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Old 03-26-2009, 05:09 PM   #1
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quality switches/elec. components for new dash

I an trying to rebuild my dash/ fuse panel/ switch board.
where is a good source for quality components without breaking the bank. would a boat store be overkill. i stripped and fuse panel with resettable breakers{ all still mounted} out of a newer international truck im planning on using. sound acceptable? new selenoids from napa.. their switches are pricy. or maybe im just not used to buying electrical parts.

also has anyone installed those spotlamps on the back/sides of their bus for work light. harbor freight has them for 8 bucks. the only other place i saw them was john deere for 30

thanks
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:25 PM   #2
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Re: quality switches/elec. components for new dash

www.12voltguy.com

I tend to buy my relays off eBay. I've had good luck with them and they're cheap. Otherwise a great source from them is early 90's or so GM trucks with the digital heater controls. They will have three ISO relays with sockets directly behind the glovebox for the heater. They even come with a nice little mounting bar. You could probably get the whole thing from the JY for $2 or so.
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Old 04-08-2009, 12:42 PM   #3
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Re: quality switches/elec. components for new dash

Hey just saw this older post and it caught my eye. How did the new dash work out? I too want to rebuild my dash but have done next to no gauge work in my life. Is it challenging? Usually I buy a book on the subject I don't know but the only bus gauge book I found was Dave Galey's to bus Gauges and to be kind... His books leave something to be desired... Where can I find good info on how to do this work myself?
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Old 04-08-2009, 10:02 PM   #4
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Re: quality switches/elec. components for new dash

You're wanting to replace all your gauges? They're all pretty straight forward. The tachometer on a diesel can be a little weird, but if you had one originally I don't think it will be an issue. For oil pressure and temperature gauges I prefer electrical units for the simplicity they offer in routing and because you don't run the risk of dumping hot fluids in your lap should the line to a mechanical gauge fail (I've seen this happen on some beautiful collector cars...not cool). The senders are very easy to install. You will have to find a pressurized oil tap, usually in the form of an NPT pipe plug in an oil galley. The same goes for the coolant temp sensor. If all else fails I'm sure you can find a block drain plug somewhere near the bottom on the side of the block. Voltage gauges are straight forward in that they just need to go on a switched 12 volt feed. Fuel gauges will need to be matched to the sensor resistance. There are many common choices out there, but you will have to ohm out your sender to see what you need. Transmission temp gauges will have a sender, often places inline with the cooler lines for convenience, but there has been some discussion as to the best placement of these for accuracy. If you want a transmission pressure gauge you will most likely have to remove a mainline pressure tap block (often 1/8 or 1/4 NPT). A pyrometer will require that a hole be drilled and tapped in the manifold for a thermocouple to be placed in it. Um...am I missing anything?
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Old 04-08-2009, 11:23 PM   #5
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Re: quality switches/elec. components for new dash

when instrumenting your engine make surethat you get the pressure senders in the right places, I try to T into the same place that the factory installed their senders unless you ae looking to instrument something that the fectory didn't.
thermocouples need to be installed in the center of the flow with the tip pointed into the direction of flow.
exhaust temp on a diesel should be before the turbo but after all of the manifold runners combine to enter the turbo housing.
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:15 PM   #6
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Re: quality switches/elec. components for new dash

Quote:
I an trying to rebuild my dash/ fuse panel/ switch board.
where is a good source for quality components without breaking the bank. would a boat store be overkill. i stripped and fuse panel with resettable breakers{ all still mounted} out of a newer international truck im planning on using. sound acceptable? new selenoids from napa.. their switches are pricy. or maybe im just not used to buying electrical parts.
My brain hasn't been hitting on all cylinders this week, so I've hung back on this one for a while.

Resettable breakers - GREAT! Small planes have been using them both as breakers and sometimes on/off switches for years. I would like to build my control panel using them when the time comes.

In my experience, fuses blow a little faster on short circuits than breakers, but then you have to find out which one blew, and find a replacement. Self-resetting breakers can keep restoring power to a short until the wires heat up and the bus burns. Resettable breakers can just be reset, or if there's a real problem they can be left popped until you can fix the problem. As far as us re-using old ones, do a visual inspection first - no rust or carbon traces that would indicate past water entry or overheating, fire or sparking. Try the mechanical action and make sure the clicks feel positive, and not mushy. Measure them with a sensitive ohmmeter (down to single digits, tenths or hundredths) if you can. Make sure any high reading you get isn't poor contact with the meter leads.

With switches, circuit breakers, etc, wherever you find them, make sure you get ones that are DC rated. It seem to me that switches work harder at DC. I would suggest using a 50% reserve rating, such as using a 20-amp DC switch for a 10-amp continuous load instead of a 10- or 12- amp one. Buy or salvage good ones, most of the stuff at Radio S _ _ _ _ will self-destruct under heavy use, maybe use one to run a relay coil but don't power headlights with them. (Side note: our camping trailer produced by a major stick & staples RV maker has a 7-amp AC rated switch powering all the DC loads except the patio light - up to 18 amps. When it burns out after the warranty expires, it's guaranteed to get service work for the dealers.)

Consider this image:

Electrical circuits are like circle dances where everyone holds hands and makes steps. DC circuits always flow in one direction, all the dancers (electrons) will go all the way around the circle, maybe several times around if the dance lasts long enough. AC circuits are like a dance where you take one step to the left, one step to the right, one step to the left, etc. No matter how long you dance, you are still pretty much where you started. 60 Hz AC reverses 120 times per second, 60 steps to the left and 60 to the right.

Now imagine there are too many dancers for one room. Half the dancers line up out the door to the next room, where there's a little window back into the first room. The last dancer in each room joins hands with the other by reaching through the window. The AC dance goes on uninterrupted, one step to the left, one step to the right, hands through the window. The DC dance has a problem. The end dancer reaches the window, and either climbs through it or the dance completely stops. If the dancers can climb through the window, both they and the window get scraped up in the process, and the dance slows down. What you need is not a window, but another door.

With AC circuits, due to capacitance if there is a barrier that blocks electrons from crossing, but allows the electrons on one side to cause equivalent electron motion on the other side of the barrier by magnetism, the circuit can work. With DC circuits, the electrons must cross the barrier on their long journey from the negative post of the alternator or battery to the positive post. In theory, they may have to travel the entire length of the bus.

So, if you have a cheap switch with poor contacts, tarnished or burned contacts, or weak springs, it might work acceptably in an AC circuit by inducing alternating electron motion across the poor connection, but the same switch will heat up and fail if used on DC where the electrons all actually have to cross.

Now, maybe my explanation won't hold up to proper particle physics analysis, but it helps me understand why I need good, clean DC terminal connections and high quality switches that are DC rated in order to get good, clean current flow. Good switches with good contact alignment, quality contacts (you can't beat gold) and strong, positive snap-action springs are worth the extra cost.
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Old 04-13-2009, 03:52 PM   #7
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Re: quality switches/elec. components for new dash

PHEEW, all that danc'in has made me tired. I think I'll lay down for a little while Really though, what you don't want is a dancer who is AC/DC. That's going to make your job twice as hard. I have picked up some new, quality 12v/20amp switches from ebay. I forget the source butthey were Carlson swithes and snapped right in the factory holes. There are also some Carlsons for $10.00 and more apeice. You can find them cheaper if you look. I got 5 lighted Carlson switches for $20.00 and shipping. Good luck
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