What You Should and Shouldn’t Run through Your 12 Pin Trailer Plug

What You Should and Shouldn’t Run through Your 12 Pin Trailer Plug

Your trailer plug is the electrical lifeline between you and your caravan. Making sure it is wired up correctly, and operating as intended, should be one of your top priorities as a caravan owner. For those new to caravanning, it might be a little confusing as to why the your trailer plug is so important, so we thought we’d explore the 12 pin plug a little further. 

7 Pin vs 12 Pin 

Many vehicles come with a 7 pin socket as standard, which for most people is all you need for basic towing. However, if your caravan is fitted with a brake away system, electronic stability control or you want to run a fridge power feed, you will need to replace it with a 12 pin socket. The 12 pin socket not only allows you to wire up additional accessories, but it also allow for more versatility when towing. For example, a 7 pin plug (on a caravan) can fit into a 12 pin socket (on a vehicle) but it be done in reverse. 

Standard Wiring for 12 Pin 

Although there are several options for how to wire up a 12 pin plug, we usually recommend the following configuration.

  1. Left indicator
  2. Reverse
  3. Earth
  4. Right indicator
  5. Electronic Brakes
  6. Brake lights
  7. Park lights
  8. Isolated power supply (For Fridge or Accessories)
  9. Isolated power supply (For Fridge or Accessories)
  10. Earth
  11. Spare
  12. Isolated power supply (For Fridge or Accessories)

In most cases we will also install an Anderson plug or two depending on the vehicle and caravan. 

  • Grey Anderson plug: Isolated Charge feed from vehicle start battery.
  • Red Anderson plug: Direct 12v supply suit ESC Operations.

Why Use a Anderson Plugs?

If you are wanting to run a charge feed through to your caravan batteries, we will always recommend installing an Anderson Plug on your towbar for this purpose. The reason for this is that your 12 pin is not designed to handle a charge feed. A 12 pin plug can only take up to 6mm wire, which is not suitable for a charge current. In the worst cases, trying to run a battery charge feed through your 12 pin plug can lead to pins melting together, destroying the plug and socket in the process. 

In some cases we also install an Anderson Plug for connecting the Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Anderson plugs are usually are a bit more secure than your standard trailer plug, so we recommended them when a stronger connection is required. If you intend to head a bit off the beaten track, we would definitely suggest installing an Anderson plug for your ESC. 

To ensure the two plugs are not mixed up with one another, we will usually install two different coloured Anderson Plugs. The different colours are also designed in a way so they can not connect into a different colour. Red can only connect to Red and Grey to Grey. This ensured there are no mix ups when hitching up to hit the road. 

 

Ford Ranger PX2 Dual Battery System & Accessory Installation

We get asked a lot about Ford Rangers and the modifications we can do to them. So, here’s mine. I thought I’d give you a quick run through. It’s actually got a lot done so we’ll just plough through it front to rear.

So the first thing we’ll start off with, it’s got a full LLA, led headlight upgrade, so high, low, and park in the front are all converted to led and they’re amazing. They’re fantastically bright. And then, I’m not really a bull bar kind of guy. We’ve got that on our other vehicle. So, we fitted a Great Whites light bar down here in the gap. I like it. And we’ll show you a little bit later on, it’s also got a backlit, halo feature that comes on with my park lights, so that’s pretty cool.

Pretty much the rest to show you under the bonnet, and we’ll get you a close up here in a minute. It’s just my fuse panel and all my relays that control everything we’ll go through as we move down the vehicle.

Inside The Cab

So, here we are, we’re inside the cab now. We’ll move through. The first thing I’ve done is fit a light force fascia. You can get these for the PX2 Rangers and in that, we’ve managed to fit a dual volt meter, one for the front battery, one for the auxiliary, behind the seat battery. Switch for my rear light bar, a TowPro for my caravan, and then a switch for my front light bar. We also still retain the factory 12 volt outlet.

The other thing we’ve done that’s super cool, is this Polaris display unit. Basically, what that gives me is full Hema mapping, a front camera, and also it connects to, we’ve run an integration with my Safety Dave camera on my caravan. And so, while we’re driving along, that runs a full caravan rear cam.

Dual Battery System

So here we are behind the back seat. Obviously with a Ranger, with a dual cab, you don’t have much room so we’ve put an awful lot of stuff behind here. I’ve got my compressor that I’ve just mounted to a switch and my output here rather than plumbing it all over the vehicle. It just means you pop open the door, plug in there, it’s much easier. And then, obviously the elephant in the room, is our big dual battery system we’ve got here. So, this is 108 Amp hour, lead crystal battery. It’s got a Redarc 1240 DC-DC and basically a fuse box for all the outputs and the red plug that you’ll see on a close up. That is our solar input.

