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I'm looking to pre-wire my overhead lighting so I can continue with insulation/ceiling work.

The plan includes two rows of 4 lights running lengthwise along the ceiling, two more recessed lights under my forward overhead cabinets, and one more above my front door. These are all switched together in one central location.

I'm not entirely sure how to pre-wire for this. I know I will connect the lights in parallel, but I don't know where I will locate the + connection and the - connection before running the positives to the switch.

For example, does one run a 14/2 wire for every overhead recessed light, run both + and - down to the switch terminal, before the switch have some sort of connection (Wago 221 or wire nut) and then proceed with 1 main positive and 1 main negative lead? Or is it better to connect the lights in the ceiling and run a single main wire run to the switch?

I fundamentally understand the more complex aspects of the electrical system more than this. Is there a right or wrong way to connect physically connect multiple loads in parallel/to the same switch, or is it just preference? I get that there is a wrong way in terms of the physical connection; I'm more asking in terms of placement/efficiency.

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I haven't done this yet either, so curious to see what others say. But my first thought is if the wire can handle the current draw of all the lights, then the single wire chaining them together seems better. If they are LED I'm assuming this would be no problem.

I was thinking of having front/rear sets of lights on separate switches, so planning to have 2 lines.
 

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The plan includes two rows of 4 lights running lengthwise along the ceiling, two more recessed lights under my forward overhead cabinets, and one more above my front door. These are all switched together in one central location.

. . . does one run a 14/2 wire for every overhead recessed light, run both + and - down to the switch terminal, before the switch have some sort of connection
So far, we have 9 led 'puck' (recessed) lights distributed throughout the living space (we say 'so far' as we have no cabinets and would probably, as you're contemplating, add lights below any cabinets we add).

These lights functionally fall into distinct categories: 2 lights associated with the galley which, due to its location, one also serves as an entryway light (passenger side); 2 lights over the dinette (behind driver's seat on driver's side); 1 light over refrigerator (driver's side, rear of dinette . . . this light serves more to illuminate the workspace surface above the frig); 2 lights in the rear at the head of the lateral bed; and 2 lights in the rear generally along the centerline of the van.

We detail this because we would recommend NOT placing all your switches in one common location, rather, associate and place them with each functional light/light cluster. Our two galley lights are controlled separately from two switches located in the passenger C-pillar. This makes them convenient to access when 'at the galley', also and importantly, these switches are easily accessed from the outside with the slider open and are the 'way to initially light' the interior when first entering the vehicle.

Similarly the dinette (2) and frig (1) light switches are in the driver C-pillar. Separate switches for each 'set' and, as we accidentally purchased some SPDT rocker switches, we used one of those for the two dinette lights - - center-off, down - 1 light, up - both lights.

The remaining four rear lights have switches located in the rear corner pillars. One rear pillar, at the head-end of the lateral bed includes separate switches for each of the two bed 'reading lights'. The other rear pillar includes a single switch for the 2 rear center lights. Having these switches in the rear pillars makes them very accessible from bed as well as from the rear doors when - - as we often do - - need to access storage under the bed from the rear.

One comment on wire-size and wiring in general (guess that makes it two comments). First, led lights draw very little power so 14 gauge wire is overkill. Second, because of this low current, there is no need to run separate lengths of wire from your 12 volt fuse/breaker/power source. If convenient, you can daisy chain them. In short, again due to the low power of these items, 'wire for convenience' . . . any configuration will prove satisfactory.
 

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It is easy to get too much light with modern LEDs. As Winston advises- several switches and perhaps dimmers which we use on the lights over the bed used to read. The LEDs over the galley and Dinette are fine on full bright. I think I used stranded 18 or 20 gauge.
 
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I have a row of 4 LED lights over each couch plus two in the back in the dressing area.

The dressing area LED lights are on one switch plus a dimmer to provide soft light if that's all we need.

Over the kitchen counter, a separate LED with a dimmer.

