Why would you want change the location of a light fixture in your camper? The light fixtures that come with your camper are usually not stylish and are not placed in very efficient locations. So here’s one way to add or change the location or style of your light fixtures!
What you need:
Before you begin:
- Turn off the main 120v breaker (or unplug from shore power) and remove the fuse for light circuit in your fuse/breaker panel. 12-volt is not as deadly as 120-volt, but it can create a spark, harm electronics, start a fire, or blow a fuse. If you don’t feel comfortable with electrical work, don’t attempt this project.
- Always test the voltage in the wires you will be using. Although lights are commonly only on the 12v electrical system of your RV, there may be exceptions. 120v can shock and kill you.
- You can use pretty much any 110-120v AC light fixture that you would use in your house. To use it in your camper, the BULB must be rated for 12v DC. Make sure that the base of the bulb matches your light fixture (common size is E26).
- This tutorial is based on our experience with a 2014 Coachmen Clipper 17FQ. Your camper may have variances, but you should be able to apply some of the below methods.
Remove the existing light fixture.
You can open up the fixture or just cut the wire as close to the fixture as you can.
If the light was installed under a cabinet (like ours was), remove the “floor” of the cabinet. This is a 1/8” plywood panel that is stapled to the base of the cabinet.
Then drill 3/8” holes through the interior structure of the cabinet, wherever you want the wire to go.
*If you don’t want to tear apart the cabinet, you can run the wire through to the inside of the cabinet and run it along the back side or corner.
Run new wires through the holes you just drilled or along the back of the cabinet directly to the switch location. Two wires (red and black) per fixture. Be sure to run a little extra length of wire to be sure you have enough.
Strip all ends of wires. Strip them according to the guidelines that come with your connectors.
Make connections with existing wires- black to black and red to red. If you are going to add an additional fixture, use crimp-able wire caps to connect three wires. If you’re only moving one fixture, you can use wire caps or butt connectors.
*Don’t leave any bare wire exposed.
Install new light fixture.
a. Drill a hole to pass the wires through the side cabinet.
b. Use a short wood screw to mount the base of the fixture to the cabinet wall (just how you would mount the base to an electrical box in a house).
c. Pass the black and white wires through the hole.
d. Mount the fixture to the base.
e. Install the 12v bulb.
Connect the toggle switch.
a. Crimp on quick disconnect female terminal connectors to the black and red wires coming from the existing wiring.
b. Plug in the red wire terminal to the “power positive” post of the switch.
c. Plug in the black wire terminal to the “ground” or “power negative” post of the switch.
Connect the switch to the light fixture.
a. Add a new red wire with a terminal connector to the “power load” post of the switch.
b. Connect the other end of that new wire to the black wire of the light fixture.
c. Use an in-line splice connector to tap in to the black wire coming from the battery-negative.
d. Connect the battery-negative splice wire to the fixture white-wire.
Replace the fuse to turn the power back on. Then turn on the light! All of your connections should be solid so that they don’t vibrate loose during travel.
That’s it! Once you get the hang of it, you’ll probably want to move all your camper lights... which you should do!
Drop any questions or comments below! We'd love to hear from you!