Hints and Tips



LED dimmer for cabin lighting

Some time ago, about 2 year to be exact (my god how time flies) I installed LEDs in the cabin. I was looking for a decent replacement when Gene replaced his on Santosha and the pics he presented convinced me this was the real deal. See that thread here.


I immediately ordered a batch (several at the end) for my own at the same ebay seller in China.

Really great, and ever so low current-economical. I don't regret that decision for an instant, in the meantime I've bought more replacements (different ones) to be converted for the navigation lights. But that's a another story.


So all my cabin, bath and bedroom lights are now LEDs. Same color and same intensity as the halogen lights, and so far not one bulb has let me down. I was however wrestling with the idea on making the LEDs dimmable. Makes it all a bit cosier in the evening doesn't it? But there is a small problem in using LED dimmers, you need to interrupt the plus and the negative. In some cases that means rewiring the whole systems which is not always easy. A few months ago I've installed a galley grabpole (see hints and tips) and while doing that some of the wiring was made clear to me. In fact, making the cabin light dimmable would turn out to be a piece of cake. All I needed was the (cheap) dimmer and I found that (again, where else ::) ) with a Chinese ebay seller. Also bought some other stuff, more to come in the hint and tips section.


Anyway, this is the dimmer, of course I have a spare, you never know.

This is the one. It is a build-up box though, and I wanted to integrated into the ceiling on the spot where the old switch is/was located.

Getting the original switch out was the first job.


Figuring out the wiring. Blue (the fat one) is negative that had to be cut.


The white is the main positive but I could use (disconnect) the one on the original switch.

Breaking open the box was the trick. The box would disappear behind the wooden ceiling, the cover and the potentiometer would be mounted to the ceiling.

Building the old (and still necessary switch) into the cover, leaving some space for the potentiometer. In a later stage I will also make a cover to hide the switch edges, make a bit fancier so to speak.


Look at that, it kinda fits. And my main objective is reached, not making the switchhole bigger than it was.


Front view.


Some TEC-7 to be sure.


Interrupting the main negative.


The reshaped cover is slightly glued to the ceiling, I didn't want to use screws because you never know if it's to be removed in the future.


I'm always very much aware for not drilling or screwing excessive holes in the interior, they're never to be made invisible afterwards when you don't need them anymore.


Here's the dimmer at full throttle.


This mode is for evening pleasures ;)


Nice don't you think.


As an addition, while the wooden ceiling was out, I've placed an extra light just above the big fridge, we missed that in the past.


In the end all of this wasn't too much of a hassle. A days work, a few bucks for a classy upgrade in my opinion.


Sailbleu - SO40DS