Auto 12v Installation Help

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MacEffects, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. MacEffects macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Darkspear
    #1
    Hello Everyone,
    My father has left me with the best task while hes away on bussiness, I have to install Strobes, LEDs, And Grille Lights, and this is for his 1994 Buick LeSabar Custom, now I have no idea where to begin, I think I must wire somehow them to the Fuse something or other box. Then get a switchbox, or something like that... And allow these to work, I have This and something like This and like This so as you can see I know NOTHING about this, and I need a bit of help.
     
  2. belvdr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #2
    Whenever you begin hooking up emergency lighting, you'll want to make absolutely sure you have a large enough wire to power all of the lights together. You should first sum up the total number of amps of all lights, then install wire large enough to handle that load.

    Attach the wire directly to the battery, and place a fuse within 12 inches of the battery. Then run this power feed to a switchbox. From there you can split the wire to each light fixture.
     
  3. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    #3

    Oh god no...please no...

    The one of the prominent rules for auto wiring is, if it needs a big wire, it needs a relay. Now, I don't know what kind of current these things are going to draw (no details on those sites). What you need to do is post some technical data (wattage, estimated current draw, the kinds of switches included, etc), then I'll be more than happy to draw up some circuitry for you to follow.

    Just as a little disclaimer...this equipment is going to be used for emergency purposes only, or off road?

    Ben
     
  4. joecool85 macrumors 65816

    joecool85

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    Location:
    Maine
    #4
    Bah, just use a big switch and you'll be fine :rolleyes:

    j/k, relays are a good thing. On that same note, I've done a lot of automotive wiring, including 11 different sound systems, an underlighting kit on my sisters car, and 5 fog light installs. If you don't know what you are doing, I wouldn't jump right in without some pretty good reading. You really don't want a short under the hood.
     
  5. MacEffects thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Darkspear
    #5
    Thanks and sorry about the late response... I will get you some more info in the next day or so... And, These will be used for the purpose of being an extended hazard lights, and are Clear and Amber and I must let you all know its illegal to have red and blue lenses or like wise unless you're a cop! As far as the power, I would say what ever is save to assume one of them is not in yet so, I have another challenge on ordering a switch box or what ever I need.
     
  6. belvdr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #6
    Oh, for crying out loud, chill out. It's not the end of the world. Yeah, I forgot about adding a relay, in which the fuse should be in between the relay and battery.

    As for switches and such, check out Gall's. I've used them many times for switches and emergency lighting.

    By the way, it is also possible for volunteer Fire/EMS personnel to have lights and possibly a siren, but each state varies. You might want to check your laws again about clear and amber lighting. In some states, clear is illegal unless accompanied by another color.
     
  7. MacEffects thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Darkspear
    #7
    I don't know about the voltage so I'll need TONS of help with this too.

    Here are the things exacly what I have (yeah I am an eBat shopper) ;)


    SwitchBox

    2 Dual Deck Strobes (cig adaptor)

    Deck Amber Lights 12v DC

    Dual Strobe Light Bars Interior (cig adaptor)

    CB Auto Thing

    Grille Strobes 12v DC need to blink back and forth


    Now some are Cigarette adaptors but they can be cut for permeant mount for the switchbox, since I no longer have 4 port Cig Adaptors.

    He said, he'd like the two Dual Strobes in the Front Back and Front, as well the Light bar things on the front on the top of the glass, and the little lights on the back, and to have BOTH of those blink back and forth if possible. Now, I need a set by step SAFE (99% risk free) way to do this, and I have NO IDEA what I am doing, but sadly more then my father did :eek: ... So a diagram would be great for doing exactly what I am doing.

    Also, these will be used in a Buick Le Saber Custom 1994, and I don't know where the fuses are so I need major help.

    Also, this is for the State of Indiana, so I don't know those laws... But I see plows, pick trucks, wreckers, etc... With Clear and Amber, and sometimes red on mixed with the rear. So I don't know on this either so any insight would be GREAT!
     
  8. belvdr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #8
    Indiana is an interesting state. It is far from Kentucky's and Ohio's laws. I would call your local police department to find out.

