Introduction: Power Distribution Box

About: Full time student in the Industrial Electrical Tech program. Wanna be redneck, driving my 93 ford ranger 4x4. Back yard mechanic... well heated garage mechanic in the winter. Avid DIYer, off road newbie. I…

For starters, I built a rack for my truck to throw some "off road" lights on.  I wanted a box to control these and some reverse lights.  I also got an old remote starter from my dad that happened to have some aux outputs on it.  As soon as I found this out, I wanted to hook them up to control my lights.  Along with the outputs I wanted to have my panic and lock button activate my horn and lights above the roof.
Also, as I went to publish this ible I found out about the Redneck Contest so I'll be entering in that.  Please vote, criticism is welcome too!

This box did not cost me very much if anything at all, being as I had almost everything on hand.

Also I take no responsibility for anything that happens to your vehicle should you choose to follow this ible!

X number of relays - Relays with holders, based on how ever many toys you need to power.  I put 4 holders but am only currently using 3.
1 - Fuse panel.  Minimum one fuse slot per relay being used.  I got mine from a camper.
1 - Ground bus bar.  Mine was from an old electrical panel (neutral bus).
2 - terminal strips.  One is for connecting the switch outputs to relays, the other is for connecting your toys to the relays.
13 - diodes.
1 - spst relay.  This is for your horn (ONLY NEEDED IF YOUR HORN USES NEGATIVE TRIGGER WIRE!!)
1 - Roll of 20 or 22 gauge wire.  For relay trigger wires and wiring diodes.
1 - Roll of 14 gauge wire
1 - section of heavy gauge wire.  This is your main input from your battery.  I used 6 gauge... wayyyy overkill.
1 - 15-25 foot cat 5 or cat 6 cable.  This is to go between your switches and box.
Assorted terminals.  While not necessary, they clean everything up.
A section of perfboard to place diodes/ horn relay on.
1 - Remote starter with wiring harness and aux outputs.

Soldering iron/solder.
Wire strippers/cutters/crimpers.
Assorted screwdrivers.
Drill and bits.
Electrical tape and/or heat shrink tube.
wire ties.

Step 1: The Diode Board

Once I thought up the idea of the remote starter and switch stuff, i needed a way for them to not interfere with each other.  Solution: diodes, the electronic one way valve.  Simply put, for every input to each device you will need one diode.  If the diodes are feeding in to your device, hook the lead of the diode with the white stipe to your device.

If you dont want your remote starter to be affiliated with your lights or whatever you're controlling, you may ignore this step.

*note: there is only 12 diodes on the board
The 13th diode is to go from the reverse wire on the chassis wiring harness to the wire going to the reverse lights.  This makes the reverse lights come on automatically when you put the transmission in reverse.

Step 2: Layout

This step is pretty important, especially when you are trying to squeeze all this stuff into a small space.  Basically just take all of your boards and terminal strips and such and tape or set them in place to figure where they fit.

Step 3: Wiring

Once you decide on your layout start screwing your parts down to the inside of your box.

After you finish mounting all of your boards and strips, you can start wiring.  I started by grouping all of the power wires into the relays and remote starter, routed them around towards the fuse panel.  Then after the power wires, group and route your ground wires to the GND buss.  Same thing with your output wires and your relay trigger wires.

Step 4: Placement in Your Vehicle

Figure out where you want your control box in your vehicle.  Run your main 12v feed (heavy wire) and main ground (not as heavy, 14 gauge could work here.  I used a 10 AWG just incase i have more things to ground in there in the future).  After your main wires are run, route your cat 5 and remote starter wires around your engine bay (KEEP AWAY FROM EXHAUST AND MOVING PARTS!).  Then drill a hole or use an existing hole in your firewall to run your control cable through and connect it to your switches.  Most of the wires for your remote starter wires get connected in your cab anyway so make your hole big enough for them too (I havent hooked my starter wires up yet because I ran out of wire to extend my remote starter wires far enough).

Step 5: Enjoy!

Once again, the lights are for off road use only.  But then again, the fun starts where the pavement ends!  So go out and have some fun in the dirt/rocks/sand/snow and now you'll be able to see a bit better in the dark too!

Redneck Contest

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