Driving at night without sufficient lighting can be dangerous.
The best way to protect yourself from traffic accidents is to install a LED light bar. Such LED lights provide better visibility. However, some people prefer to use a light bar without a relay since it can create some problems. Wiring a LED light bar without relay sounds complicated. Let’s figure it out.
What is an LED light bar?
LED light bars provide better visibility at nighttime. They are usually used to light up off-road vehicles, 4×4 cars, and motorcycles.
When you drive at night, you need perfect illumination. At least to avoid problems with the driving inspection. And you want to be sure that all your passengers, and you, are safe.
Such lights are energy-saving, and they don’t release harmful elements into the environment, which distinguishes them from other lights.
To add, they cost less than traditional driving lights or other auxiliary lights but provide better quality.
What is a relay?
Relay is working as a switch that allows you to convert low-current circuits into high-current ones. It uses less electricity than there is in a circuit. The relay is used as a converter, which switches low flow to high flow. It can reverse polarity as well.
The main reason to use it is that a LED light bar won’t work without a relay. It provides bright lights. Not having a relay can be very dangerous because a switch is prone to generate significant heat and can even melt wires. You need a relay switch to power the light bar adequately.
The relay is indispensable if you want to wire a LED light with an extremely high amp draw.
If you deal with an off-road light, it doesn’t need a relay but requires the control switch to handle the electric flow.
However, using the relay, you may face some disadvantages. Since it doesn’t provide enough current, it is not used in circuits. The relay reacts rather slowly, so it can’t be used to turn switches on and off. Moreover, there can be sparks when voltage and current levels are higher than necessary.
Is it possible to wire a LED light bar without relay?
Speaking about off-road lights, this can be performed only if you have a special converter that transforms current and battery voltage down and backs up. You should do this in case LEDs require a higher voltage level than the car’s battery can supply.
By running so much power through the circuit, they are not likely to overheat. If you don’t have any power requirements, you can wire a LED light bar without a relay.
You can use microelectronic circuits. But their disadvantage is that not using a relay can lead to overheating of lights with high currents. The main function of the relay is to make it possible for the electrical current of a high-current circuit to be regulated by a low current.
Even though wiring LED lights without a relay is possible, it is not recommended. If you are not sure that switches, fuses, and wiring are appropriate for the amperage. If you made sure that there are no risks, you can try to wire LED light bar without a relay.
How to wire off-road lights without relay?
As we have already mentioned, off-road LED lights should be connected without a relay only in case you don’t need to worry about power. You can reach an LED’s maximum output if you convert the battery voltage down and back up again.
Find the most suitable LED light bar
When you choose an LED light bar, you need to take into account that Light-Emitting Diodes are chosen according to such features as color temperature, lifespan watt, and voltage consumption of the lightbar. It is recommended to choose LED lights with a higher color temperature (from 2700K to 3000K).
Choose the appropriate power supply
After you’ve selected LED light bar for wiring, you need to choose a power supply. You should select a power supply with a suitable capacity. Moreover, the LEDs should have the same voltage and amperage so that they can provide enough current.
Find a suitable place to install the light bar
The ideal variant is to find a place, which has space for wire and the light bar. However, sometimes you don’t have this option. In this case, you need to use zip ties or screws. Drill holes in the pace you’ve chosen, and be careful not to drill into anything that would get damaged.
Mount the brackets of the LED lightbar
Fixate the brackets of the LED light bar. Be careful not to overtighten it because you’ll need to adjust it later. After you’ve done it, move on to the next step.
Wrap a piece of wire around the screw on the back of the LED panel. One end must stick out far enough so that you can connect it later, but most of the time it’ll be hidden. Then do the same thing with another wire.
Find the power side of the battery
You must be very careful during this process. It’s not secure to do this near moving parts or energy sources.
Mount the switch
Before doing this, you have to lose the wire connection from your car battery to protect yourself from electric shock. When you’ve found a suitable place for the switch, you may continue searching the wall for that location. If the button is nearby, you can also use a remote control or do it yourself.
A remote-controlled switch can make the installation process easier, but you can manage without it.
