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Old    Brad (tazz)      Join Date: Oct 2003       05-12-2005, 9:20 PM Reply   
I just finished my install on my tower lights. 3 55 watt forward, 2 rear. I purchased a double pull double throw switch so one swith could work for front and rear. I bought the switch from the same place sanger buys them so every thing would match. I removed an acc switch from the dash and installed my new switch including the breaker hookup. the lights work both ways for about 30 seconds then the breaker gos. I think the breaker is 5 amp, do I just need to get a bigger breaker? What size should I be using?
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       05-12-2005, 9:50 PM Reply   
the formula is P=IV - where P is power in watts, I is current in amps, and V is voltage. with a DPDT switch i'm assuming you won't be running front and rear simultaneously, so 3 x 55W is the max load which draws 13.75A.
Old    Brad (tazz)      Join Date: Oct 2003       05-13-2005, 6:24 AM Reply   
Thanks Trace.
after thinking about it some more I probably should not use the wiring that is there at the switch anyways. It looks way to small. all my tower light wires are 12 ga and the hot wire comming to the breaker looks about 16. I think I'll bring in a hot and ground with 12 ga and use in line 15 amp fuses. I'll just bypass the breaker. What do you think?
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       05-13-2005, 10:33 AM Reply   
yeah, 16 ga is too small. here's a wire size chart & voltage drop calculator Google found: http://www.powerstream.com/Wire_Size.htm
Old    Bob (bob)      Join Date: Feb 2001       05-16-2005, 6:40 AM Reply   
just get the right size breaker cause if it blows ,likely will be when you need lights the most, you will be s.o.l.
Old    muji (mujibur)      Join Date: May 2002       05-16-2005, 8:09 AM Reply   
Brad,

The bypass 12Gauge direct to the power source with a fused connection will work fine. As for the switch wiring, i would use a 15A relay to take the load and not re-wire the switches. I also suspect that if you get 13A of current running through the switch it will become your "fuse" pretty quickly.
Old    Bob (bob)      Join Date: Feb 2001       05-17-2005, 8:31 AM Reply   
i concur even if the switch has a high ampere rating, generally they will only take so much abuse and the switch contacts will burn up, headlight relay (about $5 at radio shack or auto pats store) would be the way to go.
Old    Brad (tazz)      Join Date: Oct 2003       05-17-2005, 9:52 AM Reply   
Muji & Bob

I don't understand the relay concept. How does it work? Where does it go in the overall wiring scheme. If I have wire from the power source to the switch then from switch to fuse then on to lights.

Thanks
Old    Trace (trace)      Join Date: Feb 2002       05-17-2005, 10:35 AM Reply   
a relay is basically a remote switch that allows you to run a low amperage signal from the dash to switch the high current accessories on & off.

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/relay.htm

the contacts in a relay will wear just as they will in a switch, the beauty is you're not running high current thru anything in the dash, and heavy gauge wire runs can usually be shorter.
Old    Brad (tazz)      Join Date: Oct 2003       05-17-2005, 3:27 PM Reply   
OK, I kind of get it. compared to the wiring I laid out above where does the relay fit in?
Old    Bob (bob)      Join Date: Feb 2001       05-19-2005, 5:54 AM Reply   
The relay can be placed pretty much anywhere so it makes it convienient for somewhere between the battery/main power distribution panel and what ever device (for you the tower lights)your running. You still need to fuse the high current side that runs from battery to load(lights) seperately from the control side(dash switch- you already have a breaker, just make sure the control wire you use is capable of the full load up to the breaker size you are using...5 amps )from traces chart it looks like 16 gauge should be ok. On the load side, between the battery and lights and also back to ground you will require larger wire. I use the chart on west marines site myself (site is down right now but if you go to the west advisor section it has two charts, one for 3% drop and one i think has a 10% drop, their charts are based on the distance the wire is run.

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