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Old 03-03-2005, 10:59 AM   #1
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Using marker lights at a campsite?

We were at Dan Gamel's Camp America in Fresno, CA about 1 month ago. They took an old Super K-Mart and made it in interior showroom for RV's. Unfortunately they are not a new Airstream dealer.

On a lot of the trailerable units, they had the marker lights on while on display. I always thought that would be fun to do at times when we are camping. I looked at their pigtail connector and saw that all they did was put a 15amp blade fuse between two connectors.

I went home and tried it. My pigtail will not hold the fuse by the design of it. I was able to get it to work by holding there but it did get very hot. Is getting hot normal?

The question that I have is if anyone else does this, how do you do it? Have you made up some type of connector with a switch and fuse? If so, please let me know.

As an aside, the Camp America did have an Airstream for sale. It is a 34' 1997 Classic. They are asking $39K. Call 559-285-0731 and ask for Raymond. Or you can message me and I can do some legwork for you.
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Old 03-03-2005, 11:18 AM   #2
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I don't think it's normal for your wire connection to get hot (provably wired wrong).
But I do think that it is a great idea! Sort of night lights outside. I will be waiting for the electrical expert to step-up and tell us how to do it.
Ernie
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Old 03-03-2005, 12:28 PM   #3
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We use a heavy duty flasher in ours....disco ball optional I also have a 15amp fuse in a holder with pigtails on it that will fit most plugs

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Old 03-03-2005, 12:39 PM   #4
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Easy to do

I used a tow vehicle 7 contact connector (bought at Wal-mart) and installed a 12 guage copper wire from the 12V contact (which is parralleled between tow vehicle and coach batteries) to the coach marker lights contact. I believe this is the contacts a the four oclock and six oclock position ( I may be wrong, use your volt meter to determine correct contacts)
Switch and flasher are optional and they both will fit the tow vehicle connector.
You will have to drill the connector housing to accomodate the switch. The flasher (and fuse if you choose) resides inside of the connector housing,( Wired between contacts).

When all wired up, simply plug the new connector onto the trailer pigtail (tow wiring harness)connector. Disco lives!
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Old 03-03-2005, 02:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smily
I used a tow vehicle 7 contact connector (bought at Wal-mart) and installed a 12 guage copper wire from the 12V contact (which is parralleled between tow vehicle and coach batteries) to the coach marker lights contact. I believe this is the contacts a the four oclock and six oclock position ( I may be wrong, use your volt meter to determine correct contacts)
Switch and flasher are optional and they both will fit the tow vehicle connector.
You will have to drill the connector housing to accomodate the switch. The flasher (and fuse if you choose) resides inside of the connector housing,( Wired between contacts).

When all wired up, simply plug the new connector onto the trailer pigtail (tow wiring harness)connector. Disco lives!
Will that work for a 9 pin? Do you need an extra power source (battery)?
Sounds interesting, now I won't be able to stop thinking of this till I figure it out!
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Old 03-03-2005, 02:17 PM   #6
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Yup

Works on 9 pin. You already have battery, three to be exact (typically) One in tow vehicle, two trailer batteries.


The tow vehicle battery is connected in parrallel to the coach batteries via the connector (s). The connector on your vehicle has twelve volts running to it from the vehicle battery and this connects to the trailer batteries via the trailer connector.

Simply put, you are connecting the trailer battery(s) to the marker lights. Just as you would connect the car (12 volt running lights) to the trailer. You are looping back the trailer batteries to the marker lights.

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Old 03-03-2005, 03:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smily
Works on 9 pin. You already have battery, three to be exact (typically) One in tow vehicle, two trailer batteries.


The tow vehicle battery is connected in parrallel to the coach batteries via the connector (s). The connector on your vehicle has twelve volts running to it from the vehicle battery and this connects to the trailer batteries via the trailer connector.

Simply put, you are connecting the trailer battery(s) to the marker lights. Just as you would connect the car (12 volt running lights) to the trailer. You are looping back the trailer batteries to the marker lights.

Smily
Gotcha, I do not want to be connecter to the tow vehicle. Can you offer a diagram, I'm better with pictures
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Old 03-03-2005, 06:34 PM   #8
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I agree a diagram or schematic is better for those of us who are not too electricaly inclyned. Does this set-up draw your batteries down? Is there a way to run them thru the converter when you are hooked up to shore power? Thanks.
Ernie
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Old 03-04-2005, 07:02 AM   #9
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Dazed and confused

Okay, my bad. I should never have mentioned tow vehicle battery. The only reason I referenced the tow vehicle battery is to indicate that you are essentially replacing the 12 volt circuit that feeds the marker lights with the battery that is in your coach.

