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Old 08-09-2019, 12:12 AM   #1
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I need an expert in things electrical; this one's killing me!

OK, so long story that I'll try to make as short as possible.

Occasionally, I haul four bikes on the back of my car. Two years ago, when I was driving a Subaru Outback, I purchased a cheap set of magnetic towing lights to attach to the bike rack, giving me peace of mind that the bikes weren't blocking the tail lights on my vehicle. The Subie had a 7-pin and a 4-pin connector, and the light set was a 4-pin.

Today, I went to attach the same lights to my Vegas. Knowing that there was only a 7-pin, I purchased an adapter that went from 7 to 4. It also had three LED lights to show you that each circuit was working correctly or not. Plugging in to the Vegas, ... nothing. Not even a blip. The lights on the adapter worked just fine, but the minute you plugged the light set into the adapter, all three lights went solid red and there was NO activity in the actual light set.

I then disconnected the entire assembly and walked over to my son-in-law's Chevy truck and plugged in there. Boom, all the lights started flashing just like they should have. Went to my 2018 Ford Explorer, and...nothing. I tried the four pin directly to the Explorer's four pin; still nothing. Back to the Chevy and works like a charm!

The only four pins that matter are 1, 3, 5, and 6 (Ground, Running Lights, LT, and RT) and all of those tested good on all three vehicles' 7 pin connectors. The only thing is, my light kit only works with the Chevy and not the Ford, despite the apparent lack of any differences in the plug.

I've wasted an entire afternoon and evening on this. Can someone please tell me if this makes any sense to you?

Thanks for any help you can give!
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Old 08-09-2019, 12:46 AM   #2
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I am not an electrical expert but Iíll give it a try. I had a very similar experience once. I cleaned and adjusted all the contact points with small wire brushes and contact cleaner. You may have a blade in the adapter not making proper contact on the RV.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:18 AM   #3
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THOR #15054
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Originally Posted by Shawn62 View Post
I am not an electrical expert but Iíll give it a try. I had a very similar experience once. I cleaned and adjusted all the contact points with small wire brushes and contact cleaner. You may have a blade in the adapter not making proper contact on the RV.
I was thinking that originally, but the behavior of the adapter is making me believe something else is at work. (I'll still try cleaning them in the morning!)

What's really strange here is the three LED's work exactly as they should when the adapter is plugged in to the connector on the back of the vehicle. For example, if I leave the lights on and one of the turn signals is blinking, I will have one solid light, one not lit at all, and one alternating along with the turn signal. It's when I plug the light kit into the back of the adapter, ALL three lights simply go to solid red! This leads me to believe it's the light kit, but then if that's the case, why does it work with the Chevy? I'm going batty, I swear!

Thanks for the advice. I'll give it a shot in the AM.

t
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:28 AM   #4
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Have you plugged anything in the Ford's trailer plug before? It is possible that you're missing a relay--check the Ford's owner's manual.

Perhaps the LED's aren't providing enough impedance (much like when you replace a car's turn signal with an LED you need to add a resistor so that the signals blink at the proper rate).
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Have you plugged anything in the Ford's trailer plug before? It is possible that you're missing a relay--check the Ford's owner's manual.

Perhaps the LED's aren't providing enough impedance (much like when you replace a car's turn signal with an LED you need to add a resistor so that the signals blink at the proper rate).
I have an autohauler trailer that I have towed with the Explorer. I pull that back and forth to Florida each year and have had no issues. Lights work just fine with it.

Just to be sure, I hooked up the Vegas to it tonight and sure enough, all the lights worked perfectly.

Perplexed, to say the least!
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by TimmyB View Post
I have an autohauler trailer that I have towed with the Explorer. I pull that back and forth to Florida each year and have had no issues. Lights work just fine with it.

Just to be sure, I hooked up the Vegas to it tonight and sure enough, all the lights worked perfectly.

