Den_JL2DR

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Here's a project for two bright overhead LED lights that fill the cargo area for night errands, and two rotatable rollbar mounted LED lights to either soft bounce onto the white hardtop surface for tailgating events, or rotate downward for direct reading lights with Jeep camping, or be additional cargo lighting.

Lights_and_center_liner.jpg

Full_up.jpg

Swivel_direct.jpg

Swivel_bounce.jpg


The lights turn on when the rear hatch is raised via a roller switch mounted against the driver's side hatch strut.

Switch.jpg


A dimmer box dims the lights, switches all on/off or just the overhead on/off and a rear switch sets the overhead to dimmer or to battery.
Dimmer.jpg

Dimmer_open.jpg


Each light has their own manufacturer switch as well.

The dimmer box and hatch switch are custom made per this topic and will be described in four posts at least for details.

The lights are powered by a 12v 7 amp/hour rechargeable emergency lighting battery in an upside down outdoor broadband box that has a custom plate in back to use the single hardtop bolt.

The Jeep can be off, and the lights are not connected to the Jeep electrical system.

Battery.jpg

Battery_mount.jpg

Box_mounting.jpg


Optionally, as the plug is a standard lighter type, it can be pulled from the battery and plugged into the Jeep cargo port.
Battery_socket.jpg


Amp usage is on the 12.5 volt bench test supply is:

Single swivel lamp 0.06 amps
Two swivel lamps 0.11 amps
Two overhead center lamps 0.71 amps
TOTAL: 0.82 amps / 12.5 volts

Amps.jpg


Using the online calculator for sealed lead-acid at batteryinaflash.com, the estimate
is 7.9 hours for all on and 54 hours for both swivel lights, or 108 hours for a single swivel lamp.

Note, the dimmer in this project is pulse width modulated, so that means that as the lamps are dimmed, the current draw is less, verified with the bench supply, so can be a way to stretch battery usage on camping.

The two overhead lights were mounted onto reflective foam covered in duck canvas with wiring inside the center channel. This provides heat reflecting liner insulation as well as serve as a light holder. See a previously posted DIY for the liner construction materials and notes here: DIY stitched liner

The two rotating lights are attached to plastic bases and Velcro attached to the side roll bars.

This project was setup in a two door Jeep with the rear seat removed. The floor has a custom pad and custom carpet to create a soft surface for sitting in the Jeep for tailgating or could be used for camping. The lighting and liner bring all three projects together to complete the cargo area for planned modifications. See a previously posted DIY for the carpet liner if interested: Rear cargo carpet liner and pad

There is a lot to this project that was created over a month, with other projects. If you are experienced in light machining/drill/tap and soldering electronic projects, this will be easy to understand with the part sources. If new to this, it's nice to learn. I can try to help with questions via posts or PM. At the end are some source machine pics to see what I used for tools, such as 12 inch bench drill press and tap tools if this is helpful.

There may be more interest in a particular part, such as someone seeking overhead lights only and intending to use the Jeep power to be a smaller project, so we'll divide the project into these sections with parts list per section below. Given the time to write these and try to remember all the details and pics, will post these one at a time, starting with the center liner, expect to finish posting all the notes in a week or so.

If intending the whole path, it would be helpful to see what is ahead before starting as with any project!
  1. Overhead twin lights on stitched liner
  2. Swivel lights on roll bar
  3. Dimmer box and switches and mounting plate
  4. Battery box and mounting plate
  5. Hatch switch and mounting plates and springs (this is the only part that used drilling into the Jeep (it's new!) two 10-32 holes into the existing hatch strut plate, and was done in place without removing the strut.)
1. Overhead twin lights on stitched liner.
Center_installed.jpg


Parts for only the center liner with lights:
  1. Reflective foam/canvas/3M TB3550 hook and loop tape to mount, see DIY topic: DIY stitched liner
    2. Dream Lighting 370 lumens ($13) Amazon source
    3. Dream Lighting 250 lumens ($10) Amazon source
    4. K&S Metal 0.016 aluminum, two 10 by 6 inch was the pack, Ace or other,
    5. Twelve 6-32 machine screws (believe 3/4”) and nylanuts
    6. 20 AWG stranded (preferred for bending) two conductor wire (tip - avoid doorbell solid wire, stiff and larger gauge) (I used 18 AWG but it will be difficult for the dimmer wiring and switch eyelets, 20 AWG is better scale for this under an amp current project.)
    7. Marine grade heat shrink tubing: Harbor Freight

