Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Motion Detector Light Install, Dinner with Friends

Panama City Beach, FL

This blog will encompass a couple of days as we had an uncharacteristically rainy day here all day and gave me a chance to do a bit of "inside" work.  Still continuing on the scanning of personal pictures, but one can only do that for so long.

At the last rally we attended Karen saw a motion sensor porch light which is installed in place of the door light on the side of the rig.  Well, I purchased the Smart Light 1000 online from RVUpgrades.com and have dutifully carried it around with us for the past 7 months.

Well, I finally decided it was time to make the install.  I read thru the instructions a couple of times first (hey, stop laughing, I actually did).  Looked pretty simple.  I thought I'd share a few pictures of the install and maybe share a few tips which would make someone else's install go smoothly and a bit quicker.

In short, the old light fixture is removed and the surrounding sealant cleaned up (actually this is the hardest part of the entire install).  The positive and negative 12-volt wires exiting from the coach are attached to the new light.  The desired position of the light is determined and holes are drilled into your rig to enable attachment.  The light is tested and sealant is applied around the fixture.

All sounds pretty simple.  It actually is.

Look at OEM porch light

Step 1: Remove old fixture. Here's a tip for anyone who has never removed the lens cover from your original  porch light fixture. There are two tabs along the top and one tab on the bottom of the lens cover. Compress the top and bottom of the lens cover (I used a screwdriver) and the lens will come off.

Step 2: Determine which wire is the positive and which is the negative coming from the rig.  The instructions speak about color of the wiring, but I never trust that the wiring colors are correct. I had Karen operate the on-off switch for the porch light while I connected my digital multimeter to them and was assured which wire was which.

Step 3: The instructions indicate that the holes already in the side of the rig can most likely be used to secure the new light. Well, not in my case.  My OEM light had just two horizontal holes.  The new light has four attachment holes in a rectangular pattern.  I chose one of my OEM holes to use and drilled the other three thru the rig's fiberglass wall.  Easy drilling, just make sure the new light is in the position desired first.

Step 4: The new comes with four screws and two crimp-on butt connectors.  I've always been a bit wary of butt connectors, so I soldered the wires together and used heat shrink to protect the connection from the elements.

Step 5: IMPORTANT. Use a quality silicone in the groove on the back side of the new light, but DO NOT seal the bottom of the groove as there is an area to be left open for any water that might find its way into the back of the light to drain. Screw the new light onto the side of the rig.

Step 6: Seal around the perimeter of the new light and the side of the rig. I used blue painter's tape before applying the sealant as I've never been good at making a crisp sharp line with a caulk.

Step 7: Test the light's function per the included instructions.

Step 8: I waited until the next day to remove the blue painter's tape to give the silicone plenty of time to set up.

The light's detection area is adjustable and we are very pleased with the functionality.  The only thing I would have done differently would have been to use a black sealant around the exterior perimeter of the new light. I used "clear" and will live with it for now, but might eventually change this out.

Even with my slow installation and photographing the project takes under an hour.

Last night we drove over to Niceville, FL to have dinner with one of Karen's past co-workers Jennie and her  boyfriend Phil.  They met us in the afternoon and we took a walking tour of  Harbor Walk Village in Destin, FL.  There is plenty of shopping and restaurants in this area, along with many charter boat rentals for fishing and other water-related activities.  We went up on the upper level of the Emerald Grande condos and had some excellent views of the surrounding areas.  (Unfortunately, we left the camera in the car and have no pictures.   Ugh!)  Later on, we drove over to Jennie's house in Niceville, FL and had an excellent dinner and great conversation. Many thanks again to both of you guys!

As I mentioned at the beginning of today's blog, it has rained the entire day here in Panama City Beach, so not a whole lot of exciting things to report.

Thanks for visiting!


  1. Really like the motion sensor light for the RV. I think I see a new project in Steve's future!

  2. You did a great job on the install, very smart to use the solder and shrink tubing. That light now will probably outlast the rest of your motorhome. :c)

  3. If you don't already have one, you should have Brannon install a bed lift for you!! Best thing ever !!

    1. Please elaborate on the bed lift. What is it designed to do better than the lift rods that come as oem on the bed?

  4. We really like our SmartLight 1000, too. The company was good about replacing ours after one of the fresnel lenses broke (we're thinking a tree branch).

  5. Great job on the install and the step by step instructions. I have been thinking about getting a motion detector light...

  6. We had Brannon us one of these in white at the rally in Hot Springs.
    Took the bus up when it came in and he installed it.
    Love it.
    See yall in CRB or GA.

  7. This is just a very well done blog post. You keep this up and you're going to have a substantial following. BTW looking forward to thanking Steve personally for putting me on to Don Boyd, who got the ball rolling on my replacement windshield.

    1. Thank you. Will try to do more DIY stuff in the future.