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Thread: Wiring up rear car lights

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Essex, England

    Default Wiring up rear car lights

    I've got an idea of how to decorate my stall, it sounds a bit shit but in the grand scheme of things I think it will look pretty good.

    I need help with a particular bit which is wiring up some car lights. I want to use some large round rear car lights as it's the closest thing I can find on the net that fits my brain image.

    Something like this I thought...

    Basically what I want to do is have a large Truss frame over my stall. 4.5 meters wide by 4.5 high. No base section going across the bottom.
    So like a big goal post.

    Up each side I want 3 or 4 big red spot light type lights. I don't want them to be bright so customers are blinded by them. Just enough to give of a nice warm deep ambient glow. So I though car lights would be good.

    Can anyone suggest a better type of light?

    How do I wire car light up to a normal 13 amp household plug? Do I look at the amps and volts each one needs and then add them up and get a power supply to handle that? How is it you work out what power supply?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Sheepsville, Wales, UK


    If they are car lights run them off a car battery. Dont use mains unless you want to cause yourself a shit load of bother. yes doing it with mains will work - 20 lights in series will be 20x12v =240 ac but the lamps are designed for DC, but if one blows they all go out AND if you are using mains in a public place they must conform to wiring standards and be PAT tested else if someone gets a shock off them you will be in a big pile of shit. If you have PLI then it will not be valid, therefore you could end up in prison or paying off a hefty fine and court costs. Dont fuck about with mains electricity if you are asking such basic questions that tell us that you dont understand electricity.
    I would use low voltage - a car battery will last for hours and is the right voltage for car lights so its a no brainer.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009


    You just need a 12v power supply, which has a current rating greater than the current draw of all of the lamps added together, with some extra headroom for safety/peace of mind. The specific one you linked does not specify what kind of bulb is in it (or if it even includes a bulb at all), but in general be careful with incandescent bulbs as they draw huge amounts of power, consider a typical 20w brake light bulb will draw nearly 2 amps while operating, and can easily draw double that while it is turning on.

    If you can live with LEDs that is probably a better bet, typical LED car lights are under 1w, so they will only .2a or so per bulb.

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