RV Light Replacement: Can I Use a 120-Volt Fixture?
Join us as we go over some common misunderstandings and how to fix those issues if it’s time to upgrade your RV lighting.
Since most recreational vehicles have 12-volt electrical systems, it is generally not advised to use 120-volt fixtures in them. RVs are made to operate on a lower voltage system in order to save energy and lower the possibility of electrical fires, which is why.
In homes and other structures that are connected to the electrical grid, which offers a consistent supply of 120-volt power, 120-volt fixtures are typically used. In contrast, RVs run their electrical systems using a combination of battery power, generator power, and shore power (power from an external source).
Several issues, such as the following, could arise if a 120-volt fixture is used in an RV.
- Overloading the electrical system: A 120-volt fixture would draw more power than the RV’s electrical system is intended to support, potentially overloading the system and resulting in damage.
- Risk of fire: The wiring in the RV may not be able to handle the higher voltage, which could cause overheating and raise the possibility of an electrical fire.
- Compatibility issues: Some RV appliances and accessories might not work properly with 120-volt power and might even be damaged if used with a 120-volt fixture.
- Inefficiency: A 120-volt fixture uses a lot more energy than a 12-volt fixture, which could quickly drain your battery and make it more challenging to keep a steady supply of power while traveling.
- What factors should you consider when replacing an RV light fixture?
For your RV’s safety and longevity, it is crucial to use light fixtures made specifically for RVs and engineered to operate on a 12-volt electrical system.
What factors should you consider when replacing an RV light fixture
In order to make sure you select the best product for your needs when replacing an RV light fixture, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind.
- Size and shape: Be sure to take measurements of the existing light fixture’s size and shape before looking for a replacement that will fit in the same location.
- Voltage: The electrical systems of RVs typically run at 12 volts, so it’s crucial to pick a light fixture made for this voltage.
- Wattage: Take into account the wattage of the light bulb you’ll be using with the new fixture and confirm that the fixture is rated to handle that wattage.
- Style and design: When selecting a light fixture for your RV, consider the overall design aesthetic of the vehicle.
- Lighting type: Incandescent, LED, and fluorescent light fixtures are among the varieties that are available. To choose which is best for your RV, weigh the advantages of each type.
- Waterproof and weather resistance: Since the light fixture will be installed on your RV, which will be exposed to various weather conditions, you should also take these factors into consideration.
- Search for a reputable brand with a strong warranty. Knowing that your light fixture is supported by a company that stands behind its product will give you peace of mind.
When replacing an RV light fixture, taking these factors into account will help you pick a replacement that will both meet your needs and be durable.
How do you wire a 120-volt light fixture to an RV?
RVs are made to operate on a 12-volt electrical system, so it is not advised to wire a 120-volt light fixture to an RV. The electrical system of an RV may be harmed if a 120-volt light fixture is attempted to be wired to it, and a fire hazard may result.
It’s important to seek advice from a licensed electrician with experience working on RVs if you absolutely must wire a 120-volt light fixture to your vehicle. Here is a general breakdown of the actions that would be taken in this process:
- Choose a power source: The first step in installing a 120-volt light fixture in an RV is to choose a power source. This might come from a generator or an outside power source like the electrical hookup at a campsite.
- Install a voltage converter: In order for the 12-volt electrical system of the RV to be able to operate, a voltage converter must be installed to step down the 120-volt power. The electrical system of the RV won’t be overloaded and the light fixture won’t draw too much power as a result.
- Install new wiring: From the power source to the location where the light fixture will be installed, new wiring needs to be installed. In order to ensure safety, this wiring must be approved for use with 120 volts and enclosed in conduit.
- After the wiring has been installed, you can connect the light fixture to the wiring. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when connecting the fixture, and make sure all connections are safe and grounded properly.
- Test the light fixture: Before completing the installation, it’s crucial to test the light fixture to make sure the wiring is sound and that it is functioning properly.
It is important to note that if this process is not carried out by a qualified electrician with the right tools and knowledge, it can be difficult and dangerous. It’s also important to keep in mind that even after taking the aforementioned precautions, the RV’s electrical system might still be unable to support the load of the 120-volt light fixture, leaving you with problems like power loss, overheating, and possible electrical fire hazards.
Using light fixtures made specifically for use with an RV’s 12-volt electrical system is always the safer course of action. Your RV will be safe and durable as a result.
What are some common problems with RV light fixtures?
Like any other type of light fixture, RV lighting can develop a number of issues. Typical problems include:
- The most frequent issue with RV lighting fixtures is burned-out bulbs. Old age, vibration, or power fluctuations can all cause bulbs to burn out.
- Wiring problems: Over time, the wires securing the light fixtures to the power source may corrode or become slack, which will make the lights flicker or stop working altogether.
- Switch issues: The light fixture’s control switch may become worn or damaged, which will make it stop working. The lights may not turn on or off properly as a result of this.
- RVs are frequently exposed to the elements, and because of this, water can seep into the light fixtures and harm the electrical parts and wiring.
- Low voltage: RVs frequently have 12-volt electrical systems; if the voltage falls too far, the lights may not function properly.
- Poor quality: Some RV light fixtures are made of lower-quality materials and may not be built to withstand the rigors of life on the road.
- RVs are frequently parked in humid or wet areas, and light fixtures are susceptible to moisture and condensation. This could result in the bulbs burning out too soon or other electrical issues.
It’s crucial to routinely inspect and maintain your RV light fixtures in order to avoid or resolve these issues. Inspecting the wiring and connections, changing out burned-out bulbs, and making sure the fixtures are properly sealed against moisture and condensation are all included in this. It is best to seek advice from the manufacturer or a certified RV technician if you are experiencing issues with your RV light fixtures.
Where can you find replacement RV light fixtures?
Several locations carry replacement RV light fixtures, including:
- Dealerships for RVs: A lot of RV dealerships stock a wide selection of replacement light fixtures for different brands and models of RVs. Additionally, they may have a service division that can assist you in locating and hiring someone to install the appropriate fixture for your particular RV.
- Online vendors: There are lots of online vendors who specialize in RV accessories and parts, including replacement light fixtures. Amazon, Camping World, and RV Upgrades are a few of the well-known options.
- Many RV manufacturers have websites where you can buy replacement parts, including light fixtures, directly from the company.
- Local hardware stores: A small number of neighborhood hardware stores may stock RV light fixtures. Prior to traveling, it is, however, advised to call and confirm availability.
- Specialty RV shops: There are numerous specialty RV shops all over the country that stock a large selection of RV parts and accessories, including replacement light fixtures.
When looking for replacement RV light fixtures, it’s crucial to make sure you get the proper size, shape, and style for your particular RV. It’s crucial to confirm that the light fixtures work with the electrical system of your RV.
You might need to provide information about the manufacturer, model, and year of your RV, as well as the size and shape of the light fixtures, in order to find the appropriate replacement RV light fixtures. This data is available in your RV’s owner’s manual or on the light fixtures. Always seek advice from a certified RV technician or the manufacturer if in doubt.