ROAM Side Steps light wiring (or any step lights with door open illumination.)

  1. TTEChris

    TTEChris Well-Known Member

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    If I were to do this a second time I would probably change things around a little, and most likely make a full wiring harness rather than purchasing one off Amazon and cutting it up.

    If you see some things that need to be changed feel free to let me know so I can alter the list. I am by no means an electrical/wiring expert, and had to learn a few things along the way.

    Attempt at your own risk :like:

    Parts Needed:
    • LED light harness (Or wiring to make your own.)
    • I purchased this harness with relay off amazon(I ended up having to get rid of the relay, I will explain why later) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00EZ9Y33W/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    • Wires to extend the harness from one side of the Jeep to the other (I had 16 gauge wires in the shop, so that is what I used.)
    • Shrink Tubing for covering the soldered wires
    • Weatherproof Connectors(Optional)
    • Conduit to cover the wires going from one side of the Jeep to the other(I used long shrink tubing.)
    • Electrical tape
    • Tie Wraps
    • Quick splice connector(to tap into interior lights unless you prefer to solder that as well.)
    • Solid State Relay (Mechanical relay included with the harness will not work with the dimming lights without modifications.) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M1RSU48/ref=cm_sw_r_em_api_i_oZB9AbB4V862N

    Tools Needed:
    • Basic wrench/socket set
    • Soldering iron (Or crimp connectors, but I'm not a big fan of those.)
    • Solder
    • Wire Strippers
    • Scissors, or something to cut the tie wrap ends/wires.
    • Heat gun or lighter for shrink tubing

    First off my Roam steps came with pigtails for each individual light, so I removed them from the vehicle and set them upside down so I could easily work on wiring them together. You will want to have all the wires come together close to the middle mounting bracket so that you can pass the wires through from one side of the Jeep to the other. This was probably the most time consuming part. Be careful with the wires on the LED lights, they are very thin and I found that it was easier to strip the conduit off with my fingers rather than the actual wire strippers.

    I had enough slack in the cable to tie the three rear most lights together. I then soldered my 16 gauge positive/negative wires to those and ran them to the front where I tied the front most LED, 16gauge wire, and my weatherproof connections together. I had the weatherproof connections from a previous job I did, and I wanted to be able to easily disconnect them if I ever had to remove the steps for other work. The LED harness comes with butt connectors that you can use instead.
    I used shrink tubing on all my solder points to keep it as water tight as possible. I zip tied all the wires to the posts on the steps so that they wouldn't move around.

    I also put electrical tape/conduit/shrink tubing over any loose wires so that they could not easily be seen(Red wire is an eyesore if you don't cover it up.)


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    Once you have the wires for the steps run you can now re-install them on the Jeep(In the pics below the steps are still off, but I would put them on so you have a better idea of how to run the supply wiring).

    With the steps installed you can now focus on running the LED harness or wires from the battery terminal to the steps.

    I pulled the fuse out of the harness and first connected the positive/negative to the battery terminals so I could figure out how much slack I would have without the possibility of shorting something out.

    The harness will have 3 separate sets of wires that all come together at the relay. You can leave the set with the switch up top for now and run your wiring harness with the red/black connections (Should be 4 total wires) close to the fender and drop them down behind the fuse box. If you have a second person lay down behind the front tire and lightly push the fender liner forward. You should easily be able to see the harness being dropped down.

    Gently pull it while the other person feeds the wire down making sure it doesn't catch on anything. Leave a little slack up top and tie wrap the harness so that it doesn't move around too much behind the fender liner.

    Run the harness towards the center of the Jeep where you have your wire ends that you previously made for the steps. Try to keep it as high and out of the way as possible. I ran mine above the step mounting brackets and tie wrapped them in place. Once you get to the middle mount you should be able to use to short end of the harness to make your connections(The harness comes with butt connectors, but I chose to use the weatherproof connectors I had.)

    If you have excess wire just tie wrap it together and out of the way.


