hard wiring a beacon


PlowSite.com Veteran
I bought a cheap beacon from a parts store. Worked for one storm. Pulled the cigar lighter plug in apart and found where the wires are soldered had broken. I re-soldered them, tried it. It worked for about a second and blew the lighter fuse.

I unhooked the cigar lighter cord, and am now trying to hard wire it. I'm using a simple 2 way toggle. I can hook up the power and ground wires to the battery with the toggle in the on position and it works fine. as soon as I switch the toggle to the off position the wires on the battery spark and get hot, so I pull them off before they melt down.

Nothing is hooked up in the truck yet, just testing the circuit before I go to the trouble of installing it. I'm stumped. Do the cigar lighter models have no ground? If I eliminate the toggle and hook up the wires straight to the battery it works fine. I can switch the wires to the opposite posts on the battery and its just reversing the polarity on the beacon, it works the other direction then. Help!


Senior Member
Just a guess, but I'd say your wire is too small for the electricity it's drawing and/or it's not well grounded/connected (maybe loose at the toggle connection?). I'd agree with Geoff. Get a real light and have it installed correctly - with a fuse.



PlowSite.com Addict

You must be installing the switch incorrectly. I usually will hook up the switch to the ground side and make sure you use an inline fuse!!! Truck wiring is simple. Make sure your wire guage is stout enough.

Eric ELM

Husband, Father, Friend, Mentor, Angel
Jason2, you have something wrong there. When you turn off the switch, there shouldn't be a circuit to make anything spark. All a switch does is break the circuit, wheather it be on the hot side or the ground side. Do you have a hot and a ground going to the switch? You shouldn't, just put it in line with the hot side or the ground side and it should work. Keep trying. :)


PlowSite.com Veteran
Thanks for the help guys.

I'm going to get a better light eventually. But for now this cheapy will do.

My brain was not working, and Eric and Dixie cleared the webs from it. I was running the ground and the power to the switch.

Now I got the switch wired right it works fine. I'm putting an inline fuse in. Just didn't want to until I figured out what I was doing wrong.


Glad you got it cleared up. We all like nice warm truck cabs, but not when something is burning. I had a suggestion, but since you got it figured out you really don't need it. What the heck, I'll post it anyway in case someone else ever runs into a similar problem.

You know those lighted rocker switches that light up when it is on? Well, I like to use them, but lately when I buy them, there is a 50/50 chance that the wiring instructions that come with them are WRONG. I've had wires get hot, fuses blown, and one small meltdown that resulted from me following the directions that came with the switch.

I still like to use lighted switches for a variety of reasons (people driving behind you tend to get annoyed when you forget to turn off those rear-mounted spotlights after a long night of plowing). These days, I toss the instructions aside and test the switch with a multimeter to determine the correct wiring method before I hook them up.

I hope this helps someone out there.


PlowSite.com Veteran
Installed the beacon. Nice to throw a toggle to turn the beacon on and off instead of plugging it into the cigar lighter. Also don't have to use one of those splitters to run cell and beacon.

Installed a inline fuse, and made up some weather tight disconnects for the beacon itself. So kind of a hybrid. Best of both worlds, convienience of a hard-wired unit with the toggle, plus the flexibility of a magnetic with the magnet and disconnects.

So I guess I'll use my cheap $20 beacon until it fails, than I'm picking up a strobe.


I have lighted rocker switches in my lawn truck. I haven't been using it much this winter. I like to start it and drive it once in awhile. Been having trouble with the battery discharging. Every weekend I go to start it and the battery is dead. Finally figured it out the other day. One of the lighted rockers is for the back up lights. Well turns out the back-ups were left on. The lighted rocker switch's little light burned out. didn't realize it was on. So the reverse lights were on and draining my battery. :)

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