Tools/misc:
  1. The aluminum was cut with a jigsaw, could be snips
  2. Bench or hand Drill for holes, preferably a bench press drill & step type hole drill bit for thin material Step drill bit
  3. Scissors, screwdriver and wrench and liner making materials/tools per other DIY topic.
Instructions:

The liner is custom made of duck canvas hand stitched over reflective foam. This follows making front headliners of this type and this is another part of that overall project for just the liners.

See DIY topic here for liner info on this 29” by 4 inch center liner: DIY stitched liner

The lights are both made by Dream Lighting, bought via Amazon, with the larger twin lens toward the hatch and the smaller single lens light by the center roll bar.

One note, I had to check over time, for the Dream Lights wiring color coding, black is positive and white is negative. Believe this may have some RV precedence and of course has coding for AC – but world, please, red for DC positive, black for negative to reduce confusion. Note for manufacturers.

This overhead liner began as cutting a 29” by 4” piece of reflective foam and about an inch around larger piece of canvas and hand stitching using the instructions in the liner post.
Center_materials.jpg


The larger twin lens lamp was placed 1.5 inches from the hatch side, and the smaller single lens was positioned 2.5 inches from the interior side.

To give support for each lamp on the fabric liner, I purchased a couple thin 0.016 inch aluminum source sheet metal pieces from Ace Hardware, in the rear bins of assorted rods and sheet metal. It's made by K&S metal, any source will do. It can be cut with snips, but I left them in the plastic packaging to mark dimensions and cut with slow speed jigsaw. I cut a 8.5 inch by 3 inch piece for the twin lens light and a 6 inch by 3 inch piece for the single lens light, check that, is from old drawings.
Center_backside.jpg


With the lens cover removed – used a small screwdriver, carefully, trace out the six screw holes and approximate where the two wires will exit onto the center of cut aluminum metal sheets. I used 6-32 machine screws and nylanuts. I believe they were 3/4” length screws. The heads are on the hardtop side and nylanuts are inside the lamps to avoid scratching the Jeep or making a bump in mounting the liner.

NOTE - from testing the lights prior to install, I found a memorable switch orientation is to have all lights with I of international "on" be toward the driver side.
Or for the single lens center lamp, the switch unit is on the driver side. I used this orientation for overhead lights and the swivel lights.

Center_stitched.jpg


After cutting the sheet metal pieces and drilling, lay them out on the front side of the liner fabric and trace over the holes to the front of the liner.

A cautionary note about drilling thin metal here and plastic later for the swivel lights: drilling thin materials without clamping is a great way to severely cut oneself quite badly, especially with drill presses, Google it.

Fortunately I learned that long ago to not have such issue, along with no long sleeves, nor rings nor long hair around bench drills, lathes and other heavy powered tools.
Use clamping to a table, even a portable wood saw, clamp everything before drilling.
Drill bits like to pick up materials and swirl them and holding the material is the wrong place to be.

Center_backside_close.jpg


Using small scissors, opened, carefully punch a single scissor blade through, gently, for 6-32 holes, and again and then the whole closed scissor for the wire pass through. Check the sheet metal is correct side as the metal will eventually be on the hardtop side, not the fabric side.

Lights can then be mounted with lens covers off, with sheet metal on top and secure with 6/32 screws and nylanuts.
Center_light_installed.jpg


For wiring, I use “lineman's joints” (google) i.e. phone company lines on poles and then sodlered those joints, which they don't usually do, but I like it soldered, and have marine grade heat shrink tubing already on the wires to cover each wire, as well as I used another larger tubing to then pull down over the set of two heat shrunk wires to secure it well. In hot climates those wires will be in higher temp with vibration to secure well from say tape peeling off and sparking. Don't use the cheap hardware store heat tubing, it's thin.

