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Bed Light Wiring Help

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Slesse, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Jan 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM
    #1
    Slesse

    Slesse [OP] Tacoma level 27

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    I would like to add some bed lights to my truck. I am going with LED strip lights, I get how to do that and I can wire them up easy enough. But I had a complicated idea for a simple look.

    I would like to wire the lights so they can be turned on from the cab or the bed. Simple 3-way wiring, no prob...

    I would also like to have the lights auto on with the cab lights and auto on with the tail gate down, still not a big issue. Two circuits to run on light, relays, etc not to big of a problem.

    The problem is that sometimes I take my tail gate off and would need to disable this circuit so the lights aren't on all the time, and sometime i have crap in the canopy and i might not always want the lights auto on. Is there a way to incorporate the (auto on with cab and tailgate)/off with the 3-way switch required for the regular on-off function with the cab without having two switches? I also want the indicator light on the switch to illuminate any time the bed lights are on, regardless of switch position.

    I know i will need some kind of switch for the circuit to know when the tailgate is open.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Jan 30, 2013 at 1:11 PM
    #2
    wing103

    wing103 Well-Known Member

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  3. Jan 30, 2013 at 1:35 PM
    #3
    Ryan DCFS

    Ryan DCFS New guy

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    To clarify...

    You want:
    ON/off With cab manual switch,
    ON with Cab lights,
    ON with Tailgate down,
    OFF with tailgate off,

    or did you want another manual switch in the bed as well, to turn them on or off from the bed, with the tailgate on and closed?
     
  4. Jan 30, 2013 at 2:01 PM
    #4
    Slesse

    Slesse [OP] Tacoma level 27

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    I would like to be able to turn the bed lights ON/OFF in the cab OR the bed and any time or turn it one in one spot and off in the other.

    I also want the bed lights to turn on automatically with the cab lights or when the tailgate is open, I also want to be able to disable the auto on feature of either one.

    ON/off with cab manual switch OR bed manual switch
    ON with cab lights/ OFF when not wanted
    On with tailgate down/OFF when not wanted

    Am I going to need more than the 3 switches I want to put in. 1-in cab, 1-in bed, 1-to signal when tailgate open
     
  5. Jan 30, 2013 at 2:14 PM
    #5
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free Since 1983

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    I'm still thinking about how to get this all done but I think you would need a 4th switch to act as a kill switch for the auto-on feature in the event your tail gate is removed.
     
  6. Jan 30, 2013 at 3:20 PM
    #6
    wing103

    wing103 Well-Known Member

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    first of all, why you need the bed light turn on with the cab light on?
    the easy way to do it like I said, get the 12v power from battery with a fuse go to the bed, go to the on/off switch than go to the push pin switch that I show you, it will just do what you want.
     
  7. Jan 30, 2013 at 3:28 PM
    #7
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free Since 1983

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    I would not do it that way. Most pickups have a cargo light that comes on when you open the door. It's ridiculous that the Tacoma doesn't come with any sort of cargo light. Personally, I like the idea of the way the OP wants to wire the cargo lights. I have a shell so the function he described makes a lot of sense for me.
     
  8. Jan 30, 2013 at 4:38 PM
    #8
    wing103

    wing103 Well-Known Member

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    It is your truck, do what you feel you like and what you need. Those are just my two cents.
    So now you need a relay and 2 ways switch to make it work
     
  9. Jan 30, 2013 at 5:10 PM
    #9
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free Since 1983

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    2 double throw switches, a single throw switch, a relay, a press-button switch on the tail-gate, probably a diode or 2, in-line fuse and a lot of wire :D
     
  10. Jan 31, 2013 at 8:14 AM
    #10
    Slesse

    Slesse [OP] Tacoma level 27

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    Thank you for your suggestion, but that doesn't actually accomplish what I am looking for. I understand this, and for simple installations this makes sense and is straight forward.

    I suppose I will have to have a forth switch like Pugga is saying.

    I think i would actually use 2 SPDT switches for the 3-way switch set up like you say above. But instead of a SPST switch as a "kill switch" I think i will use a SPDT on-off-on switch for the auto on feature. That way i can have the bed light auto on with cab lights or tailgate/off/auto on with tailgate only. This way I can disable the bed lights going on when I open the door if i have stuff in the box that i don't want to draw attention to when I open the door. I too have a canopy and sometimes don't want to advertise whats in there.

    Thanks for the replies, I was just trying to avoid another switch.

    I was thinking if the switches can handle the amperage, would I actually need to use a relay? there would basically be 2 circuits in parallel that operate the same light. Or is is better to run it trough a relay.?
     
  11. Jan 31, 2013 at 8:19 AM
    #11
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free Since 1983

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    I suppose if the switches can handle the draw then you don't need a relay. I use them out of habit. It's good practice but not always required with LED lighting since they have such a low draw. A 5 pin relay might give you some flexibility also for your auto-on feature.

    I'll have to mess with a wiring diagram, that'll be a lot of wiring for those lights! If I were to undertake that, I'd wire it layed out on the ground outside of the truck and make sure the logic is sound.
     
  12. Jan 31, 2013 at 8:28 AM
    #12
    Slesse

    Slesse [OP] Tacoma level 27

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    I just realized that if I am running a circuit to power the bed lights when cab lights are on I would need a relay for that.