    In Kentucky, each vehicle has a certain color they must use (called a primary color). After having the primary color, they can add secondary colors. They can never use secondary colors without a primary:

    Wreckers must have orange. After they have orange, they can add white.

    Security vehicles are green. After they have that, they can add orange.

    Fire/EMS vehicles must have red. After having red, they can add clear or amber. They can never have green or blue.

    Police must have blue. After having blue, they can add red, white, or amber.

    As for the voltage, it should all be 12 volts. If the rear deck lights are separate and do not require a separate strobe power supply, then it is impossible to get them to blink in a pattern. The strobe power supplies do that for you.

    I would re-read my post above about how to connect this together. In ASCII form:

    <BATTERY>--<FUSE>--<RELAY>--<SWITCHBOX>--<LIGHTS>

    Make sure you ground each light close to the light's location. That means to find a suitable, paint-free metal location to attach the negative wire of the light to. If needed, you can sand a spot clean, drill a hole, and attach a round crimp-on connector to the wire. Then you would secure the connector to the hole with a screw or bolt/nut. It is possible to use one location for many lights, as there's not much current here.
     
  9. MacEffects thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Location:
    Darkspear
    #9
    I belive any vehilce in Indiana can have red lights IF the are non-primary lights and have primary color lights with them... In indiana Hazmat is the only one that can have green lights. I'll take a try to the store tomorrow for those batteries and fuses, and stuff... What do I need for Batteries and Fuses, and how do I get it for my Buick, and where are the fuses located? Also a drawing would be helpful, so I can print it up and show them what I am trying to do.

    Also what's a Relay and how do I get one?
     
  10. joecool85 macrumors 65816

    joecool85

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    Location:
    Maine
    #10
    You'll be using the car's battery. As for fuses, you'll want to add up all of the amps that will be on that circuit, and then use a fuse 1-2 amps larger or so. Make sure to use big enough wire. As for where to hook up to, I would get under the hood and hook straight on to the positive of the battery. The only downside to this is that if your dad leaves the lights on and shuts off the car, it will drain the battery. But, then again, so will the headlights lol.

    **edit**
    And oh yeah, a relay is basically a small box that the power goes into, the lights go into, and a switch wires into. When you flip the switch, instead of giving power straight to the lights, it turns on the relay which powers the lights. This basically cuts down how much large wire you need to run and keeps you from running tons of amperage all through your dash. Although I've done things like this before and just used a big ol' switch and big wire right into the passenger compartment with no problem other than its a big ugly ol' switch.
     
  11. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    #11
    Alright, well I took a quick look over it for you (bored at work). All of those lights are LED's, so they're not going to require much power at all. Using conservative estimates, the CB is going to need a 2A fuse (should be build in-line with it), the dual deck strobes (combined) will need a 10A fuse (very liberal with 10A, assuming they are the halogen type). The deck amber lights should need a 5A fuse, as will both the strobe light bars and the grill lights.

    That switch box that you have looks like a really nice unit. With a relay on switch 1 rated at 40A's and the other 5 switches with 20 A fuses, it's really meant for normal bulbs, not LED's. I'd try looking at the fuses and checking if they are replaceable. If they are, go get 5 or so 5A fuses, and a couple of 10A fuses. Look to see if the CB radio has an inline fuse on it already or if it has been cut off ("by the car audio install guys"). If it is missing, the fuse, get a 2A inline fuse for it as well (you can find these at Radio Shack).

    Assuming that you can replace the fuses, get one more inline fuse, a 30A one. Bring a 14 gauge wire about 1 foot off of the battery and secure the inline fuse there. Then bring this 14 gauge wire into the compartment and hook it up to both of the red lines coming off the back of the switch box. At this same time, hook up the CB directly to the 14awg wire with the 2A inline fuse there. Now that you have power going to the switch box, you are going to need to find a good ground location for it. The cigarette lighter will have a ground on it. With this power, it's safe to use that, so ground the switch box up to that.

    The dual strobes should go to switch one (the only built in relay) via 18awg wire. They need to hook into cigarette lights (or so it seems from the description) as the flashing switches are in the light adapter). Get 2 cigarette lighters from radio shack, wire both of them in series to the power of the lights and then to ground on the other end.