For this center liner, there will be the two lamps and the wire exiting to have three sets of wires. I used about 1.5 inches of heat shrink tubing over soldered connections, and then had a larger 3 inch tube to slide down over the + and minus wire tubes. Since it's thick with three wires, the final outer tube was bit large, not as I like with shrink fit over the wire ends, has to do with how much the tubes will shrink, so I wrapped electric tape over the final assembly - but I'm not using tape to insulate, only to assure the tubing stays in place with vibration, probably could be omitted, but it's sealed up into the hardtop so I like it's secured.

From here you'll need to figure how you intend to power them. If planning to do the whole dimmer/battery/hatch switch and swivel lights, then leave the wire long about a foot. There will be a phone type junction box nearby to wire in these lights and 3M taped to the top of the hardtop as shown below for another post on wiring all together. If not, then it's on to your own wiring plans.
Junction.jpg


For making this project, I created all the pieces except the hatch switch and had it all working on the table and then took it out to the Jeep to install relatively fast, in a late evening.
Table_test.jpg


I recommend that to hold off on mounting until all the wiring is done as it's easier to solder on a well lit table and test it all as shown below.

IF not going to be making other parts of this project, then for just mounting the liner, use the 3M TB3550 hook and loop tape and cuts pieces to go around the exiting wires, with a cross piece near the hatch side to secure well and open for the interior side as shown below. It's helps to have someone on the other side, I did it alone, but peel the tape near the hatch side and place there, around the angle, first testing the placement and being sure the wire is up inside and not crossing the liner tape edges, and then peel and walk back the liner. I had it go very slightly off angle at the end, thus another set of eyes could have helped.

Center_backside_tape.jpg


Our next post for this project will be for the swivel lights on the roll bars on each side..

Swivel_light.jpg



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Den_JL2DR

Den_JL2DR

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2. Swivel lights on roll bars (driver/passenger)

Swivel_light2.jpg


Here is the next part of this project, and if interested in swivel lights in general.

I would say of all the parts of the project in hindsight, these lights are kind of thin, the end caps that conceal the mounting holes slide on and off against a plastic detent and I could see heavy off road movement might loosen a cap or folks in a back seat pulling on them, to seek a heartier swivel light from another manufacturer for heavy duty purposes.

Otherwise it's possible to glue the caps in place after installing the lights.

For me, the low power draw (60 milliamps) and construction is fine for my purposes of a daily driver, not off road, but interested in camping and tailgating which is the reason for swivel lights, to have only them on and rotate to bounce off the hardtop sides for sitting in the back at night events, running for hours with Jeep off, or rotate as a reading light for camping and intermittent use of the bright overhead lights.

Recall my two door has the rear seat removed and carpet and pad for softening the cargo area for that purpose.

That all in mind, if seeking a decently bright swivel light:

Parts for single light (one per side)

1. LED swivel bar light, ($21) Amazon
2. Black ABS 0.118 thick 12x12 source plastic for making bases for velcro belts ($8) Amazon
3. Hook and loop roll tape, such as "NavePoint 1 inch" Hook and Loop Cable Tie roll, 3 ft (per light)
4. (2) 6-32 (1/2" length) machine screws w/ nylanuts
5. (2) 8-32 (1/2" length, could be 3/8" w/ thin nuts else 1/2 with nylanuts) black machine screws w/ black nuts and black lock washers (local Ace Hardware had nice single screw assortment)
6. Marine grade heat shrink tubing & soldering wires (option) Harbor Freight
7. Two conductor stranded 20 AWG wire out from lights, measurements below. (avoid doorbell
solid wire, i.e. hardware store wire, too stiff and is usually 18 gauge, difficult to solder to eyelets in dimmer later)

Instructions

1. Cut 8" by 1" plastic base for each light out of thin black plastic with saw or jigsaw. The source I purchased was good higher temp ABS so melting was not an issue with jigsaw on low speed. (Otherwise tip, use a water sprayer bottle, travel type from drugstores, and spray water intermittent to avoid melting, and wipe blade when done, unplugged, to avoid rust.)

Swivel_light_plastic.jpg


2. The mounting holes in the lights are slots and to be a little more robust and less likely for a belt to pull on the light, relieving it's cap, the lights were mounted on thin black ABS plastic.

Two countersunk 6-32 screws w/ nylanuts mount the lights. A through hole is for the wiring.

