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Old 05-14-2009, 08:52 PM   #1
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FYI Vansco Won't Power Tow Car Lights

I finished getting a new tow car (Ford Escape Hybrid) ready for our upcoming 6 month trip. When testing the brake lights, we noticed that the rig and tow car lights came on for a second or so, and then went off. This happened every time I hit the brake pedal.

I checked the tow car for any shorts and did not find any. I did notice that the brake lights on the Escape draw about 3.6 amps. Apparently, this is more additional amperage than the Vansco is programmed to handle and the circuit breaker on this Vansco channel trips. My tow car brake lights are tied directly to the rig brake lights, and not to the tow car outputs from the Vansco (which WRV didn't do correctly).

I installed a relay on the tow car brake light circuit and will test tomorrow to see if it solves the problem.

FYI only, for anyone wiring the tow car brake lights to the rig brake lights.
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Old 05-14-2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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Ken,

Do you have the list of the Vansco outputs for your coach? On my 2007 the Vansco's tow light outputs are, Tail/marker, left turn/brake, right turn/brake, with no separate brake by it self. On the 2 Vansco modules that are the same (with the lights front and rear) the outputs except 19 & 20, are limited to 6A. On mine there is a 12v out, from the Vansco module to the plug, which has too low of a power rating to use with the USGear tow brake system. I added a relay in the battery compartment, splicing into the loom at the module. I found that the wires used for those items were identified on each wire.

If you have the list of the Vansco outputs, see if there is an output for tow brake lights. I am sure that the relay will cure your problem. Did you fuse the power to the relay.
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Old 05-15-2009, 06:55 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgerstel View Post
Ken,

If you have the list of the Vansco outputs, see if there is an output for tow brake lights.
Dale,

Yes, I did fuse the brake light relay, which is installed in the car, not the rig. I also use the US Gear system and run a fused power line directly from the rig batteries, to the tow car.

As for the Vansco, I do have the Vansco outputs. Unfortunately, WRV did not get the programming right. The brake lights and turn signals work fine individually, but if both are used together, the brake lights override the turn signals, so when you step on the brake, the tow car no longer shows the turn signal.

I parallel wired the brake lights directly to the tow car brake lights and the turn signals directly to the tow car rear parking lights, through the appropriate diodes. This gives me separate turn and brake lights on the tow car. The parking lights are a little dim, but still visible to following vehicles.

I don't drive the rig at night, so I never need parking lights on the tow.
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Old 05-15-2009, 08:50 AM   #4
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ken,

Are you saying that there are 2 brake outputs on your Vansco, 1 for the coach and one for the tow?

I have used the diodes in the past and have changed to BlueOx's method, this is drilling a hole in the tail light housing (assuming you have room to do so) and installing an other lamp socket. This alleviates the voltage drop and dimming of the lights.
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Old 05-15-2009, 10:52 AM   #5
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Dale,

Yes, there are different outputs from the Vansco for the rig and tow car. Outputs 1 (turn), 2 (turn) & 12 (brake) are for the rig, outputs 15 & 16 (turn/brake) are for the tow car. I do not use 15 & 16 because of the brake light turn signal problem.
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:01 PM   #6
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Ken,

If you want to go to the trouble, this will cure all and make the turn signal lights bright. Use the coaches #15 Stop/Left Turn for the tow car's left brake light, use the #16 Stop/Right Turn for the tow car's right brake light. When the brake lights are on then the proper side will still flash. Then just in case you need them, hook up the coaches #9 Tow Marker lamps to the tow car's tail lights. You already have all of the wires run, it just takes a few changes at each end.

I am pretty sure that the tow lights on the coaches with the Vansco are set up for towing a trailer, yours and mine are. Most trailers do not have separate brake and turn signal lights, so there is no separate output for the trailer brake lights. This way only requires 3 wires run to the rear of the tow car instead of 4.

I think that the connector on the tow plug might be miss marked, and should say brake controller instead of Stop/Brake. If anyone can check to see if that connector has a blue wire going to it instead of white ones. My diagram for the plug says brake controller instead of Stop/Brake and has a blue wire that runs to the drivers foot well. I used it for my USBrake controller.
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:04 PM   #7
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A lesson in why it is hard to help owners with different year coaches than you have owned. After talking to Dan Richins, I found that his '04 coach's Vansco uses different ladder logic (software) than Kens '06 and my '07, I am not sure when WRV changed. Ken's and mine seem to match by the 15 & 16 outputs in the rear. All that I stated in my last post is accurate if your rear Vansco's output 15 is Tow/Stop/Left Turn and 16 is Tow/Stop/Right Turn. If they do not, you will most likely have problems with the brake lights overloading the circuit and need to add a relay.


Interestingly enough, I had been using the ACA Vansco input/output schematic from an Apex, it matches my system. The one in my coach was an old one and didn't match my outputs.
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