22 July 2014

Truck Camper 6-Pin Umbilical Wiring

In order for your truck camper to be street legal it requires an electrical interface with your truck's running, stop, turn signal, and backup electrical circuits. This electrical interface also includes a 12 volt "hot" lead to charge your camper's batteries while your truck's alternator is running, and, of course, an electrical ground. While today's truck campers use the industry standard 7-pin wiring and 7-pin connector, only six of the seven pins are used since the brake line isn't used on truck campers. If you have an older, vintage pickup truck, you'll need to consult the documentation that came with your truck to determine the correct pin-outs, or you'll have to do it manually with a voltmeter.

The electrical interface between your truck and camper is often referred to as either the umbilical or "pigtail." This pigtail consists of a round 7-pin flat bladed connector on the truck side and rectangular 6-pin connector for the truck camper side. This 6-pin rectangular type of connector can be found on all Northwood Manufacturing Arctic Fox and Wolf Creek truck campers. You'll notice that the ground wire on this connector uses a male fitting while the other five are female connections. This is done to prevent the 6-pin plug from being inserted upside down into the 6-pin receptacle. With the exception of the charge and ground wires, Northwood Manufacturing uses 16-AWG wiring inside their campers and in the pigtail. For the charge and ground wires, Northwood Manufacturing uses 12-AWG wiring to facilitate a better charge.

Please note, if you own a truck camper from another manufacturer the 6-pin receptacle will probably look a lot different than the 6-pin rectangular receptacle used by Northwood Manufacturing. I know that Lance uses a small, round 6-pin receptacle as do others. Because of these differences you usually won't find a standard, factory sealed pigtail when you take delivery of your truck camper. Instead, most truck camper manufacturers will provide a wiring harness with a matching plug that must be completed with a 7-pin plug by the dealership service team. Make sure all lights and the charge line are tested during your PDI.

Taking care of the electrical contacts in your receptacles and umbilical plugs isn't too difficult. I like to use WD-40 Electrical Contact Cleaner to clean the electrical contacts, followed up with a light brushing with a small metal brush. Then I apply a thin coat of Di-Electric Grease to all the receptacle and plug contacts to protect them from the elements. That's it. If you found the information in this article useful, please let me know.