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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I designed and fabricated a trailer hitch to pull a small cargo trailer. I just need to clean it up, paint it and wire up the lights.

Any of you electrical gurus have any advice about wiring a trailer connector? Can I just tap into the appropriate wires old school, or will that screw up something because all the lighting is LEDs? What about if I convert the trailer to all LEDs (I am probably going to do that anyway).
 

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Even on an old-school no-electronics all-filament bulbs bike it's a good idea to use a trailer isolator (name differs between places, but essentially it's a device that only uses the voltage from the bike's wires as a command to drive voltage from the trailer's battery to its own lights).

On the CTX even more so, as the battery is small and the light circuits even tinier as they're all LEDs. It's not easy to get it right without damaging anything on the bike but I know that's not going to stop you.

I suggest you use LEDs on the trailer as well to start with and then look around other motorcycling forums and search for "trailer wiring" to see how older and wiser people did it.
 
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I cannot recommend enough to use an isolated module to power trailer lighting as @csdexter says.

Electrical Connection has a very good isolation module HERE for the trailer harness if you don't want to make your own. You'll still need to wire it into the bike. What you would need is the Universal Sub Harness and the Isolator and that is all that is really needed. This item does not include a relay to turn it on/off with the bike but does include everything else you would need.

This is the electrical diagram I've used to make my own isolation module for a trailer harness. I like making my own if I can. I've used this same on my GW and on my ST as well as other bikes for other riders. I use a Radio Shack hobby box to house the standard automotive relays. This requires you to tap off of the bike wires for brake, left turn and right turn, to ONLY provide trigger signals for the relays. Power comes directly from the battery. The CTX is like almost all motorcycles with separate wires for each turn signal and the brake lights so this is the native connection to use for a trailer... 5 wire connector between bike and trailer. I plan to use this same diagram for the CTX with very minor modifications. I'll likely use much smaller relays (easily available on Amazon and other places online), a smaller box to hold them (both to fit in the smaller spaces available on the CTX), eliminate the individual fuses for each output BUT be sure to include a 10amp (instead of 15amp) main fuse for the module. This module is fed power from a relay triggered by ACC or other signal on the bike to turn it on only when the bike is on. I don't show this part since that is up to you to decide how to do this part. I plan to just add another wire pair to what I already have for the GPS connection but only use it to trigger the power on/off for this module. Notes included on this diagram are otherwise to be followed.
I highly recommend to fix it to turn off when the bike is off since the CTX battery is small but the charging circuit on the bike is plenty big enough to power it.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Trailer battery?

Even on an old-school no-electronics all-filament bulbs bike it's a good idea to use a trailer isolator (name differs between places, but essentially it's a device that only uses the voltage from the bike's wires as a command to drive voltage from the trailer's battery to its own lights).

On the CTX even more so, as the battery is small and the light circuits even tinier as they're all LEDs. It's not easy to get it right without damaging anything on the bike but I know that's not going to stop you.

I suggest you use LEDs on the trailer as well to start with and then look around other motorcycling forums and search for "trailer wiring" to see how older and wiser people did it.
Are you suggesting I have to put a battery on the trailer? Doesn't make sense to me. I will Google trailer wiring and see what I find.
 

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Now that's just awesome right there.
I wish I had the welding chops to make something like that.
 

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you did attach the hitch in the same manner as I was thinking of doing it.
Do those attachment points seem to work for making the hitch stable and strong enough for up to a 50-70lbs tongue weight. I wouldn't put that much on, more like 25-30lbs, but should have extra capability for the overall mass of any trailer bouncing on the road at times. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I cannot recommend enough to use an isolated module to power trailer lighting as @csdexter says.

Electrical Connection has a very good isolation module HERE for the trailer harness if you don't want to make your own. You'll still need to wire it into the bike. What you would need is the Universal Sub Harness and the Isolator and that is all that is really needed. This item does not include a relay to turn it on/off with the bike but does include everything else you would need.