We’ve found these to be fantastic, we’re nearly on triple figures on the installs of them. The beauty of the lead crystal is that it charges up to three times faster than the AGM. So, what it means is I get three days out of my fridge and then I’ve really only got to go for an hour run and I’m charged up, ready to go for another three days. So, these have been fantastic and I can’t recommend them enough.

In The Tub

So here we are down in the tub, guys. First thing to show, Great Whites light bar, with the backlit halo. What we’ve done is we’ve wired up the halo backlighting to the factory tub lighting. What that means is when you open the door, it lights up the tub and gives you a nice white light at night, but when you close the doors and you start the vehicle, the light goes out so that’s really important so you don’t have any rear facing white lights.

The other thing we’ve done is, all my outputs for my dual battery system are down here. What I’ve done is, I’ve flush mounted them on. And that keeps it neat and tidy and means that anything can float and roll around in the ute and it’s not going to get damaged. We’ve installed a cigarette, dual USB, and then an Anderson in a fully enclosed space. I use an Anderson to run my fridge, just so I don’t get bad connections. I’ve found cigarette socket always comes loose.

Trailer Plugs

So here we are, last stop on the tour, down the back of the vehicle. We’ll start down here with just Anderson plug, standard Anderson plug through an isolator to charge the batteries in my caravan, factory 12 pin plug, and then the cool one is, this is a Safety Dave WOZA that we’ve retrofitted to the Polaris head unit. What that means is that the camera on my caravan, which is a Safety Dave, now integrates with the Polaris head unit we showed you on the dash. The Anderson plug is just an isolated Anderson plug and that charges the lithium batteries in my caravan.

If you’ve made it through to the end of this video, well done, but if you’ve got any questions, then give us a call, on 1300 227 353. You could e-mail us at [email protected] or leave us a comment below.

How to Make Towing a Caravan Easier

How to Make Towing a Caravan Easier

Whether you are new to towing a caravan, or if you are just looking for ways to make the experience easier, there are plenty of things you can do to take some of the stress out of towing a caravan. We’ve put together some of our best advice that will hopefully help you to enjoy your next caravan adventure just that little bit more. 

Pre-Travel Checklist

Regardless of your experience towing, make sure you always run through the same pre-towing checks. The day you get complacent is the day something will most likely go wrong. These checks won’t take long, but it is good practice to do them each time you hook up the van.

  • Ensure your coupling is properly connected. Make sure the safety chains, break-away wire and trailer plugs are all secure
  • Check the handbrake is released
  • Make sure gas cylinders are turned off
  • If you have a weight distribution hitch, ensure it is secure, tensioned and safety pins are in place
  • Check all windows are closed, wheel chocks are removed and stabiliser legs are raised
  • Make sure all roof hatches are closed and antennas etc. are secure
  • Check everything inside the van is properly secured
  • Get someone to check the van’s tail lights are working

Weight

All vehicles have a maximum load that can safely be towed, it is important that this limit is not exceeded. There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to weight including the size of the vehicle, the weight of the caravan, whether or not you have electric brakes fitted and the load you plan to carry. There are some legal restrictions when it comes to towing weight limits, so it is vital to know the limits of your rig before hitting the road. Weight distribution is also important when it comes to towing. A caravan that is unbalanced can be at higher risk of sway. So be sure to plan out how to pack your van to ensure everything is balanced how it should be for a safe trip.

Driving

If you have never towed before, jumping in the car with a caravan hitched on the back can be a daunting task on its own. But there are a few unique challenges that come with towing a caravan that it is important to be prepared for. For general driving, always remember to leave a larger distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. With the extra weight on the back, your stopping distance is much greater, so factor that in when you’re on the road.

Narrow Roads

It is important to always pay attention to any surrounding obstacles such as awnings, posts, large vehicles and guard rails. If you encounter any of these try to give them as wide a berth as safely possible. Try to avoid getting between two wide vehicles if it is avoidable and stay in the left lane wherever it is practical to do so.

Corners

When taking a corner, your caravan will always take a shorter path than your vehicle. For this reason, you should always try to take the widest path possible around corners. The general rule of thumb for corners is to turn a bit later than you usually would and as wide as the road allows. You can also apply this technique when going around roundabouts. This may seem daunting at first, but with time and practice, you will soon get a feel for how to handle your vehicle and caravan around corners.