Swivel_light_mounted.jpg


3. Two 8-32 clearance holes were drilled for the loop belts, for the machine screws and anodized black nut and lock washer, and a rubber washer on the inside screw head against a hole punched into the loop tape with end of scissors. (Finishing tip: cut a 1.5 inch piece of loop tape and stick to inside over 8/32 screw head to avoid scratching possibility long term on roll bars)

4. The hook and loop tape came on a 15' foot from Amazon, no longer available, but here for finding elsewhere, nice tape, but took a while to arrive from the seller. Amazon unavailable

I cut two 18 inch strips for each side per lamp, so they wrap well and the prickly side is out so the soft side is inward for both grip and less noise in sliding. The lamps stay in place to swivel them.

Swivel_light3.jpg


5. The wiring was soldered to stranded two conductor wire. As mentioned I used 18 AWG, but that is challenging with the dimmer box, and two conductor 20 AWG stranded would be better.

Same insulation of marine grade heat shrink tubing was placed before soldering over each wire and then another larger diameter tube shrink awaited to pull down over both and heated with lighter to hold well, as shown below.

tubing.jpg


For length of wiring out from the light, I have ~40 inches from the driver side light to the end of the dimmer box to strip back and wire, and ~43 inches from the passenger side light to the right side of a phone type junction box, shown below, that meets the overhead light wiring in the center and they then go down a 4 (can be 3 w/ common ground) wire on the left to the dimmer to control overhead vs swivel lights separately (later post on dimmer and final wiring)

I have both lights with the "on" local switch position toward the driver side.

Swivel_light4.jpg


Junction.jpg


The result are nice rotatable lights, and a test of reading brightness shown below.

Swivel_direct.jpg

Swivel_bounce.jpg


Test reading pics:

Chose "Raroia" by Bengt Danielsson, one of Thor Heyerdahl 's Kon-Tiki expedition to return to that island with his wife for his thesis and a followup book.

Note, phone cameras adjust brightness to "stop down" the exposure, but relative can see even single swivel works for camp reading, and of course all on is very bright, but also dimmable to save battery.

Single swivel light: Shadow from holding phone,
Book_1.jpg


Two swivel lights on:
Book_2.jpg


All lights on: (camera stopped down a lot with the bright paper in frame, in person very bright)
Book_3.jpg


The next post for this series will be on construction of the dimmer box and mounting plate..
 
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Allagash27

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Very nice, clean installation, and the JL can certainly use some extra interior lighting. I hope to do something similar eventually.

My solution so far until I have time to do more is a professional quality headlamp stashed in the armrest storage box:
https://www.streamlight.com/en/products/detail/index/twin-task-3aa-headlamp

Works for reading, searching for gear in the back, working around the exterior or under the hood of the vehicle, and as a spare in case my regular hiking/camping headlamp dies. It has both flood and spot bulbs; the flood provides extremely uniform, dark-spot free illumination.
 
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Den_JL2DR

Den_JL2DR

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Very nice, clean installation, and the JL can certainly use some extra interior lighting. I hope to do something similar eventually.

My solution so far until I have time to do more is a professional quality headlamp stashed in the armrest storage box:
https://www.streamlight.com/en/products/detail/index/twin-task-3aa-headlamp

Works for reading, searching for gear in the back, working around the exterior or under the hood of the vehicle, and as a spare in case my regular hiking/camping headlamp dies. It has both flood and spot bulbs; the flood provides extremely uniform, dark-spot free illumination.
Thank you! A hands-free light is very versatile, under hood, as well as for camp reading. I have a head mounted light with magnifiers for machining and soldering and they are really useful.
 

imbuere

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This is a great implementation in an area the factory has pretty much completely ignored. I'm working on a similar project, but I plan on using the newly released bluetooth hue strip. For now, I'll just be doing the rear hatch, but I plan on going all out once I get my Ursa Minor top in the next year.
 
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Den_JL2DR

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3. Dimmer box construction and wiring

Dimmer_1.jpg


This next post is for the dimmer box and will also be the final wiring length and junction box mentioned in the first post that is on the hardtop where the overhead lights wiring exits.

