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Author Topic:   Trailer Lights ?
Sam Collins posted 05-28-2000 11:22 PM ET (US)   Profile for Sam Collins   Send Email to Sam Collins  
Why are there not Back Up Lights on boat trailers ??? I can't see anything back there in the dark !!!!
dfmcintyre posted 05-29-2000 09:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Sam -

Good point.

As a matter of fact, I did install such lights (along with a dash mounted toggle switch that would bypass the standard switch so I could leave it on at night at the ramp) on an earlier trailer.

The main problem is that most standard factory and mainstream trailer plugs of the flat variety don't have enough connections to handle a backup circuit, not that that's a hard limitation to overcome, but you don't want to replace the ground connection with a backup circuit, thinking that "Well, the trailer is physicall connected to the tow vehicle isn't it?". A trailer ball makes a real poor connection.

Best - Don

Walt Steffens posted 05-31-2000 05:36 PM ET (US)     Profile for Walt Steffens  Send Email to Walt Steffens     
Sam: The reason is that the bulbs used are very high draw (higher than tail lights) and you would get a lot of line drop voltage, making the lights very dim or useless. Also they would be very hot and easily broken in some fixtures. Also you would have to run some much heaver wire for them to operate efficiently. I have however see some set ups where the aux back up lights (housed head lamps usually the low beams of a 4 head lamp set up) were mounted on the rear bumper of a pick up truck. It did give a lot of light.
Clark Roberts posted 05-31-2000 06:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
I use a back-up/trailer launching light set-up that uses a "tractor light" which can be bought from most automotive supply stores. This is a 25 watt sealed beam, flood light about 4-5" in diameter and mounted in a black rubber housing.. a swivel bracket comes with it.. I mounted it under the rear bumper of my Jeep and wired it from an ignition "on" contact in the fuse box through a 20 amp automatic circuit breaker..An illuminated swith on the dash controls it and warns that is is on... you don't want to have it on on the highway.. could get me a ticket!!! It is wonderful for night time launching and retrieving or for backing... I have been using this same set-up for about 20 years.... Happy Whalin'
Sam Collins posted 05-31-2000 07:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for Sam Collins  Send Email to Sam Collins     
I would like to put a set of back-up lights above the brake lights on the tail end of the boat trailer. I would like for them to be ON while under water. I'm not sure what kind of light would hold up? Any suggestions?
dfmcintyre posted 05-31-2000 10:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Sam -

One thought would be to check out 12 volt sealed beams that a diver might use...

One rig that I've seen, had a light mounted on top of those vertical guide poles that are mounted to the trailer about 1 - 2 feet forward of the stern. That way it would keep the units out of the water.

Best - Don

Walt Steffens posted 06-05-2000 05:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for Walt Steffens  Send Email to Walt Steffens     
Sam: If you are set on having submersible lights on your trailer I would follow dfmcintyre's lead and investigate lamps for dive lights. In most cases they have connectors housed in the light body there for no water exposure. You will have to dream up some way to water proof the connectors as if you don't water will work back under the insullation of the wires and rust. Yea rust, even in fresh water, trailer wire isn't usually copper but tinned steel; even copper would not be good unsealed in salt or fresh water.

As for the heaver power requirements, I would suggest using a trailer harness and plug system used on house trailers such as airstreams. This is a very roubust plug system about 1.5" in dia., I beleieve made by Holt. It has the ability not only to handle the trailer lighting functions but power as well as most RV trailer's need to have house light batteries charged from the tow vechile alternator. Next I would run a heavy conductor, multi-stranned copper,(#10 Ga should be sufficient for 2 dive lamps at that distance from the battery) from the battery to the trailer connector at the rear of your tow vehicle, with a circut braker (est 20A) located at the battery connection. I would then make up a weather/water proof switch box and locate it high on the trailer (winch stand comes to mind) for the control switch. This type set up will do what you want, however you won't be able to unplug your trailer light harness for launching as I and many others do to prevent broken trailer bulbs due to cold water on hot bulb glass. This procedure dates to pre water proof tail light assemblies.

A less costly alternative to your problem is to mount a second hitch box on the front of your tow vechile. When you get to the ramp unhitch from the rear of your tow vechile and re-hitch to the front. This will allow you to use your vechiles head lamps as a light system as well as very accurately place the trailer as you won't be looking over your sholder or in the rear view mirrors under dark or undesireable conditions. Just a thought, as I have seen this done also.
Best WLS

lhg posted 05-24-2001 01:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
This could be of continuing interest to some, so we won't let it disappear!
triblet posted 05-24-2001 02:02 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
If you are serious about the back up lights,
and get a copy of their "Divelight
Companion" book. It's on how to make your
own dive light and quite good.


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