Review: Auxbeam 12-gang Bluetooth switch panel with remote

jscherb

TJ Enthusiast
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Feb 13, 2020
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Elmira, NY
Recently Auxbeam upped the game in switch panels when they released their new 12-gang panel. It's got a Bluetooth interface to a smartphone app, a handheld remote control, and 100 amps total capacity.

RemoteControlPanel.jpg


A few weeks ago they sent me one to test and review. The kit includes the switch panel, a handheld remote, the control unit, a 100amp circuit breaker, and various mounting brackets, wiring and other hardware.

AC1200Box.jpg


I did test installs in both my LJ and my JKU; what follows is the LJ installation. If anyone is interested in the details of the JK installation I can share that as well.

Installing the Auxbeam AC-1200 Switch Panel in a ’97-’06 Jeep TJ Wrangler

Installing the Auxbeam AC-1200 switch panel involves a number of steps:

  • Mounting the control box
  • Powering the control box
  • Connecting the switch panel to the control box through the firewall
  • Mounting the switch panel in the cockpit

Mounting the Control Box

Supporting 12 circuits, the AC-1200 control box is fairly large. The best place I've found for it in a TJ engine compartment is on the driver’s side inner fender. In the photo below, the mounting bracket supplied by Auxbeam is mounted, it’s just aft of the washer fluid reservoir and just outboard of the cruise control.

TJBracketLocation1.jpg


Mounting the bracket requires drilling one new hole; also I used one factory hole in the fender. I’m not sure all TJ/LJ years have that hole but if not, then two holes may need to be drilled. The photos below:

1. The bracket bolted in place just outboard of the cruise control (not all TJ’s have cruise control, but the mounting of the bracket is the same whether or not cruise control is present.

2. The left arrow points to an existing hole in the fender. The right arrow show the location of a new hole to be drilled.

3. (and 4) Since the inner fender isn’t a flat surface, a nylon spacer is added under the bracket on the side towards the rear of the Jeep. Nylon spacers can be found at most well-stocked hardware stores.

Once the second hole is located and drilled and a spacer and bolts of the proper length are on hand, the bracket can be bolted in place by running the bolts down through the fender and putting nuts on the underside of the fender. Putting washers between the nuts and the fender sheet metal is recommended.

TJMountingPhotos.jpg


Once the bracket is bolted in place on the inner fender, the control box can be bolted to the bracket.

TJBracketLocation1a.jpg


Powering the Control Box

There are two power connections to the control box – switched power to operate the box, and higher current power to operate any accessories connected to the system.

Auxbeam supplies heavy-gauge cables to connect the control box to the Jeep’s battery to power accessories connected to the system. Unfortunately the best place to install the control box is further away from the battery than the length of the supplied cables. Longer cables must be used, and they must be of a gauge heavy enough to carry the 100 amps of current that the control box is capable of supplying to accessories (or heavy enough for the accessories you plan to use, if the total is less than 100 amps).

A good way to make new cables is to start with a set of jumper cables. Stores like Walmart offer relatively inexpensive jumper cables which are an excellent source of the required wire – this set offers 4-gauge wire and retails for less than $20: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Everstar...motive-Booster-Cables-Jumper-Cables/182918724. Those cables are 20 feet long; only about 6 feet will be required to connect the control box to the battery so if you remove the clamps from the jumper cables, cut 6’ of wire from the 20’ and reinstall the clamps you will end up with a 14’ set of jumper cables and enough wire to connect the control box.

Also needed will be 4 ring terminals to terminate each end of the 6’ cables. Auto parts stores like AutoZone and many electrical supply stores offer ring terminals like those shown below – the accept 4-gauge wire and have a 3/8” I.D. ring which is perfect for connecting to the control box and the battery.

RingTerminal.jpg


A completed cable to connect the control box to the battery made from part of a set of jumper cables can look like the one in the photo below. Red heat-shrink tubing has been added to one of the wires to indicate that it is the positive connection; black heat shrink tubing has also been shrunk over the ring terminals to protect them. The heat shrink tubing isn’t strictly necessary but it makes for a more professional looking cable. There’s a break in the positive side of the cable with terminals on each end of the break, that’s where the circuit breaker will be inserted into the circuit, as shown in the photo at right.

LongerPowerCable3.jpg



Supplying Operating Power to the Control Box

The other power connection required provides power to operate the system. It can go to the Jeep’s fuse panel for switched power. Switched power is power that’s only active when the ignition switch is in the on/run position and is recommended so the system doesn’t draw power when the engine isn’t running, which might drain the battery. Or, it can go directly to the battery positive terminal and power to the system is controlled by a supplied switch.

The kit came with two fairly short wires for connecting power to the control box. One piece has a fuse adapter on it and the other piece has a plug for the control box. The fuse adapter makes it easy to supply switched power to the control box, but additional wire will be required in almost all installations to connect between these two pieces. I'll call this wiring option 1:

WiringType1.jpg


When I met with Auxbeam at the SEMA Show, they gave me an alternate wiring solution. This one has a ring terminal on one end for direct connection to the battery and an inline fuse, a plug on the other end for the control box, and a switch in the middle for turning power to the control box on or off. The wires are long enough for most installations. This solution might be better for a camping/overlanding vehicle in which accessories might need to be powered at the campsite when the vehicle isn’t running, but one must remember to turn the switch off if the system isn’t to be used when the engine isn’t running. Or, the ring terminal can be removed and that end of the wire can be connected to a switched circuit if the system isn’t to be used when the engine isn’t running. I'll call this wiring option 2:

WiringType2.jpg


It wasn't clear at the time I'm writing this which wiring option will be included in the kits but whichever wiring solution comes with your kit, both wiring solutions have their benefits and drawbacks but either one will work fine in most implementations.

Implementing wiring option 1:

In the TJ Wrangler, fuse position 14 powers the Jeep's radio and provides switched power. Auxbeam supplies a fuse adapter with the kit; remove the fuse from position 14 in the fuse panel (which is behind the glove box), plug the fuse adapter into that position and insert the fuse removed from position 14 into the open slot in the fuse adapter and shown in this photo:

TJFusePanel.jpg


Auxbeam provides a short length of red wire with a two-pin plug on one end, this plug goes into a two-pin location inside the control box. The other end of this red wire must connect to the loose end of the fuse adapter installed above, and two things are necessary to do this:

1. An extra length of red wire is required because the combination of the fuse adapter wire and the control box wire is too short to reach between them. Suitable 16-gauge red wire can be found at most auto parts stores and Walmart.

2. The additional wire must be run from the engine compartment into the cockpit where the fuse panel is. Also since the switch panel will also be installed in the cockpit, the cable that connects the switch panel to the control box must also be run from the engine compartment into the cockpit.

Implementing wiring option 2:

With the second wiring option, the ring terminal is connected to the positive terminal of the battery, and the wires that connect to the switch get routed through the firewall as will be described below; the switch can be mounted in any convenient place on or under the dash.

