Each year around November, much discission can revolve around holiday charity rides, Christmas parades and alike. One of the main subjects that comes up is how to power a vast array of Christmas lights from your rig.
There are a number of things to consider when designing lights for your rig. First, I'd like to bring up the subject of how permanent do you want the lights. After a few seasons of pulling all the lights on and off, you may want to consider some lights that stay on your rig. This is how I started to roll... having some permanent lights that flash and can be used as white or yellow light when camping or for night rides, it's really great to have those options and I'm happy with doing this with my rig. I did do a professional install and removed the seats, carpet and tucked the power lines under the panels of the roll bar. If you're not comfortable with doing this, any audio video store in your area would likely do it for a reasonable cost. There are loads of YouTube videos on this subject if you do want to take a crack at it. It also helps you understand your rig in the event something is arai on the trails.
I wanted to have a fairly heavy-duty roll bar light system but also waterproof for obvious reasons. Something bright but easy to install. I opted for the
Megulla Truck Bed Light Strips and after a year of use, I can happily say I've had zero problems with them. They are secured with the double-sided tape and Cable Fasteners or zip ties. If you want something more professional-looking, consider this steel cable tie gun as it can also be used as recovery gear.
Then, I went with the XKGLOW XK ADV App Control LED Light Kit which turned out to be too bulky for a hood-mounted option, I'd like to either toss this on the camper or mount the quick connect to the back tire carrier and just install it when doing shows or being parked. Again, had it for a year now, bring it out every so often, it's a nice whip and the phone app works well too.
Those lights are wired into the AUX switches of the JLUR. It's easy to run direct wires though, just remember to always properly fuse your power lines and don't get a fuse so large that the wires in that line will still start a fire if the fuse is too high of amperage. Here's a video that may help (you use this formula in ham radio too).
Ok now for the non-installed lights. Going with any basic LED light will drastically reduce your power needs to the point where most converters can handle the load. There are a lot of choices, and if you're going to get one, I'd suggest going with a little bit better unit over the cheapest one. Read the reviews, here are some good ones https://amzn.to/2oP3qMA. If you plan on doing a lot of overlanding or camping, this could be time to pick up a nicer unit that can power more things, if not, most $30-$50 units will work just fine. Be sure to see if it fits into the 12v plug or if it has to be hardwired. Most of the larger amperage units will require hard wiring as your 12v outlets in the rig won't be able to handle the load.
My JLUR handled all the LED lights, sound system and charging with the built-in inverter. I do have a backup 750Watt unit and I'm setting up the camper with a 5000W Heavy Duty Power Inverter that's used on many motor homes. Quickly seeing the overlanding needs for a battery array, solar, wind, and this so everything runs without the need for a generator... but I digress.
Next, consider rope lights - https://amzn.to/36q45F4
LED Wreath - https://amzn.to/2PLquGV
Waterproof Drop Icicles - (I love these but they are cheap and won't hold up well) https://amzn.to/2qgN2VB
Litake Party Lights Disco Ball Lights - Mine came with 12v USB to 120V but I just plugged them into the ice lights at the end and being LED that worked. https://amzn.to/2NdGhwK
Outdoor Indoor String Lights - https://amzn.to/36tb4gt
Then gussy it up with some Christmas Tinsel Garlands - https://amzn.to/36wjGTJ and such.
You can get a ton of this stuff for cheap, but I've found that getting the outdoor ones and reading reviews can greatly help weed out the junk.
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