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Old 08-29-2012, 12:05 AM   #1
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12 volt wiring question

Hi everyone, question from Australia regarding the trailer to car connection.
I have the wiring diagram out of the 1970 airstream service manual of the 7 pin US connector, which gives me :
- B (ground)
- C Right Turn and stop
- D Running lights
- E Left turn
- F Brake
- G Reversing ?
- H 12v + charge line

I have 2 questions :
in Australia the brakelights and indicators are different lights, how does it work on American vehicles, as I see that right turn and stop are 1 wire ? same for left turn and stop?
The F cable, this is for the electric brake controller connection?

Thanks.
Erik

PS Trailer is sitting at the Sydney wharf, haven't seen it yet, but need to prepare for electrical connection.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:47 AM   #2
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My first question would be. Are you required to have separate turn signal and brake lights on the trailer? If not and you have separate turn signals on your TV. You can purchase a module that will combine the brake light and turn signals from your TV into turn signal and brake lights using the same bulb on the trailer. The modules are available in well stocked auto parts stores here in the U.S. Don't know what the availability would be down under.
If you are required to have separate brake and turn signal lights on the trailer. Additional wiring and lights will be required from what I can see. If you don't have backup lights or don't use them on the trailer, you can use the original turn signal/brake fixtures and wiring on the trailer as the turn signals, then use the backup light wire for the brake lights. This would require some rewire of the UCord plug. Which will probably be necessary in any event because the older trailers were not wired the same as today's TV's.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:50 AM   #3
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Most US cars and trucks use a single brake and turn single lamp, which is why the the indicator and brake lights on the trailer use the same single conductor. What you need is a converter to change your separate turn indicator and brake lights into a single conductor for the trailer. Here's a link to some so you can see what I'm talking about:

Trailer Hitch 3 Wire System Universal Wiring | etrailer.com

The converters are used here in the US whenever the tow vehicle has separate turn and brake lights.

The F (brake) wire is indeed for the electric brake controller to control the trailer's electric brakes.

One additional note: Since you have a '75, it's umbilical cord wiring is probably not the current US standard, unless a PO re-wired the connector or installed a new connector on the umbilical cord. This web page shows how things are wired for the current US standard: Trailer Wiring Diagrams | etrailer.com
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:51 AM   #4
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Yes you guessed right.

A common problem encountered with the electrical connections between a vintage trailer and tow vehicle is the connections may not match. In other words the trailer plug and tow vehicle plug may have different configurations. Another, more perplexing problem is if a previous owner changed the wiring configuration to something you have to decode. Either way you will have to do a little rewiring. New trailers should have a standardized configuration. If you are lucky the trailer is wired to match your tow vehicle. You might consider a set of tow lights you know will work with your tow vehicle so you can tow it home. Of course, that won't give you trailer brakes.
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Old 08-29-2012, 05:38 PM   #5
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thank you guys, yes Australia has separate bulbs for brake and for turn signals (in cars and trailers), so we really need 1 wire for left turn, 1 wire for right turn, 1 wire for brake light and 1 wire for tail lights.
So am I right to assume that when you guys hit the brakes and do a left turn, your left indicator blinks and the right indicator is solid on? Didnt know that, or am I missing something? The idea of using the reversing is probably the only way, I hope that wire goes all the way at the back in my 1970 sovereign.
I'll have a look at trailer as well ....
Thanks.
Erik
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:22 PM   #6
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You are correct on how the brake and turn signals work here in the U.S.
The back up light wiring should go to the back if the trailer had the backup light option.
The tail lights are part of the marker/clearance light circuit so that will exist.
If you have backup lights on the trailer, you may be able to change the lens colour if they are individual lenses, to have them function as brake lights.
Are your turn signal lenses red or amber on the TV?
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewaegeman
... So am I right to assume that when you guys hit the brakes and do a left turn, your left indicator blinks and the right indicator is solid on?
Yes, that's exactly how they work here. If there is a center brake light, it also comes on solid. The turn signal switch isolates the selected side from the brake circuit. As others have mentioned, a correctly wired adapter effectively converts those cars that have separate brake and turn signal lamps to allow proper operation on a trailer that has the combined brake/turn lamps. If your laws require discreet brake and turn signals so that both brake lamps come on separate from a flashing turn signal, using the backup lamp circuit and replacing the clear lenses with red is probably the easiest way to accomplish this.

Most vehicles will have no problem providing sufficient current to supply the 2 additional brake lamps. Some cars may need a heavy duty flasher for the extra turn signals if they blink too fast with the extra bulbs, but most will be just fine with the stock flasher.

You will be giving up backup lamps on the trailer with this solution. Are there any regulations down-under that require backup lamps on the trailer?
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:35 PM   #8
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Thank you for this ..... yes in Australia, the brake lights are 21 watt bulb with red lens, the indicators are 21 watt with amber lens. So what colour are the lenses in the US ?
I looked at trailer and saw these convertors .... but if I dont think I can use them, it wont be Australian compliant as we need 2 brake lights at the back in red separate from the indicator lights which are amber. So how are european or japanese import cars over there, I know Europe has the same as Australia regarding brake and indicators .....
Erik
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:08 PM   #9
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As is probably the case anywhere, the brake lights are red. The rear turn signals can be red or amber. Most of the cars imported from Asia or Europe have the separate brake and turn lamps, many but not all domestic cars have the combined lamps. I had a E-150 Ford van with amber turn signals and a Honda with red, so there's no one answer. The trailers follow the old standard with combined lamps, maybe due in part to the 7-wire connector that is the de facto standard here. Since the current laws don't require a brake lamp on both sides with a turn signal on, there is nothing to drive the industry to change this.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:30 AM   #10
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If you decide to use the backup lights as turn indicators, you can probably just replace the clear bulb with an amber bulb to get amber turn indicators. The backup lenses on the trailer are clear.
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