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Old 07-12-2018, 06:09 PM   #1
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Getting the 7-pin tow connector apart

Trying to complete the wiring today for the indicator light I installed on the dash to show when the toad brakes are activated. Found the extra pair of yellow wires running from near the 7-pin connector up to the steering column base. Will use the smaller one for the indicator side and a black ground wire to complete the circuit. And, I even know which pin is being used for the activation signal...but, I can't get the 7-pin connector apart/open to make the connection.

How does this thing come apart? Unlike all the previous 7-pin connectors I've worked with, the one in the MADP 4047 doesn't appear to be held together with screws. I found plastic piece that looks like some kind of latch, but releasing it doesn't allow the outer shell to slide off. There must be at least one more latch, but it isn't obvious to me. I don't want to break anything and mess up the connector.

What am I missing?

TJ
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:34 PM   #2
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I don't know how to post a picture, but all the ones I have, have a small set screw on the outside of the plug near the flat end that fits into the plug receptacle.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:47 PM   #3
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I just had a Demco Air Force one system installed on my coach by Danís Service Center in Elkhart, IN. They did an awesome job that was not only top quality, but also done in a very timely manner. They did exactly the same think in their installation, and what they told me was there was a blue wire running from the 7 way on the hitch to under the dash which they used to really the signal from the toad brake. Perhaps this is specific to Spartan chassis, but maybe you could look into this?
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:54 PM   #4
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Yes there should be a screw on the side of the socket
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:16 PM   #5
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Jim-

I know nothing about your coach. Usually that means I don't post. But, I would be surprised if the trailer electric brake controller wire isn't already in place on both the hitch connector and a connector or wire under the dash. If it is, you don't have to open the hitch connector at all; just use that trailer electric brake controller wire (a.k.a., "the blue wire").

Done well, you can keep any connector at the dash end intact. I prefer that over splicing or cutting.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:49 PM   #6
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What Mark said. There should one free wire already installed in the rear connector following standard wiring protocol for a 7 pin tow plug. You don't need a ground wire. Ground at your light will be to any 12V ground point you can find for the indicator.

I think the wire will be for the brake controller pin in the 7 pin connector. Pin 2 in the diagram. Wire color should be same up under the dash.

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Old 07-12-2018, 08:08 PM   #7
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OK, there is a loose blue wire (about 14-16 ga) labeled "Trailer Brk" in the wire harness at the base of the steering column. It appears heavy enough to carry the actual trailer brake activation current for a trailer brake system.

In my 2014 Ventana LE (on a Freightliner chassis), we used the loose black and red/white stripe wires (16ga and 20ga, respectively) for this connection. There is no similar red/white stripe wire in the Spartan harness, however.

There are two loose yellow wires (one 14-16 ga and one 18-20 ga) at each end of the wiring harness; one set at the base of the steering column and the other set just forward of the 7-pin connector at the rear of the coach. My plan was to use the smaller yellow wire to carry the brake signal from the 7-pin connector to the LED indicator I mounted in the dash. That necessitates opening the 7-pin connector, however.

I guess it wouldn't hurt to try the blue wire and see if it is connected to the proper signaling pin. The only way I can do a proper test, however, is to pull the toad and step on the coach brakes; not a very easy test method.

TJ
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghaynes754 View Post
What Mark said. There should one free wire already installed in the rear connector following standard wiring protocol for a 7 pin tow plug. You don't need a ground wire. Ground at your light will be to any 12V ground point you can find for the indicator.

I think the wire will be for the brake controller pin in the 7 pin connector. Pin 2 in the diagram. Wire color should be same up under the dash.

Attachment 210756
Sorry...my reply posted after yours.

So, you think it is likely that the guy who wired my Ventana picked up the equivalent of the blue wire (apparently red/white stripe) for the signal and used the black ground wire for ground? I'm just concerned that the red/white stripe wire used in the Ventana was about 20-ga and was obviously not used to carry much current while the blue wire in the Spartan appears sized to carry significant current.

Maybe I'm overthinking this.

TJ
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Old 07-13-2018, 03:32 AM   #9
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TJ-

The trailer electric brake controller wire can carry up to 30 amps, so it should be beefy. No problem using a big wire for a little light, though.

There are usually at least these wires under the dash for a trailer electric brake:

Brake signal input
Brake signal output ("the blue wire")
12V (constant and/or ignition-switched)
Ground

Use the ground for your indicator light. It is right there.

Often, these wires are in a connector. Buy the matching connector, and use that to feed the indicator light. That way you or the next owner can swap to a brake controller if need be, in seconds. This can also take care of the wire size mismatch that can occur (see first paragraph). On our current coach, I elected to terminate the factory and Ford wires on a terminal strip, as the factory connector wiring was undersized. If you can, stick with a matching connector.

