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Roadmaster Smart Diodes Installation - 2019 Chevrolet Equinox

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How to Install the Roadmaster Smart Diodes on a 2019 Chevrolet Equinox


Hi there, Equinox owners. Today, on your 2019 Chevrolet Equinox, we're gonna be taking a look at and showing you how to install Roadmaster's smart diodes for incandescent bulbs. Roadmaster's smart diodes for incandescent bulbs will allow you to tap into the wiring on your existing lighting circuits on your vehicle and be able to add a couple of additional circuits to it that you can run up to a connector at the front of the vehicle and plug into your motor home. This is really nice for flat tow setups because with a flat tow, you have to have your lights working here at the back to remain DOT-compliant in all states. And it's important that people know your intentions when you're driving down the road. And this is gonna be blocking your motor home when you're pulling it behind it, so this way, we get all those signals there and keeps everybody safe and legal.

The way the smart diodes work is it acts as a one-way check valve that goes in between the lighting circuit on our bulb and it just goes in between there. It allows the circuit to send current in one direction, so it's coming from our module on the vehicle here, to the bulbs to light it up when you're driving around the vehicle. So when we hook up our motor home, the additional circuits that we can use to tap into the diodes will send its signals here to our light at the back. But since that diode only lets the current flow in one direction, it's only gonna illuminate the bulb. It' can't backfeed down the factory wiring and affect anything on our vehicle here.

And with this being a smart diode, it actually performs two functions with one circuit. With traditional diodes, you would actually take your turn signal or your brake signal and your taillight signal and you would snip into both of those and add a diode in. On some vehicles, though, like on our Equinox here, the vehicle's factory lighting circuit is just a single wire that goes to the bulb. And then, it's got its ground wire. That single wire performs both the taillight and the turn signal and the braking function.

So it does everything all on one wire. And it does that by changing the illumination of the bulb by brightening or dimming it by lowering the voltage. Our smart diodes operate very similarly where for your like, brake and turn signals, it'll send a full, just a regular full 12 volts, whatever your system's running at, all the way back here. But when it goes to operate the taillights and it gets that signal from the motor home, the smart diode will reduce the voltage to give us a dimmer bulb here, which looks just like the taillight that would happen on our vehicle when you are driving around normally. So this is definitely the best way to do this here on your Equinox since you only have one circuit.