Or, if it is desired to have the system be connected to switched power, the ring terminal end of the wire can be routed into the cockpit, to the fuse panel behind the glove box and connected to a switch circuit using a fuse adapter as shown with the option 1 wiring.

Connecting the switch panel to the control box through the firewall

There are several places in the Wrangler firewall that wires can be passed through.

1. In a Wrangler with a manual transmission, a rubber plug can be found in the firewall behind the driver’s side of the engine (arrow #1).

2. A Wrangler with an automatic transmission will not have a clutch cylinder (arrow #2). This photo is from a Wrangler with a manual transmission but if this were an automatic, a plastic block-off plate would be where the clutch cylinder is in this photo; a hole can be drilled through that plate to pass the wires. It’s best to remove the plate before drilling it just in case there’s something behind it that the drill might damage.

3. Below the block-off plate or the clutch cylinder in all TJ’s is a wiring harness pass-through (arrow #3). There is enough space in the hole in the firewall that the wiring grommet goes in to allow additional wires through, so if neither of the above locations are best for your situation you could run the wires through this hole.

TJFirewallHoles.jpg


Installing the Switch Panel

Once the switched power wire in run into the cockpit to the fuse panel and connected and the switch panel cable is run into the cockpit, it’s time to decide where to mount the switch panel.

Having 12 oversize switch buttons, it’s a fairly large panel to find a place for within reach of the driver in a TJ.

Some people mount it on the trim panel below the instrument panel and steering wheel, but mounted there it can be hard to see and may be a distraction while driving, so that may not be the best location. (A switch panel in this location is shown on page 5 of the AC-1200 instructions) Two other locations that work in the TJ are shown in the photos below – it can be mounted to the windshield frame trim above the rear-view mirror, or it can be mounted just ahead of the shifter on the center console.

RemoteLocationsTJ.jpg


There are two other options for controlling accessories connected to the system…

One is to use the supplied remote control. In this next photo, the remote is sitting in a cell phone holder that’s mounted to the windshield of the TJ with a suction mount. The remote can turn any of the 12 circuits on or off, the only thing you don’t get with this option is the labels on the keys so you will have to remember what each button does. But an additional feature you do get is the ability to control the circuits remotely – say for example you’ve got campsite accessories connected to the Auxbeam system, you can turn them on or off while sitting at the campfire. Perhaps campsite lights attached to the roof rack of the Jeep?

RemoteInTJ.jpg


The other option is to use the Auxbeam Switch Panel app from your Android device or iPhone. The app is active in this next photo; the top half of the screen shows the 12 keys and you can configure the keytops on the screen with the same labels you might have put on the physical switch panel. And you can control the system anywhere within range of the Bluetooth connection. If you hold the phone horizontally, the switch panel will expand to fill most of the screen and the color selection will disappear.

AppInTJ.jpg



Configuring the System

Once the system is installed and the accessories are connected, everything should be working – the accessories can be turned on or off with either the switch panel, the remote control or the smartphone app. I set everything up on the workbench to test the various switch configuration options - on/off, pulsed and momentary. In this video, switch 1 controls the light on the left in on/off mode, switch 5 controls the middle light in pulsed mode and switch 9 controls the light on the right in momentary mode.


The system can be configured either in the smartphone app or by using the keyboard.

The default backlight color is green but an alternate color can either be chosen from several preset colors at the bottom of the screen or by using the color wheel. It’s not hard to set the backlight color to match the color of the backlight of most vehicle dashboards.

This screen can also be used to operate the switches by pressing the button on the screen, and if the phone is rotated, the keyboard will expand to fill the screen as seen in the video above.

AppBGColor.jpg


The Mode screen allows you to set the operating mode of the switch – there are three different ways the switch can operate:

  • On/Off. One press will turn the accessory on and a second press will turn the accessory off. This is the default.
  • Pulsed. One press will turn the accessory on, and it will pulse on and off. A second press will turn it off. This mode is useful for first responder emergency lights.
  • Momentary. The accessory will be turned on as long as the switch is pressed. When the switch is released, the accessory will turn off.

AppMode.jpg


Over 120 stick-on labels are provided for the switch panel and labels can be set for the smartphone app as well. The Icon screen is where these are configured, and one can choose photos or default icons and the text can be set.

AppLabel.jpg


There’s one more screen for grouping accessories together, this enables multiple accessories to be operated from a single switch. For example, if you’ve got three lights, on circuits 1, 2 and 3, you can group switched 1, 2 and 3 so pressing one will turn on all three. Unfortunately this option wasn’t working in the Android version of the app when I tested it. I mentioned this to Auxbeam and they demonstrated it on their iPhone and promised to fix and update the app for Android.

The many switch labels provided with the product:

12GangLabels.jpg


If you need a label that's no provided, check out this link, in it you'll find out how to make your own labels: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/auxbeam-6-gang-on-off-control-switch-panel-kit-review.53068/

Are 12 circuits too many?

I tried to make a list of a dozen accessories that one might control with this system, and I kept running out of "driving" accessories and adding "overland/camping" accessories to the list. These would be things like campsite lights, a water pump for a shower, etc. I like to run those accessories from my auxiliary battery so I never take the chance of running down my starting battery in the wild but the way this system (and all the Auxbeam systems and many from other companies) is designed, all of the power to operate the accessories comes from one battery, presumably the starting battery. What I'd like to do is to be able to power the "driving" accessories from the starting battery/main vehicle electrical system and power the "overland/camping" accessories from the auxiliary battery.

That turns out to be fairly simple with the addition of a relay board. In this next photo a 4-relay board is connected to the outputs 9-12 of the Auxbeam control box. Auxiliary battery power will go to one terminal of each relay, and an accessory will be powered by the output of the relays. The relays are rated at 10 amps, so almost all camping accessories can be powered that way - the most power hungry accessory I can think of is a fridge, and mine draws about 6 amps peak.

RelayBoard1.jpg


Relay boards are available with 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 relays so it's possible to power many things from the auxiliary battery. You'll want a 12v relay board, and one that has a jumper to select to determine how the relays are activated - you want the jumper set to positive voltage rather than ground because the output of the Auxbeam control box will be positive voltage.

To finish up this option, the relay board should be mounted in a weather-resistant box, and the outputs of the relays should be fused to protect the relay board. The parts are readily available at places like eBay...

RelayBoard2.jpg


I've reviewed a number of other Auxbeam switch panels in the past few years, including their 6-gang, 8-gang, 8-gang with Bluetooth control, and the one the released just before this one, an 8-gang unit which includes dual switch panels.

OtherAuxbeamPanels.jpg


Reviews I've done of some of the other panels:

Review: Auxbeam Bluetooth-Enabled 8-Circuit Switch Panel: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/review-auxbeam-bluetooth-enabled-8-circuit-switch-panel.58281/

Auxbeam 6- and 8-gang Switch Panels: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/auxbeam-6-and-8-gang-switch-panels.64350/

Auxbeam 6 Gang switch panel kit review: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/auxbeam-6-gang-on-off-control-switch-panel-kit-review.53068/

I did a review on the dual panel unit but it isn't in this forum because it's mostly useful for Jeeps set up for camping/overlanding, which doesn't seem to be the main focus of the people here. It's here: https://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/barn-door-for-jk-factory-hardtops.127687/post-3104431
 
Recently Auxbeam upped the game in switch panels when they released their new 12-gang panel. It's got a Bluetooth interface to a smartphone app, a handheld remote control, and 100 amps total capacity.

