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Help with wiring, 12v supply, fuse block

This is a discussion on Help with wiring, 12v supply, fuse block within the Audio, Lighting and Electrical forums, part of the General Discussions category; I'm about to start an install of an LED lightbar, a dome light, and a lighted whip. I bought lighted rocker switches (the ones available ...

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    Pit Stop
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    Help with wiring, 12v supply, fuse block

    I'm about to start an install of an LED lightbar, a dome light, and a lighted whip. I bought lighted rocker switches (the ones available on Amazon like pretty much everyone uses these days..... "sasquatch lights" and such). I bought a little switch panel to mount in the area under the display panel, like everyone else. Heres what Im trying to accomplish...

    I want the light bar and the lighted whip to be available only when when the key is on, but the dome light will need to work without the key on. I want all the lighted switches to light only when the headlight switch is on, typical of dash lights.

    I'm guessing most of you are pulling power straight from the battery for your fuse blocks. But what about key switched power? Seems like a fuse block can be powered by either constant power or key switched power, but not both?

    And where do relays come into play with all this stuff?

    I've always been lost on wiring and relays and stuff so any help would be fantastic. Thanks!!

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    Sparky Jraoffroad's Avatar
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    We need a pic of the fuse block you bought.

    You'll need a relay for keyed power. Switch lights will need to be power off the tail light circuit.
    Good judgment comes from experience, most of which comes from bad judgement

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    Quote Originally Posted by ErikTheRed View Post
    I want all the lighted switches to light only when the headlight switch is on, typical of dash lights.
    Everything you are wanting to do can be done as you are wanting, but before you get started I suggest rethinking having your switches powered only when your stock headlights are on, because this would require tapping into the existing headlight circuit. Better to power them from the aux. power/cigarette lighter circuit, it is on a 10 amp circuit all by itself. Here's why, when you start tapping into existing circuits for things such as headlights, ignition key, fan, fuel pump, etc. these are all things that can leave you stranded out on the trail if something in your accessory shorts out or the wiring to your accessory rubs enough to short out and blows a fuse, no fun trying to troubleshoot an electrical problem out on the trail, especially in the dark. If you start blowing fuses in the aux. power circuit at least it won't strand you and you can continue your ride, night or day.

    Here's a good example. Friend went to use a portable air compressor while out on the trail, plugged in his SxS, did not work, plugged in my SxS still didn't work, now notice my tablet/GPS does not nave power, find out aux. power circuit fuse blown in both SxSs. Since previous ride, unknowingly compressor had shorted out. No big deal since we could unplug compressor and replace fuse and good to go. With the conditions we ride in all electrical items are exposed to harsh environments, even a switch can short out from breakage or mud/water and that could be difficult to troubleshoot in the dark and if it is tied into your headlight circuit your without any headlights.
    Last edited by PapaSkeeta; 07-16-2019 at 08:36 AM.
    jimclemjr likes this.
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    Silver Bullet jimclemjr's Avatar
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    A relay is just an electrical switch. It has a magnet which will pull a plunger to make a connection. the magnet does not take much power. So a small switch using just a couple watts can turn on a big load switch of 100s of watts. Most auto relays actually have a little circuit diagram on them to show you which terminals are the big load and which are the switch (magnet) terminals. It is just a switch and does not do any circuit protection to break the flow of the electricity. Hope this helps. The key switch on our UTV with a little wire, turns on a bunch of little magnets (in the relay bank) to send all the power to everything else.
    Electricity, especially DC like in a car is really simple, the power flows out from the battery plus terminal thru a protective device (fuse or circuit breaker) and down the wire, typically a red wire or another color to decipher a given circuit, and controlled by the switch to the device. The power has to flow back to the battery negative terminal to complete the circuit and flow the energy. The return wire is typically a black wire, a GROUND wire. Sometimes in a car/utv, the power going back to the battery from the device, can go thru the metal frame instead of a wire. And that is basically called grounding. So a lot of black wire can be omitted if the frame is Grounded back to the battery at the Black negative pole. However in our case since a lot of our frame sections are bolted together, they are not reliable electrical connections so its best to run the black wire back to source.
    Keep it simple and arranged wires, it not only looks good, it is easier to trace down problems and redo stuff later. The water, dirt and movement in a vehicle, especially off road stuff, will rub wire insulation off and create a lot of problems. Use Tape and zip-ties! So make sure wires are isolated from sharp corners and pinch points and you do not pull them hard to break the internal strands.
    Hope this helps.
    erik likes this.
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    Check out the sticky thread for this with the Yamaha Harness. You might find some good info there.