Materials:
1. Metal box: ($12) Amazon
2. 0.125 T6 aluminum for bottom plate (and also battery box mount plates): Amazon
3. Dimmer: ($40) Amazon
4. Front panel latching pushbutton switches: Adafruit
5. Rear panel switch (could be SPDT): Parts Express
6. Wire: 20 gauge two and four conductor per notes to box, and inside 20 gauge stranded.
7. Battery wire will be from this connector, future post on battery box: Amazon
8. Two 8-32 socket machine scews, 3/4" length, and nylanuts:
9. Plastic cable clamp inside dimmer and along both sides of Jeep rollbar.
10. Piggyback quick disconnects: Ace and 4 way via Ace
11. Heat-Shrink tubing and soldering iron and solder
12. Four grommets for wire holes on rear box panel
13. Red and blue quick disconnect terminals

Dimmer Box

The dimmer has two front panel switches, and the dimmer with it's on/off switch, and in back, a rear switch and 4 wires entering the box.

The construction is using a commercial metal box. The box is mounted to a bottom plate cut with jigsaw from 0.125 in 6061-T (T6) aluminum, painted with black and Varathane.

Dimmer_3.jpg


The bottom plate has one loose clearance hole for the existing hardtop mounting bolt at the driver's side rear and two 8-32 countersunk underside holes for attaching plate to the box.
The back of the mounting plate presses against the hardtop so it will not rotate.

Dimmer.jpg


The metal box itself is mounted to the bottom plate with two 3/4" length 8-32 machine screws with nylanuts.

Below is a scanner image of the bottom plate to print out with the rules to confirm accurate print size. This can be cut from paper to test that it fits a particular hardtop before cutting metal.
Dimmer_base_1.jpg


For drilling the holes, I started with center punches, pilot drills and opened them with a step drill bit to desired sizes using a 12" bench drill press, clamped to table with enough clearance for step drill.

For drilling the thin metal box panels, the step drill is preferred. I made paper poster-board templates to test spacing of switches and wire holes, and mounted the parts to the poster-board to check clearances, and then taped the poster-boards to metal box panels, front and back, to transfer for punch and pilot holes.

Unfortunately I forgot to scan the metal box panel templates and discarded them from step drilling with cutting fluid. To reproduce, measure your switches and dimmer and box interior and space to center parts for the drawings which are only indicating centers for centerpunch and drilling.

Controls: Green switch is main power on/off.
Blue switch is overhead lights on/off
Dimmer drives swivel lights and optionally the overhead lights
Rear switch sets if overhead runs from battery or the dimmer (shown below)

There are 4 wires connected to the rear of the dimmer box.

Dimmer_Rear_1.jpg


Wiring to dimmer box.

Port 1
: Four conductor wire of 76 inches length, could be three conductor with a common ground, and powers the center lights on liner from the first post, and another set powers the passenger swivel lamp. The reason for separation is allow the overhead lights to be turned independently on or off as a unit and choose overhead runs from battery or dimmer. The rear switch is optional.

Port 2: Two conductor wire of 42 inches length, runs up plastic clamps using the rollbar screws to the driver side swivel light from the second post in this topic.

Port 3: Two conductor wire of 36 inches length to battery box. This is a commercial lighter socket plug and wires.

Port 4: Two conductor wire of 22 inches length going to the hatch switch.

Check actual wiring lengths for any particular Jeep.

(The battery box and hatch switch will be remaining posts.)

Note all lengths noted here take wire to front of dimmer box to have enough to go around a strain relief inside the dimmer box and trim to length.

Dimmer box wiring:

First will post pics of the box to help with some places inside and then wiring images. Wiring used heat-shrink tubing. The dimmer has three quick disconnect posts and for multiple wires used piggy-back disconnects listed in parts, 4 wires for ground post, and 3 wires for dimmer out post.
Otherwise limited each ring connector to maximum of two wires as I was using 18 gauge stranded in the project, and it will be easier as noted earlier to use 20 gauge stranded wire.

Dimmer_4.jpg

In the above view, a strain relief is seen on the bottom of the dimmer box. The insulation of the incoming 4 wires was removed so the inner conductors all pass through that relief.

Dimmer_6.jpg

Above closeup on wiring front switches. The top switch is overhead on/off. The bottom switch is all on/off.

The thick red wiring to that lower switch is positive from battery. The black from that lower switch goes to the hatch switch.

The white on the top switch is the center overhead lights positive lead. The black under that goes to the center of the rear switch.


Dimmer_7.jpg

Above we see the 4 wires entering with grommets and the rear switch which was a DPDT, but could be a SPDT.


