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Trailer Wiring

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Martin Perry, Jan 10, 2004.

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  1. Martin Perry

    Martin Perry Guest

    Hi group,

    I am designing a wiring loom for a trailer designed for transporting
    cars. It uses a standard trailer chassis with a fibreglass body that
    completely covers the car. All of the lights are of the LED type and
    are mounted on the fibreglass body.

    My question is, should I earth the trailer chassis from the earth in
    the wiring loom even though it is not required as an earth return for
    the lights? Are there any argument for or against?

    Regards, Martin Perry
  2. Tim Shoppa

    Tim Shoppa Guest

    The gotcha is that if you provide a wire for ground return, it must
    be able to handle a simultaneous short on all the light wires. You
    have to add up the fuse capacities for the brake, turn signals, running
    lights, backup, etc. lights and be sure that the ground return is
    sized to handle that much current.

    If you are designing the whole thing from scratch, the best thing to
    do is to provide a separate return wire for each light wire, and
    ground them all to a single point in the towing vehicle. The way most
    trailer lights are set up, with a ground through the chassis mount
    only, this may not be possible. But most of the industry-standard
    truck LED lights provide a way of adding a ground wire.

    I *hope* that your LED lights are the industry-standard truck LED
    assemblies. Getting testing and approval for homegrown light assemblies
    is a pain in the rear.

    I think it's a good idea to have such a ground, because otherwise you
    are depending on the hitch ball contact for all light functionality.

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