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Old 02-17-2010
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offroad light help...(blowing circuit breaker)

ok so as im sure u guys have noticed i have 5 kc daylighters on my truck....they are 100w ones. so they are pulling 500w total 500w/12v is 41.6amp. so i have a 50amp circuit breaker on it. ok so i had 16ga wire running from the relays to the lights.. that was to small. so recently i upgraded to 12ga. because i only ran 3 relays....2 sets of 2 lights run off 1 wire each and one light has its own wire....so there is about 16.5 amps running through 2 of the 12ga wires and 8.3 running through the other 12ga wire....ok, so now my problem...ever since i ran the bigger wire my circuit breaker keeps tripping. the lights will turn one for about 30 seconds and then it will trip and they will stay off for about 30sec, after the first trip they will only come on for about 5-10sec before they trip for 30 more seconds. it will start over and stay on for the first 30sec if i turn the switch off and leave it off for a min or two. not sure why it stays off for so long. i thought it would just go off and then go back on but i guess not. so im guessing that for some reason im drawing more than 50amps. but why. also earlier today i had the lights on and unplugged 2 of the lights. the breaker still tripped but it came on much faster....like it was flashing on off at about the speed of a slow turn signal. any idea whats up. i know i couldnt be drawing more than 50amps with 3 lights so im thinking the breaker is bad...what do u think? thanks for any help

this is what i have

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Old 02-17-2010
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your running relays why do you need the circuit breaker? or do you mean Fuse? are these the kit Relays? KC?
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Old 02-17-2010
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no i got just the lights from a friend so i did all the wiring....and it is fused from the battery to a distribution block to the three relays, then from the relays to the lights...the circuit breaker is just like a fuse...but i dont have to buy new fuses...
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Old 02-17-2010
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I know what a C/B is I stand next to 200 of them every time I'm in the flight deck on a 17..

Its fused between batt. and relay, double protection..... take the C/B out and temp. wire it without it see if the problem persists... If it dosent id leave it out..

where is your power source comming from for the switch and the relays?

double check your wiring? If you had no issues with it before the 12GA. then thats what Im leaning toward.

just a few thoughts.
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Old 02-17-2010
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if i run a jumper from the C/B than the lights stay on.....so i know its deff the C/B...and the relays i used were 30amp ones. so on 2 of the relays im drawing like 16-17 amps and on the other im drawing only 8-9 amps...so something would have to go horribly wrong for the relay to fail. is it safe to run the lights with no sort of fuse?
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Old 02-17-2010
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o and power from the switch i taped into the cig lighter power source and the relays are hooked to the battery through the C/B
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Old 02-17-2010
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I'd ditch the C/B and run a 40amp fuse.. between battery and relays..
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Old 02-17-2010
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so a fuse would be better than a C/B..i thought they were the same....also would 40 be enough or should i go 45-50 since it is a 41.667 amp draw/
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Old 02-18-2010
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Dude Im running 3 55watt hella's on one relay and one 20 amp fuse between batt and relay. the power wire to the switch comes off the hibeam wire. (I use mine on back roads and need a quick switch) so technically I have two switches..

The hole system has been on the truck fore two years and I haven't had one issue..

From Wiki:

A relay is an electrically operated switch. Many relays use an electromagnet to operate a switching mechanism, but other operating principles are also used. Relays find applications where it is necessary to control a circuit by a low-power signal, or where several circuits must be controlled by one signal. The first relays were used in long distance telegraph circuits, repeating the signal coming in from one circuit and re-transmitting it to another. Relays found extensive use in telephone exchanges and early computers to perform logical operations. A type of relay that can handle the high power required to directly drive an electric motor is called a contactor. Solid-state relays control power circuits with no moving parts, instead using a semiconductor device triggered by light to perform switching.

"Relays with calibrated operating characteristics and sometimes multiple operating coils are used to protect electrical circuits from overload or faults; in modern electric power systems these functions are performed by digital instruments still called "protection relays"".

you should be good with three...
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Old 02-18-2010
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I'd run 2 relays fused at 25-30 per relay. There's no need for a C/B in your setup.

Just for reference, my back up light setup, runs 4-100w spot light beams. I use 10g wire in the setup, throughout it. I have no issues, because I'm using a 30a fuse on a 40a relay using 10g wire.
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Old 02-18-2010
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well i would have run only 2 relays...but there is 5 lights and i didnt want to run 300 watts off one of the relays.....so i ran a separate relay for that last light.....and i have an old fuse holder from my first stereo set up...to power the amp..so im going to use this with the 8ga wire i already have powering the distribution block...and put in a 50amp fuse. but i guess i was mistaken....i thought that a C/B was just like a fuse only when it blows you dont have to put a new fuse in.....u guys say to just run a fuse and i dont need a C/B....well than what is a C/B for....
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Old 02-18-2010
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You have 2 people that know what they're talking about suggesting you do something, but if you want to use the CB, use the damn thing. Don't listen to us.