    Sent from my moto e5 play using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaSkeeta View Post
    Everything you are wanting to do can be done as you are wanting, but before you get started I suggest rethinking having your switches powered only when your stock headlights are on, because this would require tapping into the existing headlight circuit. Better to power them from the aux. power/cigarette lighter circuit, it is on a 10 amp circuit all by itself.
    All excellent advice my friend (your whole reply), I agree completely. But just to make sure I asked my question correctly, let me be clear: The switches I bought are all lighted switches, meaning the text and graphics on the face of the swithces illuminates when the headlight switch is on, even if the switches themselves are off. Obviously this is to easily identify the switches when riding at night. When you say "power the switches" from the 12v aux circuit, do you mean only to provide power for the lights within the switches from that circuit? Because if I use this source to illuminate the switches Im assuming they will be illuminated at all times when the key is on, having nothing to do with the headlight switch. The only part of this system I want to tie into a headlight switch controlled circuit is the actual illumination of the switches. All of the actual POWER for the relays and the accessories (dome light, whip, light bar) will come from the fuse block, which will get power directly from a key switched power source capable of the potential load. Can I use the 12v aux power source to power my fuse block, or will I be drawing too much power through that circuit if using all my accessories? For example, I may have my GPS unit plugged into the cig socket, my LED lightbar on, and the powered whip on, all at the same time. Can the aux circuit typically handle all of this? If not the 12v aux circuit, is there another key switched option that is up to the task? Id rather not go direct to the battery for any of it as I'm surely the dolt who will leave something switched on and zap the battery.
    Last edited by ErikTheRed; 07-17-2019 at 01:47 AM.

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    I think I just answered my own dumb question with a quick YouTube video on how to wire the 5-pin lighted rocker switch to accomplish what I want to accomplish. The bottom right pin on the back of the switch is the illumination pin. If I tap into a headlight/taillight/dash light wire using a simple clamp-type wire tap, I can then daisy-chain that lead from switch to switch to switch and provide headlight-switch controlled illumination to each switch without anything to do with the actual relay/accessory power circuit. Ok cool. But my other question is still one that needs an answer-- where are you guys pulling 12v key-switched power from to run your accessory fuse block?

    I'm pretty sure I'm WAY over-complicating this crap, as I usually do.

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    Veteran erik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ErikTheRed View Post
    where are you guys pulling 12v key-switched power from to run your accessory fuse block?
    I forgot who suggested it first, but the green 'remember your helmet light' works great for keyed power (using that one for my temp gauge). Honestly, I'd just make your life easier and use that for the backlighting of your switches too, forget about the head lights, but to each their own.

    There are MANY ways to skin this cat... I have my blue sky fuse block wired direct to battery (so everything works regardless of keyed power) and the back lights only turn on when the lights are activated. I only have 3 switches (reverse, stereo, front light bar) so I know where they are and don't need them lit up, and I know if they are lit up they are on. All 3 work off relays, because the switches aren't really designed for switching larger loads (they will work, but it's just not really the proper way to do it). Relays are your friend, watch some videos get comfortable with them, they aren't too complicated once you get your head around it.

    Good luck, and continue to ask questions if you need a hand!
    Last edited by erik; 07-17-2019 at 11:02 AM.
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    To simplify your thinking about the switch just think of the switch as having only (2) terminals: (+) in and (+) out; the other 3 pins/terminals are for the internal LED lights in the switch itself. Assuming your switch is wired internally like most of the other inexpensive 5 pin switches sold on Amazon and ebay. The bottom half lighted part of the switch is “Independent” meaning that the lower light in the switch can be controlled/made to come on independently of whether the switch is turned on or off. The top half lighted part of the switch is only lighted when the switch is turned on, (dependent on the switch being in the “On” position, this is how most 5 pin switches are wired internally).

