Trailer wire harness converter issue?


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Lakelivin
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Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »



Hi gang,
Just a quick question... I recently purchased a brand new Lumina 18 cubic foot trailer with l.e.d. lights for my '06 1800. Also picked up a wire harness/converter to hook up the trailer lights. Got it all hooked up an operating. However, when either turn signal is in operation and the brake is applied at the same time, the trailer turn signals will alternate with the bike turn signals. Release the brake and the turn signals flash simultaneously. Reapply the brake and its back to alternating again. Everything is hooked up per the instructions that came with the converter. I'm wondering if this is normal since the converter actually splits a single brake signal into a dual signal to operate the left and right brake lights on the trailer. Or was I the unlucky one who received a lame converter? Appreciate any input.


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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by WingAdmin »

Which converter did you get?

Does your trailer have separate brake and turn signal lights?
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Greetings WingAdmin. Thanks for responding. I'm really stuck on this issue. I bought the converter from "ADD on Accessories" their part number for the converter is 45-1848. If I try, I might be able to upload a picture of the converter in a later post. I'll try to describe it... it has a black case about 3 inches wide by 1 1/2 or so tall and about a half inch thick. It has a schematic yellow sticker on the face showing bike side and trailer side. Pretty simple connections, Right T green, Left T yellow, stoplight red, tail light brown and ground is white. The trailer side combines the stop and turn signals on the left and right sides. There is a separate wire for the tail lights and a ground wire. The trailer has one left light and one right light that are used for all lights, tail, brake and turn signals. So to answer your question, they are combined not separate. Also the trailer is 4 wire light emitting diode. To me it seems the converter isn't working as it should. The part number I ordered indicated it would fit 01-10 1800s.
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Hey there WingAdmin,

Since my last post about 20-ish minutes ago, I heard back from the manufacturer. They had a list of items for me to check, all of which are of no effect accept one. They asked if the trailer had LED lights. As indicated in my last post, it does in fact have LEDs. They indicated that LED lights may not have enough draw (amps) to trigger the switch in the converter to eliminate the problem of alternating lights. I have responded to them and am diligently waiting their reply. However, if you have any other additional information, I'd appreciate any advice you may have. Thanks again and ride SAFE!!
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Finally got a pic of the installed converter uploaded... here ya go...


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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by MikeB »

Add-On accessories may write back and tell you that you will need load resistors for the LED lights to show enough load on the circuit.
If that is the case, they may offer to sell you what you need and should be able to tell you how to wire them in. The resistors I "think" you may need are 6 ohm 50 watt resistors. They are readily available from multiple vendors. They are only about $6.00 for a set of two from most suppliers.

I am uncertain what you will need because I have never used the 5 into 4 adapter.
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Appreciate your input MikeB. I'm waiting to see just what the manufacturer has to say/offer. I have heard of a low draw from LED lights having issues before. Just didn't think about it since the lights are flashing when the brake is not applied. Didn't pass my process of elimination test. I'll keep ya'll posted as to how it turns out. This web site is great! Glad I signed up and hopefully this information about trailer harness converters helps someone else some day. ;)
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Update, I've tried and tried... nothing seems to work. I constructed two incandescent double filament 1157 bulbs into make shift trailer lights. Swapped them out with the LEDs thinking this would increase the load on the converter triggering the internal switch. Still, the turn signals alternate with the bike when the brake is applied. Short of ordering a better converter I've got no ideas left. I contacted the manufacturer who did give me several ideas of why this may be happening. I checked them all and everything suggested had no affect. It being an installed electrical part, obviously I can't return it. I honestly don't see that this alternating is a problem other than the cosmetics and the possibility of looking foolish to other vehicles on the road who know better. I'm open to any suggestions. ;)
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by MikeB »

Perhaps what you need is a tail light converter that is made for LED lights.
The USA trailer store, the retailer for Lumina trailer, sells the Hopkins 48895 LED Taillight Converter:
https://theusatrailerstore.com/hopkins- ... converter/