I've been running my 400w setup on the same relay with 30a fuse on 10g wire for 2 years. Not once has it blown.
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Old 02-18-2010
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no need to get ur panties in a bunch.....im not saying either of u guys are wrong and like i said above im going to put a fuse in that i have laying around from my last stereo setup....i did that today actually and so far it hasn't blown the 50amp fuse i put in it...but i have only ran it for about 1min....and im trying to gain knowledge...not call u guys out....im wondering what a C/B is actually for....because obviously what i thought it was used for was wrong....can someone please clear it up for me? thanks
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Old 02-18-2010
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Check the voltage ratings for the c/b . Is the current handling capability rated for AC or DC ?
A 50 amp C/B rated for x volts ac will not handle the same 50 amps utilizing DC.

One other thing to remember is to check the voltage of the actual system.
If you only have 12 volts at the battery when the vehicle is running , you have a problem. Most all charging systems put out a minimum of 13.2.
As far as lamps go , you can throw OHM's law right out the window. The wattage rating of aftermarket lights is seldom what the manufacturer claims.
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Old 02-18-2010
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ok well the link above is the C/B i have.....and i replaced the breaker with a 50amp fuse today and i just had the lights on for like 5mins and no flashing and the fuse didnt blow so im guessing the C/B was bad...and i was using 12v just to be safe....because at 500watt/14v is like 35amp or so compared to the 41amps when using 12v...i guess i was over compensating....lol
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Old 02-18-2010
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No Tim your right a C/B is like a fuse.. hell we use them more like switches than actuall C/B's LOL we manually pull them to deactivate systems on the aircraft.. for maintenance purposes..

But Ken is also right.. you could have the wrong C/B.. theres nothing wrong with using a C/B.. I asked you to take it out of the system to see if was actually the culprit.. considering you just rewired the hole shebang with new larger wire..

I have to change out C/B's on the planes from time to time,, they do go bad..

thats all I was doin trouble shooting.. and I was giving my setup as an example that you'd be fine trying that way..

And it seems like its working.. you could probably step down to a 40 and be fine as well..
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Old 02-18-2010
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And I comend you for being over cautious.. 50amp C/B and 3 relays. super safe..

I see so many guys just wiring straight to the battery with a 40amp fuse thinking there fine,, next think they know there dash is smoking from the wires melting from the current and resistance..

so good on ya!
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Old 02-19-2010
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IMHO - I suggest keeping the three relays, one relay for each pair of lights, 12 ga wire (min) for each fused / C/B power wire to a relay, keep the pwr wires separate and use as TrePaul stated a 25-30 amp max in-line circuit protection fuse or C/B. The 25 amps should cover any surges that will happen at start up.
The C/B must have a timer circuit in it and the on/off is per the relay timing so that is working correctly but if it was me, I would replace the C/B with three in-line devices. What appears to be happening is you are close to max on the C/B and after the current starts flowing it heats up and does what it is suppose to. Why only since you when to larger gauge wire, got me on that.

If you still have a problem then you need to start at the beginning.
Disconnect the light wires form post #87 and see if the relays are clicking or actuating when the switch is thrown; check for 12 volt power at pin 87 just for grins.
(Note: If you are still using the one Circuit Breaker and after disconnecting the pin #87 the C/B does not trip when the relays are actuated then the load from the lights will be the problem).
If OK on the voltage and the relays work as they should then hook up the Light Leads and test for voltage at the Light Sockets. Maybe do one pair, then another and then the one, see how the C/B reacts.

Try the separate in-line protection instead of the single 50 C/B.
Get back to the site on what’s happening.

luck,
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Old 02-19-2010
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well like i said i replaced the C/B with a 50amp inline fuse and a holder from an old amplifier set up i had....i have 8ga wire running from batt to fuse....the 8ga going from the fuse to a distribution block, then 8ga going from 3 spots on the distribution block to the 3 relays...then 2ga going form relay to lights and 12ga grounds on the relays, and 18ga going from switch to relays....but ever since i took out the C/B and put in the fuse everything is working fine...also i think the problem started when i went to bigger wiring because with the 16ga wire i had on it before the lights weren't able to draw as much power as they can not with the 12ga wire....?
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Old 02-19-2010
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In a manner of speaking you are correct.
Lets say Xga wire is rated for Y amount of current (amps).
When Y amount of current is reached or slightly exceeded , the wire will begin to heat up causing the wire to basicly become a resistor , limiting current to the load (in this case,lights).
Excessively exceeding the rated current for the wire will cause it to burn.

Taking this a step further , Put an ohm meter across the terminals of a light bulb.
It will read approx. 0 ohms , essentially a dead short.
By applying the proper voltage to the bulb, the filament , which is smaller than the wire feeding the current to it , heats up. As it heats , its resistance increases limiting the current going through it. If you were able to measure the resistance while the filament was that hot , it would read in the hundreds or thousands of ohms.

Last edited by OTRtech; 02-19-2010 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 02-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t5cents View Post
well like i said i replaced the C/B with a 50amp inline fuse and a holder from an old amplifier set up i had....i have 8ga wire running from batt to fuse....the 8ga going from the fuse to a distribution block, then 8ga going from 3 spots on the distribution block to the 3 relays...then 2ga going form relay to lights and 12ga grounds on the relays, and 18ga going from switch to relays....but ever since i took out the C/B and put in the fuse everything is working fine...also i think the problem started when i went to bigger wiring because with the 16ga wire i had on it before the lights weren't able to draw as much power as they can not with the 12ga wire....?
OK I missed a little info, good to hear it is working !
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