A Comprehensive Campervan Lighting Guide

Lighting Campervan

A Comprehensive Campervan Lighting Guide

The interior of your campervan should be a welcoming space that offers both functionality and comfort. Lighting plays a crucial role in achieving this ambiance. LED lights are a popular choice due to their energy efficiency, low heat emission, and long lifespan. Here are some key areas where you can incorporate LED lights:

Interior Lighting

1 – Overhead Lighting: Installing LED ceiling lights provides a bright and even illumination throughout the campervan’s interior. Opt for fixtures with adjustable brightness to create a cozy atmosphere during the evening or when you desire a more relaxing ambiance.


2 – Task Lighting: Focus on specific areas where you need bright, direct lighting for tasks such as cooking, reading, or working. LED strip lights mounted under cabinets or above workspaces are excellent options for task lighting, as they provide ample illumination while being discreet and space-saving.

3 – Accent Lighting: To add character and visual interest to your campervan, consider using LED strip lights to highlight architectural features, artwork, or shelving. These lights can be placed under the edges of countertops, along the sides of furniture, or underneath bed frames to create a warm and inviting glow.

4 – Dimmers and Color Temperature: Installing dimmers for your LED lights allows you to adjust the brightness levels to suit different moods and occasions. Additionally, LED lights with adjustable color temperature enable you to switch between cool white for focused tasks and warm white for relaxation and comfort.

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Exterior Lighting

Outdoor lighting around your campervan is essential for safety and extending your living space. LED lights are once again the ideal choice due to their energy efficiency and durability. Here are some areas where outdoor lighting can enhance your campervan experience:

1 – Exterior Lights: Installing LED lights on the exterior of your campervan’s awning provides a pleasant, well-lit space for outdoor activities during the evening. Choose weatherproof LED strip lights or hanging lanterns that are easy to install and operate.

2 – Step and Entrance Lighting: Ensure safe entry and exit from your campervan by illuminating steps and entrances. LED step lights or motion-activated lights can be mounted near the steps or at the base of the doors, providing visibility in low-light conditions.

3 – Awning Lighting: If you have an awning on the side of your campervan, adding LED string lights or lanterns can transform it into a cozy oasis. These lights create a warm and inviting atmosphere, allowing you to relax and enjoy the night sky or entertain guests.


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Low-Light Techniques

While campervan lighting should aim to provide ample brightness, there are situations where low light conditions can enhance the overall experience. Here are some techniques to embrace low-light areas:

1- Starry Ceilings: Create a dreamy atmosphere by incorporating fiber optic lights or LED string lights to mimic a starry night sky on the ceiling. This effect can be particularly magical during nighttime camping or when stargazing.

2 – Indirect Lighting: Avoid direct, harsh lighting by employing diffused or indirect lighting methods. Concealed LED strips behind panels or underneath furniture can provide a soft, gentle glow that adds depth and warmth to the space.

3 – Bedside Reading Lights: Attach adjustable LED reading lights near your sleeping area to enjoy a cozy reading nook. These lights should be focused and adjustable to avoid disturbing your travel companions.

4 – Soft Wall Sconces: Opt for soft wall sconces with warm LED lamps to create a relaxed and cozy environment. These fixtures can be strategically placed near seating areas or beds for a comforting ambiance.

Remember, the key to effective campervan lighting is finding the right balance between functionality, energy efficiency, and creating a welcoming atmosphere. Experiment with different lighting arrangements and techniques to discover what suits your preferences and enhances your campervan adventures. So, light up your travels and embark on unforgettable journeys with a well-lit campervan interior and exterior.


Separation Of Lighting Circuits

When installing your lighting system within your campervan, it is a good idea to split your lighting systems into several circuits. This is for a few reasons:

Safety: Electrical faults, power outages, or circuit trips can occur unexpectedly. By separating lighting systems, the risk of complete darkness due to a single point of failure is significantly reduced. This mitigates potential hazards and minimises the chances of accidents, falls, or confusion that may result from sudden darkness.

