So, by now everyone has seen the sPOD system and I was considering just purchasing one myself, but after looking into it, there were a couple of things that I didn’t love:
1) First of all, their switch placement is not my first choice.
2) There are no provisions for non-relayed items.
3) And of course, the price ($435… ouch!)
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great system and very well thought out, but I decided to make a custom system. This write-up is going to explain everything that I did to make a very similar system.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOME DECENT ELECTRICAL SKILLS AND THIS JUST TOTALLY DOESN’T MAKE SENSE… GO BUY AN SPOD!
I guess this is as good of a time as any to show a simple circuit diagram.
First, I’ll list my Bill of Materials and costs. I purchased the electrical components from Waytek and wireandcabletogo.com. I got my switches from OTRATTW.
Waytek: (Total $150.55 Shipped)
Qty Item # Item Description Unit Price Line Total
1 46343 MINI FUSE AND MICRO RELAY RTMR PANEL BUSSMANN 15303-2-2-4 EA 27.1200 $27.12
100 39010 PACKARD CAVITY PLUG-GREEN DELPHI # 12010300 EA 0.0669 $6.69
5 75730 SONG CHUAN ISO 280 MICRO RELAY 35A 12V SPST RESISTOR EA 2.9100 $14.55
1 46923 HI AMP MANUAL RESET 80 AMP SURFACE MOUNT CIRCUIT BREAKER EA 25.1900 $25.19
100 39001 DELPHI CABLE SEAL- GRAY #12010293 CHANGED TO 15324980 EA 0.0634 $6.34
50 31075 METRI-PACK 280 SERIES FEMALE 14-12GA 12129493 L TERMINAL EA 0.1125 $5.62
50 30090 METRI-PACK 630 FEMALE 20-18 GA 12015869 LOOSE TERMINAL EA 0.1455 $7.27
2 47360 10 POSITION TERMINAL BLOCK 30 AMP, 600 VOLT MAX EA 4.2400 $8.48
1 35989 BATTERY CABLE 4GA SWITCH TO STARTER BLACK 49" EA 6.8850 $6.88
1 35988 BATTERY CABLE 4GA SWITCH TO STARTER BLACK 40" EA 6.0975 $6.10
5 44387 MOUNTING PANEL END - REVISED REPLACED PN 44383 EA 0.9801 $4.90
8 44388 MOUNTING PANEL MIDDLE -REVISED REPLACED PN 44384 EA 0.9938 $7.95
10 44380 PANEL GASKET EA 0.5542 $5.54
2 44381 ACTUATOR REMOVAL TOOL FOR CARLING SWITCH ACTUATORS EA 3.0200 $6.04
10 44386 8 POSITION CONNECTOR CARLING SWITCHES VCH-01 EA 0.5902 $5.90
6 44385 MOUNTING PANEL PLUG EA 0.9938 $5.96
wireandcabletogo.com: ($67.20 Shipped)
10 - [SOO14s12] 14/12 SOOW Portable Cord 600V UL/CSA @ $2.08
Quantity: ft. - 1st Spool
20 - [SOO18s12] 18/12 SOOW Portable Cord 600V UL/CSA @ $1.20
Quantity: ft. - 1st Spool
OTRATTW.com: ($67.95 shipped)
4 Contura V Switches and rocker plates.
Other than the items above, I used a few things out of my garage like the metal to make the brackets, hardware, and maybe a few minor electrical component. Maybe $20-30 in parts. So, total is $315.70
. That $435 from sPod isn’t looking too terrible now, right?!
Again, the point of this build was not necessarily to come out cheaper, but rather to add some functionality and have a custom system that is a little more flexible. Also, I have enough parts left over that I could probably build a second one (maybe 2 more) for another $100 or so, so team up with a friend and split the cost.
Now, on to the build.
First thing I did was build the bracket for the panel and terminal block under the hood. I really looked for a better spot over next to the battery before coming to terms that totally ripping off sPod’s location is the best place!
