Light problems, even after searches

Discussion in 'Wiring' started by brad_k, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. brad_k

    brad_k New Member

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    Planning on taking the camper out tomorrow, so I go around doing a pre-check to see if everything is ready. I see I have no exterior lights at all. Brakes, running, turn signals are all out. After several hours of searching this site and general google results here's what I've done:
    -Replaced ground connection from plug receiver to camper frame. Thick white wire, coming out of the rectangle 6 pin plug. Didn't change the wire but put a new connector on the end and attached it to a fresh piece of wire after cutting off the last inch from where the old rusty connector was. No lights.
    -Checked fuses in the converter box. Breakers are not tripped, all fuses are ok. No lights.
    -Checked my tow vehicle's fuses. One in the engine fuse block dedicated to trailer harness, as well as all the lights for the car (car still has full functioning lights) All good, still replaced the trailer one to be safe. No lights.
    -Cleaned all plug ends, camper and TV, male and female. Still no lights.
    -Took a multimeter to my plugs. 7 pin male end from my vehicle tested positive with running lights and turn signal, and always-on/battery lead. Plugged in 7 pin female end, tested end of harness at rectangle end. Still tested positive. Plugged into camper. Still no lights.
    -Hooked a jumper wire from my vehicle to my camper. Ran from the front camper frame right near where other ground wires are connected, to under my vehicle. Tried several spots, including the cross brace for the hitch, and some area I assume is part of the frame, and a piece connected to suspension and frame. No lights.
    -Got under and checked all visible wiring for signs of broken, crimped, frayed, or disconnected wires. Saw none. Cleaned ground connections where I could.
    I didn't test the multimeter at any of the camper light sockets, because it's every single light that's out and I can't imagine a way the bulbs would all simultaneously fail. My battery is currently disconnected from the camper and on its charger, but when this problem started it was connected and I think having it disconnected wouldn't have changed anything, would it?

    Am I missing something?
     
  2. brad_k

    brad_k New Member

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    I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! I just went out with the multimeter because I found a new 7 pin wiring diagram different than the first one I used, and tested according to this one:

    [​IMG]

    Car was running, lights were on and I left the right turn signal blinking. I got 12v +/- at position 1 (12v power) 0 at position 2 (right turn/brake light), 12v +/- at position 3 (electric brakes) and 0 at positions 5 and 6. But there was a 12v +/- signal at center.
     
  3. gerryrobinson

    gerryrobinson New Member

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    Where I'd start is to find out where you have good power and start tracing it from there. You said you have good power coming from the male end of the 7-pole. Do you have power on the female end of the plug when the two are mated? To me, this has to be a plug issue or a ground issue. For none of the lights to work, would have to be one of those two things I would think.

    I had an issue with my running lights on the trailer. I had power from the (brown) running light wire on the van to the male end of the 7-pole. I would plug the female trailer plug to it and get no running lights but everything else. I tested voltage on the female end for the running lights circuit and got 0 volts. If I disconnected the running light wire from the female end and checked the voltage at the metal post, I would get 12v. Connect the wire, 0 volts. If I touched the running lights wire to the black constant power wire, the lights would come on. I was puzzled. Turns out there was a bad connection in a 4-pole connection in between the tail lights on the van and the male 7-pole.

    So double check all connections. Then, if you have good power at your male 7-pole end, try using 1 jumper wire from the constant power wire on the male 7-pole side to any one of the trailer wiring circuits (left turn or right turn or running light circuit). So basically start bypassing plugs and run wires direct from one side that you know has good power to the other side. If the power wire energizes any of the trailer lights, you know that plug is bad.

    One other thought after reading your second post. Does your tow vehicle wiring include a converter? Something like this. http://www.redtrailers.com/ShowItem.asp?id=RDCON1
    If so, I've also had issues with these converters. Check for power on the input side for each of the wires going into the converter. Then check the corresponding wire on the output side. Sounds like you have power for everything from the battery but nothing from the tow vehicle lights, which sometimes go through one of these converter boxes.

    Good luck. I hate wiring. You spend so much time troubleshooting and it turns out to be something so small and stupid.
     
  4. dion

    dion Member

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    Did this ever work in the past? If so, what has changed since it last worked? Only age/corrosion? Or has any new wiring been added or changed?

    If you haven't used this particular trailer with this particular tow vehicle successfully in the past, then have you ever used either the tow vehicle or the trailer successfully?

