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Old 10-17-2005, 08:01 PM   #1
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Running light question

I have rewired my rear trailer lights (brake, turn, running) the way they were when I found it (at least according to my notes, scribbled on a little pad, later found in a pile of detritus). My trailer is a 62 and has the single red wedding cake style lights on the rear.

My question: should the brake lights or the turn signals be brighter? Right now the turn signals are quite bright, the brakes are dimmer, it seems like it should be the other way 'round.

Put another way, the tail-lights have two bulbs: the smaller bulb is for running lights. The other bulb has two filaments, big and little. Should the big filament be for the brakes or turn signals?


Thanks for any help with what I imagine is a answer I should already know!

Carlos
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Old 10-17-2005, 08:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcferguson
I have rewired my rear trailer lights (brake, turn, running) the way they were when I found it (at least according to my notes, scribbled on a little pad, later found in a pile of detritus). My trailer is a 62 and has the single red wedding cake style lights on the rear.

My question: should the brake lights or the turn signals be brighter? Right now the turn signals are quite bright, the brakes are dimmer, it seems like it should be the other way 'round.

Put another way, the tail-lights have two bulbs: the smaller bulb is for running lights. The other bulb has two filaments, big and little. Should the big filament be for the brakes or turn signals?


Thanks for any help with what I imagine is a answer I should already know!

Carlos
Carlos,
I was struggling with the same issue. Plus it was difficult in my area to find dual filament bulbs with a parallel locator pin configuration.
I ended up putting a 10W taillight in one socket, and a 21W brake light bulb in teh second socket, the one with the 2 leads.
Now I have a nice bright taillight, and a very snappy turnsignal/brake light.
The single filament brake lamp does fine with the dual contacts, all you have to do is use one of the wires, or use both of you want. Reconfigure at teh umbilical cord wiring.
Basically, the brake lamp will blink with the turn signal on, as it is with 99% of trailer lights, including later model Airstream trailers.
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Old 10-17-2005, 09:54 PM   #3
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Uwe,

I was thinking along those lines for a bit but couldn't get it to work in my head.

The way I have it set up (copied from original...) is four wires going to the rear end, one for running lights (to sides, tail lights, and plate light), second to brakes (one wire attached to both lights), third and fourth are turn signals.

Setting aside the running lights which would be the 10 watt bulb you wrote about, if I understand correctly you are saying (and I trust this works on your trailer, I just want to understand why) that I could just use one wire on each tail light for both the brakes and turn signals? If I did this, wouldn't there always be a complete circuit of both lights when a brake or turn signal went on? Left turn would send a signal to left light, but this would also be connected to the right light (by the brake wire which goes to both) and so right light would blink too?

I think there is definately something I am missing here.

Thanks,
Carlos
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Old 10-18-2005, 01:25 AM   #4
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Carlos, Your tow-vehicle determines what the trailer lights are going to do. The trailer is just an extension of the tailight wiring on your TV. Now if you have turnsignals that are separate from your brake lights on the rear of your TV you can't wire directly to the trailer. They have a device available that solves the conflict. If your turn signals on your TV use the same light as your brake lights then you can wire directly to the trailer. The turn signal switch in your steering column determines what the wire is used for, brake lights or turn signals. There is a standard color code for the wiring. Not knowing what type of TV you have. There are harnesses available that hook directly into your TV wiring harness. That is the way it is on my 1995 Ford F 250. I have the exact same trailer tailights as you do. I wired mine just as it was originally done. With the small upper bulb for running lights and the smaller filament on the larger bulb for running lights as well. The larger filment is used for both turn signal and brake lights. Again that is determined by your TV and the turn signal switch in your steering column.

I sure hope I didn't add to your confusion. Let me know if this helps or not. Feel free to ask for more info.

Chris
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Old 10-18-2005, 07:58 AM   #5
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ongoing bulbous confusion

Chris, I am pretty sure my bulbs were wired differently - the small bulb was running light, the small filament on the large bulb was brake, the large filament on the large bulb was turn signal.


Uwe, when you say reconfigure at the umbilical, what do you mean?


