A Bright Reminder
How many times have you left your RV’s porch light on all night? Those parked next to you know — and probably wish that you would turn the darn thing off! Just walk around the RV park at night and you’ll see porch lights glowing brightly across patios and into their neighbors’ bedroom windows. It’s one of those things that go out of sight (and mind) when the window coverings are drawn and the door is closed. A solution finally dawned on me one morning after my RV’s porch light had been on all night and one of the neighbors complained: Install an indicator light.
Unfortunately, finding a matching switch with a built-in indicator light proved to be a futile process — and changing to another style switch was not in the cards. However, searching online (Amazon) resulted in finding dozens of small red LED lights that could be mounted in a hole just below the porch light switch assembly. I settled on LED 8mm panel-mount lights (https://amzn.to/3sGsSCp) that come in a package of five for $5.99. These lights are designed to be mounted on a flat surface, whether it be in wood or metal. Each has a backup nut so it could be tightened and not come loose down the road. Two indicators were installed, one for the porch light and the other for the “scare” lights mounted in the corners of the fifth wheel.
The first step was to mark the location where the lights would be installed. Next the switch assembly was removed, exposing the wiring. The necessary wires were tested using a multimeter: You need to look for 12-volt DC power when the switches are in the On position. Finding a suitable ground location may be the trickiest part; check nearby objects, a vent switch, frame members or any type of a light that requires a positive and negative wire. In this case, there was a metal frame rib right at the edge of the switch assembly, which I was able to drill into and install a ground lug for connecting to the indicator lights.
Once the wiring was established, the appropriate size holes were drilled in the wall below the switches, the wires routed through the hole from the front and the retaining nut tightened.
There are a number of ways to splice into the 12-volt DC wires using connectors, but we elected to solder the positive wire from each light to the respective terminals on the switches (small wire-tap terminals can be used if you don’t have a soldering iron). After the ground wires were connected to their respective lights, the switches were turned on and off to test the indicator lights. Once confirmed, the switch assembly was re-installed, being careful that the very small wires did not become detached.
Now, when the porch and/or scare lights are on, the indicators remind me to be kind to my neighbors — and turn off the lights when not outside.