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post #1 of 22 Old 10-14-2009, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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Flickering Lights

My daytime running lights (and to a lesser degree my headlights..when on) flicker. I don't have to touch the gas, they just do it by themselves. Now to muddle the picture even more, I've recently installed 4 off road lights. 2 I've tapped into the right front parking light so they'll go on with the parking lights, the other 2 I've tapped into the gray high beam wire on the right headlight so they;ll go on only with the high beams. Neither of the off road lights flicker though!!! All the grounds look solid enough and I've attached the power lead into the battery itself.

This morning I got a new symptom . When I start the Jeep now, the lights wired to the high beams come on very dimly for a second then go back off again. I suspect they may be the culprit causing the problem. I'm wondering if (since they're tapped into a headlight) if they're causing a voltage drop.....but why now though??? They've been connected for over a month.

Hmmmm.

Frankly I'm baffled. I'm considering unhooking all the additional lights to see if that's the problem. But if someone here can offer any other advice, I'd sure be glad to listen!! ...could it be a bad battery or alternator or can the problem be a result of the additional lights???? Beats the hell outta me!

Thanks guys.
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-14-2009, 05:14 PM
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bad idea tapping them into the headlight circuit to power anything
JKs use pulse width modulation power for the headlights.
it reads the resistance and pulses the power to the lights, by adding the extra draw, you've probably confused the hell out of the CANBUS and its pulses are way off causing the dimming effect.
its probably not as apparent on the off road lights since you probably grounded them directly, which is gonna confuse the headlight circuit even more.
I'd whip out the sonic screwdriver and yank em real fast before the computer takes real exception to it and blows itself up or something.


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post #3 of 22 Old 10-14-2009, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venom View Post
I'd whip out the sonic screwdriver and yank em real fast before the computer takes real exception to it and blows itself up or something.


I don't think there'll be anything more than just malfunction, and possible melting...

OK. You should put a switch for them, venom was right about it messing up the system. You could also try using a relay, so that way it won't mess up as much.

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post #4 of 22 Old 10-14-2009, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by zjr View Post
OK. You should put a switch for them, venom was right about it messing up the system. You could also try using a relay, so that way it won't mess up as much.
Can't even run just a relay off of the headlight wires unless you use a capacitor across the trigger wire from the headlight, the pulse will actually cause the relay to trigger/untrigger/trigger leading to even more flickering and burnt up relays.
I learned all about the PWM headlight leads the hard way when I built new wiring harnesses for my headlights - which helped a LOT btw...

check out these threads for more info
https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10665
https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10630


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Originally Posted by My Wife
I might just go crazy and kill you in your sleep, instead of just planning it.
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post #5 of 22 Old 10-14-2009, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venom View Post
bad idea tapping them into the headlight circuit to power anything
JKs use pulse width modulation power for the headlights.
it reads the resistance and pulses the power to the lights, by adding the extra draw, you've probably confused the hell out of the CANBUS and its pulses are way off causing the dimming effect.
its probably not as apparent on the off road lights since you probably grounded them directly, which is gonna confuse the headlight circuit even more.
I'd whip out the sonic screwdriver and yank em real fast before the computer takes real exception to it and blows itself up or something.
Venom is exactly right! DISCONNECT any tie-ins from your accessory lights NOW!
The controller area network (CAN-Bus) function is a communication line between control modules.Its purpose it to alleviate redundant sensors and wires. For instance your wheel speed sensor sends a signal to your abs module to detect wheel slippage. The abs module then takes the sensor information and sends it via CAN C to the front control module converts it and then sends the information to the instrument cluster to display your vehicle speed. Similarly with your headlights. When you turn the headlight switch on, it sends the information to your steering control module, converts the information, sends it to your front control module, front control module then grounds the headlight relay to turn on the lights thus preventing routing 5 or 6 wires to the front control module, it only has to rout two. Wranglers have 3 different CAN types, CAN c CAN iHS and CAN diagnostic. They are based on communication speeds, priority and capability of operation with a fault. Hope this helps.

This is one of our best selling points with the sPOD! We segregate all accessory electrics from the OEM electrics!

-John the sPOD guy
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post #6 of 22 Old 10-15-2009, 10:07 AM Thread Starter
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Damn I was hoping it wouldn't be that complicated but I guess with modern electronics nothing is ever simple anymore. It all makes sense however including why the lights go on and off dimly once in a while when I start the Jeep....must be the pulse you're talking about. I don't have the wiring diagram here but it really was simple. If I recall correctly, From the switch one wire goes to the battery the rest to the relay harness. From there the wires go to the lights, the ground and the one thats supposed to connect to the 'parking lights' so the lights wont come on without the parking lights being on. That's the wire I tapped into the hight beam wire. Now (when the off-road light swtich is on) the lights only go on when the high beams are on.

