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Old 07-07-2017, 04:44 PM   #1
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Umbilical cable color code

I need to replace the umbilical cable on our 2005 Classic 30.

Looks like a bit of a job to replace it right back to the connection points under the front sofa - and I don't think the new cable I bought is long enough anyway.

So my plan is to cut the existing cable and terminate it in a to-be-added weatherproof junction box that I will mount probably on the side of the metal storage box that is located just aft of the gas bottles.

I will install suitable terminal strips inside the box and solder ring terminals on all the wires to hopefully make reliable connections at the terminal strips and further protect them with dielectric grease.

Once set up this way it should make it easy for me to change the cable again in the field if ever I need to.

My cable needs to be extra long, as I use a Hensley hitch putting the trailer further back from the TV.

At present I have a two foot cable extension in place to make things work, but will be able to eliminate that now with the new longer cable.


Anyway - just wondering, am I safe to assume that by 2005 Airstream was in sync with the rest of the RV world in terms of color coding so that I just match the new cable I got from Northern Tools color for color and all will be well, or do I need to check out every wire as I go to ensure it does what I think it should!?

Hoping someone can save me some time! Thanks for any info!
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Old 07-07-2017, 05:48 PM   #2
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Hi

The 7 pin cable was made by who knows who. It's a good bet that the color code is the same, but it is far from certain. Trace out the wires ...

Bob
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Old 07-08-2017, 04:44 AM   #3
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Brian,

Here's a link for Hopkins color code chart. http://www.hopkinstowingsolutions.co...ng-guides.html

Gary
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:48 AM   #4
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Brian,

Here's a link for Hopkins color code chart. http://www.hopkinstowingsolutions.co...ng-guides.html

Gary

Hi Gary,

Thanks, I know the "normal" color designations as indicated in the Hopkins chart, the only reason for my query though was that I had read that at one time Airstream did not follow industry standards in this regard.

I was just wondering if, by 2005, the age of my trailer, AS had fallen in line with industry standards so that I can just wire up my new plug color for color to the existing trailer wiring without having to verify everything! Just lazy!

Maybe I'll just have to check as I go!

Cheers .... Brian.
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Old 07-08-2017, 07:57 AM   #5
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Brian,

I'm elbow deep in my VW TDI right now, but isn't this in the AS manual maybe? Remember seeing it somewhere.

I replaced my loosey goosey plug a few years ago, cut the black jacket off and splayed out a few inches of wires. Then took ohm meter and traced each color back to its end and marked each on the outside of the plug body and made a color coded permanent reference of the rest of the story.

Ain't Saturday chore days fun?
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Brian,

I'm elbow deep in my VW TDI right now, but isn't this in the AS manual maybe? Remember seeing it somewhere.

I replaced my loosey goosey plug a few years ago, cut the black jacket off and splayed out a few inches of wires. Then took ohm meter and traced each color back to its end and marked each on the outside of the plug body and made a color coded permanent reference of the rest of the story.

Ain't Saturday chore days fun?


Haha,

"If all else fails, read the manual" Good suggestion, I'll do that - if I can find it!


Ref VW TDI, I recently traded in my Goldwing Bike on a VW GTI - what a fun little vehicle it is!

Gives the"Mrs" something to drive around in other than a big ol truck, and I can have a little fun with it of twisty country roads!

Might as well keep the nick "Wingeezer" on here though - still an old "Geezer" but just no more "Wing"
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Old 07-08-2017, 02:55 PM   #7
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If the trailer connector is molded or integral to the wire, then the odds are likely in your favor that the standard color scheme was used when the cable assembly was manufactured. If the trailer connector looks like a replacement, who knows.

As others have stated earlier, the best way to be sure is to physically and visually test each wire, which means getting to the termination points inside the trailer.

On another note, are the wire sizes in the replacement cable comparable to what is in your existing cable? The wires sizes should be printed on the outside sheath. For instance, my cable reads 2/10-1/12-4/14, as follows: (2) 10 gauge wires for ground and charging, (1) 12 gauge wire for brakes, and (4) 14 gauge wires for left turn signal/stop light, right turn signal/stop light, tail/running lights and aux/backup lights. Thicker gauge (smaller number) is ok in the replacement, thinner gauge may not be. There are replacement cable assemblies made with all 14 gauge wire, which would be undersized for my application.

Regarding soldering the ring connectors, I would suggest you consider crimping instead. There are lots of threads in the forum warning against soldering. And use a high quality ratcheting crimper, not the $5 cheap tool table special.

Contrary to common misconception, dielectric grease is NOT conductive, so don't worry about electrical shorts caused by the grease.

For a digital copy of owners manual, look here:
https://www.airstream.com/service/ma...ear_select=118


Greg
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Old 07-08-2017, 03:13 PM   #8
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Brian,

I did have a GL1200, sold a few years back. I had plenty of chances to swing a leg over the then unbelievable GL1500 after it came out but I didn't. Figured it would be like kissing my neighbors wife, fun for a minute but long term not the best idea at that time.

The 1.9L TDI is my commuter, has 297K on it and I keep it alive, even timing belt jobs. ain't fancy but it is like the energizer bunny.

Gary
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Old 07-08-2017, 05:12 PM   #9
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Hi

This is getting way to complex.

You will get in trouble if the ground goes to the wrong place. Make sure it's right. No need to track anything down, use the ohms function on the multimeter.