There are some other options out there that you could potentially install, such as a bulb-and-socket kit or magnetic lighting. But both of those are really not my recommended option. The bulb and socket is gonna be somewhat similar where you'll have the connector at the front and all your wiring routed that stays on your vehicle. But you physically have to drill into the assembly and add another bulb. And oftentimes, on these modern vehicles, there's not enough room inside the assembly for that bulb that you're gonna be adding, and you actually have to physically drill a hole in your taillight assembly, which could potentially leak moisture in the future. So I just kinda recommend staying away from that. Now, the magnetic lighting kit, you actually make no modifications to the vehicle whatsoever. You just simply take the lights, and they just adhere to the roof using a magnetic surface. There is an abrasion pad on the bottom to prevent any scratches. But with those, you do have to run the wire from those magnetic lights down the front of your vehicle, figure out how you're gonna secure it to keep it from falling off, and then plug into your motor home. And every time you wanna flat-tow, you gotta set those up, take 'em back off. So it's kind of a lot of more work each time you wanna flat tow, but there is basically no installation. But if you're okay with doing a little bit more work up front, you can follow along with me here, and we'll show you how to get these smart diodes installed. So that way, you've put in that work already, and you just simply gotta plug in a connector every time you're looking to flat tow. We'll begin our installation at the back of the vehicle with the lift gate open. There are two covers that cover up the screws on our taillight assembly. We're gonna pop those out on each side. You can just use a small flat-bladed screwdriver to get behind it and then pop the cap up. Beneath it, we're gonna find two screws that we're gonna take out with a T15 Torx socket. Once we've got both of the screws removed, the entire assembly will slide rearward. There's a red lock tab on the connector. We'll just push that towards the wires here, so away from the connector. And then, there's a push button underneath that lock tab. Just press that in. And then, we can disconnect our electrical connector. We'll then set our taillight assembly aside and repeat the process over on the other side to get that assembly removed. So now that we've got our taillights out of the way, the green connector here is gonna have some of the sheathing on it here. Just take a razor knife and gently slice off that sheathing to expose the wires. You need enough to be able to work with. It'd be nice if we could get a little bit more than this, but honestly, that should be enough to do what we need to do. The next thing we'll need to do is you're gonna have to run wires to your diodes up to the front of the vehicle. Now, you don't get wiring in this kit, but you can purchase four-pole wiring here at etrailer. And that's all this is right here is just four-pole wiring. So we're gonna bring our four-pole wiring up here so we can wire it into our diodes. So to do that, what I use is I've got this piece of air line tubing here. Now, if you're at home, you probably don't have any air line tubing, but what you probably do have is a metal coat hanger. You can undo that coat hanger, make it straight, and you can poke that straight down, and it'll work very similarly to my air line here. So I got the air line poked down this hole. You can see it sticks out the bottom of the car there. So we're now gonna take some electrical tape or just any kinda tape you got really. And then, grab your four-pole wiring. We're gonna feed it up the bottom up to here. Because the rest of this wire will need to go up to the front of the vehicle. So that way, it can connect to our motor home. So I'm just gonna use some of this tape. Just take the hose here and just tape it right to it. And always make sure that when you're taping it, you go above the wire there. 'Cause what'll happen if you tape down here and not at the top, this will catch something, it folds over, and it makes it really hard to pull up. So by taping up above, it makes it a little bit more kind of a tapered shape that pulls up much easier. We're just gonna pull that on through there. Just make sure you got plenty of excess. So that way, when you separate your wire here, the weight of the wire doesn't pull what you just fed through back down. So now that we've got these up here, we're gonna take each one of these wires and cut in between each one, so we can separate out the four wires. So we'll take our wiring here. We're just gonna snip in between each one just like that. We're gonna peel each one back just a little bit so we can work with it. And then, our green wire that we've got here on the end, we're gonna use this as the passenger side stop and turn signal circuit. Since we're working on the driver side here, we actually don't need this wire. And it has to get routed from here over to that side. So we're actually gonna peel this back some like that. And then, we can grab our wiring down below. Make sure you hold onto this. And that four-pole wiring, just pull that back down. And then, we can grab our green wire there and just pull that green wire down so it's still down below for us. We will eventually be wrapping that over to the other side. So now that we are all set up here, we've got all of our wires that we need for this side over here, the only wire that we need to actually tap into on our vehicle is this gray and yellow circuit on the larger green connector there. So since this is the one we need to work with, we're gonna go ahead and cut it. I would recommend leaving plenty of length near your connector side. So that way, you can get that reinstalled. And then of course, you need to have enough length on this side to be able to work with as well. But