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Electrically challenged... updated 2-2-07

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by littlejimmythatcould, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    I'm finally back from Iraq and have 2 weeks of R & R. I"m bored out of my mind so I decided to get rid of my hillbilly wiring in my truck once and for all. I"m getting tired of things smoking and catching fire and generally not working. So here are my questions:

    1. Should I use the 8 screw terminal or the fuse block, and if I use the fuse block do I need to hook up a separate power wire to each terminal on the side with the solid piece or will one do and carry it to the others (picture)?

    2. Hopefully you can see in my drawing that I am going to use fuseable link wire to the terminal (or fuse block) will I still need fuses?

    3. I am going to use relays for my lights because they came with them from KC, but could/ should I use one on the electric fan?

    4. I am using 14 gauge wire for my wires with 16 gauge fuse link at the battery to the terminals (or fuse block), how do I know what size fuses to run for each accessory?

    5. As you can tell already, the fuses are what's really bothering me, if I need them, where in the drawing should I put them?

    6. The relays require a power from the source also from the switch, can I get both of these from the same point on the terminal? (drawing)

    As always, I appreciate ya'll helping me out. I read the tech article on wiring lights but from what I could tell he was wiring them into the dimmer switch, but I used the one half of the drawing to set up my drawing. I apologize on my electrical diagraming skills (or lack there of). I just really want to get it done right this time. Replacing batteries and several feet of wire at a time is getting tiresome and costly. Thanks again for your help.:bow:

    P.S. My dog likes getting his picture taken.

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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2007
  2. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    This is what my wires currently look like.... this is how I've been wiring stuff.... that's why I'm going to re-wire everything.

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    Last edited: Jan 23, 2007
  3. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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  4. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    The amount of amp draw will determine what size wire and fuse. I always err on the beffy side for wire. Use a relay where ever possible. You can run smaller wire to excite the relay and not have a spaghetti mess under the dash if the relays are under hood. There is also less distance for the electricity to go if it doesnt have to come into the cab and back out. On the fuse block you only have to run 1 wire, but again, it depends on load. a good distribution block with a 4ga wire from the battery will be plenty.

    Remember: that split loom and rubber grommets are your friend. Soldering is best only if you know how to solder. Crimp connectors should be sealed Tape can be used instead of shrinkwrap, for sealing, but not instead of a connector a connector.

    1. use the fuse block. 1 side is linked together(careful how much power runs through)
    2. you will need a fuse for every circuit.
    3. use a good(high amp) one for the electric fan. I would run it dual circuit with a temp sensor. Mabey a temporary off switch for water crossings, and a full on switch for letting it cool down more.
    4. 16 ga isnt enough to power your accessories long term without melting/corroding open. If you must power everything that you have listed with 1 wire I would suggest 8ga as a minimum. Each accessory has its own amp rating, go with it.
    5. the fuses should go where you have the distribution block.
    6. you can, but I dont recommend it. Keep the relays close to the battery, and the hot leg fused to the battery(it will be hot at all times) There are a couple of ways to wire in the switch. 1) wire in the switch on the ground circuit...when you throw the switch it completes the circuit on the ground side...have the signal side of the relay wired to a "key-on" circuit in the fuse box and fused(there should be a couple of unused ones there. 2) wire the switch on the hot side(sourced by a key-on circuit mentioned before AND FUSED) and ground the relay to a good ground under hood.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2007
  5. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    Okay, so a 4 gauge to from the battery to the fuse block (for distribution)? Will my 14 gauge wires be enough after that? Is the fusable link necessary if I am run a fuse block? Also, can I daisy chain the switches in the cab to one power wire and then wire them out to their respective accessories? Looks like I need to go back to the store and find some thicker wire for my main power wire. Thanks for the response, I just don't feel very comfortable with my wiring skills (neither does my wife) :D

    Edit: is there a chart or formula for what size fuse and wire to use with a given wattage accessory. My lights are 130 watts/pair and 100 watts/pair, medium sized electric fan, stock dual horns.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2007
  6. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    Here's a revised drawing (1st one, second one is original) of what I'm wanting to do including the fuse block that Leper recommended. Now everything will have fuses. All the switches will be on the same fuse to save having to run a wire to each, but when I turn one on will the other ones still have power? And each relay will have it's own fused power wire. This way looks a lot simpler and leaves room for expansion. What do ya'll think? Go ahead and get started?

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  7. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    Much better.
    Yes, you can wire all of the switches from the same wire. Yes they will all keep power. Because you are using a switch to only turn on a relay, the power requirement is minimal. Do remember that if all switches are on at the same time, the 1 wire will be supplying all of the power, so you might want to make it a tad larger(numerically smaller) in ga. If it was me, I would run the power for the switches from the dash fuse box, and the power for the relays from the battery. I don't know where you wheel, but if you don't get in water too much, I would mount the relays under the hood. You can buy a relay panel or simply mount them to sheet metal. That will keep so many wires out from under the dash.
     
