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Unread 12-24-2009, 10:51 AM   #1
iowajeepers
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YJ Electrical Projects

I am starting an electrical project consisting of 4 separate items, 3 of which are additions.

Additions:
Inverter
Dedicated ground
Connect to power distribution
Dedicated switch

Offroad Lights
2x 100W lamps
Dedicated ground
Connect to power distribution
Dedicated switch

Winch
Dedicated ground
Connect to power distribution
Mount solenoid under hood
Wire to triple throw switch AND wired remote plug

Overhaul:
Headlights:
New lamps
Check wiring
Dedicated ground
Check/Replace dimmer

I want to do as clean install/upgrade as possible so I was thinking about a power distribution and ground block as well as an additional fuse block. Would it be advisable to have separate ones for under the hood and in the cabin area? What is everyone doing with all the additional relays so they're not just lying around?

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked with automotive wiring since I usually try to avoid it.
That being said, I would like some help in the form of a refresher.

I will be working with a single battery for now and I am trying to keep from having a rats nest on the terminals.

I want to get the infrastructure in first before adding all these accessories.
In the end, I want this SAFE and EASY to troubleshoot.

Thanks for any insight. Pics of how you did it would be great!

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Unread 12-24-2009, 01:54 PM   #2
SirGCal
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Winch and possibly inverter (depends on strength) can't be run through a generic power distribution block. They simply draw WAY too much power. They also shouldn't be ground to the chassis like conventional electronics. Winches should also bring the ground back to the battery. You'll also notice the Winch likely doesn't use a main fuse. One of the fewest items to do so simply due to the extreme level of current draw potential.
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Originally Posted by SirGCal
If you can't take a nano-second to press shift/period/etc. and make proper sentences and paragraphs, I don't know if I can take a few minutes to respond to your topics... It doesn't have to be perfect by any means, but a little effort goes a long way.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 02:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirGCal View Post
Winch and possibly inverter (depends on strength) can't be run through a generic power distribution block. They simply draw WAY too much power. They also shouldn't be ground to the chassis like conventional electronics. Winches should also bring the ground back to the battery. You'll also notice the Winch likely doesn't use a main fuse. One of the fewest items to do so simply due to the extreme level of current draw potential.
Ok, thanks for clearing up the winch and inverter issues. I'll connect these to the + on the battery.
Can I run these two grounds to a grounding stud that is directly connected to the battery? Or is that ill-advised?

Everything else, like the lights etc, I was going to have a grounding stud off the battery as well. Unless this isn't a good idea.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 02:25 PM   #4
SirGCal
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Depends how big that wire is. Winches are weird. Even using the side-terminals on Optima batteries is a no-no due to their limits in actual power capabilities. Remember, they can draw 3, 4, even 600 amps or more depending on specifics. If you have a huge 00 master grounding strap, then it might be fine but other than that, I'd go right to the terminal for the winch. Rest is fine. And the inverter would only be a problem if it's the biggest of the big. If it's more conventional, you could possibly even put it through the distribution block. Just depends again on specifics. The block and all of it's wiring has to be able to handle everything at once. So if for example, your lights would pull 20A (I'm just using numbers here, not doing any math today...) and your 'other' stuff in there say another 20A total, then the inverter would be say 60A, then the main line to the block has to handle 100A. Simple to figure once you have everything laid out.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirGCal
If you can't take a nano-second to press shift/period/etc. and make proper sentences and paragraphs, I don't know if I can take a few minutes to respond to your topics... It doesn't have to be perfect by any means, but a little effort goes a long way.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 04:02 PM   #5
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Here is what I am looking at specifically.

XRC8 Winch
~400W Inverter
2x 100W SRS Lights
12V Air Compressor, OBA
12V Power Port

In theory, I'd like to have a power distribution point under the hood and in the cabin area provided the items connected don't draw too much amperage. Clean wiring is the name of the game.

Everything that can will have a relay connected to an illuminated switch to indicate power is applied and system is active. All items will be fused as well.

The winch remote plug-in will be mounted in the switch panel.
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Last edited by iowajeepers; 12-24-2009 at 04:28 PM..
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Unread 12-24-2009, 05:27 PM   #6
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Ok, here are my rough figures.

The XRC8 will be directly connected to the battery so I don't have to worry about amp draw on that where my accessory fuse block is concerned. That leaves me with the following:

~400W Inverter (40A)
2x 100W SRS Lights (20A)
12V Air Compressor, OBA (30A)
12V Power Port (?A, what are these rated at usually?)

All these values are estimated on the safe side. So, for these last 4 items, can I get a fuse block that is rated high enough to power all these but has separate fuses for each?

And since I will be using relays, do I need to worry about the Amps on the switch side? I wanted to get illuminated switches if that matters.

Thanks.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 06:13 PM   #7
Carl48
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You might want to check out what Painless Wiring and Ron Francis Wire Works have to offer.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 07:00 PM   #8
SirGCal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iowajeepers View Post
Ok, here are my rough figures.

The XRC8 will be directly connected to the battery so I don't have to worry about amp draw on that where my accessory fuse block is concerned. That leaves me with the following:

~400W Inverter (40A)
2x 100W SRS Lights (20A)
12V Air Compressor, OBA (30A)
12V Power Port (?A, what are these rated at usually?)

All these values are estimated on the safe side. So, for these last 4 items, can I get a fuse block that is rated high enough to power all these but has separate fuses for each?

And since I will be using relays, do I need to worry about the Amps on the switch side? I wanted to get illuminated switches if that matters.

Thanks.
12V outlet, you mean like cigarette lighter type plug? 10-20A depending on the vehicle. 3A minimum but that won't be useful for much. 10A conventional, 20A for a high-draw system (if you want it to be good for just about anything, make it for 20 as long as the plug itself is capable of that much, otherwise limit it to what the plug is).

