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Old 04-02-2015, 12:40 PM   #21
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1985 31' Sovereign
Lovettsville , Virginia
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FullStop View Post
I'm starting completely from scratch, so I'm not really constrained by what was original to the trailer. Currently I'm looking at six yellow running lights on each side (upper and lower near front, middle, and back), two brake lights, license plate light, and a few LED lamps for back up lights (one in each wheel well, and two on the back bumper). I'm new to this, so I appreciate all of the feedback!
Seems like a neat idea. With consideration to wiring: yes it is possible to wire up your lights this way, however depending on how it's done, might not be completely legal. Regarding what was mentioned earlier about probable cause to stop you etc; I'll clear that up.

Different states have different laws regarding defective/inoperable/improper equipment. Unless you're familiar with them all, you could inadvertently break a law. (There's the disclaimer) According to the state laws I'm familiar with, and have enforced, an officer needs only reasonable suspicion to believe a law has been, is being, or is about to be broken before initiating a traffic stop. Recent SCOTUS case law has deemed that even if an officer was mistaken about a law, but initiated a stop and wrote a ticket in good faith, that the stop would still be legal even if the ticket were thrown out, thus any evidence gained as a result of that stop, would be admissible as evidence for any other charges (e.g., if you also got a ticket for not wearing your seatbelt, which is a secondary offense where I'm from.) I digress... anyway, you're always at risk for being pulled over, its just a question of how much attention you draw to yourself and whether or not an officer believes you might be braking a law.

My suggestions:
Depending on the style of light, even an LED, you can get side amber marker lights that also function (on a separate circuit) as a turn signal. Its a dual funtion light. In that case, I would only do the lower lights in that configuration, or only the lower middle light.

If you use the exact same style of lights, you could leave the lower middle side marker light wired to only work with the turn signals, and it would not function as a normal marker light. As long as it functions as it is intended, and not inoperable, it would not be deffective/inoperable equipment and would therefore not be a violation. With the effectivness of LEDs these days, I would think only one light on each side, funtioning as a turn signal, would be sufficient to accomplish your goal.

Just my thoughts. Hope it helps, and good luck with your project!
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:21 AM   #22
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1965 26' Overlander
Edmonds , Washington
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85 Sovereign,

I think the idea of making just the middle lower lights flash makes sense. Maybe I'll do that and just leave the splices into the turn signal wires somewhere I can access them, in case I want to switch them back over in the future.

Thank you all for your input. I'm have a lot more questions over this process.
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Old 04-06-2015, 05:12 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85 Sovereign View Post
Depending on the style of light, even an LED, you can get side amber marker lights that also function (on a separate circuit) as a turn signal. Its a dual funtion light. In that case, I would only do the lower lights in that configuration, or only the lower middle light.

If you use the exact same style of lights, you could leave the lower middle side marker light wired to only work with the turn signals, and it would not function as a normal marker light. As long as it functions as it is intended, and not inoperable, it would not be deffective/inoperable equipment and would therefore not be a violation. With the effectivness of LEDs these days, I would think only one light on each side, funtioning as a turn signal, would be sufficient to accomplish your goal.
I was thinking about this thread yesterday as I was pulling the Airstream in heavy traffic on I-95 in Virginia, changing lanes from time to time. It'd be nice to have that side amber marker light blink with the turn signals exactly how you described. It doesn't take much to get someone's attention with a blinking light. Even if it is illegal, I can't believe it would attract a cop's attention enough to make them want to pull someone over for it.
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Old 04-06-2015, 06:12 AM   #24
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1976 31' Sovereign
Springfield , South Carolina
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The object of the game is to be seen, not be hit and not be given a ticket.

The more lights you have the more you are likely to get a ticket because lights are subject to vibration failure, fuse failure, wiring separation etc and some cops love to stop folks with lights out as it makes money for their town/county etc. You can get a ticket for every light you have out.

If you are going to do anything first be sure what you are wiring up is DOT approved and these are the most visable side marker/turn lights I have run up on and they are like 8.00 each and wire into rear turn signal and tail lights.

Truck-Lite - Catalog Product : 22 Series Side Turn Rectangular Sealed

The rear on the side at the rear can be red, all other lights forward on trailer need to be yellow. I first saw the above lights on a 18 wheeler that passed us coming from Vermont and I could see him coming and at one point after he passed I could pick it rig out at two miles in front and see him signaling to change lanes.

I really wanted to put these on my Sovereign but alas the side markers only have one wire to them. They are so bright that they help in backing your rig at night.



Here is a close up of the side marker/turn lights I put on after I realized passing vehicles to the side of the AS could not see the tow vehicle till they were well up along the sides. These put out a yellow glow that can be seen before they can see the lights.

Note the rear one looks like it is on. It is not, that is 3M reflective tape that looks as good as a light, doesn't run out and doesn't kill battery.

OK here is a view of how effective reflective tape can be from the front with the lights off.



Note it looks like white lights on the grill, top of camper cover, and the front of the AS. The reflective in the cab is from a traffic safety vest issued by my Fire/Rescue Unit. The grill reflectors are mounted to be visible mostly from the side but also from the front thusly if you are at a stop sign or pulling out of something their headlights hitting your tape works in your favor and these can be seen at night for 1000 yards.
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Old 04-06-2015, 07:19 AM   #25
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1976 31' Sovereign
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The above lights/tape can be had at your local truck parts supply places and the cheapest way to buy the red/white reflective tape is by the foot from a large roll they will have.

