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Old 10-02-2013, 08:31 AM   #1
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Backup lights

We were a little surprised to realize that backup lights aren't standard. I think some have added this -- We're trying to figure out if it's necessary, because it seems like a big deal to do. Our Airstream had backup lights.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:07 AM   #2
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I have never had them on any trailer, nor felt the need for them. The times I have had to reverse in the dark, with no other light, I can't recall there being an issue. I got it done with very little problem.

I guess there would be no harm in having them though, but it seems we can get carried away with adding lots of unnecessary items.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:14 AM   #3
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I have never had them on any trailer, nor felt the need for them. The times I have had to reverse in the dark, with no other light, I can't recall there being an issue. I got it done with very little problem.

I guess there would be no harm in having them though, but it seems we can get carried away with adding lots of unnecessary items.
I agree with Jim that they are not needed. Probably would be of more value to the spotter than to the driver, but I find that the taillights are usually sufficient to see by. If not, a flashlight is simple for the spotter to use. There are many other options that I would have Reace add before I asked him to add backup lights.
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Old 10-02-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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Ice-breaker, if you don't mind, what are a couple of the options would you ask Reace to add before b/u lights?
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:29 PM   #5
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Humm. I always thought backup lights were to warn someone... I'M BACKING UP look out! Like in parking lots, etc. As a single traveler, they wouldn't help me to back into a site. GOAL. But, if they're important to you it would be worth asking Reace about....
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:37 PM   #6
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If your trailer is 21ft and your TV 20ft you could not see any backup lights. Maybe a back-up camera would be more helpful. I use the porch light and the service light on the driver side for lighting up both sides of the trailer. The wife is the spotter.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:54 PM   #7
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:56 PM   #8
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Ice-breaker, if you don't mind, what are a couple of the options would you ask Reace to add before b/u lights?
Lots of choices. The options we chose are listed here. http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f4...here-2190.html

I would pick any of the options we got over backup lights.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:10 AM   #9
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We were a little surprised to realize that backup lights aren't standard.
Most RV trailer electrical connections do not include the backup light circuit; most trailers don't have backup lights.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:19 AM   #10
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Most RV trailer electrical connections do not include the backup light circuit; most trailers don't have backup lights.
... mmm well the automotive 7 wire connector and cable does support back up lights.. For whatever reason the rv industry chooses not to implement them on trailers.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:01 AM   #11
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The trailer plug on my Toyota Tundra is wired for backup lights and my Casita had them. We are adding manually switched rear lights - for backing at night and for general lighting/security.
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:00 AM   #12
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We are adding manually switched rear lights - for backing at night and for general lighting/security.
We have a porch light on all four sides. If I was to do it again, I would eliminate the driver side and rear one. In five seasons now, we might have used them twice. The one on the front is handy for hitch/propane work in the dark though.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:24 AM   #13
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I googled a little bit and found out that a lot of trailers -- maybe most -- don't have backup lights. Now we're not even sure if the Airstream really did have them. What we were thinking about is that the backup lights would alert someone -- if we were in a tight spot outside of a campground, which has happened -- that we were backup up. Of course usually I'm right behind the trailer yelling directions so that would alert just about the whole world -- And it does seem like it would be complicated to do -- but I did see on the Forum that someone had put backup halogen lights and that got me thinking.
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:46 AM   #14
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I put on my flashers if I'm backing up to warn others behind me...The back of the trailer lights up like a Xmas tree with all the LEDs!!
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:29 AM   #15
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I put on my flashers if I'm backing up to warn others behind me...The back of the trailer lights up like a Xmas tree with all the LEDs!!
That is a great idea using the flashers.
It may not tell other drivers right away that you are reversing but it sure will get their attention that something is happening and that is the point.
I will have to try and remember to use mine more often particularly when reversing.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:31 AM   #16
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Anytime I see anyone backing up any kind of trailer, I have the sense to stay out of harms way. If any of you ever see ME backing up our trailer, I'd encourage you to put all children and small animals in a secure environment until I've unhitched our TV.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:01 AM   #17
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... mmm well the automotive 7 wire connector and cable does support back up lights.. For whatever reason the rv industry chooses not to implement them on trailers.
The RV-style 7-pin connector (which is not the same as the SAE-defined 7-pin connector used for trucks) does have an auxiliary pin (the one in the centre), which has no standard assignment - "auxiliary" means use it for whatever else you need that isn't in the standard. It certainly can be used for backup lights, but it can also be used for a separate stop lamp circuit, or anything else the user wants. The tow vehicle side can't count on the trailer connecting this to backup lights, and the trailer side can't count on the tow vehicle supplying this from the backup light circuit.

What I meant by "RV trailer electrical connections do not include the backup light circuit" is that the tow vehicle doesn't necessarily have the backup light circuit hooked up, even though there is a pin that can be used. Maybe it often is hooked up to backup lights; there's just no assurance.

I know that some published diagrams show the centre pin on the RV 7-pin connector explicitly as backp lights, but that is incorrect. Similarly, pin 7 (the bottom pin) of the SAE J560 standard 7-pin used by commercial trucks is sometimes shown as backup lights, but is actually the auxiliary pin of that connector and now used for anti-lock brake system control.

I don't blame Escape and other RV trailer manufacturers for not putting on lights that may not work, may cause problems with some tow vehicle wiring, and are not even wanted by many buyers. The lights may not be a big expense, but all those little expenses add up. In my Boler the manufacturer provided a wire from the auxiliary pin of the connector the back of the trailer, not connected to anything, so the user could hook it up for what they needed, without fishing wire through the trailer - maybe Escape could do that.

If RV trailer owners want to use the auxiliary pin to run backup lights, I say go for it... but don't count on the trailer being compatible with anyone else's tow vehicle (I would put in a disconnect switch on that circuit), and don't count on the tow vehicle being compatible with any other trailer (again, a disconnect would be wise).

Another option is to install the desired lights, wire them to the trailer battery, and control them with a manual switch. When you get out to look where you are going to back up, you can flip the lights on. I haven't done this yet to a trailer, but it's in the projects-to-do list. I think docking lights (mounted near the front of the trailer and facing back along the side) would be more useful to the driver than a backup light on the rear, but I agree that one on the rear sends a clear "watch out, I'm backing up" message.
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:15 AM   #18
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Thank you for that detailed explanation!
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Old 10-03-2013, 08:46 PM   #19
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I added back up lights and like them. They show intent and help my spotter. I also use them as a porch light. The ones I put on are not of much use to the driver as they are small, but my spotter (wife) likes them. It is really an item of personal preference but I am a safety driven guy and I like to show intent. This link refers. http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f8...-bar-1011.html
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Old 10-03-2013, 09:20 PM   #20
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fascinating thread. thanks -- I appreciate all the detail!
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