Roadfly just partnered with sPOD to be our partner for controlling all of our power management and distribution needs for our Roadfly Black Bear Jeep Project. We had just installed all of our Rugged Ridge off-road lights for the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep and as we were finishing we started thinking about our wiring plan. We installed two round 3.5-inch LED lights on the front striker bar, two round 3.5-inch and one 13.5-inch rectangle LED lights on the hood, three 13.5-inch rectangle LED lights on the windshield light bar and two round 3.5-inch LED lights in the rear bumper. We are thinking of adding more lights in the rear and maybe a work light in the rear storage area so we wanted to include a few additional switches for those, if and when we figure those out. Check out our Off-Road Lighting article.
Rugged Ridge has wiring harnesses that you can use with their lights. Each contain a positive and ground wire, a fuse and from one to three switches depending on the harness. We were thinking that we could modify a few of these so that all lights going to one switch could be on one harness to eliminate the number of wires. Either way, we figured it would either take a lot of time or we would have an engine bay that looked like spaghetti. We were looking to wire 10 lights initially and possibly more. That’s a lot of wires. So we started talking to other guys with Jeeps and found that a lot of guys were using sPOD for their power management and distribution needs. We checked it out and found that SPOD has a pretty awesome product that was really easy to install. So we gave them a call.
We talked to John on the phone (he’s known as “John, the sPOD guy”) and he agreed to send us one of their power distribution solutions. sPOD is the first power distribution system engineered for off-road vehicles. One of the things that we really liked about sPOD is that they are a small company and their products are 100% American made. The guys at sPOD are really friendly and helpful. We are really excited to be partnering with such a great company. John promised to send us the sPOD 8 Circuit SE System with Touchscreen; we couldn’t wait to get it installed.
What’s great about the sPOD controller is that it is a fully programmable, digital control system that’s totally plug and play. You mount the sPOD controller box in the engine bay with two screws and run a positive and a ground wire to the battery and its installed and ready to go. There’s a control wire that plugs into the controller and the other end runs to the 3.5-inch color touchscreen display that you mount inside the cabin. Then you run the two wires from each source into the sPOD controller box and they plug right into designated, clearly labeled locations. That’s it. We were a little hesitant at first when faced with wiring 10 LED lights because we knew it would be time consuming to run all of the wires, especially if we wanted to take the time to do it right and have all the wires bundled up tight. After we found out about sPOD and how their controller worked, we couldn’t wait to get it and get going. We figured it would save us hours of time running wires.
So the sPOD 8 Circuit SE System with Touchscreen has eight circuits rated at 30 amps and 12.5vdc per circuit and has what sPOD calls an “End-User” friendly terminal block for attaching accessories. Its so easy you simply stick the two wires from each accessory into the clearly labeled holes on the controller box and tighten two screws. And with the 30 amps per switch you don’t have to worry about whether or not you have the correct fuse because it protects from 1.5 amps to 30 amps per circuit. The controller uses a failsafe self-healing fault protection system that eliminates the use of fuses for each output and is replaced with current–sensing MOSFEST’s controlled by a microprocessor. There is one single ATM mini-style fuse for low voltage cutoff protection and reset. The sPOD controller also has a low voltage cutoff battery protection circuit which has a voltage cutoff at 11.2 VDC with a two-minute delay before shutting down the controller. This protects your battery when you are running accessories while the vehicle is not running.
The touchscreen control module is a 3.5-inch LED backlit TFT LCD screen with a 320 x 240 resolution with 16.7m colors and a 180-degree viewing angle housed in a billet aluminum case. You can customize up to 3 lines of text and each switch is programmable for dimming, strobe, flash, momentary, switch linking and on-road and off-road modes of operation. It also provides voltage feedback of the vehicle’s battery/alternator voltage and feedback of the controller’s board temperature. The control module will power down after ten minutes of inactivity, automatically shut down when the touchscreen is unplugged and there is a one-touch screen off function and a one second hold on/off button that shuts down all circuits.
Our next step was to see if this sPOD controller was as easy to install as we thought it would be. Every time we install something on the Roadfly Black Bear Jeep there always seems to be something that takes longer then it should, whether its because the instructions aren’t clear or because we screw something up. We didn’t see how we could screw up the sPOD installation – it looked pretty simple. We’ll find out soon enough as we are hoping to install it just about as soon as we get it out of the box.