Handling Sway

Towing a caravan at speed on a highway can be one of the biggest challenges for anyone new to the experience. Avoiding caravan sway is one of the most important things to keep in mind when towing. To start with, your van should be loaded so that it is correctly balanced. A weight distribution hitch can be extremely helpful too. It is also important to make sure your tyre pressures are correct before hitting the road.

When driving on the highway, keep as wide a berth as possible from large vehicles as you pass (or they pass you). This will help to prevent the air they disturb from affecting your caravan. If you don’t have room to move over, slow down as the vehicle passes.  If you see any warning signs for a high wind area, make sure you slow down in preparation.

If you do notice your van starting to sway, gently ease off the accelerator. Once your speed has been reduced by 10-15km, apply your electric brake override and slowly speed back up. This should straighten up your rig and stop the sway. If you have an electric stability control system or sway control system installed on your caravan, the unit will take care of this process for you.

For the most part, the basic principal of towing a caravan comes down to extra diligence. You need to pay more attention to what you are doing, the area around you and what others are doing on the road.

Reversing

The trick to mastering reversing is practice. If you get the chance try to find a place to practice reversing before you head off on your first trip. An empty car park is a great option.

Take it Slow

If you are moving at a slower pace, you will have more time to make minor steering adjustments before you get yourself in an undesirable situation. Patience is critical, especially if you are new to the whole experience.

Use Your Mirrors

Use your left and right mirrors to monitor the rear corners of the trailer, this will give you an indication of any trailer change in direction. If you see too much of the trailer on one side, turn the wheel towards that mirror to straighten up.

Shift Your Hands to Turn

Move your hands from the top of the steering wheel to the bottom. Moving your hands to the left will now move the caravan to the left and vice versa. Once you have established the right amount of turn, straighten up to the point where the vehicle follows the caravan on the same arc.

Getting out of a jackknife

If you end up in a jackknife position, there are a few things to do to get out of it.

  • Stop immediately before you cause any damage.
  • Turn the steering full lock away from the angle of the jackknife.
  • Move forward slowly and this will straight the combination very quickly.
Reversing into a Caravan Site

When reverse parking, take it slow and if you can, set up markers to simplify your parking.

  • Remove your Weight Distribution Bars prior to reversing into the parking bay.
  • Identify any hazards in or around your site.
  • Take it slowly and use a spotter (or rear vision camera) to stop you from hitting anything or cause damage.
Toyota Hilux Under Bonnet Dual Battery System

Toyota Hilux Under Bonnet Dual Battery System

Hi guys, Andrew here from Accelerate Auto Electrics & Air Conditioning with Josh, one of our dual battery experts.

One of the questions we get asked a lot is where should I put my dual battery or my auxiliary battery? Should it go under the bonnet or in a box in the back?

This is actually Josh’s Toyota Hilux. We’re here looking at it and he’s put his under the bonnet. We’re gonna let him tell us why he thinks it’s better under the bonnet, in his vehicle. Take it away Josh.

Josh: So, I went under the bonnet mainly to save space in my tub. A lot of the battery boxes are big and bulky and take up a lot of room.

The Toyota Hilux’s are good for that because you can get an under bonnet battery tray that still fits nice and tidy out of the way. You can get a 105 amp hour battery under the bonnet. This is ample to run your fridges and accessories for a couple of days. In conjunction with that, with the Toyota Hilux’s, you have to use a DCDC charger.

I have used the Redarc BCDC1225D, which is solar capable, and also maintains my battery to a hundred percent. A lot of these new cars have computer controlled alternators and smart alternators, so they need a correct charging profile. Otherwise your battery will never charge correctly and the computers don’t agree with it.

Andrew: So, how many days do you get outta your fridge Josh?

Josh: I get about three days without solar, before I have to start my vehicle and run and charge my battery back up.

Andrew:  Good, and what size solar panel have you got?

Josh: I use a 120 watt portable, little solar panel that I throw out in the sun. That way I can keep my car parked in the shade.

Andrew: Okay, cool. Anything else you’ve put on it for us, just quickly?

Josh: So, I’ve done LED upgrades in my headlights. I’ve got a slim line light bar mounted in my grill, because I haven’t got to the point where I want a bull bar.  I quite like the look of the slim factory body lines. I’ve got built in work lights in the back, that again run off my auxiliary battery. I also run my UHF and all that, which is all inside the cab as well.

Andrew: So any regrets putting it under the bonnet?

