Make your RV battery last longer: Swap out old bulbs for LED lights

Written by on June 18, 2012 in How Tos, Videos

Installing LED lights in an RV from Mike Wendland on Vimeo.

More and more, we’re using our Roadtrek for boondocking, or dry camping – living off the power in our batteries or onboard generator rather than the electrical hookups found in most commercial and state parks.

Out in the sticks, or even in a WalMart parking lot, conserving power is critical.

So, on the e-mailed advice of fellow RT owner, Alan MacRae, I recently switched out the six round overhead light inside by RS Adventurous with LEDs. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode and, while costly (each of the disk style lights I needed for my Roadtrek cost $15 each), they give great illumination and use considerably much less power. That means my boondocking wont drain my house battery nearly as fast when I use those lights.

Alan tested them and reports:

I measured the amperage in that circuit with only one of those lights  on with the standard 10 watt halogen bulb and it drew 0.8 amps, which is correct according to Ohm’s Law (watts/voltage = amperage).  Now, with all of those round lights turned on, the entire circuit draws only 0.34 amps, a very significant power savings.

The accompanying video shows how fast and easy the process of replacing the old with the new went for me.

There are lots of sites that sell them.  The lights for the six round overheads that I installed were this style. I bought mine from Another online source is But after I ordered them, I found pretty much the the same thing here at Amazon for $9.95. So it pays to shop around.

if you have a better source, post it under comments.

I have four round map lights to replace and the porchlight. But because those LEDs are so expensive, I’ll do it in stages.


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About the Author

About the Author: Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, and Norweigian Elkhound, Tai, travels North America in a Type B motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and frustrations of RV life on the road. He is the official on-the-road reporter for the Family Motor Coach Association. a columnist with Family Motor Coaching Magazine and his Roadtreking reports appear in numerous newspapers and publications. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, video editing and all things dealing with technology. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations. .


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  1. Barb M. says:

    Hi Mike– Have you discovered the type of bulb needed to replace your round map/reading lights yet? Also, do you know if you can just replace the bulb or do you have to purchase a whole new assembly? I have the same type of lights as you in my SS-Agile and can’t seem to pin down the type of bulb to replace the stock halogen bulbs. Thanks.

  2. Ted C says:

    You only need replace the bulb. Check your fixture to see how the bulb is inserted; either vertically or horizontally. Then just purchase that type of LED. They had been running $15 to $20 each. Getting out the small halogen bulb can be tricky. I saved mine, just in case, but I made sure not to touch the bulb, which will burn out from the oil on your skin. The replacement bulbs can be found from vendors at a rally or now at camping stores. I would have to search for the business cards that I saved. I was most impressed with the difference and how white our bathroom now looks.

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