I have been meaning to get some 12 volt LED down lights for the back of the van for some time now, but have never got round to it.
But recently, Martin from the Houseless not Homeless YouTube channel posted a link on one of my videos, directing me to some LED lights for sale at Maplins for £20.
So off I went to the local Maplins store to get some white LED lights. Upon arrival, they had an offer on their multi-coloured LED down lights, with a remote control. They were the same price (£20) but had dimmer and flash functions, and the colour was selectable on the remote control handset – so I bought these instead.
The lights came with everything you need to install them, either via sticky backed pads or screws. They came with a normal household 3 pin plug and transformer to bring the voltage down to 12 volts. I cut the plug/transformer off, so I could wire the lights direct to the leisure battery.
The installation took around an afternoon to do, as I had to remove part of the carpeted ceiling and side panels so I could route the wires. It wasn’t particularly difficult to do, but should have really been done before I had built everything else into the back of the van!
Installing the lights
The first thing I did was decide on the position, so I put 2 at the front so they lit up the sink area, and 2 over the bed area towards the back of the van. As I mentioned in the video, I measured 1ft from the side of the van, and 1ft from the ceiling support to find a good area to mount them.
The light mountings just screwed into the carpeted ceiling panel. I then drilled a hole within the mount to allow the wires to pass through, as seen in the photo on the right.
With all the lights in position, and holes drilled, I could collate all the wires behind the roof panel and connect them up to the supplied junction box. The junction box then connects to the controller, which has an infra-red sensor attached which allows the remote control to work.
Wiring the controller
Next up was wiring the controller to the leisure battery. I did this buy getting a long piece of wire that ran along the inside of the roof, and dropped down behind the side panel just behind the drivers seat.
This wire was then connected to a switch that I had also bought from Maplins, and then another piece of wire from the switch to the fusebox. One last piece of wire connected the the fusebox to the leisure battery.
I only had to bring one wire, the “live” wire down to the battery, as the earthing wire I connected to the van metalwork in the roof area itself. The easiest way was to use a self tapper with a “ring” terminal, and screwed it into place on one of the roof strengthening beams.
I tested everything before hiding all the wires away behind the panels, and then positioned the infra-red sensor so it poked out from behind one of the roof panel supports.
Overall, I am really happy with the amount of light from these LEDS. Its nice to be able to change the mood of the van instantly by adjusting the colour or dimming the lights slightly.
I hope to be putting these to the test on a wild camp very soon!