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2017 Jeep Wrangler JKU
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I’m looking to add this switch panel (25 amp, 12V rated from Summit Racing Summit Racing SUM-830810 Summit Racing® Switch Panels | Summit Racing) to control lights.
The first accessory will be an 8 piece rock light kit purchased from Amazon. (Max 14.4 watt, DC 12V, wire is fused.)

Currently my JK has relatively few accessories: subwoofer with built in amp, aftermarket stereo.

I’m not really too experienced with putting together circuits I’ve planned on my own so I wanted to get some guidance on this project.

Could anyone give me a rundown on how to wire these things together or send a link to some resources, please? I’m mainly concerned about how to power the switch panel and whether or now I’ll need relays or extra fuses for the panel or the lights.
Thank you in advance!
 

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2012 JK Unlimited Rubicon
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407 Posts
Generally, you want to use something similar to this (example only). It connects directly to the battery and distributes power through a fuse and relay to each circuit, each circuit being a separate accessory. You will then connect your switch panel to each associated relay, making it 'switched' power. The relay box is good because you just wire future accessories to an open circuit at the box, it uses less power and it prevents having a nest of wires tapped in to your battery terminals.

My understanding is fairly rudimentary and I hardly consider myself an authority. I chose an expensive aftermarket option (sPod), but it did come with some nice features, like low voltage cutoff, prewired snake with 6-switch panel, sleek design. It can be done for much cheaper I believe.

While not necessary, relays and fuses are cleaner approach. they're also good practice against those electrical gremlins.
 

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2017 JKUR Stock drivetrain
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Let your fingers work the keyboard and do an online search on how to wire accessories on a vehicle. There are tons of sites that will help you understand how to do the job you want to do. You don't have to use a relay for each circuit, however it will let you use smaller wire going to the switch. A relay is an electrically operated switch. Read up on them the are pretty simple. A fuse is mandatory both for safety and function. Looking at what you want to install I would use relays and maybe one of these types of switch panels. You can find them in many places and at different prices.

Amazon.com: ALAVENTE Left A Pillar Switch Pod Panel + 4 Rocker Switches for Jeep Wrangler 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 JK/JKU (Driver Side)… : Automotive

Amazon.com: Daystar, Jeep JK Wrangler A-Pillar Switch Pod, includes 4 Daystar, Rocker Switches, Black, fits 2007 to 2017 2/4WD, KJ71056BK, Made in America : Automotive

Amazon.com: Daystar, Jeep JK Wrangler Lower Switch Panel that will accommodate 1 to 5 rocker style switches, Black, fits 2011 to 2017 2/4WD automatic only, KJ71034BK, Made in America : Automotive

For the short story on wiring--
1. Wire the fuse in a handy spot close to the battery and run the other wire to the switch. From the switch run wire to the light. The light ground wire gets run to ground. Make sure the fuse and wire can handle the load the lights use. LED don't draw much, however some accessories draw a lot.
2. For a relay -- the wire from the fuse goes to the relay and the to the light. Then a smaller wire goes from power, with a small fuse, to the switch and then from the switch to the the relay control. The relay control ground goes to ground. This way you have power to the switch and when you flip the switch it make the relay switch on and you have lights.

It would take a lot of writing to help explain it better. That is why you should Google how to wire an automotive relay. They have line drawing that will help you understand better. I was taught sometimes it is easier to think of electrical power as a water in a hose. Water goes thru the hose (hot side) to power something and then after powering it up it needs to go back to the river (ground side). Good luck and with an hour or so of reading you should have no problem.
 

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The majority of wiring can be done without relays. Really anything under 10 to 15A. Using a wire gauge calculator for your load will confirm this. Your rock lights draw 1.2A so definitely no relay needed.

Another option that eliminates the bulky relay and fuse boxes is a solid state power distribution module. This is what I use and it’s about the size of a deck of cards.
 

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This is the route I went. There are several other manufactures with similar products at varied cost. I liked the simplicity of just adding accessory wires direct to a central protected box in the engine compartment. Once the box and switch panel are installed there is no splicing, crimping connectors, fuses, relays, or running wires inside the cab to the switch panel. Both the panel and box bolt into place and look clean. For the summit switch panel you will either have to cut a hole in something or fab a mounting bracket..


Another option that eliminates the bulky relay and fuse boxes is a solid state power distribution module. This is what I use and it’s about the size of a deck of cards.
This is intriguing. If I wasn't already set up this is an option I would research. Where did you mount the distribution module?
 