It is only $24.95
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

MikeB wrote:Perhaps what you need is a tail light converter that is made for LED lights.
The USA trailer store, the retailer for Lumina trailer, sells the Hopkins 48895 LED Taillight Converter:
https://theusatrailerstore.com/hopkins- ... converter/

It is only $24.95
Thanks MikeB. As coincidence would have it, I found that exact item yesterday on their web page. In fact, that's where I bought the trailer! I'm pretty sure I saw the same converter at my local auto parts store. I'll confirm the part number and if its the same it'll be installed today. If not, then I'll order it from your suggestion. Thanks again for the input. I'll get to the bottom of this yet! :P
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by MikeB »

If it is not available from your local retailer, it is on amazon for $17.38. If you have Prime you could most likely have it by Tuesday.
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

MikeB wrote:If it is not available from your local retailer, it is on amazon for $17.38. If you have Prime you could most likely have it by Tuesday.
MikeB, my local auto parts store did in fact have that part number (Hopkins 48895) converter in stock. Purchased and installed it. Sadly I'm back to square one. The turn signals still alternate with the bike when the brake is applied. I checked the input side of the converter both with the brake on and the brake off while a turn signal is operating... no defect noted. However, even when I unplug the trailer and plug in my 4 flat tester, I still get the same result... they alternate. I've even went as far as to plug the trailer into my pickup, and it worked perfectly in all aspects of the lights. I'm totally at my wits end. I know I don't need an isolation circuit as my bike does not have ABS. The isolation circuit only protects the bikes wiring should the trailer fault. It would still operate off the impulses received from the bike. I wouldn't think the bike has an issue. As mentioned earlier it's an '06 with only 31K on it and all lights function normally. I just can't swallow that my bike is the only one that's ever had this issue. What am I to do? :?
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Dusty Boots »

Lakelivin wrote:
MikeB wrote: What am I to do? :?
I'd be going back in to make sure you have the converter hooked up correctly and that you have it properly grounded!!
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Dusty Boots wrote:
Lakelivin wrote:
MikeB wrote: What am I to do? :?
I'd be going back in to make sure you have the converter hooked up correctly and that you have it properly grounded!!
Hey there "Dusty boots". Been there done that numerous times. Checked, checked and rechecked... oh and I also checked it...LOL. In fact the converter is grounded directly to the battery post negative terminal. Yet for some reason the turn signals are tossed between the trailer and the bike when the brake is applied. Arrrrggghhhh!!! But I sincerely appreciate your input. I'll take any advice at this point.
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by MikeB »

Lakelivin wrote:... I know I don't need an isolation circuit as my bike does not have ABS. The isolation circuit only protects the bikes wiring should the trailer fault.
You are right in one sense, the isolation circuit protects the bikes wiring should the trailer fault. It also protects the bike wiring from excessive current draw. But it really has nothing to do with having ABS or not. The bike wiring is of a smaller gauge then what would be recommended for supplying current to trailer lighting AND your motorcycle lighting. Ideally, you should have a trailer wiring harness isolator. And, for trailers that require a four wire hook up, then you need the five into four adapter.

The way your lights are acting is the same as the fairing side marker lights operate on my GL1500. They are on when the lights are on and they alternate on and off with the turn signals as they operate. They operate this way because the ground is supplied by the turn signal filament.

Long story shortened, make sure that every individual light assembly is grounded to the trailer and that the trailer wire harness itself is also securely grounded, preferably to a centralized grounding point. I have found in the past that individual light assemblies rely on a less than ideal grounding method. I prefer to have a dedicated ground wire from the socket/LED assembly to a ground point, rather than trusting a light assembly mounting screw to make an adequate ground. And, you can not rely on the trailer tongue to be your ground. Hopefully, having a centralized ground will help your situation, but I can't say for certain.
MikeB
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Dusty Boots »

Totally agree about having a centralized ground point on the trailer for trailer lights. That was going to be my next suggestion!
When I built my cargo trailer out of a HF trailer kit, I installed a main wiring junction box where all the light ground wires ran back to it and then from there to my main grounding lug on the trailer I installed.