Testing the light on "the blue wire" is easy, and multipart.

1) Use a test lead to loop the right turn signal to the "blue" pin at the coach hitch connector. Put the hazard lights on. The indicator should blink with the turn signals.

2) Disconnect the test lead. Attach the umbilical cable to the coach, but not the toad. Attach the test lead between the left turn signal pin and the "blue" pin on the toad end of the umbilical. Activate the hazard flashers again.

3) Remove the test lead. Attach the umbilical to the toad. Have someone press the brake pedal on the toad. See if the indicator light lights.

4) Finally, pull the breakaway pin on the toad braking system, with the system armed.

If you are using something like the ReadyBrute tow bar, some of the tests may not apply. But, you get the idea.

Although it applies more for checking turn signals solo, rather than brake lights, I'll pull the toad alongside the coach in the opposite direction, on the driver side, then connected the umbilical. That way I can see the toad lights in the mirror. Just another trick.
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Old 07-13-2018, 05:05 AM   #10
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Don't want to derail now, but once you solve this, can you give an overview including what you used for the LED in the cockpit? I will need to do the exact same thing with my Ventana next month.
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Old 07-13-2018, 12:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnedator View Post
Don't want to derail now, but once you solve this, can you give an overview including what you used for the LED in the cockpit? I will need to do the exact same thing with my Ventana next month.
Installing the indicator LED in the coach dash is quite easy; getting things hooked up correctly depends a bit on what brake system you are using.

Here's the indicator LED I used:

https://www.amazon.com/Black-Alpinet...70_&dpSrc=srch

I used the red LED, but it comes in other colors as well. Use whatever you prefer.

Additionally, you'll need about 4' or so of red/black #20 zipcord wire. You could use individual wires, I suppose, but zipcord is easy to work with. And, because I'm a bug for safety and neatness, I bought some 1/4" split loom to run the zipcord in. You don't need it, but I like to corral loose wires whenever I can.

There are two tricky parts; locating the hole in the dash and fishing the wire/zipcord from the hole to the base of the steering column where the connections will be made to the trailer harness. I first decided where I'd like to have the indicator LED (visible from the driving position, but not distracting) and then removed the screws securing a small panel in that area. Carefully pulling it out a bit until I could see and feel what was behind it, I determined that the area where I behind where I wanted the indicator was clear. You don't want to drill without looking and hit a critical wire harness or some other obstruction. Then, I marked and drilled a 5/16" hole for the LED indicator body.

I had already added a 4' section of zipcord to the existing leads on the LED, so threaded the wire through the hole, ran the nut up the wire and secured the LED body to the panel. Because I am picky, I then added a length of 1/4" split loom over the wire and secured it to the body of the LED mount with a wire tie.

Before putting the loose panel back in place. I used a 4' length of insulated #12 solid copper house wire as a fish tape and after 3-4 tries with adjustments to the curve of the fish tape managed to find a path to the base of the steering column.

From there, it was easy. I taped a piece of heavy string to the fish tape and pulled it up to the dash area. Then, I secured the string to the zipcord/split loom combo and carefully pulled it down to the base of the steering column. The DW assisted in feeding it under the loose panel while I pulled the string.

Now, it was simply a matter of replacing the panel, securing it with the screws and making the electrical connections to the trailer brake harness. You all came in at that point when I was uncertain of which wire to use for the signal from the toad. (Today, I'm going with the "blue wire")

Below is a photo of what the LED looks like in place. Lousy photo, but the LED is directly abov the two square, white buttons.

TJ
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Old 07-13-2018, 02:37 PM   #12
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Well, thanks to the excellent advice received here...and the great tutoring by Mark and Gary...we are "golden!" Thanks, folks. The magic blue wire did the trick.

Mark's testing tutorial was spot on, except for pressing the toad brake pedal as the final test. My braking system requires vehicle movement in order to arm it. Otherwise, the right-turn-signal-pin-to-blue-wire-pin tests were all successful. We'll perform the final test when we head down the road tomorrow; stepping on the coach brake pedal while in motion and seeing the indicator LED glow. I have every confidence that will be the case.

One slight switch-up in the testing was that the original installer of the system in the 2014 Honda CR-V toad used a 6-pin connector instead of 7-pin. That required me to open that one up to find the appropriate pins for testing.

Thanks again, folks.

TJ
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Old 07-13-2018, 07:08 PM   #13
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I will be doing the same thing when I get home. Thanks for all the tips.
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