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Old 05-14-2018, 09:09 AM   #1
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Diode question

Hi,
We have a 2012 Subaru Impreza we've been towing for several years now. Up til now we've been using magnetic lights for the toad because I didn't want to get into the car's electrical system.
However the mag lights are mounted on the rear deck inside, using 3M hook adhesives so I can remove them when not towing. This whole setup seems sort of lame and I'd like to wire in diodes so I can use the car's taillights and turn signals.
Here's the issue: We have the ReadyBrake Elite, which activates the toad brakes and brake lights when towing. I only need to wire in turn signals, and tail lights, not stop lights. I know I will need a converter as the toad has separate amber turnsignals and the Aspect does not.
Has anyone done this with a ReadyBrake and how many diodes did you need? I already have the wiring back to the lights through the trunk with a 6 pin plug in connector at the front of the car, so I don't need the whole kit sold at eTrailer, with the wire etc. All I need is the diodes and converter, just not sure how many or how to get around the brake light issue.
Thanks
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Old 05-14-2018, 09:27 AM   #2
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I used these on my Enclave. Turn signals were the same as brake lights...I used 4, you might get away with 3.https://www.etrailer.com/Accessories...oaAuNsEALw_wcB
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Old 05-14-2018, 04:46 PM   #3
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Unless you use some very fancy electroincs which I do not think have been yet designed... The brake lights override the turn signals when you uise a diode pack. this is normal.

There is also a system calleed by multiple names one of wihch is Add=a=lamp.. With this system (which I'm curently using) an additional Stop/Turn/Tail light is inserted in the tail light housing, it is operated BY The motor home. EXCLUSIVE of the car's standard lights. Works well.
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Old 05-14-2018, 05:15 PM   #4
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I agree with Sbrownstein. You should only need 3 diodes. One each for left and right turn signal. One for running lights. You should have 2 filaments in your brake/park lamp. Just find the correct wire for the running light and leave the brake wire as is. Just make sure you have a good ground from your coach to your toad.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:52 PM   #5
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Old 05-14-2018, 11:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baraff View Post
Hi,
We have a 2012 Subaru Impreza we've been towing for several years now. Up til now we've been using magnetic lights for the toad because I didn't want to get into the car's electrical system.
However the mag lights are mounted on the rear deck inside, using 3M hook adhesives so I can remove them when not towing. This whole setup seems sort of lame and I'd like to wire in diodes so I can use the car's taillights and turn signals.
Here's the issue: We have the ReadyBrake Elite, which activates the toad brakes and brake lights when towing. I only need to wire in turn signals, and tail lights, not stop lights. I know I will need a converter as the toad has separate amber turnsignals and the Aspect does not.
Has anyone done this with a ReadyBrake and how many diodes did you need? I already have the wiring back to the lights through the trunk with a 6 pin plug in connector at the front of the car, so I don't need the whole kit sold at eTrailer, with the wire etc. All I need is the diodes and converter, just not sure how many or how to get around the brake light issue.
Thanks
Well baraff,
Using your factory tail lights on your toad is fairly easy. The very short answer is, all you need is TWO diodes, not three. There is absolutely no need to wire in a diode into the running light circuit. I've done oh, maybe 20-30 Jeeps, a Toyota pickup, an '11 Honda CRV, one of our present toads, an '11 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 and, not one of them has ever had any issues using only two diodes. All that happens is, you light up the front marker lights, BIG DEAL! I always liked that anyways 'cause you could tell in your rear view camera that your running lights are still working on your toad.

Now, here's the deal. The situation you described is not known by a very large percentage of the folks towing out there in RV land. And that is, that the auxiliary braking systems being used on many toads, do ACTIVATE the brake lights in many toads, even when the key is removed from that toad.

Not all toads have active brake lights when the ignition is OFF. Some do, some don't. But, if you decide to utilize the factory lights and your Subaru is one of those that DOES activate the brake lights by the auxiliary brake system, then yes, you have a problem that many don't even realize is happening. There are solutions. I used a simple two-way toggle in my application on the Jeep installs.

But, back to your statement about "Only need to install turn signals, not brake lights" Well, not sure you know it or not but, your turn signals ARE your brake lights! That is, on most cars, without AMBER turn signals, there's two filaments in each bulb for tail lights. One filament handles the regular tail light or, "running" light. The other filament is brighter and, handles both the brake side and the turn signal side. It all depends on whether or not one is applying a turn signal WHILE the brakes are applied.

It's a long explanation but, in simple terms, your coach is supplying turn signals AND brake lights. But, if you're on a trip and, your toad is hooked up, and hit the brakes, your Subarus brake lights will come on, even from the coach, as well as the braking system that is applying the brakes IN your Subaru. That in and of itself, is no big deal. You can have ten braking systems all applying the power to one set of brake lights, you'll just have 10 sets of 12 Volts going to those brake lights, no big deal.

But, here's where the real problem occurs. If you're cruising along in your coach and Subaru in tow, then the situation arises where you put on the brakes AND a turn signal at the same time, this is when your Subarus tail lights go nuts. The reason, you have sent them a solid brake light signal from the Subarus brake pedal to both but, you've also sent a flashing signal to one of them. The one that's supposed to be flashing, is not flashing because, it's being overridden by the Subarus brake light signal. Hmmmm..


Earlier I stated I use a two way toggle for a remedy in this situation. What I did was simple. I cut the brake light output wire from the brake switch in the Jeep's I've done. I then added a wire to the out put side and ran it up to a small two way toggle in the door jamb of the Jeep. Then I ran a second wire back down to the cut-off wire. I then ran a wire from the center post of the toggle, all the way to the dash of the coach.

