Nighttime visibility is important during camping, especially when staying in an unlit area (such as boondocking off-grid in nature). Most RV models have factory-installed awning lights that are actual LED string lights; this means that they operate on 12V battery power, and do not require shore power.
In this article we’ll look at ways to repair or replace the factory-installed awning lights. We’ll also give you our opinions on the best ones to buy right now.
- Why RV Awning Lights Matter
- What To Do When The Lights Go Out?
- How To Repair Awning Lights
- How to Replace Awning Lights
- The Top RV Awning Lights Reviewed
- Find the Best Camper Awning Lights for You
- 1. BoogeyLights Awning Lights
- 2. Latch-It RV Awning Lights
- 3. Lippert Awning Light Kit
- 4. Kohree Awning LED Lights
- 5. Solar Camper Awning LED Strip Lights
- 6. Afirst LED Outdoor String Lights 25 ft with 27 lights, shatterproof, weatherproof
- 7. Solar String Lights, 16.4ft, Flexible and Cuttable
- 8. SUPERNIGHT LED Strip Lights, RGB Color Changing 16.4Ft SMD5050 LEDs Flexible Light Strip Rope Lighting Kit with 44 Key Remote Controller and 12V Power Supply for Bedroom TV Backlight Christmas
- 9. Pimp My RV Lights
- 10. Auto Drive 120 Volts Multicolor LED Strip Lights with Remote Control for RV Vehicle
- FAQs for RV Awning Lights
Why RV Awning Lights Matter
Classic outdoor camping tools for light include a bonfire and a flashlight, maybe even a headlamp. These are not always practical and with the evolution of RVs and LED technology, the RV manufacturers have utilized waterproof LED strips, as well as various other light sources to help campers navigate around the camper at night time, as well as using the lights for added safety. Awning lights make it much easier to grab something from the outside kitchen, quickly walk the dog or run out to the car without having to have one hand occupied with a flashlight.
There are also motion-sensored nighttime awning attachment lights that can be useful when used as a security feature; however, for most RV travelers, these lights are impractical, since there is a lot of movement in an RV park at night, and even in the wilderness, one could get quickly annoyed with the incessant light activity. For that reason, this article will not cover these type of lights.
When it comes to using RV awning lights for safety and security, it helps to have some light source on to see the outside while at the same time being considerate of others. LED RV awning lights that have a dimmable feature or a timer are likely the best fit for this need.
What To Do When The Lights Go Out?
Although the LED strip lights are said to have a lifespan of 60,000 hours, many factors can contribute to early failure (either partial or complete). The failure can be partial or complete and can occur either at the power source, at the wiring (damage to wires) or at the light bulbs themselves.
Although most (if not all) RV LED awning lights are rated for outdoor use, sometimes extreme wear and tear or harsh weather (think Arizona heat or Minnesota winters) can take a toll on the RV awning LED lights. While they are designed to be waterproof, extended sun or frost exposure can create cracks in the materials and cause failure of the strip, switch or wiring.
How To Repair Awning Lights
While there are plenty of DIY videos on YouTube on how to repair or replace your RV awning lights by replacing the entire RV awning strip, below is the streamlined step-by-step process on how to get this task accomplished. Keep in mind that there are small adjustments in this installation process, depending on your LED light assembly.
First of all, one should turn on the awning lights after verifying that the power source is not compromised and there is power going to the lights. Second of all, one should inspect any connections for damage or loose wiring. Third of all, one should test the LED lights for damage (either visually or with a testing device, such as this one:
One should use a wipe-off marker to mark the specific LED lights that are no longer working (if this is an awning light that allows for single LED light replacement),
Next, one should disconnect from the power source and either replace the marked faulty LED lamps (if possible) or replace the entire strip. There is a tool, such as this one that can be used to replace single LED lights:
(this one doubles up as a tester, as well as repair tool).
Remove the LED strip from underneath the awning (this should be fairly easy to peel off for LED strips that are secured with an adhesive, unless there are mounting screws that are also used to attach the LED strip; in that case, use a screwdriver to remove the LED holders).
Then, trim off the wires at the end of the strip, leaving about 2-3 inches to work with to attach the new wires. Note: Make sure to clean the LED awning light mounting channel under the awning properly to remove any debris or old adhesive so that the new LED awning lights can be installed properly into that same mounting channel. Use a damp paper towel and possibly even rubbing alcohol, then allow it to dry off.
