Q: What is a converter?
A: Two types of taillight designs are found on vehicles: an
independent bulb system and a common bulb system. If the brake light and turn
signal operate from the same bulb, the taillight design is common. If the brake
light and turn signal work from separate bulbs, the design is independent. The
industry standard found on trailers is a common bulb system. Vehicles will vary
depending on the make and model. Any vehicle that has an independent bulb system
must have a converter to “convert” the independent system to a common
system, which is required on a trailer. A converter enables vehicles with independent
brake lights and turn signals to provide proper lighting to the trailer.
Q: Why do I need a power converter?
A: Electronics on many newer vehicles are not equipped to handle the
extra amp load that trailer lights require. A power converter provides power
directly from the battery, bypassing the electronics. This guarantees protection
for sensitive electronics found on these vehicles.
Q: What is the reason for the battery lead wire on the
A: This wire provides the power to the trailer lights. Green
= right turn, yellow = left turn, red = brake, and brown = taillights. These
are going to the power converter and are only used as a signal. Once a function
is used on the vehicle, the converter provides the actual power for the trailer
lights from the battery. This allows it to bypass all the vehicle electronics
to provide guaranteed safety. (Not all converters bypass through the battery).
Q: I am blowing fuses in my vehicle.
A: Check all wires for bare copper or places where a wire could be
pinched and touching metal on the trailer or you tow vehicle's chassis/frame.
If that is ok, then calculate
the amp load your trailer is pulling. Most vehicles are equipped to handle
only standard lighting on trailers; one turn/brake signal on each side and one
marker light on each front corner. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for
specific power ratings. If it is not a short, a pinched wire, and your vehicle
is rated to supply the necessary number of amps (power), then consult a professional.
Q: Should I unplug my boat trailer when I back my boat
into the water?
A: Yes, you should always unplug your boat trailer when backing into
the water. When the trailer lights are submersed in water it can create a short
causing vehicle fuses to blow and/or result in damage.
Q: When I have my headlights on and apply the brakes
all my lights on my trailer go out. What causes this?
A: You have a ground problem. In your situation, you have a ground
that is strong enough to provide some lighting functions but not all. This is
called a weak ground. When the taillights and brake lights are used at the same
time it creates the maximum amp load of lights on the trailer. If a ground problem
exists it will show at this point. The places to check grounds are as follows:
- The connector on the vehicle should have a ground wire secured tightly
on a clean surface to the frame. A wire attached to the body or a surface
with undercoating, paint, or rust can cause a ground problem.
- The connector on the trailer should have a wire from the connector secured
tightly to a clean surface on the trailer.
- Each tail lamp assembly at the back of the trailer also must be ground.
This is done in one of two ways. The first is by a separate wire coming from
the back of each tail lamp assembly and being secured to the frame. The second,
and most popular, ground is achieved through the bolts of the tail lamp assembly.
In this case, the lamp housing must be attached to the frame of the trailer.
If the lights are mounted on wood or PVC material, the lights will not receive
- The last possibility to explore is in the trailer design. If the trailer
has a tilting bed, it is possible the ground is not passing through the pivot
point resulting in a poor ground. The solution to this is to route a ground
wire from the connector at the front of the trailer to each lamp assembly
at the back of the trailer bypassing this pivot point.
NOTE: The trailer hitch & ball connection area should
never be considered sufficient ground.
Q: When I use one turn signal the other one blinks.
A: This is usually related to one of two things. The first could be
a short somewhere in the system. All wiring and the vehicle connector should
be checked and tested. The second andmost common cause is a weak ground in the
system. Refer to the above question and follow steps 1 through 4.
Q: When my trailer is connected to my vehicle the turn
signals are dim and flashing rapidly. What causes this?
A: When you add trailer lights to a vehicle system, the turn
signal amp load basically doubles. Most vehicles have a flasher that controls
the blink of a turn signal. The standard flasher provided in many vehicles will
not handle this extra load. You should replace your flasher with a heavy duty
flasher (8 to 10 amp) and make sure the vehicle engine is running. The flasher
will slow down your turn signals and a running engine will increase the brightness
of the lamps.
Q: Will the converter work in reverse for vehicle-to-vehicle
Q: Will these converters work on a 24 Volt system?
A: Check the converter description. Most will work on 9-24 volt
Q. Trailer Wiring Diagram for 6 pin & 7 pin Conductor
A. Here is the Diagram for 6 & 7 Pin Plugs - Click
Q. Trailer Light Amperage Guide?
A. We have a basic Guide available for referance Here.
Q. What is the difference between a Custom Wiring kit
and Universal Wire Kit?
A Custom wire kits often times are a plug in style, so no splicing or direct
wiring. In some Universal wire kits, splicing of wire is required. You also
need to understand more about the electrics of your vehicle to correctly connect
the wiring kits. Directions are supplied.
Q. How do I know What I need?
A. Hopkins Manufacturing has a great diagram and information to help you better
determine what you need so you can look for the correct verbage and terms. The
Understanding your Towing Needs Guide will be very helpful if you're a little
unsure what you need to purchase, or if you need multiple wiring kits.
Q. Difference between Vehicle with Tow Package and with out?
A.Some vehicles have a "towing option" installed while others do not. You can tell if you have the "tow option" by looking at your vehicle wiring harness where it connects to your tail lights (you might have to partially disassemble one of your tail lights to know for sure). Vehicles WITH the tow option have plugs that connect/disconnect the wiring harness from your brake/tail lights so you can install a trailer wiring kit. If your vehicle does not have these plugs then the wiring harness connects directly to your brake/tail light assembly (a "hard wired" connection) - it does not have the "tow option" installed. If you are Unsure, please refer to your Owners manual or local dealership. We Carry Both Types.