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I have this switch under the dash.

high beam

It might be good if it were mounted on the floor somewhere, but it isn't, so it's awkward to use. There is no room in my Spyder on the floor for it anyway. I want to replace it with a toggle. Without going into a yoga pose, and getting under the dash to trace the wires, those wires look pretty beefy. I'm guessing whatever switch I use, it must be able to take some juice.

So, what would I use?



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  • high beam
Original Post


If you want to use relays to control the high/low beams, as Danny suggests, you'll need only one relay - a single-pole, double-throw (SPDT). Double-throw relays have five contacts. The ones with only four contacts are 'single-throw'. Just make sure you use a 40-amp relay so it's better able to handle the power for both headlights.

The little switch that you mount in/under the dash to control the relay need only be single pole, single throw (SPST). And since it controls only the relay, it doesn't need to be rated for heavy current.

When the dash switch is 'off', the relay is 'off', too, and the relay routes the power to the low beams. When the dash switch is 'on', so is the relay, and it routes power to the high beams.

You turn the lights completely off with whatever switch you're using for that now.




@edsnova  I noticed from the get go, that you moved your foot pedals to the right on your car. Mine are all to the left of center and I made a passenger foot rest from center on. I also have some big dogs, so real-estate is limited. I have to run bare footed or socked on my right foot to avoid that scrotal bump that you removed in yours. I will be removing mine when I redo my gas tank at some time.

@DannyP and @Sacto Mitch I like the relay idea, which one depends on what I can get. I'll check with our local Napa. The power coming in at the center of my current switch runs through a relay now. I do have a problem with my low beams being pretty dim, so I always run with the brights on at night pissing the world off at yet another level. I need to do some digging. The wires going to the lights are pretty beefy and I'm running H4 bulbs.

Seduction did a fairly good job with the wiring as far as it's fairly neat and protected where it needs to be, BUT, there were a few flaws that were promptly taken care of, so there might be one more. Who knows.

ABT, always be tweaking.


Carlos, it sounded like your lights were working OK and you wanted to mess with wiring as little as possible, so I offered a pretty simple solution.

If your lights are dim, you can fix that with relays, too, but there's more work to do.

With lights that draw a lot of current (like the old sealed beams and H4's), you need to run new heavy gauge wire from the battery directly to the lights and keep the wire runs as short as possible.

These new circuits are controlled by relays, and your old wiring is used to control the relays.

If you want to do that, then Danny's solution (with the two relays) is the way to go.

If this all sounds too confusing, let us know and we can talk you through it. I did this on my Speedster, and the lights are about twice as bright as before.


VW dimmer relay 111941583 should do the trick.  Bring power in on #56, jumper that same lead to #30, power out to low beams on 56a (or b) power to the high beams on the other #56(a/b) and run a momentary switch that is grounded on one lug and connected to terminal "S" form the other.  The momentary switch is now your dimmer toggle between hi/lo and everything else functions as per normal...

Thanks Carey I thought I would get a picture and a link for your suggestion.


FYI, The 12 Volt 5 Prong Headlight Relay can be used in 1967 and later model VW Beetles, Super Beetles, Karmann Ghias, Type 2 Bus Models, Type 3s and Things. The 5 prong headlight relay has a 30 terminal that 4 prong headlight relays do not have. Power must be supplied to the 30 terminal (either from the fuse box or with a jumper from the 56 wire) for the headlight relay to work. See the Tech Tips Tab for more wiring information.


Tech tip from the site:

The wiring terminal designations for the VW Headlight Relay is:

56 - Power from the Headlight Switch
56a - Power to the High Beam Terminal on the Fuse Box
56b or "F" - Power to the Low Beam Terminal on the Fuse Box
30 - Power from 56 terminal
S - Momentary Ground from Turn Signal Switch

VW Factory Color Codes:
56 - White with Black Stripe
56a - White
56b or "F" - Yellow
S - Brown with White Stripe
30 - Red

The relay MUST HAVE POWER to the #30 terminal to operate. If your wiring does not have a power wire to the #30 terminal a "jumper" wire can be run from the #56 terminal to the #30 terminal.


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  • mceclip0
  • mceclip0
Last edited by IaM-Ray

20200207_220951Gordon, that relay latches electrically with the diode that is shown in Ray's picture of the relay schematic.

Carey's(and Leon's) idea is most probably your best bet. 

Carlos, I know you like to fabricate. I got the smallest momentary pushbutton switch I could find, and machined a couple pieces on my friend's lathe. The stainless tube allowed 2 skinny wires(RC servo wire) to go through and connect it. Cheers!


Images (1)
  • 20200207_220951
Last edited by DannyP

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