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YHSublime 09-02-2011 09:09 PM

Lightbar/electrical noob
So I just picked up this lightbar on Craigslist. Did a little searching around the forum, but was wondering if anybody could give me some help for this particular setup.

I'm not even sure if I want to keep it anymore, but I'll see how it looks when I put it on. I didn't closely inspect the lightbar, which is starting to rust a little bit, so I want to sand everything down and I'll probably upol it back to life.

There are only three cords running out of it, I didn't want to take the centerbar apart to see how it was wired. If I wanted to test the lights and make sure they work off a battery, how would I go about that?

In terms of wiring it, it looks like i've only got 3 wires to worry about, not sure what they are, positive, negative, and the switch maybe? Also, in terms of running it, how do you, others, whomever, run the wires for the lights to inside the dash to the switch if they start on the outside? Would rather not drill metal if I'm not going to keep em'.

i should mention that I would like them all to turn on at the same time, not hooked up to different switches, also that the casing says
KC Hilites 4213 6" Long Range Reflector

I believe that is just for the casing though, not the bulbs? I don't know how to figure out my wattage.

Also, I already have a set wired off the battery from PO that are 130Watt (two of them)

Also, what gauge wire should I be using for this?

Thanks in advance for the help!

AlanRose1 09-03-2011 12:21 PM

I have this setup but mine is a little different, I have four lights but each pair runs into only two wires, a pos and neg, so the two lights link together. In your case I think you might be right, you have a pos, neg, and switch, and all four lights are linked into those three wires. and if I am correct and yours are like mine, if you dont like the brightness you could just get higher wattage bulbs, I found 150 watt bulbs for 10 bucks each

And to hook it up to the battery you need to figure out which is pos and negative and hook it straight to the battery sourse, and if the wires arent long enough just add wire. I am not sure about the guage size.

also, idk if you have your fog lights still, but I just tapped my wires into my fog light wires and use that switch, and after bending the fog light relay prong you can use your brights and the extra lights at the same time

I hope this helps a little bit, I am sure there are guys who can tell you a lot more.

Shelby427 09-03-2011 07:10 PM

If you have three wires running in the tube, the PO had the lamps wired up to two different switches, or was wired with one switch turning on two relays to feed the lamps. Black would be the ground for all of em, red for power on two, and yellow for power on the other two.

Take a look at the wires at the lamps themselves. You should find two connected to the red wire, two connected to the yellow wire, and all of them connected to the black wire. No other reason that I can think of for running three wires.

To check for sure, use a multi meter set to ohms. Unplug the bulbs from the lamps.
Then connect one lead from the meter to each of red/yellow wires and I bet you'll find two sockets are connected to each wire, and all to the black one.

If so, just touch the back to negative, and one of the others to positive on your battery. Two should light up. Hook up the other wire to positive and all four will be on.

Watts= volts x amps. So if you know your voltage, and can read the amp draw for one lamp you can figure out the watts of it. Like this: if your battery is reading 12 volts, and the light draws 10 amps, you have a 120 watt lamp.

Now then if one lamp is drawing 10 amps, you'll need a feed wire to power em all, that will handle 40 amps, (4 lamps x 10 amps each) I'd be going 10 gauge, as you also have a long run from the feed to the lamps.

I'd also say go with two relays to feed the lamps. Then each wire from the relay would only have to carry half the amps, so you could drop to a 12 or 14 gauge wire for each pair of lamps.

As for running the wires, for a temp set up, if you have a soft top, you could put the wires inside a hard plastic conduit, and slip it between the door and roof opening.

If you go permanent, be best just to drill a hole in the side of the cowl, use a grommet and seal it after the wires are run.

AlanRose1 09-03-2011 07:15 PM

Listen to this guy ^^^ not me lol

YHSublime 09-04-2011 01:35 PM

Thanks fellas, gonna look it over today, see what i can work out.

