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Rock Lights tied to bed lights and reverse

FL Handle Guy

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The simple project of wiring a set of rock lights to an aux switch turned into a project that was far more involved, but doesn't every jeep project? The project took me about 7 hours, that includes watching letter kenny while making the led harnesses.

I wanted to install a set of rock lights but decided I wanted them tucked up out of the way and mounted to the body but didn't want to drill holes. So I decided to mount my rock lights to magnets and then I could figure out where I wanted to mount them without turning the body of the jeep into swiss cheese (rust). So the first thing I did was come up with a set of goals and did some research to see what I need and how I would wire them up.

I have never been a fan of the angry eye lights, frowny face grill, crazy colored neon looking under car lights. I just like simple, clean and for it to look like it came that way from factory.


Goals

-Rock lights so I could see beside the jeep at night without having to roll down the windows (tinted windows prevented me from seeing the white lines while backing up)

-Turn on when unlocking the jeep

-No holes (magnets?)

-Automatically turns on with bed lights (I can hit the bed light switch to turn them on)

-Automatically turns on when put in reverse

-Could be wired to aux switch later if desired

-Not interfere with can-bus or back feed through system



Purchase list (some things I already had, but I'm putting them here anyway)

- 12 @ 3/4" threaded magnets (2 per light) and stainless screws that matched the thread
https://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=MMS-D-C

- 6 @ 1,200 Lumen Rock lights (these were potted with epoxy so they shouldn't leak...)
https://www.etrailer.com/Lights/Buyers_Products/3371492139.html

- 6 @ threaded waterproof 2 wire connectors
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LCV97AY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- roll of duplex jacketed wire
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MDEV9C/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- waterproof solder butt connectors
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KBXL17K/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- 2 @ 15 amp diodes
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079KK5KXN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- roll of cable sleeve (I bought 1/4", if I had to do it again I would have bought 3/8" or 1/2")
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074GM1PK1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- fabric wiring harness tape
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I2MLN2Q/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Misc connectors, zip ties, liquid electrical tape, heat gun, crimpers, wire cutters, wire strippers, socket set for ground bolt, beer


First thing I did was make a wiring harness for each led light and wired them to one of the 2-wire threaded connectors. I chose this incase I damaged a light or it burnt out I could replace it without cutting into the main harness again. I connected the side with the nut to the light and the threaded portion to the harness I ran through the frame. I covered all wires where they went through the frame with the cable sleeve and taped or heat shrunk the ends. The cable sleeve is surprisingly tough, It's kind of like a Chinese finger trap. I figured I could wrap them again with fabric tape if it becomes necessary.

IMG_20191116_192653.jpg

IMG_20191116_192658.jpg


I ran the duplex wire through the frame in short sections to where I wanted to mount each light. That saved me a lot of headache with trying to run the wires all the way through. I mounted a light under each door and had the rear one mount to the outside of the frame where bumper attaches. I could have gotten away with one light at the B-post and one in the rear but more is better... Right? For the rear I wanted them to mount in the same place on each side and the muffler blocked all the good options on the driver side so I had to compromise.

IMG_20191116_192718.jpg


After wiring all the lights inline towards the rear of the truck I left about 4 feet of wire hanging out for my final connections.

There is a harness that goes from above the rear wheel well on the passenger side to the bed light harness. I removed the harness by sliding the grey tabs back and removing the connectors and used a door panel removal tool to pop the plastic frame connectors out. This allowed me to splice into the harness on a workbench instead of on the jeep. There are three connectors you will have to disconnect to remove the harness.

IMG_20191116_185737.jpg

IMG_20191116_185731.jpg


There is a white and tan (beige) wire that goes to the connector closest to the bed light (the smaller 2 wire connector in the photo above). I tested every splice with a positap before making any cuts. I spliced a single 14gauge wire into the harness to power the lights when the bed lights turn on and soldered in a diode to prevent the power from the backup lights back-feeding into the bed lights or the other way around. I double waterproofed every connection with heat shrink, covered the wires with cable sleeve or fabric tape and secured to existing wires under the bed running along the rear bumper. I did not want any of the wires to get damaged by rubbing, hanging low or uv.

For the reverse light power I tied into the reverse wire for the trailer hitch plug. I disconnected the 7 pin from under the truck and splice a wire into the middle wire of the 7 pin plug. That is the reverse wire. Once again, I wired in a diode to prevent any back-feeding and sleeved the wire.

For all the positive (hot) wires I used a single red wire since I would be grounding to the frame.

If you wish to wire this into one of the aux wires you could run a single hot wire from the engine bay to the first led on the passenger side with minimal effort.

You will need to find a suitable grounding location, I used one of the bolts used for the heat shield that goes around the spare tire on the driver side. It was meant to be temporary but will most likely be a permanently temporary solution. If I have any issues with it I will redo it at a later time.

Now you will have 2 power (hot) wires (one from the bed lights, one from the reverse trailer lights), 1 ground wire and 2 duplex wires running to the leds (1 positive/1 negative each). I soldered all the positive wires together and all the negative wires together at the back of the jeep next to the 7pin harness (under the bed). I made sure that any heat shrink or cable sleeve I was going to need was already on the wires before I connected them.