Sooooo. What do I do now??? It was workng so well before it crapped out! Also, how easy is the sPod for a relative newb to install??...and will it alleviate the problem?

Yikes! I just had an ugly thought! I used a vampire tap to tap into the headlights! It actually slices into the wire. If I remove it, will that cause a problem????

Last edited by JulianK; 10-15-2009 at 10:36 AM.
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post #7 of 22 Old 10-15-2009, 01:21 PM
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As long as you repair the damaged wires and seal them, your system will be fine.
I'm not saying that you need the sPOD just for a couple of lights, but what it does for future electrical mods is it lays the foundation for other electrical goodies that you may add later on.
If you pulled the power directly from the battery and ran a switch inside utilizing the relays, fuses and their harness, then you will be set. But that requires finding a spot for your new switch. This may require drilling into your dash somewhere to mount the switch.
To help answer your question about the installation of the sPOD six circuit system, please see these links below.
Part one
https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showth...highlight=spod
Part two
https://www.jkowners.com/forum/showth...highlight=spod

Below is a link to a great write-up explaining our system:
http://www.stu-offroad.com/electrical/spod/spod-1.htm

One of the interesting features of Jeep modifications is the high-level of execution of electrical modifications. While everyone should strive for a top-notch design and installation, it's scarily common to see hacked-up electrical jobs (search the forums), mostly on trailered rigs but sometimes on daily drivers as well. For folks that depend on their rig's reliability in remote locations, that is not an option!

-John the sPOD guy
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post #8 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 08:59 AM Thread Starter
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You know, I'd be very curious if anyone else here has tried the same thing and has experienced any issues.
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post #9 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 12:34 PM
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pretty much everyone that has tried to use the headlight wires as a source of pure power has had the problem
whether because they swapped to HIDs or tried to use them to kick a relay, its the same deal, its not a constant feed so you get flicker/dimming.

If you click on the threads I posted above, you'll see posts from other people chiming in that had the issue.

I ended up getting mine straightened out by building the harness with diodes and capacitors like outlined in the threads.
Now my headlight power comes straight from the battery and they're brighter as well as the computer won't know I have higher wattage high beams and get upset.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Wife
I might just go crazy and kill you in your sleep, instead of just planning it.
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post #10 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
pretty much everyone that has tried to use the headlight wires as a source of pure power has had the problem
Ah but I don't use the headlight wire as the source of pure power venom. I'm connected directly into the battery for that. The lead I have into the headlight allows the lights to be turned on (I don't know if it controls the switch or the relay....sorry...newb on this). All I know is that is the wire that the instructions say to connect to the parking lights circuit so the aux lights won't come on without the parking lights on.

Actually I was looking at dsy's diagram (in one of your posts) and I'm going to go home and see if I can figure out how to make that (i.e. where to install the cap and diode).
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post #11 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 12:59 PM
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Julian, you'll need to do what Venom did in his links. You are triggering off the headlights and it wont work correctly without the cap and diode.

Jason
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post #12 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 01:01 PM
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but you DID try to use it as pure power, evidently to power a relay, you just didnt know you did
so what was happening is that with each pulse of the headlight power, that relay is opening and closing, or at least trying to open and close, causing interruption in the power.
the capacitor carries a small charge and in the lull in between the pulses, it fills in for the power to keep the relay open
so every time theres a gap in the power pulse, the cap fills it in.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Wife
I might just go crazy and kill you in your sleep, instead of just planning it.
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post #13 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 03:11 PM
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Dittos on all of the above+++++++
Don't forget about the "field-collapse" caused by the relay every time it opens and closes which will cause a quick pulse back to the CAN-Bus as well!
Damn! almost wants me to get my Willies and CJ back!

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post #14 of 22 Old 10-16-2009, 03:19 PM
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yeah, the field collapse is the reason for the diode to prevent backfeed to the computer - so far so good!
I work on crap like this , then walk across the shop to my '46 willys and look at the 1 wire to the coil, 1 to the starter and one to the electric fuel pump that I added.
power to coil
power to pump
hit starter and it goes!