As for the switch, each relay will eat 0.7-1.4A when turned on depending on all of the specifics involved (temperature, etc.). So if you're going to have three 40A relays for example, figure 4.5A available draw to be WAY on the safe side (2.1A would be more realistic draw potential for all-on situation for three relays). Not bad at all. I usually setup a simple 5A circuit for those if I'm doing something like this. 7A if I was going to do a bunch of relays, but shouldn't need more.
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Living and loving on borrowed time. Life with Multiple Sclerosis. My MS/Life blog, Audio and Electronic write-ups, project how-tos, pictures, stories, and more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirGCal
If you can't take a nano-second to press shift/period/etc. and make proper sentences and paragraphs, I don't know if I can take a few minutes to respond to your topics... It doesn't have to be perfect by any means, but a little effort goes a long way.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 07:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl48 View Post
You might want to check out what Painless Wiring and Ron Francis Wire Works have to offer.
I'm really looking for some starting pointers. This is the first time I've added this many accessories to a vehicle.

What's recommended? Add an additional fuse block for all this stuff? Or just stick with in-line fuses? If a fuse block is recommended, I can't seem to find one that will handle 50A fuses or the total amp draw for all these accessories.

I think I am barking up the wrong tree maybe.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 07:22 PM   #10
SirGCal
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I thought bussman had some that would do it but the one I was thinking about was 30A max per circuit (though fully utilizable unlike some of the others with a 50A max total load) with six plugs. However you could use fused power distribution blocks for car audio which would easily do what you want and more. Though they'll cost more too. You'll still need a master fuse before the block too for the whole package don't forget.
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Living and loving on borrowed time. Life with Multiple Sclerosis. My MS/Life blog, Audio and Electronic write-ups, project how-tos, pictures, stories, and more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirGCal
If you can't take a nano-second to press shift/period/etc. and make proper sentences and paragraphs, I don't know if I can take a few minutes to respond to your topics... It doesn't have to be perfect by any means, but a little effort goes a long way.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 10:11 PM   #11
iowajeepers
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After some digging around, I found a post about using a PDC from a neon or similar for accessory fusing. I think this will work and I will just construct some sort of relay mount that attaches to it.

Let me know if this is a crack-headed bad idea.
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Unread 12-25-2009, 11:14 AM   #12
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I didn’t read all of the posts so if this is just repeated info forget it...

I believe that a separate grounding system independent of the frame and body is a great idea. especially in a Jeep where grounding ALWAYS comes into electrical problem arena.

I have three ground blocks, one at the engine compartment, one under the dash on the passenger side and one toward the rear of the vehicle, all are connected to each other with 4-ga fine strand SJ Cable.
Each component has its own ground wire and run to these points except the high amperage draw components like AMP, Winch, HD Inverter, these all run directly to the battery’s negative terminals. There are two negative Positions on my battery.

My Power Distribution for most components are run through a Painless Circuit Boss but it is easy to setup something like it yourself but my high amperage draw components are again run to the battery using a fused positive line.

If all of the grounds are run to your terminal strips and the strips are protected you will have less component ground problems than others with Jeeps.

As far as component add ons, make sure if there is a high amperage draw you use a relay t control it and fuse the positive line, some fuse the negative too but not sure if this is good or bad.

Luck,
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Unread 12-26-2009, 04:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrambler82 View Post
I didn’t read all of the posts so if this is just repeated info forget it...

I believe that a separate grounding system independent of the frame and body is a great idea. especially in a Jeep where grounding ALWAYS comes into electrical problem arena.

I have three ground blocks, one at the engine compartment, one under the dash on the passenger side and one toward the rear of the vehicle, all are connected to each other with 4-ga fine strand SJ Cable.
Each component has its own ground wire and run to these points except the high amperage draw components like AMP, Winch, HD Inverter, these all run directly to the battery’s negative terminals. There are two negative Positions on my battery.

My Power Distribution for most components are run through a Painless Circuit Boss but it is easy to setup something like it yourself but my high amperage draw components are again run to the battery using a fused positive line.

If all of the grounds are run to your terminal strips and the strips are protected you will have less component ground problems than others with Jeeps.

As far as component add ons, make sure if there is a high amperage draw you use a relay t control it and fuse the positive line, some fuse the negative too but not sure if this is good or bad.

Luck,
That's the ground system I'd envisioned for my junk too.

My confusion has been primary around the positive power distribution side of things. I didn't want a mess of inline fuses hanging about. I'm either going to re-purpose a PDC from a junkyard or build up something in a box. At least that way the fuses are contained and I can bundle the wiring going into and out of the box.
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Unread 12-26-2009, 06:08 PM   #14
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You can buy a separate power distribution panel that only has one HD Feed, based on full amperage capacity of the panel, and “X” number of fused power points.

There is a marine power distribution panel that is really nice and the name of it isn’t coming to me at the moment so if someone else can come in here with the name… Blue something, maybe Blue-Sea, it has a cover and the terminals are tinned for corrosion protection.
Maybe that is what you want to do.

I did a search, this is the company where they sell them is another thing.
We have a marine machine shop near us that sell this stuff so it may not be too hard to locate.

ST Blade Fuse Blocks - Blue Sea Systems

luck,
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Unread 12-28-2009, 06:15 PM   #15
iowajeepers
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Thanks for all the pointers guys.

I'm going to revisit this in about a month or so once all the parts have arrived.

Right now I am entertaining 2 options.

1. Get a PDC from a pick n pull.
2. Build my own box, at least to keep it looking clean. To include inline fuses and relays.

Thanks again.
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