View attachment 475842

A few weeks ago they sent me one to test and review. The kit includes the switch panel, a handheld remote, the control unit, a 100amp circuit breaker, and various mounting brackets, wiring and other hardware.

View attachment 475843

I did test installs in both my LJ and my JKU; what follows is the LJ installation. If anyone is interested in the details of the JK installation I can share that as well.

Installing the Auxbeam AC-1200 Switch Panel in a ’97-’06 Jeep TJ Wrangler

Installing the Auxbeam AC-1200 switch panel involves a number of steps:

  • Mounting the control box
  • Powering the control box
  • Connecting the switch panel to the control box through the firewall
  • Mounting the switch panel in the cockpit

Mounting the Control Box

Supporting 12 circuits, the AC-1200 control box is fairly large. The best place I've found for it in a TJ engine compartment is on the driver’s side inner fender. In the photo below, the mounting bracket supplied by Auxbeam is mounted, it’s just aft of the washer fluid reservoir and just outboard of the cruise control.

View attachment 475844

Mounting the bracket requires drilling one new hole; also I used one factory hole in the fender. I’m not sure all TJ/LJ years have that hole but if not, then two holes may need to be drilled. The photos below:

1. The bracket bolted in place just outboard of the cruise control (not all TJ’s have cruise control, but the mounting of the bracket is the same whether or not cruise control is present.

2. The left arrow points to an existing hole in the fender. The right arrow show the location of a new hole to be drilled.

3. (and 4) Since the inner fender isn’t a flat surface, a nylon spacer is added under the bracket on the side towards the rear of the Jeep. Nylon spacers can be found at most well-stocked hardware stores.

Once the second hole is located and drilled and a spacer and bolts of the proper length are on hand, the bracket can be bolted in place by running the bolts down through the fender and putting nuts on the underside of the fender. Putting washers between the nuts and the fender sheet metal is recommended.

View attachment 475845

Once the bracket is bolted in place on the inner fender, the control box can be bolted to the bracket.

View attachment 475846

Powering the Control Box

There are two power connections to the control box – switched power to operate the box, and higher current power to operate any accessories connected to the system.

Auxbeam supplies heavy-gauge cables to connect the control box to the Jeep’s battery to power accessories connected to the system. Unfortunately the best place to install the control box is further away from the battery than the length of the supplied cables. Longer cables must be used, and they must be of a gauge heavy enough to carry the 100 amps of current that the control box is capable of supplying to accessories (or heavy enough for the accessories you plan to use, if the total is less than 100 amps).

A good way to make new cables is to start with a set of jumper cables. Stores like Walmart offer relatively inexpensive jumper cables which are an excellent source of the required wire – this set offers 4-gauge wire and retails for less than $20: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Everstar...motive-Booster-Cables-Jumper-Cables/182918724. Those cables are 20 feet long; only about 6 feet will be required to connect the control box to the battery so if you remove the clamps from the jumper cables, cut 6’ of wire from the 20’ and reinstall the clamps you will end up with a 14’ set of jumper cables and enough wire to connect the control box.

Also needed will be 4 ring terminals to terminate each end of the 6’ cables. Auto parts stores like AutoZone and many electrical supply stores offer ring terminals like those shown below – the accept 4-gauge wire and have a 3/8” I.D. ring which is perfect for connecting to the control box and the battery.

View attachment 475847

A completed cable to connect the control box to the battery made from part of a set of jumper cables can look like the one in the photo below. Red heat-shrink tubing has been added to one of the wires to indicate that it is the positive connection; black heat shrink tubing has also been shrunk over the ring terminals to protect them. The heat shrink tubing isn’t strictly necessary but it makes for a more professional looking cable. There’s a break in the positive side of the cable with terminals on each end of the break, that’s where the circuit breaker will be inserted into the circuit, as shown in the photo at right.

View attachment 475848


Supplying Operating Power to the Control Box

The other power connection required provides power to operate the system. It can go to the Jeep’s fuse panel for switched power. Switched power is power that’s only active when the ignition switch is in the on/run position and is recommended so the system doesn’t draw power when the engine isn’t running, which might drain the battery. Or, it can go directly to the battery positive terminal and power to the system is controlled by a supplied switch.

The kit came with two fairly short wires for connecting power to the control box. One piece has a fuse adapter on it and the other piece has a plug for the control box. The fuse adapter makes it easy to supply switched power to the control box, but additional wire will be required in almost all installations to connect between these two pieces. I'll call this wiring option 1:

View attachment 475849

When I met with Auxbeam at the SEMA Show, they gave me an alternate wiring solution. This one has a ring terminal on one end for direct connection to the battery and an inline fuse, a plug on the other end for the control box, and a switch in the middle for turning power to the control box on or off. The wires are long enough for most installations. This solution might be better for a camping/overlanding vehicle in which accessories might need to be powered at the campsite when the vehicle isn’t running, but one must remember to turn the switch off if the system isn’t to be used when the engine isn’t running. Or, the ring terminal can be removed and that end of the wire can be connected to a switched circuit if the system isn’t to be used when the engine isn’t running. I'll call this wiring option 2:

View attachment 475850

It wasn't clear at the time I'm writing this which wiring option will be included in the kits but whichever wiring solution comes with your kit, both wiring solutions have their benefits and drawbacks but either one will work fine in most implementations.

Implementing wiring option 1:

In the TJ Wrangler, fuse position 14 powers the Jeep's radio and provides switched power. Auxbeam supplies a fuse adapter with the kit; remove the fuse from position 14 in the fuse panel (which is behind the glove box), plug the fuse adapter into that position and insert the fuse removed from position 14 into the open slot in the fuse adapter and shown in this photo:

View attachment 475851

Auxbeam provides a short length of red wire with a two-pin plug on one end, this plug goes into a two-pin location inside the control box. The other end of this red wire must connect to the loose end of the fuse adapter installed above, and two things are necessary to do this:

1. An extra length of red wire is required because the combination of the fuse adapter wire and the control box wire is too short to reach between them. Suitable 16-gauge red wire can be found at most auto parts stores and Walmart.

2. The additional wire must be run from the engine compartment into the cockpit where the fuse panel is. Also since the switch panel will also be installed in the cockpit, the cable that connects the switch panel to the control box must also be run from the engine compartment into the cockpit.

Implementing wiring option 2:

With the second wiring option, the ring terminal is connected to the positive terminal of the battery, and the wires that connect to the switch get routed through the firewall as will be described below; the switch can be mounted in any convenient place on or under the dash.