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    6-1.jpg
    7.jpg 8.jpg


    Now you will need to extend the longer portion of the harness to make it to the other side. I cut the connectors off, and soldered the 16 gauge wire I had to the ends. I then took a rough measurement of how much wire I needed to make it to the other side and added a foot or two.

    Before I ran the wires through the cross member I used heat shrink tubing to compress the wires together proceeded to feed them through the cross member. There are a few spots where the wire can hang up, but most of those spots have small openings where you can manipulate the wires. Once you get to the other end you should be very close to where you terminated the wires for your steps. I now cut the wire the length I needed and soldered on my connector(Or use the included connectors.) You can now connect it to the steps you have mounted on the other side.

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    Now for the tricky part, that took me some time to figure out. The factory dome light circuit has a dimmer anytime you open/close the doors. This increases the voltage as they illuminate and causes the included Relay to "chatter" and the lights to flicker as they turn on/off. After some research I decided to get a solid state relay which fully activates at a much lower voltage and doesn't have the mechanical parts inside to cause that "chatter."

    I ordered the 25amp solid state relay from Amazon(Link above.) It's overkill for the current setup, but if I ever decide to wire in some rock lights it gives me the flexibility to do so.

    So if you got this far like me without making your own harness and running all the wiring you will have to take off the relay and cut the wires going into the connector.

    Before cutting any wires make sure you have the fuse pulled from the relay harness. At this point you could actually disconnect the positive/negative leads since the rest of the wiring is already run and you know you have enough slack.

    On the switch portion of the harness you will only need the blue wire. You can cut the connector off that goes to the switch, pull the conduit off and just leave the single blue wire that used to go to the switch(The others are for the illumination of the button which we won't be using here.)
    This should leave you with 5 total wires. One positive from the battery, a ground from the battery, a ground going to the lights, a positive going to the lights, and your blue "trigger" wire which we will run/wire in the next step.

    You can mount the relay any way you like. I happened to have a bracket that fit it perfectly laying around and I mounted it next to the battery.

    You may need to pull off a little of the black conduit that surrounds the wires to be able to extend them to each side of the relay.

    If I were to do this again I would probably make a whole harness, but that would be even more involved. It would however offer a "cleaner" finished product.

    For the Relay
    #1 + Red wire going to your lights
    #2 + Red wire going to your battery/fuse
    #3 + Blue trigger wire that will get power with the interior/door lights
    #4 - Two black ground wires, one from the lights and the other going to the battery

    If wired correctly in the next step when we connect the blue wire the relay will illuminate red when activated(Doors open/Dome light on.)

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    Now for the trigger wire I chose to go to the light in the passenger foot-well that illuminates when you open the door.

    Your blue wire has enough slack to reach this point without needing an extension. To get through the firewall I pushed a coat hanger through the inside rubber portion of the main wiring harness that comes in to the Jeep. You have to get through two layers. Make sure you do it far enough towards the outside so that you do not get into the actual harness.

    I pushed the coat hanger from the inside while my wife was watching on the outside(pull back the fender liner where you ran the wires earlier and you will see it). Once I had the coat hanger through I dropped the blue wire down like we did with the other wires and used electrical tape to secure it to the coat hanger. I then slowly pulled the wire back through the rubber grommet. From there I used a splice connector to connect to splice the blue wire into the light in the footwell.

    On my wifes Sport she only had two wires, a power and a ground. I just looked on my Rubicon and I have three wires(One I'm assuming for the separate mood lighting.) I'm not next to her Jeep now, but from the pictures it looks to be the Yellow wire with a brown stripe(Rubicon also has a Yellow/Blue.)

    If you are unsure use a test light and see which wire gets power when you open the door.

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    Don't forget to put your fuse back in, now go and open your doors and see if everything works properly. If the relay is triggering like it should, there will be a red LED illuminated. If you close the doors don't be alarmed if the lights don't turn off right away. By default there is a 30 second timer if the key is not in the run position for them to turn off.

    I'm sorry if I left anything out, I feel like I just wrote a book.....

    20180506_160553_resized.jpg


     
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  2. simpleJL

    simpleJL Well-Known Member

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    Excellent and thorough write-up!

