lower part of the license plate trim, next to the license plate lights


I slid the power wire to feed it thru the round flexible "pipe" that covers the wires already going to the door... plenty of room.

These LEDs are very useful, and the amber color is perfect for no bug use. I installed two of these that are replacing the cargo lights in my build so that when we enter the van after a campfire, the amber light doesn't attract bugs into the van as we enter thru the slider or back door.

About $1 apiece on de'Bay!
https://www.ebay.com/itm/10PCS-Eagl...t-Car-Motor-/401729083044?hash=item5d88eb56a4
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Great heads up proeddie . Those look like the ones I have (not threaded) all over in my rig . I found them to be a bit bright so I frosted them with some Scotchpad . Yes and they fit my budget .
Thanks again , K
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As requested...

rear step light


looking down as you step out (just enough light to see where you're stepping without a big RV type porch light)


inside rear cargo light replacement


slider door cargo light replacement


Then, for around-the-campfire indirect lighting, I also turn on the side strip lights (color depends on the mood I'm in!)
 

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You replaced the 3-way cargo lights inside the van with these? I guess one of the leads is intermittent hot (when the door is open), one is ground, and the third you did not use?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Trying to remember... actually I think that the light is always wired to the hot lead, and the van computer grounds the other wire to turn the lights on when the door opens...

did a thread on this a while back, I'll look for it

found the diagram:
 

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Sweet proeddie ! and thanks for the schematic and 411 about the great computer turning on the light . I unplugged mine 'cuze OEM light won't stay on long enough . A year later I discover that the lense is a 3 pos switch .
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
To be clear, these LEDs are a great replacement for the not-so-useful-factory-cargo-lights in a camper build, but only for use as intermittent (door open/close) lighting.

Even with a bunch of 'em, they would not be good as general area lighting. For that, I recommend these:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/RV-LED-Puck-Lights-10-pack-30/293003032645?hash=item4438577845:g:tJcAAOSwDQ1chrdp

The are dimmable (not built in) and have a switch (built in) included so you can decide which to turn on and which not to. (Must be clearing these out - harder to find lately)

I have 8 in our main area ceiling, 2 in the back area, and 2 under the upper shelves as reading lights over the bed. They are connected to a master switch. Adding a master dimmer ($6) adjusts 'em from "see what you're doing" to "soft subdued lighting"

Visible in this picture


OR, they make a similarly sized recessed version that many have used in their ceiling!
 

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Thanks. I'm following you. Already have recessed lights installed but hadn't figured out what to do with the stock lights. Even though I'll have a switch at the side door for the new lights I figure it's good to have lights fire up when the door is opened.

Here's where I'm at. As you can see perfect timing!

58906
 

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Trying to remember... actually I think that the light is always wired to the hot lead, and the van computer grounds the other wire to turn the lights on when the door opens...

did a thread on this a while back, I'll look for it

found the diagram:
I am installing some LED strip lights in the cargo area. I would like to have the new lights act like the existing cargo lights so that they turn on and off when I open/close the rear doors. However, I also want to be able to switch them so that I have the option to turn them always on without ever timing out. Any thoughts? Is it the ground wire that times out or is it the whole circuit that goes dead?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
My cargo light replacements are just connected as in the diagram, but they do time out just like the originals. My "inside" lighting LEDS are wired to the house battery and do not turn on with the door opening - and they don't time out.

I found my explanation in an older thread:

The timer is part of the BCM (computer) in the van. It's timed from the opening of the door, and isn't changeable (AFAIK). It times the 12V+ going to the light.

To gain complete control, you'd need to:

Add a DPDT Center Off switch. Why? because the 12V+ is controlled by the BCM and the light is triggered on by grounding a wire. So, you have to use one pole of the switch to select between 12V+ from the BCM and 12V+ from your aux battery. The other pole would be used to connect the grounds.
 

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Hi @proeddie,
Did you cut the OEM harness off of the cargo lights and add connectors for your LEDs?

I am looking to do what you did, repurpose that OEM cargo light circuit to power some low light LEDs so that we have door open lighting that follows the timer. Just for entering and exiting the van at night.
 
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