PDA

View Full Version : Back up lights


DanC
03-11-2005, 03:19 AM
Soooo, I've got a Dodge Ram Van pulling a Mastercraft trailer with backup lights. I park the boat down the side of the house and I wanted improved lighting while backing up. Soooo, I bought a kit from Pep Boys with two white lights that install on the tow hitch, connects to the reverse lights. Worked great and provided plenty of light for backing up. Until I hooked up the trailer and I blew the fuse. 10 amp fuse. I am guessing the new lights are 55 watts. Soooo, how do I make this work? 2x55 watt lights = 110 watts plus the stock reverse lights (couple of watts each?) on a 120 watt circuit? Replace the trailer's lights with LED versions? Don't know how much current they draw but I am off to West Marine tomorrow to see if they know.

Mag_Red
03-11-2005, 07:45 AM
The easiest way is to find an empty fuse ( accessory ) and run a seperate curcuit. Mount a switch for the lights and :woohoo: , and you can turn them on when ever you like.

Leroy
03-11-2005, 07:52 AM
DanC; I think the regular bulbs are around 2 amps each or 24 watts each (although you can get wide range of current draws) and the LEDs are 0.025 amps or 0.3 watts. You can get LED plug in replacements but need load resistor for turn signals so your vehicle doesn't think they are burned out because of the small load. LED's are really amazing.


http://www.superbrightleds.com/1157.htm

captkidd
03-11-2005, 02:04 PM
What a coincidence. I just put a set of auxiliary backup lights on my Dodge pickup too. The original backup lights were useless for providing light; the only thing they were good for was to let someone behind me know that I was getting ready to back up.

I bought a set of small, round driving lights at Wal-Mart (about $15), drilled holes on the bottom side of the bumper and mounted them there. It took me about 3 different tries to get the wiring figured out as these were not originally intened to be backup lights. I originally tried to use the "hot" wire going to the backup lights as my power source, but I kept blowing fuses (duh); you could probably use a much larger fuse, but I decided on a different route. I'll try to explain what I did, but I'm sure it'll get confusing:

I used a 5-prong relay that I had left over from some auto wiring project. I ran a wire from the (+) terminal of the battery (with an inline fuse) to one post of the relay. I also ran a wire from the hot wire leading to the backup light to the relay. I then ran drilled a small hole in the truck frame and put a terminal lug on a piece of wire, and screwed it to the frame for a ground. I also attached this wire to the relay, and used a Scotch-lok connector to attach the wire to the ground wire for the lights. In addition, I tapped into the ground wire for the backup lights (another Scotch-lok) and ran this wire to the relay. Finally, I ran a wire from the relay to the "power" wire for the lights. The relay serves as sort of a "switch" to prevent the power from flowing to the aux. backup lights until the original backup lights are activated.

I had a really hard time getting all my wiring connections worked out. At first I tried just using the ground wire for the backup lights as my ground wire, but for some reason that didn't work. Then I tried using the ground wire to the frame as my ground wire, and that didn't work. It wasn't until I used both ground wires that it worked (I guess you could also use a 4-prong relay and attach both ground wires to the same prong?). It was strange, because when I put it in reverse (be sure to turn the engine off first), the hot wire from the battery wouldn't light up the test light when connected to the ground wire from the backup light; if it was not in reverse, then it would light up the tester. I was just about to post a question on here when I finally figured it out.

Don't ask which wire went on which prong. I tried wiring it according to the diagram on the package, but that didn't work. I then began switching the wires around until it finally worked. I'm obviously not an electrician, but "it worked for me". Now I can light up the area behind me pretty well (be sure to use driving lights since they have a longer, narrower beam and not fog lights which have a wide beam).

tex
03-11-2005, 02:50 PM
i have put them on several vehicles. i always straight wire them to a toggle installed in the dash. this way i can turn them on whenever i need them(backing up, flashing tailgaters etc...)

DanC
03-11-2005, 03:03 PM
Thanks for the replies. I was kinda trying to avoid the whole seperate circuit/relay thing (I've done it before, just being lazy this time).
What do you think about this? I think it would be pimp to put one of those underbody illumination kits on the trailer and wired to the reverse circuit. Do you think they would handle the water dunkings?

captkidd
03-14-2005, 04:48 PM
I've seen them advertised, so I guess they'll work (might have to be specified for boat trailers).

dmac
03-14-2005, 05:12 PM
DanC; I think the regular bulbs are around 2 amps each or 24 watts each (although you can get wide range of current draws) and the LEDs are 0.025 amps or 0.3 watts. You can get LED plug in replacements but need load resistor for turn signals so your vehicle doesn't think they are burned out because of the small load. LED's are really amazing.Leroy - I have been to this site and seen the plug in bulbs. It looks to me like they will fit in the existing courtesy light sockets. Do you agree?

