Using RV rope lighting to “bling up” a recreational vehicle can be a fun and rewarding project. Fitting it inside the window valences to illuminate the perimeter of the glass rivals the look of those million-dollar custom-built coaches. This particular window treatment is best done with flanged-edge rope lighting. The 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch flange strip that is part of the rope light can be stapled to the valence without damaging the lights or wiring.
Rope lighting is available in incandescent or LED (Light Emitting Diode). The LED is preferred, as it runs cooler and consumes about 1 watt of energy per linear foot compared to 3 watts for regular lighting. In addition, the lifetime of LED rope lighting is 100,000, hours compared to the standard at 25,000 hours. They are available in either 12 volt DC or 120 VAC.
RV Rope Lighting Power Source
Now, because this is for an RV, the 12-volt DC is the one you would probably want. It’s important that you understand that, while the higher 120 VAC powered incandescent rope lights can run a 150-foot length, the DC is limited to about 50 feet maximum. So, doing window treatments would require several points of power source take-offs.
Rope lighting will often display a small section of light failure usually 4 to 6 inches. This is not abnormal and is easily corrected by slapping it sharply where the dark area exists. Presto! Let there be light.
To get the best results, less may be more. Don’t over bling your ride. While rope lighting can add substantially to the look of your rig, it can be overdone. Also, remember the amperage draw, especially with the standard incandescent rope product. The much higher-priced LED rope light offering may be worth it for such an application, an RV.
So, if you are looking for a great RV related project, this may be the one. Not only will it look pretty spiffy, but it will also set your rig out in a crowd. Enjoy!
Peter Mercer — With A Bright Idea