YHSublime 09-04-2011 09:41 PM

So when I touch red to positive, yellow to negative, they (all four) turn on. I just used my fishing trolling battery to check it out. Like I said, this is all new to me, so please bear with my questions. I'm not really familiar with what a relay is (would that be the switch?) I'm not really sure how the switch works. The only part I can figure out at the moment is positive to positive, and negative to negative, unless the ground attaches to the switch?

Shelby427 09-05-2011 01:15 PM

Lordy I have no idea what the heck the PO was doing when he wired up the lamps.

If red is hooked to power and yellow is hooked to ground, then why the heck does he have a black wire too?

Me, I'd tie strings to the wires and pull the lights off seeing what the heck was wired to what. They are simple two wire lamps at best, and in some cases if the bar is grounded properly you would only need a single wire to power them, as the other lamp wire could be attached to the bar itself for grounding.

Normally and for safety sake, you use a relay as it can handle a higher amperage load then a "standard" toggle switch will. You use the switch to turn on the relay.

I would really like to see what you find when you pull those lamps off and see where those wires go to. Oh and tying the strings to em, lets you be able to pull the wires back down through the tube, instead of trying to push em back through.

A standard on/off switch only carries 1/2 of a circuit for a lamp, normally power, either direct to the lamp, or as mentioned before, to a relay. That's it.

On a lighted on/off switch, it does the same thing, but has a jumper connection, on the power out side, to light up the indicator lamp. That's it.

There is no reason to have three wires running up to the lamps, if powering one and grounding one makes the lamps work.

Lastly basic automotive wiring is usually done black as a ground, colored wire as power. Not so on boats or trailers, or late model vehicles, but that's a whole nother story.

YHSublime 09-05-2011 08:09 PM

Shelby, I think there was a misunderstanding from my post. The yellow isn't ground, the black wire is indeed the ground. I took the yellow and put it on the negative terminal, and I took the red, and put it on the positive terminal. This is with the black wire not touching anything (not grounded.) With just the yellow and red wires on the positive and negative, all four of the lights turned on.

Shelby427 09-06-2011 09:24 AM

NO I gotcha on that. And yes the way you hooked up the wires, yellow became the ground. Negative or ground, different names for the same thing.

When you hooked up the wires, red to positive (power) and yellow to negative (ground) on your battery you made a complete circuit. That's all that is needed to light the bulb(s).

Two wires, one for power (positive) one for ground (negative). There is no need for a third wire in any way shape or form.

sparky 09-06-2011 11:08 AM


Originally Posted by YHSublime (Post 1542853)
Shelby, I think there was a misunderstanding from my post. The yellow isn't ground, the black wire is indeed the ground. I took the yellow and put it on the negative terminal, and I took the red, and put it on the positive terminal. This is with the black wire not touching anything (not grounded.) With just the yellow and red wires on the positive and negative, all four of the lights turned on.

If they are wired as Shelby stated, and that's likely - it's a logical setup, then both pairs have a common connection through the black wire. Red to pos & yel to neg, puts both sets in series and they will light, but they are probably not too bright.

Try as stated above, black to neg and either red or yellow to pos, you should get just two lite, and much brighter.

YHSublime 09-06-2011 09:35 PM

Ah, you learn something new everyday. I did not know that negative and ground were the same thing! I will take a peek tomorrow, as I can't get into my garage at the moment, and it's raining. Thanks for all the help thus far!

YHSublime 09-15-2011 07:25 PM

Alright, so was able to go check it out again today. Shelby, you're correct, the black to negative, and the red was the outer two lights, yellow inside two. So how do I go about wiring this bad boy up?

Shelby427 09-15-2011 11:03 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Since you want all lights to come on at the same time, do it this way.

Single switch with an indicator lamp. It triggers a pair of relays to your lamps.
One relay powers the red wire, other relay powers the yellow wire. Black wire runs to ground/negative.

Here you go, a simple diagram. I would suggest 14 gauge wire for all leads, EXCEPT the power from the battery to the relays, and relays to the lamps.
There use at least 10 gauge.

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