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Old 02-07-2005, 03:49 PM   #15
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Breakaway Circuit Protection and Test

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomW
Following the "don't put a fuse on the controller" argument, it would appear that the pump falls into the same frame of reasoning...
I think I have have been enlightened to the wisdom of the Airstream way of doing things.....

Yes, the breakaway circuit is on a very heavy breaker, and yes, the magnets will fail if a short circuit should occur,

but....

the circuit is tested each and every time you hook the tow vehicle to the trailer....with the operation of the electric jack!

Power to the jack means power to the breakaway switch!

A failproof circuit test each and every time you hook up.

Eureka!
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Old 02-07-2005, 03:52 PM   #16
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I put a 30 amp self-reseting breaker on the input power lead to my Prodigy controller because Tekonsha recommended it AND because I reasoned that the only thing that would trip it would be a dead short.

If a dead short is present, no power will make it to your brakes because it will all go to the short.

A fuse would not be a good idea because once it goes, its gone. With a self-reseting breaker, you get multiple chances to see if the short is intermittent.

Tom
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Old 02-07-2005, 03:54 PM   #17
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The auto reset circuit breaker( 20 or 30 amp depending on # of axles) is between your Tow Vehicle's 12 volt system and the controller. If your charging system were to have a voltage spike or over current draw your system, your controller is still intact and will be workable in a few seconds after breaker cools and resets. If your controller gets fried..........a fuse down stream is a non-issue as you won't have brakes.






Wiring Instructions For Electronic Brake Controls
ELECTRONIC BRAKE CONTROL INSTALLATIO


3. Connect BLACK (+) wire through an



automatic reset circuit breaker (20 amp for
1-2 axles, 30 amp for 3-4 axles) to the

POSITIVE (+) terminal of the battery.

The BLACK wire is the power supply

line to the brake control.







5.
The BLUE (brake output) wire must be



connected to the trailer connector’s brake wire. (no fuse)










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Old 02-07-2005, 04:11 PM   #18
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Don.

No, I do not have all the answers.

But I do have the background of seeing almost any type of Airstream problem that someone can dream up.

What I try to report, is that experience factor, of what and why, and the fix.

The choice is still up to the individual owner.

All coins have two sides. Some are OK, some are less than OK. Each individual makes their own choices, of describing safety.

Safety issues are far removed from liability issues.

The only arguement is in the case of a brake line short, almost always caused by a worn out magnet, is it safer to have some brakes, or no brakes?

My 39 years with customers and insureds, say they would rather have the former, namely some brakes.

Andy
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Old 02-07-2005, 05:37 PM   #19
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not to jump in here and stir things up.

however, with your average battery in a tow vehicle being able to produce 650 amps, most wiring will become the fuse itself.

all in all, i'm with andy on this one. even though my rig is fused from the factory. 60 amp fuse, it will destroy the wires before blowing.

i think a good comprimise is a self resetting circuit breaker.

john
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:33 PM   #20
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Well I guess I asked a good question. There is a resetting breaker between the controller and the power when I looked more carefully. Installed by the dealer with the controller. So if the controller lights are on I have juice going aft. I'll be running separate lines to the axles from the connection block, one for each axle. I'll fuse the hitch jack inline. I will not fuse the breakaway switch and don't see any reason to do so. I wouldn't want a damaged fuse / breaker to go unnoticed and then not have power available to the switch if needed. Using the same line as the jack would help but I've blown that line fuse with a bad switch and had to use the hand crank when I ran out of fuses. I guess I would have the same concerns about fusing brakes aft of the controller, wouldn't know if they were bad. I'm not sure I would notice the difference between one and two axles braking until I really needed them both. Seems like something could be built into the controller to indicate there is a short on the system. This part of the technology has a long way to go. You would think that the new units would have something different than my 59.
I have another question but I think I'll save it.
PS. Still obsessing over the Duramax and 8.1L. If only diesel wasn't more than premium gas.
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Old 02-08-2005, 06:27 AM   #21
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First, I can pretty much assure you that prewired vehicles will have a fuse or circuit breaker from the factory (Ford, Chevy, Dodge, etc.) because while a wire "will act as it's own fuse" if it shorts out, it may do so in an inconvenient location, start a fire, and burn the vehicle down in the process. Therefore, any wiring done by the tow vehicle manufacturer will have provisions for a fuse or circuit breaker so that the fuse "open" occurs in such a way as to protect the rest of the vehicle.

