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Old 04-17-2018, 04:31 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Windsport 27K
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Interior Lighting Upgrades & Mods

When we bought our Windsport 27K last year, I loved most everything but the interior lights. At night, those ugly fixtures they stick up everywhere put out so much light the MH had all the ambiance of a hospital surgical suite. Even turning them 1/2 off didn't help much. This became very apparent when we were traveling with our friends who have an older Prevost Marathon coach. The lighting in their coach was so much more inviting and relaxed. So I have decided to upgrade and IMPROVE the interior lighting in our Windsport.

So I am starting this thread to document and hopefully help out anyone else who wants to follow down this path. I have several phases planned and will have pictures to accompany the progress. So stay tuned. Parts are ordered and on their way.

Part of this project will be to add dimming along with new (more attractive) fixtures. If you are interested in the issue of dimming LED lights I highly recommend these two YouTube videos for some background. First, "All About LED Dimmers" And, "RV 12V LED Dimmer Shootout". I learned a lot from them that will be very valuable. Also the producer, RV Project, has more great videos of his mods.

Ugly Light
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:01 PM   #2
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What new fixtures did you order?
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
What new fixtures did you order?
1 Ming's Mark 9090110 LED Reading Light for a drivers side reading lamp mounted behind driver's head

2
RV Boat Ceiling Light 12 Volt LED Puck Light Under the bedroom overhead cabinet

2 Pack Facon 4.5 Inch LED RV Puck Light Under the dinette overhead cabinet.

1 (maybe more if I like it) Facon 5 Inch LED RV Panel Light Surface Ceiling light(s)

LE 16.4ft 300 Units SMD 5050 LED Flexible Light Strip, 3000K
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:03 PM   #4
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Phase 1: Dinette Lighting

The cabinet over our dinette had an "ugly light" mounted underneath in the center. Some folks on here have replaced it with a nicer looking fixture like DCBenny did on his coach.

I decided I wanted better and nicer lighting I could dim, so I purchased two of these recessed LED puck lights from Amazon along with an American Technology Components dimmer switch to control them.

First step was to lift up the floor of the cabinet and see what lay underneath. I was able to carefully pry up the thin luan panel and peek underneath. Sure enough there was quite a bit of wiring under there. Luckily it lay toward the outside wall and out of harms way when I cut the opening for the lights and enlarged the hole for the dimmer.

Next I laid out the locations for the lights. I use blue tape to mark out the openings and protect the adjoining cabinet "wood".

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Using a Rotozip tool I cut out the 3.5" hole for the lights. A Dremel Multi-Tool with a Wood Flush Cut Blade makes cutting nice square holes a piece of cake.

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With the lights and dimmer installed all that's left is to fill the screw holes left behind by the ugly light installation. This is turning out to be the most difficult part of the job. I have a cherry wood furniture crayon, but they are still noticible.
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Old 04-23-2018, 09:31 PM   #5
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Phase 1: Reading/Map Light

Behind the drivers head, mounted on the end of the overhead dinette cabinet was another "ugly light". I guess the purpose is to give the drivers seat a reading light when turned toward the interior of the coach or maybe a map light when stopped. Anyway, it had to go. So when I removed the ugly light I found this underneath.

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The upper round hole was for the existing power wiring. But the big rectangular opening on the bottom was a mystery.

When I was researching lighting options on Amazon I came across this nice LED reading light that would be perfect. Ming's Mark 9090110 LED Reading Light

Problem was the base was too small to cover the big hole on the bottom, so I found this Oil Rubbed Bronze Double Cover Plate I could mount the reading light on and it would cover the hole. A single cover plate was also purchased to cover the upper hole.

I used a drill press and a hole saw to cut out a center access hole and screw mounting holes for the reading light. A plastic bushing was inserted into the center hole to protect the wiring from sharp edges.

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Light and cover plates were then mounted on the cabinet end. Looks very nice I think. More screw holes to fill and hide though

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Old 04-25-2018, 09:16 PM   #6
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Phase 1: Dinette Window Valance Strip Light

I had read a post by gmc about putting a LED strip light behind the window valance here: Thor Forums - View Single Post - Dimming LED interior lights 2016 Vegas

I liked the idea so that was the final mod/upgrade in phase 1. I purchased a strip roll of 5050 warm white LED lights and a dimmer switch from American Technology Components. Its a new model, AH-SLD1-5-HS001 and only available direct from ATC. (Hint, if you think you may be using several dimmers, buy three, they give you the OEM price which is almost half retail.) I chose this dimmer because it will be used in a future upgrade that requires the 3-way capability this switch/dimmer has.

First step was to remove the valance. First you have to remove the three screws holding the shade and the two on the bottom holding the cord. With the shade removed, 3 screws hold the top of the valance and two small screws hold the bottom of the sides.