I find the connector side to be the more important one when choosing. So now that we've got that cut, each one of these wires, both ends of the one we cut, and each one of those will all get stripped. We have our smart diode. You can see it is labeled for incandescent only. So make sure that your vehicle does have incandescent lights. That means it's got an actual bulb in it that you can replace, not like a little tiny diode. So we do have incandescents. So we're gonna start wiring up these now. So we're gonna take off four of these. You can leave the one labeled ground on there. We're not gonna do that just yet, but the rest of these we are going to do. So just pull off the rest of those. You can set your diode aside. And now, we're gonna hook these up to our circuits. Both ends of the wire that we had cut on the vehicle will get one of these connectors. So slide that on there and crimp that down. Same on the other side of that wire there. That's gonna get one as well. And now, on the circuits that we had run up, the yellow one is going to get one. And now, the other one that we're gonna use, we're actually gonna use with multiple wires. 'Cause the last wire that we've got here is the brown wire, which is our taillight circuit. Our white's just ground, but what we can do is we need this taillight circuit that's over here on the driver side, we need the taillight to light up on the passenger side as well. And we can hook our ground wire up to the vehicle pretty much at any point from here at the back all the way to the connection point at the front. So we're gonna use a small portion of the white wire that comes in our kit as a jumper circuit that's gonna take this brown signal and jumper it over to the passenger side. So we're actually gonna take both of these wires here, twist them together, and put them into the same connector. It is gonna be a little difficult because these connectors are very small. They're really not designed for this much wire, but you can twist it. I'm kinda twisting it while pushing it on there. And you should be able to get it to go on there that way. And we'll crimp that down. And now, we've got our connections made here. So we can go ahead and plug in our diode now. Take our diode, and we're gonna hook this up. So if we look at it, you're gonna have car brake out on one, and you'll have car brake in also. Out is always gonna go to your light bulb, which is gonna be the connector that plugs into the light. So we're gonna plug that into there. Car brake in is gonna be the other side of the wire that we had cut. So we're just gonna plug in the other half of that into there. So now we have RV tail and RV brake. Our yellow circuit is gonna be the brake circuit, and the brown wire's gonna be our tail circuit with that white jumper that we're gonna use for the other side. So we'll plug in the tail. And then, we'll plug in our brake. All right. So our diode for the most part on this site is hooked up. We still gotta hook up a ground circuit, and that's different from the ground here. This white wire we're gonna use is a ground for the connector that will plug into the motor home, but the diode itself needs its individual ground. So you will have to supply your own wire for this ground. You only need a few inches of wire just to go off of here, and we're actually gonna run a ground here. So we're gonna grab just a short piece to be able to do that. So I just got a small piece of white wire that we have here. We're gonna use this as our ground for the circuit labeled ground. So I did pull the spade terminal off of that ground pin there. Strip back each end of this little piece of white wire that we've got here. We're gonna plug that into the ground circuit right there. On the other side of the white wire, we're gonna take the ring terminal that comes in your kit, slide that onto the wire there. We'll crimp this down. And then, you do get a self-tapping screw in your kit that we're gonna use to run this right into the paneling there. Take that ground wire, I'm just feeding some of it down below just to get rid of the excess out of the way. And we're just gonna run it right into the paneling. I think we're gonna put it about right there. That should be a pretty decent spot. So we slide the self-tapping screw that comes in the kit through the ring terminal. And then, we're gonna use an eight-millimeter socket to run it in. And then, we just wanna check the circuit to make sure it is solid. See how it's rotating there. We don't want that, needs to be a little bit tighter. Be careful not to overtighten it. And that feels pretty good right there. The circuit doesn't move, it's solidly connected to the vehicle. All right, so now, we're gonna do the passenger side next. The passenger side actually wires up exactly the same as the driver side. It's even a very similar wire. Instead of it being gray and yellow on the green connector, it's white and yellow on this side. But it's still gonna be that green connector, it's still gonna be yellow. But we need to get our green wire that we had left behind over here over to that side. So to do that, what I like to do is just take the green wire, kinda just hold it over here, kinda see roughly, you know, do I have enough green wire And I got plenty of green wire to go across and route up. So since I know I've got enough green wire to do that, I'm gonna take my green wire, fold it back down along my circuit here, and we're just gonna find where the green wire ends and we're gonna give it a little cut. All right. So I found where it ends. We're gonna give a little snip. And once I snip the white wire that's down here, I'm gonna just peel it back towards my green wire. And this way, I'll have a very similar length white wire to route across to the other side with my green wire. And there, we can see they're very pretty similar in length. We'll route those across and up just like we did with the other side using our fish wire to pull it up. So I'm gonna go ahead and route that across now. And then, we'll show you the path that we took to route our wiring. 