When we purchased our new Starcraft TT, I was looking forward to using the new LED lights mounted to the outside wall just underneath the awning. The first time I used them the whole family said WOW, we don’t need to light up the whole neighborhood! We need lights for both tasks and atmosphere, so why not install a dimmer. Dimming LED lights often takes a different type of dimmer than a resistance type rheostat switch that you use in your house. They need a PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) dimmer. Think of turning a switch on and off really fast so only part of the voltage gets to the lights, this dims the lights. Changing the on and off time brightens or dims the lights.
To dim the LED light strip I ordered this off Amazon.
LEDENET® Wireless Remote LED Dimmer RF PWM Dimming Controller Control DC 12-24V 20A for 5050 3528 Single Color LED Strip Lighting - - Amazon.com
It is a PWM dimmer with a remote.
I planned to mount this behind the electrical switch panel just inside the door of the trailer. After mounting it and wiring it into the circuit, it wouldn’t work. I found that my ground was the problem. The switch has 4 terminals. Positive and negative inputs (voltage supply) and positive and negative outputs (LED light strip side). I found that the negative coming from the LED light strip has to be a single dedicated wire going to the lights. I won’t work any other way. This ruled out mounting it behind the switch panel, as the ground wires there are common with many other circuits.
I admitted defeat and decided to mount the dimmer in a box on the outside of the trailer, I purchased a small plastic electrical box and waterproof cover at my local home store, cut down the cover to the same size as the box, used a Dremel tool to slightly enlarge the box so the dimmer would fit. I still had to remove the mounting brackets from the dimmer to get it to fit in the box (they just unscrew). I then put double sided tape on the back of the box, leaving the protective strip on the outside of the tape. I then painted the box and cover with black paint for plastic surfaces. I drilled a hole in the side of the box to run the wires into. I then attached the box to the side of the trailer right where the red and black wires exited the awing track and went to the lights. I cut the red and black wires leaving enough length to run the wires from the lights to the connections on the dimmer. I installed eye terminals on the ends of the wires, ran them through the hole in the box and connected to the dimmer output terminals. To connect the incoming power wires to the dimmer I had to lengthen them about 6”. I used un-insulated butt splices, coated the connections with liquid electrical tape, and then put heat shrink tubing over the splices. Whatever you do the splice must be waterproof. I then put eye terminals on the wires, ran the wires through the hole in the box and connected to the supply terminals of the dimmer. I then sealed the wire entry hole in the box with black silicone, and installed the cover.
The install looks neater in person than in the belowpicture.
To operate the lights you must first turn on the power switch located on the trailers electrical panel, just as you always would. This powers up the dimmer. You can now turn the lights on or off using the power switch on the remote. You can dim or brighten the lights by clicking or holding the up or down arrows on the remote. It appears so far that the remote remembers the last setting when you turn the lights on and off with the switch in the TT's switch panel. So far the remote has worked from about 20’ away. I haven’t tried it from any further. I elected to use double sided tape and attach the remote to the door covering all my switches. The remote control does NOT come with a battery, so you have to go buy one.
The white remote on the left is for dimming the inside LED lights. More on that in a later post.
Video of light operation