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camper shell lighting questions and more

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Old 06-11-2014, 11:42 AM   #1
izzan67 [OP] izzan67 is offline
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camper shell lighting questions and more

I have been researching this for like two weeks and finally was able to figure this out>>>
I bought my ARE shell about 9 yrs ago. It came with a flimsy light screwed to the aft end of the camper shell. It probably broke within a week, it was replaced with another flimsy light during a repaint because when I received the camper the color was way off. The light didn't last either. I finally got around to working on it because I cannot see anything in the bed when the shell is on. I managed to figure out the wiring for it. I removed the driver side tail light. Found the brake/tail light (green/red for brake light, solid green for tail light and the white/black ground all in the same socket. The installer had used the blue quick splices. There was a red power and a black ground wire from the 3rd brake light and a red power and a black ground wire from the dome light.
The red wires (power) went to the green/red (power for brake) and solid green (power for tail light) wires on the brake/tail light (same socket).
Splice #1 was the red wire (power) 18-22 gauge from the 3rd brake light on the shell to to the green/red wire (brake light power)
Splice #2 was the red (power) 18-22 gauge from the dome light on the shell to the solid green wire (tail light power)
Splice #3 was the black wire (ground) from the 3rd brake light to the white/black ground.
Splice # 4 was the black wire (ground) from the dome light quick spliced to the black wire (ground) from the 3rd brake light.
It took me awhile to figure out what they had done cause they had taped everything because the wire colors where faded.

I undid everything, got new wire red and black and Tap quick splices. I wrapped two lengths of the red and white wire in the smallest flexible conduit and wrapped it with electrical tape and then passed it through the little gap at the top of the inside of the tail light opening (it passes in the bed from underneath the rail. I pigtailed the black (ground) and tap spliced to the white/black ground, then I tap spliced the red (power) from the 3rd brake light to the green/red and red (power) from the dome light to the solid green.
My issue is that in addition to the original dome light. I want to add 4 LED strips two for the camper shell and two just for the bed when there is no camper shell. problem is I only have one red and black wire to connect 4 power leads and 4 grounds not including the original dome light power and ground. I know I will need a switch to control the LEDS unless I want them on all the time when my driving lights are on. Any and all ideas are helpful.
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Old 01-19-2015, 08:01 PM   #2
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Camper Shell Lighting

izzan67......thanks for the post....definitely helped me in my project. I too wanted to add LEDs, so here's what I did:

1. Bought a set of LEDs at Advanced Auto.
2. Wired the brake light in the manner you described.
3. Ran a wire to the positive of the battery in the following manner:
  1. Connected to the battery.
  2. Ran the wire under the fuse box and back to the rubber gasket in the firewall that the hood latch and another wiring harness passes through.
  3. Removed the door sill trim and the trim that covers all the stuff left of the emergency brake.
  4. Ran the wire behind everything left of the emergency brake, then under the sill.
  5. Under the driver's seat, found a rubber gasket where the wiring is routed under the truck. Ran my wire through that.
  6. Under the truck, ran the wire in the same path as the wiring that came out under the driver's seat. Taped about every foot to the conduit the wire is in.
  7. Ran the wire up and out where the driver's side tail-light is.
  8. Connected the wire to the positive from the dome light (that I had routed to the tail-light via a crack just under the bed-rail at the rear.
4. Next, I connected the LEDs to the dome light in the following manner.
  1. In the dome light, I spliced the ground AFTER the switch (not much to work with) and connected the grounds from the LEDs to it.
  2. Attached all LEDs to the window frame of the camper shell (4 on each side). One screw per light, drilled pilot holes.
  3. Taped wiring along window frames.
  4. Done!

Next, I want to install a button in the rear window that will turn the lights on when the window is opened, but can be over-ridden (turned off) with the dome light switch (if the switch is on, the lights will come on when the window is opened, but not when the switch is off). That way, if I have the widnow opened during the day for an extended period of time, I can turn it off. I plan to try this by wiring the button to the ground after the switch (and where I spiced for the LEDs, but before the dome light bulb. It will be tight, but I think I can get it in.

I've included a few pics. I can add more, showing the under-truck wire routing if you like.

Hope this helps!
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