Josh: No, I don’t regret putting it under the bonnet. Mainly because, if it’s possible to go under the bonnet, I think it’s the best, most easiest way to do a dual battery system. As yeah, you save a lot of space.

Andrew: What we’ll do is we’ll take you inside and will give you a quick look at Josh’s dash. He’s used the factory switches that we use on our light bars and so on, so you can get a good look at that.

Inside The Cab

Josh: So inside my cab, I run the factory fit Toyota style blanks, so they replace the factory blanks. In this one here, I have a voltmeter and USB, which runs off my second battery to keep all my devices and phones, and tablets charged on the move.

Next to it I run the factory fit UHF plug. In a lot of these vehicles there is nowhere to mount the hand pieces. I didn’t wanna drill holes all through my dash to mount a hand piece. So I run the Uniden unit with all the controls and speaker, built into the hand piece. And when I don’t want it in use, I can just unplug that and put it away in my glove box. That way I don’t have cables and things dangling all over the place.

On the driver side of my vehicle I have the factory fit Toyota switches, that runs my auxiliary work lights, my fog lights, and my driving lights on the front. Now, we’re gonna go to the back and I’ll show you my work lights and the set up I have in my tray.

In The Ute Tub

So in the back of my Ute, I run just an Anderson plug in the side, which mainly runs my fridge. If I need to when I’m out camping, I then plug in a junction box. On this I run another voltmeter, some USB Chargers, and some cig sockets to run camp lights and stuff like that.

Also, I have my UHF aerial mounted in the back here. It’s a 6.5 DBI Uniden aerial. Once again, I didn’t have a bull bar, so I found an alternative place to mount it, and it’s quite tidy in the back.

At the top I run two LED work lights. These mostly come in use when I’m backing my boat down the boat ramps at night. Just to give me a bit more light and also when I’m camping, to find those campsites.

Andrew: So that was a quick run through of Josh’s Toyota Hilux, with his under bonnet dual battery system and a few other mods he’s done. If you have any questions give us a call on 1300 227 353 Email us at [email protected] or feel free to comment below.

Campsite Review: Imbil Camping Retreat

Campsite Review: Imbil Camping Retreat

Imbil Camping Retreat formerly known as Island Reach Camping Resort is located right in the township of Imbil on the banks of Yabba Creek. View their website here: https://www.imbilcampingretreat.com.au/

It’s the first time we’d been to this campgrounds and it is now an absolute favourite.

 

Getting There:

It takes just under 1 hour to get to Imbil Camping Retreat from Maroochydore. Best to head North on the Bruce and take exit 224, follow the signs to Imbil. Just as you hit Imbil you will see the signs for Imbil Camping Retreat.

Accommodation Options:

These guys keep it simple with camping sites currently they have these options available:

  • Powered
  • Un-Powered
  • Premium Waterfront Unpowered

We were there for an event (Adventure Bash) that had hired out the entire place – we were waterfront above the day use area – so assuming this would be premium, but in my opinion well worth the extra money as I got to sit in my comfy chair and watch Andrew & the kids kayak up and down the creek.

What we loved:

  • Imbil Camping Retreat offers free camping but with a few perks – toilets, hot showers, close to town, coffee shop and power if you need.
  • Location Location Location. Right on the banks of Yabba Creek – you can camp literally 5metres from the creek.
  • We had a mulberry tree between our site and the creek. Taking me on a trip down memory lane, the kids faces and hands were always stained red, I was tempted to head home and plant one in our backyard.
  • Open fires allowed – it’s not camping if there is no fire!!
  • In the middle of Yabba Creek there is a mud island, not a favourite of mine personally but the kids spent hours climbing up it and sliding right back down
  • Kayaks for hire
  • Close to town – it was about a 5min walk into town if you needed supplies
  • Bike Tracks for the kids to ride on

Room for improvement:

  • It is a basic campgrounds the camp kitchen and toilet blocks were basic – but honestly all you need

Things To Do:

  • Hire a kayak and paddle up and down the creek
  • Climb mud island
  • Jump off the cliffs – if you dare
  • Imbil markets are on 8am – 2pm Sunday
  • Drive into Kenilworth and explore the town
  • Visit Kenilworth Bakery for the 1kg donut challenge
  • Take a walk or 4WD in Imbil State Forest

Final Thoughts:

We loved it.  This is our new favourite campground on Yabba Creek, and believe me, we have been to a few.  Great for a weekend away but within an hour of the Sunshine Coast.

Have you stayed at Imbil Camping Retreat? If so, let us know what you thought.

View our Top 10 Places to Camp Within 1hr of the Sunshine Coast