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Custom Dodge Ram Interior and Exterior Lighting HID - HALO - LED LIGHTING - UNDERBODY LIGHTING - TINTED/SMOKED/PAINTED TAILS - ETC.


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  #1  
Old 08-19-2013, 11:21 AM
Nicky-D Nicky-D is offline
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Default Truck Bed Lighting (Solar?)

Just picked up some truck bed lights and a switch. Knowing ABSOLUTELY nothing about electrical wiring on a vehicle after talking to the sales person he said all I would need was the light kit (link provided below) and a switch if I wanted to add a switch in the bed of truck.

I get home, open the packaging and find that it's not THAT simple for me and I will probably need additional items to make this happen.

I would prefer NOT to run wires the entire length of my truck for some dinky bed lights... I am also not a fan of running anything else off my truck battery as the thing just EXPLODED on me this past weekend scaring the living daylights out of me. Below are my questions for those of you auto electric savvy.

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/acc...er=327399_0_0_

Power Source:
1) Can I tie in to my taillight power source?

2) Would I be better off just tossing one of my spare 12V deep cycle batteries in my truck toolbox and running off of that?

3)Could I just hook these lights up to a solar panel with a switch like the cheapo yard lights they sell at harbor freight?


Turning in my man card and asking for DETAILED help here. Not looking to do any soldering here.
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Old 08-19-2013, 05:20 PM
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RogerRamJet RogerRamJet is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicky-D View Post
Just picked up some truck bed lights and a switch. Knowing ABSOLUTELY nothing about electrical wiring on a vehicle after talking to the sales person he said all I would need was the light kit (link provided below) and a switch if I wanted to add a switch in the bed of truck.

I get home, open the packaging and find that it's not THAT simple for me and I will probably need additional items to make this happen.

I would prefer NOT to run wires the entire length of my truck for some dinky bed lights... I am also not a fan of running anything else off my truck battery as the thing just EXPLODED on me this past weekend scaring the living daylights out of me. Below are my questions for those of you auto electric savvy.

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/acc...er=327399_0_0_

Power Source:
1) Can I tie in to my taillight power source?
Short answer would be no. If you want/need and explanation, just ask and I'll explain it in detail.

2) Would I be better off just tossing one of my spare 12V deep cycle batteries in my truck toolbox and running off of that?
You could do that, but after a while, your battery is going to drain and be dead. And you have to rig something up to secure the battery in the bed. It is a solution, but IMHO, not a very good one.

3)Could I just hook these lights up to a solar panel with a switch like the cheapo yard lights they sell at harbor freight?
More trouble than it's worth. Again, you'll have to rig something up to hold the solar panel secure to make sure it won't blow away at high speeds. Good idea because the sun shines a lot in Florida, but not practical.


Turning in my man card and asking for DETAILED help here. Not looking to do any soldering here.
There's the easy/cheap way to do it, then there's the best way to do it, and it doesn't require any soldering. Do a search for bed lights here on the forum in the search pull down menu. Several other members have done this, successfully and brilliantly.
This is how I would/am going to do it (future mod in the works). Get some extra wire, butt splice (I'm going to solder and shrink wrap) the ends together, run the wires in with or zip tie to the existing wire harness, then use a quick connect to splice in to your cargo light. If memory serves me from reading posts about it, you can find that wire under the left rear kick plate. This way, when your cargo light is on, so will your bed lights.
Any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. Good luck with the install. Have fun with it and post a pic or two when you're done.
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Last edited by RogerRamJet; 08-19-2013 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 08-19-2013, 11:06 PM
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The cargo light connection is an excellent solution if you don't want to run a separate line. Also check local laws as to whether or not you can have them on while driving.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:32 AM
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First off, don't waste your money on cheap lights. If you're going to do something like this, do it correctly the first time. It'll save a lot of time and aggravation later by preventing your from having to do it again. The lights that you linked above are not likely to last very long. I've had a few of them in the past for accent lighting, and they just didn't work very well. There are many sources available online, weather proof LED strip lights are probably going to be your best bet.

The electrical part is not difficult, it just takes a little bit of time and patience. Roger has offered some excellent advice above.

Heat Shrink and butt connectors are a good means of making your connections. I think AutoZone even has them as an all in one set up. You'll need to run some wire, I'd suggest a color and black, as this will help you keep straight what wires are what when you get down to running everything. An in-line fuse is a must, as this will prevent the rest of your truck from having a melt down if something goes wrong.

Dependent upon where you run your wires, some wire loom wouldn't be a bad idea either, as it will protect the wires if you run them under the truck. IMO it also makes for a cleaner look.

good luck and don't hesitate to ask any questions that you may have. The only stupid question, is the one that isn't asked.

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Old 08-20-2013, 11:43 AM
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the solar power thing is intriguing.
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Old 08-20-2013, 01:00 PM
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It is intriguing, I agree. But the op would have to rig up some kind of battery storage system to along with mounting the solar panel(s).
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:06 PM
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what do the garden outside lights use.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:20 PM
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I'm not really sure. I have a few, or I should say, my wife has a few, but they only seem to last about a month before starting to fizzle out. I don't think they're very durable. I'm guessing the solar panel charges a wee battery housed somewhere in the case and then a photo cell turns the light on when it gets dark enough. I've never seen one last through the night though. I think those are only made to last a few hours.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:44 PM
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Solar garden lights are fun little toys and have other uses than the garden.

They are basically a small circuit, a solar panel, single led, small light sensing/charging circuit, and a AA or AAA NiMH or NiCD battery. When they fail and stop working its because the cheap noname rechargeable battery have split due to freezing or excess heat. Usually can buy cheap lights, put in name brand rechargeable batteries and they will last twice as long at night.

No easy way to hook them up and use them as bed lights. Saw a guy using some in his truck bed at a rally, but looked awful. Would take quite a bit of effort rewiring repackaging, etc to make something that still would be prone to failure. From a maintenance standpoint its just easier to buy some good bed lights and wire them in.

The solar garden lights are handy to have if you are trailer or tent camping away from civilization. As they make for great safe lights in tents/trailers after dark.

Last edited by ExpensiveToys; 08-20-2013 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 08-20-2013, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferguda View Post
The cargo light connection is an excellent solution if you don't want to run a separate line. Also check local laws as to whether or not you can have them on while driving.
^^^^ yup that's how I did it. Use a relay and power the coil with the cargo circuit. Here is my install thread. http://www.ramforumz.com/showthread.php?t=82115
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