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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Dusty Boots »

I meant to add this to the above post, but I had to run over to HF and pick up a HF Tag-Along trailer for a friend and will be building/modding it for her.

HF sells these 4 way trailer light testers that you plug into the tow vehicle end (your bike) and it will tell you if it's operating correctly.
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Wow gents, I continue to learn everyday. Thank you!! As I understand it, both "Dustyboots" and "MikeB" feel it's necessary to ensure the lights on the trailer are actually grounded to the trailer frame. Here in lye's a problem. The frame of my Lumina XL trailer is all aluminum (as I recall from shop class in HS XX years ago, aluminum is not the best conductor). The lights are not grounded in any way to the frame. It's a brand new trailer, in fact, I had to assemble it when it was delivered. The led lights that came already installed on the trailer are grounded via the wire harness on the trailer directly through the ground terminal on the 4 way flat plug. From there the ground travels into the 5-4 converter then out the other side and is currently attached to the negative terminal on the battery of the bike. I have a 4 flat trailer harness tester that gives me weak results at best (only diff is the leds are red on my tester vs the green on HFs tester). Check this out... when the tester we are discussing is plugged into the flat plug on the bike side, and the turn signals are on with the brakes applied, the only light on the tester that illuminates is the tail lights. Yet, during the afore mentioned test, with the same lights functioning on the bike and no lights lit up on the tester accept the tail lights, I touch my 12v test light to either one of the turn signal connectors on the test plug while it's plugged in and my 12v test light lights up. Yes, you read correctly, the test light functions and the tester plug does not. However, I know for a fact that the tester plug works in all aspects because I've plugged it into my pickup truck and it works flawlessly. I did find "MikeBs" comment about the wiring on the Goldwing being too small very interesting. I'm wondering if that is a factor in that the stock wiring of the lights on the bike may not be capable of carrying the correct voltage required to "trigger" the converter to function correctly? Gents, I feel strongly that my last resort is to do what you have suggested and purchase an isolation "plug-n-play" circuit. I assume this isolation circuit is installed "prior" to the converter? If this does not fix the problem I guess I'll have to accept the situation for what it is along with the goofy comments from other drivers on the road who know better. Again, I sincerely appreciate your comments and assistance.
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by MikeB »

My apologies in advance for this being such a long read...

I do not know if it is absolutely necessary to attach the grounds to the trailer frame but in most trailer set ups I have seen, the frame is the ground source. I mentioned not relying on the hitch coupling to be your ground because some people will consider it just that, the ground point. It isn't, it is just where the trailer is attached to the bike. There has to be a good ground and it is usually established with a ground wire to the frame. Aluminum, by the way, is a pretty good electrical conductor. No where near as good as gold or copper but it is better than steel.

Some think that since the trailer body is attached to the frame, the body is grounded. Well, it is but it is not a good electrical ground. Mostly because of paint and, as the trailer ages, oxidation that builds between the trailer body and the frame.

With those that believe that the body is a good ground, they attach lights to the body and run one wire to the voltage source for the light and simply attach the ground wire for the light to the trailer body. When initially tested, it will work okay but down the road, it will malfunction because the ground connection will degrade due to oxidation or corrosion of some type.

The Goldwing wiring is more than capable of carrying the 12 volts needed to power the lights of the motorcycle at the designed wattage of the lighting system. Those wires could most likely carry the wattage needed to power the LED lights of your trailer as well with no problem. But, the wiring was not designed to carry an additional load beyond what is already on the bike. In the recent past, trailers were always set up with standard tungsten lighting and the current needed to power those bulbs were considerably more than what the GL1800 was designed to provide. Thus the trailer isolator.