'Cause the rest of our wiring we've got here, we'll actually route to the front of the vehicle. So we're gonna route that as well. And then, we'll show you the path that we took. All right, now that we've got our wires routed up, we're gonna hook 'em up the same that we did over there. The only real difference is that the green wire that you see here is going to be the RV brake, and the white wire is gonna just be by itself for RV tail. There's no accompanying ground wire with it 'cause it's connected to it over on the other side. After we've got those spade terminals on, just plug 'em into the appropriate spot. So white to tail, green to black. And then, we'll use a cable tie to secure up some of the excess here to keep it from getting pulled back down, and we can reinstall the taillight assembly on this side. Okay. All right. Now that we've got all the connections made, we can go ahead and use a cable tie just to secure up our wires here so they can't fall back down and reinstall our taillight assemblies. So we're now underneath the vehicle here at the back. This is the back bumper right here. This is where I put most of the wires. So our driver side wire's right here where it went up behind the taillight assembly. We took that green and that white. We routed it across. Here, you can see the green and the white. We did use a couple of cable ties to secure it there. And then, it just goes up to the passenger side from there. Now, the rest of our wiring, we actually gotta route up to the front. You do see I got a little bit that I just bundled up here 'cause after we routed the wires across and stuff, there was kinda just a little bit of a mess from doing that cross run, so we bundled them up there. So everything else is gonna go forward, though. So we head up down the driver side of the frame going back. And right here, just above the muffler is actually where the other piece of that white wire is that's gonna continue all the way to the front. So we went ahead and took that white wire. We stripped it back and placed a ring terminal on it. Now, since the four-pole doesn't come with your kit, neither does the ring terminal or the self-tapping screw for this portion. So you will have to provide your own ring terminal and screw. We used the one that it was eight-millimeter as well and just ran it right up into the bottom of the frame. Now, all the rest of this four-pole wiring is just gonna head on towards the front. So we stay above our suspension here. Use cable ties and attach it to the factory wiring, whenever you can. 'Cause I recommend following your factory wiring 'cause it's already routed in a way that's gonna avoid things such as your suspension, like you're moving components, anything hot like you're exhaust. After we get across our subframe here at the back following that factory wiring there, we do dip it out right here next to the fuel tank. From there, we just stay on the outside of the fuel tank and work our way towards the front of the vehicle from there. At this point here, I did remove these nuts all the way up, just a 10-millimeter socket to pull this nut off. And then, we just poked the wire up and then put that back on. Same thing with all of these. Just took 'em loose, poked the wire up, and then we resecured it. And you can see where it comes out here on the other side. We do use another cable tie there at the clamp here where it's holding our brake lines and our fuel lines, so to hold it in place there. And from here, we then go up to our engine compartment from here. And we do this for our braking systems. A lot of braking systems will require you to tap into the diode wiring. So that's why we go up to the engine compartment for our braking system. Now, if your braking system doesn't require you to tap into it, then if you wanted to, you could just stay along on the bottom here and run it forward. But majority of braking systems are gonna require it. So if you haven't chosen one yet or you're not sure if yours needs it or not, I'd recommend just wrapping it up. So that way, you can be certain that you've got what you need to install that braking system. So here's where our wiring comes up. We're in the engine compartment now. This is your vehicle battery. There's your coolant reservoir, washer fluid reservoir. We're right here. Basically, between the battery coolant reservoir and where your coil spring mount is there, we come up straight there. I used the fish wire technique that we did in the back to get the wire pulled up to this location. We then just route it over around the battery, staying around the outside. Then, we'll just come forward here. And we put our wire in this loom here just to protect it. There are some additional wires for the braking system and other stuff that we routed in here as well for this full flat tow setup. The rest of that's just gonna go down. And then, it's gonna come out behind our assembly here at the front where our base plate is. We're now here at the front. We've got our four circuits routed up here. These are some additional circuits that are not part of the diode wiring but are things you might wanna consider when installing a flat tow setup. This one is a charge line circuit, which will trickle charge the battery from our motor home. And this one is gonna be for a monitor light for the braking system to send that up to the motor home. So that way, they'll get realtime feedback when the braking system's actually activating. So we're gonna hook 'em all up to our connector here. But the ones that are for our diodes and for our lighting circuits are just gonna be the four that we had routed up. So now, we're gonna take the electrical connector. This also doesn't come included with your diodes, but you can get this here at etrailer. We've got 'em from a bunch of different manufacturers. We're using one from Roadmaster today. Just like with our diodes, same manufacturer. Take the boot off the back here. Go ahead and slide it over your wires. I usually recommend stripping the wires after you've slid this on, but I already stripped them there. No big deal, we can straighten up the wires. So get that slid in place first. 