Behind the TV, I have a color-adjustable LED to provide a soft glow while watching. I prefer a blue/green glow!

The main area lights are all run to the switch area. Right now they are all tied together and work from one switch and dimmer. With separate wires to each, I plan on splitting the lights to two switches, for back couch area and front couch area. The advantage of a separate feed to each light is that you can modify the switching arrangement later after using it for a while.

There is a reading LED over each couch. each is independently switched.

The LED puck lights I bought have a switch built in so I can turn specific lights off, even if the main switch is on... that has been very useful!

In addition, I replaced the two van cargo lights with small amber led lights. While camping, the soft amber light attracts less bugs when you open the door to get in or out. Plus when you open the door, there is no harsh white light blinding you after walking around in the dark!

Hopefully some helpful thoughts...
 

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I have 8 led pucks in the ceiling separated into two zones of 4 lights. The back zone over my bed is split into 2 zones of 2 lights. There is a little switch on the wall above our heads so that we can turn off two of the back lights(the two over our heads). All my light switches are centrally located so they can be reached from anywhere in the van (but not from outside). I daisy chained the lights together. I have 4 main switches. Front zone , back zone, under cabinet lights above the counter-top, under cabinet lights above slider door.

I wouldn't put all the lights on one switch. Those LEDs put out a lot of light. I'll put dimmers on my ceiling lights. I just haven't gotten that far yet. I think the amount of lights I have are all necessary, but I wouldn't want them all on at one time.

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I have a row of 4 LED lights over each couch plus two in the back in the dressing area.

The dressing area LED lights are on one switch plus a dimmer to provide soft light if that's all we need.

Over the kitchen counter, a separate LED with a dimmer.

Behind the TV, I have a color-adjustable LED to provide a soft glow while watching. I prefer a blue/green glow!

The main area lights are all run to the switch area. Right now they are all tied together and work from one switch and dimmer. With separate wires to each, I plan on splitting the lights to two switches, for back couch area and front couch area. The advantage of a separate feed to each light is that you can modify the switching arrangement later after using it for a while.

There is a reading LED over each couch. each is independently switched.

The LED puck lights I bought have a switch built in so I can turn specific lights off, even if the main switch is on... that has been very useful!

In addition, I replaced the two van cargo lights with small amber led lights. While camping, the soft amber light attracts less bugs when you open the door to get in or out. Plus when you open the door, there is no harsh white light blinding you after walking around in the dark!

Hopefully some helpful thoughts...

Proeddie, those lights sounds awesome! Any chance you could attach a link to the ones you have? I've been searching but can't seem to find them
 

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https://www.ebay.com/itm/LED-12V-4-...ash=item3f418226ad:g:jBoAAOSwSEVZitVm&vxp=mtr

Even though there's a switch in the light, you can still feed it with power from a wall mounted dimmer. One dimmer can control about 8 lights.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/LED-Light-...869082&hash=item3d4e53c4c8:g:x2kAAOSwo4pYJE0c
or by remote control

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Wireless-R...868064?hash=item544cb030a0:g:TmcAAOSwNJ5ZiI-2

or remote control AND flicker with the music for 3 circuits....

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Black-Musi...905460?hash=item1a1be162f4:g:vTgAAOSwMgdX1yrs

Sorry for the delay.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I daisy chained the lights together.

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Can you explain exactly how you daisy chained together? I feel that this is a simple task that I am overthinking. Did you use a feed duplex wire and then branch off for each light with some sort of splice? Any specifics here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Josh.
 

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Can you explain exactly how you daisy chained together? I feel that this is a simple task that I am overthinking. Did you use a feed duplex wire and then branch off for each light with some sort of splice? Any specifics here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Josh.
Yes you're probably overthinking. 3 wires tied together. Main feed from fuse box, ties into 1st light on chain and line to second light on chain. Red, red, red all tied together and all 3 blacks all together. Then at the next light you'll do the same with the third light and so on. You can split the main into two main lines prior to the first light as well if needed. I did because I have 4 lights and it was easier to split into two pairs than do all 4 on the same line. I had to do that for the lights over the bed so I can control 2 of the 4 with a separate switch. Really just making zones of lights.

