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  1. #21
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    Oct 2010
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    Lake Wylie NC Area
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    Where was the meter's ground lead connected though all that testing? Remember, voltage is 0 with out a ground path. Leave the meters ground lead off and touch the pos lead to the battery B+ and see what the meter reads. This is where the term "voltage = the difference in potential" comes in. I would focus more on the ground circuit then the B+ circuit. I think you will probably find something.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    770

    Default Re: What Voltage is your Trailer At?

    Did you install the LEDs? Did you install them in series instead of parralle?

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  3. #23
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    Jun 2012
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    Sugar Land, TX
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    537

    Default What Voltage is your Trailer At?

    You have any idea what gauge wire is used for the trailer wiring? Do they wire each light in series or parallel. Most of those LED circuits are probably constant voltage or constant current setups. I'm not sure what is most common in trailer wiring. You know that the wire acts as a resistor, so you can get pretty significant voltage drop over long distances for thinner wire.
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    Ron

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Carlton Oregon
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    5,638

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    @MLA I used the trailer as a ground, and the wire ground, both read the same at each point. The meter readings where consistent any place i checked.

    @parrothd I have been working on the LEDs i want to install. All the testing i wrote up today was how my trailer came optioned. I Should have measured the trailer before i touched it but i didn't. The last post is only the factory trailer wiring. Nothing has been changed or added as of this point. Trailer is a paralleled system + to + and - to -. LEDs only work in 1 direction, if you try to hook any of them up with + to - they just don't work.

    @rca its the factory harness which i believe is 16 or 18
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  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
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    354

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    Quote Originally Posted by EarmarkMarine View Post
    Absolutely predictable as the wire and connector resistance becomes more of a loss issue with greater current draw.
    If you do a dedicated circuit with its own disconnect and heavier wire gauge you can eliminate almost all of the voltage drop.

    David
    I can't disagree with David, but something just doesn't sit right with me. With only the factory lights on there still shouldn't be any noticeable voltage drop anywhere. You should be reading 12 volts right up to each trailer light.

    This trailer is brand spankin new, and I'm assuming a boat mate which is irrelevant anyhow. But I'd check with the manufacturer as well as your dealer. I would assume whoever engineered the electrical aspect of the trailer would have guaged the wiring appropriately, so it's resistance would not impact the current and voltage to the lights. That's what the fuses are for.

    I'm concerned if you're getting voltage drop through a connector or the wire itself. If there is a loose connection (maybe) or the wire itself is to small (highly unlikely), I'm worried about heat buildup by the bad connection.

    A parallel that I would draw, this really happened. We had a heater plugged in, in our basement. The plug actually started smoking, it got so hot. Luckily enough I was there when this happened, and I yanked the cord as soon as I saw the smoke. I was amazed that the breaker didn't go, but looking at the heater end of the connector, I found that a number of the stranded wires were already broken causing all the current trying to go through the remaining good wires. In retrospect it didn't blow the breaker because it wasn't drawing 15 amps but it was trying to draw more than the remaining wires were capable of carrying. If I could have metered both sides of this connection, I'm positive there would have been a voltage drop similar to what you're seeing on the trailer.
    Last edited by rsinger; 04-29-2013 at 07:57 PM.
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  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Lake Wylie NC Area
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmandley View Post
    @MLA I used the trailer as a ground, and the wire ground, both read the same at each point. The meter readings where consistent any place i checked.

    @parrothd I have been working on the LEDs i want to install. All the testing i wrote up today was how my trailer came optioned. I Should have measured the trailer before i touched it but i didn't. The last post is only the factory trailer wiring. Nothing has been changed or added as of this point. Trailer is a paralleled system + to + and - to -. LEDs only work in 1 direction, if you try to hook any of them up with + to - they just don't work.

    @rca its the factory harness which i believe is 16 or 18
    I would go back to the point where you 1st recorded the low voltage and measure again, but this time, place the meter's ground lead on a ground point on the truck instead of the trailer.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
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    880

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    Think in terms of the length of the vehicle plus the length of the trailer plus the round about path. Double that for the collective B+ and ground. Then measure the current consumption with all trailer lights active. Consider the wire gauge along the way, which might also be inconsistent. Coinsider all the connections. Crimps can be serious sources of resistance. Again, with this data a substantial voltage drop doesn't surprise me. The higher the current draw (with all lights plus a few additions) will expose the limitations of both wire gauge and connection quality. A bad connection may not show up using the minimal current used in a multimeter to check resistance. Problems are exposed with a higher current draw and especially measuring voltage when the circuit is loaded. Measuring the voltage drop is the most effective method. You just have to use a little logic to narrow down the specific cause or location. It's very simple if we don't complicate it.

    David

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Winnipeg, Manitoba
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    Quote Originally Posted by EarmarkMarine View Post
    It's very simple if we don't complicate it.

    David
    You kidding? We're 3 pages deep on this thread. I think we've complicated this, and a half.

    You are right though. Stuff like this always ends being something simple.
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  9. #29
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    May 2009
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    Dallas, TX
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsinger View Post
    You kidding? We're 3 pages deep on this thread. I think we've complicated this, and a half.

    You are right though. Stuff like this always ends being something simple.
    Not kidding a bit. Just end the speculation and keep measuring voltage at various junctions with a multimeter. The conclusion will be easy enough. It may not be the most convenient news but the results will be inarguable.

    David

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Vicksburg, MI
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    348

    Default Re: What Voltage is your Trailer At?

    Mike

    Just for comparison, I measured the voltage on my trailer. I had 12.4 V at the truck plug and 11.6 V to 12.2 V at various lights on the trailer. Trailer was not hooked to truck, so ground was completely through plug. Trailer is 2010 basic single axle Boatmate. All LED's except license plate.

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    Joe

    2014 LSV
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