LED trailer lights / Non LED lights on tow vehicle - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-22-2010, 03:48 PM   #1
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LED trailer lights / Non LED lights on tow vehicle

Can you use LED trailer lights with Non LED lights on tow vehicle? I know you have to change the flasher to a Electronic LED Flasher on the tow vehicle to make the LED trailer lights blink.
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Old 11-22-2010, 03:57 PM   #2
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My last 2 trailers had 100% LED exterior lights and my tv had -0- led's and I never had an issue nor had to change a flasher. I'm in the process of retrofitting led's in my current Eggcamper. With less light draw I figure I have more available for battery charge.
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Old 11-22-2010, 04:57 PM   #3
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Can you use LED trailer lights with Non LED lights on tow vehicle? I know you have to change the flasher to a Electronic LED Flasher on the tow vehicle to make the LED trailer lights blink.

Yes. I replaced the tail light bulbs on my 74 Boler with red LED direct replacement #1157 light bulbs a few years ago and it worked perfectly. The running lights on the trailer and my car lights were all non-LED. I did not change the flasher on my Ford Aerostar, and have not heard that it should be required. The only difference is that the LEDs draw less current, which is why I wanted to do it, meaning less draw on the car battery. I will be doing the same thing on my "new" Trillium when I start sprucing things up in the spring.

Also, make sure that the LED's you use are the right colour. Unlike incandescent lights which give of all colours, LEDs only produce the one colour they are made for. If you put white or orange LEDs in a red fixture, you won't get much light output, so use red LEDs for a red tail light fixture.

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Old 11-22-2010, 06:44 PM   #4
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I replaced all 11 clearance lights and both tail lights on my 17' Bigfoot with LEDs. The lights on the tow vehicle are not LED and everything works great with no flasher change.
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:50 PM   #5
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Kevin, before you rush out and buy a new flasher unit, TRY the new led trailer lights (when you've done the conversion) and see if they flash with your tows flasher. I really don't think you'd need to do a swap on the car to power lights on the trailer. The trailer lights get their juice from the PLUG connecting the tow and trailer. If the lights flashed before the swap, there's a good possibility they'll work after with the old flasher unit.
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:07 PM   #6
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Kevin, how old is your tow vehicle? You probably remember flasher units that were "load dependent" and would flash quicker when a bulb was burned out. I remember these units had trouble with the added load of trailer lights. Most turn signals and hazard flashers work now through a simple relay that's controlled by the car's computer and I don't think that LED's would be a problem.
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Old 11-23-2010, 07:56 AM   #7
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I will try it with what I have now in the spring.
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Old 11-23-2010, 08:04 AM   #8
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I am not opposed to LED trailer lights, but I don't really see any economy in replacing good, working non-LED trailer lights. The power draw of the old lights is extremely low compared to alternator output, but if you need new trailerlights get the LED if that is what you want.
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Old 11-23-2010, 10:23 AM   #9
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LED trailer lights, non-LED TV lights. Standard flasher. No problems.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:22 PM   #10
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I figure you are pulling almost 10 times the amps for a conventional bulb so maybe with 10 trailer lights you are using 15-20 amps and with leds 1-2 amps which leaves another 18 amps for your battery, I like those numbers. If I could, I'd switch out the tow vehicle also, particularly the headlights.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:33 PM   #11
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I am not opposed to LED trailer lights, but I don't really see any economy in replacing good, working non-LED trailer lights.
It is not the economy Don, LED's are usually brighter and take longer to burn out. Both those make switching to LED's for signal and marker lights a safety factor.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:36 PM   #12
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In addition they emit light quicker thereby allowing more reaction time to those following
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:49 PM   #13
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I don't know that the draw is being figured correctly. From Popular Science; "Your 55-watt headlamp bulb draws 4 to 5 amps from the car's electrical system,". If this is correct both headlamps draw 10 amps. Auto alternators output 30 -50 amps. Tailers lamps, non-LED, should be drawing way less that 10, maybe 1-2? That would still leave 18 - 38 amps to charge the battery right?
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:57 PM   #14
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well, 10 for head lights, 10 more for the rest of the car lights, 15 for the car battery, 10 for the trailer leaves little for the trailer battery

a standard 1157 bulb draws 2.6amps with both filaments on but the LED version of that same bulb only draws 270ma with both filaments on.
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Old 11-23-2010, 01:40 PM   #15
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Only reason I want to change to LED's because they are usually brighter than stock bulbs.
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Old 11-24-2010, 05:36 AM   #16
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I added LEDs to make the trailer more visible at night and bad weather. The original tail light arrangement was a single 1157 bulb at the bottom of a 9" x 5" lens with no reflector. I replaced the incandecent bulb with a plug-in LED bulb then added two sealed LED units under the lens. One of the new LED units is wired to the tail light circuit and the other is wired to the brake/turn light circuit. Lots more light without more current draw.
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Old 11-24-2010, 05:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
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I added LEDs to make the trailer more visible at night and bad weather. The original tail light arrangement was a single 1157 bulb at the bottom of a 9" x 5" lens with no reflector. I replaced the incandecent bulb with a plug-in LED bulb then added two sealed LED units under the lens. One of the new LED units is wired to the tail light circuit and the other is wired to the brake/turn light circuit. Lots more light without more current draw.
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Old 11-24-2010, 06:08 AM   #18
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Hi Jim,

I replaced the tail lights and the clearance lights on my EggCamper with LEDs. No problem with the flasher. But, before that, I replaced all the interior lighting with LEDs as well. I did the interior to reduce the drain on the battery. I like the way the look, but more, I like the idea of LED longivity. They'll outlive an incandescent bulb by years.

Also, and you've probably discovered this. I replaced the rubber rings that seat the lights in the fiberglass openings. The new ones were relatively inexpensive and more flexible than the ones that I removed.

Ron

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well, 10 for head lights, 10 more for the rest of the car lights, 15 for the car battery, 10 for the trailer leaves little for the trailer battery

a standard 1157 bulb draws 2.6amps with both filaments on but the LED version of that same bulb only draws 270ma with both filaments on.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:19 AM   #19
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Hi Jim,

I replaced the tail lights and the clearance lights on my EggCamper with LEDs. No problem with the flasher. But, before that, I replaced all the interior lighting with LEDs as well. I did the interior to reduce the drain on the battery. I like the way the look, but more, I like the idea of LED longivity. They'll outlive an incandescent bulb by years.

Also, and you've probably discovered this. I replaced the rubber rings that seat the lights in the fiberglass openings. The new ones were relatively inexpensive and more flexible than the ones that I removed.

Ron
Yes, I spent over $200 @ Superbrightleds and got both interior and the exterior lights with new gaskets, now I'm waiting for springtime when I uncover the Nestegg to install the exterior, the interior replacements already in. By the way we may have a rally next summer in the midatlantic area, hopefully it is not too far for you.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:57 AM   #20
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Actually, you may need to be careful going the other way, ie adding a trailer with incandescent lamps to a tow vehicle that is wired for LEDs. In some cases the wiring for the tow vehicle lights is not large enough to carry the additional current.

For example, I had to add a Trailer Wiring Harness to my RAV4 even though it was purchased with the "Tow Package". The harness goes between the trailer connector & one of the fuse panels under the dash. Had to pull all the panels off the driver's side of the vehicle to make the run.
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