Dimmer_5.jpg

Above we see the use of piggyback connectors for the disconnect posts on the dimmer.
Far left is +12VDC to dimmer, middle is ground, and right post is the dimmer output.

Next will show wiring in steps as I soldered them. I sketched a very rough 3 inch long schematic shown in first image of post, but have not redrawn that to make sense of it. If I get some time this week, will try to add a schematic.
For those that don't read schematics, here are wiring drawings in stages.

Wiring_1.jpg

Above shows wiring around the switches and connections to +12VDC from battery to front panel, and the white wire for overhead lights, and the black lead going to the hatch switch. It does not matter the hatch switch wire choice for color, but used black to the switch and red from the hatch switch so the two red wires eventually on the +12VDC post at the dimmer would both be red.


Wiring_2.jpg

Above is wiring +12VDC to the dimmer and source of +12VDC to rear switch for overhead lights.


Wiring_3.jpg

Above is wiring + output of the dimmer to both swivel lights and the rear switch.


Wiring_4.jpg

Above is ground wiring to dimmer and all lights.

Junction box wiring:

A common telephone type junction box was gutted of modular connectors to wire the overhead and passenger swivel lights to the dimmer box. I soldered the wires to ring connectors and alternated them for spacing. These boxes are tiny and thin compared to 70's era Ma Bell. So it's just serving as a connection point and to open to trace wire colors.

Junction_1.jpg

Junction.jpg


The junction box is attached with a small piece of 3M 3550 hook and loop tape from center overhead lights liner project, listed in the first post. Above is top of hardtop in center near exit of wires from the overhead lights on liner.
 
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Den_JL2DR

Den_JL2DR

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4. Hatch Switch

Here's the next part of the project for the hatch switch that activates when the rear hatch is lifted about 3 inches away from the rear. The switch is mounted behind the driver's side hatch strut.

Switch.jpg


This may be useful for other projects if someone is seeking a signal of rear hatch opened for another lighting project.

I chose to create two plates with spring loaded screws between them to have way to adjust the distance of the switch roller to the strut as needed to work or later if it settled.

Likely for someone wishing to spend a little more time on this, the mount could be a simple L shape say of bent or welded steel, which is not my skill set for welding nor favorite material, and just mount the switch to that at a prescribed distance. So the primary idea is a switch off the back strut and see how the switch can be mounted to the existing metal strut plate without removing any Jeep parts.

Being a new Jeep, I wanted the installation to be minimally invasive and this part used two hand drilled 10-32 clearance holes using a right angle drill with a succession of bits to open it up.

Materials:
1. (Not so micro) Micro switch ($7). I like hearty parts. Amazon
2. 1/4" 6061-T (T6) Aluminum, later painted with black and Varathane.
3. Two flat head 10-32 machine socket screws and nylanuts
4. Two 3/4" 10-32 socket head machine screws to mount switch
5. Two 1" 10-32 socket head machine screw for spring loading between plates
6. Two compression springs from this assortment: Home Depot
7. Ring connectors and two cable clamps.

The springs selected measure 1 inch long, 7/16" diameter with 5 turns, not too stiff.

At the end of this post is a list of machine tools used for drill and tap.

Cut and Prepare Two aluminum plates:

Below are two scans of the aluminum metal cut with a jig-saw and hand filed.

These are "front views" where the piece on the left mounts to the Jeep strut plate and the countersunk holes are the two 10-32 screws. The two 10-32 drill and tap holes to the left, the far left below, are for the spring loaded screws that are between the plates.

The piece on the right then is in front, relative to back to front of Jeep, and this piece has two side drill and tap 10-32 holes for the switch that mounts right angle to it, and two 10-32 clearance holes for the socket head machine screws. The smaller 8-32 drill and tap hole along the right edge near the top and also at the very bottom are for cable clamps to secure wiring.
Scan_hatch_switch_1.jpg


For the second view below, the same piece on the left remains the same.
The side profile on the right shows the 10-32 drill and tap to a depth of 0.8 inches.
I used a manual 12 inch drill press, no CNC, so there is some analog variation.
Scan_hatch_switch_2.jpg


The front plate that hold the switch is spring mounted to the rear plate that is screwed to the existing Jeep hatch strut metal bracket. My main concern is measuring for drilling was to be sure I had enough wrench room against the folded edges of the bracket to be able to use 10-32 nylanuts. I used an open box wrench to hold the nylanut.

