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Old 06-08-2012, 11:26 AM   #1
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1976 Argosy 26
Simsbury , Connecticut
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12v lights

Hi again,

Today I spent the morning with my electrician attempting to get the running, brake lights and turn signals working. The wiring is correct to the distribution strip. When the brake is applied voltage drops to 6 volts to bulb, and if the turn signals are on both will alternate blinking. We ran wires directly to the sockets and problem remained. We also ran the ground wire directly to the strip. Any suggestions.

Thanks, Gary.
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Old 06-08-2012, 11:40 AM   #2
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Sounds like you don't have a return ground. Try running a temporary ground wire from a bare metal spot near the tongue of your trailer to the bumper of your tow vehicle to see the problem is corrected. Not sure about Airstreams, but old utility trailers used to use the trailer ball for the ground return. If you don't have the trailer on the ball, you may not have a good ground for the 12 volts from your tow vehicle.
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:17 PM   #3
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I am not clear as to what you mean by the "distribution strip". If this a new to you Argosy, starting from the harness connection at the tow vehicle, my 74 Argosy came with a 6 prong harness. It fit into the 7 pin on my TV, but because one pin was not used the other 6 did not match correctly as to what wire did what function.
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:30 PM   #4
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the strip is the distribution harness that connects the cord to the camper. However hold tight on the responses because we just discovered the plug to be wired incorrectly. Phoenix my be right because the ground was in the wrong spot.
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:40 PM   #5
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You have a wiring incompatibility between the tow vehicle and the trailer. Modern vehicles have separate bulbs (or filaments) for turn and brake. Older units used the brake filament for the turn signal. they make an adapter to get around this. Look at this example: Universal Trailer Wiring Kit for Vehicles with Common Bulb Turn Signals & Brake Lights. Another way is to add separate bulbs for the turn signal, but that entails running two wires and rewiring the connector.
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Old 06-08-2012, 12:59 PM   #6
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thanks for the quick responses! the camper is now working correctly. The ground was wrong in the plug.

Thanks, Gary.
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Old 06-08-2012, 01:01 PM   #7
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I don't know what "distribution strip" means either. My trailer has a 7-way connection point on the trailer that the umbilical cord plugs into. My cord has a plug on both ends and is reversible. My tow vehicle has a 7-way connection point. All 7 wires are used.

My trucks 7-way connectors are wired to standard 7-way profile. I test all of the three components with a 7-way tester that I got at the auto store for about $10.



I wire the trailer to agree with the 7-way tester. I wire the cord to agree with the standard 7-way profile at both ends. I ignore all wire colors and only wire to function. Standard 7-way profile is based on function, not wire color. My tools are the 7-way tester, a 12 volt jumper light, and a small 12 volt battery charger.



I test the tow vehicle with the 7-way tester to be sure it's right. Then I use the 7-way tester to test the trailer 7-way connection point, and to test the removed cord . . . all separately. When everything tests okay, then I plug the tow vehicle into the trailer. I do not have to hitch with the ball hitch to test the lights, there's a common ground.

I didn't like the trailer ground setup so I brought all the ground leads together, fluxed them with paste flux like I was going to solder a copper pipe, and soldered them and the new #10 ground lead together with my map gas torch. Then I soldered a copper battery cable eye end to the new lead, sanded the skin and screwed the new lead to the trailer skin.

When I tested my system I had two wires reversed on the removable end of the umbilical cord.

There's one thing to watch for when looking at function and wires. The tow vehicle brakes and the brake lights look a lot the same until those are isolated and objectively tested. Towing would not be a good way to test those.

Edit: Glad you got it fixed. I'll leave the post up for others.

`
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Old 06-08-2012, 04:59 PM   #8
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this is the panel i'm talking about.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:01 PM   #9
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sorry, no pic last post
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:12 PM   #10
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That's a nice terminal block. My trailer had something similar but fused. The previous owner removed it when he removed the break away switch connections.
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Old 06-08-2012, 05:19 PM   #11
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Lots of variations depending on the year of trailer. My 1975 has a 7 round pin small plug on the trailer. The truck uses the standard 7 pin larger blade type. I have 5 and 6 pin on some older trailers. No telling what some PO might have done either.

But glad to see you got it worked out.

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Old 06-08-2012, 05:30 PM   #12
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I have three other trailers. I converted them all over to standard 7-way connections. I checked on new tow vehicles and a large local trailer manufacturer and they all used the same 7-way connection. That matched the one I already had on my Yukon and on my Airstream.
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