As you install the new LED strip (which comes with pre-applied adhesive backing), you might need to use additional 3M double-sided tape to reinforce the strip if the factory-applied adhesive is not sticking well. Make sure you place the lights into the channel in a straight way.
Strip the red and black LED wires back to create a proper connection. Fold the wires over to give them additional surface connection. Test your new LED lights by connecting black to black and red to red wire to make sure that the connection is good. Note: this step is probably a good idea to do even before you fully install the new lights so that you don’t have to replace faulty LED lights twice!
If you are concerned about any possible water damage to the new wire connection, use liquid electrical tape to secure the connection against any future water damage. Then, use electrical tape to secure the connected wires to one another.
How to Replace Awning Lights
True replacement (replace same for same): this holds true in most cases where a functional failure leads to a replacement need. When still under manufacturer’s warranty, this is the most likely replacement scenario, as it is a simple removal and reinstall of identical, but functioning lights.
Upgrade (replace existing for one of better value or functionality): sometimes, the RV owner does not like the RV lights that came factor-installed with the RV unit. Perhaps the size, brightness or location do not work for the RV owner. In that case, an awning light replacement becomes an upgrade, because the functionality of the existing setup is improved for the end-user. This often also adds value to the unit.
Downgrade (replace existing for one of lesser value or functionality): in some situations, it might be prudent to replace existing awning lights with a shorter set or one with fewer functional features. This is especially useful in situations where the RV owner plans to keep the RV, has customized many features to fit their lifestyle needs and preferences and simply benefit from these changes where they “pay for themselves”.
For step-by-step procedures, simply follow the protocol that is listed above under “How to Replace Awning Lights”.
There are various designs and lengths of awning lights that contribute to the variety of uses. The most obvious contributors to the length size of the awning light are 1. The total RV length, 2. The placement of other outdoor lights on the RV and 3. The length of the awning itself. The awning light lengths vary greatly, with the range from 6’ to 25’.
Many LED RV awning light strips come in a kit that can be customized in length: simply trim to desired length!
Type of Awning Lights
There are RV owners who live by the motto “the more lights, the merrier”. Sometimes also affectionately labeled by the RV park neighbors as the “Christmas Tree RV”, this RV lights up the park by its overabundance of lights. From awning lights to strobe lights to porch lights to string lights around the camp site to another set of string lights to outline the RV perimeter on the ground, these RV folks cover their bases with lighting. Many RV manufacturers include the step lights, the awning lights, the front/outside cabin lights as standard to ensure that the RV has almost 360-degree light coverage potential at night time. As always, campers should be considerate of their neighbors, especially when staying at an RV park with tight sites and minimal privacy.
Finally, for the techie nerds out there, or those who simply enjoy the convenience of remote-controlled lights, there are awning lights that can be operated via a remote to switch their mode. This is also a fun way to change the vibe of your RV site and have a greater variety of colors for those who grow bored with the standard white light!
For ambience, underglow lights are a recent trend that is an easy install or sue: basically, these are lights that are located under the RV, either a long string of lights outlining the RV perimeter, or mounted LED lights on the underbelly of the RV (which makes it easy to use without having to set up and tear down each time one travels. BoogeyLights has several options, starting at $174.99 (https://www.boogeylights.com/under-glow-light-kits-for-rvs/).
When it comes to lights, there are three main power source options: 12V/battery, 120V shore power or solar. With regard to solar, there are stand-alone solar lights that power the lamp on a one-to-one ratio (think: garden stake lights with a solar unit on top of the assembly), or an autonomous string of lights that is wired to a solar panel. This is similar to plugging in the lights into the RV with a solar set-up, although in this case, the lights would be dependent on the RV plug-in and power availability.
For boondockers and off-grid RV folks, the solar light option might be the most appealing so that one has night illumination even without any electricity, and without having to use battery power (even though the LED lights draw very little power).
Specific Light Needs
As mentioned above, the key use for awning lights is for nighttime visibility. The secondary reason for awning lights is safety. Yet another reason for awning lights is ambience. Especially the underglow lights and the different color choices of LED awning lights on the market set each camper apart and target the younger RV clientele.