Drill hatch bracket and attach to Jeep:

Drilling the Jeep bracket was by pilot hole pecking with a Milwaukee right angle hand drill as the 1/4 inch alum makes a nice drill guide, then opening up the hole with three successive bits to 10-32 clearance.

The trick to mounting the roller switch is to check that the hatch closes without catching the roller under the edge of the cylinder, so in this case the cylinder presses back and engages the roller. That prevents a situation of the roller getting caught under the cylinder and bent as the hatch closes. I held the drilled parts in place numerous times to check for proper mounting.

Hopefully the scans will ease this path, but do check carefully before drilling into the Jeep bracket. I did not remove the bracket nor the strut; all done in place.

Switch_2.jpg

Above are the two 10-32 clearance holes hand drilled into the existing Jeep hatch bracket.


Switch_1.jpg

Above was a test fitting of rear plate into those holes and secured with 10-32 nylanuts


Switch_3.jpg

Above shows the 10-32 nylanuts and why it is important to carefully choose the locations so there is room for a wrench and not too close to the sides.


Switch_4.jpg

Above shows the final assembly with the front plate spring loaded against the rear plate using 10-32 machine screws and springs, and front plate shifted over enough to have the switch roller centered on the hatch strut cylinder. From memory it's about a quarter inch over.

Switch_6.jpg

Above front view showing cable clamps using the 8-32 drill and tap holes while all the other
screws are 10-32. The cap heads are the spring mounted screws between front and rear plate.
P.S. find dull plastic ring connectors, the shiny ones are low temp in my experience to melt more.
I added the hatch switch after the lights were installed to bring out a 30 watt iron on extension to solder in place. It's 18 gauge stranded, but 20 gauge stranded is better. Wire length is specified in the previous dimmer box post.


Dimmer.jpg

Above shows the switch with hatch open. As noted, be careful the roller is not positioned vertically such that the roller catches under the strut cylinder to break the roller.

Electrically the switch has normally closed and normally open positions and wired for normally closed so it turns on lights as the hatch opens. Ring connectors were soldered and two cable clamps were mounted to the front plates using drill and tapped 8-32 screws along the edges.

Machine tools
If interested, and as fun side note for those who like to do metal working at home,
here are the tools used for the overall project
It was a manual 12" drill press, a right angle drill and a jigsaw.

For drill and tap, I have a low cost Palmgren metalworking drill press that I rebuilt for precision drill and tap, so it's repowered with a DC motor and new electronics, balanced pulleys and a lot of work adding anti-vibration materials inside the casting and column to reduce vibration, has an adjustable speed and holds a TIR spindle accuracy of 0.00015" slight over a tic mark shown running at 120 rpm below, and is very quiet with minimal sound and vibration at 54 db (was 79 db out of the box). A washing machine inside the house overpowers the drill sound. Is this needed for this? No, I've done a lot with low cost hardware store drill presses, but for the battery bracket in the upcoming final post, a 12" size bench drill press is useful - unless again you know welding or steel metalworking to go another direction. My experience has been with T6 alum and a lot of drill and tap to find it a go-to process.
Image1.jpg


I would recommend for any manual tapping to use an LFA Tap wrench with guide.
Tap wrench with guide
The company bought out the original owner, check that they are accurate, they nicely sent me another replacement from a loose one to replace my 15 year old original when the guide went awol. The idea is this sits in the drill press with the drill off to be a guide bushing to hold the tap wrench vertical to avoid breaking taps. I've done thousands of screws with this setup, and broke only three taps over years, with one from tapping oversized part hanging down side of table, and the other two from tapping too quickly; thinking of something else. But generally this tool is a great invention.

For taps and drill bits, I use Pan American Tool company drill bits else MSC and drill one size smaller and use a MSC chucking reamer to open the hole smoother to tap drill size, and then cobalt three flute taps from MSC Industrial Supply. (The three I broke years ago were cheap Irwin hardware store taps, use cobalt three flute taps, much better) I use Tapmatic Natural cutting fluid and a small applicator bottle is handy.

