Roof Rack Electrics

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iandvl
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Roof Rack Electrics

Post by iandvl »

I have not posted this here yet, as I wanted an opportunity to test it out in the really-real world prior to posting anything really. However, I recently repurposed some Front-Runner kit to get more user-friendly work lights on the truck... My recent trip to the Waterberg gave me an opportunity to test the stuff properly, and so I can happily post this here with a clear-conscience....

In any case, when we go camping with the kids, space is at a premium, and we haul our gazillion year old scruffy caravan along with us. Most of the time in these cases, it's resort style camping, and we plug into the mains at the camp site. However, when we camp without the kids, or hit the road touring, we prefer the out of the way places. And most of the nicest spots have no power... This has never bothered me too much when I used to head out solo - I know where to plug what in to the auxiliary batter box so that I have the work lights working and light in the RTT. However, since Liana has decided she enjoys heading out in to the great wide yonder occasionally, my fairly simple set up has become a bit of a bone of contention. She does not know where to plug the stuff in. And she has a habit of always asking me to plug in a work light or similar when I am in the middle of something else and cannot easily do so...

I had a bit of a brain fart a while ago when I came along these: https://www.frontrunneroutfitters.com/e ... point.html

And so I ordered two of them and haxored them a bit to fit more along the lines of how I want them to work. So I now have a slightly different set up. The worklight and rear hella socket are powered on with the rear switch. When we stop and set up camp, I plug the single plug into the battery, and then the light under the awning and the work light at the back of the truck can be operated by that switch. And the front hella socket is powered on by the front switch. This is for the RTT / whatever. Alternatively, I can plug the side awning light into the front socket, and then I can switch on the rear light and the side light independently. So I now have the option of plugging a single plug into the battery box when I stop (I don't feel like leaving it permanently connected) and then Liana can decide which lights she wants on at any point in time.

I don't have photos with the lights on, but that just seemed a little pointless. Anyways, perhaps it is useful for somebody. :)
worklights.jpeg
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Re: Roof Rack Electrics

Post by Spike »

Gee that's a reasonable price for those units. When I saw the big name supplier I assumed inflated price but I was wrong, that is a bargain
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Re: Roof Rack Electrics

Post by iandvl »

Please remember that by default those units only provide two hella sockets. My modification of them included the toggle switches.
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Re: Roof Rack Electrics

Post by Steele »

That is a clever idea Ian.

Are the switches waterproof?

Where do you run the cable to the battery? Is the cable permanently connected to the power boxes? If so, how do you store it when travelling?
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Re: Roof Rack Electrics

Post by iandvl »

The switches are waterproof and the cable is routed along the inside edges of the roof rack. It runs into the boot at the top right hand side of the barn doors, where it is covered in split sheathing. This works fine and the door does not leak.

I don't keep the cable plugged in permanently - I plug in the single plug when I set up camp. However, it's a single cable I need to plug in and then all the lights work with the switches. It means I don't need to swap cables out every time Liana wants a different light on - she just switches on what she wants when she wants. It works well.

The pic below should indicate where the cable runs into the boot.
cable.jpg
cable.jpg (43.15 KiB) Viewed 174 times
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Re: Roof Rack Electrics

Post by Steele »

Thanks Ian. I couldn't make out in the initial pictures whether the cable was a permanent connection to the switches or if you could unplug the cable from the switch and store it away while travelling. I see now that it is permanently connected and just the battery end gets unplugged while travelling. :thumbup:
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Re: Roof Rack Electrics

Post by iandvl »

The switches I have used are these:https://www.botshop.co.za/product/water ... red-light/

They're 220V, 6A switches. On 12V, DC, it means the indicator lamp they have will not work, but that does not bother me. Also, the amp load should be totally in-spec with the lights I'm running without the requirement of relays. The lights I am using are a 25Watt work-light (~2Amps) and 2xNational Luna 15-LED lights which draw about 0.3A each on high setting. However, the lights are never on at the same time.

Yes, one sits with the possible "arc" effect of DC vs AC on the switch, but I think that at this current that will be minimal. It all worked well enough on my last trip.
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Re: Roof Rack Electrics

Post by ChristoSlang »

A quick rule of thumb when converting AC -> DC is to multiply the current rating by 0.7, so your 6A AC switches are safe for 4.2A DC.

With low voltages like 12V you're unlikely to have have sustained arcing when opening the switch. Using an AC switch to disconnect solar panel strings at 500 V DC (like my house) is a recipe for biblical amounts of fire & brimstone, though..
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