Or, if it is desired to have the system be connected to switched power, the ring terminal end of the wire can be routed into the cockpit, to the fuse panel behind the glove box and connected to a switch circuit using a fuse adapter as shown with the option 1 wiring.

Connecting the switch panel to the control box through the firewall

There are several places in the Wrangler firewall that wires can be passed through.

1. In a Wrangler with a manual transmission, a rubber plug can be found in the firewall behind the driver’s side of the engine (arrow #1).

2. A Wrangler with an automatic transmission will not have a clutch cylinder (arrow #2). This photo is from a Wrangler with a manual transmission but if this were an automatic, a plastic block-off plate would be where the clutch cylinder is in this photo; a hole can be drilled through that plate to pass the wires. It’s best to remove the plate before drilling it just in case there’s something behind it that the drill might damage.

3. Below the block-off plate or the clutch cylinder in all TJ’s is a wiring harness pass-through (arrow #3). There is enough space in the hole in the firewall that the wiring grommet goes in to allow additional wires through, so if neither of the above locations are best for your situation you could run the wires through this hole.

View attachment 475852

Installing the Switch Panel

Once the switched power wire in run into the cockpit to the fuse panel and connected and the switch panel cable is run into the cockpit, it’s time to decide where to mount the switch panel.

Having 12 oversize switch buttons, it’s a fairly large panel to find a place for within reach of the driver in a TJ.

Some people mount it on the trim panel below the instrument panel and steering wheel, but mounted there it can be hard to see and may be a distraction while driving, so that may not be the best location. (A switch panel in this location is shown on page 5 of the AC-1200 instructions) Two other locations that work in the TJ are shown in the photos below – it can be mounted to the windshield frame trim above the rear-view mirror, or it can be mounted just ahead of the shifter on the center console.

View attachment 475853

There are two other options for controlling accessories connected to the system…

One is to use the supplied remote control. In this next photo, the remote is sitting in a cell phone holder that’s mounted to the windshield of the TJ with a suction mount. The remote can turn any of the 12 circuits on or off, the only thing you don’t get with this option is the labels on the keys so you will have to remember what each button does. But an additional feature you do get is the ability to control the circuits remotely – say for example you’ve got campsite accessories connected to the Auxbeam system, you can turn them on or off while sitting at the campfire. Perhaps campsite lights attached to the roof rack of the Jeep?

View attachment 475854

The other option is to use the Auxbeam Switch Panel app from your Android device or iPhone. The app is active in this next photo; the top half of the screen shows the 12 keys and you can configure the keytops on the screen with the same labels you might have put on the physical switch panel. And you can control the system anywhere within range of the Bluetooth connection. If you hold the phone horizontally, the switch panel will expand to fill most of the screen and the color selection will disappear.

View attachment 475855


Configuring the System

Once the system is installed and the accessories are connected, everything should be working – the accessories can be turned on or off with either the switch panel, the remote control or the smartphone app. I set everything up on the workbench to test the various switch configuration options - on/off, pulsed and momentary. In this video, switch 1 controls the light on the left in on/off mode, switch 5 controls the middle light in pulsed mode and switch 9 controls the light on the right in momentary mode.


The system can be configured either in the smartphone app or by using the keyboard.

The default backlight color is green but an alternate color can either be chosen from several preset colors at the bottom of the screen or by using the color wheel. It’s not hard to set the backlight color to match the color of the backlight of most vehicle dashboards.

This screen can also be used to operate the switches by pressing the button on the screen, and if the phone is rotated, the keyboard will expand to fill the screen as seen in the video above.

View attachment 475856

The Mode screen allows you to set the operating mode of the switch – there are three different ways the switch can operate:

  • On/Off. One press will turn the accessory on and a second press will turn the accessory off. This is the default.
  • Pulsed. One press will turn the accessory on, and it will pulse on and off. A second press will turn it off. This mode is useful for first responder emergency lights.
  • Momentary. The accessory will be turned on as long as the switch is pressed. When the switch is released, the accessory will turn off.

View attachment 475857

Over 120 stick-on labels are provided for the switch panel and labels can be set for the smartphone app as well. The Icon screen is where these are configured, and one can choose photos or default icons and the text can be set.

View attachment 475858

There’s one more screen for grouping accessories together, this enables multiple accessories to be operated from a single switch. For example, if you’ve got three lights, on circuits 1, 2 and 3, you can group switched 1, 2 and 3 so pressing one will turn on all three. Unfortunately this option wasn’t working in the Android version of the app when I tested it. I mentioned this to Auxbeam and they demonstrated it on their iPhone and promised to fix and update the app for Android.

The many switch labels provided with the product:

View attachment 475859

If you need a label that's no provided, check out this link, in it you'll find out how to make your own labels: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/auxbeam-6-gang-on-off-control-switch-panel-kit-review.53068/

Are 12 circuits too many?

I tried to make a list of a dozen accessories that one might control with this system, and I kept running out of "driving" accessories and adding "overland/camping" accessories to the list. These would be things like campsite lights, a water pump for a shower, etc. I like to run those accessories from my auxiliary battery so I never take the chance of running down my starting battery in the wild but the way this system (and all the Auxbeam systems and many from other companies) is designed, all of the power to operate the accessories comes from one battery, presumably the starting battery. What I'd like to do is to be able to power the "driving" accessories from the starting battery/main vehicle electrical system and power the "overland/camping" accessories from the auxiliary battery.

That turns out to be fairly simple with the addition of a relay board. In this next photo a 4-relay board is connected to the outputs 9-12 of the Auxbeam control box. Auxiliary battery power will go to one terminal of each relay, and an accessory will be powered by the output of the relays. The relays are rated at 10 amps, so almost all camping accessories can be powered that way - the most power hungry accessory I can think of is a fridge, and mine draws about 6 amps peak.

View attachment 475860

Relay boards are available with 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 relays so it's possible to power many things from the auxiliary battery. You'll want a 12v relay board, and one that has a jumper to select to determine how the relays are activated - you want the jumper set to positive voltage rather than ground because the output of the Auxbeam control box will be positive voltage.

To finish up this option, the relay board should be mounted in a weather-resistant box, and the outputs of the relays should be fused to protect the relay board. The parts are readily available at places like eBay...

View attachment 475861

I've reviewed a number of other Auxbeam switch panels in the past few years, including their 6-gang, 8-gang, 8-gang with Bluetooth control, and the one the released just before this one, an 8-gang unit which includes dual switch panels.

View attachment 475862

Reviews I've done of some of the other panels:

Review: Auxbeam Bluetooth-Enabled 8-Circuit Switch Panel: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/review-auxbeam-bluetooth-enabled-8-circuit-switch-panel.58281/

Auxbeam 6- and 8-gang Switch Panels: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/auxbeam-6-and-8-gang-switch-panels.64350/

Auxbeam 6 Gang switch panel kit review: https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/auxbeam-6-gang-on-off-control-switch-panel-kit-review.53068/

I did a review on the dual panel unit but it isn't in this forum because it's mostly useful for Jeeps set up for camping/overlanding, which doesn't seem to be the main focus of the people here. It's here: https://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/barn-door-for-jk-factory-hardtops.127687/post-3104431

They've reached out to me on a couple of occasions to review stuff for them but I've always declined. What is your overall general impression with their equipment? Have you run any of their lights? Impression on them compared to Rigid or any other top brand names?
 