With the valance out, I attached a length of LED strip between the shade and the inside valance panel. Even though the strip has an adhesive backing, I put in some staples to make it more secure. A 3/4 hole was drilled in the front end to bring in power from under the cabinet.

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I put the valance up temporarily and extended the power supply hole up into the cabinet. I used crimp spade connectors so the valance can be removed in the future for maintenance.

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Last step was to cut a square hole with the Dremel Multi-Tool and install the dimmer/swith on the front outside corner.

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Old 04-26-2018, 12:38 AM   #7
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Good job! I have been thinking about dimmer lights for over the dinette. We sit and play cards a lot in the evenings.
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Old 04-26-2018, 02:29 PM   #8
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99dart:

Thank you. Almost all the interior lights will be dim able when I get done. It really helps make the living area a lot more pleasant to spend time in.



Quote:
Originally Posted by 99dart View Post
Good job! I have been thinking about dimmer lights for over the dinette. We sit and play cards a lot in the evenings.
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Old 05-02-2018, 03:41 PM   #9
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Phase2: Kitchen Sink Light

Now that I have completed the driver's side of the living space lighting, time to move over to the other side which is the kitchen area in the full wall slide.

First upgrade was the kitchen sink light. Another ugly light to remove.

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Notice the quality Thor workmanship. Why use a hole saw or even a rotozip when a hatchet works just fine to make a hole in the cabinetry. And the handy chalk label so I will always know the model number of the motorhome. Sheesh

This light isn't on a wall switch so I needed a fixture with a switch on it. I found this attractive and very functional light on Amazon. Facon 5 Inch Panel Light Surface Mount. This light has a push button switch next to a tiny blue LED location light so its easy to find the switch in the dark.

I mounted it over the nice hole and all that's left is to cover the left over screw holes on the bottom of the cabinet. I will use a cherry wood Blend-Fil Pencil on these and the other screw holes in the other cabinets. Tip: use a heat gun to gently heat the surface and pencil while you work with it.
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Old 05-02-2018, 04:15 PM   #10
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Phase2: Wall Slide Strip Light

When Planning the lighting upgrades I noticed when the "decorative wood picture frame" on the full wall slide on our Windsport 27K had a bit of a lip along the top behind the wood frame. About 3/4" wide and about 1/4" below the top of the wood frame. Perfect for a LED strip light. This mod/upgrade turned out to be the most difficult, but rewarding.

Now, how to bring power up there to the strip? I finally decided the best option would be up from the slide out pantry drawer between the refrigerator and the bedroom wall. To accomplish this I needed to remove the pantry drawer. I documented this ordeal in another thread here.

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I planned on using another ATC AH-SLD1-5-HS001 dimmer/switch to control the led strip. These require a ground wire and a 12VDC power source. I decided to tap into a ground wire on the backside of the refridgerator and feed it into the pantry drawer cavity.

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By carefully measuring I was able to drill a hole in the ceiling of the pantry cabinet and come up just behind the slide wall to feed power/ground to the LED strip.

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I used denatured alcohol and a rag to clean off the ledge where the LED strip would attach with its adhesive strip on the bottom. I cut the strip to length, soldered the power/ground wires to one end and laid it out on the ledge.

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I used a crimp T-Tap to "steal" 12VDC power from the bedroom light switch.

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I placed the switch/dimmer on the upper wall of the bedroom and cut out a hole with the Dremel Multi-Tool

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Now I have a easy to reach switch/dimmer on the bedroom wall to control the LED strip light.

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Here is the result, it really makes nice pleasant accent light to the living area and looks pretty "high end". Best upgrade so far.

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Old 05-08-2018, 05:27 PM   #11
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Phase2: Stairwell

Last part of the passenger side was the stairwell. As I am sure everyone has noticed what a black hole the stairwell can be. Especially when entering the motorhome at night.

I found this motion activated stair way light on Amazon. Its powered by 3 C batteries and can be mounted anywhere. If I find I go through batteries to often, I can retrofit it to be powered from the 12VDC system with a 5VDC voltage converter. There is power close by at a storage light next to the stairwell.

When it was dark I moved the light around to find the best position and marked it with blue tape so I could mount it the next day in daylight. In this position it lights up the stairway pretty well and is not in the way.

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At night, as soon as you open the door from the outside, the motion activates the light and now the stairway is well illuminated till you can reach the switch for the inside light.

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Last item was to address an annoyance with the 3 unmarked switches next to the stairwell. I had stick on custom laser engraved labels made by Carolina Laser, Inc.

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You have probably noticed, I screwed up and put "Step" where I should have put Awning Light. Oh well, the labels are only $2.50 (plus shipping & Handling).
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