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Trailer lights, tricks to keep working?

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  • Jason_KrakenWiringJason_KrakenWiring Wadmalaw Island Posts: 6 Greenhorn
    Unfortunately the cheap, off the shelf, one size fits all trailer wiring and lighting kits do not last on saltwater boat trailers. The most important things you should consider when choosing lights and rewiring your trailer are:
    1. Marine grade wire
    2. Single point ground
    3. Potted circuitry LED lights (I would make sure the lights you purchase are made using potted technology. This process encases the circuit board with resin to completely seal it from moisture. We use TecNiq LED lights exclusively in our trailer wiring and lighting kits. TecNiq also makes underwater transom lights made with the same potting process. Knowing that their underwater lights hold up being constantly submerged on a boat, I feel that they are the best option for boat trailer lights.)

    My company designs heavy duty wiring and lighting harnesses specifically for salt water boat trailers. If you want to build your own trailer wiring and lighting harness versus buying our kit, I would recommend the below method. This is the best way to bulletproof your boat trailer wiring and lights DIY. 

    1. Home run the 16/3 triplex from both tail lights all the way to the junction box. Do not ground your tail lights with the mounting hardware to the frame at the light. This is the reason for 16/3 triplex. Splice in all wires from the tail light using waterproof butt connectors. Then use adhesive lined heat shrink over butt connectors.
    2. Run the 16/2 to the side marker/clearance lights and splice in your hot and ground wire with waterproof butt connectors. Again use adhesive lined heat shrink over butt connectors. This helps to protect the butt connector from UV rays. If you don't put heat shrink over the butt connectors they will become very brittle from UV. Then they will crack, water enters the connection and the rest is history. 

    This is the junction box & 7 pin harness. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Triplex wire: 16/3 AWG Marine Grade Wire Triplex AC, Tinned Copper USA Made Boat Wiring
    Duplex wire: 16/2 AWG Marine Grade Wire Tinned Copper USA Made Boat Wiring
    Butt connectors https://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid=706

    Use die electric grease on all plug and play connectors and inside the junction box.

    It has already been said here several times but I'll say it again. DO NOT ground every light to the frame using the lights mounting hardware.
    Always run a dedicated ground wire for each light all the way to the vehicle connector or junction box. Then run 1 ground wire and attach it to the frame near the tongue where it will not get submerged when you launch your boat.
    Get Kraken!
  • rehartlinerehartline Posts: 804 Officer
    You get what you pay for when it comes to lights. I haven’t touched mine in nearly 10 years. Buy quality potted led lights, use quality, not the cheapest wire, use double wall waterproof heat shrink on all connections. Get cheap on one part of the process and you might as we’ll have not tried. 
  • 101grunts101grunts Posts: 119 Deckhand
    I use regular electrical 16 gauge wire and wing nuts( i'm cheap) and liquid tape use liquid tape all around the lights seams and where the wires enter the light housing don't use trailer frame as ground two years  now and no problems.
  • lifegoesonlifegoeson Posts: 338 Deckhand
    Dedicated grounds for all lights, potted LEDs and I went with a RV distribution block with a 7 way plug for the last trailer I did.  Previous one was on 5 years with no problems.  
  • johnpowersjohnpowers BayPosts: 2,898 Captain
    Just do what all of the old mullet boats did, mount the lights on a 2x4. Lay it across the stern of the boat, lay the extension cord on the boat to the connection. 
    Never touches the water. 
     Roll it all up and put it in the truck and your off. 
  • MRichardsonMRichardson Posts: 10,426 AG
    m9000 said:

    High quality, waterproof LED lights

    I did this about 5 yrs ago and haven't given them another thought.  
    Picking the right lights and clean living, I guess. 
    I have never seen live bones, but I know that they are often used by rich people to decorate the interior.
  • johnpowersjohnpowers BayPosts: 2,898 Captain
    m9000 said:

    High quality, waterproof LED lights

    I did this about 5 yrs ago and haven't given them another thought.  
    Picking the right lights and clean living, I guess. 
    Knock on wood but mine have been working for six years. 
  • Fish HaidFish Haid Posts: 8,417 Admiral
    I had mine on poles that sat in the rear rod holders.  Lasted many years.
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  • Fatbackdurham1Fatbackdurham1 SomewhereotherthanherePosts: 37 Greenhorn
    m9000 said:

    High quality, waterproof LED lights

    I did this about 5 yrs ago and haven't given them another thought.  
    Picking the right lights and clean living, I guess. 
    Was that with the new Bayliner? Great choice. Your taste in yachts has always impressed my mentally disabled neighbor. 

    He introduced me to this website. Whoa for sure!!!!!

    Can you email me the SKU? From Kmart where you got it?

    Thanks!


  • RangermanRangerman Titusville FLPosts: 84 Deckhand
    I've had the same trailer lights for 9 years, half fresh water and half salt water, no issues. 

    1.  Get sealed LED lights.

    2.  Each light, run a dedicated ground wire back to the trailer light plug.  Grounding through the trailer like the basic trailer light kit tells you to do is guaranteed to fail in a few years.

    3.  And finally, all those people who say use heat shrink tubing sealing every way possible, liquid electrical tape etc.  WRONG!!!  Water will find its way in.  Use DryConn connectors developed for the irrigation industry.  DryConn connectors are made to be PERMANENTLY submerged for decades and not fail.  A package of 20 is like $11 on Amazon.  They install in seconds unlike involved heat shrink tubing connections.
  • SalteyDogSalteyDog Posts: 65 Deckhand

    tow light bar set on boat at back of the boat with cable

     ran across the top of boat! like a tow truck! 

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