Awning Lights Drawbacks
As with everything, added features invite added maintenance, cost and repair overtime. In addition to that, nighttime lights also attract insects in different areas, so that is something to keep in mind when using awning lights in areas that are insect-population-heavy.
Often, the LED awning wires also come undone from the awning arm or channel and they end up getting pinched by the awning arm, causing a severing of the wires and ultimately, damage to the LED lights. Also, rope lights that are not property removed prior to travel, can cause damage to the awning, including the awning fabric.
Used Replacement Lights
While it may be tempting to save money using pre-owned replacement awning lights, this might be a work-consuming high-risk swap-out. Make sure you thoroughly test the assembly before replacing it on your RV. Especially since this is an electrical component, it’s often not advisable to use pre-owned wiring etc. since one does not know the age and condition of the used parts.
Furthermore, new awning lights are not that expensive, so the savings between using new versus used awning lights are actually not that high.
The Top RV Awning Lights Reviewed
Which RV awning lights are the best RV awning lights?
The top choice goes to Latch-It LED rope lights due to their innovative marketing, technology and market disruption when it comes to pricing and quality. They are an user-friendly RV porch light at nighttime. This company receives excellent feedback from their customers and works diligently to bring quality products to the RV market while keeping the budget in mind, as well.
|Product's Name||Energy Source||Useful info||More Info|
|Boogey Lights(R) Awning Lights||12 Volt||Different fun varieties, US-made||See Latest Price|
|LATCH.IT RV Awning Lights | 20’ V2.1 DIY Kit LED Awning Lights for RV &...||12 Volt||Fun, innovative and competitively priced||See Latest Price|
|Lippert Components LED Awning Light Kit for 5th Wheel RVs, Travel Trailers...||12 Volt||This is standard RV factory installed light||See Latest Price|
|Lippert Components LED Awning Light Kit for 5th Wheel RVs, Travel Trailers...||12 Volt||Different kits for various applications||See Latest Price|
|Seagenck RV Led Awning Party Light, Led Awning Strip Light for Camper...||12 Volt||Very affordable lights, easy install||See Latest Price|
|No products found.||No products found.||12 Volt||Mid-range standard LED string lights||No products found.|
|Carefree SR0113 White LED Universal White RV Awning LED Light Kit,1 Pack||12 Volt||Higher-priced LED install kit, wireless remote||See Latest Price|
|Solar LED Lights Strip 32.8ft Solar LED Strip Lights White Large Capacity...||Solar||Wireless, solar, LED, easy install||See Latest Price|
|Afirst LED Outdoor String Lights 25FT with 27 Bulbs Shatterproof...||110 V||Not attached to RV, plug-in string lights||See Latest Price|
|Solar String Lights, 16.4ft Flexible&Cuttable LED Super Bright Solar Strip...||Solar||Connected to the solar panel, customizable||See Latest Price|
|Pimp My RV Lights||12V||15,000 lumen, “Build Your Blob”, waterproof, complete install kit||See Latest Price|
|Auto Drive 120 Volts Multicolor LED Strip Lights with Remote Control for RV Vehicle||120V||8 different static colors, multicolor modes, waterproof, mounting hardware included||See Latest Price|
Find the Best Camper Awning Lights for You
1. BoogeyLights Awning Lights
This LED light strip is a no-nonsense replacement for most RVs. Simply replace the LED strip lights that are affixed to the light mounting channels and you are ready to enjoy the porch lights!
These lights are intended for permanent installation and can withstand harsh weather conditions; this makes them a great fit for outdoor use. They are also efficient with energy usage.
2. Latch-It RV Awning Lights
The neat thing about Latch-It lights is that one can change colors, modes, timing and operate these lights remotely. This is a great value-added product at a fraction of the cost of the standard RV awning lights that have been installed on most RVs.
Latch-It began to bring improved RV tools to the market a few years ago, with their most innovative RV upgrade being a remote-controlled/keyless RV lock. Many RV owners are now familiar with this company and the quality product they offer to the RV community. Latch-It decided to bring an alternative to the standard (and somewhat drab) white awning lights that come with an on-off setting at the command control switch center.
3. Lippert Awning Light Kit
Lippert is a well-known brand that has been dominating the RV market on many RV components. They are an established older brand and their awning lights are installed in most RVs across all of the USA.
