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Let's talk secondary fuse panels


Elite Explorer
May 29, 2014
Reaction score
City, State
Colorado Springs, CO
Year, Model & Trim Level
1993 Explorer Sport
My plans for me Ex have been to add more lighting as well as other electrical equipment eventually. So I've been wanting to add a secondary fuse panel to avoid having all the wires go to the battery with a bunch of inline fuses.

This is the panel I've been looking at. I like this style because everything can be powered by the panel and grounded to the panel.


Any one have experience with these? Are they good quality?

Now to me wiring is pretty easy and I have no issue doing it, but I still need some advice and ideas.

First of all, I'm trying to decide if I should get the 6 circuit panel or if I should go for a 12 circuit or the split 12 circuit. I know I'll eventually be adding at least 2 more sets of lights (may add more), either air lockers with on board air or e-lockers, a fridge, and possibly some other things. (I know eventually I'll need to upgrade to a bigger alternator and possibly a second battery, but that's later on)

The 6 circuit would be a good starting point and be cheaper at the moment, but I may have to get a bigger one later on.
The 12 circuit would be more than enough for what I need at the moment, but it would prevent me from having to upgrade later.
The split 12 circuit would allow me to run certain accessories on constant power and certain ones on switched power. Which may be complete overkill now, but could be very beneficial later. Also where should I pull the switched power from?

So would you start small and upgrade as needed or just go ahead and get the bigger one so that way you'll never have to upgrade?

Also, should I use and inline fuse or circuit breaker? I'm leaning towards circuit breaker because it seems like better protection and allows me to completely isolate the secondary fuse panel. What would be a good circuit breaker to use?

Where did you mount your secondary fuse panel? Under the hood or inside the cab? I need some ideas on this because I want it to be easily accessible and somewhat easy to wire up. Pics of your mounting locations would be awesome.

Any advice is much appreciated.

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I looked at that fuse panel and ended up going with a different one to save a few bucks. Hind sight I wish I would have gone with the 12 circuit Blue sea panel. If I remember right the cost difference between the 6 and 12 was like $10 when I was looking. I was able to mount mine under the hood. on the driver side as seen in the picture. In the cab might have been better and saved a little wire length but it is already tight enough in a standard cab. It has worked well for the last year with no issues. I have 8 fuses and I think I have one empty at the moment.

20150729_190255 by Matthew Dresselhaus, on Flickr

On my trail Explorer I have it mounted on the driver side fender


On my other Explorer I have a 2nd battery above the rear diff so I put my fuseblock centered under the back seat.



I'm not a fan of the fuse blocks with a ground buss. That just means you have to run a full length ground wire to the fuse block as well as the positive lead. I like to ground closer to the accessory. You cant go wrong with blue sea stuff, it is good quality. I would probably go for at least an 8 way block. My 6 way is saturated in my overlander Explorer with GPS, radios, fridge and power outlets.

Thanks for your replies guys! Given me good ideas already

I'm maybe thinking of mounting my fuse panel inside of my custom center console.

Couple possible problems I see with this idea is that I would have to run a lot of wires into and out of the console and I feel like this could cause excessive electrical interference on my CB. Thoughts?
Plus I'm not totally sure a fuse panel could fit inside (depending on the panel I decide to get) The area I have to work with is 7" wide x 8-9" long x 3" deep.

I'm still going back and forth on inline fuse vs. circuit breaker. I know I could just use an inline fuse for an amplifier install. A circuit breaker just sounds like a better option. Can anybody recommend a good circuit breaker to use? How many amps?

I got a junk yard fuse panel out of a Kia. I wanted something that would flush mount to the inner fender. It has 18 slots and I have used most of them.

Here's what I ended up doing.

After figuring out where to put the fuse panel (inside passenger fender near blower box) I took some measurements and found that the 12 circuit with the ground bus would not fit. So I got a 12 circuit panel with no ground bus.

The fuse panel is wired to the battery through a 100 amp circuit breaker. I figured that since the panel is rated at a max of 100 amps the circuit breaker should be at that max. The breaker will protect the circuit and allow me to completely isolate the circuit with out disconnecting power to the rest of the Ex.

I did still want a ground bus under the hood. I don't necessarily have to ground every accessory to it, but I like having a place to ground many accessory to and having it near the fuse panel.

I'm pretty happy with how the set up turned out. So far I have two sets of lights wired to the panel.

I've used a couple of these: https://www.amazon.com/Dorman-85668...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=08HN019Z4XDXC4Q18S7X
One for constant, one for Ignition only power. I like that it's a crimp connection directly to whatever accessory I want to power, instead of having to crimp on an eylet. Also, I've got my two blocks clipped to each other, as well as one of the matching relay holders that clip onto the side.

I think I might eventually re-wire everything into one of these though: https://www.amazon.com/MicTuning-12...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=08HN019Z4XDXC4Q18S7X
Just to have a more finished look. right now though, I just don't want to spend all the effort.

If your worried about noise you can put your harnesses through a ferrite choke when you figure out your wiring.

while I don't know if they are available anymore or not. But I used a fuse block from Wrangler power products. They offered through and ganged blocks up to 12 fuse. 6 on each side of the power input. used it in my Car audio systems.