Solar That Really Works!

Solar that Really Works! covers the design, installation and use of solar in cabins, camper trailers, caravans, fifth wheelers, campervans and motor homes.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Solar That Really Works!  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-3-0

The Camper Trailer Book

Fourth Edition

by Collyn Rivers

The Camper Trailer Book was first published in 2006. Camper trailers and usage, however, changed so fast it has been updated several times.

This book has not yet been converted to an eBook format and is not yet available as a paperback. While printed copies of previous editions may still be available, we have decided to publish this new edition of The Camper Trailer Book on this website.

Each week we will add a new section.  Over time the complete book will be available on this site. As each section is added it will also be completely searchable.

If you own or are interested in travelling with a camper trailer you will find this book invaluable.  It covers every issue you are likely to encounter and then some.  We trust you will find this helpful and useful.

The Camper Trailer Book – Chapter 17: Lighting

The Camper Trailer Book – Chapter 17: Lighting explains that affordable Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting became a reality around 2010. LEDs now draw little energy. Powering them by a small solar panel and battery is feasible.

Most LEDs provide tightly focused beams over a range of 15º to 150º. They are efficient and effective for lighting working surfaces, for cooking on campfires, and for reading etc. The wider beam LEDs light up wide areas.

It is primarily the LED’s ability to illuminate defined areas that enables higher light levels using lower wattage. They are ideal for camping and camper trailer use.

This 5-watt LED fits the standard (MR16) globe holder. It has about the same light output as a 50/60 watt incandescent globe.

Light colour

Light ‘colour’ is usually specified in ‘colour temperature’, (in the kelvin scale). Warm white is around 3100º k, daylight white is 5000º k upwards. Anything below 3100º k will have a yellowish tinge.

There is a wide range of 12-volt versions in both warm white and daylight white. Be wary of the ‘white light’ versions. Some people like them, but the light has a harsh blueish tint. Many people find it too ‘cold’.

Light fittings

Older trailers are likely to have 12 volt MR 11 or MR 16 halogen light fittings. The MR 11 is 35 mm in diameter with pins 4.0 mm apart. The MR 16 is 51 mm in diameter, with pins 5.3 mm apart.

Standard LED globe assemblies of the right size will often fit directly into these MR sockets. The heavier LEDs are liable to work free and fall out over rough roads. It may pay to replace the whole fittings by those that secure the LED in place.

There are also grid voltage LEDs that look like the 12 volt versions but have far larger locking pins. Some are physically larger, and have Edison screw or bayonet type fittings.

Most LEDs run from 12 volts. Those sold for 230 volt use have a tiny in-built inverter (or a close-by external inverter) that drops the grid voltage to 12 volts. Some, but not all LEDs, run from either AC or DC.

Light output

The light output of the previously common incandescent globes was generally thought of in terms of their wattage, and people chose them much on that basis. That wattage, however, is a measure of the energy drawn – not of the light produced. As all such globes were of much the same efficiency this did not matter. LEDs however vary considerably in efficiency.

An LED’s light output is shown in the actual unit of light output (i.e. lumen). Because of this a high quality LED may have twice or more the lumens per watt of many an eBay special. As a very rough guide a top quality LED (in 2018) has about ten times the light (lumens) output of its earlier incandescent globe equivalent. A five watt LED will be like a 40-60 watt incandescent.

A lot of solar energy is there to be used. Right now we use only 1/7000th of it. It is feasible to use solar almost anywhere during daylight hours but is most practicable in those areas on the map that are shown as brown or browny-yellow.

Collyn Rivers is a semi-retired automobile research engineer.  He is the author of seven books, five of which are about making RVs and solar work optimally.

Solar That Really Works!

Solar that Really Works! covers the design, installation and use of solar in cabins, camper trailers, caravans, fifth wheelers, campervans and motor homes.

eBook versions

Paperback version

The book retailers set their own prices which can vary substantially. We'll aim to keep a selection of the better prices above.

Any bookshop, whether online or bricks and mortar, can order copies of Solar That Really Works!  Just ask.
ISBN: 978-0-6483190-3-0