    But the sheer though of doing that much electrical work makes me want to jump off of a bridge.

    :captain:
     
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  3. OP
    OP
    TTEChris

    TTEChris Well-Known Member

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    I love Suspension/Mechanical work, but have never really like wiring.
    That being said, it really wasn't all that bad. Wiring the 4 lights together behind the steps was the worst part. I have big hands, and they don't like those tiny wires.....
    The crappy part was when all was said and done I expected everything to work, but didn't take into account the dimming of the lights and how they would react with the mechanical relay.
    My wife is happy now, and I had a nice learning experience with different types of relays :party:
     
  4. 4x4DETOUR

    4x4DETOUR Well-Known Member

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    You went above and beyond on this write up. Thanks this will save me a ton of time!
     
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  5. GoGators353

    GoGators353 Well-Known Member

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    Wow, well done and while I’m on the waiting list for these steps, I don’t think I’ll be wiring the lights after reading this haha
     
  6. OP
    OP
    TTEChris

    TTEChris Well-Known Member

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    Lights held up well during our muddy offroad trip yesterday. I will be cleaning mud out of ever crevice of the Jeeps for months to come...
    DSC_1029.jpg
     
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  7. kkuntz01

    kkuntz01 Well-Known Member

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    Mud, the herpes of the off road world... :cwl:
     
  8. TBULL52

    TBULL52 Well-Known Member

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    @TTEChris thanks so much for the detailed write up. I am very much a novice at this so I am thankful for the help that you have provided. The instructions that I got with my Roam side steps only has one step about the lights and that is to connect them to F20 Interior Lights in main fusebox. If done that way, will the lights still turn on and off when the door opens like they do in your install? If I do run it to the fuse box do I still need the relay. I guess when I read the very brief instructions that were provided I was pretty confident that I could do it fairly easy, but with your instruction, I am still sure that I could do it but it is a bit more work involved than I thought.
     
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  9. OP
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    TTEChris

    TTEChris Well-Known Member

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    The LED's don't take much power, but I went through a Relay to separate the circuit in case they do overload the Interior light circuit(It's a 30amp fuse, but you never know.) If you go directly to the top of the fuse box I believe you have a constant positive to F20 even with the ignition off. You would need to get to the trigger side of that F20 circuit which I believe would be after the computer that controls it.
     
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  10. TBULL52

    TBULL52 Well-Known Member

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    Got it. Thanks a lot for the quick response
     
  11. pichenet

    pichenet Well-Known Member

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    Hi Chris - I think I (finally) understand the writeup. Can you please confirm whether or not you can turn on the LEDs via on/off switch in addition to the doors? If so, where does the on/off switch connect in to the setup?

    For the Relay
    #1 + Red wire going to your lights
    #2 + Red wire going to your battery/fuse
    #3 + Blue trigger wire that will get power with the interior/door lights
    #4 - Two black ground wires, one from the lights and the other going to the battery

    Thanks,

    Dennis
     
  12. OP
    OP
    TTEChris

    TTEChris Well-Known Member

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    Hey Dennis,

    I chose not to keep the switch in my setup. In my setup if you want to keep the lights on, you can switch the dome lights on with the dial to the left of the steering wheel which will also turn on the step lights. I'm sure you can wire it with the switch also, but I didn't really have a need for it.

    You are correct on the wiring #'s.
     
  13. pichenet

    pichenet Well-Known Member

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    Perfect. Thanks!!
     
  14. pichenet

    pichenet Well-Known Member

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    Sorry - one more question. I was looking at the relay on Amazon and it says that some folks buy a heat sink with the relay. Have you noticed whether or not it is throwing off much heat?

    Thanks,

    Dennis
     
  15. OP
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    TTEChris

    TTEChris Well-Known Member

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    I just kept the lights on for about 5 minutes and it doesn't seem to get hot. A little warm maybe, but that could be because my wife just got back from driving the kids to school and the engine bay is still warm. I believe they are showing the same reviews for all the relays they have listed including the 120v with 12v trigger.
     
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