    The deck amber lights in the back can be hardwired from the power of the switch to them and then bring a line back for ground (unless you want to go traipsing around looking for another ground back there).

    The light bars already have cigarette lighter adapters on them, but according to the ebay auction, they can be cut off. I would cut them off and hardwire them directly to the switch and ground (like the amber lights).

    Finally, the grill lights can be hardwired to the switch the same as the other two.

    Finally, leave the switches on all the individual units to the respective "strobe" or "flash" effect and control all power from that switch box.

    Remember, be safe when doing this work. The first thing you should always do when working with power is disconnect the battery from the car. The last thing you should do is reconnect it. Also, make sure that you double check all connections and possible shorts. The inline 30A fuse will blow immediately if there is anything wrong, but you don't want to get that far in advance.

    As for putting relays in, the first strobes are really the only ones that could possibly need them. LED's are just so low powered that a cheap switch can handle them. A switch rated for 20A's could conceivably handle the entire load (within it's tolerance).

    If any of these instructions are not clear to you, then continue to ask questions. However, if you don't understand any of this, then it might not be the safest job for you to do. Remember that electricity is dangerous, even with the small currents you are dealing with. A shorted out car battery can start a fire almost immediately under the proper conditions.


    Good luck,

    Ben
     
  12. bartelby macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #12
    Wouldn't you also need to do something with the alternator too?
    If you've got so much extra load on the electrics.
     
  13. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    #13
    That's a good point. Once again, these things are so weak that I doubt it would matter, but on the other hand, I don't know what kind of alternator is in this car (and what kind of output it has, but I'll assume it's over 70amps).

    I speced 5amp fuses, but in reality, expect a draw of maybe 4 amps for ALL of the LED lights. 5amp fuses are both easy to find and cheap. A short will blow a 5 amp fuse in a ns. The CB radio, fitted with a 2A fuse (according to radio shack's website) probably draws more like 1.6A, max, .8A rms. It wouldn't surprise me that they design with 20% over max for the fuse just to avoid a bunch of tech support calls.

    The strobes, if they are real bulbs rated themselves at 4.8A on one sheet I looked at. These two lights are really the only item putting any draw on the system at all (if they are normal ones that is). There were lower power (aka cheaper) ones listed too that drew under .75A each.

    Basically, it doesn't hurt to over fuse a tad when it's so low anyways.

    Ben
     
  14. dead pup macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    #14
    Pardon me, but what about just plain LEDs?

    I bought these nozzle spray LED lights a while back, and installed them straight from the car battery to a switch, then from the switch to the nozzle sprays. Yes, very ignorant of me to do, for they caught fire after a month. Now I have these new ones, along with some interior LED tubes, and want to install them all to the same switch, this time with an inline fuse. I'm going to use some 14 AWG wire again, but really, what fuse should I use for this??? I'm familiar with installing car audio, but not simple LEDs. The LEDs all run off of 12V, and there are:

    12V for the nozzle sprays
    12V each for 2 neon LED interior tubes
    12V for 1 strobe light kit in trunk (strictly 1 strobe light and 1 strobe module)

    I don't want to fry all my LEDs again, please help if possible. Thanks.
    -dead pup
     
  15. Doyyv31 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    #15
    hello saabmp3
    i see you helped some else out maybe you can help me out also. i have 1998 mercury sable, i am planing on installing a fedsig smart siren ss2000ss a 200 watt strobe system a 90 watt strobe and a 100 watt speaker. i dont know where to pass the wires through the firewall maybe you can help me with that, also do i ned to purchase any other material do you know of any site that has diagrams that i can look at or instructions on how to install these items.
    thanks
    doyyv31
     
  16. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #16
    This reminds me of when I fitted a new stereo in my old Beetle not long after I first bought it, I couldn't be bothered to figure out the spaghetti loom, so I just hardwired the stereo to the car battery under the back seat (literally wiring it directly to the battery terminals with speaker wire) with an inline 12v fuse just incase. :p
     

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