    The fact that your measurements are indicating 0 volts at positions 2, 5, and 6 tells me there's a problem in the tow vehicle. The fact that you're seeing 12V at the other places where it's supposed to be indicates that it's likely your ground is OK, at least at the trailer connector where you were taking the measurements. Does your tow vehicle have combined brake/signal lights in the rear (red turn signals), or do you have separate lights (amber turn signals)? If you have amber turn signals separate from the brakes, then somewhere you must have a box that combines them. I'd look for that box and check the inputs and outputs to it with a meter. Double check all fuses.
     
  5. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Well-Known Member

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    Unplug camper and check these same lights on the TV. Check fuses under dash.
     
  6. brad_k

    brad_k New Member

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    TV lights have no problem, connected or disconnected. Checked every single fuse in the car including under the dash just to be sure, none were blown. Nothing has changed, the last time I towed the camper was last year and everything worked fine. I've had it hooked up to shore power at my house several times since then with no problems apparent in any of those systems. This is the first time I've gotten to tow it this year, which is why I wanted to do this preliminary check and noticed this problem. Only TV and camper I have, no changes to any system on either one. TV lights and brake lights are one bulb, turn signal is a separate one.
     
  7. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Did you try applying 12 volts (through a fuse please) directly to your trailer connector pins?
     
  8. brad_k

    brad_k New Member

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    I can't see the wiring enough to see if there is one of those 5 to 4 wire converters. The plug goes under my cargo compartment and disappears into panels along the body, for the 3-4 ft that is visible there isn't one.
     
  9. mocamper

    mocamper Active Member

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    I am by no means an expert on this but I would check for good ground connection and corrosion on the other connections.
     
  10. gerryrobinson

    gerryrobinson New Member

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    Since you have no power to the 7-pole for any of the "light" circuits, the problem has to be on the vehicle side. Since the vehicle "light" circuits are working, the problem has to be somewhere between the tow vehicle lights and the 7-pole plug. Since a 5 to 4 wire converter would be found in this section of wiring (your vehicle does require the converter), the converter could be the problem. This might require taking off a few panels to locate. Mine is located behind the left turn signal on the interior side of my van (had to take off a couple panels).

    There might also be a 4-pole (left turn, right turn, running lights, and a ground) male to female connection between the converter and the 7 pole plug. Looks something like this with the 2 ends attached to each other. http://www.thehitchstore.com/4way-bonded-12-loop-both-ends-p-1918.html
    This was my problem so check this connection with multimeter as well for good power and ground.

    I checked your profile and it shows that your tow vehicle is a 2008 Nissan Rogue. If this is still true, your vehicle does have a 5-4 way convertor. http://www.thehitchstore.com/tconnector-56033-p-1911.html You can also see the female end of the 4-pole connector I was talking about which comes out of the converter in this picture.

    I would check for power coming out of this 4-pole connector first because it is probably more accessible. Look under the vehicle and trace the wires from the back of the 7-pole plug backwards towards the vehicle lights. You should find the 4-pole connecter there.

    If this is not the culprit, you'll have to track down the converter next and check for power in and power out. It is unlikely you wouldn't have power in as you stated the vehicle lights work fine. If you have power in but no power out, you could have one of three things wrong: 1) a bad converter 2) the black power wire to the converter has a bad connection somewhere from the battery to the converter or 3) the white ground wire into the converter is not making a good connection to the vehicle.

    Try these things and good luck. Keep us posted.
     
  11. teejaywhy

    teejaywhy Active Member

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    Just an FYI, the running lights, turn signals and brake lights are all powered by the tow vehicle's electrical system and are not connected to the 12V "house" power system (shore power, converter and battery). Other than a common ground, the two systems are independent.
     
  12. brad_k

    brad_k New Member

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    Ok, so Friday afternoon I get to work on tracking this problem down and get safe for my trip. I hook the battery back up and plug the car and camper together to see what happens. LIGHTS! WTF? Consistent, running/brake/signals all working. Unplug and replug to see if it's a weird one-off, but they continue to work. With no sign of problems, we get going later on. We drove with friends behind us, so were constantly vigilant to make sure we went without problems. Normal lighting the entire way. Worked fine the whole way home too. No idea what I did and why they started working, but I'm not going to question good fortune for now.
     
  13. Troutfishing

    Troutfishing Member

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    First of all when I test running lights etc. I like to use a 12 volt circuit tester(have a multimeter handy) makes testing easier. If I was you I would take you PUP battery off and see if lights work. I know you said they did, but you also hitched up at the same time also and it could of been a ground or plug issue. If it works only when you have the PUPs battery connected, then someone did some funky wiring. [?:~{]
     

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