They've reached out to me on a couple of occasions to review stuff for them but I've always declined. What is your overall general impression with their equipment? Have you run any of their lights? Impression on them compared to Rigid or any other top brand names?

I think their quality is the equal of anything out there, and also I've found them to be extremely resposive to issues and to suggested product changes. For example, in the review above I wrote about two wiring options. The first option came with the kit and I suggested the second option to them about a week before the SEMA Show. When I met them at SEMA they handed me the second wiring option, which they made due to my suggestion. Also, the control box mounting bracket supplied with the kit just doesn't work in the JK so I designed and built one specifically for the JK (photos below). At SEMA I gave them the engineering drawing for the bracket and they said they were going to produce it.

NewBracketInJK.jpg


I've tested a lot of their lights over the past few years and I'm using some of them in my Jeeps. I really like their 25,000 lumen H3 replacement headlights (https://auxbeam.com/collections/gx-series-led-headlight-bulbs), I've got a pair in my JKU and they're a big improvement from the stock halogens. I also have their JK Fog Light Replacements (https://auxbeam.com/products/qp009066), they're also a lot brighter than the factory lights.

On my rack I've got a pair of their 3" pod lights mounted; I use the rack on both the JK and the LJ and those greatly increas visibility. (Photo taken before I installed the 25,000 lumen headlights, those are the stock headlights)

PodsOn.jpg


I've also tested a number of their Halo headlights but having no use on my overland Jeeps they mostly got bench tested and got put back in the box after the tests. The photo below doesn't do them justice, it's hard to get accurate photos of lights like these indoors, but they're very bright and colorful.

RGBHaloHeadlights.jpg


And I've tested a number of their other lights, such as these 9" driving lights and found them to be extremely bright but they're more light than I need so after the review they went back in the box and are waiting for some future use.

DaylightComparison.jpg


And these lights, which have optional amber covers to serve as fog lights:

FogLights.jpg


After the test the Jeep factory lights went back in place and those too are in the box waiting for some future use.

Occasionally I've found small issues with their apps to support the lights and switch panels that have Bluetooth capability, for example the switch grouping function for the review above doesn't work on an Android (they showed me it working on an iPhone at SEMA), but they've always been good about fixing those things and issuing updates. And I always review their instruction manuals for typos and awkward English - the 12-gang switch label set includes a label for "Roff Lights", and they've always acted quickly to adopt my suggestions for improving the English and fixing typos.

Overall I think they're an excellent company with very good quality products and I've been very happy to help them with the occasional areas for improvement.
 
Nice review. Far more switches than I need.

I've been happy with the Auxbeam switch kits. Build is great and kits are complete. Solved a few problems for me and saved a ton of time. The first kit I used was an older one I got from @jscherb. Worked masterfully.

I had a custom switch panel made for the center stack and it was easier to buy a new 8 switch setup to send to the 3D printer for mockup. The switch panels were slightly different size so I removed and replaced the old kit with new once the switch panel was done. I stayed with the 8 switch panel but added auto dim for the backlight.

Any way.. I have only one complaint about the newer kits. The original kit was dimmable with a small momentary switch that I added under the steering column trim. It worked.. occasionally. The new kit is auto-dimming which I figured would be a great solution. Not. When in full daylight the Auxbeam panel is bright as all heck, even though one really doesn't need it illuminated. When the cabin gets dark the switch panel backlights auto dim.. to the point you can't see the switches at all.

Auto dim with manual override would be the way to go.
 
Great job on the write up, that said, I agree it’s way too many switches for me. Seems all mall crawly. :eek:
 
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I don't know how many people here have outfitted their Jeeps for overlanding/camping with dual batteries, but if you have, the 12-circuit switch panel reviewed above might be just the thing to operate all of the electrical accessories you might use at the campsite. Here's how to use any of the Auxbeam switch systems with a dual battery system.

Using Auxbeam Switch Panels with Dual Batteries in an Overland Vehicle

The Auxbeam line of switch panels make wiring and controlling electrical accessories easy – with one cable to a switch panel with 6, 8 or 12 circuits and one control box to connect the accessories to, installing and operating multiple electrical accessories in your vehicle couldn’t be much easier.

Not many vehicles have more electrical accessories than well-equipped overland/camping vehicles – in addition to accessories found on many vehicles such as driving lights, many overland vehicles have refrigerators, showers, campsite lights and more and the Auxbeam switch systems can really simplify the wiring in these vehicles.

The Auxbeam instructions call for connecting the system to a switched circuit in the vehicle so the system doesn’t draw power when the vehicle isn’t running, and connecting the accessory power directly to the vehicle’s starting battery. For most vehicles that’s the right way to do it, but what about using an Auxbeam switch system to control accessories to be used at the campsite when the vehicle isn’t running? You wouldn’t want to have to keep the ignition switch in the “on” position all the time while at the campsite, nor would you want to power the campsite accessories from the starting battery – either way you’re risking a dead battery when you try to start the vehicle to leave the campsite.

Many overland vehicles also have an auxiliary battery to power campsite accessories. Sometimes called a house battery or a kitchen battery, this battery is used to power accessories at the campsite so the vehicle’s main starting battery doesn’t get drained. The Auxbeam instructions only cover installation in vehicles with a single battery but with a few extra components it is possible to use an Auxbeam switch panel to control some accessories powered by the starting battery and other accessories powered by the auxiliary battery.

Configuring an Auxbeam system for a dual battery vehicle involves two steps:

1. Wiring the control box so it can be powered from a switched circuit when not at a campsite and powered from the auxiliary battery when camped.

2. Wiring the campsite accessories so they can be powered from the auxiliary battery but still be under the control of the Auxbeam system.

Powering the Auxbeam Control Box from a Switched Circuit or the Auxiliary Battery

A way to use the switch system with the ignition switched off is to install a switch to control the power to the control box. In the "driving" position, the switch would power the control box from a switched circuit and in the "campsite" position, the switch would power the control box from the auxiliary battery. The benefit of this is that for normal driving, any accessories controlled by the system will be powered off when the vehicle is not running, so they can’t be left on accidentally and drain the battery. And at the camp site, accessories can be used without the need for the ignition switch to be on.

The benefit of using the switch system in "campsite mode" is that the vehicle circuits that are powered by the ignition switch being in the on position will not be powered, which eliminates some drain on the battery while sitting at the campsite. Typically, you wouldn't be using "driving accessories" at the campsite such as driving lights, you would only be using campsite accessories so powering the system from the auxiliary battery protects the starting battery.

