Scamp rewire to change polarity for LEDs - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-18-2019, 06:08 PM   #1
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Scamp rewire to change polarity for LEDs

I have a 1996 Scamp 13 standard.
I had been advised in a previous post that I would have to rewire each light socket (running, tail and brakes) to reverse the polarity so that my LED bulbs would work.
But I am baffled. I replaced a damaged tail light recently so I became familiar with the wiring setup. There are two wires gong into the light fixture (for tail and brake/flasher) and a common ground wire. I am still using incandescent bulbs because I can't see anything I could change to "rewire" this fixture. Do I actually need to replace it with a fixture that has correct polarity?
I do not have a power converter in my trailer - does that make a difference?
Thanks.
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:46 AM   #2
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We have a 2002 scamp 16. I have changed all lights to led and did not have to do any rewiring. For exterior running and tail lights did put new fixtures in but wiring was same as old ones.
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Old 06-19-2019, 09:56 AM   #3
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Unless wired wrong at the factory there should be a positive lead to the center terminal of the light and a negative to the outside casing, for incandescent to be wired correct. You should first confirm that the wiring is correct.

If you are just swapping bulbs to LED things should work right if the polarity is correct as mentioned. If these are combination tail/signal(brake) bulbs then they have to be the appropriate bulb. I have added LED bulbs to these old fixtures many a time. Sometimes the old fixture needs to have a bit of corrosion first eliminated. If the existing fixture is in bad shape I usually just change out the entire unit.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:23 AM   #4
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LED tail light bulbs worked with no problems in our camper, although my first attempt with cheap internet bulbs did not work properly. I did get new bulbs at WalMart and they worked fine. Are none of the lights (running or turn signal) working when the tow vehicle is connected? If you have a volt meter you can confirm that the center pole of your lamps is positive, and edges are grounded. Might have corroded connectors at the 7 pin plug.
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Old 06-19-2019, 10:48 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Radar1 View Post
LED tail light bulbs worked with no problems in our camper, although my first attempt with cheap internet bulbs did not work properly. I did get new bulbs at WalMart and they worked fine. Are none of the lights (running or turn signal) working when the tow vehicle is connected? If you have a volt meter you can confirm that the center pole of your lamps is positive, and edges are grounded. Might have corroded connectors at the 7 pin plug.
Yes, very possible my SuperBright LED bulbs are the problem. Every light fixture on my Scamp does work with incandescent bulbs. I have read that non-polarity sensitive LED bulbs do exist, perhaps that's my next step to try.
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Old 06-19-2019, 11:15 AM   #6
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Fact is , aftermarket LED whole fixtures are brighter, more dependable and easy to install. They are also cheap.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:32 AM   #7
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superbright leds are usually top quality, if it's for the tail/brake lights there is something else going on like a bad ground. if the polarity was reversed on these, you would be blowing fuses on your tow vehicle as they are independent of the trailer 12v circuits.
You may have to change the wiring for internal trailer lights, but it should never be an issue for the taillights
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:58 AM   #8
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Fact is , aftermarket LED whole fixtures are brighter, more dependable and easy to install. They are also cheap.
I'm with Floyd on this one. I tried the bulb swap on my Casita, was not pleased with the finished product. I was surprised some ran hot too.

I then just swapped out the entire fixtures on my Trillium, as the original fixtures were warped, some melting, etc. Much better. And cheap. I think my four side marker lights (outside) cost me something like $6 on ebay. Inside lights all came from Amazon.
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Old 06-20-2019, 02:38 PM   #9
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Maybe it just confuses the issue, but I definitely remember something about LED lights not working for blinkers without some sort of modification on older Toyotas. I don't remember enough to say what the issue was, but I remember there was definitely a trick to replacing rear lights in those trucks, though LEDs worked fine everywhere else.

Could be that whoever told you this had some kind of experience with something like that? From the sound of it, people here haven't had that issues with trailers.
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Old 06-20-2019, 03:31 PM   #10
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The primary problem with replacing incandescent bulbs with led bulbs in older car circuits was the led bulbs would not draw enough current to trigger the older style mechanical flashers. This condition was compounded on early 60’s Thunderbirds with their complex mechanical sequencing flashers. The flasher units themselves had to be modernized. A much rarer situation would be automotive circuits were not standard prior to about 1970. Some cars had 6 volt circuits, some had positive ground circuits. I doubt you will encounter either of these situations unless you are dealing with vintage cars. If standard led replacement bulbs are running hot or dim, there is something else going on in your electrical system that needs sorting.
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Old 06-20-2019, 05:15 PM   #11
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Reading some Toyota stuff, it seems that your first idea is what happens, even on late-80's model trucks. LEDs don't draw enough power, so the resistor causes it either to blink super fast like it's about to go out, or not blink at all.

But that doesn't seem to be what the OP is thinking of, so who knows.
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Old 06-21-2019, 12:42 AM   #12
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I second the idea of replacing the whole light fixtures and not just putting LED bulbs in the old incandescent ones. the tail light and marker light fixtures on my Escape are all natively LED and they are way brighter than just stuffing LEDs in old incadescent fixtures.

I have run into DC light fixtures that had + and ground swapped at the socket, probably because the interior light was mounted on plastic where there was no natural ground, so two wires had to be connected to it, and with incadescent bulbs the polarity isn't important.
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Old 06-26-2019, 09:25 PM   #13
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If the fixture is OK then I use led replacements. But as soon as it is iffy I just replace it.
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Old 06-27-2019, 07:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ZachO View Post
Reading some Toyota stuff, it seems that your first idea is what happens, even on late-80's model trucks. LEDs don't draw enough power, so the resistor causes it either to blink super fast like it's about to go out, or not blink at all.

But that doesn't seem to be what the OP is thinking of, so who knows.
Not completely the same issue, but it’s also an issue for newer TVs like our Mercedes ML350 with LED lights: the exterior lights on the trailer would blink continually with the headlights on. Took it to an event dealer and they sold us a connector that sits between the outlet on the TV and the trailer wiring harness.
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