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Old    Andrew"Jet"Mitchell (andrewjet)      Join Date: Jan 2003       09-09-2010, 12:41 PM Reply   
Hey guys, need your opinion on my light bar install. Im pointing 3-lights backward and 2-lights forward. I used 14-gauge for the 3-fronts..can I use 16 gauge for the 2-fronts? And Im not using relays, Im hooking them up to a led switch and then to a fused power block?? Will the 16 gauge be ok?? No relays a big deal?? Jet
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Old    Tom N (SangerTom)      Join Date: Aug 2010       09-09-2010, 1:01 PM Reply   
Not to hi-jack ur Q but how are you tying all 5 light wires together and then down into the tower - how are you running them
Old    Andrew"Jet"Mitchell (andrewjet)      Join Date: Jan 2003       09-09-2010, 1:32 PM Reply   
3-lights all wired together down one side of the tower to a rear-light switch, then the same for the other 2-lights hopefully down the same side of the tower to the led forward-light switch. Does that answer your ??'s
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       09-09-2010, 1:55 PM Reply   
How many watts are the lights?
And what is the switches rated at?

I would imagine the lights will draw so much juice, they will smoke the switches if your not using relays.
Old    Earmark Marine (david_e_m)      Join Date: Jul 2008       09-09-2010, 2:45 PM Reply   
Just do a temporary test outside of the tower. If the switches, wiring or connections get more than luke warm then you are going to have serious problems where considerable damage can occur before the fuses will disengage the power. A fuse can only protect against excessive current but cannot determine whether the current is being converted into heat or not. Those are not real high intensity lamps. I'm familiar with these as they are common on entry-level light bars and are used in price point light bars that we offer. However, DC lamps in general pull serious and continuous current as compared to audio type equipment. I would never take the risk of lighter gauge wiring, crimp connectors or switches without relays especially when we are only talking about a few extra dollars to do it the right way. Also, wiring five halogen lamps to the helm buss or breaker/fuse panel is not such a good idea. Light bars deserve a dedicated run to the battery. We supply the relays with 8-gauge service from the battery.

David
Earmark Marine
Old    Andrew"Jet"Mitchell (andrewjet)      Join Date: Jan 2003       09-09-2010, 4:09 PM Reply   
The lights are standard 55watt and the switches are rated at 30 amps.
Old    Andrew"Jet"Mitchell (andrewjet)      Join Date: Jan 2003       09-09-2010, 4:23 PM Reply   
30 amps on the switches, and Its own dedicated power block with 10 gauge wire coming from the batt.
Old    Sparky Jay (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       09-09-2010, 5:47 PM Reply   
Well watts divided by voltage equals amps so for the 3 lights thats 165 watts divided by say 14 volts so about 12 amps for the 3 lights through the switch and about 8 amps on the 2 lights through the switch. Use 14 guage wire through out and you should be fine. I run no relays on mine with six 55 watt lights with 3 pairs each on a seperate 20 amp switch.
Old    Andrew"Jet"Mitchell (andrewjet)      Join Date: Jan 2003       09-10-2010, 8:17 AM Reply   
Thanks sparky and david. that helps.
Old    Greg Hind (ghind)      Join Date: Jun 2009       09-23-2010, 3:17 AM Reply   
If you run MUCH heavier wire and relays you will get MUCH more light output.

The voltage drop you will get from the configuration you've described is pretty bad.

Your method would probably work but if you want light, you will need to give them as close to the full 14.4 volts as you can. I did mine with much, much bigger wire than what you are talking about. David's is good advice.
Old    Sparky Jay (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       09-23-2010, 8:22 AM Reply   
The voltage drop will be very little if any. You dont need bigger wire and relays. It would be a waste and will not change the light output. If this were true, auto manufacturers would not be usung 14 guage wire for all headlight and fog light configurations would they?
Old    Andrew"Jet"Mitchell (andrewjet)      Join Date: Jan 2003       09-23-2010, 8:31 AM Reply   
I ended up using 12 or 14 with no relays and ran them for about an hour last weekend and it was BRIGHT and great, no issues except it was TOO BRIGHT in the drivers seat forward..rear is great. Got them angled correctly and then tightened them down good. Any advise on the brightness in the drivers seat?? Bimini is not done yet so what can I do about that?? Thanks guys. Jet
Old    Sparky Jay (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       09-23-2010, 8:41 AM Reply   
Have to have the bimini up. Helps a ton with glare from the forward facing lights..
Old    Andrew"Jet"Mitchell (andrewjet)      Join Date: Jan 2003       10-29-2010, 10:09 AM Reply   
Updated pic's. The light bar worked great and was bright as hell. the forward facing 2-lights have to much down lighting and had to keep them turned off. I will have to paint the bottom of the lens's to keep that light going forward instead of down also, good thing I put them on 2-switches. I cant wait to get the bimini done too that will help with the brightness in the boat. great add-on and much needed for night riding and boat trailering at the ramp. get out there and build you won. Sorry no night time pic's. Jet
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Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       10-29-2010, 10:49 AM Reply   
You could try making some eyelid type shields on the bottom like they use on movie set lighting if you get what I mean. That might help stop the light from coming down. I have noticed the same problem on my boat as the lights light the front of the boat causing too much glare. Big misconseption is that they help at night...which they don't. For driving it's better to let your eyes adjust to the darkness. You will see farther without them on. I only really use my lights once I get closer to shore or when putting the boat on the trailer. Otherwise while I am running I will flash them on and off a couple times if I think I see something that the light will catch.
Old    Duffy Mahoney (duffymahoney)      Join Date: Sep 2008       10-29-2010, 10:59 AM Reply   
We surf and wakeboard at night. I know, I know it's illegal. I have KC daylighters and I can almost see as well at night as I can during the day with this setup. I have them all on at the same time. I did this by using low watt LEDs facing back. They light up the night fine for the surfer or boarder. Good light forward is more important to me. We actually normally only surf during the night but every full moon we try and wakeboard.
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Old    Andrew"Jet"Mitchell (andrewjet)      Join Date: Jan 2003       10-29-2010, 11:54 AM Reply   
Yes, I have thought of the eye lids, great idea still thinking through mine. We hit the full moons when we can, I love those nights, but yes, we only use the rear for spotting those landings.

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