Electrical, Electrical and more Electrical

Lights before lockers, thats the phrase we all hear!  Well I now have lockers, so lights, lights and more lights!

The lights that I am adding are rock lights under the Jeep, 2-8” HID lights on the front bumper, a backup light, and a LED strip light on the hard top window.  I am running wiring for future lights when I get a roof rack.  For that I am wiring for flood lights to illuminate around the Jeep, and adding back up lights.

How to wire up these lights you have many options, you can run a switch box, or just run all the wires/fuses and relays to the battery (AKA Rats Nest). 

Because I need to be difficult, I want to run must of my lights on a 3-way switch ON-ON-OFF.  The lights that are bring run in this switch configuration are my Rock Lights, Bumper Lights and the Backup light.  The Bumper lights will be on when I command them on, on when high beams are on or completely off.  The back up light is configured the saw way, but turns on when the jeep is in reverse.  The rock lights will turn on when dome illumination is on, when the doors open.  Because I am running these on the ON-ON-OFF switch configuration, I can not use a pre-wired switch box, like an S-POD.  I bought from a Facebook page a waterproof fuel box.  This has a positive and negative wire to run to the battery, with an inline fuse and then the box has the ability to run 10 lights or electrical accessories off.  This Fues box has made life very easy and well organized.  I have each fuse labeled with the right size of amp fuse.  I made and Dee modified the bracket that the fuse box sits in, and it bolts to the drivers side fender.  

Having this fuse box, it greatly eliminate how many wires I need to run to the battery.  I only run directly to the battery, by passing the fuse box is the high load items, ARB Fridge, ARB Dual Air Compressor and Warn winch.  Each of those, except the winch are fused, and using their supplied wiring harness.  The winch has a unique and custom setup.  OK4WD has made a cutoff switch and bracket.  This way the winch is not always powered.  In the event of a front end accident, I do not have hot wires going to the bumper.  I have to use a Hella Battery Mast Switch Key.  So when I need to use the winch, I need to put the “key” into the switch.  

On my hard top I have a waterproof quick disconnect for the wiring that needs to be run there.  Wiring to the hard top is the LED light that illuminates when the window is open.  That is set to the door illumination, so I need to make sure a door gets opened at night to turn on.  This does get in the way with the rear window is closed, so the light has a switch and I chose to turn it off as its very bright.  I also have pre run wiring for my rack back up lights and flood lights.  

Now to get all these connected I went to my good friend Greg and his electrical knowledge.  I went up to his house and we spend almost 2 day over a weekend getting everything wired up.  TJ come up and gave a hand.  Figuring out the switch logic, what factory wires to tap for dome illumination, taps for when the factory back lights are on, so the switches are lighted at night.  This took Greg and I alot of time and testing.  But once it was done, it looked great, just like it cam from sth factory. What looks like a rats net is a very organized switch panel.  I wanted to look more OEM, I got the Rugged Ridge “A” Pillar switch pod.  I used switches and switch covers from OTRATTW.  These guys at OTRATTW make custom switch and have a large selection of switch covers.


Published by Expedition Team. Overland

As a Boy Scout Eagle Scout, camping, camp fires and maps have always been a passion. After getting my professional carrier established as a Boeing 737 Captain for a Major US Airline, I was able to get back to my routes of playing in the woods, mud and building things. I got my first Jeep in 2012. It was a 2002 Jeep Wrangler TJ, I did not modify it, and it had many mechanical problems, as I was a novice, and not mechanical, I sold it for a new 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sport Unlimited. In 2014 I installed an American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) 2.5" lift with Kelly Safari 35" tires. In 2015 I continued my build with AEV front and rear bumpers, snorkel, skid plates, and off road lights. Up until now, I did off-roading at the local Southington Off Road Park, Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania, and Badlands Park in Indiana. JKFreaks.com was an outstanding resource and I was able to make life-long friendship. In 2015 I did my first big trip with the jeep, first we stopped in Ouray, Colorado. We had two days of trails and did Imogene & Engineer Passes. I left part of myself in the San Juan Mountains and my want to return has been strong since. After Ouray, we went to Moab, Utah for Jeep Jamboree. Moab is "Jeepers Paradise". Endless miles of trails, from dirt roads to the most extreme, Moab offers endless possibilities for the Jeeper, hiker, mountain biker, everyone. Since 2015 I have returned to Moab in 2017 & 2019. In 2018, I traded in my 2013 JKU Sport for a 2018 JKU Rubicon Recon. I did this drastic move, because I was at the point in my build where I needed to upgrade my axels. I made the very difficult decision and striped as much as I could from my 2013 Jeep to move to the new jeep, as they were both the same style of jeeps; JKU's. I spent the spring and summer of 2018 to build my jeep. I once again installed an AEV 3.5" lift, 35" BFGoodrich KO2's and AEV front and rear bumpers. With this build I wanted to move from the "Rock Crawler" to an Overland build. I can still do all the difficult trail of Moab, Rubicon Trail, but also the fire roads and cover many miles full of camping and off road gear. With Overlanding in mind, I have build a cargo platform for my ARB 50q Fridge, and specific loading of the camping gear. Where is the Future? Buying an Earth Roamer and exploring as much of the country as possible? Thats a goal, but I hope in the coming years to get a roof rack, roof top tent, and then doing more Expeditions though Appalachian, Rocky Mountains, desert of New Mexico and Arizona, and the National Parks west of the Rocky Mountains.

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