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Interior Lighting Suggestions for Boy Scout Enclosed Cargo Trailer

Question:

Im trying to figure out what I need to install interior trailer lights in a cargo trailer used for boy scouts. We also want to use a spotlight pointed out the back exterior of the trailer. We want to have the towing vehicle charge a battery on the trailer when towing and then be able to turn the lights on and off in the trailer as needed when the vehicle is parked. The trailer has a 7 way plug. There are two old interior lights and two exterior spot lights on the trailer but no one knows the last time they worked and there is not an existing battery. I welcome any advice. Thanks.

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Expert Reply:

Let's begin with the spotlight you want to point out the rear of the trailer. Aries makes an inexpensive LED Off-Road light bar as part # AA1501260. For the interior lights, the best light kit will depend on what exactly you're using the trailer for. Assuming you just need general lighting for loading and unloading the trailer when it's dark, I'd recommend using two or more of the # 328-K-0054B LED utility lights. These would mount to the sidewall up at the ceiling, and would point downward at a 45ยบ angle. This would provide plenty of general lighting for smaller enclosed cargo trailers and because they're LED, they consume very little power.

As far as the battery goes, how to proceed here will depend on how much and in what situation you're planning on using the trailer. If you're able to keep the trailer plugged into the tow vehicle, you can get by with out a battery by running the interior lights off a switched circuit from the trailer's running lamp circuit. Just be sure to start the tow vehicle every 45 minutes or so and let it run for a few minutes to keep its battery charged. The Tow Ready # TR118665 would be a good option if the 12-v circuit on the 7-way on the tow vehicle is active with the ignition off.

If this won't be convenient, you can use the 12-v circuit from the 7-way trailer connector to provide a maintenance charge to the trailer mounted battery. The 12-v trailer connector circuit can't recharge a depleted battery, but if you won't be using the lights for hours on end and are near shore power frequently where you can use a charger like # 329-GENIUS10 to charge the battery this would be an inexpensive solution.

If you won't have access to shore power for several days, you can use the vehicle to charge the battery when it's running, but you'll need a more robust DC to DC charger like the Redarc # 331-BCDC1225D and the # e79ZR install kit to keep the battery charged.

I've linked to some demonstration and install videos for you.

expert reply by:
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Mike L

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