By Greg Illes
How many times have you fumbled in the dark, trying to find the semi-hidden switch to your storage compartment light? And how many times have you forgotten the dang thing and left it on to suck down your batteries?
Yeah, me too. Way too many times. But don’t dismay —there’s a really cool and easy way to eliminate the problem once and for all.
Get yourself a momentary door switch, the kind that is used in refrigerators, freezers, etc. These are inexpensive and easy to find in various configurations, like this set of two on Amazon. Pick one that will work with your door setup. The easiest method is usually to mount a small piece of sheet metal in the corner of the doorway, and mount the switch through a hole there. The sheet metal can be glued or pop-riveted in place.
The switch needs to be a momentary normally-closed type. In this configuration, the switch will OPEN when the door shuts on it. In its relaxed state, normally-closed, it will complete the circuit. Wire this switch in series with either the hot or the ground lighting wire — doesn’t matter which one. [If you aren’t really comfortable with RV electricals, you should get someone wiring-savvy to do the hookup for you.]
Once you have the momentary switch hooked into your lighting circuit, you can leave the light turned on all the time. It will only get powered when you open the door and the switch push-button pops out. Close the door, the switch gets depressed, and presto! — the light goes off.
Want to have the light off while the door is open? There are some switches that have a pull-to-activate feature. But if you can’t find one, just use the regular light switch and turn it off.
photo: Jacob Henri 6 / wikipedia
Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at www.divver-city.com/blog.