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What Are the Different Types of RV Lights?
Jun 11, 2018

Recreational vehicles (RVs) use both interior and exterior lights and can also have an assortment of light emitting diode (LED), fluorescent, and incandescent bulbs. Interior RV lights are typically incandescent mini lamps, but both fluorescent and LED fixtures are also available. RV tail lights are usually incandescent mini lamps as well, and in many cases they will be the same bulbs that the interior fixtures use. The headlights found in RVs are usually the same as other automotive applications use, so older motorhomes have sealed beam units and new ones tend to have halogen bulb inserts. A variety of other RV lights are also available, such as awning and patio light fixtures that can be useful when camping.

Many interior and exterior RV lights are automotive miniature lamps. These small light bulbs use an incandescent filament and are powered by the 12v coach or engine battery. Some of these miniature lamps use a single filament, but others use two. The miniature lamps that are used in RV interiors tend to have have similarly sized bases but can use either one or two contact points, depending on the number of filaments. If a two terminal bulb is placed in a single terminal socket, it will typically result in a short circuit and may blow a fuse.

In many cases, the same miniature lamps that are used inside are also found in exterior RV lights. Recreational vehicles have brake lights, side markers, turn signals, and back-up lights that all typically use incandescent bulbs. Side markers are often a very small bulb, but turn signals, back-up lights, and brake lights will often use the same miniature lamps as interior fixtures. Motorhomes also have headlights that are usually identical to those in other vehicles that use the same chassis.

Both interior and exterior RV lights can also make use of LEDs to conserve power. These types of lights are typically added after the vehicle is purchased. Interior fluorescent fixtures can also be purchased as an upgrade, though many higher end RVs come equipped with them from the factory.

Other types of RV lights are usually used during camping. Strings of mini lights are often designed with clips to be hung from awnings. These awning lights sometimes require alternating current (AC) power to operate, though others can be plugged into a 12v cigarette lighter. Some RVs even come with an exterior 12v outlet to power awning lights and a variety of other accessories.