  8. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    Yeah, the wiring under the dash isn't much better (from past owners). Luckily, I work in a sheetmetal shop and went today and got me a piece of metal to mount everything to. I usually just like doing rocks and trails with minimal water, but if it became an issue I could fab up a water proof box or something. I'll get to work on it and post up some pics when I"m done. Appreciate your help man.:bow:
     
  9. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    Finally got it done. No smoking, no fires, no hot wiring. I soldered all of my connections inside the fuse block and put that plastic conduit on all of my wires to protect them. Everything works! And I have 3 slots for expansion. I have a cover in the works to keep the fuses and relays dry. I appreciate everyones help with my questions about wiring and soldering. It was nice to hook up the battery and have everything work and not have my buddies giving me a hard time about my wiring. The wiring just looks like part of the truck now instead of multicolored wiring strung everywhere. I included a old picture where you can see some stray wires in there. Thanks again for all the help.:bow: :bow: :bow: :bow:

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  10. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Relays are a wonderful thing..

    I hope you've ditched those battery cable ends... :eek1:
     
  11. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    No I didn't, what is wrong with those ones? I was going to try to find some better ones when I got two batteries when I eventually get a winch and I'll move the batteries to the firewall. I was looking at your thread while I was wiring my truck and thinking.... someday I'll have two batteries to set my truck on fire with....:D
     
  12. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    :haha:

    Those are considered temporary repair type cable ends...

    Super easy, stop at your local Napa, etc, get some "insert gauge here, prolly 4 from the looks of it" to 3/8 battery lugs... cut and strip your cable for a fresh end.. put a chunk of shrinktube down the wire aways..

    You can either get a cheapie crimper or better yet...

    stick the lug in a vise, open end up, put some flux down in it, take a propane torch and heat the bottom of the lug and feed solder into it till its about 3/4 full, stick cable end in.. pull shrinktube up and shrink..


    [​IMG]

    personally i prefer just attaching those right to the studs available on many batteries.. you can see em on mine..

    [​IMG]

    but if not, just buy the top post terminals that have a stud on em.. napa will have em too..

    something like this..

    [​IMG]
     
  13. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    yeah, I've been using the top mount ones because I buy wal mart batteries and have had problems with them dying because of my wiring (hopefully not anymore fingers crossed). The first picture is for side mount correct? I do have a propane torch... do I use the same solder I used with my soldering gun? Is there a top mount kind like that that you solder on? Like the title says I'm electrically challenged, but after re-doing my accessories I am started to like wiring. Kind of a love/hate thing.
     
  14. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    Nah, that first pic is just a standard battery lug.. same thing i'm running basically... then just bolt that to the style mount in the bottom pic, whereas I'm bolting it right to the battery.. .. napa will have all that cheap... just tell em you want battery cable lugs in whatever size and a post mount you can bolt em to.. tell em what your running, they'll know what you want.. not sure if they make one that clamps on the battery and you solder the wire right in..

    but like i was hinting to in my post, the studded batteries are a much better option than a clamp on setup... if you use the lugs in the first pic, combined with the post terminal in the last pic, when you eventually need a battery you can get a stud style battery like mine and ditch the clamp on part...

    you'll want a heavy rosin core solder to fill the battery lugs. eats it fast filling the lug.. you can actually get solder pellets to do this...

    electrical is fun.. can be intimidating at first.. but once you start to understand principals, its much simpler... and it isn't nutbustin, dirty work... fun seeing stuff work in the end too...
     
  15. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    I'll check it out. I got a good weller soldering gun (acquired during this project) it heats up to 930 degrees. Can I just use that instead of a torch? But I do have this torch (sorry for the bad pic). My friend Jim might help me out on the battery terminals :haha:

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  16. ryoken

    ryoken Puppy Fabricator Premium Member GMOTM Winner

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    A solder gun wont do it, you'll need the torch...
     
  17. Leper

    Leper 1/2 ton status

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    littlejimmy......... you did a great job. I am impressed.
     
  18. littlejimmythatcould

    littlejimmythatcould 1/2 ton status

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    hey thanks, man I appreciate all of the help :bow: . Everything works now with room for expansion. Pretty nice little system. It was frustrating at times but I really like the results. The guys at work used to make fun of my wiring and now mine looks better than all of theirs. They think I paid someone to wire it. And I said "nope, just my $25 CK5 membership". My supervisor is jeleous I think because he hasn't found a Furd website as friendly as coloradok5.... I told him he should have bought a something from GM :rolleyes: .... just a little friendly rivalry we have going on even though his truck is more capable than mine.... for now.

    Edit: I went and checked out the battery terminals you suggested ryoken and I found some that appear to be the best of both worlds-- crimp(or solder) on top mount terminals from Napa. $8.00 each. I am going to wait and get some new battery cables while I'm putting on fancy terminals. When it warms up I'll get right on it.
     

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