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Old 05-10-2015, 03:10 PM   #1
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Dinette Light

After our first longer trip in our 2011 19 we find we need another dinette light. It currently has two lights, one over each persons head. These put out enough light but they create shadows on the table right where you want to see most. I want to add a light at the front of the dinette, under the front shelf. The picture below is from the Escape website and shows a light where we want one, the front most. I suspect that is now standard?

The only problem is getting 12V power to it. Does anyone have suggestions for routing wires? Has anyone had this shelf apart and can tell me how it is constructed?

I'm thinking of a double light some thing like this one from PPL.

There are several LED lights in this format. No-one gives enough information to determine how the switches work. Saw one at the local store which was off/one side on/both sides on. Also saw one in a catalog that had a dimmer. Anyone have any experience with these? Any insight into their function would be helpful.


Hugh Currin
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1955 Shasta 1500
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Old 05-10-2015, 03:33 PM   #2
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Yes, the light is now standard there Hugh. I would think it relatively easy to tap in to the 12V wiring under the corner trim to add another light. Don't think you'd need to take the shelf apart -- just run wires behind the front lip and use grommets to hold it in place? As for the function of the two lamp fixture, when the switch on ours is centered, it's off, when toggled one way one side comes on, and when toggled the other, both come on. Don't have any experience with the dimmer models.

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Old 05-10-2015, 04:00 PM   #3
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I replaced two of my single LED fixtures with doubles in my 17B, and added a double ceiling light in the center of the aisle, overhead the front edge of the bed/4 person dinette. The wire run for the ceiling light was "interesting" (it came from the MaxxFan through the AC under the vinyl).

All had 3 position switches, one on, off, both on. Before I purchased a fixture with a dimmer I'd want to see it in action - it is difficult to get a smooth 100% dimming range with LEDs. The two levels of light provided by the switched, dual fixture worked well for me.

As to adding the front fixture you show in the photo, finding a source to run the wiring from can be difficult. I added lights inside all my upper cabinets, so it can be done. You need to find the closest or most practical source, and find a creative way to get the wires from there to the fixture. Easier to say than do, but an electric "fish" & an inspection camera can be useful tools.

Obviously, there is power feeding the already installed under cabinet fixtures, but the wiring is in a narrow space between the face & the bottom of the cabinet floor. I've added wiring to existing fixtures in this space, but you need to be sure you can fish from the fixture to the edge of the shelf. There may be wooden blocking in the way that would prove difficult to get through (although there are flexible shaft drill bits that could solve the problem).

I wish I could give you specific advice for finding a wiring path; I've had lots of experience rewiring homes that were originally built with gas fixtures that required wiring behind original wooden wainscoting that couldn't be damaged, so I have experience finding solutions, but without actually being there I can't offer much in the way of specific advice.
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Old 05-10-2015, 04:00 PM   #4
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Here's what we did. We added two Captain lights to the upper shelf edge. I mounted them on the edge because they gave us better light than under the shelf. I took the picture in daylight so you can just see the lighting on the table. No more shadows, anyway.

Yes, we did have two drops in both corners but it would be relatively easy to tap into the existing wiring in the cabinets, drilling through the lower end corner of the shelf. I used grommets as Robert suggested and cover the wire with a split tubing made for covering wires.

Another idea for you anyway.

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Old 05-10-2015, 05:00 PM   #5
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We had one of those third lights in that location on our 2011 19', installed later. All I can tell you is that they could obviously do that and the wiring was running inside the shelf above, so it could be felt if you put your hand up there, up against the inside of the face.
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Old 05-14-2015, 12:38 PM   #6
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I know this isn't quite what you're asking about, but I use Ott-Lites for my crafting. I have several desk tops ones that flip up. You will have to deal with the power cord getting plugged in somewhere, but you can move them around, depending on what you're doing.

This is similar to what I have, without the magnifying glass (if this forum lets you post urls; otherwise look up "Ottlite task" on Amazon)


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Old 05-14-2015, 04:40 PM   #7
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OK. I've ordered a light from Amazon, a Gold Stars LED Dome Light. Jon convinced me to avoid the dimmer models for now, don't need it and it could be trouble. This model has two switches, one for each side. I think this will serve us better than the three way single switch on other models.

Not sure how I'll run the wiring yet. Likely pull the front molding off the shelf and see what it looks like. We have a 12v plug up there on the street side and I've gotten into here to wire the SeeLevel and Trimetric modules. There is power to the front corner of the street side cabinet. You can access this from a removable panel on the inside of the left cabinet. I can do this but don't know yet how to route it to the middle of the shelf.

Laura, that would work well. But for us, the less we have to think about when packing up for the road the better. I fear we'd forget and have a light flying around.

Thanks for your help. I'll let you know when I figure out how to wire it.
Hugh Currin
2011 Escape 19
1955 Shasta 1500
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:06 PM   #8
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I received the light from Amazon and just got it installed.

I pulled the L molding off the edge of the shelf over the dinette. Also pulled the plastic "cap" on the top of the shelf but this didn't help me. I believe the shelf has a 3/4" plywood base with solid wood forming the lip at the front. 1/8" plywood with plastic oak finish is placed on the bottom of the shelf and on the front. A plastic cap covers the solid wood lip and an L section of wood, with plastic oak, covers the bottom corner.

I tried to remove the 1/8" ply from the front and the bottom. Both were glued in place and I couldn't remove either without damaging them. So I decided to run the wiring under the L molding. For this I routed a bevel into the 1/8" ply at the corner of the shelf.

Then drilled horizontally 2" into the edge of the 3/4" shelf plywood using a 1/4" drill. Then up from the bottom to meet this hole with an angled 3/8" hole. I tried 1/4" but couldn't feed the wires through.

At the edge of the shelf I drilled a 1/4" hole angled up into the cabinet.

I used fairly light gage wire, it's an LED and draws next to nothing. I wired into the 12V outlet seen on the left side. After feeding the wires throught he hole on the left and the two holes near the center I attached the light. Tape was used to hold the wires in the beveled recess until the L section could be reinstalled. The light just barely fit between the window shade and the L section, I was just lucky there as I didn't measure before ordering the light.

The L molding was put back on and voila, there's light.

So once I figured out what to do it went smoothly. A small project but it should make life a little better.

Hugh Currin
2011 Escape 19
1955 Shasta 1500
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:28 PM   #9
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Very nicely planned and executed.
"A billion here, a billion there...add it all up and before you know it you're talking real money." Everett Dirkson
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:33 PM   #10
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Yup, the devil is in the details.........nice work!

Charlie Y

Need custom storage to your design? Don't drill holes!
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