I have just been working on
making a modular LED light system for my Camel Camper.
We always set up the annex
to the camper using spreader bars and until now have hung a fluro
light inside the annex to light up the eating area and kitchen. Of
course the fluro brings in the bugs from miles around, noticeably
more than the built in LED lights I mounted over the bed inside the
main tent area. The fluro has always been plugged directly into the
battery box which is near the mud guard.
I decided to add a double merit socket to the back of the
camper to plug in the lights and the Engel fridge. I set up the
poles next to the camper in the shed so I could make the wire
lengths and mounts to suit the finished set up. This caused lots of
laughs from the misses and kids. They figured dad had lost it and
was pretending to go camping inside the shed, because I could not go
for real over Easter. It probably didn't help that I sat there in my
camp chair having a beer when I was finished.
Anyway the light system consists of three of the usual Jaycar
LED light bars, a jiffy box to hold the small light switches, some
spreader bar clips and cables etc.
First job was to cut the end
that goes inside the tent poles off the spreader bar clips. This
gives you purpose built clips that can then be used to hold the
lights and switch box onto the poles. After cutting the ends off I
drilled a small hole through the clip to allow it to bolt onto the
lights or switch box.
I made the jiffy box into a
switch mount by drilling a couple of holes for the switches and for
wires to come and go from the box. I used grommets to protect the
wire and mounted a spreader bar clip on the back to allow the box to
be mounted on the pole nearest the merit plug on the back of the
camper. These clips were from BCF and are quite a tight fit onto the
poles so the box does not slip down.
I mounted two of the LED
bars together with a scrap of alloy and onto each end of that
mounted another of the spreader bar clips. I did the same thing with
the other LED bar. I had previously decided that we only needed one
light over the kitchen area. The idea is to use the clips to hang
the lights from the overhead spreader bar over the eating area or
Then it was just a matter of
running all the wires from lights to switch box to merit plug. I
decided to cover the wire with split tubing to protect it, using
self healing tape to seal the wires into the split tubing.
I used a couple of extra
spreader bar clips as cable clamps to keep the wiring nice and neat
along the upright poles and the spreader I put between the poles.
(This spreader is not necessary for the tent, but its great to hang
your towel and tea towel on as it is right next to the kitchen).
I ended up with what I think
is a very neat set up which means you can just walk in and turn on
either one or both lights.
Any suggestions for improvements gratefully accepted.
Thanks to Darren Binion for this article