Trailer electrics

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Peter Nobes Peter Nobes
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Trailer electrics

My new skiff is going to be too big to go on the roof of my new camper van so I'm getting a towbar fitted. They asked me if I need a single 7-pin socket or a double something-or-other.  Help!

Thanks
Peter
Timmo Timmo
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Re: Trailer electrics

SIngle 7 pin is all you need for a boat trailer. Double is for a caravan where there are extras like a fridge to power.

There is a new 13pin Euro connector that does the job of the double. With an adaptor you can still plug in 7 pin plugs or indeed use a double adapotor to connect older caravans. 

A single 7 pin is probably cheapest.

If you have sophisticated electrics in your new camper that can tell you when a light bulb has blown etc. you may need to take care not to have the cheapest towbar electric installation. Talk to the installer and check what they're proposing will not trigger alarms on the dashboard.

Tim.


On 8 Oct 2014, at 12:01, Peter Nobes [via UK HBBR Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:

My new skiff is going to be too big to go on the roof of my new camper van so I'm getting a towbar fitted. They asked me if I need a single 7-pin socket or a double something-or-other.  Help!

Thanks
Peter


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NAML

Port-Na-Storm Port-Na-Storm
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Re: Trailer electrics

Hi Peter,
New Skiff and New camper, excellent!

Timmo beat me too it, he must be doing even less work than I am.
Think about getting a trailer board with LED lights which should be a bit more robust, and it seems obvious but make sure it comes with enough cable to reach the stern of the boat.
Available now from your local friendly on-line auction site.

Cheers
Graham
Chris Waite Chris Waite
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Re: Trailer electrics

While we're on the subject

The left-hand side-light fuse blew out on my 2013 Transit recently.  I  didn't even know it was thus blest, so it took me a while to realize and an interesting hour or two to find the fuse box and replace the bugger, but it occurs to me that maybe it was due to overloading as I made the light-board myself, decades ago and if I remember correctly, simply connected all four, double number plate and both side lights to one wire.

The next thing I was told by my local garage is that it is now compulsory to fit thirteen-pin plugs to all new vehicles.  What say you to that?

And the next thing is that trailer using LED's, (even on the vehicle itself) may confuse the on-board computer....

Would that be more, or less confused than I am then?

Your very own Pre-electrolyte

CW

Paul (admin) Paul (admin)
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Re: Trailer electrics

Chaps,

Look for CAN Bus compatible LEDs.  (See CAN-bus LEDs ).

Bog standard LEDs might appear to be faulty on a modern car using the CAN bus, even though the LED bulbs work perfectly.

But you can get "CAN-bus ready" LEDs to workaround the problem.

If you make your own lighting board, try to solder every connection to eliminate corrosion. There is a slight risk of crystallization at the solder joint, so use lots of cables ties to prevent wires vibrating which may cause a fatigue fracture at the solder joint. OTT perhaps, but I did my apprenticeship at Smiths Industries who made aircraft gauges and auto-pilots with a MTBF of 10,000 hours (Mean Time Between Failure).

cheers
Paul
Peter Nobes Peter Nobes
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Re: Trailer electrics

Aaaaaargh! It was so simple when Tim and Graham had replied!  :-)

On 9 Oct 2014 13:48, "Paul (admin) [via UK HBBR Forum]" <[hidden email]> wrote:
Chaps,

Look for CAN Bus compatible LEDs.  (See CAN-bus LEDs ).

Bog standard LEDs might appear to be faulty on a modern car using the CAN bus, even though the LED bulbs work perfectly.

But you can get "CAN-bus ready" LEDs to workaround the problem.

If you make your own lighting board, try to solder every connection to eliminate corrosion. There is a slight risk of crystallization at the solder joint, so use lots of cables ties to prevent wires vibrating which may cause a fatigue fracture at the solder joint. OTT perhaps, but I did my apprenticeship at Smiths Industries who made aircraft gauges and auto-pilots with a MTBF of 10,000 hours (Mean Time Between Failure).

cheers
Paul
Sail when you can, motor when you can't http://www.millibee.com



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Paul (admin) Paul (admin)
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Re: Trailer electrics

This post was updated on .
Peter, 

If we weren't opposite ends of the country I'd teach you the soldering (assuming that is the tricky part?)

