Rear Light Bar Pro8 Switch Panel – Switch Pro Alternative For the 5th Generation Toyota 4Runner
When you first begin to buy aftermarket accessories for your 4Runner, the switches and fuses work great. Sadly, that effectiveness doesn’t last long with the more accessories you add. Quickly wires become a tangled mess and fuse blocks coat the walls of the engine bay. Not to mention the fact that every time you add a new accessory you have to find a way through the firewall to reach the cabin. To say that wiring multiple accessories can be difficult is an understatement. Unless you have professional wiring skills, keeping everything tidy is a challenge.
A super easy and effective way to declutter your accessory wiring is with switch panels. Switch panels utilize a fuse block tray where all of the accessory wires come together. Then a single wire runs from the engine bay to the cabin, where a panel of switches is located. Switch panels will drastically improve your wiring because all of the fuses are in one place and you won’t have to wire switches to the cabin ever again.
For those just starting their build, a switch panel won’t seem like a necessity, but once the light bars, ditch lights, chase lights, rock lights, and air compressors start to add up it will start to make sense.
There are many switch panels to consider such as the infamous Switch-Pros Sp 9100 and the sPOD BantamX before purchasing, but I decided on the Rear Light Bar (RLB) Pro8 Switch Panel for its budget-friendliness and RLB’s reputation for impressive products. Someone wrote a review of the Pro8 Switch panel over on TrailTacoma.com a while back and because of that review, I choose to go with this switch over the others.
Find It Online
- Rear Light Bar (RLB) Pro8 Switch Panel – Check Price
The new Pro8 Switch Panel from RLB is an exceptionally built panel that has been designed to handle most accessories you can throw at it.
The Pro8 is water-proof and dust-proof, so it can handle any terrain or weather that you want to put it through. The module consists of eight 30 amp circuits (amps can be swapped for lower ones to match accessories).
Finally, the panel can either be wired directly to the battery or activated by the ignition (always hot vs. only on when the car is on).
Memory Settings & Mounting Options
The switch panel itself is made up of eight user-selectable, programmable switches.
Rear Light Bar provides a massive switch legend that allows you to decide what switch cover best matches your accessories. One of the more impressive and unique options of this switch is that they offer 4 mounting options: flush mount (adhesive or screws), panel mount, Ram Mount tube mount (more for ATVs), and the Ram Mount surface mount. Rear Light Bar makes it really easy to find a mounting position that works best for your rig.
Just like other switches, this switch can be programmed to a number of settings: momentary (on/off), blinker, flash, or strobe.
Pro8 Memory Function
This switch features one function that not many others have, and that’s their memory function. This functionality allows you to turn all of the accessories turned on… off all at once. This is great if you want to turn on/off any number of lights at once. For example; let’s say you want all 8 switch relays to come on at once. You can turn all 8 relays on, then set this as your “memory” function. Then when hitting your memory switch again you turn on/off all 8 relays at once. You have the option to set this to any number of relays. This is an amazing feature that not many other switch panels have.
The buttons on the panel have an adjustable brightness as well as 4 backlight options; white, blue, green, and red. Lastly, the buttons are covered by a waterproof polycarbonate overlay faceplate (very similar to a Switch-Pros), so wet or dirty hands have no chance of messing up your panel.
Open Platform with Fuses & Relays
It’s not proprietary like the SwitchPro which means it’s much easier to service for scalability.
One of the best features of this panel is that it is 100% serviceable, so all of the fuses and relays can be replaced. This made purchasing the panel that much easier because I know that if something happens to a fuse I don’t have to buy a new panel, instead, I’ll just replace the damaged fuse.
Pro8 vs. The Competition
In my opinion, the Pro8 is the most cost-effective and high-quality switch panel on the market. However, it is important to consider the rest of the field.
The most inexpensive way to go is a DIY Switch Panel. The Switch Panel Brenan made cost just $97 (however, you need tools and lots of materials) compared to the $330 price point of the Pro8. If you don’t have the expertise or know-how, DIY can be a rough way to go and you’ll end up spending a lot more money than you originally plan. Making a switch panel yourself and saving some extra cash is not a bad option, but the hassle and time required to make one yourself will probably outweigh the slightly higher cost for most.
Switch-Pros or sPOD
On the other hand, there are the Switch-Pros and sPOD’s. For reference, an 8 Switch Panel Power System from Switch PROS costs $600. These two brands are the most renowned and battle-tested options on the market, but with that comes a hefty cost. If you want to see one of these go check out this article by Max on the Switch-Pros 9100 or the new BantamX by sPOD.
There are also some super cheap switch panels out there like the 8-gang Switch Panel from Auxbeam for $150 which is more like a DIY kit. After looking into these the reviews were extremely polar. Some people loved them and other people hated them. The last thing I wanted to do was to spend $150+ on something that didn’t work.
Is the Pro8 Perfect?
