Is your light bar draining your battery?
One of the main reasons that a battery gets damaged is due to sulfur crystals that grow on the plates, this is called sulfation and prevents the electrons from flowing through the affected parts. There are many more reasons why your newly installed LED light bar might be draining your battery, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you make ensure that it never happens again.
Follow these 8 tips on how to keep a light bar from draining your battery:
- Connect your light bar directly to the vehicle battery or another DC voltage source. If you’re going to use a power supply, make sure its voltage output is within the light bar’s specifications. Also, make sure it can supply the maximum current your light bar draws.
- Use a wire gauge that matches or exceeds the maximum current of your LED light bar.
- Fuse power wires to the expected current draw, not the wire size.
- Use an automotive switching relay if the light bar draws 10A or greater.
- With or without a relay, use a cab switch rated for at least 10 amps.
- Secure the relay to a suitable location, and test the light to make sure the circuit works.
- Use waterproof wiring connectors. Check for these at a local marine shop.
- Avoid unnecessary splices, but use a snap-in connector at the light bar to ease removal.
How fast will a light bar drain a battery?
Correctly calculating the time it takes your battery to become drained may just save your light bar from draining your battery. You can calculate exactly how fast your LED light bar will drain your battery by following this method:
Say you had a full 66Ah battery, you would calculate the drainage time like this:
However, it’s best to not use your battery to the full amount of time that you’ve calculated, it’s always better to use less. It’s also important to note that your battery will degrade after a few years, so the capacity won’t be the full Ah amount indicated.
A battery that’s almost depleted won’t be able to deliver the same maximum current as a full battery and you’ll experience some problems getting your motor started, which should be especially evident when it’s cold out.