Wiring Under Seat LED Strip Lights. Series or Parallel

medkid134

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I have been reading this form which has a ton of great information on installing LED Strip lights both interior and exterior. However, i have not found much talking about how they are wired.

I am looking to install LED Strip Lights under the bench seats both forward and aft, each seat will have about a 4 foot LED strip i am looking to power them through a switch in the center console However, i am not sure if i should wire them in series or in parallel.

One of the concerns of series is having wires at both ends of the LED strip which would require 2 holes through the bench seat as well as a larger hole through the 4 to get the the wire to the other sides bench seat. How have you all handle this situation?

Does anyone know if the factory/OEM wires the Interior LED lighting in series or parallel?

thanks for your help
 
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JohnL

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You want 12 volts for each light, so parallel is the way to get that. That being said you will have to watch the amperage rating of each of your lights, so you don’t overload the circuit. Shouldn’t be a problem since leds draw little current, but most of those circuits are 5 amp and if your using 16 ga wire, you don’t want to exceed that. The individual leds in a strip are in parallel. Hence they don’t all go out if one goes out. I added 2 16ft strips outside over the pontoons and 3 courtesy lights inside the playpen, on 2 separate circuits. Both were parallel circuits. Hope this was the info you were looking for.
 

sunedog

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On my former boat, I ran LED light strips under my benches just like what I think you are planning and I wired them in series. The circuit originated at an unused rocker switch and went down through the existing big hole to the underside of the deck. I drilled two holes inside the first couch compartment and brought the wire up to the light strip and then back down under the deck at the other end of the light strip. The wire continued under the deck to the next couch on the other side of my boat where I repeated the same process. Continued the circuit to the last section which was the L shaped furniture group in the back. I soldered all the connections and added heat shrink. All the wires under the deck were secured with plastic P clips. I put silicone in the the holes I drilled in the bottom of the couch compartments. I had no issue with too many amps because (if I recall correctly) I was able to do this all with one 5 meter (16.5 foot) light strip and I think it drew 5 amps.

Just plan your drilling well. Do your best to make sure you are not going to hit a cross member or other obstruction or a wire. You will have some leeway on exactly where you drill. And the holes only need to be big enough to pull the 16 gauge wire through.
 

medkid134

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I wanted to circle back and provide an update to this post, i did move forward with this project last summer with great success and wanted to post the process of what i did for anyone else who maybe trying to do the same thing. This was done on a 2013 22 SLX with a single battery.

Under Seat LED and Storage compartment LED Lighting Project with additional rocker switch cluster:

Since we started doing a lot of night boating, it quickly became apparent that the single courtesy light installed in the helm was not sufficient.

There were 2 issues we wanted to solve, provide indirect lighting to the deck to be able to walk around at night safely, and add lighting under the helm and in the changing room to be able to access storage at night and in the event of mechanical issues, be able to see the battery, oil tank, and under the helm wiring at night.

We thought about adding lighting inside the seat compartments but opted against it as we hardly use them for any meaningful storage.

We added RGB LED Light strips under both bow seats and under the rear L bench. We then added White Only LED light strips under the helm and in the rear changing station.

The RGB LED light strips for under the seats were all cut from a single 32’ LED Strip and attached to the seat base directly under the seat cushion using the LEDs double sided tape which came pre-attached, i was worried at first about how this would hold up to heat, water, and cold and so far no issue at all. The wire is then run under the seat into the seat base and is sent through the existing in deck hole installed by the manufacture to power the sound system speakers. Each RGB LED strip was wired with 22 awg tinned 4 cable extension cable soldered onto the LED light strip and covered with 3-5” of shrink wrap.

In order to get this cable through the speaker wire hole I had to remove the factory installed silicone, which was replaced after the install. The benefit is this project did not require any new holes to be drilled through the seat or the deck. The LED Cables were then routed under the deck along the support frames held in place against the existing speaker wires with zip ties inside a protective wire conduit tubing.

