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How To Wire A Light Bar On ATV? | Safe Wiring Tips For Your ATV

When it comes to installing and wiring an LED light bar on your ATV, there seems to be more questions that need answering than you initially thought. So I hope this post helps out.

How to wire an LED light bar on your ATV? The first thing to determine is how much current (amps) your light bar requires or pulls from your battery. This will determine what size wire and fuse you will need. If your light bar requires 6 amps, then you would need a 10 amp fuse and a minimum of 14 A.W.G wire, which is rate up to 20 amps. The goal is for the fuse to protect the equipment and keep the wire from burning up at the same time. The size of the fuse will be in-between the current rating of the light bar and the ampacity of the wire. In my example above, the current rating of the light bar is 6 amps, size of fuse is 10 amps and the ampacity of the smallest recommended wire is 20 amps.

In this post, I explain two different methods of installing your LED light bar. The first method is by simply splicing into your high beam lights. I only recommend doing this if your light bar consumes less than 2 amps. The second method is running power wires to your battery, installing an inline fuse and relay. Both of these methods will enable you to turn on your light bar with your factory High Beam Switch.

How to wire LED light bar to the high beam on your ATV?

You only want to connect your light bar directly to your high beam if it pulls less than 2 amps. The wire feeding your high beam lights is most likely a 16 A.W.G wire and has an ampacity of 10 amps. If your light bar pulls over 2 amps, I would highly suggest running cables to your battery and installing a relay and fuse which is my second method of wiring up your light bar.

The first method is splicing into your high beam wire and allowing your high beam wires to directly power your LED’s. The second method is installing a relay and inline fuse which will allow your LED Light Bar to have it’s own circuit and in-line fuse. The circuit that will activate your relay will be the power wire for your high beam lights.

1. Splicing Into Your High Beam Lights Directly (< 2 amps)

Supplies Needed:

  • Power Wire
  • Ground Wire
  • Marine Butt Connectors
  • 3M Scotchlok Connectors
  • Wire Loom
  • Heat Shrink
  • Lighter
  • Zip Ties
  • Wire Strippers
  • Razor Blade

How To:

Depending on how long the power wires are on your light bar, you may need to extend the length of them using Marine Grade Butt Connectors and Heat Shrink. Find your high beam wire and route your power wires to the high beam wire. I suggest unplugging your high beam wire from your head light so you can make the wire more accessible. Now, cut the high beam wire and install a 3M Scotchlok to properly splice the 3 wires together. After this is done, you can find your nearest ground wire and do the same thing for your LED light bar’s ground wire.

2. Using A Relay and In-Line Fuse (> 2 amps)

Supplies needed:

  • Power Wire
  • Ground Wire
  • Inline Fuse
  • Relay
  • 3M Scotchlok Connectors
  • Marine Grade Butt Connectors
  • Marine Grade Ring Terminals
  • Wire Loom
  • Heat Shrink
  • Lighter
  • Crimping Tool
  • Zip Ties
  • Wire Strippers

How To:

You can mount your relay and inline fuse in your battery compartment. Some relays are little different than others so read the instructions carefully. But, typically, you will have positive and negative coming off the relay that will connect to your battery with an inline fuse in-between the relay and battery. Then, you will have another wire that comes off of the relay called a “Positive Trigger Source”. This wire will need to be ran and spliced to your high beam wire using a 3M Scotchlok Connector.

The last wire on the relay will run directly to your light bar’s positive wire, which will need to be connected using a Marine Grade Butt Connector and some Heat Shrink. Don’t forget to properly ground your light bar to your chassis or splice into another ground wire using another 3M Scotchlok.

The “Positive Trigger Source” will activate your relay, which will then close the circuit between your light bar and your battery and BOOM your light bar now turns on with your high beam switch while having it's own circuit.

Basic ATV Electrical Information

Your ATV has a 12V battery which gets continuously charged as the engine is running. There is a stator inside your engine that puts out approximately 15 volts of AC voltage which then gets turned into DC voltage through your rectifier and stored into your battery. The manufacture says you have a 12V system but in reality if you put a volt meter on your battery it should read approximately 13V. If your reading is around 12V or less then your battery’s lifespan may be about up.

When reading the electrical specifications on your light bar, you may want to understand Ohm’s Law. This can consist of a variety of equations but for this situation, all you need to know is P=V*I. “P” is power measured in watts, “V” is voltage measured in volts and “I” is current measured in amps.

If you have the rated current, you now know how much power it will consume because the voltage is known, 12V.

If you have the power consumption in watts, then you know how much current your light bar will need to operate because the voltage is still known, 12V.

What size fuse for your LED light bar?

Choosing the proper size fuse is critical for protecting your light bar, battery and wiring. Your fuse should protect your light bar and prevent your wiring from burning up. The size of your fuse should be in-between the rated current for your light bar and the ampacity of the wire you are using.

For Example: If my light bar requires 5 amps, then I would want to have a 10 amp fuse. A good rule of thumb is to multiply your current rating by 1.25 and then choose the next available fuse size. The only fuses you need in your tool box for your ATV are 10, 15, 20 and 25 amps fuses. There may be larger fuses that I am not aware of, but these are the most common sizes.

What size wire for your ATV’s LED light bar?

After your choose your fuse, then you need to figure out what size wire to use. View the table below to determine what size wire you need.

For Example: If my light bar requires 8 amps, then I would choose a 15 amp fuse and 14 A.W.G wire, hence the table illustrating that 14 A.W.G wire can accommodate up to 20 amps.

A.W.G Current (Amps)
#32 0.3
#30 0.5
#28 0.7
#26 1.0
#24 2.0
#22 3.0
#20 5.0
#18 7.0
#16 10.0
#14 20.0
#12 30.0
#10 50.0
Stranded Wires at 30 Deg Celcius (87 Deg Fahrenheit)
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