Show Mod - Newbies Wiring Guide for additional devices

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Show Mod - Newbies Wiring Guide for additional devices

Postby Soul » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:18 pm

Hi people, I'm back again with another little guide for wiring up additional lights, or other devices for those looking to add extra electrical modifications to their car which are just operated by a switch. This guide is aimed at people new to wiring, so some my find this as a "teaching you to suck eggs" guide.

DISCLAIMER: This is a guide only and not exact instructions, therefore I'm afraid I can't take responsibility for anything that goes wrong, harm that is caused, excessive swearing, blood sweat and tears, etc. as a result of any information I have provided being inaccurate, misleading, or missing ... but I'm doing my best to make sure this guide is safe and simple to understand.

Basic Gear:
The basic kit you'll need for a simple setup is wire, a switch, a fuse holder, a fuse, some terminal blocks, some ring and spade terminals, a bag of tie wraps, and tools (wire cutters, wire strippers, crimping tool and a screwdriver) ... It may not look pretty, but it'll do the job.

Working out the Values:
The most important value we will need to know is the Amperage required by all of the devices (lights, gauges, screens, etc.), and this defines what we need to buy.

Click Here for a simple circuit diagram, showing the principles of how devices are connected, and how it affects the voltage and current usage. The diagram also explains how to work out the Amperage required in our installation, but to repeat it, it's simply a case of adding all the Amperage ratings together for each device to be connected.

In this guide, we'll say we want to add a set of extra lights (like footwell and undercar neons), and a small TV screen. The total Amp rating for the Lights is about 5 Amps, and the TV uses 10 Amps ... bringing our total to 15 Amps.

Now, because our total is 15 Amps, it doesn't mean we should just buy 15 Amp rated wire, switches, fuses, etc. If you were to do so, a slight increase in draw from a certain device (say on being switched on or cranked up to maximum) will just blow the fuse. Therefore you should aim to go for wire that has approximately a 10% higher Amp rating than is required ... 15 Amps + 10% = 16.5 Amps ... therefore use wire that's 17 Amps rated. The same principle should be applied to all the other components, except the fuse.

So, We've got some 17 Amp wire ... toggle switches (the ones with the gaurd that you flip down and it turns the switch off) are normally rated at about 25 Amps ... Leaving just the fuse holder and the fuse.

The fuse holder has to be capable of the same or higher Amp rating of the wire, but the Fuse, must be equal to or lower than the wire's rating. I used 17 Amp wire in my old lighting installation, and I could only find a fuse that was 16 Amps, along with a fuse holder rated at 25 Amps. It was a [url=http://www.thetoolboxshop.com/ekmps/shops/adrcomponents/images/0-584-10-pack-of-5-in-line-fuseholder-for-continental-type-fuses-1392-p[ekm]385x280[ekm].jpg]continental[/url] / european style fuse holder, so looked different to the standard car fuses we all have. Therefore I had a 16 Amp capable system - as it's the fuse that defines what we can go upto.

Putting it all together:
Now we've got all our bits, it's time to start fitting it. As a safety rule, do not connect the positive lead to the battery until everything else is finished - don't even leave it near the battery positive terminal.

1. Starting at the battery positive terminal, if there is a nut on it you can use a ring terminal crimped onto the end of the wire and connect it under there ... so you need to strip the end of the wire, and crimp a suitably sized ring terminal onto it

2. About 6 inches further down the wire, cut and strip it, and attach your fuse holder (without the fuse).

3. Next you have to decide where to put your terminal blocks, I positioned mine behend the center console, on the passenger footwell side. Wherever you place them, they must be in a place where they will not get wet or damp.

4. It's time for the switch now. Choose a location where you want it, making sure it will not interfere with anything else, and has sufficient room behind the panel you are fitting it to (where the back of the switch and wires will be), so that it or the wires will not rub against anything moving or stop something moving. I'm afraid I can't really give you much info on fitting the switch, as there are so many different mounting options depending on the switch. Normally, there will be a threaded portion with one or two nuts on it - drill a hole big enough for the threaded portion to go through, remove one of the nuts, put the threaded bit through the hole, and then attach and tighten the removed nut back in place to secure the switch.