Maintenance and repair: Separated lighting circuits facilitate maintenance and repair work. If a particular lighting circuit or system needs attention, it can be isolated and serviced without affecting the lighting in other areas. This saves time and allows for more efficient maintenance practices.

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Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)

An LED is a semiconductor device that emits light when an electric current passes through it. It operates on the principle of electroluminescence, wherein electrons recombine with electron holes within the device, releasing energy in the form of photons. This process generates light, with the colour determined by the materials and structures used in the LED.

Purpose of LEDs

1 – Energy Efficiency: One of the primary advantages of LEDs is their exceptional energy efficiency. Traditional incandescent bulbs waste a significant amount of energy as heat, whereas LEDs convert a higher percentage of electrical energy into visible light. As a result, LEDs consume significantly less power to produce the same amount of illumination, leading to reduced energy consumption and lower electricity bills.

2 – Longevity: LEDs are renowned for their remarkable lifespan. On average, LEDs can operate for tens of thousands of hours, far exceeding the longevity of incandescent and fluorescent lights. This extended lifespan reduces the frequency of replacements, minimising waste and contributing to environmental sustainability.

3 – Environmental Friendliness: LED lighting is inherently eco-friendly due to several factors. Their energy efficiency reduces the demand for electricity, resulting in lower greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Additionally, LEDs contain no toxic materials like mercury, which is present in fluorescent bulbs. This makes LEDs easier to dispose of and less harmful to the environment.

4 – Versatility: LEDs come in a vast array of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them highly versatile for numerous applications. From small indicator lights on electronic devices to large-scale outdoor displays, LEDs can be tailored to suit specific requirements. They offer flexibility in terms of color temperature, allowing for different lighting effects, including warm or cool lighting for various settings.

5 – Durability: LEDs are exceptionally durable and resistant to shock, vibrations, and extreme temperatures. This durability makes them ideal for harsh environments, such as outdoor lighting fixtures, automotive lighting, and industrial applications.

6 – Instant Illumination: Unlike traditional lighting technologies that require warm-up time, LEDs provide instant illumination. With a simple flip of a switch, LEDs reach full brightness instantly, making them suitable for applications where immediate lighting is necessary.


Guidance & Regulations Where Luminaires Are Concerned

BS 7671 defines a ‘luminaire’ as equipment which distributes, filters and transforms the light transmitted from one or more lamps and which includes all parts necessary for supporting, fixing and protecting the lamps, but not the lamps themselves, and where necessary, circuit auxiliaries together with the means for connecting them to the supply.

This definition contains a footnote regarding lamps: ‘lamps include devices such as light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Section 422 of BS 7671

Precautions where particular risks of fire exist

This segment of the regulations covers special conditions and precautions where there is a particular risk of fire, such as timber-constructed buildings (touring caravans and motorhomes).
In particular, Regulation 422.1.2 requires electrical equipment shall be so selected and erected that its normal temperature rise and foreseeable temperature rise during a fault cannot cause a fire.

The regulation further requires the previous shall be achieved by the construction of the equipment or by additional protection during erection. This requirement places a duty on the designer to ensure the temperature rise of electrical equipment, both under normal and fault conditions, does not increase the risk of fire to the property.

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In conclusion, lighting solutions play a crucial role in enhancing the functionality, aesthetics, and overall experience of a campervan.

LED lights are the most popular choice due to their energy efficiency and longevity. Combining ambient, task, and accent lighting can create a well-lit and versatile interior space. Remember to maximise natural light whenever possible, as it can greatly contribute to the overall comfort and ambiance.

Tom Alderdice

Hey, I’m Tom – founder of Tiny Build Electrics

My mission is to help sustainable-minded folks develop their electrical knowledge, giving them the confidence to do their own tiny build electrics.

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