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Trailer wiring/light converters #5127944 06/07/19 01:29 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
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seanf Offline OP
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I seem to be having a bit of a problem with my trailer light converter in my 2004 Audi A4, I've had 2 burn out on me. They are Curt 56146 powered tail light converter. I realize my car has PWM brake/running light so to get around that and use the above converter I tapped into the 3rd brake light for brake input and the separate running light in the tail light for the running lights. Testing it all out with a test light everything works, plug in the trailer, hit the key fob unlock and watch the trailer lights flash and I'm good. When I get to the boat launch I see I have no trailer lights at all.

Warranty the converter since I figure I must have gotten a bad one, next one did the same thing. I hooked my trailer to my Q5 with factory tow package and all the lights work as they should as well as my other car with a non powered tail light converter. I've since pulled the trailer lights all apart and I found that one of the bullet connectors for the ground for the right tail light was unhooked. Could this unhooked ground cause the signals/brakes/running lights to backfeed and ground thru the converter and fry it? Trailer in question is a 2013 Karavan PWC trailer which was brand new when I bought it in 2017. Has anyone ever opened up one of those and try and repair the sacrifical circuits that fry when its shorted? I can't send this one back for warranty as it was my screw up.

Re: Trailer wiring/light converters [Re: seanf] #5127974 06/07/19 02:15 PM
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Mainia Offline
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I had the same problem, I fried 2 of them on a 2018 Hyundai Kona AWD 1.6T and my wife's Rav4's is toast too. After the second on I called Curt and asked what's going on that I have taken 3 out in 1 year. He said he thinks it is in the trailer with a bulb being slightly corroded or a wire connection. He said sand all ground connections on the trailer so bare metal is showing and the one feeding the convertor inside the car. Use a die electric and I told him I use anti-oyx electrical grease from Home Depot since that form of anti- corrosion grease carries electrical current. He said that is even better.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ideal-N...rizontal2_rr-_-202276208-_-202276207-_-N


This happened on a new used boat for me 2015 trailer and a 22018 boat. A Shorlandr trailer. It did not have LEDs so I went to Harbor Freight Tools and they have the rectangle rear lights that are the same size Shorlandr uses. I did this because the guy said if you have a bad connection and if you have regular bulb type lights it is not hard to exceed the 7.5 amps my convertor can take . So I nipped it in the bud right away and got rid of the amp hunger regular bulb setup out of shear getting rid of any area that is exacerbating stress on the convertor. I still have front side bulbs that when I get settled down rigging my new boat to my liking, I will get LED side markers. Also I found my trailer plug was corroded so I rolled fine sandpaper up and cleaned the female plug tube, and male plug ends, then added anti-oyx to stop corrosion from happening again.

.

Re: Trailer wiring/light converters [Re: seanf] #5127995 06/07/19 02:37 PM
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supton Offline
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Years ago I had a convertor die, the wiring on the trailer had chafed and shorted stuff out. I tried to crack open the box but it was potted. No idea why but I couldn't get in there. Gave up.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 196k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 217k, his
Re: Trailer wiring/light converters [Re: seanf] #5128470 06/08/19 09:27 AM
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BIGJ552000 Offline
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Do what I did many years ago. Rip out all the old cheap wiring on the trailer. Go buy a outdoor extension cord 25-50 footer, cut off the ends and run that along the trailer. Solder and heat shrink wrap all connections. Use Zip ties where needed to hold it onto the trailer. MUCH less headaches with wiring issues,chafing, etc.You'll thank me later.

Re: Trailer wiring/light converters [Re: seanf] #5128493 06/08/19 09:58 AM
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mk378 Offline
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When you rewire a trailer, also put in a network of ground wires rather than trusting the frame ground.

Adding small fuses (3 or 5 amp) in the lines after the converter may help protect the converter from shorts in the trailer.

Re: Trailer wiring/light converters [Re: seanf] #5128620 06/08/19 01:18 PM
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seanf Offline OP
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So since I pulled the lights out I checked all the wiring and its solid. The lights are Wesbar branded and there are 2 way connectors for the signals/running lights and bullet connectors for the grounds, nothing is grounded to the trailer frame itself its all plugged back into the harness and run up to the flat 4 pin plug that plugs into the car, with my meter and a spare car battery I tested amp draws. 2 amps for each brake/signal and 2 amps for all the running lights. I think it may have been the unplugged bullet connector ground for the RH side but unplugging it and hooking my meter up I'm thinking it was then grounding down the running light circuit and thats what fried the converter.

I went to the scrap yard today and pulled a non powered converter out of a car. I'm going to give that a shot and see how it works out. Worst case the bulb out system freaks out and I go back to a powered one.

Re: Trailer wiring/light converters [Re: seanf] #5130057 06/10/19 08:21 AM
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supton Offline
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I'm not sure I'd use heat shrink tubing, not unless if it was the kind with glue. That glue looks like it'd make a good water tight seal. Which is for naught if any other place on the wire is open to moisture IMO.

I do like the idea of an extension cord though, any cheap wire is probably better than the cheapo wiring kits. UV is tough on cheap PVC it seems. And running a GND wire when possible.


2011 Toyota Camry, base, 2.5L/6MT, 196k, hers
2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 155k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 217k, his
Re: Trailer wiring/light converters [Re: seanf] #5130167 06/10/19 10:22 AM
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meep Offline
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The issue in my mind comes from the statement that the vehicle uses PWM power to the bulbs. If this is just a normal powered converter, and it's not expecting a PWM signal, the vehicle is forcing it to switch on and off at some frequency (1khz?) and it's probably not designed for that. IF this is the case, the addition of a flyback diode (?) (I may have the wrong term here) or a small capacitor on each line might help.

But then there's another problem - I really wouldn't want additional trailer lamps on a PWM circuit - LED trailer lights may not work well or long with a PWM supply, as they may also have internal PWM regulation (side markers will likely be a resistor and be ok, but the high-brightness units will have more sophisticated drivers), and incandescents will put more of a load on the PWM source - which may or may not be designed for it. Is there a factory trailer harness available?

-m


2018 F150
2015 crv (wifey!)
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