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Benefits of Bi-Color Lighting for Your Van or RV

Benefits of Bi-Color Lighting for Your Van or RV

Author: Conrad Taylor/Wednesday, June 9, 2021/Categories: Overland Van/RV

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Why would I want bi-color lights in my van?

At Imtra we have a focus on the boating market, and it’s very common for boaters to have red/white bi-color lighting in their boats. The reason is that white lights have a tendency to impair your night vision which can be a problem when trying to safely navigate your boat at night if you’ve just used a white light to review a chart or find a snack. Red lighting, however, will not impair your night vision, so you can carry out a task with the red light then walk outside and retain your night vision.  The same thing applies to Vanlife.  Ever wake up in the middle of the night in the dark wilderness when nature calls? If you turned on the white lights in the van before heading out you likely felt blind as you stumbled outside into the darkness or had to grab a headlamp.  Prepping coffee/breakfast in the van before a pre-dawn adventure? Turn on the red lights to retain your night vision!  You’ll find the red lighting to be a huge benefit in all of these situations and more, not to mention that they also look pretty cool!


What are my options for bi-color lighting?

Just about all of our standard downlights, both our own brand and BCM lights, are offered in a bi-color option with the most common being a warm white and red combination.  A few of our more popular models for screw mounted bi-color downlights include the IML Tide PowerLED or BCM Orlando.  If you prefer spring mount check out our IML Blade or BCM Malibu. We also offer some bi-color utility light options such as our F-28 which are perfect for the garage area of your van.

How do I wire bi-color lights?

Depending on which brand you choose, we have 3-wire and 4-wire bi-color light fixtures.  Our IML house brand is a 3-wire set up where you have a shared (-) and then a (+) for white and (+) for red.  Our BCM range features a 4-wire setup with a (-/+) for white and a separate (-/+) for red.  You can combine the (-) leads on the BCM fixture and operate it just like the IML 3-wire setup as well.  A simple installation typically includes a 3-way switch for white/off/red.


Is it possible to dim both circuits on a bi-color light?

Absolutely! Depending on which brand you choose, we offer a few different dimming modules which can be paired with our VIMAR momentary switches or a control of your choice.  When installing a 3-wire IML bi-color fixture we recommend our dual-channel PowerLED dimmer.  This can be used with a single momentary switch to control red/white/dimming (you’ll need one dimmer module per zone).  When installing a 4-wire BCM bi-color fixture we recommend using our DMS-500 dimmer paired with a momentary switch for on/off/dimming and a 3-way switch to toggle between white and red.

What are my options for bi-color reading lights?

The F-4 is a popular choice with its flexible gooseneck and touch operated bi-color function.  It’s available in a table mount or bulkhead mount with a 12” or 20” length gooseneck.  It also features a small red nightlight which makes it easy to locate in the dark. 

What are my options for bi-color lighting in the garage area of my van?

The F-28 from Frensch is a popular option for bi-color lighting in the garage area.  Whether you need some lighting in your utility spaces or for stowing your toys in the back, the F-28 is the perfect solution.  This high output, low-profile LED utility light is also IP67 making it suitable for exposed/wet areas.  

For more info on lighting for your vehicle, check out our previous article about how to add accent lighting to your van!



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