Powered converter vs LED bulbs to handle running lights?

Discussion in 'Etrailer.com Trailers and Towing Forum' started by samwise, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. samwise

    samwise New Member

    Feb 18, 2018
    We are first time pop-up camper owners. And I am prepping our 08 Toyota Sienna for towing this Summer. So far, I've got the Curt hitch installed and the Tekonsha T-One 4 Pole Trailer connector hooked up, thanks to your website. Next up will be the brake controller install since our trailer is a Coleman with e-brakes.

    Main question: Do I need a powered converter to handle all the running lights/tail lights?

    We have 11 running lights and two tail lights. I noticed when we drove it home (just using the 4 pole without ebrake hook up yet), the running lights did not work. Turn signals and brake lights worked. I am assuming the converter just couldn't handle the load. Thoughts?

    I am planning to convert all the lights to LED to try and solve it that way too. But will that be enough. I figured since I'm already running wire to the front, this might be an easy upgrade to a powered converter?

    Second question: On your website, you show videos of installing the brake controller wiring under the van instead of inside through the door thresholds. Is there a reason you guys do this?
  2. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    Ok your TV (tow vehicle) is what powers the running lights not the converter. My guess is there's something not connected,blown fuse or shorted out. Changing to LED's on the exterior will help your bulbs last longer but not help with your problem. LED's on the interior will help the battery run longer when not plugged into TV or shore power. I dont what video you watched but running the wires under the TV is just a faster way to solve the problem verses trying to run wire under plastics, carpet & seats.
  3. Boatnman

    Boatnman Well-Known Member

    Jan 19, 2017
    western Colorado
    The brown wire on your 4-pin should power the running lights. Turn the TV's headlights on and then use a multimeter or test light to check the TV's 4-pin to see if power is being supplied to the brown wire connection. If you're getting power there, then the problem is somewhere on the trailer side - starting at the trailer's 4-pin. If you're not getting power there, then the problem is on the TV side.
  4. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

    Mar 17, 2013
    Austin , Texas
    He is talking about the TV. Some TVs(usually foreign mfg'ers) need converters to get the TV light wiring as the trailer expects them. And some of those need to be connected to a power source in order to supply enough current to light all the trailer lights.
  5. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

    Sep 1, 2012
    Northwestern New Jersey
    Also, you won't have brakes with a 4 pin connector.
  6. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

    May 7, 2013
    Somewhere in Idaho
    Could you explain that better? Thanks
  7. mstrbill

    mstrbill Active Member

    Mar 17, 2013
    Austin , Texas
  8. Fbird

    Fbird Active Member

    Sep 10, 2017
    Ferndale MI
    on some vehicles the turn signals are on a different wire than the brake lights. trailers use the same wire for the turn signal and the brake light. the converter takes the turn signal and the brake light and combines them without affecting the TV's lights. they are necessary on some vehicles but they do have a high failure rate. check for power to the running lights preferably with the trailer hooked up, it should be the brown wire. if you have power the problem is the trailer, no power the problem is the vehicle. the ground should be good because the brake lights work but check it anyhow.
  9. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

    Oct 10, 2013
    Northern Virginia
    Just something to look at. Sometimes the pins on the connector can get corroded or dirty and just not make the full connection it needs from the car to power things. Also check the vehicle connection and clean that off if you need too. also like someone mentioned check for any blown fuses, both on the car and camper. I found if your camper has a short, not only could it blow the fuse in the camper, but one in your vehicle as well if it's connected.
    Probably not related but something to look at. I had a short in the battery harness that connects the camper battery to the camper. On my Coleman/fleetwood the wires going to the white clip connection were fraying. Not sure if they used that same connection on your model.
  10. f5moab

    f5moab Retired from the Federal Government

    May 7, 2013
    Somewhere in Idaho
  11. Fless

    Fless Active Member

    Your 2008 Sienna needs a converter for the trailer lighting.
    See https://www.etrailer.com/t1-2008_Toyota_Sienna.htm and click on the "more information" link on whichever one comes up (my search came up with 3). Those should be complete kits and most are plug and play.
  12. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

    Oct 3, 2007
    Waterford, Ct
    A powered taillight convertor is by far better. Because it has its own power, the convertor needs only a small signal for the TV(tow vehicle). This will only put a very small load on the TV fragile circuits.

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