EZ way to check lights - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-07-2016, 02:19 PM   #15
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Name: Darral
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Thanks Steve. I've bookmarked this link and will try to post a pic (maybe a vid) of mine once it's finished. It's going to be "over-kill" but I've been studying electronics so I'm throwing a lot into it. But at the same time, I can use it and really want it for the brakes testing...thus the rheostat.

One thing came out of this I didnt think of and that's an emergency flasher switch SHOULD it have to be left on the side of the road! That's one feature I pray I never have to use though.

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I can't find a post with a picture of what I refer to as the switch box in a previous post so here it is again.

Since this picture I added a red aircraft-type toggle switch cover over the 2 way (on-off) brake switch to prevent accidentally activating the brakes. Mostly I was goofing around, had the cover, and thought it might increase the nerd coolness(?) The other toggles are on-off-on.

Covered accessory outlet (Marinco) and a 10a pushbutton breaker on the end. The flasher flashes the running lights any time I select "run" (i.e. running lights).
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:20 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Darral T. View Post
One thing came out of this I didnt think of and that's an emergency flasher switch SHOULD it have to be left on the side of the road! That's one feature I pray I never have to use though.

That's a great idea Darral, don't think I've ever heard of flashers working independently on a TT if disconnected. That may be a good idea to rig up inside the TT as a stand alone function so your box isn't outside for some "nice" person to carry away.
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Old 04-07-2016, 04:44 PM   #17
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Actually, IF one was to be designed exclusively for blinking the lights, I'd just design it so you could lock it onto your RV cord and not have to special rig it inside the trailer which could get touchy. Then I guess you'd have to risk some doe doe cutting your power cord huh?

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That's a great idea Darral, don't think I've ever heard of flashers working independently on a TT if disconnected. That may be a good idea to rig up inside the TT as a stand alone function so your box isn't outside for some "nice" person to carry away.
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Old 04-08-2016, 06:00 AM   #18
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At the risk of hijacking the thread, and since Darral's contemplating a electronics project, my second "test" box was to measure voltage and current going to the trailer from the tow. It doesn't activate anything, it only measures/indicates.

There is a shunt in there for measuring amps (calibrated voltage drop acoss the shunt which is proportional to amperage going through the shunt and a (milli)voltmeter chosen to match the shunt such that there is a 1:1 equivalency between millivoltage drop and amps. i.e. the meter is showing millivolts but because of the shunt rating, millivolts also equals the amps. Also a "normal" voltmeter. It was a 50A/50mv shunt.

Some LEDs to show which lights are being activated and another to indicate that the tow is providing a charge voltage to the trailer battery (I have to pay attention to the light emmitting diode's direction so that it is showing volts from the tow, not volts from the trailer, diodes being one-way devices). Basically duplicating the voltage meter. I had fun using different color LEDs this time. And a 9v "transistor radio" battery to run the meters since I didn't want to use the tow voltage to power the meter and effect the meter readings.

The red rocker switch turns off the 9v to save the battery.

Lastly I made a 4' electrical extension so that the box can be put in line with the trailer.

In the photo, the tow is running at a fairly fast idle (not far below the RPM the tow runs at cruising speed) and the fridge is on DC (10amp draw). So the Ford Flex is returning 4.2 amps at 13.96 volts. I lose ground (almost 6 amps per hour of towing) at the trailer battery when towing with the fridge on DC.
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Old 04-08-2016, 07:04 AM   #19
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Nice job. Like electronic repair, building electronics projects is dying art. Raz
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:45 AM   #20
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Nahh..you aint hijacking. Yer a sharp guy even though we dont agree on digital thermostats . Now thanks to YOU, you got me wanting to add an amp meter in the line. Off of Amazon, I ordered a couple blue LED volt meters. They came in yesterday and look really techy. Wow...just a $2-3!

One thing you mention is the extension. Where did you get the wire? I'm wondering if you just used 2 wires to check the amperage or is it a full 7-wire cable? I found this at Etrailer.com and it doesnt seem too expensive. Here's why I need it and that's so I can reach my wheels as I will use my box with the rheostat to test the brakes equality (already been testing this and it works!).

https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...DW04914-1.html

[QUOTE=Steve L.;580350]At the risk of hijacking the thread, and since Darral's contemplating a electronics project, my second "test" box was to measure voltage and current going to the trailer from the tow. It doesn't activate anything, it only measures/indicates.
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Old 04-08-2016, 08:57 AM   #21
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All interesting ways to check to see if the lights work on your trailer and that can come in handy sometimes such as trouble shooting some bad wiring on the trailer.

But what you really need to know is, do the trailer's running lights work when hooked up to, and powered by, the tug? So there is no substitute for making a light check part of your routine when getting ready to depart.
An easy way to do a light check after hooking the trailer up to the tow, especially if you are by yourself, is to go to the back of the trailer and hit the remote lock button on your car keys. The car lights will flash signalling the doors have locked, and if the trailer connection is working properly, your trailer lights will also flash. Easy peasy.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:04 AM   #22
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Sounds good but my ole '99 Nissan Frontier doesnt have all the fancy stuff. I had to install the brake controller AND my 7-pin socket at the back. Big job. To me, this "Box" is just fun stuff if you love hobby electronics the way I do.

For what it's worth, I always test my truck's connection with one of these devices (see link). I bought it when I installed my brake controller so I didnt have to second guess if it was working. Keep in mind, this was all done BEFORE I went to Backus to pick up my Scamp. A friend volunteered to let me bring my truck over to test it. I didnt want to do that. I keep this with me and help others if they're having connection problems. Personally, with a trailer, I wouldnt be without it. One other thing I noticed about this device and it threw me initially is, the "brake" LED lightly blinks continually. But, that's the controller sending out a blip to make sure the brakes are still there. Otherwise, on my Tekonsha Prodigy, I get an "NC" on my display meaning "Not Connected". Also, if you have someone apply the brakes with the brake lever on the controller, you can watch the LED dim and brighten based on the lever position. So that provides a test within itself of sorts. Good stuff!

https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...nsha/6562.html

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An easy way to do a light check after hooking the trailer up to the tow, especially if you are by yourself, is to go to the back of the trailer and hit the remote lock button on your car keys. The car lights will flash signalling the doors have locked, and if the trailer connection is working properly, your trailer lights will also flash. Easy peasy.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:27 AM   #23
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I couldn't find RV wire by the foot available locally so I just made my own extension out of lengths of wire pairs from West Marine (local store) adding a male RV connector at each end. I duplicated the wire gages found in a RV cord. Finished it by wrapping the wires in a length of generic spiral plastic cable wrap. The patch cord goes between the box and the tow, thus two male ends. The box having two female receptacles.
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Old 04-08-2016, 09:57 AM   #24
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Sounds good to me. The 10Ga I may have some left over from the brake controller installation.

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I just made my own extension out of lengths of wire pairs from West Marine (local store)
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:45 PM   #25
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And regarding digital thermostats...I think you're confusing me with someone else, and if it's who I think it is I'll try not to be offended.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:54 PM   #26
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Oops! My bad and apology Steve L. (Steve D. was the other). Both are long time posters. Wow...lotsa Steves, Bobs and Johns on forums...

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And regarding digital thermostats...I think you're confusing me with someone else, and if it's who I think it is I'll try not to be offended.
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Old 04-08-2016, 01:20 PM   #27
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I don't know Steve D. so it wasn't who I thought it was. Whew! And nevermind who!
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