    Yes, you can directly wire the (+) for the bottom light in the switch to the (+) Out on the back of your headlight switch on the dash. This will only have the bottom half of your switch lighted when your stock headlight switch is turned on, AND you can still turn on your switches for your whip lights and your LED light bar without the OEM headlight switch being on BUT the lower half of your switches will not be lit even though the whip light and light bar are on, and in this situation the top half of the switch will be lighted but not the bottom half. You may find on occasion that you only want to run the LED light bar and not the dim OEM headlights. I have friends who run their color changing Whip lights 100% of the time.

    If you decide to power the internal light in the switches from the aux. power circuit instead of the headlight circuit you really don’t notice the bottom half of the switch being lighted in the daytime and the light in the switch pulls such a very very small amount of current that the current draw is irrelevant and the switch’s internal light is probably rated for around 30,000 hours. It would be a simple change to move just 1 (+) wire to a different keyed power source for the switch’s bottom light, when the 3 switch’s internal lights are all daisy-chained together, if you decide to change it later.

    To effectively utilize the fuses in your fuse block you need to wire the fuse block directly to your battery; if you don’t do this then you are limiting your current (amps) by the fuse rating for the keyed power source you tapped in to. There is another option here: you can use an additional switch, in-line fuse, and relay to send power to the fuse block, making the fuse block powered with key-on, but this is getting more involved (over-kill) and not really necessary. It would be like having a “Master Switch” for all your accessories.

    While you have everything apart to do all of this wiring, it would be a good time to add a USB dual port/switch to power your GPS or charge your phone instead of having to use the 12v receptacle. You could power it directly from the Aux. power circuit without having to use a switch or relay.

    I made a very crude drawing of 1 way you can accomplish what you are wanting. It is a little more involved using the OEM Headlight Switch to power the bottom internal light in the 3 switches than just using the 12v Aux. power receptacle (+) wire to power both the switch (in) power and the internal switch light, daisy-chaining everything together except for the (+) (in) for the Dome light switch since you want it to be powered with key off. Having the Dome light powered even when the Key is off is very useful (I have mine this way) it allows you to see to find your key and start machine in pitch black conditions and/or have the inside light on to do anything without anything else on. Depending on the size of LED light bar you are using, you may want to run the (-) wire from the Light Bar (by itself) back to the fuse block and not tie it in with the Whip light and Dome light as I show in the drawing, but there is no reason not to tie the Whip Light and Dome light (-) wires together and have 1 (-) wire run back to the fuse block for both of them.

    Here is a chart for determining wire gauge size I like, because you can compare wire length runs for devices that have non-critical (10%) and critical (3%) voltage drops to see the difference. With some lights a 10% voltage drop may affect the brightness of the light. Also, remember that when determining the correct size of wire to use you add the length of both the (+) wire and (-) wire together to determine the correct gauge of wire for the device. Ex. If the (+) wire to the light bar is 8 ft. long and the (-) wire to the light bar is 6 ft. long back to ground, then your effective length for determining the correct wire size to use is 14 ft.
    https://www.bluesea.com/resources/1437

    Hope I haven’t made things more confusing.

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    Last edited by PapaSkeeta; 07-17-2019 at 07:57 PM.
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    Thanks again Papaskeeta!! That is actually very helpful, and yeah, I totally see what you're saying about the headlight switch power vs just using the aux power for the internal switch lights. So if I only use the aux power for the switch lights, can I daisy-chain ALL the internal switch light pins (both pins on each switch) off that one wire? I also notice that your "crude" (but actually quite clear) wiring diagram does not show the use of a relay for the dome light. Is this because the dome light is of such low amp draw that a relay isn't necessary?

    My fuse blcok is just a simple 6-way fuse block I ordered on Amazon, but I did not get the grounded negative bus as you show in the diagram (I should have), so instead I guess I'll be needing to find a common ground for everything. Probably use the neg batt terminal I suppose.

    Whats your opinion on the clamp-type wire taps for tapping into a circuit? I've never really trusted them, preferring instead to cut the supply circuit wire and join the connections with a wire nut and tape. But those clamp wire taps are so much easier!

    Very cool of you to take the time to make that diagram. Most people wouldn't. I'll be using it tomorrow to hopefully get all this stuff hooked up. Big 4-day ride coming up next week and hope to have 'er ready to go!
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