ARB Headlight Wiring Harness - Page 2 - Defender Source
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  #21  
Old November 22nd, 2010, 11:45 AM
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Carl Jonsson
1995 NAS D90 #219
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Jamie.

Looks like you have Aux lights on your bumper. Are they wired into the ARB harness as well? Currently mine are wired to the high beam on the ignition (I think?). They go on when the high beams are on. I was told that if I keep it that way they won't use the ARB harness but still go through the stock harness. Is there a way to hook them up so that they only go on when the high beams go on and still use the ARB harness?
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  #22  
Old November 22nd, 2010, 03:26 PM
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Jamie Austin
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My old ARB harness (not on this 110, but on my old 90) had a small flylead poking out of it, which came live on main beam, so i used that to trigger a 4th relay (the other 3 being on the ARB loom) which brought in the aux spots.

On my 110 (avitar pic), i made up a loom with relay, that sits in the battery box, took a feed from headlight on one side, which runs back to the battery box, energises the relay and this feeds the spots. I made all these cables into one loom, so only a small flylead comes off of the loom up behind one of the headlights and taps into the main feed.

(I'm a service engineer/electrician by trade, so this sort of stuff is what I do all the time!)
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  #23  
Old March 1st, 2011, 12:11 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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Help!

I need your opinion.

My electrical guy has experience with Rovers and he seems very good. When I asked him to help me install the ARB Harness he said it wasn't as good as adding relays to the stock harness because the stock harness has higher gauge cables and because they run in parallel each headlight gets its own cable to the battery as opposed to all going trough one cable. Is this a correct assumption? I also tried to explain to him that the ARB harness does not need to be connected to both headlights, only one, from what I have been told. That didn't make sense to him.

So we ended up using the stock harness, straight to the battery with 3 added relays. It is indeed much brighter but I am wondering if this is a good idea? I think this guys expertise is getting in the way of being open to other solutions... and it did. There is a blue wire connected to the ignition that runs in deep under the dash and then back to the ignition. We snipped this to wire to rewire the new system. The problem is, now my right front and side markers are dead as well as the right tail light (not when breaking only when not breaking). It appears that blue cable was connected to something else. Right sidemarkers and tail. In addition I also started having trouble with my wipers cutting out yesterday and my rear defroster turning off when the wipers turn off (are they on the same circuit?). I am not sure if this is coincidental or not.

I am really frustrated at this point and I wish I had the confidence to do this myself. I just wanted the ARB harness installed, the guy talked me out of it and now I have a electrical clusterfuck going on. Should I have him return it to normal and install the ARB harness or can we make the stock work as he described? He's not a complete idiot, he knows what he's doing, he just seems to rushing into things without doing the homework. Is there any way we can make the current set up work?

What should I do?
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  #24  
Old March 1st, 2011, 12:27 PM
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Daniel Chapman
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Your guy is a moron.

The ARB harness does connect to both headlights. However, it receives its signals from only one headlight harness. Meaning, you disconnect both headlights; plug in the ARB harness to both headlights; and then reconnect the stock headlight harness to the ARB harness on one side. The opposite headlight harness just hangs there.

By doing this, all of the current [power] is bypassing the switch. The ARB harness is connected directly to the battery. When you turn on your headlight switch, all this is doing is opening a relay that allows power to flow through the ARB harness directly to the headlights. When you hit your high-beams, all you're doing is triggering another relay. There is no additional power being sent to the headlight switch.

It takes 20-minutes to install the ARB harness. 10-minutes if you've ever done it before.
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  #25  
Old March 1st, 2011, 12:40 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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I understand the basics of the ARB harness. Where I get confused is, there is only one connector on the ARB that fits the headlights so how can I plug it into both headlights then? Also, routing it to both headlights then to the battery there is no way its going to reach all the way back to the battery box. Does that mean everyone with a Defender has extended their ARB harness? That's where I needed help to begin with. Extending the harness to the battery.
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  #26  
Old March 1st, 2011, 01:20 PM
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That is not correct; the ARB harness has more than one connector.
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  #27  
Old March 1st, 2011, 11:42 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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Thanks Jeff. You're right. They were wrapped up in tape. I'm frustrated because I'm relaxing I could have done this myself now.
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  #28  
Old March 2nd, 2011, 08:37 AM
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J Pinkham
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Light harness

