2 sets of running lights?

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2 sets of running lights?

Postby Brad Lustig » Sat May 28, 2005 11:41 am

Here's an odd question for y'all. Anyone have a way to tow their trailers with two different cars with two different voltages? Here's my problem. I have a '48 Dodge that I'm planning to use as a tow vehicle. It has a 6V positive ground system. I would also tow it was more modern 12V negative ground cars. The only thing I can think of is running two sets of wires and have two bulbs in each housing (one 6v and one 12v). Anyone have another or better solution?
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Postby madjack » Sat May 28, 2005 11:53 am

...Brad, I had a '49 chevy panel truck with the same problem. I ran it awhile with 12v powering 6v lights, it worked ok for short usages before burning the lights out. It shouldn't matter to the lights which side is grounded so the cheapest and easiest(construction wise) would be to get a set of 6v light bulbs to fit your existing housings and just change the bulbs out whenever towing with your Dodge
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p.s. of course I could be completly wet...just remember YMMV
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Postby Woody » Sat May 28, 2005 11:58 am

12 volt lights should light up with a 6 volt system just be little dimmer and should work without two sets of wiring being installed. I guess if all else fails try using the newer LED trailer lights.
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Postby Brad Lustig » Sat May 28, 2005 12:01 pm

Thanks, yeah I know grounding isn't an issue with incandescent lights. I may try the opposite of what you did and do the 12V bulbs with both cars. Just downloaded my Cubby plans a little while ago so it's not a rush, just something I tought about.
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Postby Brad Lustig » Sat May 28, 2005 12:02 pm

Woody, you must have been writing the same time I was.

I'm wondering if the LED lights would light up on 6v. Thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely check them out, too when the time comes.
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Re: 2 sets of running lights?

Postby Kevin A » Sat May 28, 2005 12:03 pm

Brad Lustig wrote:Here's an odd question for y'all. Anyone have a way to tow their trailers with two different cars with two different voltages? Here's my problem. I have a '48 Dodge that I'm planning to use as a tow vehicle. It has a 6V positive ground system. I would also tow it was more modern 12V negative ground cars. The only thing I can think of is running two sets of wires and have two bulbs in each housing (one 6v and one 12v). Anyone have another or better solution?


You also have the positive ground issue to deal with, not sure if it's possible to isolate the two circuits. You might get away with it if nothing is grounded to the trailer frame, and all grounds feed back to the tow vehicle through the wire harness. I think I would wire the trailer for 12 volt for the modern tow vehicles and power any 12 volt accessories you want in the trailer with a battery mounted in the trailer. Then add the pair of 6 volt tail/brake/stop lights wired for the positive ground through a seperate harness for the 48 dodge, again with nothing grounded to the trailer frame, as it will be grounded to whatever tow vehicle you are using via the hitch.
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Postby madjack » Sat May 28, 2005 12:10 pm

...Kevin, as a side note you really shouldn't trust the ball/hitch connection for your ground, Dirt/rust/ect can cause a faulty ground condition and a faulty ground is always cause for concern in an electrical system of any kind
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Postby Brad Lustig » Sat May 28, 2005 12:14 pm

I plan on completely isolating any lights so that they're hardwired with postive and negative back to whatever tow vehicle I'm using. So, the grounding won't be a problem. Everything in the tear would be 12v and isolated from the frame and tow vehicle.
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Postby JunkMan » Sat May 28, 2005 12:25 pm

Back in the 70's when I started driving I had an old 6 volt VW Bug. They used to make a 12 volt to 6 volt converter for changing older Volkswagens over to 12 volts, yet still allowing you to use your 6 volt wipers and radio, I think they made one that went the other way also, let you use a 12 volt radio in a 6 volt car. I wonder if you could use something like that?
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Postby madjack » Sat May 28, 2005 12:31 pm

...found this on jc whitney site
http://tinyurl.com/7jw3r
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Postby Brad Lustig » Sat May 28, 2005 12:31 pm

Yeah, they still make them. A lot of guys use them for lower draw electronics. I don't know how they'd work on running and brake lights, though. I think they're only good up to 3-6 amps. Also, at about $100, it'd be cheaper to run two harnesses.
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Postby Woody » Sat May 28, 2005 1:34 pm

What you could do if you decide to run one wiring harnesses. On the light itself wire two different voltage bulbs with connectors, then switch connectors at the lights utilizing one wire harness for both voltages. It would work for the tail lights that way, running lights may take alittle more effort. One harness and convert to connections at the lights. The polarity problem would affect the LEDS since they are polarized also unless you reverse the connection again at the light assemblies. again, still only using only one wiring harness assembly. Hope this makes since I was typing this on the fly.
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Postby Kevin A » Sat May 28, 2005 1:48 pm

madjack wrote:...Kevin, as a side note you really shouldn't trust the ball/hitch connection for your ground, Dirt/rust/ect can cause a faulty ground condition and a faulty ground is always cause for concern in an electrical system of any kind
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Yup I agree with you, that's why I suggested isolating the ground from the trailer frame, my concern was that he did have something other than incandescent lights grounded to the trailer frame, with the positive ground tow vehicle there could be a problem with a direct short back to the 6 volt positive ground tow vehicle. I see in a follow up post that he already thought of that & has taken measures to prevent the problem. 8)
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Postby Brad Lustig » Sat May 28, 2005 1:49 pm

Do you mean a toggle switch at each housing to flip between the two lights in the housing? If so, great idea! If not, then it's still a great idea... :lol:
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Postby Woody » Sat May 28, 2005 1:59 pm

Either switched or removable connecters. It was just a thought to make it easier. I know from past experience too many wires always leads to more problems than sometimes it is worth in the long run
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