I think this is the center of my question: if you apply the brakes and the brake lights go on, then hit a turn signal, how does this turn signal/brake work with only one wire/bulb/filament? I have three wires for this purpose going to the tail lights, one for brake, two for turn signals. In this situation, aren't both lights getting power from the brake regardless of the turn signal and so won't flash at all?




Below I have drawings of my current configuration and what I understand to be the "one wire solution" you suggest.

The picture with two bulbs (which represents the two filaments on each bulb) is my current configuration.

Thanks for your help,

Carlos Ferguson
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Old 10-18-2005, 08:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcferguson
Uwe,

I was thinking along those lines for a bit but couldn't get it to work in my head.

The way I have it set up (copied from original...) is four wires going to the rear end, one for running lights (to sides, tail lights, and plate light), second to brakes (one wire attached to both lights), third and fourth are turn signals.

Setting aside the running lights which would be the 10 watt bulb you wrote about, if I understand correctly you are saying (and I trust this works on your trailer, I just want to understand why) that I could just use one wire on each tail light for both the brakes and turn signals?
Yes, exactly. One wire for left, and one wire for right.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcferguson
If I did this, wouldn't there always be a complete circuit of both lights when a brake or turn signal went on? Left turn would send a signal to left light, but this would also be connected to the right light (by the brake wire which goes to both) and so right light would blink too?

I think there is definately something I am missing here.

Thanks,
Carlos
Carlos,

You got the running lights already. That's the same circit that will power the marker lights and license plate light.
The wires that you use now for turn signals will double as brake lights.
Do not connect the brake light wires that come from the front of the trailer. Cap them off and leave them behind the skin. Instead, connect both hot leads from the dual filament socket to the brake/taillight wire that corresponds to left/right. Then use a 21W mono-filament bulb in this socket.
There is a standard, modern 7-way RV wiring, which you should convert to. This standard provides a 3 light circuits.
It has pins for running lights, brake/turnL, brake/turnR, trailer brakes, charge, ground and aux(usually for backup lights) This ensures that your trailer can be towed by any vehicle that has the standard RV wiring. All factory installed tow vehicle connectors are also wired to this standard. In this standard, the brake light always doubles as the turn signal, where when you're stopped with your foot on the brake, and the turn signal on, the brake light on one side will blink as the turn signal, the other side will be on solid. The 7-pin RV plug does not take into consideration the TV separate turn signal wiring.
If you are planning on using a TV with separate brake light/turn signal circuits, then an adapter with a diode is needed to convert the taillights to the RV standard system. This usually comes in a little converter box, available where hitch supplies are sold. I think I might have seen it at walmart recently.
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Old 10-18-2005, 08:09 AM   #7
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Cool drawing! You must be an artist!
Eliminate the brake light wiring on your drawing, and wire it in the umbilical plug to the "new" standard.
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Old 10-18-2005, 08:19 AM   #8
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oKAY! Problem solved. Brakeline begone. Thanks kindly.

C
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Old 10-18-2005, 09:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
There is a standard, modern 7-way RV wiring, which you should convert to. This standard provides a 3 light circuits.
It has pins for running lights, brake/turnL, brake/turnR, trailer brakes, charge, ground and aux(usually for backup lights) This ensures that your trailer can be towed by any vehicle that has the standard RV wiring. All factory installed tow vehicle connectors are also wired to this standard. In this standard, the brake light always doubles as the turn signal, where when you're stopped with your foot on the brake, and the turn signal on, the brake light on one side will blink as the turn signal, the other side will be on solid. The 7-pin RV plug does not take into consideration the TV separate turn signal wiring.
If you are planning on using a TV with separate brake light/turn signal circuits, then an adapter with a diode is needed to convert the taillights to the RV standard system. This usually comes in a little converter box, available where hitch supplies are sold. I think I might have seen it at walmart recently.
Exactly ! Glad ya got it figured out Carlos.
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Old 11-01-2005, 10:07 AM   #10
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Carlos,

The original wiring for the tail-lights used a wire from the Kelsey Hayes brake controller to activate the separate filament in the brake lights.

You can use the 'auxilary' tap on a 7-way plug for this line, if you want to get back to the original look. Usually the auxilary tap is for back-up lights, which don't exist on your trailer.
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