Perplexed, to say the least!
Were you using the adapter when you hooked the Vegas to the autohauler trailer?
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:54 AM   #7
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Were you using the adapter when you hooked the Vegas to the autohauler trailer?
No, the autohauler has a 7-pin connector so it is a direct plug-in.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:26 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by TimmyB View Post
No, the autohauler has a 7-pin connector so it is a direct plug-in.
Looks like the adapter isnít making good contact with the Vegas or the Explorer 7 blade connector. It also could be a bad harness on your magnetic lights. I had an old cheap one from harbor freight with 20 gauge wire that worked intermittently. Wires broke inside the insulation.
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Old 08-09-2019, 02:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Shawn62 View Post
Looks like the adapter isnít making good contact with the Vegas or the Explorer 7 blade connector. It also could be a bad harness on your magnetic lights. I had an old cheap one from harbor freight with 20 gauge wire that worked intermittently. Wires broke inside the insulation.
This indeed is a cheap one from said store! It worked flawlessly on the Subie and apparently on the Chevy as well. I'm going to see about the contacts in the morning but I'm inclined to believe it's an impedence problem, as Jamie mentioned. Moving the adapter around, pushing and pulling on it, I never got so much as a flicker of light. I would just buy a different set of lights but I can't find anything that uses the 7 pin connector! They're all on the four pin.
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Old 08-09-2019, 03:05 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by TimmyB View Post
This indeed is a cheap one from said store! It worked flawlessly on the Subie and apparently on the Chevy as well. I'm going to see about the contacts in the morning but I'm inclined to believe it's an impedence problem, as Jamie mentioned. Moving the adapter around, pushing and pulling on it, I never got so much as a flicker of light. I would just buy a different set of lights but I can't find anything that uses the 7 pin connector! They're all on the four pin.
Impedance is used in AC circuits. There is no impedance in DC circuits (only resistance). Resistors are used in parallel with some LEDs to increase the current flow so the tow vehicle's CAN buss (if so equipped) can see the load and blink the light. Same for the old fashioned flasher circuit - they need to have the correct current flow to work correctly.
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Old 08-09-2019, 08:43 AM   #11
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Saw something like this DECADES ago-try running a separate stand-alone ground wire from your rig to your trailer FIRST then plug in the harness. Even a pair of jumper cables would suffice for the test (Black to Black or Red to Red, of course). Sometimes the hitch mount and ball (or towbar) provides adequate ground between the two but often not.



As an aside, my 7-pin to 4-pin from my Georgetown Class A to my TOAD worked just fine when plugged in; however, it did not work with my new Aria-lights not firing and everything dead on the TOAD-once I added a jumper ground from the Aria to the TOAD every light worked as they should.
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
Impedance is used in AC circuits. There is no impedance in DC circuits (only resistance). Resistors are used in parallel with some LEDs to increase the current flow so the tow vehicle's CAN buss (if so equipped) can see the load and blink the light. Same for the old fashioned flasher circuit - they need to have the correct current flow to work correctly.
This is where I jump off the train! Despite spending the last 40 years working with electronics, my knowledge of electricity is quite small. I have little idea where to even begin to take all of that in!
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Old 08-09-2019, 01:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by GVP-The Boxcar Children View Post
Saw something like this DECADES ago-try running a separate stand-alone ground wire from your rig to your trailer FIRST then plug in the harness. Even a pair of jumper cables would suffice for the test (Black to Black or Red to Red, of course). Sometimes the hitch mount and ball (or towbar) provides adequate ground between the two but often not.



As an aside, my 7-pin to 4-pin from my Georgetown Class A to my TOAD worked just fine when plugged in; however, it did not work with my new Aria-lights not firing and everything dead on the TOAD-once I added a jumper ground from the Aria to the TOAD every light worked as they should.
GVP
I have almost no concept of how to accomplish this. Can you break it down into easy to understand ("Wiring for Dummies") instructions?
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Old 08-09-2019, 05:12 PM   #14
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So, the resolution of the problem came today. I went back to O'Reilly Auto Parts (where I purchased the adapter) and I really can't say enough about the guy who works there (Chris). First of all, he was in their commercial department and wasn't even supposed to be involved with a retail customer (who was spending a whopping $15!). Secondly, this morning he came out of the store and spent 15 minutes testing with his multi-meter, checking everything out this way and that, and sideways! When a guy who knows his stuff and how to run a meter like that is left scratching his head, I don't feel quite as stupid! He finally came to the conclusion that there was something internal in the lighting set that was causing the issue, so we went inside and grabbed a similar set of lights from a different manufacturer. Went outside and plugged them in and...pow. Lights actually worked!

One side note, and help me here if you had also heard this (or I'll go back to thinking I really am crazy): I recall hearing (or reading in the forums or the sales literature) that the Vegas only had a 7-pin connector, not the 4-pin. The entire time I was working with this 7-pin connector, I did not even see that it DOES have a four-pin, but it is tucked under the 7-pin and if you aren't looking for it, you might completely overlook it. While Chris was on his back under the RV doing his testing, he flipped open the rubber cover and asked if I had tested the four-pin or just the seven. My jaw hit the ground when I saw it was there. Why do I remember someone/something telling me that there was no 4-pin on the Vegas/Axis line???
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Old 08-09-2019, 05:16 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TimmyB View Post
So, the resolution of the problem came today. I went back to O'Reilly Auto Parts (where I purchased the adapter) and I really can't say enough about the guy who works there (Chris). First of all, he was in their commercial department and wasn't even supposed to be involved with a retail customer (who was spending a whopping $15!). Secondly, this morning he came out of the store and spent 15 minutes testing with his multi-meter, checking everything out this way and that, and sideways! When a guy who knows his stuff and how to run a meter like that is left scratching his head, I don't feel quite as stupid! He finally came to the conclusion that there was something internal in the lighting set that was causing the issue, so we went inside and grabbed a similar set of lights from a different manufacturer. Went outside and plugged them in and...pow. Lights actually worked!