Leroy
03-14-2005, 05:50 PM
Yes. Main advantage is low current draw. Not sure if this is bright enough if normal 55W headlights are being considered.

DanC
03-14-2005, 06:12 PM
Well, turns out I can not find the trailer reverse lights in white LED. The white looking LED trailer lights are white lenses with red LEDs.
As far as reducing the current draw by the van, I did find the LED cluster replacement bulbs but only in a bayonet style (push in, 1/4 turn), my van uses the push in bulb like your landscaping low voltage pagoda lights. For now I have just unplugged one of the new 55w lights.

Looks like I will go with the seperate power line and a relay. Then I will have plenty of current to add the under trailer/body reverse lights. Did I say "pimp"? Sorry, I forgot my age, I meant to say it would be really "boss".

BrianS
03-14-2005, 09:44 PM
I just installed some backup lights on my Toyota. The ramp at a private lake I use is not lighted and backing the trailer up in the dark is a chore. Hopefully these will help out.

They are PIAA 1500 Backup Lamps. They came with all the wiring and relays needed. I have a 2-way switch in the dash, I can set them to only come on when in reverse, or I can manually turn them on as needed. Pretty cool.

http://bshowalter.no-ip.com/images/tacoma_backup_lights/P1010028_small.JPG

Brn85ss
03-14-2005, 11:25 PM
Thanks for the replies. I was kinda trying to avoid the whole seperate circuit/relay thing (I've done it before, just being lazy this time).
What do you think about this? I think it would be pimp to put one of those underbody illumination kits on the trailer and wired to the reverse circuit. Do you think they would handle the water dunkings?


I've always used the peterson tractor lights (walmart) and mounted with a relay and seperate toggle switch.I mount them this way so if your at the launch ramp and you need to see better you don't have to have the car in reverse to enjoy some extra lumens.plus you can wire them with or without having the ignition on.Also nice for backing up and hooking up trailer in the early morning before first light.Saved my butt several times,not just with the boat.I think "brians" light set up is probably the best.

rem_p
03-15-2005, 12:01 AM
thats a good lookin set up Brian....ive been wanting to do something similar to my Yota...but im worried they will get ripped off when im out in the woods.....would look sharp mounted in the bumper but thats a lot of work plus i got a chrome bumper too.....


I just installed some backup lights on my Toyota. The ramp at a private lake I use is not lighted and backing the trailer up in the dark is a chore. Hopefully these will help out.

They are PIAA 1500 Backup Lamps. They came with all the wiring and relays needed. I have a 2-way switch in the dash, I can set them to only come on when in reverse, or I can manually turn them on as needed. Pretty cool.

http://bshowalter.no-ip.com/images/tacoma_backup_lights/P1010028_small.JPG

jimmer2880
03-15-2005, 07:18 AM
Well, turns out I can not find the trailer reverse lights in white LED. The white looking LED trailer lights are white lenses with red LEDs.
As far as reducing the current draw by the van, I did find the LED cluster replacement bulbs but only in a bayonet style (push in, 1/4 turn), my van uses the push in bulb like your landscaping low voltage pagoda lights. For now I have just unplugged one of the new 55w lights.

Looks like I will go with the seperate power line and a relay. Then I will have plenty of current to add the under trailer/body reverse lights. Did I say "pimp"? Sorry, I forgot my age, I meant to say it would be really "boss".

I have a set of backup lights on all my utility trailers (I have a lift, so I don't use the boat trailer much). They are soo very very nice! You won't regret it one bit.

DanC
03-15-2005, 12:00 PM
OK, now you all have definitely convinced me to put in a switch and a seperate circuit. I had not thought about the times when I would want illumination but not have the transmission in reverse. Good call.

captkidd
03-15-2005, 02:54 PM
On a somewhat related note: I have a utility trailer that I recently rewired because the lights didn't work consistently. Now they're consistent, but they're consistently not working. I've got power coming through the plug at all 3 of the wires (rt. turn/stop, lft. turn/stop, and tail), but no power at the lights. My guess is that my lights are not grounded sufficiently. I ran the ground wire from the plug to a terminal lug that I screwed to the trailer tongue, but I'm thinking I may have to extend this ground wire to all the lights as well. Does this sound normal? (I know this would make more sense on the Maintenance thread, but this one was already here.)

Lake_Tippy_Skier
03-15-2005, 03:10 PM
i bought this (http://dacsky.com/photo/steplite_photo.html) a few months ago, works great