LED Tail Light Blues - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-27-2012, 09:35 PM   #1
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LED Tail Light Blues

We installed one of the Curt receiver hitches and its supposedly Subaru appropriate wiring harness in our 2010 Forester.
Then we replaced our old trailer lights with all LED Tail/brake/signal and clearance lights. Now we find that the trailer tail lights glow dimly whenever the trailer is plugged into the car.
All the time. Whether the car is running or the lights are on or off and even when the key is removed.
As long as the trailer is coupled to the car the LEDs glow. To the tune of 0.1 Amps thru each tail light wire and 0.2 amps thru each brake light. Or 14 Amp hours per day.

Obviously, we would not be wanting to leave the trailer coupled while camping when it is like this!

Our question is :

Has anyone else had this happen?
and
What did you do?

Thanks for any help

Denece and Rob V
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:40 PM   #2
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Denece & Rob V,
Have you checked your ground system. Taillights need to be grounded to the frame. Make sure you wires on the tongue are grounded.
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Old 01-28-2012, 07:40 AM   #3
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Sounds like an electrical feedback, Like Deb & Chuck say possibly a bad ground, or I would look to be sure the correct wire on the lights is grounded, if there is a separate ground wire on them. Something is not wired right so that when the trailer is connected to the car it completes a ground circuit through the ball & coupler. A bad ground circuit can cause all kinds of weird problems.
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Old 01-28-2012, 09:41 AM   #4
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In addition to the above, should you have a MODULE in the wiring of the tow vehicle, it may be doing it.

MODULE: On cars that have a separate (Yellow) turn signal and a red stop lite, the wiring to the egg has an electronic module in the wiring to change the wiring so the turn and brake lite use the same bulb on the egg.
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Old 01-28-2012, 10:03 AM   #5
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Good thought Darwin, I've heard of those modules being defective or going bad.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:19 AM   #6
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It was OK with regular lights. It was when we went to the nice new LEDs that we got the problem. I guess regular bulbs wont light on very low voltage and these LEDs on the tail lights do, just a little. The clearance lights don't. They must really need closer to a full 12V to light up.

Thanks for the suggestions. We'll try and see what we discover.

We found the two old old original bumper mount tail lights in a closet. Round metal jobbies on little stalks. Wish we had seen them before we did all this other. Might have been able to just stick in LED "bulbs". The old lights were real cute.

Denece
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Old 01-28-2012, 12:49 PM   #7
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I have a friend that had somewhat of a short in his utility trailer wiring and the bulbs did not lite. He put LEDs on and they did.

If you go back to the old bulbs then do an amp check.
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Old 01-28-2012, 02:58 PM   #8
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Disconnect your 12v feed from the TV to the trailer. Do they still glow? If not, you may just have a bad connector in the TV plug. You could also plug your trailer into someone elses tow vehicle and see if it does the same. That will isolate your problem to either the TV or trailer wiring.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:16 PM   #9
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No glow when we unplug.
We called the supplier of the hitch and wiring harness and they said, "oh yeah, you get feedback when you use LED's" but he said it should be a few millivolts and it looks like way more significant amount on our meter.
Looks like we can either live with it or replace the provided wiring harness module with a 'no feedback' module for another $100!! Sort of feel like that should have been the one sent in the first place!

Ahh Rosanna Rosana Danna was right: "It's always something!"
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:22 PM   #10
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He needs to remove his wiring harness from your vehicle and give you a refund for the wiring and labor because that is unacceptable.

Go and see if Walmart has the wiring / adapter you need. Or Advance Auto or J.C.Whitney JC Whitney Auto Parts & Auto Accessories - Car, Truck, Jeep, Motorcycle, VW, RV & ATV - Aftermarket Parts & Accessories.

If they have the adapter it is plug and play, anyone can do it.
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:29 PM   #11
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Look at this site 2 C what the kit looks like.

tap wiring kit from Northern Tool + Equipment
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:33 PM   #12
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Here's one for your car.

