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Olebiker

Unlighted boat ramp

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I had occasion recently to launch at an unlighted (unlit?) boat ramp.  It was well before dawn and the dark of the moon.  I had a booger of a time.

Does anyone know of a spotlight that I could mount temporarily on my truck to light the ramp?

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u could buy a q-beam. thatll light up  anything. lol.

or... if your feeling sneaky, u can get some reflective paint and outline the ramp. then your back up lights will work fine. ;)

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Olebiker,

Check this out, it is made by larson electronics kinda pricey but looks like it will last a long time.

I found it at www.magnalight.com

The specs on it are great.Plus it's magnetic so "hands free"

post-17012-130162912633_thumb.jpg

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That looks awesome.

To bad they dont make it for Ford trucks  >;)

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That looks awesome.

To bad they dont make it for Ford trucks >;)

They do.

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Those same size lights will work better if they are on the ends of the bumper instead of at the hitch location. Make a set yourself and wire it to a 7way plug just like the whitenight version. Use magnetic CB antenna bases for removal or just mount the lights to the underside of the bumper. The boat and trailer block too much of the light for seeing the ramp edges next to the trailer wheels. You can see that in the whitenight advertizement.

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Those same size lights will work better if they are on the ends of the bumper instead of at the hitch location. Make a set yourself and wire it to a 7way plug just like the whitenight version. Use magnetic CB antenna bases for removal or just mount the lights to the underside of the bumper. The boat and trailer block too much of the light for seeing the ramp edges next to the trailer wheels. You can see that in the whitenight advertizement.

i was thinking the same thing Wayne P.. I was thinking of using white colored fog lights or those "ice blue" driving lights. Just could never figure out how to wire them up.

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Grub Man, all you need to do is hook them up to the backup light circuit. That way if others are at the ramp, the lights will only be on when you are in reverse. A remote on/off switch will work but the backup light circuit is a better hookup.

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Thanks Wayne P..

So basically all you need to do is get one of those wire splice connectors and put one on the "hot" lead to the back up light and the other to the "ground lead" and it will be good to go when the truck is in reverse only?

This is something I been contimplating doing for a long time, but have never found anyone with the knowledge of weather it would work or not. Wiring isnt one of my specialties but this doesnt seem that hard  ;D

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It might be better to put in a relay, run a hot wire from the battery, and just have the energizing lead for the relay come from the backup lights.  That way the lights are on their own circuit and will not damage anything in your existing wiring.

My thought for this is to wire up an aux light completely independent of everything else, mount it to my spare tire arm, and operate it from a switch in the cab.  That way I can also light up the boat at night to trailer, check to see if anything is amiss while driving, or to tell a #$@ to get of my bumper ;)

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link to aux wiring

http://www.offroaders.com/info/tech-corner/reading/automotive-wiring.htm

Good write up to wire to backup lights from explorerforum.com, but should be universal to all.

Reverse Lights Manual / Auto Modes

A lot of states require the Stock Backup Lights be in place so your alternative is to add to the existing Lighting not replace it with other lights.

Since you might want the lights to work when the Vehicle isn't moving or not use the newly added lights, it might be better to have a manually switched setup as well.

Also, you will need to use a relay not just a switch, I know people do run the main power to a switch on the dash and then to the lights but even though the amperage will not be very high don't do it.

Most backup lights are minimum of 55 watts each, so we will work from there.

55w x 2 = 110 watts total / ~12 volts = 9.16 amp or ~ 10 amp draw for the circuit.

10 amp in the circuit you could use 14-ga wire but just to make sure the lights get all of the current to work at their brightest, run 12-ga wire for the main power.

OK here is the list of parts I would use, IMHO... :

Relay - qty 1

Automotive Type Normally Open, Single Throw, The Relay should have four pins numbered 85, 86, 87 and 30. Pins 85 and 86 are to activate the Relay, Pin 30 is for the main power from the battery, on a fused line, and Pin 87 is the Load or the wire going to the lights.

Wire (2 sizes)

1) 12-ga wire for the Main Power, this wire will be used to run 12 volts from the battery to the relay and on to the lights, so get enough. Measure the length of the vehicle and add another five or six feet just to make sure you have enough to get around anything that gets in the way, shouldn't cost a lot. Buy automotive wire not standard household wire, there IS a difference. Automotive wire is very flexible and resistant to oil, gas and other fluids.

2) 16 or 18 ga wire for the activation of the Relay, again get the same type of wire "Auto Type". The amount can be determined by where you will want the switch to be mounted in the vehicle, where the relay will be mounted and the location of backup switch is.

Switch, SPDT, (Single Pole, Double Throw)

This switch needs three pole in one line on the back of it. The Switch will only need to control a small amount of current so the best thing here is to buy something you like the looks of and let the rating fall where it may. It will need to be for 12 or more volts but that is all you will need to worry about but I do not think it will be a problem.

(Note: Just thought of something, maybe a Double Throw Center-Off Switch might work better; you will be able to turn off the lights completely if you want to. Everything else about the switch should be the same).

Fuse Holder, In-Line Type, Qty 2

One 20 or 30-amp rating.