Paul

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Port-Na-Storm Port-Na-Storm
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Re: Trailer electrics

There may not actually be an issue here.
Peter dear chap, do tell us the age and nature of your recently purchased recreational vehicle.
I find it hard to believe that "in this day and age" you cant just buy a trailer board plug it in and drive off without having to change the LEDs and re-solder all the joints. World's gone stark raving bonkers  I tell you.
Paul (admin) Paul (admin)
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Re: Trailer electrics

Graham is correct, but:

1) Some LED lighting units are waterproof.  I've seen them on ebay in USA but not here yet.

2) Soldering and sealing with heat shrink tubing means the wiring will be virtually waterproof. 

So 1 +2 means you can dunk the lighting board in the water, which will be useful for trailers that have the lighting board low down on the metal frame.

CAN bus LEDs will be future proof. Also you can get adapters so that bog standard LEDs make the modern car think the bulbs are working ok.

The CAN bus can warn the driver that indicators or brake lights are not working. So its a sensible safety feature..especially for trailers. I'll wager it becomes law in a decade.

The problem is that LEDs consume very little current and the CAN bus thinks the bulb is not working. So the warning light on the dashboard lights up.

CAN bus compatible LEDs solve that problem. 

Cheers
Paul

Sent from Samsung Mobile



-------- Original message --------
From: "Port-Na-Storm [via UK HBBR Forum]" <[hidden email]>
Date: 11/10/2014 08:57 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Paul (admin)" <[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: Trailer electrics


There may not actually be an issue here.
Peter dear chap, do tell us the age and nature of your recently purchased recreational vehicle.
I find it hard to believe that "in this day and age" you cant just buy a trailer board plug it in and drive off without having to change the LEDs and re-solder all the joints. World's gone stark raving bonkers  I tell you.



Jeremy Jeremy
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Re: Trailer electrics

I have totally waterproof LED lights on my trailer, bought around 4 years or so ago.  They are encapsulated in resin so can be totally immersed without a problem.  This meant I could fix them to the rear of the trailer, rather than have a lighting board (ensuring that they were clearly visible with the boat loaded).

IIRC, they were quite expensive, but as I seem to have broken more lighting boards over the years than you can shake a big stick at, and as, 9 times out of 10 I have to fiddle around to get a lighting board that's been stored over winter to work, the price seemed worth paying.

No problems with CAN bus, it's a red herring, as your trailer socket will be wired via a CAN bus adapter if your car is so equipped (the last few cars I've had have had CAN bus controlled lights).  A CAN bus compatible wiring adapter is cheap (around £15) and as easy to wire to the socket on the car as an ordinary one.

There is a potential problem with the trailer warning buzzer/light not working (the one that indicates that your trailer indicators are working), but the LED lights I bought came with a load resistor that was simply wired in to get the indicator warning to work by increasing the load a bit on the indicator circuits.

I went to town with my lights on the current trailer to make sure that all the connections were watertight, by using high quality crimped cable connections and adhesive lined waterproof heat shrink sleeving.  NEVER solder connections on something like this, as the solder will create a hard point in the multi strand wire and cause a fatigue failure from all the vibration that a boat trailer is subject to.  Crimped connections (properly made) are many times more reliable, which is why they are used in all high reliability applications (like aircraft wiring looms, where soldered joints are virtually forbidden).

The lights I used came from here: http://www.towingandtrailers.co.uk/shop/14/31/761/ and seem very good.

Paul (admin) Paul (admin)
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Re: Trailer electrics

Thanks for the link Jeremy. Those LED units are truly excellent; factor in the rip off bulb prices at the local garage and those units are a very good price IMHO. I will definitely use them as they will eliminate 99.9% of bulb problems we suffer every season ...even considered permanent fitting of some lights on MilliBee's transom.

Jeremy is spot on about vibration. On aircraft it's possibly the #1killer of electronics which will go through a high speed G force check, aka "the shake, rattle and roll" test in the industry.

Some components in the 70s were encapsulated in epoxy to eliminate vibration. Also solder joints where replaced by wire-wrap ...but that's boring non boaty stuff that Jeremy and myself will chat about over a pint someday.

