There is an Air Forums thread on this subject but it dates back several years (commencing a decade ago, in fact). There is also this Airstream Life article on the same subject, but it's also a few years old. This technology is constantly changing, so I thought I'd publish an update here.
There are two related reasons why an upgrade to LED is desirable:
- Most importantly, halogens pull too much power. Using LEDs reduces that demand substantially.
|This is watt I'm talking about. Bulbs in the 10 - 20 watt range can be replaced with 3 watt LEDs. Screengrabbed from a Google search page.|
- Halogens are correspondingly hot in the enclosed space of an Interstate. We live in the subtropics, and every bit of heat reduction helps.
- The existing halogens were too dim for me (I have very bad eyesight). Furthermore, after evaluating several brand new 2014 Airstream Interstates on dealer lots, I found that the LEDs currently being used by Airstream were also too dim for me (I assume that those for sale through the Airstream store are the same as those being installed in new Interstates). Therefore, those were not going to be our choice.
This is the replacement product that we decided to try instead:
|They are about $3.50 each!! Prices certainly have fallen in recent years! |
Screengrabbed from this Amazon listing.
|If you read the specs, you'll notice right away that the non-Airstream product has a slightly larger diameter and has visibly longer pins. I'll show how to deal with that below.|
|This is me lying on the floor looking straight up at the Fan-tastic and amidships ceiling section. It's difficult for me to show you comparison photos because modern digital cameras tend to act strangely in extreme contrast scenarios, even if they are set to manual. However, this is fairly indicative of the impression one gets when comparing these bulbs. Those are two LEDs on the left, and two of the original halogens on the right. The halogens are more yellow (which I don't like because the orange wood already throws an abundance of warm tones) and to my surprise, the LEDs are actually a bit brighter (dimness was the bane of LED existence up until recently).|
|You can tell right away that this socket was designed for a conventional-shaped bulb.|
It's just a millimeter or two in length difference, but that's enough to cause a problem, as this photo below shows.
|If you leave the pins long, they won't extend all the way back into the holes, and you won't be able to replace the glass cover.|
|For that reason, you have to use wire cutters and nip off a millimeter or two.|
|See what I mean? Not perfectly centered due to the original configuration of the fixture. No biggie.|
|LOL - try doing this with a halogen bulb - an acutely unpleasant surprise will be yours. The LEDs remain much cooler.|
|Brighter than it's ever been: Again, this broad-daylight type of effect might not appeal to many of you whose eyes are in better shape than mine are. But I'm quite pleased.|
As always, this is a noncommercial blog presenting personal opinions only. No retailer has provided any consideration in exchanged for being cited.
|IT CERTAINLY DOES NOW!!|