But forgetting to turn off campsite mode when you no longer need it could cause your vehicle battery to discharge if you switch on “driving” accessories, so it’s a good idea to have a reminder that the campsite mode is on. This can be done with a double pole double throw (DPDT) switch and a 12v LED indicator light; wired as per the next diagram, the LED will light whenever campsite mode is on and will serve as a reminder to turn off campsite mode when it is no longer needed.

DrivingCampsiteSwitch.jpg


The current draw for the various Auxbeam switch panel systems varies by model, but they generally draw less than 1/10 amp. That's a negligible drain on the auxiliary battery just for the control box, but to that the drain of the accessories switched on must be added. For example, if an accessory that draws 5 amps is to be switched on, it’s best for that accessory to be powered from the auxiliary battery when the vehicle isn't running – that accessory, if left on long enough, it may drain the battery past the point of being able to start the vehicle the next morning.


Powering the Campsite Accessories

Powering an accessory from the auxiliary battery is accomplished with a relay:

RelayWiring.jpg


The green wire is one of those routed from a circuit in the control box in the engine bay and it powers the relay when that circuit is switched on. The red wire goes to the positive terminal of the auxiliary battery, and through the relay the auxiliary battery powers the accessory, in this case a campsite light. One relay is required for each control box circuit that’s to be used with auxiliary battery powered accessories. The output of the relay should be fused as shown in the diagram above.

The relay in the diagram is a standard Bosch type automotive relay. These draw about 175ma. when activated, which isn’t much, but there are relays that draw about 20ma. when activated, and solid-state relays that draw 5ma., so if you’re really trying to minimize drain on the main battery, lower-power relays are available. But 175ma. isn’t much to worry about.

To make wiring simple, multi-relay boxes with fuses are available, such as this 6-relay unit that can be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CDZCKBWM/?tag=wranglerorg-20

AmazonBoschRelay.jpg


bSmaller relays with lower current draw are also available, such as this 4-relay board, also found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LW2GM84/?tag=wranglerorg-20

AmazonSmallRelays.jpg


These smaller relays may draw only 25 ma. or so compared to the larger Bosch relays that draw up to 175 ma. so if you're adding relays to a number of circuits these can save a bit of power but due to their smaller size and smaller connection points they’re a bit harder to use with larger gauge wire.

Here’s an example using one of the smaller relay boards. The relay board is mounted in a project box that was found on eBay and there’s an external fuse block, also found on eBay. The long coil of wire in this example allows the relays to be mounted in the rear of the vehicle, which is where the auxiliary battery is mounted in this particular vehicle. The wire is common 4-conductor trailer wire. The red wire hanging out of the box goes to the positive terminal of the auxiliary battery and in the close-up photo you can see how it's looped to all 4 relays. The black wire provides ground for operation of the relays. The campsite accessories connect to the right side of the fuse block.

RelayBoard3.jpg


RelayBoard4.jpg


Which Auxbeam Switch Panel to Use in an Overland Vehicle?

The wiring techniques described above can be used with any of the Auxbeam switch panels although some of the panels with more advanced features provide additional capabilities in an overland vehicle.



BC60, BA80 or any of the other single series panels.

The single series panels work just fine with the wiring described above, but having only one switch panel, all control of accessories will have to be from that single panel. At the campsite it may be a bit less convenient to have to use a switch panel near the driver’s seat to operate campsite accessories.



AR-600, AR-800 Bluetooth.

The switch panel systems with Bluetooth capability work very well in an overland vehicle – the smartphone app can be used to control the campsite accessories even while sitting around the campfire.

8GangInApp.jpg


Ra80x2 dual panel.

The RA80x2 system includes two switch panels; in the photo below the second panel is mounted to the roll bar in the back of the Jeep, next to the Trail Kitchen/fridge. This is a great place to operate the campsite accessories from (this is my JKU).

RA80x2PanelInRear.jpg


The photo above also shows where the auxiliary battery is mounted, and if you refer back to the photo above of the small relay implementation the long coil of wire was used reach the relays, which are mounted in the back of the Jeep near the auxiliary battery. This Jeep also has solar charging for the batteries, which works fine with the wiring described in this article.

AC1200 with app and remote.

For a vehicle equipped with many overland accessories, such as a refrigerator, campsite lights, water pump for a sink, another water pump for a shower, an inverter to supply AC power, cabin lighting and more, the AC1200 with its 12 circuits is the ultimate system. It’s got both Bluetooth app capability as described above and a hardware remote, which is also perfect for sitting around the campfire.

12GangSwitchOptions.jpg
 
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I received an email overnight from Auxbeam. In it they said their engineers have "been adjusting the bracket (length, space, etc.) based on your suggestions. When the adjustment is completed, we hope to send it to you." This applies to the JK and JL Wranglers; the bracket that came with the kit works fine in the TJ as I showed above. When they send me the updated bracket I'll verify that it still works well in the TJ. So they continue to be responsive to input and feedback about their products.

Also they said they're sending me a set of new 7" LED headlights (not released yet). I don't know the specs on them because they're yet not on the Auxbeam web site, but the email included the installation instructions which I'll review and send them corrections/suggestions while I'm waiting for the headlights. I'll post a review of the headlights when they arrive.

LightingEffect.jpg


And also in this morning's email was a message from a battery/solar company which said they have "developed a 12V 100Ah LiFePO4 battery with an LCD display and built-in BMS." (Battery Management System). They offered to send me a sample to test and review. I'm always interested in ways to improve the electrical systems in my overland Jeeps, so I'll probably take them up on the offer. If there's interest I can post a review here but since there doesn't seem to be much interest on this forum on outfitting a Jeep for overlanding/camping I'll only post about it if people tell me they're interested, I don't want to clutter the forum with things people aren't interested in.
 
Please do post up the info on the battery. I am currently building a trailer to pull behind my TJ that will have a solar system and it would be great to see this option.
Thanks
 
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I don't know how many people here have outfitted their Jeeps for overlanding/camping with dual batteries, but if you have, the 12-circuit switch panel reviewed above might be just the thing to operate all of the electrical accessories you might use at the campsite. Here's how to use any of the Auxbeam switch systems with a dual battery system.

Using Auxbeam Switch Panels with Dual Batteries in an Overland Vehicle

The Auxbeam line of switch panels make wiring and controlling electrical accessories easy – with one cable to a switch panel with 6, 8 or 12 circuits and one control box to connect the accessories to, installing and operating multiple electrical accessories in your vehicle couldn’t be much easier.

Not many vehicles have more electrical accessories than well-equipped overland/camping vehicles – in addition to accessories found on many vehicles such as driving lights, many overland vehicles have refrigerators, showers, campsite lights and more and the Auxbeam switch systems can really simplify the wiring in these vehicles.

The Auxbeam instructions call for connecting the system to a switched circuit in the vehicle so the system doesn’t draw power when the vehicle isn’t running, and connecting the accessory power directly to the vehicle’s starting battery. For most vehicles that’s the right way to do it, but what about using an Auxbeam switch system to control accessories to be used at the campsite when the vehicle isn’t running? You wouldn’t want to have to keep the ignition switch in the “on” position all the time while at the campsite, nor would you want to power the campsite accessories from the starting battery – either way you’re risking a dead battery when you try to start the vehicle to leave the campsite.

