LED strip lights – Installation

I am going to try to give a brief rundown of what went into the process of installing LEDs on our Airstream and give some insight to others who might want to install them practically anywhere. So let’s dive right into this. (All pics can expand for your viewing pleasure.)

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After researching and reading reviews I decided on the TaoTronics SL007 for the outside and the TaoTronics SL029 for the inside. They are both waterproof RGB LED strips, but one comes with more color options and the other can be music activated. Yes, that means party mode!

 

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Let’s start with the outside first as it was the more tedious job. If you have never worked with these LED strips before they are pretty simple to work with. You can cut them after every third light to make lengths that work for whatever situation you may have. Just cut along the line through the copper. With the outside of the Airstream this required quite a few cuts to make a clean look.

 

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With RGB LEDs there are actually four connections. Three connections for the colors and one for the 12v. They make quick connects for connecting different sections of LEDs, but in this instance because of space I couldn’t use those so out came the soldering iron. Let me tell you I am terrible at soldering! I picked up this 24 gauge wire from Radio Shack while those are still in existence.

 

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These lights are normally plugged into a regular outlet and then the adapter that comes with it provides 12v output to the lights. For the outside installation I decided to hard wire these lights into the existing 12v system on the Airstream. I used the wiring to the 12v lights in the front compartment as these lights use very little power and it isn’t an overload on the system. While these lights come with remotes for power and color control I also wanted to have a hard wired switch which I installed next to the bed so that I can get a quick peek at what is going on outside when I need to.

 

On the back of the strip there is 3M adhesive, but I had read that you shouldn’t trust this for long term holding so I bought some clear adhesive caulk to help out in the sticking process. While I don’t have pictures I used masking tape to hold things in place until it cured. The trim piece on the bottom of the Airstream is perfect for concealing the strip and it is only noticeable at night when you turn on the lights. At each break I soldered and then used liquid electrical tape to seal the connections for hopefully a long term waterproof seal.

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The inside was so much easier of a process, but while I was doing it I had to add a shelf just because I like to complicate things! I simply had to plug in the lights to the existing outlet inside and run them along the top of the cabinets. You may ask what the benefits of the light on the inside are besides being amazing when you have them changing to the music. Well even though our ceiling lights dim, it is harsh at times to have the light coming directly down on you. With these you can change the color as well as dim them without anything directly shining on you. Fairly simple upgrade in my book for a little over $30.

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If you have any questions please feel free to ask. I am by no means a professional at this but it works!

8 Comments

  1. Ever since we saw your light show on Instagram, Mike and I have joked about getting LEDs for the Airstream. Personally I’d prefer them in the Airstream, under the gloucho and dinette. Mike wants them outside, under the Airstream and the awning. And sometimes it’s hard to remember what the priorities are for getting on the road full time. 🙂

  2. Beth Hatfield

    looks good!
    I enjoy your posts “on the road”, Matthew & Celeste.
    (Btw, I’m your Aunt Bonnie’s sister, Celeste, if you didn’t recognize my name)

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