Switch Panels

Racing Switch Panels

Switch panels are commonly used in drift, race and track-ready cars. These allow you to easily turn on different power components in your vehicle, including the fans, auxiliary batteries, and the turbo. These panels are especially useful in emergencies. Wiring a switch panel is normally done when rebuilding the performance of a race car. These products come in different designs, and they have different capabilities. Cheaper products will generally be less functional compared to the more expensive ones.

How Do You Wire the Switch Panel?

Wiring a switch panel is a complicated process, and that is why it is usually handled by professional race car mechanics. However, if you have the time and dedication, you should be able to properly wire the whole thing on your own.

For this task, you will need these items:

  • A fuse box
  • Rivets
  • Multiple switches and gauges
  • Wires (these should only be TXL or SXL since the wires should have a high heat rating)
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • A wrench
  • Tape
  • Vacuum or shrink tubing
  • A drill
  • Zip ties
  • A screwdriver
  • A heat gun
  • Soldering iron
  • Terminal ends

Of course, you will also need to purchase a switch panel. Once you have these items ready, you can start the wiring process. Start by picking a good position for the panel. It should always be within the reach of the driver.

You should then create a plan for the wiring of your panel. Ideally, this should be done with a diagram that shows how many circuits you will need and how they will be arranged. This diagram will also be important when you need to replace the cables since it will show the sizes and the switch amperage ratings of the wires. If you choose to go with the most basic switch panel, your plan should only cover the main on and off button, the ignition, and the push start switch.

You can then follow these steps to properly wire the switch panel:

  • Park your car in a level surface and provide sufficient lighting. You will need to remove the battery's positive cable before you can start the wiring process. For this task, you will need the wrench and a screwdriver.
  • Connect the negative side of the kill switch to your engine, and the positive side of this switch to the positive side of the starter.
  • Using a crimper, compress the ends of the wire into small folds. These ends should then be joined with a soldering iron.
  • The vacuum tubing should then be placed over the joined ends of the wire. You can heat the vacuum tubing before placing it over the wire ends so that it shrinks the wires effectively. This way, the connections will not be affected by the car's vibration.
  • Connect the terminal end of the wire to the fuse box, and connect the other end to the starter cable. The ignition switch should be connected in a similar way, except that it will be connected to the coil's positive side. For the starter switch, the terminal end of the wire should be connected to the solenoid.
  • Wrap the shrink tubing around the wires and group them so that you don't have many wires lying around.
  • Fix your switch panel in the position you chose. As mentioned earlier, this panel should be easily accessible to the driver.

It is a good idea to install a quick disconnect plug so that you can easily correct any errors without dismantling the entire system.

What Should You Consider When Shopping for these Panels?

Here are some factors you need to consider when choosing switch panels:

  • The construction - The best switch panels are light, stiff, and weatherproof.
  • The wiring - If you don't want to go through the entire wiring process, you can purchase a prewired panel.
  • The appearance - If you care about looks, you should get a product made of carbon. These usually have the best appearances.

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