One side note, and help me here if you had also heard this (or I'll go back to thinking I really am crazy): I recall hearing (or reading in the forums or the sales literature) that the Vegas only had a 7-pin connector, not the 4-pin. The entire time I was working with this 7-pin connector, I did not even see that it DOES have a four-pin, but it is tucked under the 7-pin and if you aren't looking for it, you might completely overlook it. While Chris was on his back under the RV doing his testing, he flipped open the rubber cover and asked if I had tested the four-pin or just the seven. My jaw hit the ground when I saw it was there. Why do I remember someone/something telling me that there was no 4-pin on the Vegas/Axis line???
I bet that is also something that is on some models and not on others--I have no idea if I have a 4 pin on my Axis; I've always used the 7-pin.
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Old 08-09-2019, 05:20 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
I bet that is also something that is on some models and not on others--I have no idea if I have a 4 pin on my Axis; I've always used the 7-pin.
Well, it sure made buying the adapter quite funny! The good news was, the lights didn't work in the 4-pin, either; they simply weren't going to work with either of my two Ford products. Now, I have a set of lights that will work with both of my vehicles.
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Old 08-11-2019, 01:34 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by TimmyB View Post
So, the resolution of the problem came today. I went back to O'Reilly Auto Parts (where I purchased the adapter) and I really can't say enough about the guy who works there (Chris). First of all, he was in their commercial department and wasn't even supposed to be involved with a retail customer (who was spending a whopping $15!). Secondly, this morning he came out of the store and spent 15 minutes testing with his multi-meter, checking everything out this way and that, and sideways! When a guy who knows his stuff and how to run a meter like that is left scratching his head, I don't feel quite as stupid! He finally came to the conclusion that there was something internal in the lighting set that was causing the issue, so we went inside and grabbed a similar set of lights from a different manufacturer. Went outside and plugged them in and...pow. Lights actually worked!

One side note, and help me here if you had also heard this (or I'll go back to thinking I really am crazy): I recall hearing (or reading in the forums or the sales literature) that the Vegas only had a 7-pin connector, not the 4-pin. The entire time I was working with this 7-pin connector, I did not even see that it DOES have a four-pin, but it is tucked under the 7-pin and if you aren't looking for it, you might completely overlook it. While Chris was on his back under the RV doing his testing, he flipped open the rubber cover and asked if I had tested the four-pin or just the seven. My jaw hit the ground when I saw it was there. Why do I remember someone/something telling me that there was no 4-pin on the Vegas/Axis line???
Hello TimmyB, I am glad to hear you and the O'Rileys guy figured it out. I use an adapter to go from the 7 pin to 4. I have crawled all over the underside looking for a 4 pin plug and never found it, I am going to look again. Just an idea I always use a zip tie to hold the 4 pin wire into the adapter. (roads are rough or I didn't have it plugged in good)
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Old 08-11-2019, 01:58 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Chucke View Post
Hello TimmyB, I am glad to hear you and the O'Rileys guy figured it out. I use an adapter to go from the 7 pin to 4. I have crawled all over the underside looking for a 4 pin plug and never found it, I am going to look again. Just an idea I always use a zip tie to hold the 4 pin wire into the adapter. (roads are rough or I didn't have it plugged in good)
My 7-pin is angled down and the 4-pin is actually attached to it, but directly under it and recessed a little bit. Since it is angled, and since it has a really good integrated rubber cover, you really have to get down there to see it!
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:35 PM   #19
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Upper right shows the connector closed. You don't even see the 4-pin hanging out down there. Once I opened it, I simply never noticed it, because I thought it didn't exist!
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Old Yesterday, 08:13 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by TimmyB View Post
OK, so long story that I'll try to make as short as possible.

Occasionally, I haul four bikes on the back of my car. Two years ago, when I was driving a Subaru Outback, I purchased a cheap set of magnetic towing lights to attach to the bike rack, giving me peace of mind that the bikes weren't blocking the tail lights on my vehicle. The Subie had a 7-pin and a 4-pin connector, and the light set was a 4-pin.

Today, I went to attach the same lights to my Vegas. Knowing that there was only a 7-pin, I purchased an adapter that went from 7 to 4. It also had three LED lights to show you that each circuit was working correctly or not. Plugging in to the Vegas, ... nothing. Not even a blip. The lights on the adapter worked just fine, but the minute you plugged the light set into the adapter, all three lights went solid red and there was NO activity in the actual light set.

I then disconnected the entire assembly and walked over to my son-in-law's Chevy truck and plugged in there. Boom, all the lights started flashing just like they should have. Went to my 2018 Ford Explorer, and...nothing. I tried the four pin directly to the Explorer's four pin; still nothing. Back to the Chevy and works like a charm!

The only four pins that matter are 1, 3, 5, and 6 (Ground, Running Lights, LT, and RT) and all of those tested good on all three vehicles' 7 pin connectors. The only thing is, my light kit only works with the Chevy and not the Ford, despite the apparent lack of any differences in the plug.

I've wasted an entire afternoon and evening on this. Can someone please tell me if this makes any sense to you?

Thanks for any help you can give!
not all adapters are the same, this happened to me between my Ford F250 and my Infinity and my Dad's Kia. check to see that the adapter you have is fit for yor vehicle.
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