You can use small 1/4" sq pieces on special keys to identify them at night. The adhesive on this tape is outstanding. We had can our door keys with this for last four years and none have come loose yet. I also have it on my remote door lock and cell phone.

I forgot to add when you order the lights order the wiring harness for each light and spare lights. These are replaced very quickly by removing screws, unplugging wiring harness from back of light, plugging in new light and putting it back on.

I have only had one light go bad and it started sweating internally and took out the bulb. It was replaced no charge at truck parts place.

On slightly rounded surfaces I used indoor/outdoor carpet strips to make it conform to the camper shell. I drilled and tapped the shell.
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:00 AM   #26
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1965 26' Overlander
Edmonds , Washington
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Okay, next question on this topic. How are the lights wired together? Are they wired in series? i.e., first light is pos. from the junction box, negative goes to the next light's positive and so on? Or do they need to be wired parallel? i.e. each light ties into the same positive wire, then grounds to the same ground wire? It seems to me like in series would be best, but I'm not an electrician by a long shot. I'm also not sure what gauge wire would be best if anyone has an answer for that.
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:09 AM   #27
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1985 31' Sovereign
Lovettsville , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FullStop View Post
Okay, next question on this topic. How are the lights wired together? Are they wired in series? i.e., first light is pos. from the junction box, negative goes to the next light's positive and so on? Or do they need to be wired parallel? i.e. each light ties into the same positive wire, then grounds to the same ground wire? It seems to me like in series would be best, but I'm not an electrician by a long shot. I'm also not sure what gauge wire would be best if anyone has an answer for that.
PARALLEL!!!

Wiring in series will increase the electrical load on the bulbs themselves, causing a burnout and then nothing will work. It's also dangerous.
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Old 04-06-2015, 08:47 AM   #28
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Dittos: parallel

On longer runs I use 14AWG, the wires on the lights will be 18, 20 and maybe 22 AWG

I found a 500' roll of 18/2 sound & security wire on sale at Lowes I thought was the ticket for LED lighting. RED and BLACK insulation paired with steel wire and nylon completely wrapped in foil and encased in gray sheathing.

I plan on using it for lots of stuff.

On all vehicle wire I join I wrap around or twist ends together and solder them and then tape them.

The absolute best cable hanging material idea was presented to me by a Mennonite tarp maker in Berlin, Ohio. Their number one tarp cover material is vinyl coated fiberglass and they generate lots of scraps. They cut it into 1/2" strips to 1" wide strips about 3" long and loop it over and run a metal screw in to secure it. Or they staple it. It does not deterriorate, immune to vibration etc and best of all it's free.

I made some up and take leather hole puncher and punch hole in each end to get the screw started and avoid it twisting around screw. Use different colors to identify multiple circuits.


Then they run wire through the loops.
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Old 04-11-2015, 08:06 PM   #29
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1965 26' Overlander
Edmonds , Washington
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All of my exterior lights are going to be LEDs. Brake lights, running lights, etc. Would 18 gauge wire be big enough, given the low draw? I have a few hundred feet of marine grade 18 gauge.

Thanks!
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:32 PM   #30
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1985 31' Sovereign
Lovettsville , Virginia
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I'm not an electrical expert, but if all the exteriors lights are LEDs, then 18ga should be just fine. LEDs draw very few amps, and you should be good with 18ga. Just make sure your connections are good and won't add to resistance, just to be on the safe side. I recommend soldering all connections and protecting them with heat shrink tubing.
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Old 04-23-2015, 12:28 AM   #31
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Reasonable current for that wire is about 2 amps total for a run in the AS. Add up the current draw for all the lights on the circuit and it should be 2.3 amps or less.

More than that, use bigger wire (lower number).

Better to go a bit bigger than just barely enough. Safety margin and all that... You are not building a super light vehicle 😄


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Old 05-29-2015, 04:20 PM   #32
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1965 26' Overlander
Edmonds , Washington
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All right. I nixed the idea of the blinking running lights, but now I've got another question. As it's currently set up, I have the original red brake/turn signal lights, three top mounted red lights, and six yellow lights on both sides. Do the rear side running lights need to be red? I want to get this all done right while I have the inner skins off. And do I need any lights on the front?

Thanks!
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Old 05-29-2015, 04:56 PM   #33
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1975 31' Sovereign
North Fort Myers , Florida
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YOu need amber clearance lights at the top front of the trailer and your sides are required to be amber. Only red lights are on the back of the unit!


ps. If life gets to riveting, put your AS in the wind!
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Old 05-29-2015, 05:00 PM   #34
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Check with your state department of motor vehicles. Usually they have a diagram of what is required for color and location of running lights.

I'm hesitant to suggest the wrong thing... Running light setup should be the same in all states, as they are a federal requirement as far as I know.

That said, as I recall most of my side and front lights are yellow, but I'd have to look at it to be sure on the rear lower side ones. Rear top is pretty sure red.

It's not helping that our AS is parked 90 miles away at the moment.


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Old 05-29-2015, 05:56 PM   #35
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On ours the mid-side lights are amber, but the rear side lights are red.
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