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Old 04-23-2019, 04:28 PM   #1
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Reusing Stock Ceiling Lights: How to Wire?

Hi there, I'm trudging through electrical with very little knowledge. I wanted to simply replace the bulbs to something LED in all the stock lights, since they're wired and cut already. However, I would need to redirect the power source from the bus' battery to my own battery set up. I'm assuming all the lights are wired together, so I would then need to make only one switch?

Has anyone done this? I'm not sure where to cut the stock wires and how to hook up a switch. Do I hook these lights directly to my DC power, or through AC?
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:41 PM   #2
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What happened to the switch for the old lights? The lights have one wire coming from the switch and a short ground wire attached to the metal of the bus at the light.
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Old 04-23-2019, 05:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by FabulousFox View Post
Hi there, I'm trudging through electrical with very little knowledge. I wanted to simply replace the bulbs to something LED in all the stock lights, since they're wired and cut already. However, I would need to redirect the power source from the bus' battery to my own battery set up. I'm assuming all the lights are wired together, so I would then need to make only one switch?

Has anyone done this? I'm not sure where to cut the stock wires and how to hook up a switch. Do I hook these lights directly to my DC power, or through AC?

Replacing with LED's should be simple and straightforward enough. Just be aware that the LED's are often polarity sensitive (if it doesn't light up, then it's probably backwards). Most of these lights have one wire power, grounded through the mounting screws.


Unless you have some specific reason otherwise, why not just use the original switch(es)? (Mine actually has 2 dome light switches, one controls the front 2 dome lights, the other controls the back lights, that way the rear lights can be on without making it hard for the driver to see in the dark.) Just disconnect the "input" going to the switches, and reconnect it to whatever 12v DC battery/power source you wish to use. The LED's (direct replacement) will run on DC, not AC.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:59 PM   #4
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I thought about doing that also but when I researched the cost of direct replacement LEDs versus the cost of other solutions it just didnít make sense to reuse the fixtures that came with the bus.

Also, if you plan to do additional insulation those ceiling panels will have to come down anyway, and most people would recommend replacing them with something less prone to condensation and heat transfer. If you really do just want to connect those lights to your house batteries youíll just need to figure out where the wiring for them terminates in the fuse panel and disconnect it and run a line to the load center that you install for your house batteries.

In my bus the wiring for those lights ran down the wall in a big cable chase directly behind the driver seat.
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:29 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
Replacing with LED's should be simple and straightforward enough. Just be aware that the LED's are often polarity sensitive (if it doesn't light up, then it's probably backwards). Most of these lights have one wire power, grounded through the mounting screws.


Unless you have some specific reason otherwise, why not just use the original switch(es)? (Mine actually has 2 dome light switches, one controls the front 2 dome lights, the other controls the back lights, that way the rear lights can be on without making it hard for the driver to see in the dark.) Just disconnect the "input" going to the switches, and reconnect it to whatever 12v DC battery/power source you wish to use. The LED's (direct replacement) will run on DC, not AC.
That makes it seem a lot easier! The switch is on the dashboard, which is convenient when coming in, but annoying when in the back haha For now I'm looking for easy, so I'll find the input in the mess of wires at the bus battery. Thanks!
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:33 PM   #6
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What happened to the switch for the old lights? The lights have one wire coming from the switch and a short ground wire attached to the metal of the bus at the light.
This switch is on the dashboard, I hadn't thought of just using that instead of a normal house light. That is more convenient!
For the ground wires, would it have to attach to the bottom of the wheel frame, or anywhere metal on the bus would be ok?
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Old 04-25-2019, 12:36 PM   #7
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I thought about doing that also but when I researched the cost of direct replacement LEDs versus the cost of other solutions it just didnít make sense to reuse the fixtures that came with the bus.

Also, if you plan to do additional insulation those ceiling panels will have to come down anyway, and most people would recommend replacing them with something less prone to condensation and heat transfer. If you really do just want to connect those lights to your house batteries youíll just need to figure out where the wiring for them terminates in the fuse panel and disconnect it and run a line to the load center that you install for your house batteries.

In my bus the wiring for those lights ran down the wall in a big cable chase directly behind the driver seat.
I see, would the LED replacement lights you looked at be 12V and low wattage or something else?

So far we're keeping the metal ceiling, but I might regret it later haha
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Old 04-25-2019, 09:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FabulousFox View Post
I see, would the LED replacement lights you looked at be 12V and low wattage or something else?



So far we're keeping the metal ceiling, but I might regret it later haha


Yes, LED uses about 1/10th the power of incandescent for the same illumination. Last I looked the direct replacements were $12-$14 per bulb and IIRC there were about a dozen in my bus. Not cheap.

Re: ceiling. Once you choose you can never change it without a total rebuild. A properly insulated ceiling is one of the most important improvements for making a bus live-able.

If it is a weekend rig thatís one thing, but for longer term, consider carefully.
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Old 04-26-2019, 06:28 AM   #9
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led's

I changed all my lights to LED dimmable and wish I wouldn't have. When i set them low they go up and down to the generator, when I key up my cb radio they flicker on and off. If your not concern with power keep them bright burning light bulbs. If you are then LED are the best solution.
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