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Old 01-01-2010, 12:22 PM   #1
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Angry SAFETY ALERT Re: Battery Connection

According to the Service Manager at our Jayco dealership, Jayco uses BLACK ELECTRICAL TAPE on the trailer wires that attach to the POSITIVE terminal of the 12 volt trailer battery. Jayco uses a RED connector on the trailer wire that attaches to the NEGATIVE terminal of the battery. This is the exact reverse of the standard for the automobile industry: RED is for POSITIVE, BLACK is for NEGATIVE.

SAFETY ALERT: This means that if you disconnect your battery to store it during months when you are not using your trailer and then hook the battery back up incorrectly--that is, with the BLACK-TAPED (but actually POSITIVE) wire hooked to the NEGATIVE post of the battery and the wire with the RED connector (which is actually NEGATIVE) to the POSITIVE battery terminal--you will blow the fuse to your BREAKAWAY SWITCH and thus have no emergency trailer brakes if the BREAKAWAY SWITCH is activated.

Our 2010 Jayco G2 29RLS had a battery installed with BLACK ELECTRICAL TAPE covering the connector that connects the trailer's electrical wiring, including the BREAKAWAY SWITCH wiring, to the circular copper lug that slips down on the POSITIVE battery post. The connector that connects the other trailer wiring to the circular copper lug that slips down on the NEGATIVE battery post is RED.

Needless to say, I stored my battery for a couple of months and when I reconnected it I connected the BLACK-taped wires to the NEGATIVE post of the battery and the wires with the RED connector to the POSITIVE post of the battery. The fuse to the BREAKAWAY SWITCH blew but had I not checked it after hooking up the battery I would not have know it blew.

Ironically, the electrical system in our trailer was not damaged and worked during a camping trip. We took the trailer in for warranty service because the surround sound buzzed when we turned the volumn up (when the furnace was on) and because the fuse to the BREAKAWAY SWITCH had blown. I assumed the BREAKAWAY SWITCH was incorrectly wired to the NEGATIVE terminal of the battery, not that the trailer wires were--in my opinion--color coded incorrectly.

The Service Manager at our dealership agreed to raise this issue with Jayco. I suggested that Jayco use RED connectors or electrical tape on wires going to the POSITIVE battery terminal and BLACK connectors or electrical tape on wires going to the NEGATIVE battery terminal as is standard in the automotive industry. Owners of Jayco travel trailers who inadvertently reverse the battery wires when they hook up their batteries would not necessarily know they had blown the fuse in the BREAKAWAY SWITCH because the trailer's electrical system and the exterior lights (turn signal, brake, running) still work with the battery hooked up in reverse.

To ensure that I do not again hook my battery up in reverse I have used RED ELECTRIAL TAPE on the connection to the POSITIVE battery terminal and BLACK ELECTRIAL TAPE on the connection to the NEGATIVE battery terminal to "correctly" color code them. I suggest that all of you do the same to ensure your future safety.

Is this an issue that needs to be reported to the National Highway Safety Council?
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:22 PM   #2
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I would ABSOLUTELY report it.
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Old 01-05-2010, 12:26 AM   #3
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Thank you for the tip. I will be checking the breakaway fuse. It is curious that all the other normal functions, like the lights, will continue to work when the terminals are connected improperly.
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Old 01-10-2010, 08:29 AM   #4
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I checked my unit yesterday. Jayco used Black postive wire & White as negitive. We added the Extra Battery and the dealer carried thru the same color combo.
Working in the trade for years as an Electrician we always used Black & White, on the Battery Rooms for the UPS systems.
Just my 2cents Wayne
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheetmusic View Post
It is curious that all the other normal functions, like the lights, will continue to work when the terminals are connected improperly.
Incandescent lamps are insensitive to polarity. If the circuit is completed, they will light either way.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:53 PM   #6
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I just looked at a photo of the battery connections on our new Jay Flight 26BH. Interestingly, an orange and green wire go to the positive terminal. A white wire, to the negative. The only thing positive (ha ha) is that the wires to the positive terminal have a red crimp connector. Red and black wires sure would be good. When I put the trailer in storage, I only disconnected one terminal so I wouldn't forget which was which. Perhaps I will flag them somehow.
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Old 02-09-2010, 10:59 PM   #7
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Usually I get flustered with all this voodoo, magic electrical stuff, especially when you thrown in colors because I am color blind. But, here is one instance when being color blind might be a blessing. I have to look for a + or - sign, or a label, of some form, or make labels before disconnecting things to make sure that they go back in the right places. Color is over rated anyway LOL.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rvrev2 View Post
Usually I get flustered with all this voodoo, magic electrical stuff, especially when you thrown in colors because I am color blind. But, here is one instance when being color blind might be a blessing. I have to look for a + or - sign, or a label, of some form, or make labels before disconnecting things to make sure that they go back in the right places. Color is over rated anyway LOL.
Me too. I am red, green and brown color blind.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:21 PM   #9
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If you can't remove a battery and re-install it without hooking up the wires correctly, you probably should not be doing it.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:24 PM   #10
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Re-read post, the red connecter is determined by wire guage, red for 10 guage, yellow for 12 guage and so on.
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