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Old 07-05-2016, 11:17 AM   #1
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And now for the wiring...

Getting ready to put the skin back on my '81 12-1/2MC, so it's time to get all the wiring in place. I went into this knowing absolutely nothing, and spent the weekend studying hard. I apologize for the length of this post. At my age, I'm not a fast learner, so please be patient with me.

I've formulated a plan, looking for comments and suggestions.

My tow vehicle has a 4-way plug, and my trailer has a 6-way that needs replacing. I plan to convert both to 7-way. I will make the conversion and add a brake controller at the same time with this kit, mostly because I would feel confident doing it myself. The reviews say that it comes with excellent video instructions.

For a brake controller, I'm leaning toward the Tekonsha Voyager, or something similar. Legally, the camper isn't heavy enough to require brakes, but it already has them, so I might as well use them. Of course, I don't know if they actually work. But I'll cross that bridge later.

My first question is about connecting the new 7-way plug inside the camper. Where the wires enter now, there is a panel with glass fuses for the Left, Right, and Clearance lights, and a bar with all the ground wires attached. (see picture). Can I use this and add inline fuses for the brakes and 12v power? Or will I need a new junction box?

I thought it would be a good idea to replace all the existing wiring while I have everything open, but as soon as I started, I thought better of it. I bought a 25' set of four trailer wires from Walmart that are 18g/16g. As soon as I started removing the old wires, I began to suspect that the old ones are probably better quality than the new ones, and the continuity tester says they're fine. So I'm going to leave everything in place that passes visual and continuity inspection, and only replace the damaged wires, mostly mouse-chewed.

I need to wire 11 clearance lights, two turn/stop lights, and the license plate light. Is 16/18g the right stuff for this, or should I get 14g, as I have read? I bought these LED clearance lights because the previous owner gave me a few of them and I wanted them all to be the same.

I'm not sure if I will be able to re-use my old turn/stop lights yet. The old ones were Reflect-o-lites, but if I end up replacing them, I would prefer to upgrade everything to LED. I'm also a little confused about the wiring back there. Left turn/stop and right turn/stop each have their own dedicated wires, and the clearance lights are all wired together. I'm assuming that the license plate light is wired with the clearance lights? Also, I'll want to have the wires in place to be able to add backup lights in the future, but I have not done any research on it yet.

And then there are all the wire colors! It seems that all the manufacturers of 7-way plugs use different color wires. But I have managed to figure out that while the colors may vary, the positions on the plug remain the same. So, as long as the plug cord entering the camper is wired in properly, it makes no difference beyond that point what color wires I use for each. Right?

Interior wires - Right now I'm more focused on the exterior lights, because they're necessary to register the camper. But I will want to add a house battery in the future, to add interior lights and a 12v water pump, so I'll want to run those wires now, but I'm not sure what gauge wires to use. I've seen recommendations for 10g, both hot and ground. The camper is only 10' long, so I would think that the distance the wires have to travel won't be much of a factor in selecting gauge. Also, wouldn't the gauge of the wires coming into the camper from the plug be a factor? Also, gauge for the brake wires?

I plan to purchase a this marine battery from Walmart, because I think it's the best I can do for my money right now. It comes with a 2-year warranty. And add this battery charger, unless someone has a better suggestion.


I've also read about adding an isolation solenoid between the tt and tv batteries, which sounds like a good idea.

And I'll need to replace the existing breakaway switch, which, in its current condition, I would not trust with my life, or anyone else's. I plan to go with the kit that comes with its own battery.

So, how did I do? Did I learn as much as I think I did, or do I still sound clueless?
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:09 PM   #2
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Sounds like you have a handle on things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMcD View Post
...
For a brake controller, I'm leaning toward the Tekonsha Voyager, or something similar. ......
I had one of those and hated it. Seemed like it always needed adjusting. I now have a Teconsha P3 (same as the P2 with a different face) and I never need to adjust it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PatMcD View Post
... I plan to purchase a this marine battery from Walmart, because I think it's the best I can do for my money right now. ...
I just replaced that with a group 27 size Exide from Tractor Supply for $89 and the Exide website has a $10 rebate. Exide Stowaway Deep Cycle Marine/RV -Deep Cycle Battery, 27MDCST - For Life Out Here

Just a couple of suggestions.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:10 AM   #3
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A #8 wire would handle all you would ever need to charge the battery and run every thing it's not but a few cents per foot more Replacement pig tail 7 pin wires seem to have their own ideal on colors. You are on your own on that they seem to have a pretty good description but don't relay on colors that match the camper wiring you will need deal with them one at a time before connecting them. If you are going with all led light wiring #16 is fine. I have 15 interior lights that are LED they draw 3.08 amps the old bulbs drew 24 amps they needed a #12. Clearance lights with bulbs were developed by the devil him self to frustrate people so if you are going to deal with them go with LEDs they are a good bit more costly but done right you will never have to worry about them again.
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