You will get in trouble if the "hot" goes someplace other than the battery. Check it out. Again no need to crawl in anywhere. It's the wire that is hot coming back out of the trailer.

You will have a hard time verifying the brakes by guessing, check it out. (or assume it's the last wire left).

Everything else can be worked out by the "what happens when I do this" method. Put on the left turn signal and use the multimeter (or color code) to see which wire is active. Hook it up to the empty terminal block locations one at a time. When you find the one that makes the left blinker blink, bolt it down. You may also have found a few other lights by doing this. Step and repeat until all 7 wires are hooked up.

Bob
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:14 PM   #10
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Hi

This is getting way to complex.

You will get in trouble if the ground goes to the wrong place. Make sure it's right. No need to track anything down, use the ohms function on the multimeter.

You will get in trouble if the "hot" goes someplace other than the battery. Check it out. Again no need to crawl in anywhere. It's the wire that is hot coming back out of the trailer.

You will have a hard time verifying the brakes by guessing, check it out. (or assume it's the last wire left).

Everything else can be worked out by the "what happens when I do this" method. Put on the left turn signal and use the multimeter (or color code) to see which wire is active. Hook it up to the empty terminal block locations one at a time. When you find the one that makes the left blinker blink, bolt it down. You may also have found a few other lights by doing this. Step and repeat until all 7 wires are hooked up.

Bob

Thanks Bob,

I have since checked the AS manual that came with my trailer, and it does appear to match the RV industry color coding so likely all will be well.

I think however that it won't hurt to test wire by wire as I go anyway and will do that as you suggest just to be sure!

I did also check that the cable I bought does have the correct mix of different wire gauges and not just seven 14 gauge wires as some that I see advertised do!

As for soldering vs crimping, I suspect I will just go ahead and solder ring terminals on the wires - athough I am a bit tempted to go ahead and buy a ratchet type crimper and go that route as I have never had the proper tool before, just the cheapies! Some n Amazon are not terribly expensive and get excellent reviews

I understand the arguments for and against crimped connections and similarly for soldered connections. The crimped connections do seem to get the nod more often than solder!

But also a lot of folks also swear by soldering, which is what I have mostly done on RV's and hobby cars, and I don't recall ever having a subsequent problem.

I have had bad connections cause by crimped connectors - but most likely that was because I never had the proper ratcheting tool!

Here is one comment in favour of soldering that impressed me ........

"I used to repair electrical systems on Apache helicopters in the Army.

Every wiring repair was soldered.

If a soldered connection will withstand the vibrations of a helicopter I am pretty sure they will survive in an automobile. The superior electrical connection of a soldered joint outweighs any alleged strength benefits of a crimped joint."

Hmmm!
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Old 07-08-2017, 06:31 PM   #11
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Thanks Bob,

I have since checked the AS manual that came with my trailer, and it does appear to match the RV industry color coding so likely all will be well.

I think however that it won't hurt to test wire by wire as I go anyway and will do that as you suggest just to be sure!

I did also check that the cable I bought does have the correct mix of different wire gauges and not just seven 14 gauge wires as some that I see advertised do!

As for soldering vs crimping, I suspect I will just go ahead and solder ring terminals on the wires - athough I am a bit tempted to go ahead and buy a ratchet type crimper and go that route as I have never had the proper tool before, just the cheapies! Some n Amazon are not terribly expensive and get excellent reviews

I understand the arguments for and against crimped connections and similarly for soldered connections. The crimped connections do seem to get the nod more often than solder!

But also a lot of folks also swear by soldering, which is what I have mostly done on RV's and hobby cars, and I don't recall ever having a subsequent problem.

I have had bad connections cause by crimped connectors - but most likely that was because I never had the proper ratcheting tool!

Here is one comment in favour of soldering that impressed me ........

"I used to repair electrical systems on Apache helicopters in the Army.

Every wiring repair was soldered.

If a soldered connection will withstand the vibrations of a helicopter I am pretty sure they will survive in an automobile. The superior electrical connection of a soldered joint outweighs any alleged strength benefits of a crimped joint."

Hmmm!
Hi

Having spent a good deal of my professional life putting wired this and that into helicopters and missiles ... soldered splices are very much a bad idea. Getting them to pass Mil Spec vibration is as they say "non-trivial". With proper strain relief (as in a well designed connector) sure, you can get them to work. That's not what you are doing with an inline splice on a wire in an RV. Even with a proper connector there still is a book full of "things to do" to make it work. Again, not what happens with a random joint done on the fly.

In an Apache, there are no inline connections. Absolutely everything goes to a connector. If you are lucky, the connector is only in the $250 range. If it's a fancy one ... yikes. Keep in mind that every "connection" uses a pair of those beasts. If indeed you want to do an RV that way, you will need to do it with similar connectors. (... and similar wire .. and harnessing ... and ...)

Bob
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:30 PM   #12
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Umbilical cable color code

I have similar experience. Crimps are way better in all types of electronics.. 20+ years at Boeing and years of dealing with Navy combat systems electronics bears that out.
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:55 PM   #13
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Hi

The 7 pin cable was made by who knows who. It's a good bet that the color code is the same, but it is far from certain. Trace out the wires ...

Bob
DITTO!
Take lot's of time, use a continuity testor, and a loooong piece of wire.
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