4. Kohree Awning LED Lights
This RV LED string light is dimmable, which is great for RV parks where one might not want to be the obnoxious neighbor with the bright colored lights. Another neat feature is that this product comes with a remote, as well as an app that you can download onto your phone and control the light intensity, color and even the mode.
5. Solar Camper Awning LED Strip Lights
Perfect for anyone who loves RVs remotely and off-grid, these lights use solar power to charge the awning lights for nighttime. This RV awning LED light is super-easy to install and to operate. Its weatherproof design makes it a good fit for all outdoor adventures.
6. Afirst LED Outdoor String Lights 25 ft with 27 lights, shatterproof, weatherproof
These lights are pretty much glorified Christmas lights. These lights are a fit for anyone who wants to extend their patio by hanging additional lights on the awning, tree or another outdoor fixture to provide ample light while enjoying the outdoors. While the dimmable feature is great, one must buy additional equipment to utilize that feature,
7. Solar String Lights, 16.4ft, Flexible and Cuttable
This LED awning lights kit helps to deliver outdoor lights wherever they are needed, especially on those dark nights. With the option of permanent attachment to the RV or keeping the lights as hanging lights only, with the solar changing unit staked into the ground, this option allows the RV owner to decide whether they want these lights to be a full-time commitment.
8. SUPERNIGHT LED Strip Lights, RGB Color Changing 16.4Ft SMD5050 LEDs Flexible Light Strip Rope Lighting Kit with 44 Key Remote Controller and 12V Power Supply for Bedroom TV Backlight Christmas
Light color, brightness and mode can be adjusted
Remote-controlled or app-friendly
This awning light kit is great for the porch, offering colors from warm white to dark blue! The remote control shows the color choices and you can change the display color with the click of a button! The installation process is also super easy!
9. Pimp My RV Lights
This company decided to offer their brightest lights as awning lights for the RV for anyone who is interested to really stand out. These lights can work great when RVing remotely or on your own property, since there might be some complaints from your RV park neighbors otherwise! That’s how bright these lights are!
10. Auto Drive 120 Volts Multicolor LED Strip Lights with Remote Control for RV Vehicle
- Remote controlled lights
- Can be attached to any awning
- Mounting hardware included
- 8 different colors or multi-color lighting modes that change colors
Easy to install with light hangers around the awning or around a pergola by the picnic bench etc., these lights are remote controlled, as well, which makes these lights more apt to be permanently attached to the awning, rather than being used as a rope light.
This LED strip light comes in 8 different colors to choose from that you can change once you grow tired of a specific color or to change the mood/ambience of your camper site at night.
FAQs for RV Awning Lights
How long do RV awning lights last?
With proper care and maintenance, LED RV lights can easily last up to 15 years. LED string lights are designed for longevity. However, there are some issues that can shorten the lifespan of RV LED lights, such as poor assembly quality, mechanical defect, water leak, or other issues.
Is the most expensive RV LED awning light choice the best choice?
Most expensive does not equal best, necessarily. While Lippert has their contract with RV manufacturers as the main RV component supplier, there have been several market competitors (such as Latch It) who have come up with innovative and fun designs at half the price to the end user.
What’s the cheapest and easiest fix when it comes to RV LED awning lights?
If you have access to shore power, keep it simple: purchase and plug in LED Christmas lights (you can purchase them after Christmas at Walmart or Target for 75% off regular price, which is between $10-20 per 100-light string) and hang them around your awning or where you want to increase nighttime visibility and ambience. The only drawback is the setup and teardown of these lights when traveling.
Awning lights on an RV are a useful tool for nighttime visibility, safety and ambience. While most RVs come equipped with LED string awning lights, some RVs need to be equipped post-market with lights, while other RVs might need LED awning light repair or replacement overtime.
There are so many different choices on the market, from the most standard warm white LED strip lights to fully customizable LED awning lights with a remote control to keep things fun and unique. Many of the LED awning light options are also very flexible in terms of permanency, whether one wants to commit to a specific set of lights and permanently affix them to the TV or keep things off the RV to set up and tear down, or move into a different area.
Finally, there are many great options for those who love boondocking/off-grid camping, especially solar-powered options that free the travelers to enjoy the greater outdoors without a worry of running out of light at night.
We hope you have found this article useful and helpful when determining your outdoor lighting needs while traveling with your RV. Smaller awning light repairs and even replacements should be fairly straightforward and simple for the RV owners to perform themselves without much technical background needed.