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Old 09-10-2012, 04:22 PM   #1
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Final checklist for adding aux lights to rear.

Ok, so I've got my lights to add to the rear bumper. They're 37.5 watts each, so I've got a 30 amp relay and a 20 amp DPST switch. If everything I've read is correct:

I ground the lights at the rear,
Run the lead for the lights to the center tab of the switch,
Run the REVERSE wire to the lower tab of the switch,
Run the 12v lead fr the relay to the top tab of the switch.

The relay gets run from the battery in,
Then out to the switch,
And then it gets ground too.


Did I miss anything in this, or am I good to begin my install?

Thanks All!!

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Old 09-10-2012, 07:14 PM   #2
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I’m not sure how you want this to work but you need 4 wires to the relay & probably 2 to the switch unless there is lighting in the switch. Google “understanding relays” or explain in more detail how you are intending to use the lights (when in reverse, only with a switch, off when key is off, not affected by key on or off, etc).
For certain the power to the lights has to come from the relay, not the switch. I don’t know what you are referring to by the “REVERSE wire”.

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Old 09-13-2012, 05:43 PM   #3
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The reverse wire, the wire that I will run to one of the 2 positions on the DPST switch. In order to use the lights WITH my reverse lights, the actual wire going to the reverse lights has to be joined at one of the two tabs on the switch.

The lights themselves need to connect to the center position on the switch so that they can operate with my reverse lights OR manual control.

This is correct, unless I've missed something right? On a DPST switch, lights go to center tab, power to the other two tabs, yeah?
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Old 09-13-2012, 06:30 PM   #4
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Yep connect the light to center tab but what you need is a SPDT switch. The light can be powered by the normal Reverse wiring or a separate 12v source of power with a SPDT switch. Those two sources of power go to the two outside lugs. No need to switch the ground so no need for a DPDT switch.
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Old 09-13-2012, 06:43 PM   #5
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OK, I got it. You want to pick up power from the factory back up lights for one switch position & a B+ (hot all the time) wire for the other position. Then have the center wire go to the new lights, Right? But then the relay you mentioned is not part of the circuit, or at least not where it needs to be. It sounds like you may be powering the switch from a relay but that’s not how it needs to be done. All the power for the lights goes through the switch. That’s OK if the wire is heavy gauge for the power draw of the new lights, same for the switch.

The purpose of a relay is to have the high amp draw of a load (your new lights in this case) go through the relay & only a small load through the switch. Without a relay properly placed in the circuit the new lights will be drawing full power from the existing factory back up light wiring in addition to the load of the factory back up lights then the new light’s load through the switch. The switch may be up to it but not necessarily the factory wiring.

The way to do this is to is to have a properly sized wire running from the battery with an in line fuse to the #30 terminal of the relay, then an equally sized wire from the #87 relay terminal to the new lights. Run a small gauge (probably 16g) ground wire to the #85 terminal & a same size wire from the #86 terminal to the center of your switch. Now wire the other 2 switch terminals as you planned. That way, in switch position #1 the relay will only close (& turn the new lights on) when in reverse, in the position #2 the relay will keep the new lights on all the time. If you want the lights to go off with the key off in position #2, then use a switched power source to the switch rather than a B+ source.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-13-2012, 07:21 PM   #6
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A relay is the recommended way to power the lights from the Reverse wiring side of things. The Reverse light wiring isn't capable of proving much extra current for a big auxilliary light. The Reverse light wiring should be used instead to trigger the relay.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:54 PM   #7
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Ok. This makes much better sense now, thank you guys!!

One last question, the reverse lights triggering the relay, sounds like a very good idea. But, will the switch still work the lights without reverse when I need it to? And will that have any negative effect?
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:54 PM   #8
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Yes, the way I said to, it will. In the 1st position the power tapped from the existing back up lights is connected to the #86 terminal which closes the relay & lights on. When not in reverse the lights are off. Then when you move the switch to the other position the battery powered wire connects to the #86 terminal & lights go on no matter what gear the trans is in.

That depends on the switch having 3 terminals, 2 positions. Top & middle connected in one position & bottom & middle connected in the other. Make sure that is what you have & it’ll work as you want it to.
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:10 PM   #9
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Ok! Got the right switch now!! On/off/on and it's a 20 amp.

I'm going to tap one end into the 12v from the ignition, probably cigarette lighter actually (it never gets used). This way, they can't go on without the key in the ignition.

Can someone tell me where the easiest/best place to tap the reverse wire from for the second position?
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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i just tapped mine directly into the reverse lights and my lights are 55W each....haven't had any issue
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:23 PM   #11
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if you open up the tail light, there is a sleeve that runs out and down to the plug connector, i just fed my wires up through that sleeve and into the tail light housing. i have my lights grounded inside the housing too

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