Connecting caravan road lights directly to caravan battery

Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Folks

When I'm getting ready to go away in our 'van, usually stored away from home, I sometimes have it parked :mwah1" on the road outside my house for a couple of nights whilst packing. I know that it is actually illegal to park the caravan on the road at night without road lights. Does anyone know if there is a connector available commercially that would enable me to connect the caravn road lights to the caravan battery so that I could "illuminate" the caravan without hooking it up to the car.

If there isn't a commercial version available has anyone produced such a connection and could advise?

Thanks in anticipation.

Tim.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Not really sure of what is available, but why not try making a connector yourself? Two crocodile clips to go onto the caravan battery (or a plug into a 12v socket inside the van), a length of suitable twin core cable and a 12N socket. Only power up the pins you want to be live, i.e. the road light pins) and connect up. A fuse somewhere in the circuit wouldn't go amiss.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Another thought. My caravan is not filled with relays, so I think I could use a grey socket to pick up the live and earth from the 12S, and link it to a black socket to feed to the sidelights. Or to be really clever, just the offside to save power.

Would this work for you Tim? Please can someone correct me if I'm barking up the wrong tree. I think the sticking point will a relay if one is fitted. I've a feeling that the 12S and battery are connected ONLY when the relay is energised by the voltage from the car exceeding the threshold of around 13 volts. I think.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Tim

This type of practice is not recommended it is why no such addaptor is avialable. It could well be a fire risk.In which case you will not be insured. you must have lights displayed all round by law, the only safe way is by connecting to the tow vehicle. if you cause an obstruction you may get away by being asked to move or a parking ticket, which will be twice the price of a single vehicle.

Jim M
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Tim

This type of practice is not recommended it is why no such addaptor is avialable. It could well be a fire risk.In which case you will not be insured. you must have lights displayed all round by law, the only safe way is by connecting to the tow vehicle. if you cause an obstruction you may get away by being asked to move or a parking ticket, which will be twice the price of a single vehicle.

Jim M
Hello Jim,

I don't see why having an adaptor correctly wired to power the road lights from the caravan's battery would pose a greater fire risk than if they were powered from the tow vehicle? Consider thats what happens in cars.

Are you seriously suggesting anyone should break the law by not displaying parking lights when they are required?

I personally think it is a good idea to have a 12N socket fitted to the caravan, which is specially wired to run the caravans side lights. If the facility is required then the 12N plug is simply pushed into the socket. A further enhancement could provide a switch to select Near-side/off-side or all parking lights.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Tim, years ago when I started caravanning and was very keen I built a test box that enabled me to plug the 12N into it and switch each circuit. It has flying leads to enable it to be connected to a battery with a 20A fuse in the positive lead.

If you understand the 12N pin outs it is easy to make, and has the advantage that if you have a problem it is very easy to determine if it is with the car or van. It also helps if there is a problem with the indicators because you can keep it energised which is easier than trying to trace a fault using the car with indicators flashing.
 
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Jim, go to any 'feast of lantern' type rally and you will find dozens of vans with road lights on using an adaptor. They also do it at caravan shows. As long as the adaptor has a fuse in the positive supply I can't see that there is any risk.

If you have to seperate the car from the caravan at night, perhaps in an accident/ breakdown situation it could be a life saver.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Thanks for the advice Lads

I've done the deed this evening. I purchased a 12N socket, grommet, 12 volt internal plug and 5 metres of 2 core (8 amp) automotive lead.

I wired up pins 5 and 7 (road light pins) of the socket in parallel, using a block connector, to the live wire and pin 3 to the negative wire, all within the socket housing.

I then connected the wires to the terminals of the 12 volt plug and plugged it into the 12v internal socket. I plugged the 12N plug on the hitch into the new socket. With the control panel switched to "caravan" all the road lights light up.

I have the 'van hooked up to the mains from my garage and so this should keep the battery topped up. All the road lights together only consumes 50 watts at 12 volts and so my "O" level physics reminds me,that the current is 50/12, ie, 4.1666 amps. I don't think, therefore, that there shouid be any problem with overheating as the internal plug is fused at 5 amps.

As someone commented such a device would be very useful when the 'van is disconneced from the car in an emergency.

On a trip to Northern Spain a few years ago our car broke down on the motorway at night. The breakdown truck which finally arrived, courtesy of Europassist, was so small that it had to take the car, accompanied by my wife, away first and come back for the 'van later. That left me with our 3 young sons sitting on the embankment with the van below us on the hard shoulder, just after it changed back from being a crawler lane for lorries.

Every time a container lorry thundered up the crawler lane and narrowly missed our 'van, I rather pathetically shone a torch onto the 'van's rear reflectors to make it a bit more visible!!!

I was amazed that the 'van survived that night - I sat praying, expecting it to disappear in shower of debris, when hit by a lorry, at any moment. Certainly a way of illuminating the road lights would have been VERY useful.

Regards and thanks again for your help and advice.

Tim
 

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