As you can begin to see, the Pro8 falls in the middle ground. Personally, I don’t have the time or desire to try and build my own switch panel. I also don’t have $600 to spend on a switch panel. That is what makes the Pro8 so brilliant, it combines quality with cost-efficiency. The Pro8 has most of the features that the sPODs and Switch-Pros have, like being waterproof and programable. For me, the Pro8 was the easy choice.
Is it perfect? Maybe not for some. It’s on the large side of switch modules so just keep that in mind when thinking about mounting locations.
The Pro8 is a plug-and-play kit so the install is very straightforward. You should probably set aside a few hours to complete the install. The last thing you want is to run out of time and be left with wires everywhere and a disconnected battery. Use your better judgment.
There is no set install for the Pro8 because it is a universal system, so you can mount the module and panel however it will best suit your needs. I put together a few of my steps below to give you an idea of what you can expect.
Step 1. Disconnect Negative Battery Terminal
It’s always recommended that you remove the negative battery terminal before you begin any electrical installation.
Step 2. Mount Module
I decided to mount the switch on top of my fuse box. Remove the cover of the factory fuse box and set them aside. Set the control module on top of the cover in your desired position.
Once you find your mounting location, take a sharpie and mark the holes where you want to mount the module.
Now that your holes are marked take the 3/16″ drill bit and drill out each of the 4 holes.
Once the holes are drilled take the bolts and nuts provided by RLB to attach the module to the cover. You will need a Phillips Head Screwdriver and a 10mm wrench to tighten the bolts.
After all 4 bolts are tightened you can take place the cover back on the fuse box and snap it back into place.
Step 3. Connect Power to Module
For the moment I have decided to power the module directly to the battery. That way I don’t have to have the ignition on to use my accessories.
Take the large positive cable with the inline fuse and attach it to the positive terminal on the battery. The bolts on the terminal are 10mm.
Step 4. Connect Ground Wire
There is a pair of black and red wires coming from the module. Take the black wire and mount it to the negative terminal of the battery, but DO NOT attach the red wire, that red wire is for the ignition power option. This will run into your cab with a fuse tap.
Step 5. Wire Accessories
Wiring your accessories to the module is very straightforward. First, remove one of the waterproof plugs from the control module. Then take the positive wire and using your wire crimp/strip tool strip the wires. After that, crimp the provided o-ring connectors to the end of the positive wire. Now, unscrew the screw labeled switch 1 with your Phillips head, attach the o-ring, and tighten the screw down again. Your positive wire for your accessory is now complete.
For the ground wire, you need to mount the wire to something metal in the engine bay. I attached some more o-ring connectors to the ends of my ground wires and attached those connectors to a bolt already attached to something in the engine bay. Make sure that the item is metal or the ground will not work.
Once you have wired all of your accessories, you can close the lid of the module. I suggest plugging everything in and testing to make sure that all of your accessories are working properly before you move on.
Step 6. Run Wire Harness Through Firewall
Best way to run wires through the firewall:
Please head over to Brenan’s post on how to run wires through the firewall.
Step 7. Run Wire to Mounting Location
(You can pull the panel above a little by prying the clips but that is not necessary)
Decide where you want to mount your switch panel. For myself, I chose right below the vent to the left of the steering wheel. It is a flat surface so it was great for mounting. Once you have determined your mounting location, mark your hole with a sharpie.
Then drill a hole large enough for the switch harness-end. Instead of using the Dremel to make the hole large I just used a filing tool, the file also gave the hole smoother and cleaner edges. (Some mounting locations might not require the use of drilling but mine did).
Remove the mirror adjustment button with the plastic trim tools, just gently pry from the left or right side. This will give you enough room for your fingers to push the wire through the hole you drilled.
I then fed a piece of string down the hole towards the footwell, knotted the string around the wire, and pulled the string (with wire attached) back towards the hole. I pulled the string through the mirror button and untied the string. Then I reached inside and pushed the wire up through the hole.
Step 8. Mount Ram Mounts
Using the provided self-tapping screws, mount the Ram Mount to the plastic trim (I suggest drilling pilot holes for the screws). And you’re finished!
Now you can pick whatever stickers you want for each of your buttons, adjust the backlights, and most importantly have fun with your new Pro8 Switch Panel.
I just installed my Pro8 today, but I’m already in love with it. It is so nice to have my wiring so neat and organized. The picture above is just how much wiring I was able to get rid of with the new panel (it was insane).
The switches look really nice and I’m really impressed that RLB includes Ram Mounts in their kits, it just made the install so much easier. No other switch on the market comes with optional Ram Mounts.
The control module is waterproof and dustproof and the system is 100% serviceable, so the switch panel will likely outlive my 4Runner. The actual switch panel with the buttons is really next level. The buttons have a firm click and have been very accurate in the throw. Not like some loosey-goosey switch you might buy on Amazon. The button pad really gives you that high-end Switch Pro look and feel without the Switch Pro cost.
It’s really budget-friendly, has all of the high-end quality you need, and it’s backed by a brand you can trust.