I went through the headlight/driving light/cooked light switch issues and found that others on this site had gone to Susquehanna Motor Sports http://www.rallylights.com/ and had a custom harness made where all power came directly off the battery with only switching from the headlight switch. Wasn't that expensive $100 +/- and works very well with my Hella headlamps and Hella 4000s. I have never seen the ARB harness but because of the location of my battery in my 1984 LHD ROW 90 I decided to have it made and have been very happy with it- they will make exactly what you want with whatever gauge wire etc. The difference in brightness of the lights is amazing......John
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  #29  
Old March 2nd, 2011, 10:29 AM
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Carl Jonsson
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Can someone school me on the stock headlight harness? What gauge are the wires, how are hey wired? Is each headlight on it's own circuit?

I need some more info to decide if I should have this guy undo everything we did and install the ARB harness or if we should make his set up work? He was saying that if each headlight is on it's own circuit it is less load than having all lights on the ARB harness. He also said the stock wires are thicker gauge than the ARB. Is this true? I wish I knew more about electronics.
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  #30  
Old March 2nd, 2011, 11:00 AM
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kevin
1994 D90 300tdi #730, SIII 88
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Do you have a Green Bible? If you do take a look at the oem wiring diagrams and you will see how the stock lighting circuit works. Essentially, the lights are controlled by a thru switch which means all the amperage must travel from the source and thru the switch then on to the device. It's not an ideal way to control the lights since the switch handles the full current. The use of relays ,ARB or other, simply takes takes the place of the switch It is a remote switch and the existing switch now effectively only acts as a signal telling the relay when to switch the power on. So in terms of wiring you really only have the power from the battery - fuse- relay - light to carry any load. Your stock wiring is just needed to energize ( switch on) the relay.
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  #31  
Old March 2nd, 2011, 12:37 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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I have a lot of manuals but I've never heard of the green bible. Is it for a 300tdi D90? I found some headlight wiring diagrams in the Original Technical Publications CD I have.

I completely understand how the ARB harness function. I am just trying to figure out how and if the guy who helped me wired it up. If its not better I want him to undo everything and I can install the ARB myself. He put in 3 relays where all the stock fuses are and re-routed it so that it doesn't go through the ignition switch anymore. Instead each headlight goes though the stock wiring independently from each other, though relays and to the battery. He claimed this is better than using the ARB because you don't have to add more cables and because the lights have parallel wiring (and higher gauge than the ARB) that there is less load. I'm just trying to figure out if he's blowing smoke up my ass or not. Can anyone make sense of this?
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  #32  
Old March 3rd, 2011, 12:53 AM
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Mike Hansen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manimal View Post
I have a lot of manuals but I've never heard of the green bible. Is it for a 300tdi D90? I found some headlight wiring diagrams in the Original Technical Publications CD I have.

I completely understand how the ARB harness function. I am just trying to figure out how and if the guy who helped me wired it up. If its not better I want him to undo everything and I can install the ARB myself. He put in 3 relays where all the stock fuses are and re-routed it so that it doesn't go through the ignition switch anymore. Instead each headlight goes though the stock wiring independently from each other, though relays and to the battery. He claimed this is better than using the ARB because you don't have to add more cables and because the lights have parallel wiring (and higher gauge than the ARB) that there is less load. I'm just trying to figure out if he's blowing smoke up my ass or not. Can anyone make sense of this?
It's not better
Make him undo everything (if he has the competence to, and may not)
He is blowing smoke up your ass
The ARB works fine. Had mine for 3 years no issues at all.