This is for the main power shut down just in case there is a short in the circuit. Placing it as close to the battery as possible will shut the power off faster with less voltage left in the circuit beyond the engine bay.

One low amperage rated fuse holder for the Switch side of the circuit, between the Circuit Panel and the Dash Switch.

IMHO, this is how I would do it:

Mount the Relay under the Hood where you want it, close to the battery area is probably best but you decide.

Mount the Switch where you want it, maybe an indicator light would be nice too. Maybe two to let you know the power is either to the manual side or the auto side.

Run a 12-ga wire from the battery to a Fuse Holder then to the Relay pin 30. (Note: Make sure to add in the In-Line Fuse Holder between the Relay and the battery; closer to the battery is better).

Run another 12-ga wire from pin 87 to the lights at the rear of the vehicle; this wire can be run to one light then jumped to the other.

Run a 16/18-ga wire from the Circuit Panel to the Switch;

(Note: Probably this wire will not have a fuse on it, so it might be a good idea to add a small value in-line fuse between the Circuit Panel and the Switch added safety).

Connect the wire to either the top pole or the bottom pole of the Switch. How do you determine which one - this will determine if the lights will come on when the switch is up or down. I would connect it to work when the switch is up, down can be for the auto mode.

Run another 16/18-ga wire from the center pole of the switch to the relay pin 86.

From pin 85 run a wire to ground.

(Note: Grounding of the Relay is usually through pin 85 but some relay do not have a pin 85 and the grounding will happen through the mounting bracket.)

Depending on what power you tapped in the Circuit Panel, on all the time or on with the key, when you flip the switch you should get a reaction form the Relay, there should be a clicking.

In turn there should be 12 volts in the 12-ga wire at the rear of the vehicle or if the lights are hooked up the lights will be on.

The above is for the Manual-On hookup and should be completed first and tested to make sure it works then on to the auto-mode.

You will need to locate the Reverse Switch, usually located on the Transmission or Transfer Case, SOMEWHERE under there.

Find the wire, on the Reverse Switch, that has 12 volts in it when the transmission is in Neutral; you don't want that one.

The other wire should have power in it when in Reverse but not when in Neutral.

Is this as confusing to you as it is to me ?

Now that you know which wire on the Reverse Switch that has 12 volts in it, when the trans is in reverse, splice and run a 16/18-ga wire from that wire to the other post on the dash switch.

If I am not completely screwed up, when the Dash Switch is in the up position the lights in the rear should be on and when the switch is in the down position and the trans is in reverse, the lights should go on AND when the switch is in the middle position (if you got a center-off switch) the lights will be off no matter where the trans is.

I think this will work; PLEASE ANYONE that sees a problem with this write up just say something before it is used and completely screws up the vehicle.

Luck and ltr Dude... tell me if it works out and sorry if it catches fire,, it shouldn't.

PS - One more thing... GROUNDING is the most common problem with the lights either not working or giving you trouble. To reduce the amount of problems from grounding one of two things can be done.

1) When connecting the ground wire to the frame, not the bumper, make sure to get to bare metal, use a conductive, non-corroding paste and use external tooth lock washers between the wire-lug and the frame and the wire-lug and the bolt or nut.

2) My way - run a 12-ga ground wire along with the power wire to the rear of the vehicle, attach the end in the engine bay to the negative side of the battery or to a stud that is attached to the battery and the end by the Lights should have all connections soldered.

In fact all connections should be soldered, even lugs.

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Thanks Gator.

Going to take me awhile to absorb all that, but thanks again for that report and link. I am sure its not as hard as it seems. Just looks bad on paper  ;D

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The boat trailers with surge brakes/brake lockout solenoid and backup lights just use the existing backup light circuit for power.

I agree that a larger size wire from the battery and fused at the battery is a better source of power for the halogen lights because of voltage loss due to the existing wire size, but if I did that, I would locate the relay near the rear of the vehicle and use the backup light circuit in an existing 7-way plug to operate it and not use any other switching as Gator suggested in his first posting.

It may be unlawful to have an independant switched circuit for lighting like that just as it is for fog light additions which can be operated only when the headlights are on low beam.

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Always check your local laws, but I think that since it is a rear facing light, and provided that you are not using it as a diss off light, I think that you are fine. Think about how many Jeeps you see with lights all over them. I am sure that they are not all wired to the high beams since that would melt the entire light harness

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Finding the legality of the lights for Florida was too tedious so I gave up.

Alabama was easy to find:

http://www.legislature.state.al.us/CodeOfAlabama/1975/32-5-241.htm

in part C, paragraph 3

It looks like it is not legal to have extra backup lights on a vehicle there.

When I was in Alabama a month ago fishing at Guntersville, I saw several trucks with extra backup lights installed and they also had driving lights on their boats but I didn't notice which state they were from.

I'm sure any operating auxiliary driving lights on the Jeeps mentioned would be wired with heavy duty components including relays.

I already have the components for the magnetic mounted ones, so I will be utilizing mine for at-the-ramp use only.

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I read it as you can have aux rear lights, they just cant be used while in foward motion.  The ones that I had on my 93 sport were legal, explaining what you saw at Guntersville.  I still think its a good idea to have them on a switch so you can shut it on and off for only ramp use.

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