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#1 Gtractor OFFLINE  

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Posted September 14, 2016 - 10:36 PM

I am [slowly] coming out of the 1980's [in many ways] and upgraded my trailer lights to LED's today.  Bought the kit in February and finally got 'round tuit here in mid-September. 

Only thing is, I had the inside of the old style light fixtures spray painted bright silver to reflect more light so these aren't all that much brighter.  Plus LED's are brightest when looking straight into them and this trailer usually has the tail almost on the ground so the lights point downward some.  Still gotta be better than the old 1157 bulbs that both electrodes would melt together on almost every trip since my trailer is a hard tail.  Thought about mounting the lights above the current location but I'd have them torn off first time out.  Worked in this location for lotsa years. 

Looking forward to the lights working every time I hook up plus the old wiring was from 2004 when I built the trailer.  Squirrels had done a # on the wires a few times and it was brittle. 

These are just El-Cheap-O's from Harbor Freight but they'll work fine.    :angel:

 

LED's.jpg

 

Don't laugh at my piece-meal tread plate flooring.  It was free!


Edited by Gtractor, September 14, 2016 - 10:38 PM.

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#2 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 02:56 AM

Looks fine, should last a while.
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#3 petrj6 ONLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 04:01 AM

    I havnt made the switch to led but I did go to sealed beam in rubber grommets about 3 years ago, best decision I ever made for my trailers!!!!  Looks good on there.

                                                  Pete


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#4 KC9KAS OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 04:27 AM

I bought a brand new trailer in the spring of 2015. The lights were terrible at best, and not enough lights to be DOT compliant.

I tore all the wiring off and replace it along with new LEDs and now it is DOT compliant and lights work well

The wiring had the blue "tap & go" connectors and they aren't worth a dime in my opinion! 

I soldered all wires and used heat shrink on the connections.

I don't plan on "licking this calf over" again!


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#5 Gtractor OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 05:39 AM

I agree!  Those Tap-N-Go connectors are ditch fill when new and get worse with age. 

Oh the frustration they have caused.....

When I wired my F-250 years ago that's what I used.  ALWAYS problems with them until I'd had enough and did away with them.

 

This HF light kit has those for the side marker/clearance lights.   This trailer never had side markers on the front sides so I didn't install those.  Probably will someday.

Another good point about the LEDs is my F-150 has a light duty flasher that I never got 'round to changing and the LEDs draw so much less current that the flasher is OK now. 


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#6 Cat385B ONLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 06:32 AM

My trailer lights have been trouble free since I stuck these on.

image.jpeg

I'm not laughing at the patched flooring. Nice looking trailer, imo.
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#7 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 06:39 AM

I bought LEDs a while back for my little trailer. Had no light issues since... WIRE issues, but no light issues.
Cheap phone cord-like crap. Would break looking at it.

Rewired it on a Sunday a while back when I was trying to use it. Need to fixit it permanent, but this'll do for now.

Oh, and check for a regular lamp in the side of the red ones. My running/turn/brake are all led, but the marker on the side of that is a good old fashioned wedge base. The product was misrepresented, but I didn't find it until recently.
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#8 chieffan OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 07:24 AM

My trailer is a lot like yours Kris, lights about the same location and all.  You must be pulling it with a high draw bar or off the bumper to have the tail almost on the ground.  My trailer rides about 2" low in front, still running the same type lights that came on it 20 years ago.  Wiring was shot so put the same lights back on (HF) but run the wires in cheep 3/8" garden hose from the ball back.  No tear off or rodent problem since.  Wish my trailer looked that good.  Mine needs another coat of paint but has a 1-1/2" bridge floor deck on it.  The water proof lights like CAT385b has is the way to go.  Made for boat trailers that are in the water all the time.  On those "tap and go" connectors, they work fine but you have to put a dab of electrical silicone in them first to seal off the connection.  Won't work good for electric brakes though.  RS has the silicone.


Edited by chieffan, September 15, 2016 - 07:24 AM.

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#9 Username OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 08:10 AM

Those center DOT lights are what I always have a problem with.I always run reflective tape on the sides of my trailers for added visibility.


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#10 KC9KAS OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 03:36 PM

I agree!  Those Tap-N-Go connectors are ditch fill when new and get worse with age. 

Oh the frustration they have caused.....

There is an automotive repair shop I know of that just love to use these things....well duh....after 6 months the vehicle is back in the shop for MORE repairs and MORE $$$$.

 

 

Copied without permission....hey it was on the net!

taps.jpg-nggid03593-ngg0dyn-0x225x100-00
Inline wire taps
t-taps.jpg-nggid03591-ngg0dyn-0x225x100-
T-tap connectors
vampire.jpg-nggid03594-ngg0dyn-0x225x100
T-tap connector details
tapped.jpg-nggid03592-ngg0dyn-0x225x100-
T-tap connectors

 

Many electrical accessories today come with connectors that are designed to “splice” connections into other wires without the need for cutting and soldering. 3M™ makes a lot of these under the Scotchlok™ name in all sorts of sizes and for all types of uses (see pics to the right). These connectors are commonly referred to as “vampire connectors” because they “bite” into another wire to “suck” power.

The different colors indicate the size (gauge) of the wire they are designed to work on. In some cases these connectors can be useful and save a lot of time, but the types and sizes that are typically used for automotive and motorcycle applications (typically 18-22 gauge) can cause a number of problems up to and including complete failure of the splice.

