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Unread 07-26-2018, 01:52 PM   #1
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Default Wiring 12v lights in series

Someone please give me a refresher on electrical currents, particularly voltages, when wiring in series.

If I have a 48v cart (6 8v batteries) and I want to run 12v led headlights (rated for 9-30v each) without a voltage reducer (just humor me for a second), can this be done by wiring 2,3, or 4 of said 12v lights in series?
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Unread 07-26-2018, 02:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: Wiring 12v lights in series

Technically, it can be done:

https://www.electrical-online.com/wi...hts-in-series/

You would just have to connect two series-wired 12v lights to three series-wired batteries. That would be 24v worth of lights on a 24v source.

Here is the issue you will encounter; When the lights are on, three of your batteries will be drawing 24 more volts than the other 3 which is significant. When it's time to charge, those 3 batts will be low as compared to the other 3. A charger has no way of charging batteries separately like that and is going to charge the entire pack the same. Your low batteries will undercharge and your high batteries will overcharge. Not good.

Voltage reducers can be had for cheap. That's a better route.
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Unread 07-26-2018, 05:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wiring 12v lights in series

The lights have an operating voltage of 9-30v, so I was thinking of just hooking them up to the entire pack. Theoretically I can hook up both lights in series and operate from 18-60 volts, right?
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Unread 07-26-2018, 05:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: Wiring 12v lights in series

With two lights in series connected across the entire pack you would be running them at 24v nominal each. So yes your idea would work. To be on the safe side I would wire them up in series with jumper wires and check them. One time I wired a LED light to 16v and it started to smoke. You could wire one light to 24v to make sure it works before you go through all the trouble of hardwiring them in.
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Unread 07-26-2018, 08:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: Wiring 12v lights in series

Let me ask another question, which kinda explains why I wanted to wire them without a voltage reducer. I have a key with the light function on it, but the harness to my cart was either modified or part of it was removed and there was a couple of terminals on the switch that were not connected to anything.

1. How do you wire this type of key switch?

2. Can the lights wired in series be wired through this switch?
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Unread 07-26-2018, 09:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Wiring 12v lights in series

Quote:
Originally Posted by tyhuck View Post
Let me ask another question, which kinda explains why I wanted to wire them without a voltage reducer. I have a key with the light function on it, but the harness to my cart was either modified or part of it was removed and there was a couple of terminals on the switch that were not connected to anything.

1. How do you wire this type of key switch?

2. Can the lights wired in series be wired through this switch?
Those will be some bright lights but it will work.

I am not sure how many volts go through those key switches. Maybe someone will chime in or you can measure it. You could always use a relay if need be.
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Unread 09-18-2018, 02:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wiring 12v lights in series

Just found this link during a search and this is exactly what I want to do. I have 4 x 12v LED lights left over from another project. Instead of putting a light bar on my RXV I plan to wire all 4 lights in series and put 48v across the bank effectively giving me 12v per light. I'll just put a fuse in line and a switch on the dash somewhere.

Love this site!
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Unread 09-18-2018, 03:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Wiring 12v lights in series

Be careful, if these 12v lights are using led drivers (meaning they have a wide input voltage like 9v-30v) then you cannot wire them in series.

The series wiring is just for resistive loads like a halogen bulb, not for electronic circuits.
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Unread 09-18-2018, 06:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wiring 12v lights in series

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slinky Pickle View Post
Just found this link during a search and this is exactly what I want to do. I have 4 x 12v LED lights left over from another project. Instead of putting a light bar on my RXV I plan to wire all 4 lights in series and put 48v across the bank effectively giving me 12v per light. I'll just put a fuse in line and a switch on the dash somewhere.

Love this site!
As mentioned, this is not a good idea. Voltage drop caused by current draw from the LED regulators must be matched, and there is no method to insure that. But, if you have four 12 volt batteries, you can wire one to each battery. You would need 4 seperate switches, or a single 4PST (4 Pole Single Throw) switch to control all 4 at once.
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Unread 09-18-2018, 07:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Wiring 12v lights in series

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Originally Posted by BobBoyce View Post
As mentioned, this is not a good idea. Voltage drop caused by current draw from the LED regulators must be matched, and there is no method to insure that. But, if you have four 12 volt batteries, you can wire one to each battery. You would need 4 seperate switches, or a single 4PST (4 Pole Single Throw) switch to control all 4 at once.
That makes good sense. I don't want 4 switches but could I add a small resistor in series with each LED (or probably in parallel) to provide the voltage drop? I would keep the resistance high enough so as not to make a heater. Thoughts?
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