The greatest thing about using an RV or camper to “rough” it in the wilderness is the use of comforting camper lights. Unfortunately, this advantage can quickly disappear if you don’t follow these simple guidelines. They will ensure your trip doesn’t end up in the dark.
How to Improve Your Camper Lights Effectiveness
Testing and Installing Your Secondary Battery
Many people simply hook their RV lighting right up to the vehicle’s battery. This approach is generally pretty safe, but it may end up leaving your battery drained at the end of the camping trip. That’s why we think you should test your vehicle’s battery by hooking it up to a charge estimator. You should also install a secondary battery.
Installing a secondary battery helps give you a power source that won’t leave you stranded, should it run out of power. They are charged by your vehicle’s alternator and can be isolated from it when parked by installing a battery isolator. This helps keep your main vehicle battery from draining while your RV lighting is on.
Installing a secondary RV battery is a bit too complex to get into here. In fact, it is an operation that should only be attempted if you have strong working knowledge of your RV, its electrical system, and the workings of an engine. If you lack these skills, hire a professional.
Check All Your Wiring and Connections
Next, you need to check all the wiring and the connections in your camper to make sure there are no frays. Of course, you can’t check every single inch of wiring: but you can check some of the most important sections, such as:
- Battery connections
- Wiring under easily opening panels
- Any wires that may be exposed to the elements, such as outside wires under the camper
- Spots near moving elements, such as wires that thread near tires or your steering wheel
If your wires are frayed, you may be able to seal the connection with electrical tape. However, you should probably just get them replaced by a professional to avoid a serious risk of fire.
And when it comes to battery wires, you should use wires that can handle 1,500-2,000 watts. Recommended wires include AWG copper wires: these more easily conduct electricity and are less likely to fray. Avoid installing cheap aluminum wires, as these simply don’t have the effectiveness of true copper.
Install New Bulbs
Once your wiring has passed your inspection, you should turn on your RV and check for any burned out bulbs. There are multiple sections of the RV that you need to check, including:
- Living areas
- Lighting bulbs along any hallways
- Refrigerator bulbs
- Above-sink bulbs
- Night light bulbs
If you find any burned out bulbs, go to your nearest RV supply store and find the appropriate size and wattage. Generally speaking, 20-50 watts should be appropriate for most RV lights, though some, such as living room lights, may be higher. Just check the exterior of your bulb or the RV user’s guide for more information.
Exterior Lighting Consideration
The last step in maximizing the effectiveness of your camper lights should focus on your exterior lighting. Perform similar inspection checks on heavily lit areas of your RV exterior, including:
- Door lights
- Turn signals
- Brake lights
- Awning lights
Awning lighting varies heavily based on the type of awning you have installed and the brand of the RV. Sometimes, it will line up just underneath the awning. Other times, you may need to install it by hand along all the edges of the awning.
If you are interested in learning more about RV lighting, please don’t hesitate to contact us before your next camping trip. You won’t regret it.