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Discussion Starter #1
The Hopkins 7/5/4 pin black plastic trailer connector looked like the best all-round bet and IIRC it cost about $12 or so. None of the connectors under about $25 sounded much different. However, although it looks more or less adequate as shipped (do check the soldered connections between the 5/4 pin connector and the main 7-pin connector) there appear to be a few potential future water problems with unit.

First and foremost the socket, when the connector is mounted vertical with the brand name right side up and the lid hinge on top (like most people would mount it, I think) the socket for the 7-pin plug is tilted down toward inside of the plug so that it will catch and HOLD any water that gets past the plug. In my experience water ALWAYS get past seals to some extent.

Also, there are three additional plastic pieces which install on the back of the connector and protect the wiring and support the wire loom coming out the back. The pieces fit pretty well, but as mentioned, my experience is that water always enters and the tight fit will then hold that water for, well, a long time.

I really hate when tech I expect to work degrades for no good reason while my back it turned and costs me time, money and pain the moment I need it. So. I try always to insure that water that may (always) enter has at least as quick/easy way to leave an assembly, harmlessly we hope.

To this end I decided to provide drainage to this connector. It involved drilling three holes in the bottom of the connector and also filing a relief on the bottom of the middle back piece. The pics below pretty much show the work. The back pieces are then sealed on with silicone, to try to minimize water entry, and allowed to set before trying install the connector. The drain holes, which on the very bottom, will likely allow a small amount of water to enter, but it will hopefully drain out just as easily; the locations of the drains are at the bottom of their respective spaces and a tablespoon or so of water will not reach the wiring. With the connector drained and the back sealed as best possible, I hope to not be disappointed when I need this thing to work. TBD.

One other thing about this particular connector: The cover for the 4/5 pin part does not have a spring to hold it closed. I will put silicone on the mating surfaces to glue it closed until the time it's needed. After that use it may or may not be necessary to secure it again, depending on how tight the fit becomes with the silicone. Comments on Amaz*n indicated this could be a problem - people noticed it hanging open.

Other connectors may or may not have similar issues. Consumer products are cheap these days, but they are rarely designed thoughtfully.





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