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Old 07-09-2014, 02:30 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: North East
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Backup lights for trailer.

Does anyone know of or can suggest a way to install backup lights on a trailer. My parking spot on my property is usually utilized at night, when we return from our camping trips. Trying to see where the ass end of my camper is in pitch black is a pain and results in a lot of frustration. If I could "light up" the darkness, I could park the camper sooner. Thanks for the help.

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Old 07-10-2014, 08:47 AM   #2
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I would think the simplest way to do this would be to buy some "fog" lights for a car, like you find at WalMart, etc. Attach to the bumper. Run wires to the battery box under your TT and install a switch on the outside of the battery box. Flip the switch when needed. This isn't sexy but it will work.

On a side note, you may be violating some sort of vehicle regulations by doing it this way, I am pretty sure back up lights are only supposed to come on when the vehicle is in reverse. This being a trailer I am not sure how that works.

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Old 07-10-2014, 08:49 AM   #3
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My Suites has backup lights built into the 'scare lights' on the rear that come on when the TV is put in reverse. Should be relatively easy to find the wire that activates the backup lights on your truck and run a harness to the rear of your trailer so that a pair of LED lights mounted at the rear of your trailer would come on when in reverse. There are some great LED lamps that would put out enough light to do the job.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:17 AM   #4
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A 1999 model holiday rambler 5th wheel I had many moons ago had backup lights on it. When I put dodge diesel tow vehicle in reverse they would come on. The center pin of the 7 pin plug that 5th wheel connects to tow vehicle is for back up lights. A wire could be run from front at plug and a couple lights added to rear to light up that area. Or as another posted a switch to turn them on when needed might be simpler.

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Old 07-10-2014, 11:45 AM   #5
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I grabbed a cheap $9.00 set of lights that where clearance at a local retailer
Ran a pair of wires from the wiring connection box at the front of trailer to the rear. Inside the box was a single wire that was not connected to the anything coming from the 7 pin harness. Checked it out and sure enough it was to the centre pin on the 7 wire plug. I used wire loom over the wires and plastic loops and used the enclosed underbelly mount screws to hold the plastic loops/ wire in place
My trailer had brackets for a bicycle rack but I don't have the rack. Used the bracket as my mount point on each side at the rear for the lights. All 7 wire plugs should have the centre pin wired to the backup lights on the tow vehicle if it is factory equip'd I believe. My truck was.
The cheap lights work great and give me just a bit more light for the rear view camera at night. I actually strung a 4 wire set when I did the camera power so the other two I used for the backup lights. I like to run the ground wires separate for things like this. Just my simple minded way. I could have grounded both the lights and the camera to the frame and only struck two wires.

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Old 07-10-2014, 03:28 PM   #6
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I had some nice Hela driving lights I never put on an MC I had. Mounted them to the top of the bumper. Didn't want them wired up to the reverse lights cause I figured when driving forward to adjust my 5'er I would lose the lights. So I wired them to the 5'er battery with an inline fuse and put a switch in a side compartment on the passenger side so the wife can hop out and turn them on.

I angled them down and to the side so they throw a pattern out about 20' and apr 8' to the side. Only used them once so far but they worked great.
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:16 PM   #7
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Thanks folks. Great suggestions from all. I will definitely be installing something in the near future.
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:25 PM   #8
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I got some angle iron, light from Tractor Supply, ran a wire, wired it into the trailer plug, and was good.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:22 AM   #9
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Why go to all that trouble just to park
Pick up a couple of those LED "tap to turn on" round closet lights at Wally World and use a couple of velcro spots on the back of your TT to mount them. Just slap them on as you park and pop them off when you're done.
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Old 07-15-2014, 01:53 AM   #10
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Back in 1968 my father and I built a Class C on a 1 ton Dodge. The rear back-up lights were high beam headlights from an old Oldsmobile with chrome rings. Had them hooked up to a toggle switch on the dash. A pair of small white button lights were also on the back and hooked up to the reverse switch. These H-Beam lites made backing and launching the boat before dawn easy.

If you want to light up the area behind back the trailer, mount one or two lights up high like done on toy haulers. You can wire it to work off a rocker switch from the trailer or the truck.

If you want to back up between a row of lights, you can set down your own portable landing strip by using battery tap lights or solar stick lites. Then just put it in reverse and aim between the lights.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:39 AM   #11
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Check the trailers wiring harness. My Salem uses the 7 wire insulated wire all the way to the back of the trailer for the running and stop lights. They just didn't use the other wires going past the battery box and axle brakes. The manufacturer put a junction box under the trailer and used the ground and hot wires for the battery. Everything else is joined to the matching wire going back for running lights, left and right turn/stop lights, and brake controller. One wire in the loom is already dedicated for backup lights going forward to the trucks plug. They didn't use it, but it is there in my trailer. Adding a switch placed at the battery box and a wire to the battery for power, use that wire if there, then add lights on the trailer bumper and tap the same wire in the wiring loom at the back.

For my toy hauler, I found that wire at the back and added some wire and a relay to power the loading lights as backup lights and connected the wire in the junction box under the front of the trailer.

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