    If I run the circuit for the cab lights, tailgate open switch, and manual 3-way cab switch to the same relay, would I need to use I diode? I don't have a lot of experience with diodes and never even thought of those. I understand they are like an electrical "check valve" but how would that help in this case?
     
  13. Jan 31, 2013 at 8:32 AM
    #13
    Slesse

    Slesse [OP] Tacoma level 27

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    I don't mind extra wiring if if gives more functionality. Besides, 16 GA wire is pretty cheap. 18 GA is even cheaper and that's all i need for relays right? I'd have to figure out exactly what I'd need to power the lights, but I would only need that run from the relay to the lights
     
  14. Jan 31, 2013 at 8:40 AM
    #14
    Pugga

    Pugga Pasti-Dip Free Since 1983

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    For LED strip lighting, I've gotta think 18 ga is more than adequate. Personally, I like 16 gauge because it's thicker and easier to work with. I hate soldering tiny wires and the small wires are nearly impossible to use a crimp on connector with. I usually use the same size wire for everything just because, if I screw up and have to swap wires around then I don't have to worry about any of them being undersized.
     
  15. Jan 31, 2013 at 11:13 AM
    #15
    Blackdawg

    Blackdawg Dr. Frankenstein

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    Your all making this way to complicated.

    Its much simplier then you think.

    All you need is 2 switches. Then run power strait to the LED strips. Put the switches on the GROUND connections. One in the bed and one in the cab.

    Problem solved. This is how i am running my bed lights.

    You can then ad as many switches to the ground as your heart desires.

    Only down side is that from whatever switch you turn it on from it must be turned off from as well. So if you turn it on in the cab..you have to turn it off from the cab.

    but it works quite well.
     
  16. Jan 31, 2013 at 6:47 PM
    #16
    joes06tacoma

    joes06tacoma Well-Known Member

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    I have attempted this. I was not able to achieve the lights going on with the factory dome light. The factory dome light has it's ground switched by the body computer. The relay I tried to use would chatter as the dome light slowly increased in brightness. Also, the wire involved is very small, probably 20 gauge. I would be afraid to directly wire into the factory circuit without a relay. I suspect the body computer and associated wiring can't handle much more of a load. If someone knows how to stop the relay from chattering, I'd love to know as well. When it was discussed on here in another thread, someone suggested wiring in a small capacitor. That's beyond my knowledge, and I decided not to risk frying the body computer. I may eventually install an aftermarket keyless entry system and use that to get the lights in the bed to come on when I unlock the truck, which was my original goal.

    The rest of what you posted is totally doable. The hard part will be finding the correct switch to go in the cab. It's out there, but it always boggles my mind going through all those spec sheets.

    Presently I have two lights inside my shell that are wired to two SPDT toggle switches in a three way configuration. I also ran an extra wire into the cab to allow me to wire in a SPDT switch with a center off position. I haven't done that yet, but it would serve as a master switch. Up position would turn on the bed lights regardless of the other switches positions, center is off, again regardless of the other switches, down would enable the three way switching on the other two switches. I havent' taught myself to do graphics on the computer yet, or I would draw you a diagram. The only thing missing would be having the lights come on with the keyless entry, which is where I got stuck.
     
  17. Jan 31, 2013 at 9:23 PM
    #17
    Slesse

    Slesse [OP] Tacoma level 27

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    Thanks for the input. I'm surprised that you get chatter, that might be fixed with a different type of relay, although I am by NO means an expert in wiring. if you don't want to tap into the computer, you should be able to tap into the wire that goes to the light itself.

    I too get lost reading up on all the switch specs. I think I might have to use 2 different switches, I really don't think there is a way to have the auto on function and the 3-way.

    With your on-off-on switch in the cab in the off position, your lights would not be able to be turned on from the bed right? If you are trying to wire 3 switches to each turn the lights on or off, you would need a 4-way switch. Unless i missed something in your description.
     
  18. Feb 2, 2013 at 8:01 AM
    #18
    joes06tacoma

    joes06tacoma Well-Known Member

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    I'm no expert on electronics, but I think Toyota uses Pulse Width Modulation to create the dimmer effect on the dome light. That rapid on/off is what make the relay chatter.

    If you find a wiring diagram and see how they did it, you will see that the dome light has constant 12V to it, and the ground is supplied through the computer. That's the only wire you can tap into to access the cab light's automatic operation.

    If I wanted to have three switches that would always change the state of the bed lights, then yes, I would need a 4 way switch for one of them. The way I have it wired, the one in the dash would be a master switch. If it's off, the lights are off, period. If it's on, the lights are on, period. If it's in the third position, that activates the two three way switches in the bed area.
     
  19. Feb 6, 2013 at 9:00 PM
    #19
    Slesse

    Slesse [OP] Tacoma level 27

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    So this is what I was thinking...

    [​IMG]

    thoughts?
     
  20. Feb 8, 2013 at 5:55 PM
    #20
    joes06tacoma

    joes06tacoma Well-Known Member

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    The tap into the interior light isn't going to work. It's constant positive voltage, switched ground. Rest of it looks okay, not sure where you will find a switch for the "cab switch" application.
     
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