Trailer Re-wire / Lights


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metalsmith
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Location: Colville Wa
Motorcycle: 1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Trailer Re-wire / Lights

Postby metalsmith » Fri Aug 03, 2012 6:07 pm



Had an interesting time of putting led lights on my trailer re-build....electrics are NOT my first language and I can usually make a little electrical project into a BIG electrical project.

I installed led lights and got a powered converter from Summit Racing. The converter is made by Curt. and seemed to be just what I figured I needed to run the trailer directly off the battery as opposed to running it through the bike wiring/switches.

I checked the wiring diagram first (twice) and everything looked good and unaltered from original. I cut wires, re-checked with a meter for function, spliced, soldered and shrink tubed everything. SHAZZAMMMMM...it all worked the first time, the turn signals functioned the led's perfectly...I'm a happy guy!....but wait.....what is this...???

With the bike shut off, key out of the ignition, all my led's are trying to glow!! The middle four lites in each of my 10 led trailer lights, have a slight glow to them. Lotsa head-scratchin' an congratulating myself for being able "screw up an iron ball'

I called Summit yesterday and they were unable to tell me if I had done something wrong, if I had fried the converter, or if my trailer had a ghost.

Next I got a hold of a tech at Curt and as I was explaining my dilemma....he finished my sentence!! "your led's are glowing a little?".............. I says "yup".

Apparently the way the converter is built there is some kind of power bleed-through coming off the direct hook up to the battery and since the led lights don't require much juice, they light up a bit where a regular incandescent will not. He advised a resistor in the ground wire. Me being 'electronically challenged' as I am, I decided to put in a relay that completely disconnects the converter battery wire when the bike is shut off. Made sense to me anyway. Now it does all work and I'm a happy guy again.

I've got lights!



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zamboni920
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Location: Stavanger, Norway
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500 SE with Hannigan 2+2 sidecar

Re: Trailer Re-wire / Lights

Postby zamboni920 » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:14 pm

Good job.....I like the relay idea better than the resistor. I did my trailer with all LEDs, and got a converter made for Toyota vehicles (this choice was simply because the unit itself was smaller). I spliced into the existing harness on rear of bike. Beeing all LEDs, I figure the power draw is minimal anyway. It works like a charm. Happy you got your issue figured out :D

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bcassel
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Motorcycle: 1982 GL1100 Interstate. Originally Candywine color, now Chrysler Cool Vanilla.

Re: Trailer Re-wire / Lights

Postby bcassel » Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:42 pm

Funny you should mention this issue. It's not uncommon for this to happen, or for a capacitor in the circuit to feed power to the LEDs for several hours.

On the resistor issue, you made the right choice. Not too many folks understand that why we put in LEDs is to reduce the amperage demand. They are thinking lifespan, higher lumens, cooler operation.... By inputting a resistor, you're just burning up the same amperage as before, just instead of light, you make heat.

That's one of the problems when folks go to LED turn signals on these bikes and install "load balancer" to make the flasher work. The balancer is a resistor to provide the same amperage draw so that the flasher works. Better to install an electronic flasher. But, I digress.

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metalsmith
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Location: Colville Wa
Motorcycle: 1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: Trailer Re-wire / Lights

Postby metalsmith » Sat Aug 04, 2012 12:06 am

AH HA...see there? I didn't even consider there might be a cap in the converter and that it might go lites-out when it drained off. And I didn't figure the trade off of heat for amps. I just had it in my mind that I had a minimal draw on the battery (might not be any more than the clock, I don't know) but it seems a light draw while the bike is at rest is not a good thing.

Maybe if I make it another 56 years you guys will 'learn me sumthin'..... I can hope!

Took it out for it's maiden voyage tonight, about 40 miles. My first time with a trailer, so I went solo. Everything handled great. I could tell I had something back there once in awhile, but just barely. The trailer is supposed to be about 180 pounds and I just threw some stuff in till I got to about 25 pounds for tongue weight (trailer was basically empty) but I ran up some hills, down some hills, some twistys and some time in the parking lot down at the school doing 8's and 0's and working on my manual backing-up skills. Everything looks good and worked like a champ!

I did a test last night where I hitched up then rode the bike into the garage under the chain hoist. I strapped onto the triple tree and laid the bike over towards its right side until I got into hitch-bind. I just have a standard ball and cup set-up. The Wing laid over to the 34 degree mark before the cup contacted the ball stem. At that point the drag pin on the bottom of the driver floor-board was still almost four inches from the concrete. I don't drive very aggressively that way, but in a gotta-do-some-heroics type situation I might wish I had a bit more clearance. I think I'll look at building a swivel type hitch for it.

Gentlemen,thanks for the information on my electrical !

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zamboni920
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Location: Stavanger, Norway
Motorcycle: 1996 GL1500 SE with Hannigan 2+2 sidecar

Re: Trailer Re-wire / Lights

Postby zamboni920 » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:04 am

Glad it all works well. My trailer is fairly heavy ....all steel.....and the only time I notice it is when it hits a bump. Even than it is more the sound behind me, than any handling issue.
I think tilting balls are available. I have a swivel drag on the trailer. it have the availability to swivel a full 360 degrees, so the limit is only the safetychains. I can easily make turns where my footpegs touches ground withough any issues. Of course, that has only happened at test runs :D . One thing I noticed, and worth paying attention to, is when backing it up, say against a curb, when the wheels of trailer touches the curb, it is very easy to loose your balance point.

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metalsmith
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Motorcycle: 1987 GL1200A Aspencade

Re: Trailer Re-wire / Lights

Postby metalsmith » Sat Aug 04, 2012 11:50 am

Zamboni920,

Thanks for the heads-up on the backing/balance thing. Makes perfect sense to me. The low attachment point of he tongue means when I'm horsing it around backing-up and pushing the weight of the bike the weight and leverage is all above the hitch. When the trailer stops at curb-contact I could see things getting hinky pretty quick in any configuration other than a straight back push. I gotta admit, in my backing practice so far I didn't have many 'straight back' pushes :oops:




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