Fixed! Airstream LED Color Temperature

The only thing we don’t like about our new Airstream is the color temperature of the LED lights. They’re so blue and so bright it feels like an operating room when they’re on. We first tried researching replacing the LED’s with a softer light, but weren’t sure what we found would fit for our fixtures. So then I called Airstream and asked if they had warmer replacements that we could buy. The lady in Sales at Airstream gave me a vendor to call but otherwise couldn’t help me. Then I realized we could try lighting gels.

My first attempt was to color correct the blue. I called a Hollywood lighting shop and they recommended 205 1/2 C.T. Orange (CTO) Lee Filters. Well, even though these were “color correcting” gels, the blue and the orange made a green hue.

[pullquote type=”2″ align=”right”]Flattering skin tone filter without the comedy ‘pink’. Named for Marlene Dietrich who understood the importance of beautiful lighting, especially at a certain age![/pullquote]My best guess was the gel needed to be more pink, like the old soft white/pink light bulbs. So I found the Marlene gel on the Lee filters site.

Meanwhile I started a thread on Airforums looking to see if anyone else had solved this issue, and got a lot of great responses. Including that I could get a swatchbook, and that possibly I needed to use a minus green filter.

Well, the Marlene gels arrived last night and we found that if we doubled them up they worked GREAT! The light is warm and cozy and makes our skin look healthy. It took one sheet to do the 15 recessed lights, 4 spots and the plastic RV lights over the sink and the dinette with a lot to spare.

We got our gels at stagespot.com. Select Manufacturer = Lee and Search = Marlene.

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18 Comments

  • Reply Rich October 8, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Did the gels dim the light appreciably?

    • Reply Diane Bailey October 9, 2011 at 6:29 am

      I’ve heard this same complaint several times. This would be a great article for Airstream Life.

    • Reply Leigh October 9, 2011 at 7:32 am

      It does dim the light some – but the light starts out so bright that pre-gel it’s only ok dimmed fully down (even then, we didn’t want them on). With the gels you can turn the lights all the way up and have a nice light, and then dim them for mood lighting.

    • Reply Brian October 9, 2011 at 8:03 am

      I’d say the double gels cut the light output by 15-20%. But as Leigh said, they were so bright that it brings them down to a good level. If people are complaining about these blue LED’s why hasn’t Airstream addressed the issue? I know that warm LED’s exist.

  • Reply terrie October 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    you guys will likely be able to take credit for changing the lighting Airstream installs….if they are smart…and I believe they are xoxo

  • Reply dreamstreamrs January 2, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Great solution — we converted the halogen lights over our vanity with a pair of led arrays. Way too much light and the color is awful! Thanks for the warm tip to fix the light color.

    Jim and Deb

  • Reply Nick January 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    How are the gels holding up to the temp of the LEDs, any melting or smells? Btw, thanks for the post, I’ve been trying to solve this issue since February when I bought it. I’m ordering them right now, even going to try some funky “deep purple” to light the cabinets.

    • Reply Leigh January 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      Hi Nick,

      The gels are holding up great. No melting, no smells. We’d probably go more amber with the filter color now that we’ve been living with it for some time, but it’s million times better than the original light.

      I’d love to see some pics of what you end up with!

      • Reply Nick March 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm

        How did you get your gels into the lights? I can’t figure out how to get to the lens without unscrewing it.

        • Reply Leigh March 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm

          I used my finger nails in between the outside rim of the light and pulled on them. Some needed a little extra prying on one side and then the other – to kind of jimmy them loose.

  • Reply Santa Barbara Mary and David January 18, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Just replaced the G4Disc LED ceiling light with a warm white 3500 Kelvin I bought at Orange County Airstream–was so inspired I bought 4 for the bedroom ceiling and will keep the other three for when the “blue” lights burn out. Got ’em for $18.19

    And while there we had them do the battery box enlargement (cutting and welding) and now we have 2 6-volt batteries in series just like yours.

    The next upgrade (to solar panels) will take some saving up first.

    Anyway,thanks for inspiring us!

    • Reply Leigh January 18, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      Oooh I’m jealous of those LED’s!! Great news about the battery box, looking forward to boondocking together one of these days!

  • Reply Kathryn June 10, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Saw the note on the Airstream discussion group about the Marlene gel from Lee, so ordered it quickly for our summer camping, so it’s on it’s way. But now I see you made note here that you would prefer going more amber? Too late to cancel my order, but perhaps I’ll be so happy about softening that dreadful hospital look that I won’t feel a further improvement was possible!

    • Reply Leigh June 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Kathryn, we still don’t really use the overhead lights. We just discovered these have amazing light, so we replaced over our table:

      http://www.homedepot.com/p/Sylvania-LED-Silver-Wireless-Linear-Task-Light-72476/203109734

      Also, kind of awesome for boodocking since they’re battery powered.

      • Reply Kathryn July 24, 2015 at 2:33 pm

        Hi again, I have my light gel sheets and just went in to take a light rim off to insert a circle of gel. But the whole fixture came down, not just the rim. There isn’t anything in my manual about the lights. Can anyone help me on this?

        • Reply Leigh July 25, 2015 at 8:17 am

          Hi Kathryn, did you pull down the ring right around the light or the entire light? With our lights, there’s a little ring right around the light that i can get my fingernails under. That’s what we pulled off to add the gels.

  • Reply Kathryn July 26, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Hi Leigh…Wish I could post a picture here. I have a picture of mine, but I don’t see any way to send it via this reply. If you would email me, I could send you a picture of my light and see if it’s the same as yours. No matter how firmly I’ve tried to get a super thin metal nail file around the first metal ring around the light, it doesn’t appear to be separate ring at all and won’t separate from the next two rings of metal that comprise each of the ceiling light fixtures. My email address is kathrynjbowler@gmail.com. I guess in the worst case scenario, I could cut super perfect rings of the gel, and spray adhesive them on but I’d never be able to get the finish I was hoping for. Thanks a lot for helping me!

  • Reply MB Warner August 18, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    I really want to thank you for this post even though it’s years later. We bought a 2018 flying cloud thinking we could just pop out the white 6500K bulbs(like in the old days and replace with warm LEDs)we were horrified to find out that wasn’t the case.
    I ordered 5 sheets of gel in different tones from the stagelightingstore.com – I ended up using their Roscolux 09 Pale Amber Gold in all of my lights(did not have to double the gel it’s perfect with only one layer). WOW! Problem solved for $6.99 and a little shipping.
    Your post is worth its weight in gold.
    Thank you so much for making my airstream livable
    MB & Jim

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