Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Replacing the Standard Remote Switches for Patio Lights, Water Heater, and Inverter to Illuminated Switches

Roadtrek remote switches for the water heater, inverter/charger, and the patio lights has no light illumination visually reminding the user that it is on, one could easily forget to turn them off and waste valuable resources.

Rather than installing an indicator light next to the switches, I opted for illuminated switches which should be easier to install. The hard part is finding a correct size switch replacement. The original switches dimensions are as follows: 21 mm (W) x 26.11 mm (L).

Picture below shows the newly installed illuminated switches.

With the switches in off position.
Before you begin, turn off /disconnect the coach battery, or, if necessary, unplug the RV from shore power.

I ordered several SPST (Single pole, Single throw) “LED illuminated” rocker switches from EBay, but later found out that they were not LED’s, rather they were incandescent bulb illuminated. It was too much of a hassle to return them, so I just changed the bulbs to LED’s that I managed to salvaged from a broken LED panel. The incandescent illuminated switch should work as it is and it doesn't really need to be an LED, unless you want to save power. The incandescent lit switch draws about 56 milliamp when on, compared to 2 milliamp for the LED version.

The illuminated switches has 3 blade connector pinouts. Pins 1 and 2 are used for the (+) 12 volt and accessory wire connections. Pin 3 is for the light ground wire connection.  The ground wire is spliced from the common ground wire located at the back of the monitor panel (see picture below).

Note: Wiring the inverter-charger remote switch is different. At first, I thought it would be easy as the other switches, boy I was wrong. The inverter mode switch, toggles between "Auto mode" (with switch to On position) and "Charge Only mode" (with switch to OFF position). In "Auto mode/ON",  switch pins 1 & 2 is open and vice versa if switched to "Charge Only mode/OFF", meaning, with the same wiring configuration as above, the led will only illuminate when the inverter is switched to OFF "Charge Only mode".

An alternative would be to independently switch the led indicator light by using STDP or DTDP illuminated switches, but none found to fit the current panel cutout. A standard STDP switch and  a LED indicator light next to the switch is another alternative.

Nonetheless, I decided to go with the same illuminated switch for uniform look. After researching online for possible solution, I stumbled upon a Tripp Lite remote controller, a simple inverter mode switch with LED indicators that mimics the inverter built-in LED lights. Pin 1 is the first wire to the left of the RJ-45 connector plug (with clip facing down). Pin 1 in a standard RJ-45 cable plug has a white and orange color wire and white and green color wire in a RJ-45 patch/crossover cable. 
Tripp Lite Remote Controller Circuit Diagram 
RJ-45 Standard and Cross-Over Cable Pinouts
 To illuminate the LED light when Tripp Lite is inverting (LED 5 on diagram), we need to tap on pin 8 of RJ-45 end plug.

The incandescent bulb was replaced with an LED. The black rocker switch cover with the small rounded lens was installed in reverse and now facing the opposite side of the switch. With the switch in "ON" position (lens side is depressed), pins 1 and 2 should be open at this point.

LED salvaged from a broken LED panel.

The RJ-45 to blade connector wiring adapter by Roadtrek vs. my DIY cable adapter shown below. It is an old crossover cable cut to length exposing the 8 color coded wires. The RJ-45 plug is then connected to a RJ-45 female-to-female coupler where the other end of the longer RJ-45 cable to the Tripp Lite inverter is connected.

Pins 2 and 6 were also terminated to a blade connector and is temporarily covered with electrical tape, for now. I'm planning of using an RGB LED inside the switch for LED 4, 5, and 6 illumination, that is another project to come. For now, I'm satisfied with the result. 


  1. I'm jealous, nice job! We just bought a used 2013! I think the illuminated switches are a smart idea!

    1. Thanks. Nice! You will love the versatility of a class B motorhome. Happy camping!

  2. This is really going to help me in the related stuff..

    1. You are welcome. Let me guess, you're planning to do a remote controller for the inverter? :-)

  3. Any chance you remember where you bought the switches?

    1. I got it from EBay, seller was no longer selling them last time I checked, sorry. I don't recommend those switches anyway as it is not LED illuminated as I mentioned in the above post.


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