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Old 08-07-2016, 06:46 PM   #1
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How to brighten TOAD signals?

Towing CRV with tail lights drilled and sockets added. Wired to 7 way on RV. Using 1157 bulbs and all works correctly except they need to be brighter. Is there a substitute bulb (LED?), an amplifier or something else I should be doing? All ideas welcome, Tim
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Old 08-07-2016, 06:51 PM   #2
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H1157. Halogen taillights bulbs.
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Old 08-07-2016, 06:54 PM   #3
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Tim-

Bulbs can be dim because of low voltage at the sockets. Can you measure the voltages and report back?
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Old 08-07-2016, 07:13 PM   #4
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Will try to check voltage tomorrow evening

Will see where voltage is at after work.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:40 AM   #5
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3157, 3496 are brighter on the brake light side, running lights are all dim except at night.
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Old 08-08-2016, 07:56 AM   #6
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One reason they are not as bright is that they are not in the best location.
The inside of the housing is a reflector, and designed to reflect the orig. bulb.
Adding a second bulb, you do not get the full benefit of the reflector (less efficient)

Assuming your voltage is good.
If you voltage is good, try using the diode blocks.

Regards,

Dan
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Old 08-08-2016, 05:28 PM   #7
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Looks like a Connection Problem

Voltage was all over the place at the sockets. Found when I wiggled the connection at the RV, voltage would return to 12.5 volts. Use a 6 way plug into a 7 way adaptor. Might as well just get a cord that goes from 6 way to 7 way. Tim
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Old 08-08-2016, 05:53 PM   #8
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One more test

Better half remembered I had a set of Harbor Freight magnetic tow lights I keep in Toad trunk for emergencies. Plugged them in and worked fine. Seems to confirm intermediate cable issue.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpinvidic View Post
One reason they are not as bright is that they are not in the best location.
The inside of the housing is a reflector, and designed to reflect the orig. bulb.
Adding a second bulb, you do not get the full benefit of the reflector (less efficient)

Assuming your voltage is good.
If you voltage is good, try using the diode blocks.

Regards,

Dan
I agree placement is the key. I drilled and installed lights in my 2007 Ranger and lights did not show up very well even tried various bulbs including led and never got good bright lights. Follower friends rv with relocated light bulbs on his GM suv could hardly see his brake lights.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:34 AM   #10
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This is ONE of the primary reasons I have always wired ALL my toads using the stock tail lights(bulbs) as toad lights. This is a personal preference thing. I personally like the toads tail lights acting the EXACT same when towing it, as they do when driving it. When wired as such, you're using the design of the light as it's supposed to be used to get maximum reflection and brightness. The bulbs are strategically placed in the socket and in the housing so that a following driver sees maximum lighting effects, even in daytime operations.
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:17 PM   #11
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Thanks Folks

At the end of this year, I will probably retire the CRV to commuter duty and use the Colorado as the Toad. When I set up the truck, the plan is to use the vehicle lights with diode kit. May just use the Harbor Freight lights for last two trips scheduled this year.
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:30 PM   #12
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All about the adaptor

Problem ended up being poor connection through 6 way to 7 way adaptor. Did away with adaptor and just wired on a 7 way plug to the pigtail. All is good now. Thanks for the input. Tim
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Old 08-19-2016, 01:48 PM   #13
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Glad you found that the problem wasn't with the lighting.

For those who are having the same problem not because of a loose connections, or similar.

I found some vehicles dim tow lighting becomes a problem due to wiring voltage drop, bulb type and how the reflectors are desig

Installing a Roadmater tow vehicle lighting harness to my Jeep using Roadmaster diodes. The signal, brake and running lights worked great except they were way too dim.

After looking around I found Draw-Tite Modulite. The instructions show how to install into a towing vehicle which apparently it was originally design for.

Wiring:

To Trailer: GND, Tail, Left Turn/Stop, Right Turn/Stop
To Towing vehicle: GND, Tail, Left Turn, Stop, Right Turn, Battery

Instead of installing into the towing vehicle I installed the module on the Jeep reversing the wire connection. The Jeep has fused 12 volt from the battery GND wire to the module. To Trailer: (goes to towing vehicle) To Towing Vehicle (goes to tow vehicle lights)

The module is installed inline with the Jeep's tow lights wiring harness, inside the engine compartment. I also installed some waterproof spade connectors so the module can be removed when not in use.

The trailer/tow lights are now nice and bright while towing.

The one I have is Draw-Tite model number 18187. (apparently has been discontinued)

Draw Tite 18187 ModuLite-Lite Trailer Light Power Module For Circuits Up To 4 Amps - FastTrackAutoParts.com

Curt has a similar module that appears would also work, at least for my application. If your tow vehicle lighting is more complicated, may require another type of module to amplify the trailer lights current.

https://www.etrailer.com/Custom-Fit-...urt/56146.html
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Old 08-19-2016, 04:05 PM   #14
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I forgot to mention in the previous post. I also have a charging circuit from the towing vehicle to the toad's battery.

I wasn't able to find a charge circuit on my Fleetwood MH's factory trailer connector. However, after further inspection I found a charge circuit never completed at the factory. I suspect it may have been an option.

After looking under the hood of the MH I found a 30/40 amp relay with circuit breaker that was connected to a trailer charging circuit that was never completed at the factory. All that was needed was to extend the charging wire (found strung half way underneath the MH) to the trailer connector. (which I replaced with my own) then install an additional wire to the toad's battery.

I wired the toad using some heavy duty boat/marine cable and rewired the Roadmaster's tow bar cable to include a charging wire for the toads battery.

Now the toad has a tow brake and tow lights with a 12 volt charging circuit that can be connected from any towing vehicle with a charging circuit.

If the towing vehicle doesn't have a trailer charging circuit. I would just add another wire from it's main battery, with fuse (or circuit breaker) and a 30/40 amp relay, to the plug.

To create a charging circuit you need to first look for an ignition on hot wire. Wire this to a 30/40 amp relay trigger (coil wire). Then a fused connection from the battery to relay. With ignition on the 12 volt charging circuit would activate.

For the toad's charging wire I also added a fuse near the toads battery.

The charging circuit includes a circuit breaker and relay in the MH and a fuse near the toads battery.
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