Thin-Lite fluorescent to (white and red) LED conversion for less than $10

EDIT: If you scroll down, I have modified my second light and it is even better than this first one ;-)

I've been converting everything I can light wise to LED to cut down on battery usage... since I use my lights a fair amount they were on my hit list...

My van, Ford E-350 Quigley with mild conversion - less pop top.

Two of my overhead light are the 15" Thin-Lite fluorescent lights Thin-Lite 700 series

Very easy conversion and as a bonus I installed a 3 position/two way switch so I could have both white and red LED's.

The process:

-Drill out all rivets except the ones on the end cap opposite end of the switch.
-Remove all brackets, ballast and wiring.
-Solder up your LED strips (this was the most tedious and time consuming part)
-I did one white strip and one red for (for night vision preservation)
-Stick them onto the reflector base (mine had double stick tape and I also "spot welded" them on with a hot glue gun)
-Remove the two position switch and install three position switch.
-Wire it up, install end cap with the switch in it (I used screws so I can pull apart again without drilling).
-Install back on your vehicle :)

Materials/tools:
-Exacto razor knife
-Hot glue gun
-solder/soldering gun
-16 gauge wire - red and black
- heat shrink tubing (3/8" dia)
- LED light strips
- 3 position switch
- 2 screws to replace the rivets on end cap
- Various crimp on connectors and crimping tool

The above about $10 in parts, if that.

The only thing I will change when I do the front light is to add a second row of white lights. The florescents were too bright IMO but only one strip of white lights is "OK" for the bedding area but for the kitchen area I will have two rows of white LED's.

This is one of the easiest, cleanest LED conversions I've done :)

Lights Out!

CJS
 

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Last edited:

OVRLND

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0017
Thanks, this is helpful.
I have a couple of vintage fluorescent fixtures that I wanted to re-use ... just was not sure what LED direction I wanted to go ...
 
Here is my second LED conversion - on this one I have "two" rows of white LED's (actually one continuous strip up one side, across, and down the other).

I would say this is the perfect balance. The one strip of red is plenty for night vision and two strips of white is not quite as bright as the florescents (which I thought were too bright anyway!) and about perfect for the "kitchen" area.

The most tedious and time consuming part of the whole deal is the soldering of the wires to the LED strips (in which I solder, then hot glue for support, then shrink tube over it)... the rest is super easy and quick. This one I did in about 1-1/2 hours from the time I pulled the light to finished back and installed.
 

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