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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Wife
I might just go crazy and kill you in your sleep, instead of just planning it.
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post #15 of 22 Old 10-17-2009, 09:53 AM Thread Starter
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Here's the wiring diagram for the lights if it helps. The red lead from the switch is the one I tapped into the lights. I'm looking into which value cap & diode to use now. Unfortunately we dont' have Radio Shack up here so I'm trying to match their product code to the actual values. Cheers.

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post #16 of 22 Old 10-17-2009, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venom View Post
Parts list -

about 12 feet of 10-12 gauge wire to run from battery to passenger side headlight and from light to light for the positive leads
2 30-40 amp 12v relays
2 100uf 35v electrolytic capacitors
2 1N4001 diodes
those are value/model/part numbers, not special radio shack product codes.

if you are having trouble finding them locally from a supplier, you can always mail order from radio shack or somewhere else.
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2036268

http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2102510

and yes from your wiring diagram, you are indeed using the light wire to trigger your light relay

The capacitor goes from the "connect to the wire of parking lamp" terminal on the relay to the ground terminal on the relay and the diode goes inline between the "connect to the wire of parking lamp" and the relay, before the capacitor and relay. The end of the diode with the band painted on it goes towards the relay.

Once again, the capacitor will store a little charge and keep the relay connected during the lulls in the pulses, the diode acts as a 1-way gate to prevent anything from coming back through the jeep wiring to make the computer unhappy.

That's about as easy as I can make it
If you cant understand yet, bring your Jeep to Texas and I'll wire the darn thing for you.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Wife
I might just go crazy and kill you in your sleep, instead of just planning it.

Last edited by venom; 10-17-2009 at 01:29 PM.
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post #17 of 22 Old 10-19-2009, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Well you can't ask for much more than this! Thanks for all the replies. I've sourced the components locally and going to pick them up tonight! Sure is a hell of a lot of 'pain the butt' that can be cured with 2 bucks worth of parts!

Venom, if I do ever make it 'East of Abilene', I owe you a beer...or two!

Last edited by JulianK; 10-19-2009 at 08:43 AM.
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post #18 of 22 Old 06-17-2012, 11:04 PM
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I am also having troubles with my driving lights. I am running a feed to the high beam to trigger the relay. So I would put the diode in the line to the high beam. sound correct?
Quote:
Originally Posted by venom View Post
those are value/model/part numbers, not special radio shack product codes.

if you are having trouble finding them locally from a supplier, you can always mail order from radio shack or somewhere else.
http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2036268

http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...ductId=2102510

and yes from your wiring diagram, you are indeed using the light wire to trigger your light relay

The capacitor goes from the "connect to the wire of parking lamp" terminal on the relay to the ground terminal on the relay and the diode goes inline between the "connect to the wire of parking lamp" and the relay, before the capacitor and relay. The end of the diode with the band painted on it goes towards the relay.

Once again, the capacitor will store a little charge and keep the relay connected during the lulls in the pulses, the diode acts as a 1-way gate to prevent anything from coming back through the jeep wiring to make the computer unhappy.

That's about as easy as I can make it
If you cant understand yet, bring your Jeep to Texas and I'll wire the darn thing for you.
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post #19 of 22 Old 06-18-2012, 07:14 AM
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You want your diode/cap on the high voltage side running to the light, not the trigger side, that runs to the relay.
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post #20 of 22 Old 06-18-2012, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrangled View Post
You want your diode/cap on the high voltage side running to the light, not the trigger side, that runs to the relay.
actually you are wrong.
the cap is to overcome the pulsed output from the jeep to the headlights, the diode is to prevent backfeeding the jeep harness.

they go on the trigger side, as this is the part connected to the jeep/computer

without it on the trigger side, the relay is seeing a pulsed trigger signal coming from the jeep harness


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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Wife
I might just go crazy and kill you in your sleep, instead of just planning it.
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post #21 of 22 Old 06-18-2012, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venom View Post
actually you are wrong.
the cap is to overcome the pulsed output from the jeep to the headlights, the diode is to prevent backfeeding the jeep harness.

they go on the trigger side, as this is the part connected to the jeep/computer

without it on the trigger side, the relay is seeing a pulsed trigger signal coming from the jeep harness
Yep.

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post #22 of 22 Old 06-18-2012, 09:32 AM
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I stand corrected. Sorry to steer ya' wrong dinodog. It's been a couple of years since I did mine, and well, with age, the memory isn't what it used to be! So I will be content to read, and leave the posting to more knowledgable individuals.
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