Driving lights are a great way to improve the visibility of your vehicle. They are activated by a separate switch from your high beams and provide more lighting for nighttime driving.
This Ultimate Guide demystifies residential electrical systems with easy-to-understand language and step-by-step photography. Project-based chapters teach homeowners how to wire switches, outlet receptacles, and other standard components.
Wiring a Standard Room
Rewiring a standard room includes installing outlets, switches, and a light fixture in the ceiling. It’s important to plan your project before beginning any work, advises Old House Online. You’ll need to locate the breakers that control existing lights and outlets in the room and shut them off, then determine the number of circuits needed for the new equipment. A simple way to do this is by adding up the watts of each device and finding out what each breaker is rated to handle, says Old House.
You’ll also need to decide on a method for running wires between the new and existing wall boxes. It’s possible to run wires on surface raceway systems, which use flexible conduit that’s hidden behind drywall, but this is not recommended in most homes and may not be permitted by local codes.
Another consideration is the length of each run of wire. Many receptacles and switch boxes only allow for certain lengths of cable to be housed in them, and it’s important to buy the right-sized wire and cables. Electrical wires and cables have markings on them that indicate their size, type of insulation, and other important information.
When it comes to DIY projects, one of the most important tools to master is the tape measure. Knowing how to properly read a tape measure is essential for transferring measurements from plans and ensuring you get precise results.
A standard tape measure has a slightly curved metal blade that’s coiled up inside of a plastic or metal case. The blade extends out of the case and is affixed to a flat tab with a hook that can be used to grab nails or screws. The tape measures come in both imperial (inch and foot) and metric (centimeters) options.
The top of the case features a thumb lock that stops the blade from retracting when you’re done measuring. Most tape measures also feature a number printed on the back that shows the case’s length, which is handy for when you’re estimating or working with limited space. A small hole at the end of the tape’s tab allows you to use a nail or screw for extra support when hooking it to an object.
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Marking Your Cables
The best way to identify the wires on a vehicle is to use marker markers that wrap around the cable. These self-laminating labels make it easy to see the legend without having to touch the wire and can be heat-shrunk if desired for protection from harsh environments.
Once the lights are mounted and connected to their wiring harness, the ground and power wires need to be tapped into the body control module (BCM). Pull the running board trim pieces off the lower driver’s side of the car to expose the wire connector on the lower driver’s bolster.
Unravel the harness loom and locate the yellow/green wire with the green stripe. Remove the locking tab on the harness connector and separate it from the BCM. Then, locate the larger yellow/green wire that plugs into the bottom of the BCM and splice in your new power wire. Again, remember to wrap electrical tape segments around the split casing of the connector to keep dirt out of it. Once the wires are tapped, test to make sure the lights work and adjust their beam height on a long, quiet stretch of road.
Threading the Cables Through the Walls
The first step in installing your driving lights is figuring out how much distance you want to illuminate. A high-quality set will have both a widespread (flood) and a long pencil (spot) beam. Study the lighting used by international rally and off-road racing teams to find a suitable model for your vehicle. If you’re looking for more affordable vehicle accessories, you use the Automotive Promo Code.
Once you know the approximate distance, mark the wall where you want to start feeding cables and drill a hole in that spot. Before drilling, check for pipes and other obstructions with a stud finder or by tapping the face of the wall with a hammer handle.
Depending on the brand you bought, your new driving lights may come with a wiring-loom kit that will have wires that connect the switch to your battery and then to the lights. If not, you’ll need a crimp-style connector to attach each end of the power wires to your switch.
Staining the Cables
Before you begin any modifications or repairs, make sure your cables are in good condition. Inspect them thoroughly for signs of damage, especially the plugs. If you see any that are badly damaged or melted, replace them with a new cord. Before you do, however, feel the entire length of the cord to ensure that it’s not brittle or otherwise compromised. If it is, consider using wire strippers to cut the insulation and expose the copper wires.
After this, wrap any exposed wires in electrical tape to keep them from touching one another. You should also use a piece of heat-shrinking tubing to reinforce any areas that are frayed or otherwise damaged. These are available in a variety of colors and sizes at Tech Promo, so you should be able to find one that fits the cable perfectly.
The final step is to run the wires from the relay to the dashboard switch, then to your vehicle’s high-beam wire (which can be found with a testing meter while the car is running or by referencing the wiring diagram in your owner’s manual). You should also connect a ground wire between the battery and the chassis of your car.
Many receptacles and switch boxes only allow for certain lengths of cable to be housed in them, and it’s important to buy the right-sized wire and cables. Depending on the brand you bought, your new driving lights may come with a wiring-loom kit that will have wires that connect the switch to your battery and then to the lights. The final step is to run the wires from the relay to the dashboard switch, then to your vehicle’s high-beam wire (which can be found with a testing meter while the car is running or by referencing the wiring diagram in your owner’s manual).