Drill a hole that is large enough for the switch to fit. Turn on the switch and connect the wires. Use the copper wire to connect the resistor to the switch terminal. Both ends of the wire must be attached in the appropriate position and soldered alongside. Then connect the LED light bar and the other side of the switch to the power supply.
You should hook up the positive side of the power source with the last switch terminal.
One wire of your car’s battery must be connected to the negative terminal and the other one to the positive terminal.
Then connect the remaining part with the help of a wiring harness. The ground wire is to be connected with the negative battery terminal and the other side with the switch.
Point your car’s inbuilt LED lightbar in the right direction.
It’s time to check all the wires. Loose connections are not to be there. If you see them, use tape to fix them. Then check the correct installation of the LED panel again; tighten them so that they are properly installed.
After checking, you can test and activate the LED light bar. It must turn off without any difficulties.
Is a relay the same as a fuse?
The fuse is a one-time circuit breaker and circuit protection. Devices that can connect or interrupt a circuit are called relays.
What type of wire is used for LED light bars?
The majority of home appliances and lighting fixtures require 12 or 14-wire gauge. A number, a dash, and a second number are used to describe this requirement. For example, 14-4 or 14/4. The wire gauge depends on how much power your light bars need to work.
If you want to know which load is suitable for your electrical device, multiply the recommended wattage by the volts.
To add it is essential to select the proper size of wiring, cause the longer wire gets the more it is likely to have a voltage drop.
What are the three wires on LED lights?
Such LED lights will be versatile. You can use them accordingly to your particular case. Black, red, and white wire are typical for these LEDs.
How do I install multiple lights on a switch?
There is an option of turning on multiple lights with only one switch. The most common way to do it is to connect the first light fixtures to one switch. This method is called daisy-chaining light fixtures, and another method is home-run switch wiring.
If you’ve decided to use LED light bars in your car, you’ll need a switch to handle their power. It’s better to use a heavy-duty toggle switch. Before buying one, make certain that the wire can run from the relay to your car’s dashboard.
Make sure that switch is connected to a relay. Then connect the cable from the outside of the dashboard to the place where the light is mounted. This must be inside a metal container; otherwise, it can be damaged.
To sum up
LED lights provide great quality. The relay in LED lights is needed for proper brightness and regulation of the electrical flow. For instance, you’ll need a relay connected to high beams in order to prevent an electrical fire. But it is possible to wire LED light bar without relay.
Find a suitable LED light bar and choose the appropriate power supply. For example, when you have a bigger power LED light, you may face difficulties with handling the current because of the lack of large switches. The wires won’t be able to function correctly if there is no power going through them, so check all the connections.
To stave off the LED bar from overheating, take care of wires leading out from it.
If you want to wire off-road light bars without a relay, you’ll need a converter that transforms the current voltage down and backs up. But it is still better to use a relay with off-road lights.
The relay has more cons than pros, so think twice before using these methods.
Can you wire off-road lights without relay?
Yes, you can. You can’t directly plug them, so you’ll need a small converter box that will convert the accumulator voltage down and then back up for maximum LED power.
Do you need a relay for driving lights?
Definitely, yes. Relay is essential for bright lights. Not using relays can be rather risky, because in that way a switch is prone to generate significant heat and can even melt wires.
Do you need a relay for KC lights?
It is recommended to use not only switches but also to take advantage of a relay or at least fuse each power line if you do run just the switch.
Is it possible to wire off-road lights without using a relay?
Yes, it’s possible, but it’s not recommended for high-powered lights. A relay is a safety feature that prevents the high current from flowing through the switch, ensuring safety and longevity of both the switch and the lights.
What are the risks of wiring off-road lights without a relay?
Wiring high-powered lights without a relay can overload the switch and cause it to fail. It may also lead to electrical issues in your vehicle’s wiring system.
What’s the basic wiring process for off-road lights using a relay?
The basic process involves connecting the positive terminal of the battery to the relay, then from the relay to the off-road lights. The negative terminal of the lights is connected to the vehicle’s chassis. This setup ensures proper control and safety.