Installing LED Underbody Lights

After a lot of research and reading reviews about different LED light strips, I finally found one that I think will be a good fit for our RV.  It is waterproof and has a silicone covering over the whole light strip.  Also has an RF transmitter so that you can be inside the RV when you turn them on.

Link to product: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RSFT2CM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00RSFT2CM&linkCode=as2&tag=habsontheroad-20&linkId=c8383f2a0135a6ed072cfaffcf6674c8

IMPORTANT UPDATE!  After I made an extension wire to run from one side of the RV to the other, it caused a voltage drop that results in the driver’s side light strip not having the same light pattern as the passenger’s side.  I am in the process of doing it a different way that will require one more set of LED lights. Basically, I’m going to daisychain all three together, which is a supported set up. To get to the drivers side I’m going to use one of the underbody channels that goes across the RV that is located just to the right of the water pump bay door. It means we waste about 10 feet of LED lights, but I’m not sure how to do it any other way and still use a single power supply, LED controller, and remote control

Supplies you will need:

  • 2 or 3 sets of LED light strips
  • A bunch of 8″ zip ties
  • A few stick-on wire clips to organize the wires inside the bay where the receiver and power supply will reside
  • Silicone to seal a 1/2″ hole that wires will go through

Tools you will need:

  • A drill with a 1/2″ drill bit. A slightly larger drillbit would be even better, but you can widen the hole enough with the 1/2″ drill bit
  • A dull butter knife or other thin but sturdy tool
  • Tape measure

Installation instructions for a Berkshire XLT RV:

  1. Test the LED light strip to make sure it is not defective, but first unroll it. Otherwise it can overheat.
  2. Roll out the LED light tape on the ground underneath where it will go on the passenger side.
  3. Using a few zip ties, attach the power connector end of the light strip to the black metal square tubing that runs from front to back. For now, just attach the first part of the light strip to the front part of that black metal tubing under the front storage bay where the power supply will reside.  This will allow you to ensure the power connector reaches through the whole you will be drilling soon.  
  4. Now drill a half inch hole along the very bottom edge of the forward wall of the storage bay about 13 inches from the outside wall of the RV, so that the power connector end of the LED light strip can be ran through the hole.  You will have to widen the hole a little bit by wiggling drill bit around because the connector is slightly larger than 1/2″ (or use a slightly bigger drill bit. I didn’t have one handy):
  5. Now use some double-sided adhesive tape to stick The LED controller to the side of the bay.  I used one of the stick-on wire clips to keep the wires to the side, and around the power cord up the front edge of the bay to the top shelf where the outlet is located. You then connect the LED controller to the LED light strip that comes through the whole. 
  6. At this point you will want to zip tie both the LED light strip to the black rail that runs the length of the side the RV.  This is where a butter knife comes in handy. When you are zip tying the light strip to the black rail, you will have to pry the black underbody up very slightly to make room for the zip tie. It only takes a minimal amount so don’t worry about damaging the underbody. 
  7. I put zip ties about every 8 inches, and I always made the zip ties I go over the blank white section of the LED light strip so as not to worry about crunching a piece of circuitry. I plan to go back and add some dabs of silicone to keep the lighting from sagging at all between the zip ties.
  8. When you get to about 5 feet from where you started, there is a channel that will let you run another LED light strip to the driver’s side. I ordered a third light strip since several feet of the second light strip will be wasted going to the driver side.  Use the stick-on wire clips to hold the wire to the ceiling of that metal channel that spans the width of the RV.
  9. At this point you will attach the driver side LED light strip to the black railing as you did before.
  10. Now you should use the silicone to seal the hole you drilled earlier on.
  11. At this point you should be finished and should be able to turn on the power supply to test the lights.  Because you have to buy two or three LED light sets to do this, you have some extra parts in case something breaks or is defective 

The next thing I’m going to look into is connecting the LED power supply to a digital timer so that the lights come on automatically at a certain time and go off at a certain time.

What’s neat about the RF controller is that you can turn the lights on from inside the RV when you pull into a campground at night (assuming the generator is running or the power inverter… I’m not yet sure if the power inverter will power this outlet). This should really help with visibility when trying to line up the RV with utilities, etc. at nighttime.

I hope this was useful! I also hope the LED light kits I chose will last a long time. If they don’t, it will be a pain to cut all the zip ties and install a new light strip. Time will tell!


2 thoughts on “Installing LED Underbody Lights

  1. How much 18-4 wire needed? Where do you get it from? Just how my light like your but not that Davy on how to install
    Are you going to Iowa?

    Like

    1. Hey, Dave! Scrap the 18-4 wire, as it doesn’t work as I thought it would. It causes a voltage drop that makes the other strand of lights not have the same pattern. Instead, I had to buy a third set and I’m going to daisychain them together as it’s designed. It means I will be wasting some lights going across the RV to the driver side.

      Like

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