Custom Relay and Fuse Box for Accessories (sPOD knockoff) -

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post #1 of 70 Old 02-16-2013, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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Custom Relay and Fuse Box for Accessories (sPOD knockoff)

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.


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 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
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
5 44387 MOUNTING PANEL END - REVISED REPLACED PN 44383 EA 0.9801 $4.90
10 44380 PANEL GASKET EA 0.5542 $5.54
6 44385 MOUNTING PANEL PLUG EA 0.9938 $5.96 ($67.20 Shipped)
10 - [SOO14s12] 14/12 SOOW Portable Cord 600V UL/CSA @ $2.08
Color: Black
Quantity: ft. - 1st Spool

20 - [SOO18s12] 18/12 SOOW Portable Cord 600V UL/CSA @ $1.20
Color: Black
Quantity: ft. - 1st Spool ($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.


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.

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post #2 of 70 Old 02-16-2013, 04:17 PM Thread Starter
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And, the completed fuse box, ready to be fastened back down and closed.

Supply and Circuit Breaker

So now is time for the heavy stuff! I used 49” and 40” 4 ga starter leadsas the supply. There were a few reasons for this: 1) they were considerably cheaper than bulk 6-8 ga wire and connectors 2) I didn’t have to worry about crimping a huge cable 3) It was just easier and I knew the wire would be properly rated for service in an engine compartment. Since the circuit breaker goes between the battery and relay panel, the two starter cables worked great.
I chose and 80A Circuit breaker (Spec Sheet)because the bus on the relay panel is rated at 80A.

The ends of the starter cable are too large for the circuit breaker and relay panel, so they need to be trimmed and re-drilled. Still, much easier than making my own!

I started at the battery and worked my way back zip-tying the cable to secure it. As a safety tip, isolate the tip of the cable with electrical tape so you don’t accidentally short the battery!

Also, remember the 18 ga ignition switched wire that we ran to the rear seat warmers? Time to run it together with the supply wire.

When I ran out of length, that is where the circuit breaker goes! It is simply zip tied to the cable bundle.

I continued to follow the cable bundle around the corner to the area underneath where the relay panel will mount. There is a hole in the bottom of the cradle that the wires can be run through.

Now the electrical service wires are run. The final hookup is pretty trivial, just bolting the terminals to the studs on the panel and battery, but that was the last thing I did just to make sure everything was isolated while I was still working.

Running the Switch Wires Into the Cabin

So, I have a 12 conductor wire bundle that is 18 ga for each conductor to run from the relay to the switch. This just controls the relay, so it is fairly low voltage. Also, the non-relay circuits use this bundle.

There is a pre-plugged pass-through on the firewall that you can use.

It comes into the cabin above the pedals to the side of the steering shaft. By the way, see the ground wire that is blurry? That seems to be one of the better grounding locations for when you need to ground the illumination on your switches!

I used a razor blade to make a small slit in the rubber. I wanted it to be smaller than the cable so it would create a seal of sorts. Then I pushed the cable bundle through from inside the cabin.

From that point, I pretty much followed the same path as the supply wire from the previous section. All that is left to do under the hood is to add the terminals to the switch wires, snap them into the remaining relay holes and mount the panel. I also took this time to connect the non-relayed ones with the remaining 7 conductors, but since that is relatively straightforward, I’m not going to detail that. I will say that 1 conductor is used for switch illumination, and each non-relay circuit takes 2 conductors since you have to run from the fuse to the switch then back from the switch to the terminal block.

Swtich Panel

Remember how I said I wasn’t a big fan of sPod’s switch location? Well, I chose to mount mine to the roll bar. At this time, the switch panel isn’t totally complete, but it’s at about 90%, so I’ll go ahead and show it.

I fabricated a panel using the same materials as the relay bracket. The concept is a switch panel that is clamped to the roll bar as far forward as possible. This is totally preference. Some people would say that this is a stupid place as opposed to the sPod location, but it works for me and I have other plans for above the mirror!
The 12 conductor wire is run through the dash and up the pillar. At any rate, here are the pics I have now with very little explanation! (Autocad Sketch)



This was a more time consuming project than I had imagined. It was fun, and a great learning experience, but unless you REALLY need something custom like this, the sPod is probably the way to go. I don't regret doing it, but after going through all this, it has really shown me the value of the product they are putting out!
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post #3 of 70 Old 02-16-2013, 04:48 PM
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Looks very cool and clean. Subscribed.

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post #4 of 70 Old 02-16-2013, 08:38 PM
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Very nice and great write-up and pics.
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post #5 of 70 Old 02-18-2013, 11:12 PM
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Great writeup, thanks for posting!
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post #6 of 70 Old 02-19-2013, 04:51 PM
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Whats on the Cad dwg, i just uninstalled CAD yesterday, Anything useful?
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post #7 of 70 Old 02-22-2013, 07:21 AM Thread Starter
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just a basic sketch of the brackets. I really built the brackets to fit, but it helps me during the planning stages to visualize it all and how everything will fit together when complete.
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post #8 of 70 Old 02-22-2013, 02:18 PM
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I love those rocker switches, great write up and photos, thanks for sharing.
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post #9 of 70 Old 02-23-2013, 08:16 AM
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post #10 of 70 Old 03-05-2013, 05:32 PM
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Man, this is an excellent write up, thank you so much. The autocad sketch link is broken and should be
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post #11 of 70 Old 12-27-2013, 02:29 PM
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Bumping for awesomeness!

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post #12 of 70 Old 12-27-2013, 04:35 PM
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Wow man that is killer work, and your rocker switches are equally awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

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post #13 of 70 Old 12-27-2013, 06:07 PM
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I have attention defiiiii hey is that a rabbit?

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post #14 of 70 Old 12-27-2013, 07:12 PM
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very good job! might have to do this

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post #15 of 70 Old 01-08-2014, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, I just noticed replies to this thread. By the way, if you are thinking about doing this, let me know - I still have quite a few spare parts left over that I could sell. A lot of the companies have minimums, so you have to buy way more than you actually need.
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