2011 Subaru Forester Trailer Wiring Harness | etrailer.com
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Old 01-28-2012, 04:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darwin Maring
Yep. I think thats the one we just installed! Hubby bought the Curt hitch and wiring harness just a few weeks ago. Installed last week just in time to find our egg. Now find it won't play with our new LED tail lights. Very frustrating and no help from good ol Curt
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Old 01-28-2012, 06:56 PM   #14
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If the problem is that the electronic tail light converter don't like the low current draw of the LED lights, it seems like you could just install a 4 way extension that has resistors soldered from each connection to the ground wire. Choose the resistors to be the same resistance as a light bulb filament. Use 10 watt resistors. This would fool the electronic converter into thinking it had the old incandescent bulbs.
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Old 01-29-2012, 09:43 AM   #15
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LED resistors are commercially available, too, but at $10 a piece, expensive. It is 6 ohms and 50 watts, which is a big resistor.

Putco LED Light Bulb Load-Resistor Kit - Ceramic Putco Accessories and Parts P230004C

Another alternative would be to simply use a light bulb instead of a resistor.

See also:

http://www.etrailer.com/question-21012.html

I also see that eBay has a kit designed to fix this problem:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/2x-25-Watt-1...item5ae4b89eea
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Old 01-30-2012, 06:08 AM   #16
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I have the same problem, but I don't worry about it. If I were really concerned, I'd just unplug the trailer while parked. Even drawing 0.2 amps, it would take a long time to drag my vehicle battery down. I'd be more concerned about other electrical loads in the camper, e.g., the fridge, interior lighting, etc., if you're really worried about discharging your starting battery.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:55 AM   #17
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[QUOTE="Ron F"]I have the same problem, but I don't worry about it.


Thanks Ron

That's probably what we'll do.

The harness we put on is the only one TheHitchStore.com lists for our car. When we called they claimed the feedback was only a few milliamperes
Hubby checked because he wasn't going to get too excited if that was all it was. Then he discovered it was closer to 0.6 amps which is why we're trying to fix it. Just as soon not end up out in the tulles with a dead tug because we just could forget to unplug it!
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Old 01-30-2012, 11:28 AM   #18
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Led Lights

Some of the PLC 's do not go to zero output when turned off
There is leakage or passive current present in the off state On the equipment I worked on the load would drag the voltage output to zero , The Led may not be enough load to pull the voltage down thus the faint glow.On the new truck I bought the turn signal is from an output on the trucks computer I would believe you could find an isolation device that would solve this poblem
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Old 01-31-2012, 05:09 PM   #19
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Hi Denece

Saw that you are adding electrical to your egg. I changed all the interior lights in our egg to led. the tail lights run off the connection coming out of the TV. powered by the TV battery. the battery for the trailer is also charged by the TV alternator. I put halogen stop/running lights in to replace the existing lights, of the trailer, they give a much brighter light than the incandescent that I removed. I bought them at O'Reilly auto parts. When the TV engine is shut down, the halogen bulbs draw no power,( if the TV lights are turned off), and they draw no power from the trailer battery, even if the TV is left on ( the TV battery will draw until it is dead). While you are driving they don't take power used to charge a trailer battery if one is in place. they are powered by the battery in the TV along with the stop/tail lights of the TV. I pull a trailer behind my Harley, they are factory 20 bulb leds and they are incredibly bright, it is too bad that we can't use these, (perhaps they can be bought on eBay) but they would be a totally new housing to get these deluxe lights. they are not like a regular tail light bulb.

later Kenny
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:13 PM   #20
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Simple problem. Some cheap tail light converter boxes are not rated for LED lighting. I work at a car dealership and we had to advise our customers not to use trailers with LED lighting until we got the updated trailer wiring controllers. I think someone hit on the problem already about the electronics in the cheap converters "leak" voltage. And it doesn't take much power to make LEDs glow.

Your options at this point are: 1)live with it, 2)pay the extra money for the converter that's LED rated, 3)build the pig tail with resistors to fool the cheap controller.

Jason
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