F-150: 12V on 7 pin connector question - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 11-18-2017, 10:25 PM   #1
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F-150: 12V on 7 pin connector question

I recently got a new 2017 F-150. I have one of the 7 pin connector testers and when I used it all the pins work except the 12V charging line from the truck. The truck knows a trailer is there because it comes up on the dash. I added a resistor to ground on the 12V pin thinking it may be testing if there is a load, but that did not help. I checked if the LED worked on the tester and it does. The dealer checked it and says it works - it just needs a real trailer and not a tester. Does anyone have experience with this? Do you know what the computer wants to see to turn on the 12V battery charging line on the 7 pin connector?

I could just wait and try it with my trailer (it is put away for the winter) but I would like to understand how it works.

Thoughts welcome.
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Old 11-18-2017, 10:42 PM   #2
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I can tell you that on my 2015, it has what they call a "smart trailer tow connector" if it has the towing package. It won't send power to that pin unless it senses a battery on the other end. A tester won't have that of course, although I suppose with the right resistor it might work. But, not necessary. Once connected to the trailer, that pin should work. You could test with a voltmeter to confirm that once you're hooked up.

On some older model F150s, Ford would provide a plastic bag with a fuse and relay which you would have to install in order to get 12v+ to work.
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:17 AM   #3
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If the truck's electronics are testing for the presence of a trailer battery (not just a trailer), adding a load (such as a resistor to ground) may not do it. Perhaps like most modern battery chargers, the charging circuit doesn't turn on until it sees at least a minimum voltage from the trailer battery.

If you hook up a 12 volt battery to the charging and ground lines, my guess is that the voltage will jump up as the truck turns the charge line on to see the truck's system voltage (which will be more than the battery has by itself).
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:24 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
If you hook up a 12 volt battery to the charging and ground lines, my guess is that the voltage will jump up as the truck turns the charge line on to see the truck's system voltage (which will be more than the battery has by itself).
I'm not really sure how it works, but your guess seems plausible to me. It is checking for a battery on the other end of the charging circuit, not just a trailer connection.
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Old 11-19-2017, 06:22 AM   #5
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Might be like my solar controller where if it sees under a minimum voltage it shuts down, 10v I think.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:33 PM   #6
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Here is my dealer’s response to this issue on my 2015 F150.

As is suggested, I have found that connecting the trailer with the truck ignition turned off will result in current flowing to the trailer battery once the truck is started. However, as discussed in a previous thread on this issue, the charge current is quite low; certainly not enough to keep the trailer battery charged while running the fridge on 12 volt. My previous tow vehicle, on which the battery charge circuit was wired directly to the truck battery had no problem keeping the trailer battery charged with the fridge on 12 volt. I plan to rewrite this circuit on the F150 before our next camping season.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:56 PM   #7
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Thanks for the post Eric. Yes, even though the charging circuit "works" when the trailer is connected, that doesn't mean it provides sufficient charging voltage to run 12V systems (like the fridge) when underway.
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Old 11-19-2017, 01:58 PM   #8
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My FX4 Came with a solenoid in the glove box that had to be installed for that to work. You might check in the glove box.


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Old 11-19-2017, 05:35 PM   #9
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My FX4 Came with a solenoid in the glove box that had to be installed for that to work. You might check in the glove box.
Yes, up until the new aluminum body, Ford supplied that and you had to install it to get the charging to work. With the 2015 and newer, and the "smart trailer tow connector" in the towing package, that's no longer the case.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:33 PM   #10
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I intend to "beef up" the charging circuit also. But I have to figure out how to simulate a trailer (since I don't have a real one convenient to my house) because I want to be able to test it after I modify the truck .

I've tried a load of just a resistor. Next I am going to try giving it a realistic battery voltage at about 10-12V and see if it turns it on. After that I will try a real battery. Other ideas to simulate a trailer?

Thanks for all the thoughts.

Eric
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