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Old 05-30-2015, 05:51 AM   #1
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Adding a remote control dimmer to your awning LED lights

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
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Old 05-30-2015, 07:51 AM   #2
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Very nice work. Would one of the modules you used for inside work on the outside?
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:03 AM   #3
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Thanks for the thorough explanation and photos.
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filthy-Beast View Post
Very nice work. Would one of the modules you used for inside work on the outside?
Yes, and it would be a much easier, neater install. You could just wire it in and cover the whole thing in heat shrink tubing. I could have done that, but I had already installed that system on the interior lights and they would have operated one the same frequency.

Link to dimmer:
Amazon.com: Lerway Mini LED Controller Dimmer with RF Wireless Remote Control DC 5~24V 12A R106: Musical Instruments
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:07 AM   #5
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Thanks for the write up. But can you explain why it wouldn't work behind the switch? I'm having a hard time picturing this. Do your LEDs only have one wire? Wonder if it's the same on Jayco?
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Old 05-31-2015, 03:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by iplumb View Post
Thanks for the write up. But can you explain why it wouldn't work behind the switch? I'm having a hard time picturing this. Do your LEDs only have one wire? Wonder if it's the same on Jayco?
Most PWM voltage control devices use the negative lead to vary the voltage, therefore you need a dedicated ground wire directly from the light you are trying to dim.

The easist dimmer would be the one I listed here, only 4 wires to connect, and no box to mount the device in, just some waterproofing. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It is very small in size. Of course you need access to the wiring on the exterior of your trailer, or access right where the wiring harness enters the interior. Being that they are RF transmitters, you don't have to be in sight of or point at the receiver like you do your TV set.
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Old 05-31-2015, 03:22 PM   #7
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Got it! Thank you.
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Old 05-31-2015, 03:42 PM   #8
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Adding a remote control dimmer to your awning LED lights

Would this work? JACKYLED PWM Dimming Controller For LED Lights or Ribbon, 12 Volt 8 Amp, 3301 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003L4KKF2..._b83Avb1DCH2AC
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003L4KKF2..._b83Avb1DCH2AC or would this be like the 1st dimmer you bought?
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Old 05-31-2015, 03:54 PM   #9
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Adding a remote control dimmer to your awning LED lights

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ID:	18352I just pulled a access cover in my closet and have full access. Nice! Not real interested in a remote control. So I'm trying to figure out the easiest dimmer.
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Old 05-31-2015, 04:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iplumb View Post
Would this work? JACKYLED PWM Dimming Controller For LED Lights or Ribbon, 12 Volt 8 Amp, 3301 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003L4KKF2..._b83Avb1DCH2AC
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003L4KKF2..._b83Avb1DCH2AC or would this be like the 1st dimmer you bought?
Yes this one should work just fine. Just need access to the knob to adjust.
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