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Old 02-15-2011, 09:01 AM
haysead haysead is offline
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Default Using Headlight Switch as Electrical Power Controller

I am a Firefighter who works in a very rural area and I have to respond from my home on a regular basis. I currently have my lights, radio, siren and all of that good stuff wired to the cheap-o cigarette adapters but I want to hard wire them in, I was wondering if I could use my headlight control switch as a switch to control the flow of power to the devices.

I always turn my headlights on when I get in my vehicle and I turn them off when I get out, so, if it is set to that, I won't drain my battery.

Each device has its own power switch, but, forgetting to turn something off will drain the battery.

I am driving a 2003 Ford Ranger.

If I can clarify anything, just ask. Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-15-2011, 09:56 AM
Nothing but Fords Nothing but Fords is offline
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Default Re: Using Headlight Switch as Electrical Power Controller

You should use a key on only power source and use a hd switch that is fused to power your stuff,when you turn off the truck all power is off.I"M sure you can wire through the headlight switch with the use of relay's but why take the chance.I burned out a headlight switch once by hooking up driving lights to the hi beam switch,I was going down the road and my lights kept going out for 2 sec. at a time,very scary at 55mph
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Old 02-15-2011, 11:27 AM
haysead haysead is offline
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Default Re: Using Headlight Switch as Electrical Power Controller

I appreciate the input, I am trying to find the best solution and I am thinking what you recommend would be the best idea, if the relay for my extra stuff goes out thats bad, but if I lose headlights and everything going to a call, that is worse. lol
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Old 02-15-2011, 12:55 PM
01B3000 01B3000 is offline
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Default Re: Using Headlight Switch as Electrical Power Controller

Well relays dont really shit out unless you overpower them or short them.

But anyways, On my truck, how i've prewired everything I have power coming directly out of the fusebox into relays, the relays are controlled by toggle switches. Thats the easiest way, I mounted my relays behind the passenger side kick panel (maybe ill put up some pics soon). Wiring them up to the headlight switch isnt the best because as you say, something happens, and boom, no headlights.

The lights are self explanatory, youll notice them when you get out of the truck, if not you can put indicator lights by your headlight switch.

Now for the siren and radio, you can hook them up to a relay that is powered on by the stereo of your truck when the ignition/acc is on.

I dont know if you have strobe packs, but they have relays built in, so there is no concern about that, you can just hook that straight into the fusebox.

And even though everything already has switches, if you plan on going permanent, your gonna have to go a bit different probably , take a look at how i did my switch panel in my album

See if you can post a pic of how its set up now.
Any questions or doubts ask, there are alot of us that specialize in electrical.
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Last edited by 01B3000; 02-15-2011 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:45 PM
bilko1 bilko1 is offline
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Default Re: Using Headlight Switch as Electrical Power Controller

How about using a relay conected to an oil pres. switch.
That way, anything powered through it, will not work without the eng. running, that way you have no battery drain.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:15 PM
schultzkenneth schultzkenneth is offline
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Default Re: Using Headlight Switch as Electrical Power Controller

Have you checked out what Galls has for equipment? They might have some type of switch or relay or something for wiring your warning lights up so you don't forget them. I'm not sure the headlight switch is a good idea, but i do like the key idea posted above. I know you can wire the radio that way, that's how it is in most of the apparatus here.

Also, not sure what your running for lights, but my dad left his halogen mini-bar (2-55w bulbs i believe) on for a few hours accidently and the battery was still good when he got back. If your running LED you should be alright, i know my CB on the old battery could go a few days and it'd still crank.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:40 PM
zx6rrdan zx6rrdan is offline
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Default Re: Using Headlight Switch as Electrical Power Controller

I'd suggest staying away from anything related to the trucks driving or lighting wire a relay with power from the battery or even the accessories plug your using now. In the kickpanel junction box use the battery power wire as the signal for the relay so you only have power when the radio is on so key in on or acc and it powers.
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Old 02-15-2011, 07:45 PM
buggman buggman is offline
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Default Re: Using Headlight Switch as Electrical Power Controller

My suggestion would to be to find a switched 12v source (like the radio power), tap into that to trigger a 30-40a relay. Whenever your truck turns on, the relay will kick on & provide 12v to whatever you need.

Run a power wire from the relay into a 12v cig outlet adapter with several ports or connect everything directly (make sure to fuse each connection). Run a ground to good solid bare metal spot in the truck.

Just make sure to run a fuse directly at the battery & a good sized power/ground cable to the relay to handle anything you'll ever connect to it.

I've been using a similar set up for my voltmeter & other accessories so I don't need extra switches to deal with.
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Old 02-15-2011, 08:08 PM
BigT8600 BigT8600 is offline
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Default Re: Using Headlight Switch as Electrical Power Controller

good suggestion above, but i would get power from under the steering column. large 12v wires are under there and would provide your switched power that you need...
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