'Cause otherwise, you're gonna have a hard time getting that on there. So now that we've got that in place there, we'll take our connector here, and we're gonna open it up on each of the circuits that we're gonna be using. So they are labeled here on the backside. I like to start with the ground circuit, which is labeled GD. So there's GD, ground. That's our white wire that we had routed up. So go ahead and open that one up, so we can poke our wire in there. We're just gonna rotate around and open up all the circuits we're gonna use. Next is LT. That is left turn. That's gonna be our yellow wire. Go ahead and open that up. Next is RT. That is right turn. That's our green circuit that we routed. Next is S. This one is normally not used, but if you're gonna be running a monitor light wire and you don't have a brake controller in your motor home, you can use this circuit to do so. So we're gonna open that up for that monitor light. Next is TM. That is taillights. That's gonna be the brown wire that we routed up. So go ahead and open that one up. And then, lastly, you have your center circuit. That one's not part of our diodes, but that's where we'll hook up our charge line circuit to get that trickle charge from the battery. So we'll also open that up. So now that we've got it all opened up, we're gonna poke in each one into its appropriate spot and tighten the screw back down. Now again, I like to start back with ground. So we're gonna go back to our white wire, hook this into the one labeled GD, and we're just gonna go around the circle, hooking up each one. So there's GD. Hook that in there. After you poke the wire in, just screw down the circuit, making sure that you're screwing it onto the wire you poked in there and not on the sheathing. of the wire. After we've got that one tightened down, we're just gonna move around to the next one. So next on that list was LT. We know that's the yellow circuit for left turn. Poke that in there and then move on. And it's important that you get every strand in there too, that's why I twisted it. Because if you got one strand that doesn't go in there, it could touch one of these other posts and cause strange functionality. Things will not operate as you would expect them to. Potentially, not even work at all, depending on which circuits are grounding out or touching one another, shorting to one another. So next is RT. That's right turn. That's the green wire. Next is S. So you guys at home probably aren't gonna use that unless you're also planning on running your monitor light for your braking system the same way. And then, last here, we have the TM on the outside. I'm gonna put in the center pin first just 'cause it's a little bit more difficult to install once you've put in the wire that's right in front of that screw head there. So we're gonna grab our red wire and put that in our center pin for our charge line circuit. And then, lastly, we'll grab that ground wire and poke that into the one labeled TM. All right, now that we've got all of our connections made, we're gonna get some of that excess wire pulled through here just so we can get our boot on there better. Okay. So now, we're gonna take some dielectric grease, and we're gonna put a very generous amount on the back here to prevent corrosion from occurring on our circuits. Slide your boot back on down, and wipe away some of that excess grease. And then, I like to use some electrical tape just to wrap around the boot there, just that'll help keep the boot from sliding back and our grease washing out of there. That'll just help trap that grease in there to help prevent that corrosion from occurring. And then, we can take our wire loom and kinda slide it up some to help just make it look a little nicer. And then, we'll put some tape over all this as well. So now, we're gonna go ahead and take our connector and install it into the mounting location. Our base plate here provided a mounting location. So we're just attaching it to that. If you have a different manufacturer's base plate that doesn't, we do have brackets available here at etrailer, so you can get those mounted up. And use an eight-millimeter socket for the hardware that came with our Roadmaster base plate. So now that we've got it installed here, we can go ahead and grab our tester, plug it in, and verify everything's working properly. If you're doing this at home, you can plug it into the back of your motor home. So we went ahead and plugged in our six-way to seven-way cable here. It's in our test box on the other side. So we'll just run through all of our lighting functions and verify that they work at the back of the vehicle. So we wanna make sure we have our left turn signal, our right turn signal, our taillights, and our brake lights. And you can see there the difference between the tail and the brake. The smart diodes we're able to cut the voltage in half or it will cut it down from its full voltage to a lower voltage to get that lower, dimmer lighting signal that's different from our brake light. So everything seems to be working properly. We're ready to just button up all of our wiring here with any kind of cable ties you need to clean it up, and we're ready to roll. And that completes our installation of Roadmaster's smart diodes for incandescent bulbs on our 2019 Chevrolet Equinox..


Info for this part was:

Employee Jeff D
Installed by:
Jeff D
Employee Robert C
Installed by:
Robert C
Employee Chris R
Video Edited:
Chris R
Employee Jonathan Y
Video by:
Jonathan Y
Employee Schuyler H
Video by:
Schuyler H
Employee David F
Test Fit:
David F

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