Lighting project

Discussion in 'KK General Discussion' started by lfhoward, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    Hey Jeepers,

    Someday (hopefully soon) I’ll be able to spend some quality time with Jeepy and accomplish a project that’s been on my back burner. That is... off road lighting!

    I now have a great steel roof rack with light tabs on my Jeep, fabricated by AtTheHelm.

    [​IMG]

    And I have LED lights to go on said rack.

    Front:
    [​IMG]

    Rears:
    [​IMG]

    They came with wiring harnesses, and I got a pair of matching switches:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The roof rack is now on the Jeep and it’s great.
    [​IMG]

    Next is the lights. I’ll install the rears first, because they will be backup lights for camping (whenever it’s ok to camp again). These are the steps I plan to take next:

    - Test the lights on the bench with a 12 volt battery (done)
    - Replace the switches in the wiring harnesses with the new (done)
    - Measure the length of the wiring I’ll need in the Jeep to go from the battery to the switches, and to the lights. (I plan to take the rear harness underneath the interior trim and out from behind a tail light, up to the lights in the tailgate area. The front wiring will go up behind the windshield’s plastic trim.)
    - Extend length of wiring harnesses as needed
    - Test fit the wiring, install switches on center console
    - Install the lighting on the roof rack, and connect the wires
    - Zip tie & secure wiring, run inside black plastic conduit
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
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  2. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Good start
    at least your light bar will be back far enough , should be better than up near windshield
     
  3. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    ATH designed his rack that way specifically I think. It shouldn’t reflect off the hood and night blind me.

    The trick will be keeping the lights from disappearing from my Jeep as I live in the city and park on the street. They’re not Rigid or Baja Designs or anything that special, but it would still suck if they got stolen. I am thinking about making them easily detachable and only putting them onto the Jeep when I plan to go camping or off-roading. I got lights that at least have waterproof pigtail connectors so they can be uncoupled when needed. I also got “security screws” that I can undo with a special Allen key. Anyhow, the Jeep wouldn’t look as cool on a daily basis with them off but I’d still have my lights.
     
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  4. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  5. LibertyTC

    LibertyTC Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    [​IMG]
     
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  6. tommudd

    tommudd Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    But if they happen to see a sucker or candy bar on the seat, they may just try to get it
     
  7. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    These days if thieves see hand sanitizer or chlorox wipes, they'll bust your windows for them.
     
  8. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    Ok, back to the topic at hand: off road lighting!

    The lights and harnesses check out on the bench. I am going to have to do some modifications of the wiring harnesses, though.

    Here are the rear pods. These things are bright!

    [​IMG]

    The harness for the rear lights isn’t long enough from the on/off switch to the lights (center console to rear of the roof rack). I’ll need to splice in probably 5 feet of wire. It’s 16 gauge, so at 25 feet we could be looking at a bit of voltage drop (see chart below).

    [​IMG]

    However, the LED’s measure about 4 amps of current once they are warmed up. This is probably still ok for the length of wire I’ll have. (Keep in mind that 25 feet of wire from the battery to the light is actually 50 feet because electrons do a round trip.)

    Rear light amps:
    [​IMG]

    It’s weird that the wiring harness came with a 30 amp fuse and a 10 amp switch. :eek: That’s a recipe for a fire if I ever saw one. I’m going to use a 10 amp fuse and my switch is rated at 40 amps. To those of you who do electrical work— would you worry about having a relay with only 4 amps of draw? The light manufacturer did not bother with a relay. o_O

    Now to the front light bar. The dang thing is bright too. This photo doesn’t really do it justice.

    [​IMG]

    The wiring harness is plenty long from the battery to the light bar, but too short for the run to my switch on the center console. I’m going to have to splice in some wire there, but there is hardly any current to worry about for the switch since the harness has a relay.

    I read that 40 inch light bars draw about 17-20 amps, which is too much for my multimeter to test. There is a 30 amp inline fuse and 14 gauge wiring. It is definitely drawing some current because my poor little bench battery out of an APC power supply went from 13 volts fully charged down to 9.5 volts with the lightbar on! Granted, this is a little battery with not much juice in it, but that seems like a significant load. I won’t want to run the lightbar for long with the Jeep’s engine off, that’s for sure. :confused:

    Off:
    [​IMG]

    On:
    [​IMG]

    Anyhow, looking forward to doing this project. It will be my reward for making it through this crazy semester and grading all my final exams. :)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
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  9. Billwill

    Billwill Full Access Member

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    Yeah for 4 Amps draw a relay is should not be needed but for the Light bar looks like you will need a large relay.

    I see your meter can go up to 10 A....this usually is marked as "fused" ie. there is a fuse inside the meter! If you are wary of trying to measure current higher than 10 A and maybe damaging the meter then add a fuse of 5A or 8A in series with the meter lead so that should blow before the meter 10 A fuse can get a chance to blow to protect the meter.

    Or try borrow another meter.
    Or fit a relay in any case!

    If the amps drawn are anywhere near to 8 amps I would fit a relay!;)
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
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  10. lfhoward

    lfhoward Full Access Member

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    I did some measuring on the Jeep to estimate the length of wire runs I’ll need to install the lights. For each length I overestimated slightly to give myself a margin of error. I’m writing the measurements down here so I don’t lose them.

    For the rear light pods, starting on the roof and ending under the dash at my DIY fuse block:
    20” bracket to center of roof rack -16” for existing lines to light pods
    24” center to side of roof rack
    10” roof rack to back of roof
    24” roof to top of tail light
    36” tail light to rear door
    36” rear of rear door to bottom of door
    70” to front of front door
    24” to top of glove box
    32” to center of dash
    24” to switch on center console
    To battery
    24” to center of dash
    32” to fuse panel under dash

    For the front light bar
    34” cord on light bar, loop back on itself & affix to rack
    6” center of bracket to side of rack
    32” rack to top of windshield
    30” to engine compartment
    36” to battery

    Does anyone know how to remove the side trim on the windshield without breaking it? I see a push button clip at the base but don’t know what holds the long thin part in place:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2020
  11. profdlp

    profdlp On The Ledge

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    Great looking setup. Can't wait to see the final result.

    As for the potential thieves, I've always wondered at the possibility of spot welding the stuff on there. Of course, the nitwits would probably just break everything trying...