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Yes you're probably overthinking. 3 wires tied together. Main feed from fuse box, ties into 1st light on chain and line to second light on chain. Red, red, red all tied together and all 3 blacks all together. Then at the next light you'll do the same with the third light and so on. You can split the main into two main lines prior to the first light as well if needed. I did because I have 4 lights and it was easier to split into two pairs than do all 4 on the same line. I had to do that for the lights over the bed so I can control 2 of the 4 with a separate switch. Really just making zones of lights.

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Positive and negative to first light. Positive from first light to positive from second light, negative from first light to negative from second light,. Positive from second light to positive from third light, etc...
Thanks. How do you guys recommend making the connections? Tying 3 wires together without solder-an end crimp cap? For example, if I'm going to run 16 gauge wire but my LED's come with 22 gauge, what's the best way to make this connection? How does one pick the right size crimp cap (or other crimp connection) when different wire gauges are involved? All the lights besides the last one in the chain will have 3 reds and 3 blacks to tie together, correct?
 

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Thanks. How do you guys recommend making the connections? Tying 3 wires together without solder-an end crimp cap? For example, if I'm going to run 16 gauge wire but my LED's come with 22 gauge, what's the best way to make this connection? How does one pick the right size crimp cap (or other crimp connection) when different wire gauges are involved? All the lights besides the last one in the chain will have 3 reds and 3 blacks to tie together, correct?
Wire nuts and they'll tell you how many wires and what sizes


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If you decide to use wire nuts, Ideal set screw wire nuts are the best choice when used where there will be vibration.
 

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If you decide to use wire nuts, Ideal set screw wire nuts are the best choice when used where there will be vibration.
One thing I didn't add which I just assumed is that I wrapped reach wire nut in electrical tape to make sure it doesn't come loose. Then after each of those was taped, I taped the positive and negative nuts together to further secure and clean it up

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I've got 6 lights on one switch in the kitchen and the back 2 by the bed on their own bed switch, with dimmers. I'm really glad I did that and would it that exact way all over again. When on full blast, 8 of those LED's and the under cabinet lights in the kitchen make the van light way the **** up.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Generally in the boating industry wire nuts are frowned upon. In fact, in any high-vibration environment, it seems (at least from the inter web armchair experts) that connections should be crimped/heat shrinked in a vehicle or boat.

Assuming I want to overbuild the connections, I'm still not certain the best way to connect multiple wires of multiple sizes NOT using wire nuts. I'm leaning towards an end crimp cap, but I'm not sure how to buy one that will fit, for example, two 14 gauge wires and one 18 and provide a solid connection.

It seems that I am overthinking it-I can likely just twist the wires together and crimp down on a crimp cap that is made for 14 gauge and it will work. Just wondering what is the 'best' way to do it. As in how one would connect multiple wires with some sort of heat shrink in a high vibration environment where failure is not an option.
 

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I've got 6 lights on one switch in the kitchen and the back 2 by the bed on their own bed switch, with dimmers. I'm really glad I did that and would it that exact way all over again. When on full blast, 8 of those LED's and the under cabinet lights in the kitchen make the van light way the **** up.
What dimmers are you using Hoppe? Happy with them?

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Thanks. How do you guys recommend making the connections? Tying 3 wires together without solder-an end crimp cap? For example, if I'm going to run 16 gauge wire but my LED's come with 22 gauge, what's the best way to make this connection? How does one pick the right size crimp cap (or other crimp connection) when different wire gauges are involved? All the lights besides the last one in the chain will have 3 reds and 3 blacks to tie together, correct?
i would consider a ferrule crimp, with or without solder.
 
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