You must be a non violent individual, I would have kicked his ass by now.
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  #33  
Old March 3rd, 2011, 01:00 PM
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Brian
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The ARB is fairly simple to install like everyone else has said, even if you're a non-electrical guy. The only thing that probably takes any amount of time is routing the wiring and deciding where to connect the power. My 97 has a fuse box in the engine bay on the driver's side that I was able to connect to. I routed the wiring for the passenger side light in front of the radiator just behind the very bottom of the grill.
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  #34  
Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:42 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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So if you happen to have a pair of driving lights in addition to the stock headlights, how do you wire those into work with the ARB harness?
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  #35  
Old March 4th, 2011, 05:57 AM
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Tony Sims
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<evangelism>

Upgrading wiring to the lights is easy and can be done on the cheap with good results. 12v electrics are dead simple; you're just running pipes in a loop from the battery (theoretically, anyway). If you're the least bit handy, you can do this!

One bit of math is useful: Amps = Watts/Volts

That math gives you the ability to determine the amp load of a component, essential to size the wire, relays and fuses properly.

Here's a few useful links:

Bosch-type relay info

Basic aux light circuit

Relays and wiring

Wire size calculator

The stock headlamp wiring in the Defender is barely adequate when it rolls out the factory door. The output of my stock harness at the headlamp plug was a shade over 11 volts. After I installed a dedicated headlamp circuit with relays for main and dip beam and properly sized wires, I now see just over 13v at the lamp plug, and more importantly the circuit will deliver 100% of the amperage draw of two 50/65w Hella halogens (I sized the circuit for 100w high beams). The difference in illumination is very noticeable.

Given the relatively low cost of primary wire, I'd recommend a minimum of 12awg for the wires to the lamps (headlamps or auxiliary lamps), and 10awg feeding the power circuit of the relays. 12awg can feed a 100 watt bulb at 9 amps over 40 feet, and 10awg can feed six 100 watt bulbs, far more than you'd run off one relay.

One piece of advice I would offer regarding Land Rovers -- the ground path is the source of about 90% of electrical glitches. The mix of steel and aluminum, and the galvanic corrosion that occurs, means that after a few years the continuity of the ground path back to the battery becomes iffy.

On my RRC, a vehicle with a reputation for glitchy electrics, I ran a 4awg cable from the main battery -ive terminal along the left side frame rail all the way to the back bumper. Then I patched all the common ground points in the truck into that cable, including the engine and brake ECU's, lights, stereo, window lifts, yadayadayada. This cable didn't replace the frame or shell as a ground path, it piggybacked. Sounds like overkill, I know, but I never had an intermittent electrical glitch or weird WTF? power outage again. I plan to do the same on my 110.

</evangelism>
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  #36  
Old May 27th, 2011, 07:09 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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As I am learning more about this I'm starting to think the guy I used to help with electricals is not an idiot after all. Here's why. The stock wiring is 16AWG. The ARB harness is 14AWG... but on the ARB harness everything is on one circuit. On the stock harness each headlamp is on its own circuit. This is better for two reasons. Even though the wire is slightly smaller there is only half the load on each headlight circuit because there are two circuits. Also, if your ARB harness fails or the fuse blows you have no lights. If one of the circuits shorts/fuse blows on the stock harness you still have the other headlight. Currently the way he set it up is running each headlight (high/low) on its own circuit and the ignition circuit is only used to power the relays just like the ARB would. It turned out the troubles I was having with wipers and side markers after this install were not related to his work. The wiper switch is glitchy and the fuse box is low quality. When installing one of the fuses for the side markers the connector was actually pushed inside the housing. This is because the fuse box sucks, not because there were anything wrong with how he wired it. I still have the ARB harness for back up but I'll run this set up for now and it seems to be working just fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhansen View Post
It's not better
Make him undo everything (if he has the competence to, and may not)
He is blowing smoke up your ass
The ARB works fine. Had mine for 3 years no issues at all.