Many overland vehicles also have an auxiliary battery to power campsite accessories. Sometimes called a house battery or a kitchen battery, this battery is used to power accessories at the campsite so the vehicle’s main starting battery doesn’t get drained. The Auxbeam instructions only cover installation in vehicles with a single battery but with a few extra components it is possible to use an Auxbeam switch panel to control some accessories powered by the starting battery and other accessories powered by the auxiliary battery.

Configuring an Auxbeam system for a dual battery vehicle involves two steps:

1. Wiring the control box so it can be powered from a switched circuit when not at a campsite and powered from the auxiliary battery when camped.

2. Wiring the campsite accessories so they can be powered from the auxiliary battery but still be under the control of the Auxbeam system.

Powering the Auxbeam Control Box from a Switched Circuit or the Auxiliary Battery

A way to use the switch system with the ignition switched off is to install a switch to control the power to the control box. In the "driving" position, the switch would power the control box from a switched circuit and in the "campsite" position, the switch would power the control box from the auxiliary battery. The benefit of this is that for normal driving, any accessories controlled by the system will be powered off when the vehicle is not running, so they can’t be left on accidentally and drain the battery. And at the camp site, accessories can be used without the need for the ignition switch to be on.

The benefit of using the switch system in "campsite mode" is that the vehicle circuits that are powered by the ignition switch being in the on position will not be powered, which eliminates some drain on the battery while sitting at the campsite. Typically, you wouldn't be using "driving accessories" at the campsite such as driving lights, you would only be using campsite accessories so powering the system from the auxiliary battery protects the starting battery.

But forgetting to turn off campsite mode when you no longer need it could cause your vehicle battery to discharge if you switch on “driving” accessories, so it’s a good idea to have a reminder that the campsite mode is on. This can be done with a double pole double throw (DPDT) switch and a 12v LED indicator light; wired as per the next diagram, the LED will light whenever campsite mode is on and will serve as a reminder to turn off campsite mode when it is no longer needed.

View attachment 477036

The current draw for the various Auxbeam switch panel systems varies by model, but they generally draw less than 1/10 amp. That's a negligible drain on the auxiliary battery just for the control box, but to that the drain of the accessories switched on must be added. For example, if an accessory that draws 5 amps is to be switched on, it’s best for that accessory to be powered from the auxiliary battery when the vehicle isn't running – that accessory, if left on long enough, it may drain the battery past the point of being able to start the vehicle the next morning.


Powering the Campsite Accessories

Powering an accessory from the auxiliary battery is accomplished with a relay:

View attachment 477037

The green wire is one of those routed from a circuit in the control box in the engine bay and it powers the relay when that circuit is switched on. The red wire goes to the positive terminal of the auxiliary battery, and through the relay the auxiliary battery powers the accessory, in this case a campsite light. One relay is required for each control box circuit that’s to be used with auxiliary battery powered accessories. The output of the relay should be fused as shown in the diagram above.

The relay in the diagram is a standard Bosch type automotive relay. These draw about 175ma. when activated, which isn’t much, but there are relays that draw about 20ma. when activated, and solid-state relays that draw 5ma., so if you’re really trying to minimize drain on the main battery, lower-power relays are available. But 175ma. isn’t much to worry about.

To make wiring simple, multi-relay boxes with fuses are available, such as this 6-relay unit that can be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CDZCKBWM/?tag=wranglerorg-20

View attachment 477038

bSmaller relays with lower current draw are also available, such as this 4-relay board, also found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LW2GM84/?tag=wranglerorg-20

View attachment 477039

These smaller relays may draw only 25 ma. or so compared to the larger Bosch relays that draw up to 175 ma. so if you're adding relays to a number of circuits these can save a bit of power but due to their smaller size and smaller connection points they’re a bit harder to use with larger gauge wire.

Here’s an example using one of the smaller relay boards. The relay board is mounted in a project box that was found on eBay and there’s an external fuse block, also found on eBay. The long coil of wire in this example allows the relays to be mounted in the rear of the vehicle, which is where the auxiliary battery is mounted in this particular vehicle. The wire is common 4-conductor trailer wire. The red wire hanging out of the box goes to the positive terminal of the auxiliary battery and in the close-up photo you can see how it's looped to all 4 relays. The black wire provides ground for operation of the relays. The campsite accessories connect to the right side of the fuse block.

View attachment 477040

View attachment 477041

Which Auxbeam Switch Panel to Use in an Overland Vehicle?

The wiring techniques described above can be used with any of the Auxbeam switch panels although some of the panels with more advanced features provide additional capabilities in an overland vehicle.



BC60, BA80 or any of the other single series panels.

The single series panels work just fine with the wiring described above, but having only one switch panel, all control of accessories will have to be from that single panel. At the campsite it may be a bit less convenient to have to use a switch panel near the driver’s seat to operate campsite accessories.



AR-600, AR-800 Bluetooth.

The switch panel systems with Bluetooth capability work very well in an overland vehicle – the smartphone app can be used to control the campsite accessories even while sitting around the campfire.

View attachment 477042

Ra80x2 dual panel.

The RA80x2 system includes two switch panels; in the photo below the second panel is mounted to the roll bar in the back of the Jeep, next to the Trail Kitchen/fridge. This is a great place to operate the campsite accessories from (this is my JKU).

View attachment 477044

The photo above also shows where the auxiliary battery is mounted, and if you refer back to the photo above of the small relay implementation the long coil of wire was used reach the relays, which are mounted in the back of the Jeep near the auxiliary battery. This Jeep also has solar charging for the batteries, which works fine with the wiring described in this article.

AC1200 with app and remote.

For a vehicle equipped with many overland accessories, such as a refrigerator, campsite lights, water pump for a sink, another water pump for a shower, an inverter to supply AC power, cabin lighting and more, the AC1200 with its 12 circuits is the ultimate system. It’s got both Bluetooth app capability as described above and a hardware remote, which is also perfect for sitting around the campfire.

View attachment 477043
Where did you mount the second relay board for the switch panel out back? I hadn't considered using the second switch panel I have for the tailgate area. The harness from the switch panel is pretty long but not long enough to mount the relay board up front near the battery. A heavy gauge power/ground would have to be run to the relay board. Can you share how you did it? The remote switch would be useful but I am not rewiring everything for a third time.

Side note.. do you know if there any way to defeat the auto-dim feature on the switch panels?

Please do post up the info on the battery. I am currently building a trailer to pull behind my TJ that will have a solar system and it would be great to see this option.
Thanks
Do you have a build thread for your trailer project?
 
Where did you mount the second relay board for the switch panel out back? I hadn't considered using the second switch panel I have for the tailgate area. The harness from the switch panel is pretty long but not long enough to mount the relay board up front near the battery. A heavy gauge power/ground would have to be run to the relay board. Can you share how you did it? The remote switch would be useful but I am not rewiring everything for a third time.