YES, this will run your batteries down if you are not connected to shore power. Your batteries are always being charged (unless you have cutout switch installed ) when plugged into the shore power. And yes, this circuit is connected directly to the converter via the fuse panel as most Airstreams are wired this way (in parrallel to the Tow vehicle battery, The trailer battery and the converter)

When complete, you are not hooked up to the tow vehicle.

Using volt meter, find the twelve volts + and - contacts on your trailer connector.

(On the trailer connector)When you identify the the contacts mark them with permanent marker. Now use small piece of copper wire and make jumper. Plug jumper into the identified 12 volts + and touch to each contact other than the ground or - that you identified and marked earlier and you will see each light light up as you touch each contact.
You have a contact for Brake light and the electric brakes, (you should hear the brakes when contact is made).
You have a contact for right turn signal
You have a contact for left turn signal,
You have a contact for reverse lights,
and you have a contact for running lights, (the one you are looking for).

When you "bridge" the 12 + contact and the running lights contact with the copper jumper you have achieved your goal.

Now you can make easy to use connector now that you have identifed the correct contacts.
Simply buy the Tow vehicle connector at any auto store or Wal-mart and install a permanent jumper between the two contacts that mate to the contacts identified above.
Plug it in and you have marker / running lights powered by you trailer battery.
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Old 03-04-2005, 07:44 AM   #10
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Getting back to a couple of earlier questions: Wiring it like Ken says does not need a fuse since the marker lites should be fused inside the trailer.(Better check!) The heat mentioned earlier is due to the tiny area of contact when holding the fuse to the connector. All the current had to go thru a small spot and it got warm. When you use Ken's connector idea, the surfaces that the current flows thru are much larger, so no heat should be generated. If it still gets hot, that suggests broken wire filaments in the trailer connector that need to be repaired. Now, about that disco ball................
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Old 03-04-2005, 08:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sander17
Getting back to a couple of earlier questions:....All the current had to go thru a small spot and it got warm.....If it still gets hot, that suggests broken wire filaments in the trailer connector that need to be repaired................
FWIW....

The PO had made a pigtail for the '78 Sovereign to mate up to his Ford Flat Bed Dually - I wasted most of the morning working in the rain in a Mega Lo Mart parking lot trying to get the trailer's lights to work....finally gave up (I was able to get the running lights operational) and hooked up the temporary magnetic lights I had brought along as a backup - good thing the "bumper compartment" has some horizontal steel faces at either end.

Once I had time to delve into the problem I found that when making the pigtail the PO had tightened all the way down on the trailer side wire retainer - shorting three of the seven wires to ground - no wonder I was scratching what left of my hair in befuddlement.

I was using some 18 gauge wire as a "fusible link" from the battery to the trailer when I was trouble shooting the system - had some pyrotechniks going due to the three wires shorted to ground - copper and plastic insulation do indeed create some interesting colors when heated sufficiently.
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Old 03-04-2005, 08:37 AM   #12
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Excellent! Thanks, now I can sleep nights. Will definatly be taking advantage of the info! Ya gotta dare to be different :O)
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Old 03-04-2005, 09:21 AM   #13
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seems like this would also be a "neighbor-friendly" way of finding your trailer at night. If you're away from your campsite in the evening, leaving the "scare" and/or porch lights on really throws alot of light...enough to annoy a close-by neighbor...especially the "scare" light, which is always aimed right into the neighbors living room window. the more gentle glow of the marker lights would mark your path for you at night, with much less annoy-factor.
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Old 03-04-2005, 09:25 AM   #14
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Another idea along the same lines----I did a similar thing to charge my coach batterys. I took an extra 7 pin TV connector and 2 short pieces of 10 guage wire, to make a connection for my battery charger so I don't have to slide the batterys out of their boxes or remove a battery box lid to connect with batterys. My extra TV connector has 2 wires coming from the rear , one red going to Battery 12v plus and a black one to ground. They are slightly different length so they can't short circuit together and have a ball of solder on the ends to make better connection it the charger clamps. When I charge my batterys I simply plug my trailer connector to this one and hook the battery charger to the exposed pigtails. After reading this post I think it would be simple to add a jumper and switch and have both .
Pieman
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