A trailer isolator is made of relays, either mechanical or solid state. The output wires are at least 14 gauge. The input wire is at least 12 gauge to the isolator itself and is terminated to the battery with a fuse, usually 30 A. These wires are more than capable of supplying the wattage needed for a trailer with tungsten bulbs. The bikes lighting wiring is used to operate the relays in the isolator. The power to operate the relays is very low so there is minimal drain on the bikes electrical system. The relays when energized, provide power through the 12 gauge supply wire to the 14 gauge output wires for the trailer lights.

I really do not know if the isolator will cure your issues because I have never used a five into four wire converter. Many people have and have good results so I can assume that they work fine. I have had three different wings with isolators and all the trailers I have used were of the five wire variety.
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Alan_Hepburn »

Is this a case where you're trying to connect a 4-wire system and a 5-wire system together directly? I don't think you can connect them directly - you need a converter so that everything works correctly.
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by MikeB »

Alan_Hepburn wrote:Is this a case where you're trying to connect a 4-wire system and a 5-wire system together directly? I don't think you can connect them directly - you need a converter so that everything works correctly.
Yes, he is using a 5 into 4 converter.
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Update folks... I just ordered an isolation harness. Seems to be of good quality and comes from "Show Chrome". Didn't see any negative reviews when I ordered it. It should be here on or before Monday the 13th. As noted earlier I currently have two different brand name 5-4 converters. I believe I will install the initial one as it is designed for motorcycles rather than the one I picked up a local auto parts store. At any rate, I will feel safer having the isolation harness installed so it will protect my sweet Goldwing's electrical wiring. The bike is in my work shop at the moment sleeping quietly with the seat removed. I think I'll let her rest easy till I get this isolation harness delivered. I can't thank everyone enough for your valuable and trusted input. Particularly MikeB... you've taught me so much over these past few days, Thank you sir!! When I remove the current converter and install the isolation circuit, I assume when removing the "wire taps" I can just put a dab of silicone on the "puncture wounds" of those wires to protect them from further possible corrosion/damage?
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by MikeB »

Lakelivin wrote:... When I remove the current converter and install the isolation circuit, I assume when removing the "wire taps" I can just put a dab of silicone on the "puncture wounds" of those wires to protect them from further possible corrosion/damage?
You are most welcome for the information.

Hopefully the wire taps only pierced the insulation and did not cut any of the wire strands in the wire. I try to shy away from them because they do have a tendency to damage wires. To "band-aid" the pierced insulation, you might try some Liquid Electrical Tape. It is sold at Lowes, Home Depot, Harbor Freight to name a few places. It is an excellent way to seal any holes in the insulation. Silicone is okay but it really takes too long to dry in my opinion. Here is a short You tube video about it:


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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Ya sold me on the liquid tape MikeB. I'll pick some up this week so I have it at the ready when the new harness shows up. Thanks again!!
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Re: Trailer wire harness converter issue?

Post by Lakelivin »

Okay folks. Here's the final. I received the isolation circuit today (a couple days early, goody, goody). It literally took me like 6 minutes to wire it through the converter to the trailer lights, then plug it into the bike and hook it to the battery. And did it fix the problem of alternating bike to trailer turn signals when the brake is applied you ask?... No. Other than my piece of mind knowing the bike wiring is now protected, that's all I gained by installing the isolation harness. That's it, I'm done. I have nothing left in my maintenance programed brain to eliminate this issue. I'll just drive it as is and put up with the possibility of comedic comments on the road until I get my pride down my throat then take it to a bike shop for them to address the issue. Thanks to all who commented, as I stated in an earlier post, I learned more from this thread about trailer wiring than I expected. Now its on to the hitch install. I ordered it yesterday. With any luck and if the "lake don't rise" I'll be towing my new trailer by next weekend. Have fun and ride safe!


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