You must be a non violent individual, I would have kicked his ass by now.
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  #37  
Old May 27th, 2011, 09:18 PM
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Danny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TS888 View Post
On my RRC, a vehicle with a reputation for glitchy electrics, I ran a 4awg cable from the main battery -ive terminal along the left side frame rail all the way to the back bumper. Then I patched all the common ground points in the truck into that cable, including the engine and brake ECU's, lights, stereo, window lifts, yadayadayada. This cable didn't replace the frame or shell as a ground path, it piggybacked. Sounds like overkill, I know, but I never had an intermittent electrical glitch or weird WTF? power outage again. I plan to do the same on my 110.
I did the same thing when I had my rusty CJ, no issues at all (electrically) after that. The body actually being attached to the frame after a few years become increasingly reliant on the Earth's gravitational pull however
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  #38  
Old May 29th, 2011, 04:22 PM
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Carl Jonsson
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TS888, I'm going to follow your advice and upgrade the stock wiring with 12AWG cable. Currently I have it set up so the two headlight circuits go to relays in the fusebox. The headlight switch on the ignition only powers the relays. My aux lights are on a separate relay also I the fusebox and they come on with the high beams. Stock wire is 16AWG, right? How difficult is it to replace the two headlight circuits? Is it necessary to disassemble the dash or can it be done without too much hassle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TS888
<evangelism>
The stock headlamp wiring in the Defender is barely adequate when it rolls out the factory door. The output of my stock harness at the headlamp plug was a shade over 11 volts. After I installed a dedicated headlamp circuit with relays for main and dip beam and properly sized wires, I now see just over 13v at the lamp plug, and more importantly the circuit will deliver 100% of the amperage draw of two 50/65w Hella halogens (I sized the circuit for 100w high beams). The difference in illumination is very noticeable.

Given the relatively low cost of primary wire, I'd recommend a minimum of 12awg for the wires to the lamps (headlamps or auxiliary lamps), and 10awg feeding the power circuit of the relays. 12awg can feed a 100 watt bulb at 9 amps over 40 feet, and 10awg can feed six 100 watt bulbs, far more than you'd run off one relay.
</evangelism>
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  #39  
Old May 29th, 2011, 05:12 PM
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Another option is to just get the power for the relays from the stud on the starter solenoid, the same one the battery feeds too. If you're putting the relays in the engine compartment.
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  #40  
Old May 30th, 2011, 05:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manimal View Post
TS888, I'm going to follow your advice and upgrade the stock wiring with 12AWG cable. Currently I have it set up so the two headlight circuits go to relays in the fusebox. The headlight switch on the ignition only powers the relays. My aux lights are on a separate relay also I the fusebox and they come on with the high beams. Stock wire is 16AWG, right? How difficult is it to replace the two headlight circuits? Is it necessary to disassemble the dash or can it be done without too much hassle?
Carl, I did all of mine under the "bonnet", never touched the dash. In your case, you need to run wires from the fuse box (and I am assuming this the one over the tunnel, I'm not familiar with NAS trucks so perhaps they have a different fuse box?). You may have to remove part of the dash to get to the harness so you can route the wires out to the lamps.

I used a small "project box" from Maplin (UK version of Radio Shack) to hold the relays and fuses, screwed to the edge of the fender left front fender about 12 inches behind the left headlamp. It's not completely water proof, but short of complete immersion (which would take driving through water deeper than 4 feet, not on my list of things to do), it will keep the bits dry.

The box holds 3 fuses and 3 relays, one each for low, high and aux (planning ahead, I don't have aux lights yet). I took supply from the back of the alternator via 10awg wire that splits to the three fuses and relays. Max load for my headlamps and planned aux lamps is 30 amps, the 10awg is good for at least twice that on a run under 5 feet. I could have taken supply from the engine compartment fuse box, but the alternator was 2 feet closer and it's the same electricity! I made a common ground point on the fender next to the relay box and ran a wire from there to the engine block (I think to the mount bolt for the oil dipstick).

The switch signal for the low and high beam relays is taken from the left headlamp wires from the factory harness -- headlamp plug cut off, factory wires run into project box. The replacement harness is all 14 awg, for the right headlamp it runs along the frame cross member at the lower front of the radiator, in split plastic wire sheath. The factory harness for the right headlamp is just zip-tied out of the way. I used new headlamp plugs so I did not have a wire gauge step down right at the plug.

The supply to each relay is fused. The supply from the relay to the lamps is not fused. Why? My logic -- the run to the lamp is short, well protected, and the lamp bulbs are effectively fuses. In the unlikely event of a short between the relay and the lamp, the worst case is I have to replace a relay, a bulb and a few feet of wire. There's nothing else to burn or melt.
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