When motorhome parts are discontinued, it is time for a DIY fix. Our 2017 motorhome has a unique living area wall light—a sconce that was slowly getting dimmer until it only flicked on every once in a while.
After several discussions with the RV manufacturer about getting the bulb replaced, it turns out that the LED bulb is not removable or replaceable. Who makes a light that has a bulb that can’t be replaced? And the even better question, who puts it in a motorhome?
When it was less than two-and-a-half years old, the entire $100 light needed to be replaced. I was not happy. But, we needed the light so I finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet and order another one. Two times they sent the wrong light and it wasn’t until after the second wrong light that I found out the original light was discontinued. No replacement was available from the manufacturer, online or anywhere.
If we wanted the light, we would have to get it fixed. I found that a lot of local lamp repair shops had no idea what to do with 12V lamps. That dead-end led me to an online store I had ordered from in the past. They came to the rescue and suggested a stick on LED bulb for abut $10. It had two layers to stay cool and came with a pin wedge adapter and a pin round adapter.
It was an easy, easy fix (finally!). Here’s what I did:
1. Cut out the old wires to the switch in the lamp
2. Cut off the wedge from the end of the pin adapter
3. Wired the pin adapter to the switch
4. Plugged the pin of the light into the pin adapter – makes the bulb replaceable!
5. Stuck the new bulb right on top of the existing non-removable bulb.
$90 saved! Let there be light!
Has this ever happened to you? What DIY project or modification have you made to your RV when traditional parts weren’t available? Please tell us in the comments below.
I’d never expect a led lamp in a rv to last forever. They operate at such variables in voltage.14+ volts during charging to maybe as low as basically nothing as batteries die. Not real nice for electronic lamps
After dragging the rear stabilizers on a preternaturally high gutter in Utah, I found out a connecting pin had broken in the gears of one of the legs. Turned out not only are these Atwood legs no longer made, one on the internet side market costs as much as a small motorcycle. And the new ones (sold only as a set of four) were the price of a LARGE motorcycle. I called a former Atwood installer I knew who not only shipped me a wide variety of spare parts – he willingly stayed on the phone when time came to reassemble the repaired unit. His knowledge + my mechanical skill saved the day…and a bunch of money.
The Dometic Fridge and freezer in our 1989 class A coach has a spring loaded latch on the doors that are supposed to keep the doors closed when not in use.
Well, the springs break from fatigue after awhile (lots of use) and when I checked on replacement I was informed that I would have to buy the entire latch mechanism, including spring, for $27 plus shipping
I thought this was kind of excessive when all I needed was a spring.
So I went to our local Menards big box lumber supply store and perused the cupboard hardware until I found a latch with approximately the same size and only slightly different configuration.
I bought two for $7.00 each, brought them home, took them apart, and then bent the spring wire to match the Dometic wire configuration.
Guess what? Seven years later the replacement springs still haven’t fatigued and broke!
$14.00 and my labor vs $54 plus shipping! I will take that any day.
I do not throw things away. I tear them apart and save every nut, bolt, spring, fastener, etc. I have fixed may things needing springs, even an antique rifle for a buddy. Give me a call next time. But you will have to untangle and sort thru the boxes. lol .
If there’s anything I’ve learned from owning a RV, it’s that you’d better be resourceful or else you will be entirely at the mercy of things totally beyond your control.
Manufacturers attitude towards LEDs are that they will last forever, so they give no consideration to what happens should they fail prematurely. My auto mechanic has plenty of stories of cars with integrated LED lights that fail that cost thousands of dollars in parts and labor to replace because so much has to be disassembled to get to them.
Well done, Nanci! Every overhead light in our 2016 American Revolution was an irreplaceable LED because the light “bulb” was part of the fixture. We had to replace the entire fixture each time one died. Sadly, neither DW nor I is particularly handy. That is a nice fixture you saved. I certainly can see why you fixed rather than replaced.
This discontinued parts problem threatened to sideline automobiles. A law was passed that repair parts had to be available for a minimum of ten years. While many pieces on RVs can be replaced with some imagination and alternate parts, there are a number of pieces where this simply is not practical.
The RV industry has lobbied hard to on one hand argue they are not vehicles while on the other hand, they are vehicles. It’s time legislatures and transportation regulators stood up to the industry and said, ‘Okay, so we will begin by inventing a new stronger consumer oriented stance for the Recreation Vehicle industry.’
RV are sure vehicles when the yearly registration is due…..
Early on, we replaced the over-dinette lamp fixture with an LED lamp. I kept hitting my head on the old one. When we settled on a replacement (which looked way better as well) we noted that the lights themselves were advertised as non-replaceable. So hopefully all the hoopla about how LEDs last for eons (well, almost), we never have to DIY (cob) a way to replace them.
You might be fans of the Hackaday blog. Full of stuff like this.
Did you install a dimmer switch? Maybe at the back?
I’ve done a handful of things like this in our rig. Wiring above-the-bed mounted 12v fans, reworking lights, splitting switches, adding USB plugs to each bed side, even adding a “cigarette lighter” style plug for the wife’s electric “throw”. When you’re boondocking, using AC power just isn’t the answer. We have sufficient batteries, so anything DC is good. Now if I could just find a DC powered, low-profile, small circumference, attractive ceiling fan for the kitchen, I’d be in business.
This is NOT limited to the RV world. This is what we are dealing with in the Plumbing & Heating business in an increasing manner.