A Convenient and Powerful Reading Light

$24.95 at Menards home improvement center

It’s been a productive day.  I added a cute little “reading light” that runs on 12V.   Well, I call it a reading light.  It’s actually a 30 LED task/accent light… Sure, it’s a bit powerful, but when reading and computing, it is nice to have abundant light.  The light was purchased at the Menards store and with a quick cord change, it became even more useful.

This project came about due to a desire to install some lighting over the kitchen counter.  While there are many options in terms of flashlights, lanterns, etc., I just didn’t see many permanently mounted lights that I could run on 12V (from the house batteries).  Most use 110V or AA cells, etc.  Some are not very bright.  I loved the Xenon bulbs but talk about a power drain! 

In search of some under-the-counter lights, I found a cool 12V task/accent light and purchased two of them.  Though acquired for a different use, this light was so bright that I decided to mount one to the ceiling directly above pillow.  The light came with a bracket, but it seemed flimsy was not designed for a bouncy camper.  A little double stick tape helped affix the light securely to the ceiling.

This fixure is touted as a 12 volt light but the package includes an adapter to run it from 110V.  Cool, if you live in house.  But in a van who wants to take 12 volt DC from the house batteries, convert it to 110 volts AC, and then back down to 12 volts again?  It’s an inefficient process.  I have a bazillion power cords and adapters so it was easy to find what was needed.  Already on hand was a cord with a cigarette plug on one end and the same type of plug used by the new light fixture.  After making sure 12V+ was on the inside of the connector and the shell was 12V-, no modification was required.  I just plugged it in to one of the 13 twelve volt outlets in the van.  Voila!

The difference in lighting is HUGE.  Reading is much easier now.  Whereas many LED lights are more purple, this one is more of a bright white.  An extra benefit is that the indoor outdoor thermometer can now be read from the bed.  There will also be less money spent on lantern batteries, too. 

** UPDATE on 11/12/2011 **  – I got around to mounting the other two lights on either side of the TV.  They are quite pleasant and makes a person feel “at home”… The only concern is that they should NOT be used if you are needing to be in stealth mode.  There is a LOT of light.

One quick thank you… Thanks to my sister and brother-in-law who gave a Menards gift card at our early Christmas celebration.  It has already provided a number of things that have made camping even more fun and convenient.

Have fun… Time to go read the Kindle using the new light…


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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

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