After connecting everything, and making sure it works dress the wires and use zip ties to connect them to the license plate light wiring harness to clean everything up and keep them out of the way.

NOTE: When exposing the wires in the factory harness you must cut away the fabric tape from the factory. I took my time with a fresh razor blade in an easy to handle razor knife and made sure not to damage the insulation of any other wires.

I will post more pictures this weekend, I did not do a great job of documenting the process.


MVIMG_20191115_174823.jpg
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ShadowsPapa

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The simple project of wiring a set of rock lights to an aux switch turned into a project that was far more involved, but doesn't every jeep project? The project took me about 7 hours, that includes watching letter kenny while making the led harnesses.

I wanted to install a set of rock lights but decided I wanted them tucked up out of the way and mounted to the body but didn't want to drill holes. So I decided to mount my rock lights to magnets and then I could figure out where I wanted to mount them without turning the body of the jeep into swiss cheese (rust). So the first thing I did was come up with a set of goals and did some research to see what I need and how I would wire them up.



Goals

-Rock lights so I could see beside the jeep at night without having to roll down the windows (tinted windows prevented me from seeing the white lines while backing up)

-Turn on when unlocking the jeep

-No holes (magnets?)

-Automatically turns on with bed lights (I can hit the bed light switch to turn them on)

-Automatically turns on when put in reverse

-Could be wired to aux switch later if desired

-Not interfere with can-bus or back feed through system



Purchase list (some things I already had, but I'm putting then here anyway)

- 12 @ 3/4" threaded magnets (2 per light)
https://www.kjmagnetics.com/proddetail.asp?prod=MMS-D-C

- 6 @ 1,200 Lumen Rock lights (these were potted with epoxy so they shouldn't leak...)
https://www.etrailer.com/Lights/Buyers_Products/3371492139.html

- 6 @ threaded waterproof 2 wire connectors
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LCV97AY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- roll of duplex jacketed wire
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004MDEV9C/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- waterproof solder butt connectors
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KBXL17K/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- 2 @ 15 amp diodes
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079KK5KXN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- roll of cable sleeve (I bought 1/4", if I had to do it again I would have bought 3/8" or 1/2")
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074GM1PK1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

- fabric wiring harness tape
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I2MLN2Q/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Misc connectors, zip ties, liquid electrical tape, heat gun, crimpers, wire cutters, wire strippers, socket set for ground bolt, beer


First thing I did was make a wiring harness for each led light and wired them to one of the 2-wire threaded connectors. I chose this incase I damaged a light or it burnt out I could replace it without cutting into the main harness again. I connected the side with the nut to the light and the threaded portion to the harness I ran through the frame. I covered all wires where they went through the frame with the cable sleeve and taped or heat shrunk the ends. The cable sleeve is surprisingly tough, It's kind of like a Chinese finger trap.

I ran the duplex wire through the frame in short sections to where I wanted to mount each light. That saved me a lot of headache with trying to run the wires all the way through. I mounted a light under each door and had the rear one mount to the outside of the frame where bumper attaches. I could have gotten away with one light at the B-post and one in the rear but more is better... Right? For the rear I wanted them to mount in the same place on each side and the muffler blocked all the good options on the driver side so I had to compromise.

After wiring all the lights inline towards the rear of the truck I left about 4 feet of wire hanging out for my final connections.

There is a harness that goes from above the rear wheel well on the passenger side to the bed light harness. I removed the harness by sliding the grey tabs back and removing the connectors and used a door panel removal tool to pop the plastic frame connectors out. This allowed me to splice into the harness on a workbench instead of on the jeep. I do not have pictures of the harness, I will take some this weekend.

There is a white and tan (beige) wire that goes to the connector closest to the bed light. I tested every splice with a positap before making any cuts. I spliced a single 14gauge wire into the harness to power the lights when the bed lights turn on and soldered in a diode to prevent the power from the backup lights back-feeding into the bed lights or the other way around. I double waterproofed every connection with heat shrink, covered the wires with cable sleeve or fabric tape and secured to existing wires under the bed running along the rear bumper. I did not want any of the wires to get damaged by rubbing, hanging low or uv.

For the reverse light power I tied into the reverse wire for the trailer hitch plug. I disconnected the 7 pin from under the truck and splice a wire into the middle wire of the 7 pin plug. That is the reverse wire. Once again, I wired in a diode to prevent any back-feeding and sleeved the wire.

For all the positive (hot) wires I used a single red wire since I would be grounding to the frame.

If you wish to wire this into one of the aux wires you could run a single hot wire from the engine bay to the first led on the passenger side with minimal effort.

You will need to find a suitable grounding location, I used one of the bolts used for the heat shield that goes around the spare tire on the driver side. It was meant to be temporary but will most likely be a permanently temporary solution. If I have any issues with it I will redo it at a later time.

