Lighting RVs with Less Power

Save your batteries with high efficiency lighting!

Compact Fluorescent 12 volt lights

The 12 volt compact fluorescent fixture in the picture, is being used in our RV. We love this fixture, because it gives so much more light than the 12 volt fixtures that came with our RV. The light is nice and white, much better than our old fixture's pale yellow.

Photovoltaics convert just 10% of sunlight's energy into electricity. Ordinary light bulbs convert only 10% of that electricity back into light (the rest becomes heat in the bulb). Because lighting is a major part of power used in solar powered RVs, special high efficiency bulbs that save 75% of the power are well justified.

This 13 watt compact fluorescent has the same light as a 60 watt incandescent.

COMPACT FLUORESCENT BULBS make far less heat and more light. Using one fourth the power of ordinary bulbs, a 13 watt CF has the brightness of a 60 watt incandescent. It runs four times as long on the same power. They give the same soft white light and should last as long as 6 ordinary bulbs. The cost of these lamps is much less than adding extra solar modules to run low cost incandescent bulbs.

Backwoods Solar Electric Systems, is the company that The TiogaRV Team suggests to contact when you need solar products. We bought the fixture shown in the image above, from Backwoods Solar.

Backwoods sells compact fluorescents that have electronic ballasts which are silent, have no flicker, and no PCB oil in contrast to heavier low cost magnetic ballast sold in stores. Only electronic ballasts will start a Trace inverter that is idling in search mode. Dimmer switches work only with fluorescents specified for dimming, and usually need true sine wave power.

Here are benefits of the various kinds of light bulbs:
ORDINARY INCANDESCENTS cost less, but are only 10% efficient.

QUARTZ HALOGENS are longer lasting, brighter incandescents; some have reflectors.

STANDARD FLUORESCENTS give a lot more light for the power used.

COMPACT FLUORESCENTS give best light quality and efficiency.

LED (LIGHT EMITTING DIODE) LAMPS are the newest lamp type. They have much longer lifetime, rated 100,000 hours, and ruggedness exceeding all others. Half a watt power use. Light color quality and prices are improving.

Lamps used most can save the most energy. Put efficient bulbs in lamps used 20 minutes or more every day. Lights seldom used save only a little energy, so ordinary low cost bulbs are fine for closets and other rarely used fixtures.


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