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This is intriguing. If I wasn't already set up this is an option I would research. Where did you mount the distribution module?
It’s mounted behind the glove box. Or more precisely, when the box is removed there is a small area right beneath it. I ran pretty decent gauge 12V and ground wires directly from the battery into the PDM. 12V is fused at the battery. I actually did quite a bit of thinking about whether it would be better in the engine compartment or inside the cab. I made a little diagram of everything I knew of that I wanted to power. The best place to mount it will depend on exactly what one intends to use it for. I already had a good deal of wiring going into the interior (lockers, bumper lights, ham radio) so that made the most sense.
 
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A lot of people are going to tell you that you have to have a relay for everything. They are wrong. While there's nothing at all wrong with using a relay on everything, now days with LED lights pulling nowhere near the amount of amperage that your grandpas KC lights were pulling, there really isnt a need. Pay attention to the draw you have on a circuit, and keep it under the rated amount of everything in the circuit and you should be good.
 

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I use this. I don't trust myself with electronics. Never learned much about the subject and regret it. But this is plug and play like the others, but YouTube and online reviews are better and at that $270 price point comes with electronic switches instead of rockers. Mounts cleanly and up out of the way without interfering with taking the freedom panels off.

 

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I use this. I don't trust myself with electronics. Never learned much about the subject and regret it. But this is plug and play like the others, but YouTube and online reviews are better and at that $270 price point comes with electronic switches instead of rockers. Mounts cleanly and up out of the way without interfering with taking the freedom panels off.
The only really frustrating part of owning my Jeep is spending time researching, purchasing, and installing only to come across something I like (or think I will like) 10x better. Thanks a lot USStrongman!!
 

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Hi everyone!

I’m looking to add this switch panel (25 amp, 12V rated from Summit Racing Summit Racing SUM-830810 Summit Racing® Switch Panels | Summit Racing) to control lights.
The first accessory will be an 8 piece rock light kit purchased from Amazon. (Max 14.4 watt, DC 12V, wire is fused.)

Currently my JK has relatively few accessories: subwoofer with built in amp, aftermarket stereo.

I’m not really too experienced with putting together circuits I’ve planned on my own so I wanted to get some guidance on this project.

Could anyone give me a rundown on how to wire these things together or send a link to some resources, please? I’m mainly concerned about how to power the switch panel and whether or now I’ll need relays or extra fuses for the panel or the lights.
Thank you in advance!
The switch rating on that panel you have selected is 25 amps for each toggle. Unless you plan on running something the drinks more than 25 amps, relays are a waste of money, and really an unnecessary additional circuit.

Relays allow you have a small amperage switch a bigger amperage, so if you were using mini toggle switches with a rating of 3 amps and you want to switch on/off a 25 amp spot light.... THEN... you would need a relay. Now there is an advantage in using relays so you don't have to run large gauge wires through the firewall. Use small gauge wires through the firewall to the toggles and have relays under the hood so the large gauge wires don't have to enter the cab... but judging by the stuff you want to connect up (your rock lights which drink up maybe 2 amps).... I wouldn't worry too much about "large" wires.

Fuses contrary to popular belief are about protecting the wiring, and not the items connected. Add up the total amperage you will need at the switch panel and use the proper gauged wire for that amperage, then use a proper sized fuse for that wire (wire/amp wires guides are there... use google and search)

If you don't know what you will be connecting, then probably a prefabbed switch panel with relays (as mentioned above) would do you best, but most often it is a waste of money if you plan on running just a few lights on it totaling 20 or 30 amps or so. Having this massive 100+ amp supply cable/circuit breaker set up running to the relay box under the hood is a bit comical for just a few rock and spot lights. The prefabbed units do make for a cleaner install though.
 

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Having this massive 100+ amp supply cable/circuit breaker set up running to the relay box under the hood is a bit comical for just a few rock and spot lights. The prefabbed units do make for a cleaner install though.
I would suggest that having a shoebox sized box in the engine bay when it’s entirely unnecessary is not very “clean.” Using a wire gauge calculator will demonstrate that 18 gauge wire is adequate for most things people will want to connect. The biggest draw I have is my 2m/70cm rig and that is inside the cab (obviously), so it does little good having the box inside the engine bay. I’ve found that the 60A the PDM60 supplies is more than enough for my needs.
 
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