Inline wire taps (like the top picture) work by placing the connector around an existing wire and then feeding the clean cut end of another wire into it. When the metal portion is pressed down with a pair of pliers it cuts like a small guillotine into both wires and establishes a connection across the 2 wires in the process. The little plastic strap folds over and clips in place to hold the metal bit in place.

The other style commonly used in automotive and motorcycle applications is the T-tap (see pics to right). The T-tap accomplishes the same thing as the inline splice but it only cuts it’s way into one wire, the second wire that is “tapping” into it plugs in via a common spade style connector. If you look at the 2 bottom pictures you can get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Now you might wonder what the problem with this is, what makes this so bad? I mean, it’s a quick and easy solution to splicing wires, and it helps those without much electrical skill to add accessories, right? While all this is true, the problems come from a handful of different issues that arise from the nature of the connection itself.

First, the simple act of pressing the wire into this slotted metal piece bludgeons the wire. The concept behind this is fine – it’s supposed to strip back the insulation on the wire to make contact with the wire itself. The problem is that there is no guarantee that you won’t accidentally catch some of the wire in this process and tear some of the individual wire strands. It is actually quite common that this does happen. Second, when the connection process does strip the insulation without completely trashing the wire then the opposite is sometimes true – it only makes limited contact with the wire.

Both the over and under “stripped” problems I mentioned above are often exacerbated by users who do not realize the color/sizing relationship of these connectors to the wires. If you choose a size too big or a size too small for the wire you’re tapping into then you will end up with an exaggerated version of the 2 problems I discuss above. I speak about this with experience because when I was younger I made these exact mistakes!

Now, let’s just say hypothetically that you do establish a perfect connection during the process of installing one of these taps – what then? This is where you have to be concerned about the long-term, surprise you one day/night, maybe leave you stuck on the side of the road, kind of problems. The process of making these connections tears the insulation and leaves some of the wire exposed. Over time the exposed wire begins to oxidize and corrode due to exposure to the elements. All these factors slowly wear on the wire and make it less conductive, but more important to this discussion – the wire becomes brittle.

So now you have an exposed, oxidized, corroded, and brittle wire clamped in the groove of a little metal piece with sharp edges specifically designed for cutting through the wire insulation. Take this situation and add vibration – the kind of vibration you get from just driving your car or bike – motor vibes and bumpy roads. With these elements in place, all that becomes necessary is the last one at play – time…

Brittle wires, sharp edges, regular vibration and time breaks the wire down one strand at a time until complete failure occurs – and remember that this was a “perfect” connection. Splices that cut and nick wires (like I originally mentioned above) will fail faster. Now I understand having your GPS, radio, CB, lightbar or other superficial accessory fail may not be a problem – but the failure of the wires they attach to is. The nature of these taps is that the wire running your accessory is probably going to be OK, but the wire it taps into for power will probably break. This is a problem because, for convenience, most accessories tap into power sources that come on automatically when the key is turned on. What is so important that it comes on and stays on when you turn the key on your bike?

  • Computers that control everything from sensors to ignition systems
  • Power Commander units (EFI)
  • Headlights
  • Taillights
  • Dash lights
  • Radiator fans

So think about your accessories – which 12V wire is going to fail on your bike?

These taps are also commonly used in many other applications such as – load equalizers, Power Commanders, run/turn/brake units – all sorts of things. Not all of these parts would leave you stranded if they were to fail, but some might. Some Power Commander units use a T-tap to splice into the throttle position sensor (TPS) wire and I have seen times where the tap cuts the wire and causes the bike to run horribly until it’s fixed. The slow breaking of the wire as the tap gradually cuts through individual strands can even give you the false appearance that the connection is fine even when it is not.

So consider all these factors and applications and then ask yourself if maybe a little extra time and a soldering iron aren’t in your future. I have never found a wire that I could not splice into with a soldering iron and solder, and I have never experienced a failure of any solder joint I have made. I will admit that I grew up soldering (my dad is an electrical engineer) so I have experience soldering and it’s second nature to me – if you’re intimidated then spend a little time Googling the process. There are a lot of good articles out there discussing the process and explaining the steps in detail. After a little reading, buy yourself a soldering iron and spend some time practicing with some scrap wire until you’re comfortable with it. You’ll quickly learn that the process isn’t terribly complicated and the next time you think about using a tap connector you can do this instead.


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#11 Cvans OFFLINE  

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Posted September 15, 2016 - 04:48 PM

Don't laugh at my piece-meal tread plate flooring.  It was free!

 

I'm not laughing, really, I'm not laughing.  :smilewink:

I happen to have one of those odd sized trailers where you can't find a sheet of anything that will fit it without piecing something together.  :mad2:


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#12 Rickardo OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 02:16 AM

Looks good.I have not made the switch to LED yet but will do pretty soon. 


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#13 DZG OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 01:59 PM

No offense to anyone, but i am not a fan of LEDs. All my trailers will stay incandesent.

I just dont like the way they look.
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#14 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 03:36 PM

No offense to anyone, but i am not a fan of LEDs. All my trailers will stay incandesent.

I just dont like the way they look.

I thought that too when they first came out, but after having a half dozen people nearly smash the back of my trailer, I went to LED so they would see I'm stopping or turning!


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#15 DZG OFFLINE  

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Posted September 20, 2016 - 04:49 PM

I thought that too when they first came out, but after having a half dozen people nearly smash the back of my trailer, I went to LED so they would see I'm stopping or turning!


Ive seen them side by side on semis, granted they dont run an 1157 bulb but i didnt notice much difference.

Im stuck on old school ways. Even being 28 i wouldnt even own a fuel injected vehicle till a few years ago

Edited by DZG, September 20, 2016 - 04:51 PM.

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