The cables all were routed back to the helm and came up through the existing hole where the manufacture ran all the wiring into the helm, again no new holes needed to be drilled through the deck.

I used the Auxiliary cable under the helm, supplied by the factory labeled “For Customer Use” on the wiring schematic, to power an additional rocker switch set I purchased and installed in the helm which added 4 new rocker switches to the helm. The under-seat LED and the storage LED are each powered by their own dedicated switch from this new rocker switch cluster. This allows the under-seat and storage lights to be turned on and off independently and reduces battery drain as the storage lights are not always needed. We also wanted to have a switch for a saltwater washdown as well as a spare switch for future modifications. So, this project used 3 of the 4 rockers on the new switch set.

While I could have used the Aux switch or Livewell switch pre-installed by the manufacture, these switches were already used by the GPS/Fish finder and the VHF Radio. So, a new rocker cluster was needed. (If you could not tell I like all my electrical components on their own switches.

The switch came pre-wired and includes an illumination locator light as well as a power on indicator light. The locator light is constant on directly feed by the battery while the power indicator only illuminates when the switch is on. Since I did not want the constant power draw of the locator light. I modified the rocker switch wiring, so the switch is only illuminated when the engine is running.

Each LED Strip were run in parallel, so each LED Strip had its own cables running back to the helm. There were 3 cables for the RGB light strips for under the seat which were connected to the RGB Controller box that came with the LED light set. The white LED for the storage compartments had 2 cables. So, each light strip is getting direct power.

The LED added to the changing room was wired by running the power cable down the existing hole used for the battery wires and was routed along the frame following the existing cables heading to the helm. Again, these cables were in protective conduit and zip tied to the existing cables. Accessing these cables did require the removal of a protective sheet of aluminum under the deck, which unfortunately was riveted into place and had to be drilled out. this was reinstalled after the modification, again by riveting it in place.

All wire connections were solder together and covered with 3-5” of shrink wrap for waterproofing.

I can try to get pictures if anyone is interested, and I am willing to provide more details to anyone who maybe trying this themselves.

For this project I used the following Materials, all from Amazon. While there are more expensive, possibly better suited, options available these materials have lasted well so far and show no signs of any issues as of yet.

RGB Light Strip 32.9 feet (under seat lights)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JN28KP3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

22 AWG 4 wire RGB Tinned Extension Cable

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08JTZCJV1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

White LED Strip 16.4 feet (storage compartment)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UI1DVP2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

22 AWG tinned extension cable

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08DNH2HS3/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

Rocker switch

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R1VB3LL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Wire Conduit – black – ¼” 100’

https://www.amazon.com/Alex-Tech-25...loom+tubing+wire+conduit+black,aps,101&sr=8-1
 

CLDave

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Great write-up, post pics!

Also, if you're on a single battery, it would be good insurance to keep one of those cheap car-starter battery packs onboard. I know LEDs don't draw much, but it's cheap insurance to have an extra bit of juice in case the battery can't crank the starter.
 

medkid134

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Great write-up, post pics!

Also, if you're on a single battery, it would be good insurance to keep one of those cheap car-starter battery packs onboard. I know LEDs don't draw much, but it's cheap insurance to have an extra bit of juice in case the battery can't crank the starter.
Thank you for the feedback! I will be posting photos in the next couple of days, i have to get back to the boat to take them.

Excellent idea on the battery pack. I do actually keep one on board for the just in case. However, i also have the Evinrude E-tech 90 HP pontoon series which has a pull start override that does not require the battery (much like a lawn mower) in the event the battery goes dead i can stills tart the engine with the pull cord. Excellent feature IMO, i had to use it once when the start died, without the pull start it i would have had to be towed back.

I know Evinrude gets mixed reviews but 7 years in and i cant say enough good things about it. great engine all around, and the pull start feature genius IMO.

Thanks again.
 

Michiman

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Medkid, thanks for taking the time to update your post and share in great detail your modifications. Very helpful, to say the least! Maybe post a picture of the lights in action.
 
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