My question isn't very based on a repair, but.

Tiny
TYLER4575
  • MEMBER
  • 2008 FORD MUSTANG
  • 32,000 MILES
My question isn't very based on a repair, but more of an electrical upgrade. I have IntelliBrite LED color changing Pool light and I wanted to put it to good use and actually put it under my car as an underbody effect. The light is a 12 volt and my battery is 12 volt. I wanted to know if I hooked it up into my battery if it would.

a. Work
b. Damage my car
c. Damage the light

Thanks!
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Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 AT 2:10 AM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Voltage is electrical pressure. Your electrical system is 12 volts and will run 12 volt stuff. Your light is designed to run on 12 volts so there should be no problem.

Where the potential problem comes in is with current which is electrical flow. LED lights themselves use very little current but the issue is where you tap into the system to run the lights. Whatever circuit you tie it into is protected by a fuse. Now you're adding to the current that will be flowing through that fuse. Chances are there will still not be a problem but if you do blow a fuse intermittently, connect your light to a different circuit.
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Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 AT 2:32 AM
Tiny
TYLER4575
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So if I hooked it up to the underbody of my car and connected it to my battery and hooked up a switch that turns the light on and off, it should work no problem? Or should I connect it to the fuse box and add another inline fuse? I have no clue. And there is so way I could damage my electrical system in my car?
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Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 AT 2:49 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
You shouldn't have to worry about the car's electrical system. The tiny amount of extra current won't even be noticed.

You do want some kind of fuse for the lights. That fuse doesn't protect the lights. It protects the wire if one of them rubs through and shorts to the body. There's two acceptable ways to fuse what you add on. You can connect a wire anywhere there's 12 volts then run straight to a fuse holder you add. In fact, many accessories like lights and radios come with those fuses already wired to the products. If you have to run to the auto parts store and buy a fuse holder, the better way is to just connect it to an existing circuit that already has a fuse in it. (Think of your bed room with all the lights on one circuit breaker, and you add another table lamp. It will be running on the same circuit breaker. You're doing the same thing on your car.

I made this sad drawing to possibly explain it better. This shows the battery on the left and the fuse box on the right with three fuses shown. The bottom one has been removed. Probe the two terminals in the socket with a test light or voltmeter. The terminal on the left, with the blue arrow, is connected directly to the battery and the test light lights up. You want the other terminal on the right where the test light does not light up. That is the side where everything that comes after it is protected by the fuse. Attach your light's wire by the red arrow.

Some wires have 12 volts all the time like what I drew in my picture. Some only have 12 volts when the ignition switch is turned on. You get to decide which one to use. Do you want to be able to turn the lights on anytime or just when the ignition switch is on?

There may be some single-terminal taps in your fuse box inside the car that already have 12 volts all the time of after the ignition switch. Those are often fused with a really large fuse under the hood that feeds many circuits. Chrysler, for example, uses a lot of 40 amp fuses that feed a bunch of smaller fuses, one for each circuit. If your light's wire rubbed through on a sharp edge of a metal bracket and grounded out, it might be too thin to pass 40 amps, so the wire would still burn up and the 40 amp fuse would not blow. In that case you'd want to add a smaller fuse to protect that wire.
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Wednesday, February 20th, 2013 AT 3:31 AM

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