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Ever live in a house that had lights you couldn’t turn off and on by a switch? No? Me either. Let’s keep that streak up. This blog post is going to teach you how to wire 12v lights (and any other 12v accessories) you want to control by a switch or two.
Quick note before we get started. This is just one part of an overarching “How to Install a DIY Camper Van Electrical System” series. If you’ve just stumbled on this article directly without seeing that, there are likely some things we’ve already covered. If you want to check out that step by step guide, you can do that here: https://www.explorist.life/diy-campervan-solar
Also, we have interactive solar wiring diagrams that are a complete, A to Z solution for teaching you exactly what parts go where, what size wires to use, fuse size recommendations, wire lug sizes, and all kind of other stuff to help save you time and frustration. You can check that out here: https://www.explorist.life/solarwiringdiagrams/
12v Light Switch
For a standard light switch, you’re looking for a switch that technically called “Single Pole Single Throw”, or commonly abbreviated “SPST”. This is the most basic switch. It simply has an on and off position:
12v Light Switch Wiring
On MOST 12v switches, it seems like most of them come with a
If you want the
Me, I don’t want the indicator light to light up, so I’m going to totally omit the negative post on the back of the switch like this:
Want multiple lights on a switch? Great! You’ll be looking at wiring them like this:
If you want more light ‘zones’ and more switches, no problem! Just mirror that diagram down to the next fuse on your distribution block.
12v 2-way Switch
HUGLY POPULAR and somewhat confusing, but we will straighten that out.
The purpose of a 2 way switch is so that you can have a switch by your entry-way and another by, say, your bed so you can operate the lights.
It’s VERY VERY important you get the right switch. The switch you are looking for is a ‘Single Pole Double Throw – On/On’ 12v switch. Here’s how this switch functions:
As you can see, the exterior of the switch looks nearly IDENTICAL to the SPST switch we talked about earlier.
Here’s how to wire it up to lights:
Here is how the switch works in various positions:
Hopefully, you now know how to wire 12v lights and switches into your DIY Camper. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below and subscribe for future updates.
Now that you know how to wire in a 12v switch and all of your lighting, it’s time for a lesson on how to figure out what size and type of wire to use in your DIY camper van electrical system. Check that out here: https://www.explorist.life/what-wire-to-use-for-diy-camper-solar-system/
Everything that you are learning here is put to use in our FREE Interactive Solar Wiring Diagrams. If you haven’t yet, check them out as they are a complete solution for a camper van electrical system. Check them out here: https://www.explorist.life/solarwiringdiagrams/
Remember, this is just one part of a full camper van electrical educational series. To see all of the individual guides, click here: https://www.explorist.life/diy-campervan-solar
Finally, If you found this guide helpful, It’d truly mean the world to us if you’d share it with somebody who can use it, pin it to pinterest for later reference, or share it to a facebook group when somebody has a question about this subject. Click the bubble in the lower right corner to subscribe to be notified of future updates and as always, leave any questions you’ve got in the comments below.