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What gauge wire for CAT lights ?

Discussion in 'Strobe Lighting' started by 02powerstroke, Dec 31, 2010.

  1. 02powerstroke

    02powerstroke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,188

    What gauge wire for CAT lights should I use and what amp relay.
     
  2. Yooper75

    Yooper75 Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    I would say a 12g or 14g wire would be sufficient for those lights.
     
  3. Yooper75

    Yooper75 Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    You will want a continuos use 20amp relay as well.
     
  4. newhere

    newhere PlowSite.com Addict
    from Fenton
    Messages: 1,288

    Yooper can you explain why a relay is needed? I always ran my ground to the frame and then I ran the hot lead into one side of the cab mounted switch out the other side into a fuse and then to the battery. Is my way inferior?
     
  5. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    When you start switching something (lights in this case) with a large amperage draw, if you simple run all that amperage through a switch, you tend to fry the switch do to arcing pretty quickly. What a relay does is separate the load into high and low amperage draw portions. You use the low amp draw side to energize a coil that then does the actual high draw switching. This also allows you to take the high draw side directly from something proper (like the battery) and the low draw side from something convenient (like a fuse panel).

    So I guess the short answer is that if you use a relay in high current draw situations, you'll find that you have a much safer and more reliable circuit. Hope that helps.
     
  6. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Using a relay is definetly a good idea. 14 gauge wire is good for 15amps , 12 guage wire is good for 20amps. Stranded wire is what you want to use not solid. I would personally use #12.
     
  7. 02powerstroke

    02powerstroke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,188

    I'm going to run 12 to them from the relay but the wire on the plugs is only 14 but I'm going to have them wired together so it will be a combined load.
     
  8. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    What is the amp draw/wattage rating of the lights? How are you switching them? How many are you using?
     
  9. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    :nono:


    Definite need to know.:nod:
     
  10. 02powerstroke

    02powerstroke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,188

     
  11. 02powerstroke

    02powerstroke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,188

    12V 3"X3" H-3 flood 12v 55w 4 amp $25.11
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2011
  12. RBRONKEMA GHTFD

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,592

    You might want to use 2 relays. Maybe even 3. And divide them between the relays, Thats a lot of amp draw for 1 relay.

    If I were wiring this project I would get 2 or 3 relays. I would power each relay with a 10 gauge wire fused with 20 to 25 amps These connections would be made at the battery. Then I would run a 14 gauge wire to a bussman 6 fuse fuseblock. Each relay would have its own designated fuse block. I would then wire each light into the fuse blocks however I or the customer would want them switched. I would then get a good ground off a seat bolt and using 1 10 gauge wire. (If I have to wire a lot of lights and want 1 common ground I will bolt the wire to the seat bolt then bolt the other end to a L bracket and use a longer bolt with double nut on it. Make sence?) I then would run 14 gauge wire to 2 or 3 switchs for triggering the relays. The switches can be wired to a key hot just like your plow so they are only on when the key is on. I would run a 14 gauge to power the switches also. I would also fuse that feed wire with a 10 to 15 amp fuse. Also the grounds for the relays would be 14 gauge. If you like I can make a harness for you with all the stuff I listed above here. Pm me if you need more help and or would like me to make a harness. If so everything would be in a box so nothing is loose. Look at my box I made http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=109569&highlight=my+ebling. page 2 post 32. It loos like a mess but that pic was taken when I was wiring everything.
     
  13. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,992

    12 X 4=48, so you need a minimum 48 amp switch capacity. Plus some heavy wire if you are doing them in series. Even if you relay them you need to consider a winch relay or similar 60 plus rated relay.

    I would wire them in groups of four using a 20 amp relay for each group. Using relays would allow running light gage wire into the cab cheaper and easier to do. You could also use a lighted switch with a reasonable price. Having the lights divided into groups allows you to save power when all the lights are not needed. Amp hour storage is critical in most equipment as so much depends on it.
     
  14. 02powerstroke

    02powerstroke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,188

    it says they draw 4 amps each so thats 8 amps cause I have to lights whats the big problem here????
     
  15. 02powerstroke

    02powerstroke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,188

    Grounding off a seat bolt is a dumb idea I had a truck light on fire because of that.
     
  16. 02powerstroke

    02powerstroke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,188

    dude I'm wiring two small work lights? they are fused at the battery and the switch power is fused as well,
     
  17. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I think somewhere along the line people got the impression you were installing 12 lights......
     
  18. 02powerstroke

    02powerstroke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,188

    lol that would be ********....
     
  19. RBRONKEMA GHTFD

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,592

    Sorry bud, I miss read it. I thought you said you were wiring 12 cat work lights. That's why I wrote that up.
     
  20. RBRONKEMA GHTFD

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,592

    I will be first to admit it.