This is the electrical diagram I've used to make my own isolation module for a trailer harness. I like making my own if I can. I've used this same on my GW and on my ST as well as other bikes for other riders. I use a Radio Shack hobby box to house the standard automotive relays. This requires you to tap off of the bike wires for brake, left turn and right turn, to ONLY provide trigger signals for the relays. Power comes directly from the battery. The CTX is like almost all motorcycles with separate wires for each turn signal and the brake lights so this is the native connection to use for a trailer... 5 wire connector between bike and trailer. I plan to use this same diagram for the CTX with very minor modifications. I'll likely use much smaller relays (easily available on Amazon and other places online), a smaller box to hold them (both to fit in the smaller spaces available on the CTX), eliminate the individual fuses for each output BUT be sure to include a 10amp (instead of 15amp) main fuse for the module. This module is fed power from a relay triggered by ACC or other signal on the bike to turn it on only when the bike is on. I don't show this part since that is up to you to decide how to do this part. I plan to just add another wire pair to what I already have for the GPS connection but only use it to trigger the power on/off for this module. Notes included on this diagram are otherwise to be followed.
I highly recommend to fix it to turn off when the bike is off since the CTX battery is small but the charging circuit on the bike is plenty big enough to power it.

Thanks Bob for jumping in. I was hoping you would because you seem pretty knowledgeable about things electrical. I think I will enjoy making my own module rather than spend $69+. I will probably locate the isolator in the trailer instead of finding a place on the bike to put it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Now that's just awesome right there.
I wish I had the welding chops to make something like that.
Once I tweak a few dimensions and find a shop I like, I am hoping I could sell a few of these at a reasonable price.
 
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... I will probably locate the isolator in the trailer instead of finding a place on the bike to put it.
I don't know if that's a good way to do that since it's really not such a good idea for the bike trigger signal wires to pass through the connector in case there is any chaffing that would result in one of the bike circuit wires becoming shorted to frame. And that would be very bad for the bike. I know it's possible, but don't think it's a good idea. I tend to try keeping the trigger wires as short as possible for this reason so have always located the isolation module as close to the tail of the bike as possible. Only isolated power goes through the trailer harness/connector.
I was thinking of getting the official connectors and making a plug-n-play pigtail to go between the factory connectors and provide the signal wires for the relays. That factory connector is located behind the BT box on the frame on the left side under the seat... I think.
 

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Once I tweak a few dimensions and find a shop I like, I am hoping I could sell a few of these at a reasonable price.
I might be interested :)

Does the trailer tongue level out when you are sitting on the bike? I need the tongue level with the road while riding. Much safer and less tendency to lift either the tail of the bike or the front when hard braking. May not be noticeable with a lightly packed light small cargo trailer but my camper will punish me most definitely if the tongue is angled up or down while under way. :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
you did attach the hitch in the same manner as I was thinking of doing it.
Do those attachment points seem to work for making the hitch stable and strong enough for up to a 50-70lbs tongue weight. I wouldn't put that much on, more like 25-30lbs, but should have extra capability for the overall mass of any trailer bouncing on the road at times. :)
If you remove the seat, you can see the two points the brackets screw into are pretty substantial welded on to the frame. The bolts holding the brackets are grade 10.9, which is a grade above normal bolts and very strong. I found the same bolt at Ace Hardware but 5mm longer. The stock bolts are M8 1.25x45 and I went to M8 1.25x50 to give me approx 1/4" longer because I made the hitch from 1/4" plate. I would liked to have used 3/16", but found a piece of 1/4" for free. The one I made is pretty stout! I am confident you could support 50# or so on the hitch, but I am only carrying about 20 or so. I had the trailer loaded with about 100# of camping gear and you couldn't even tell it was back there.
 