Now, when towing, I flip that toggle in a direction that, when the Ready Brake I was using applied the Jeeps brakes, the Jeeps brake light switch sent out a signal all the way to the dash of the motorhome, to an LED light I installed. That told me that the brakes in the jeep were being applied. And, it also alleviated the conflicting of the two different signals being sent to the same filament in the Jeeps tail lights.

But, when driving it, I flipped the switch the other way. That sent the Jeeps brake light signals, to the Jeeps brake lights, just like they're supposed to go. It's a simple, easy fix for this dilemma. Other, more smarter folks than me, would install a relay that would de-energize when the ignition was shut off so, no brake light signals would be sent to the tail lights, even when applied by the vehicle being towed. But, when the ignition was energized, the relay closes and, you have brake lights like normal. It's another way of doing the same thing, only you don't have to flip any switches. It's all done with the relay.

So, sorry for the long winded reply. But, sometimes details have to be drawn out so we're all on the same page.
Scott

P.S., If you have AMBER turn signals in your Subaru, and you want them to work, then there's a whole different scenario and you will need a converter. I've done those too and had the correct brake lights AND the amber turn signals work. This is fun stuff.
Scott
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:22 AM   #7
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Burns-

Scott's diagram from this post should work with your Subaru.

Regarding the brake light "conflict" that Scott raises and is commonly fixed with a brake light relay: I think you could eliminate the problem simply, by not hooking up the converter output (red wire) to the Subaru brake lights at all. This assumes that moving the Subaru brake pedal makes the brake lights come on, even with the engine off. Note: If wired this way, and the ReadyBrake Elite stops moving the pedal for any reason, the toad will not display any brake lights at all. I would think this a logical and acceptable failure mode.

I'd want a working 12V charge line to the Subaru to help keep those lights shining brightly through a long night's tow (only has happened to us a couple of times, but glad we had it).
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Old 05-15-2018, 08:18 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the replies. Maybe I'm just overthinking this.
If I just don't hook up the brake light wire to the toad, and let the ReadyBrake handle the brake light, I don't see why that would not work.

My Subaru has separate amber turn signals, the motorhome does not. I'm assuming I will still need a converter in addition to the diodes? Otherwise, if I hit the MH brakes the taillights will activate because current will be sent to the bulb.

The Subaru brake lights activate even when the engine is off, with or without the key in the ignition. I turn the key just enough to free up the steering wheel lock, not to turn on Accessories, so the battery never goes dead.
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:19 AM   #9
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Burns-

Yes, a converter is still required in the toad, to separate out the turn and stop signals. In your case, you will not need to connect anything to the brake (red) output of the converter. Remember, you want a 2-to-3 converter, not the 3-to-2 converter.

Hook up as per the diagram to which I linked (Scott's oft-seen diagram).

Although Scott says it's not needed, an extra diode or a pair could be dropped in the taillight circuit. By doing so, there should be no way that taillight current from the coach will make its way back to the car's taillight control circuitry.

Material needed:
1) 2-to-3 converter
2) one pair diodes for turn signals
3) single diode (or pair) for taillight signals
4) Connectors and wire as required

Without a plug-and-play solution for the Impreza, you're stuck doing some wire cutting and splicing. I guess the only advice I can offer is to allow extra wire and make things neat enough so that you can replace diode or connectors should they fail. Note: Even the plug-and-play I used on our toad was so poorly made that I had to rework all the wiring downstream of the control module.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:08 AM   #10
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Burns check this out and click on the top u tube (cut and paste)
towdaddy plug n tow
Also this link
https://www.etrailer.com/Tow-Bar-Wir...dy/TD3019.html

Its not cheap but it makes it easy.
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Old 05-15-2018, 12:57 PM   #11
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Walt-

I think that if you look you will find that no one makes a plug-and-play "dinghy" wiring kit for Subarus.
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Old 05-15-2018, 01:15 PM   #12
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RoadMaster sells the Brake-Lite Relay kit:
Quote:
A Brake-Lite Relay stops the brake lights from functioning until the vehicle is started. This prevents the towed vehicle's brake signal from overriding the motorhome's turn signal.

When you tow without the Brake-Lite Relay, your towed vehicle's brake lights alone will work fine. Your turn signals alone will work fine.

But if you're braking and turning, the brake light from the towed vehicle will override the turn signal from the motorhome and drivers behind you will be unaware you're about to turn.

When do you need a Brake-Lite Relay?
You only need a Brake-Lite Relay if you're installing a supplemental braking system that pushes or pulls the brake pedal.
Roadmaster Inc. - Tow Bars, Braking Systems & RV Accessories
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
Walt-

I think that if you look you will find that no one makes a plug-and-play "dinghy" wiring kit for Subarus.
That could be Mark but they do make universal tow daddy kit #10000 that can be used on any toad but without the lights plugs
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by l1v3fr33ord1 View Post
Burns-

Yes, a converter is still required in the toad, to separate out the turn and stop signals. In your case, you will not need to connect anything to the brake (red) output of the converter. Remember, you want a 2-to-3 converter, not the 3-to-2 converter.

Hook up as per the diagram to which I linked (Scott's oft-seen diagram).

Although Scott says it's not needed, an extra diode or a pair could be dropped in the taillight circuit. By doing so, there should be no way that taillight current from the coach will make its way back to the car's taillight control circuitry.

Material needed:
1) 2-to-3 converter
2) one pair diodes for turn signals
3) single diode (or pair) for taillight signals
4) Connectors and wire as required

Without a plug-and-play solution for the Impreza, you're stuck doing some wire cutting and splicing. I guess the only advice I can offer is to allow extra wire and make things neat enough so that you can replace diode or connectors should they fail. Note: Even the plug-and-play I used on our toad was so poorly made that I had to rework all the wiring downstream of the control module.
Thank you, Mark for this information.
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