Frequently Asked Questions

Wiring Off-Road Lights like a pro
Last Updated 2 years ago

Most all of us know how to wire up a light. Simply connect it to a battery, with a switch on the hot lead and it works. That is the problem. Its so easy to do the fast way, its often done the fastest way which is not the right way.

Power Draw
How much power do the lights draw? Power is measured in watts or Amps. You can easily convert between the two using this formula:
Amps = Watts / 12
Watts = Amps * 12
Once you know how many amps your light(s) are draw you can start planing out the install.

A relay is basically a switch controlled by power. You wire a relay in-line into a circuit just like a switch. Then, when you feed the relay power it closes the switch. Simple. Whats the advantage of using a relay? Not having to run high-power all the way to the switch. Maybe the switch cant even handle the level of power being drawn. So you use a relay and have a switch control a relay. This way you can keep the entire light circuit under the hood and just run a thin wire into the cab to the switch. Don't get confused here, as long as you remember all a relay is, is a switch thats controlled by power you will get it. Personally I like to use a relay for any load over 10-15 amps. Below that there is no need. There are cases you DON'T want to run a relay, such as in the Wild Power Sports trophylite race truck. Why? Relays are another point of failure. Instead of relays we separate lights, some only one light per switch to keep the amp draw low enough to run direct to a switch.

There are a lot of chooses on the connectors you use, but this article is about doing it the RIGHT way. For connecting to the switch pins you want to use scotchlock heat shrink terminals. After you crimp the wire in them you heat them with a heat gun to melt an adhesive on the sleeve of the connector. The adhesive bonds to the wire and the sleeve shrinks down, making a water-tite seal. This isn't something you will find in the DIY $10 kit at Walmart, you will need to order them.

If you need to do any multi-pin connections or wire-to-wire connections you will want to use either weather-pack or Deutsch connectors, along with the proper tool to crimp them. Weather-pack connectors are cheaper but less durable. Deutsch connectors are high-end and the same thing Rigid and KC use on their wiring kits. We use all Deutsch connectors on our trophylite race truck.

These connectors and a crimper aren't cheap, but if you want to do it right then buy it and you will own the correct tool forever.

more to come....

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