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Oh, another reason to have the isolation module on the bike... with a hitch on the bike with this connection I would be able to have more than one trailer to pull with the bike. I have my Mini-Mate pop-up camper, and I would like to also pull a utility flatbed trailer for carrying stuff like my compound mitre saw and stand, or garden supplies for home, or any other larger purchases from Lowe's or Home Depot. Something like a small Harbor Freight trailer with a marine plywood floor. I also have a soft pack car roof luggage carrier bag (waterproof of course) that I would then be able to throw on such a flatbed trailer and use it for a cargo trailer if I didn't want to pull the camper. Though if I was travelling I would more likely take the camper.
This is all in my plan to do away with the dependance on a car/truck for those tasks so we can get rid of one. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I might be interested :)

Does the trailer tongue level out when you are sitting on the bike? I need the tongue level with the road while riding. Much safer and less tendency to lift either the tail of the bike or the front when hard braking. May not be noticeable with a lightly packed light small cargo trailer but my camper will punish me most definitely if the tongue is angled up or down while under way. :eek:
With me on the bike the hitch is a little higher than the rear axle. When I load up the saddlebags (I will be using them for trips only) I am pretty sure it will be right at the height of the axle. For my trailer, the tongue is almos level. On the next hitch, I am going to lower the ball by about 3/4". This one was a proof of concept prototype. The next one will be much better.
 
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(...)
I was thinking of getting the official connectors and making a plug-n-play pigtail to go between the factory connectors and provide the signal wires for the relays. That factory connector is located behind the BT box on the frame on the left side under the seat... I think.
That's exactly how I would do it if I ever wanted to add a trailer. Splicing the OEM wire harness is a big NO-NO in my book :)

Yes, the rear lights connector is under the saddle, on the left side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I don't know if that's a good way to do that since it's really not such a good idea for the bike trigger signal wires to pass through the connector in case there is any chaffing that would result in one of the bike circuit wires becoming shorted to frame. And that would be very bad for the bike. I know it's possible, but don't think it's a good idea. I tend to try keeping the trigger wires as short as possible for this reason so have always located the isolation module as close to the tail of the bike as possible. Only isolated power goes through the trailer harness/connector.
I was thinking of getting the official connectors and making a plug-n-play pigtail to go between the factory connectors and provide the signal wires for the relays. That factory connector is located behind the BT box on the frame on the left side under the seat... I think.
Did you ever explore this further? I am getting ready to hook up my isolator relay and 5-4 pin converter and would like to make a plug-n-play connector like you are talking about. would these connectors work? I am talking about the 6-pin connectors at the bottom. They look like they are an exact match.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Put me on your list to purchase a hitch Thanks I have been searching for awhile Miss my trailer since crashing the wing
I have tweaked it so it works and fabricated it out of 3/16" steel plate. It took two tries to get the height correct and I am still trying to find a ball with a tall stem because a standard ball binds up when leaning over. I have seen one on the internet, but haven't found one in any stores.

I am in the process of hooking up the lighting connector to the bike and when I have that in place I plan to take a short trip to make sure the hitch works like I think it should. Then I would feel comfortable setting people up with one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Have you considered the swivel coupling on the trailer instead of a taller ball. I have used a swivel hitch since I sheared a ball off on the Pacific coastal highway
Considered one, but am trying to just get the ball rolling and actually pull the trailer somewhere before I spend a lot of money on a swivel hitch. Looks like it would be about $150 minimum.
 

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Did you ever explore this further? I am getting ready to hook up my isolator relay and 5-4 pin converter and would like to make a plug-n-play connector like you are talking about. would these connectors work? I am talking about the 6-pin connectors at the bottom. They look like they are an exact match.
@Kookopelli
That looks like the right connector. To set it up like I was thinking you would need one female and one male connector to plug in between the factory connectors. But that does look like the right one. I haven't really thought any more on it since I am still deciding if I want to even put the hitch on the bike. One moment I think camping in a tent is all I really need and the next I think about not wanting to sell the camper just in case I change my mind about tent camping. Through all that I still haven't changed my mind on tent camping but...

I do recommend the swivel coupler as @kniterider talks about... but those do still use the ball on the bike end of the hitch (unless he's talking about something more like Bushtec uses in their hitch system). The swivel coupler is worth the $150 for peace of mind. I had one on my TimeOut camper with the GW and loved it. No binding when leaning over.

Any more photos of the more refined hitch?
 
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