The Future of Trailer Plugs: Introducing the Smart Connector

By: Date: 01 February 2024

Welcome to the future of trailer plug technology with Ark’s groundbreaking Smart Connector. As we delve into the realm of towing innovations, let’s explore how traditional trailer plugs compare with our cutting-edge Smart Connector and envision the exciting trends shaping the future of trailer plug wiring.

Understanding Traditional Trailer Plugs

Traditional trailer plugs serve as the backbone of electrical connectivity between vehicles and trailers, providing essential functionality for safe towing operations. 

These plugs, often characterised by their standardised pin configurations, facilitate the transmission of signals for crucial lighting functions, including brake lights, turn signals, and reverse lights.

However, despite their widespread use and reliability, traditional trailer plugs have some pretty big limitations. Their simplistic design and functionality restrict them to basic electrical connections, lacking the sophisticated intelligence and advanced features found in modern solutions like the Ark Smart Connector.

While traditional plugs effectively enable basic lighting operations, they fall short in providing real-time diagnostics, remote monitoring capabilities, and seamless integration with digital devices. 

Without automated systems for detecting faults or malfunctions in trailer lighting systems, users are often left to conduct manual inspections, leading to potential safety risks and inconvenience.

Enter: The Ark Smart Connector, aka your solution to these shortcomings in trailer plug technology and the key to a new world of digital integration, enhanced safety, and innovation in towing.

Introducing the Smart Connector

So, what’s the future of trailer plugs? Simple: The Ark Smart Connector, which is quickly revolutionising towing safety and convenience. 

Our innovative Smart Connector initiates an automatic diagnostic as soon as the trailer plug is engaged, activating trailer lights within 20 seconds for seamless inspection. 

Equipped with Bluetooth® technology, it effortlessly pairs with IOS or Android devices, allowing users to conduct checks at their convenience. The app’s additional feature enables vehicle cable checks, vital for identifying lighting circuit issues. 

Featuring Ark’s renowned AHI7 universal towbar wiring harness functionality, the Smart Connector ensures compatibility with modern vehicle ECUs. With identical plugs as the AHI7 wiring harness, retrofitting the Smart Connector becomes a hassle-free process for vehicles already equipped with an AHI7. 

Smart Connectors vs. Traditional Trailer Plugs

Unlike traditional plugs, the Smart Connector boasts automatic diagnostic capabilities, providing real-time feedback on trailer lighting systems. 

While automatic light testing is available in some new vehicles, most don’t have this important safety function – the Smart Connector allows you to easily upgrade your towing experience on your current vehicle no matter its capabilities.

With seamless integration of Bluetooth® technology, users also gain unprecedented control and monitoring capabilities via their IOS or Android devices. Simply check your screen for light changes and get instant feedback on potential issues.

Gone are the days of manual checks and guesswork – the Smart Connector sets a new standard for convenience and safety in towing.

Related: Must-Have 4×4 Vehicle Recovery Parts

How to Install the Smart Connector

From mounting the Smart Connector with precision to wiring it seamlessly into your vehicle’s electrical system, we’ve got you covered every step of the way.  With a comprehensive installation guide included with every unit, below you’ll find a brief rundown of the process to streamline things. 

Installing electrical components to your vehicle can feel a touch overwhelming, so we’ve ensured the process is as simple as possible – although we do recommend having a professional look over your work to ensure it’s safe. 

  1. Mounting the Smart Connector:
    • Your Smart Connector comes with different mounts, including the vehicle mounting bracket and the Anderson style mounting bracket.
    • The Anderson Style Connector mounting bracket can be fixed to either the left or right side of the smart connector mounting bracket, depending on your vehicle’s space availability.
  2. Understanding the Wiring:
    • The Smart Connector uses AU pin industry standard wiring for trailer electrics, along with an extra 5-pin Auxiliary output.
    • Each Smart Connector comes with a colour-coded wiring chart to make installation a breeze. You’ll need to spend your time familiarising yourself with this as it is key to your installation.
  3. Wiring the Smart Connector:
    • The Smart Connector is a universal fit vehicle connector and needs to be connected to your vehicle’s cable system.
      1. Locate the light function cables near the rear tail lights of your vehicle. Identify the different Stop, Tail, Left & Right indicator light functions and attach the T-tap In-line Connectors over each identified cable.
      2. Crimp the Insulated Spade Connector on the Stop, Tail, Left & Right Indicator cable of the Vehicle Harness Cable, referring to the colours in your wiring table.
      3. Crimp a Ring Terminal on the Negative (Earth) cable of the Vehicle Harness Cable, referring to the colours in the wiring table, and connect it to a common ground.
      4. Crimp a Bullet Connector Insulated on the PINK 12V + of the Vehicle Harness Cable. Join this to the female bullet connector of the Fuse Holder. Crimp a Ring Terminal to the other side of the fuse holder and attach it to the vehicle battery-positive terminal.
      5. The E-Brake is a BLUE stand-alone cable in the wiring loom. Connect it to the brake controller of the vehicle if it’s fitted.
  4. Wiring the Anderson Style Connector:
    • Connect your Anderson Style Connector to your battery, using a minimum of 50A 6mm Automotive Cable.
    • Make sure to fit a 50A Circuit breaker/fuse just before the vehicle battery positive terminal for safety.
  5. Set Up The App
    • Once your wiring is complete, it’s time to install and sync your Smart Connector with the Ark Smart Hub App
    • Pairing the device is as simple as scanning for Bluetooth devices!

Once paired we recommend running the Vehicle Cable to Smart Connector Check function to ensure all cables are wired and functioning properly. This function allows you to see the real-time signal status of each of the cable connections made from the vehicle cable to your smart connector. 

Wiring a Trailer Plug and Harness Installation

Close-up of wires for a trailer plug

Credit: The RV Geeks

For those looking to enhance their towing capabilities, understanding how to wire a trailer plug and install a wiring harness is essential. Here are some key points to consider:

Trailer Plug Wiring

  1. Follow a standardised colour-coding system for wires (e.g., white for ground, brown for tail lights).
  2. Connect the corresponding wires from the trailer plug to the vehicle’s wiring system.
  3. Ensure a secure and weather-resistant connection to prevent corrosion.

Wiring Harness Installation

  1. Choose a quality wiring harness compatible with your vehicle and trailer.
  2. Locate the vehicle’s wiring harness connection point.
  3. Connect the wiring harness, securing it in place to prevent any interference with moving parts.
  4. Test the trailer lights to ensure proper functionality.

The Future of Trailer Plug Wiring: Trends and Innovations

Looking at a phone screen inside a vehicle

Looking ahead, the future of trailer plug wiring is brimming with exciting possibilities. As technology continues to evolve, we anticipate further enhancements in connectivity, efficiency, and automation. 

From wireless communication protocols to intelligent sensor integration, tomorrow’s trailer plugs promise to revolutionise the towing experience. 

At Ark, we remain at the forefront of these advancements, committed to delivering cutting-edge solutions that redefine the towing industry.

Stay Ahead With Ark’s Smart Connector

As the landscape of trailer plug technology evolves, one thing remains clear – our Smart Connector is leading the charge towards a safer, more efficient towing experience. 

With its unparalleled features, including automatic diagnostics, Bluetooth® connectivity, and seamless integration with our universal towbar wiring harness, the Smart Connector sets the standard for innovation in the industry. 

Stay ahead of the curve and elevate your towing setup with Ark’s Smart Connector, the future of trailer plug technology.

Looking for more cutting-edge towing gear? Check out our full range!