I've got an auxiliary battery mounted on the rear inner fender, so power for my fridge/kitchen/campsite accessories comes from there. The battery is charged by the alternator when the Jeep is running and there's a homemade isolator setup under the hood to disconnect the aux battery from the Jeep's electrical system when the Jeep isn't running so the campsite accessories won't ever drain the starting battery. Charging power from the engine compartment back to the aux battery is delivered by heavy cables (copper 8-ga. wire in the LJ and a Walmart 4-ga. jumper cable set supplied the cable for the JKU), you could use the same cable to power your panel out back. In my Jeep the panel can be mounted on the side of the battery tray, but without the battery tray I'd probably mount it all the way in the back on the inner fender behind the roll bar (near where you can see a power outlet in 3 of the photos above). Or, Auxbeam sells 4' extensions for the 6- and 8-gang units and a 20' extension for the 8-gang (https://auxbeam.com/search?type=product&q=extension), so that might be your best option if you want to keep the control unit in the engine compartment and the switch panel in back but don't have an auxiliary battery like I do.

LJTrayBattery4.jpg


Side note.. do you know if there any way to defeat the auto-dim feature on the switch panels?

Do you mean prevent it from dimming or prevent it from lighting up altogether? If you clarify the problem and what you're wanting it to do for me I'll ask my contacts at Auxbeam and post their answer.

Please do post up the info on the battery. I am currently building a trailer to pull behind my TJ that will have a solar system and it would be great to see this option.
Thanks

Will do.

I've done a lot of testing during the implementation of my solar system and all the detail of the testing and implementation is in posts on a forum dedicated to expedition travel because it's most applicable there. I've implemented a slide-out solar panel that stores between the bottom of my roof rack and the hardtop, it's shown in this video on my JKU but I use the same roof rack on the LJ so the panel works there too.


Both the LJ and the JKU have auxiliary batteries to power the fridge, kitchen and other campsite accessories, and a system that charges the auxiliary battery from the alternator when the Jeep is running and from the solar panel when the Jeep isn't running.

The auxiliary battery is also able to act as the starting battery in case of a failure of the starting battery, this switch on the dash controls that capability and connects the auxiliary battery to the main battery (through a 500-amp relay) for starting:

LJSwitchInstalled2.jpg


The same roof rack can also be used on my trailer because the LJ, JKU and trailer all have the same XJ Cherokee rack bars on top so if I ever stop using the trailer for hauling cargo and outfit it as a camper as I've designed it to be, I'll have the same electrical capabilities in the trailer, except for the ability for the trailer battery to start the Jeep at the flip of a switch (but jumper cables will do).

CamperWithLJ3.jpg


I've already implemented a connection on the Jeep to the trailer for the charging system, this photo is of my JKU and shows the battery connection next to the trailer connector.

BumperBracketInstalled_zpszlagllco.jpg


Describing all the detail of the overland electrical systems in my Jeeps would take a lot more than this one post, but hopefully this gives you some ideas for your implementation.
 
Do you mean prevent it from dimming or prevent it from lighting up altogether? If you clarify the problem and what you're wanting it to do for me I'll ask my contacts at Auxbeam and post their answer.
I’m finding that when the cabin lighting is low, the switch panel dims so dark it’s nearly impossible to differentiate one switch from another. So, I would prefer the backlight stay full on all the time by disabling the auto-dim feature.

The extension harness. That could be what I need. Mount the old relay board up front and run the extension out back.

TJ is my daily driver so I have been reluctant to explore dual batteries.
 
I’m finding that when the cabin lighting is low, the switch panel dims so dark it’s nearly impossible to differentiate one switch from another. So, I would prefer the backlight stay full on all the time by disabling the auto-dim feature.

My contact at Auxbeam said:

I checked with Leo and he said that the backlight can be turned off by pressing the MODE button on the switch panel. The auto-dim feature cannot be disabled because it is automatic and not manually adjustable. But customers can go to the APP to adjust the backlight brightness of the panel. After adjustment in the APP, the panel brightness will remain unchanged, and the auto-dim feature will not work at this time.

But if the car is turned off (that is, after the switching system is powered off) and then restarted, the auto-dim feature will restart.

Thank you very much for the information you provided. We will adjust the minimum brightness of the panel to optimize this problem.
 
These arrived yesterday from Auxbeam. LED headlights with DRLs and turn signal halos. The package includes two headlights, adapters for H13 plugs (that's for a JK, the plug on the headlight is a standard 3-pin H4 sealed beam plug which will fit a TJ), wire and suitcase connectors to connect the DRLs and turn signal halos, instructions, a large Auxbeam decal and glove with rubber grips (so you don't drop the lights? Nice touch).

StarlightHeadlightsBox.jpg


StarlightHeadlightsContents.jpg


They sent them to me to test and review so I'll probably test them in both my '06 pickup and my JKU although they're not the style I want for either Jeep so after testing and posting a review I'll remove them and see if I can find a more permanent home for them.
 
Last edited:
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Those headlights look nice. Looking forward to your install and opinions of them.

So far all I've had time to do is install one in a custom TJ grille I've got in the workshop and light it up to test the basic functions and compare it to a factory sealed beam. I'm impressed so far, all of the functions work as documented and the headlight seems very bright, but I'll have to install them in a Jeep and do some night driving to give them a real test. I hope to get to that in the next few days.

StarlightInGrille.jpg


On another subject... I posted recently that a lithium battery company contacted me asking if I'd be interested in testing one of their 100amp-hour lithium batteries. Since I've spent a lot of time designing the dual battery electrical systems in my Jeeps to optimize them for overland use, I'm very interested in comparing a lithium battery to the lead-acid batteries I currently use so I quickly agreed. I sent them my shipping address and they said a sample battery will be shipped this week. I will do a very thorough test of it and comparison to lead-acid when it arrives, and I will post the review here, I'll probably start a new thread just for that review. This is what they're sending me:

LifePO4Battery.jpg
 
So far all I've had time to do is install one in a custom TJ grille I've got in the workshop and light it up to test the basic functions and compare it to a factory sealed beam. I'm impressed so far, all of the functions work as documented and the headlight seems very bright, but I'll have to install them in a Jeep and do some night driving to give them a real test. I hope to get to that in the next few days.

View attachment 479651

On another subject... I posted recently that a lithium battery company contacted me asking if I'd be interested in testing one of their 100amp-hour lithium batteries. Since I've spent a lot of time designing the dual battery electrical systems in my Jeeps to optimize them for overland use, I'm very interested in comparing a lithium battery to the lead-acid batteries I currently use so I quickly agreed. I sent them my shipping address and they said a sample battery will be shipped this week. I will do a very thorough test of it and comparison to lead-acid when it arrives, and I will post the review here, I'll probably start a new thread just for that review. This is what they're sending me:

View attachment 479652

Looking forward to your thoughts on the battery. I like the idea but hate their prices.