5. Now it's time to run a wire from the fuse holder, to the switch. This can be a little tricky, as if your switch is inside the cabin, you need to find a grommet in the bulkhead between the engine bay and the cabin, or drill a hole through (making sure there isn't anything on the other side) and fit a grommet of your own. Grommets allow you to pass wired through the bulkhead, without them chaffing against the sharp metal edges. Depending on the switch you bought, you may have screw terminals, spade terminals or solder terminals on the back - use the appropriate method to connect the power wire to one side of the switch.

6. With the wire run from the switch to the fuse holder, You next need to run another wire from the other side of the switch to the terminal blocks. After which you need to tie-wrap it in place at various points along it's whole route from terminal blocks, to switch, to fuse holder. Ideally it shouldn't be attached to any part of the engine or interior that will move or vibrate, or this will cause the wire to chafe and short out. Also, the wire shouldn't go over any sharp edges. Approximately one tie wrap every 6 inches of wire should suffice.

7. Next it's time to set up the terminal blocks. This job is a little fiddly, but basically quite straight forward. You basically need to make several short sections of wire with stripped ends, and use them to connect each port along one side of the connector, with your power wire coming in at one end. This will then supply all the ports on the other side with power from your supply. Click Here For a quick pic I knocked up to demonstrate this.

8. Now you may want to make another terminal block up as per step 7 for the earth wires, or you can just connect their earth's to the nearest available chassis earth point. It all depends on where your devices are, and how you want to wire them up. If you choose to make an earth terminal block, I'd advise using black wire to help distinguish it from the live terminal block. Then find a bolt that goes onto the chassis of the car, remove it, crimp a suitable sized ring terminal onto the end of the wire from your earthing block (after stripping the end of the wire, naturally), and then refitting the bolt with the ring terminal under the head. That's the earth sorted.

9. The final job is quite simply a case of routing the positive wire of the device/s you wish to power to the Live Terminal Block, and the negative wire of the device/s to the Negative Terminal Block or an earth point on the chassis. Be careful if a device doesn't have a fuse on the end of the positive wire, as this can be a fire risk. If there is no fuse, simply find the fuse in the device, then get another inline fuse holder and fuse of the same Amp rating as the device, and connect the fuse holder between the Live Terminal Block and the positive wire from the device.

Comment's or Questions:
I've tried to explain as much as I can in this guide, but at the same time keep it short. Therefore, in my typing frenzy I may have missed a few things out, or not explained something in enough detail.

Therefore if you have ANY questions or comments (or have spotted an error), no matter how trivial or simple it may seem, please ask. I'll do my best to answer them in as soon as I can.

- Soul 8-)
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Re: Show Mod - Newbies Wiring Guide for additional devices

Postby Samurai-X-V1 » Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:11 pm

I would also add that when crimping the terminals i have always tried to make sure i solder the crimp/wire afterwards as this makes a much stronger connection and helps prevent against any corrosion/oxidisation problems, however this only really applies to terminals without the plastic covers but will be very usefull if you have to run the wire anywhere that could accidentally get snagged and pulled.
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Re: Show Mod - Newbies Wiring Guide for additional devices

Postby Madkink » Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:25 pm

In areas where there is a chance if dampness near a connection, you can use self emalganating tape, it is like electrical tape but creates a water tight seal,
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Re: Show Mod - Newbies Wiring Guide for additional devices

Postby scout » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:25 am

Wheres the best place to get to a switched power feed from? (to put a relay in the line to prevent stuff being left on)
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Re: Show Mod - Newbies Wiring Guide for additional devices

Postby Samurai-X-V1 » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:25 pm

as i havent had much time around coupe's compared to others i cant say for certain but the most common is to use the stereo i think. otherwise you could always use a courtesy light as these tend to be only usable when ignition is on. tbh your easiest way to find whats best for you is just switch ignition on and look for whats closest then see if it works after ignition is off. or failing that break out the multimeter and start checking everything in sight just for the fun of it :D
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