The Basics of Emergency Vehicle Light Installation

Police car on the street at night

The package containing your brand new emergency vehicle lights just came in the mail. Now, what? Can you install it on your own or would you rather call an expert to do it for you?

Emergency vehicle light installation has varying regulations depending on the state you are in, especially for accessories such as high-quality light bars for trucks and hideaway lights for undercover police cars. Before you go about buying and installing emergency lights on your vehicles, make sure you check your local laws and regulations.

If you are new to installing vehicle lights, here is what you need to know:

1. Safety first

Installing emergency lights on your vehicle involves electricity. To avoid electrocuting yourself, make sure that you use safety gear and watch out for live wires. However, if you have zero experience with electrical wiring, you are better off calling in a professional to do it for you.

2. Ensure that your power source is live

Emergency lights require enough voltage to function properly and emit a decent amount of light. Before wiring your LED lights to your vehicle, check to see if the power source you’re going to connect it to is live and has enough voltage to sustain the lights.

3. Turn off the source

This is the most critical step in any electrical work. Ensure that the source of power isn’t running, and you are grounded before starting the job. Otherwise, you may accidentally electrocute yourself.

4. Identify the voltage

emergency vehicle lights

There are four types of wires that come with your emergency light, which are: 120v wire, 277v wire, common wire, and the ground wire. These wires are color-coded. Check the manual to find out which wire is which. But usually, the wires-color combinations are 277v-orange, 120v-black, common wire-white, ground wire-green. Take note that the ground wire may not be included in your set and may come in a different color.

After you’ve sorted the wires out, make the corresponding connections to the light fixture.

5. Connect the wires

Connect your fixture leads to the power supply. This creates an AC current, which powers your emergency light while charging the connected battery.

6. Mount your light

You should always mount your light after you’ve tested that the circuit works. After making sure that the circuit is working, mount the backplate wherein, it will not get damaged with excessive heat or moisture. Then, install the emergency lights on wherever it’s supposed to be on your vehicle.

7. Install the light switch

Wire the switch to both the battery and the emergency lights. Make sure that the switch is near the driver’s seat for easy access.

8. Wire to the battery

Finally, you need to connect the wires to the battery. To do so, you need to drill a hole in the front wall, put in a grommet, then seal it with silicone. Through this hole, you can feed the wires and connect them to the battery. However, this process will depend on the type of vehicle and product you’re using.

9. Cleanup and grounding

After you’re done, hide the loose wires and make sure the lights are grounded.

Installing emergency lights can be a do-it-yourself activity, but if you are inexperienced with electrical wiring, don’t hesitate to pass the job to a qualified electrician.