Now you will have 2 power (hot) wires (one from the bed lights, one from the reverse trailer lights), 1 ground wire and 2 duplex wires running to the leds (1 positive/1 negative each). I soldered all the positive wires together and all the negative wires together at the back of the jeep next to the 7pin harness (under the bed). I made sure that any heat shrink or cable sleeve I was going to need was already on the wires before I connected them.

After connecting everything, and making sure it works dress the wires and use zip ties to connect them to the license plate light wiring harness to clean everything up and keep them out of the way.

NOTE: When exposing the wires in the factory harness you must cut away the fabric tape from the factory. I took my time with a fresh razor blade in an easy to handle razor knife and made sure not to damage the insulation of any other wires.

I will post more pictures this weekend, I did not do a great job of documenting the process.


MVIMG_20191115_174823.jpg
The diodes to prevent one circuit from feeding back to the other - such as turn on bed lights it won't feed back into the back up lights, etc., good idea. I've seen weird things happen when people forget to isolate things.
 

Jamie

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Do you have a picture of the diode connection ? I want to do this with my Aux 1 switch and my bed lights . Just want to make sure i do the diode connections properly .

Thank you
 
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FL Handle Guy

FL Handle Guy

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Do you have a picture of the diode connection ? I want to do this with my Aux 1 switch and my bed lights . Just want to make sure i do the diode connections properly .

Thank you
Unfortunately I do not. I will attach a couple pictures that may help a bit. You want to test the circuit before you hard wire it. I just took one of the lights and twisted it to one side of the diode and twisted another piece of wire to the other side and touched the positive side of the battery. When it lit up I knew I had it pointed in the right direction. A diode will have a stripe on one side, the stipe goes towards whatever you are trying to power up.

I Just made sure the heatshrink went over the connectors at each end of the diode and then wrapped everything up. If I get time I will make another one just to show the process.

Also, you can purchase pre-made diodes that will work. I did not want any non-soldered connectors in the circuit but it should work and I guess you could cover the connections in liquid electrical tape to waterproof it. They cost more and take some of the challenge out of it but also can give you a bit of comfort. They have a heat sink built in but being that I would only be running the lights for short periods of time I was not too concerned about the diodes getting too hot. I will attach a link below

https://www.amazon.com/Roadmaster-7...6R4013GTJQE6&refRID=1AWF4T766R4013GTJQE6&th=1

HowTo-diode3.jpg


HowTo-diodes2.jpg


diode-current.jpg


61n00MSKxuL._AC_SL1500_.jpg
 
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Papa_smurf

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This is really slick.

I was thinking of doing something similar to add some better reverse lights to my JTR. I had some really nice lights on the back of my LJ and miss them...

I really like those small LED's you went with, and they look pretty bright too.
 

Jamie

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Took about 6 hrs , All soldered and pop riveted and all wires tucked into the frame with wire-loom . Tied into reverse lights , bed lights and AUX 1 switch .. LOVE the outcome

rocklights.jpg
 

WhiteJT8541

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I am going to guess that when you use your key fob to unlock your Jeep it turns the bed lights on which in turn will activate the rock lights underneath?
 

Cmajul

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Took about 6 hrs , All soldered and pop riveted and all wires tucked into the frame with wire-loom . Tied into reverse lights , bed lights and AUX 1 switch .. LOVE the outcome

rocklights.jpg

Any tips not listed above that you could mention to someone getting ready to start this project? Looking to tap 12 KC Cyclones lights in this same way. Any help would be appreciated, also what are some of the best spots for mounting?
 

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Climbhigh

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Awesome write up. Definitely saving it!

I plan on just wiring them to the bed lights, but this really helps.
 

Jim smith

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Any suggestions on how many and what brand would be the best? Amazing write up
 
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FL Handle Guy

FL Handle Guy

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Any suggestions on how many and what brand would be the best? Amazing write up
Just make sure whatever lights you use they are waterproof. I wanted cheap, waterproof/potted (circuit board and back filled with epoxy) and nothing too bright. You can look around on amazon, I found the lights I chose being used for backup lights. You can look on amazon for just about any waterproof rock light or backup light and pick something that will fit wherever you choose to put them.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=rock+light&ref=nb_sb_noss_2
I would avoid wireless and color changing. I have never had good luck with cheap Chinese multicolor lights. They all seem to die within a couple years.
 

Jim smith

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Just make sure whatever lights you use they are waterproof. I wanted cheap, waterproof/potted (circuit board and back filled with epoxy) and nothing too bright. You can look around on amazon, I found the lights I chose being used for backup lights. You can look on amazon for just about any waterproof rock light or backup light and pick something that will fit wherever you choose to put them.

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=rock+light&ref=nb_sb_noss_2
I would avoid wireless and color changing. I have never had good luck with cheap Chinese multicolor lights. They all seem to die within a couple years.

Thanks. Yeah i feel the same way. One color only.
 

Jamie

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Any tips not listed above that you could mention to someone getting ready to start this project? Looking to tap 12 KC Cyclones lights in this same way. Any help would be appreciated, also what are some of the best spots for mounting?

His write-up is spot on , I used a small hole saw and pop riveted 2 lights in each wheel well . I think there is more than enough light .
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