Intro: 10-12$ Truck Bed LEDs
After searching for an affordable truck bed light kit and finding that they are anywhere from 50-100 dollars, I decided to make my own.
Step 1: Gather Parts
Thanks to Amazon.com, I was able to find the parts I needed to make this for around 11 dollars plus some terminal connectors and self tapping screw I had at home. You will need:
1-16 foot 12 volt led strip (8-9$ on Amazon)
1-toggle/rocker/on-off switch that will pass 12 volts and probably 2-3 amps at most.
1- piggy back connector
3- terminal connectors to wire the switch
1- ring connector to ground switch
1- self-tapping screw to ground switch
14-16 gauge wire
Alcohol and lint-free wipes.
Step 2: Wire LEDs
Now comes the toughest part of this project (still very easy)--finding a power source. My truck has an accessory wire on the towing package wiring harness. I piggy backed a wire onto that as a power source. You can also run a wire back to your fuse panel on an empty circuit or back to the battery. Be sure to use a fuseable link in case of a short. Use common sense and you won't have a problem.
You can now run a short wire for a ground. Either find an existing screw or bolt that is making metal to metal contact on the truck body or screw in a self-tapper somewhere in the truck bed.
Wire the positive lead from the LEDs to the accessory post on the switch and the negative lead to the grounding location or tie it in with the ground wire you ran in the last step and use a terminal connector to hook them both to the negative post on the switch.
Find an ideal mounting location for the switch.
Step 3: Adhere LEDs
Wipe down the bottom edge of the truck rail with alcohol. Remove tape backing on LEDs and stick them to the rail. I have a rolling tonneau cover, so there was a perfect channel for them to stick to, but find a place that works best. Cut off excess LEDs where the cut marks indicate. Flip the switch and enjoy.