It is built out of 1/8”x3/4” steel strap, welded, ground welds, then primered, painted, and polished. (Autocad Sketch)
Here is a pic with the fuse/relay panel in position:
Wiring the Fuse and Relay Panel
So now that you have seen the simple circuit, here is a “real world” version:
The panel I used is the Cooper Bussmann 15303-2-2-4 (Spec Sheet
, Dim Dwg
) which has 5 relay slots and 10 fuse slots. I am using 1 fuse per relay, so theoretically, I could have 5 fuse/relay circuits and 5 fuse only circuits. This particular one is bussed on both the fuse and relay side which can handle 80A per bus.
It is completely wired from the bottom, so when replacing fuses and relays, you never touch wires. The first step was to plug the holes that I knew I would not be using with the Packard Cavity Plugs
Next on the agenda was to start making the connections between the relay and fuse. The relays are ISO 280 Micro Relays in a SPST configuration with a parallel resistor built in
, so they have 4 terminals. So, very simplistically, a relay is a low amperage circuit that controls a higher amperage circuit. It allows you to run the low amp circuit into your passenger area to the switch (and use lighter gauge wire for that run) and keeps the higher amp circuit under the hood (and minimize the runs of heavier wire).
The 30/87 circuit is the higher amp (switch) side and the 85/86 circuit is the lower amp (coil) side. The terminals on these relays are ISO 280, so I bought Metri-Pack 280 female 14-12 ga terminals
And Delphi cable seals
for the holes, to keep everything splash-proof. The relay panel enclosure is actually rated IP66 weather-tight when used with the plugs and seals.
So, now I’ll show an example of how I prepped each connection. It is recommended to have a specific crimper for these terminals. I didn’t want to pay for another crimper, so I improvised. Also, before I continue, I’ll mention the wire I used and why it was so expensive. I bought 2 different gauge wire – 14 ga and 18 ga. What was out of the ordinary is that I found them in 12 conductor bundles. So, there are 12 color coded wires in each one. I did this to make the cable runs as clean as possible and so all circuits are color matched! Definitely not necessary, but really nice. Also, look at how thick the insulation is!
So first, strip about 1/4” of insulation off and I melted a little bit of resin onto it. You don’t have to use extra, electrical solder already has it, but having a little more is helpful. I also went ahead and tinned the wire because once it gets crimped into the terminal, I am going to solder them together.
Next, because of the thickness of the insulation, I had to trim some off to get the seal to fit right.
Now, I can put the connector on. It has a crimp tab for the seal and then 2 for the wire. First, I carefully crimped to the seal using a standard crimper and being careful not to over-crimp it.
Next, I crimped the terminal to the wire, carefully, and soldered them together. Since I had previously tinned the wire, it is pretty much just a matter of heating the terminal. This step was probably unnecessary, but since I wasn’t using the proper crimper, I felt that it was best! You can also see how the terminal will fit on the relay by way of the relay panel.
The assembled connection can be snapped into the panel “tab side up”. From this point, it is just a matter of repeating making connectors until your panel is completed.
At this point, I bolted the relay panel and terminal block onto the bracket.
And make the connection from point 30 on the relays to the terminal block.
For the most part, the panel is nearing complete. The remaining hole on the relay side goes to the switches inside the cabin. The left-over holes on the fuse side can be used for non-relay circuits or simply plugged. The busses need to be connected to the studs, so its time to start thinking about that.
CONNECTING IT ALL UP
Ignition Switched Source
The first thing I will go over is the ignition-switched power source for the relay coils. This doesn’t need to be a high amperage source because all it is doing is energizing the relays themselves. I used the rear seat warmer circuit (M9) to accomplish this.
Towards the outside of the jeep maybe 1/4” over is a small hole that goes through the panel. If you are patient, you can manage to snake a wire through that hole under the fuse box. This means that you don’t have to cut/drill the fuse box and you retain the original integrity. First, I went ahead and loosened the panel so I had access to the bottom. It is actually easier to snake it up from the bottom than trying to push it down.
Once loose, you can push the wire up. I have pointed out the hole.
Once you get the wire through, you can see how close to the M9 circuit that it is!
To use the circuit, I used a circuit tap connection, cut it off as short as possible, and soldered everything.