Significant Functions of Multi–Core Trailer Cables for Automotives

05 August 2019

If they want to stay on the road, trailer owners do their homework. They know all about the maximum safe towing capacities and different towbar types. They also know that all but the tiniest trailers require road-approved lighting systems. Functioning as a powered umbilical line, connecting an automobile and its in-tow wheeled load, multi-core trailer cables supply the necessary electrical power. Come on, let’s cut one open to see what it contains.

Safety Compliant Road Trailers

Why, you might ask, would a basic towing vehicle need wiring? That’s a simple enough question to answer. Think about it, a towed load is effectively obstructing a following vehicle’s view of your brake lights. If you do need to stop suddenly, there’s every chance of a rear collision taking place, all because of the trailer’s presence. It’s the same with a car’s left and right signal flashers, the following car can’t tell if the towing car is turning. No need to worry, the laws of the road addressed this issue long ago. They did this by writing a regulation that calls for the installation of in-sync vehicle lighting, which must be mounted behind a trailer so that following vehicles can tell what maneuver the car in front is about to perform.

Checking Out a Trailer Cable Cutaway

So every time the brakes lights or signals illuminate behind a car that’s towing its trailer, an identical set of lights must mirror that action behind the trailer. Okay, now that the fundamental objective here has been communicated, let’s get back to the multi-core umbilical cabling. Having cut a disused car-to-trailer wire open, what makes this wire different from other electrical linkages? For one thing, there’s a bunch of wires contained inside the soft and flexible PVC outer sheathing. The copper conductors are stranded, so they’re every bit as flexible as the outer insulation. That’s because road bumps are transmitted down the length of the wiring. They need to be pliable if they’re to absorb road vibrations. On separating each wire, an included circuit diagram demonstrates their individual functions. One wire is a ground, its neighbour is a 12 V power supply and the others are responsible for the following trailer circuits:

Brake lamps

Brake power

Signal lights

Reverse lighting

Tail (Rear) lamps

As you can see, not every circuit linkage goes to a lighting circuit. Some of the heavier, more advanced trailers feature independent braking systems. Critically important, these powered mechanical parts must work in-sync with a towing vehicle’s own brakes. Incidentally, just as important as the multi-core functions and sheathing flexibility, best-in-class trailer cables are wired to match specific light and heavy-duty towing plugs.

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