Crimping is good and quick but stop the joints vibrating as best you can. Cable ties and glue guns can be useful.

I know enough about soldering, heat shrink and lacing of wiring looms to avoid the vibration fatigue issues and have a personal bias towards soldering. I've been trained to spot a bad solder joint - in our apprenticeship we had a 10 x 10 wire frame with 100 joints to solder. The instructor would throw it back at you and make you do another 100 joints. You could not finish until every joint was perfect...it took me 4 days. One poor lad was stuck doing non-stop soldering for two weeks....not the sharpest tool in the box!


But if you use those LED units and crimp the wires as Jeremy suggested you will have a very good lighting board. Corrosion at the 7/13 pin socket/plug will be the only problem to worry about.

Cheers
Paul


Jeremy Jeremy
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Re: Trailer electrics

Looking at the prices I think they are cheaper than when I bought them.  Having a lifetime guarantee on the submersible ones was attractive, too.  There are photos of these on my trailer here: http://uk-hbbr-forum.967333.n3.nabble.com/New-trailer-in-progress-tp4027421p4027427.html
Chris Waite Chris Waite
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Re: Trailer electrics

In reply to this post by Jeremy
OK, this fatigue thing

I am about to mount a couple of standard 240 volt (double) sockets, one each-side, in-side the back of the Transit and was intending to use standard house type 2.5 sq.mm single core/strand based cable to connect them under the floor liner and thence to a terminal somewhere at the back to an appropriate 'skin fitting'.

Questions:

1.  Should I be using flexible multi-strand?

2.  So that I can find one on line, what is the proper name for the 'skin fitting' and what form does it take?  If I Google it, all I get is the blue wire end camping plug/sockets and I already have one of those....

3.  Any other pointers?

Experts to the fore

Thanks

CW
Port-Na-Storm Port-Na-Storm
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Re: Trailer electrics

Port-Na-Storm Port-Na-Storm
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Re: Trailer electrics

I'd also be fitting the appropriate sized one of these in its little box.
http://www.screwfix.com/p/lap-63a-30ma-dp-rcd/68610#product_additional_details_container

Mains cables snaking through wet grass sort of give me the willies.
Paul (admin) Paul (admin)
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Re: Trailer electrics

Spot on Graham.

The input will have an IP rating for rain protection.

The RCD protects everything inside from people to appliances.

Yes use flex cable. ..but you also need MCBs (fuses) set at the capacity of the flex.

Paul
Port-Na-Storm Port-Na-Storm
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Re: Trailer electrics

OK for my benefit, if not for everyone else, and to prevent CeeDubbs blowing his own fuse:
If he fits a mini consumer unit with RCDs in the circuit after the input socket then runs cable to his standard 13amp sockets, and has the usual fuses in the appliance plugs, where do your MCB fuses fit in?

Or am I just being dimmer than a 5 watt bulb in a power cut?
Paul (admin) Paul (admin)
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Re: Trailer electrics

Sketch coming soon when wifey has scanned it.

Ps Flu jab makes me feel cr**
Paul (admin) Paul (admin)
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Re: Trailer electrics

Here we go...high tech cad at it's best
Paul (admin) Paul (admin)
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Re: Trailer electrics

In reply to this post by Chris Waite
Chris,

This is the kind of unit you need inside the external socket:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Caravan-Tent-Trailer-Consumer-Unit-Fuse-Box-RCD-MCBs-/280624564388




It's IP55 which means dust proof and ok to splash with water. If you walk in with wet hands and touch any live connection accidentally, the RCD will immediately trip and cut off all the power. Ditto if she got flooded accidentally.

Yes use flex cable because its designed to move and vibrate. The 2.5mm flat twin copper might work harden and crack.

1.5mm flex is ok up to 20amps so you could use it with the 16amp MCB fuse above IF you create a ring main.
http://www.screwfix.com/p/round-flexible-cable-3183y-3-core-1-5mm-x-50m-white/88820


But you must derate cable that is buried or under insulation and might get a bit hot:
http://www.elecsa.co.uk/Technical-Library/Wiring-Regulations/Inspection-and-Testing/Current-Carrying-Capacity-of-Cables.aspx

So use common sense and don't bury the flex under the insulation.

-Paul
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