Upgrade.jpg

The one of kind rebuilt and rebadged 12" bench drill press, new electronics and DC motor with a jog box, spindle light and guard, alum table, balanced pulleys, 40 pounds of vibration reduction weight inside and a nice Shars keyless chuck.

This is tapping the switch plates with the LFA tap wrench and guide, great little tool, as well
as an applicator bottle from Amazon, filled with Tapmatic Natural cutting fluid. 1/4 turn and back off and repeat until done.
Switch_5.jpg
 
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Den_JL2DR

Den_JL2DR

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2020 SportS 2DR 6 Cyl Hardtop
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  • #9
#5 Battery Box

Here's the last part of the project with a 12v battery box to self power the cargo lights with Jeep off. The dimmer box plugs into this using a standard 12v lighter plug so the cargo light could be powered by the rear cargo port and skip the battery box as an option.

For myself, it's nice to park and power down and open the rear in the garage at night to carry in cargo and the lights just come on when the hatch is raised and turn off when lowered. I've not yet charged the battery since the first post with daily driver errands, so a charge is lasting well, estimated to be 8 hours run time.

Battery.jpg


Materials:

1. ExpertPower 12v 7 amp EXP1270 Rechargeable battery ($18) Amazon
2. Outdoor broadband case 9"x6"x3" ($18) Amazon
3. 12v lighter socket ($8) Amazon
4. Inline fuse holder Ace
5. Fuse: 1.5 AMP
6. Quick disconnects
7. Two 6 mm bolts attach to bracket w/ nylanuts
8. 10-32 bolt and nylanut attach battery to velcro belt
9. Velcro belt to secure battery in broadband case

Bracket:
1. 1/8" 6061-T Aluminum
2. 5/16" 6061-T Aluminum bar stock
3. Three 6-32 socket machine screws
4. Two 8-32 socket machine screws

This is a simple setup using a 12v rechargeable 6"x4"x2" battery, the type commonly used for emergency lighting.

The ExpertPower battery is well rated for reviews and so far is working well, not DOA.

Battery_1.jpg


The battery snugly fits inside an upside-down outdoor broadband box.

IMPORTANT: Sealed batteries need ventilation, indicated on battery especially for charging. The "filter" for the broadband box was removed via three screws so the cable inlets upside down serve as ventilation.

The "bottom" of the box, top now, had a mounting hole on a plastic square post and hand sawed that off before painting to be flat on top.

An inline fuse holder inside with a 1.5 AMP fuse protects the cargo lighting with a maximum draw of 0.82 amps.

A large grommet was on hand to screw a cable clamp to secure the wiring as an option.

The battery is held into the case with a Velcro strap and 10-32 bolt.

As with other parts of the project, the wires are soldered and covered with marine grade heat shrink tubing.
A 7 amp battery has a lot of juice to be careful with that.

Battery_socket.jpg

Marine grade 12v lighter socket mates to plug specified in the dimmer box section.

Battery_4.jpg

Drilling for lighter plug with 1.25" hole drill. There are knockouts for cables but was too large.
Note - the filter beyond attached with screws was removed for safe battery venting.

Battery Mount:

The battery is mounted to the Jeep using a bracket under one existing hardtop bolt. The bracket touches the back of the hardtop so it does not rotate. The battery box rests onto the wheel well incline carpet. This was the tricky part to measure.

The second plate with three holes for mounting the two 6mm bolts and the 10-32 could be in fact 1/8 to 1/4 inch higher on the plate to not drag on the carpet when the door is opened. For off-roading, would use a carabiner to secure the box from opening. I added a strip of 1/8" neoprene under the box to slightly lift it. Would move the bolt holes up 3/16" if I made it again.

The parts were painted black for installation. The box is a cream color and sprayed it a grey metal color.

Battery_mount.jpg


Below are two 1/8" aluminum plate scans. The top plate with the hardtop clearance hole used three 6-32 socket machine screws to attach to a 5/16" alum square bar stock, and then two 8-32 socket machine screws fasten the side plate to the bar stock.

Check with a scaled paper printout that this will match a specific hardtop bolt for final fitting.

Battery_2.jpg

Battery_3.jpg


Drill and tap T6 alum is go-to for me, and for look. Someone with welding skills or bending steel or perhaps an existing L bracket of size could be other options.
 
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