Second, every set of trailer brake installation instructions I have seen indicates that the makers of the brake controllers also see this as a requirement and specify a fuse or circuit breaker in the power feed wire.

To do anything else is taking unnecessary chances. In most situations with a loss of trailer brakes you should be able to eventually get the rig stopped (but it'll take longer), as long as your dash or other part of your tow vehicle is not "on fire" or smoking heavily.

And in case you're wondering why I'm disagreeing with Inland Andy on this one, I've been an engineer in the Auto Industry for many years and am familiar with their circuit protection practices. Andy is a valuable resource to this Forum and he may be right on many issues, but there is definitely room to disagree on this one. If you add an unfused brake control circuit, you are (as Andy might say) asking to become a statistic. Luckily shorted wires are probably much rarer events than trailer sway, and most people may never experience one. But why take your chances when peace of mind is as close as the addition of a fuse or circuit breaker?
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Old 02-08-2005, 10:56 AM   #22
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Joe.

Come down a 7000 foot mountain with a 31 foot trailer without brakes.

Then tell us how foolish we are to not have fuse in a brake line. Tell us how your going to stop this rig on a narrow two lane winding down hill highway, and fix the problem.

Things being things, when in an emergency, "ANY" help is good.
Having a blown fuse, is not a good excuse, for not having brakes.

Engineers or not, coming down a mountain, such as we have here, is no fun, even when everything is OK.

Peace of mind? What really is peace of mind when it comes to brakes? Know that you have something instead of perhaps nothing, describes a peaceful mind.

There has never been a known fire from a trailer brake line being shorted.

Bottom line is everyone can make their choices.

The issue of what is ideal becomes useless, when we must have the brakes, and we don't.

Fusing any electrical circuit is a very wise thing to do. "BUT" there are a very few exceptions.

Each owner can decide for themselves, which way they want to go. But when they are posed the question of no brakes to some brakes, seldom would anyone say "I will go with the no brakes."

It's not a matter of whats right or who is right, it's much more of a matter of
what do you do, if your faced with a "got to."

Some people drive over the edge. Fortunately, most use good common sense, and have prepared their equipment and themselves accordingly.

Andy
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Old 02-08-2005, 11:50 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Over59
Seems like something could be built into the controller to indicate there is a short on the system.....

There is on mine. something I need to investigate before next season. My brake controller is indicating a short in the system somewhere, when the trailer is NOT attached, and I step on the brake. (light flashes rapidly). However, when the trailer is attached, the indicator shows that everything is normal, with my foot on and off the brake. ??

(tekonsha voyager, plugged into a factory trailer-package equipped Dodge.)
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Old 02-08-2005, 05:37 PM   #24
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Chuck, I think it's telling you you forgot the trailer.
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Old 02-08-2005, 06:40 PM   #25
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Andy,
This will be my last post on this issue, so you need not debate the issue with me further. You cannot prove that a Trailer Brake wire has not cause a fire anymore than I can prove it has. In the aftermath of a fire it is often hard to pinout the cause. By the way, an unfused wire represents a risk 24/7/365, not just whenever you have a trailer hooked up.

In any case, I chose to follow proper circuit protection practices to minimize the chance of such events. Each owner can chose to do as they wish and take any chances they wish. I was just trying to provide the information necessary for them to make an informed decision.
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Old 02-12-2005, 01:53 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I'm just repeating what I see in the installation instructions for brake controllers. Most specify a 20a circuit breaker.

I don't follow your logic about being able to stop, rather than worry about smoking wires. If the brake circuit is grounded enough to trip a 20 amp breaker, then there's probably nothing getting through to the magnets anyway. And if you have a short on one side only, feeding full amps to the other side could cause the trailer to trip sideways.

I think you should have a fuse or breaker in front of the breakaway switch too.

Just my personal opinion, not a theory.

The breaker that the instructions are referring to is an automatic-reset breaker. They are small and metal-encased. This is absolutely essential to have to isolate the brake controller from being shorted. It has to be a fast-acting automatic reset type. This way you will have brakes no matter what. Sometimes the breaker will trip and reset without you even knowing that it happened. DO NOT use a fuse or a manual-rest breaker. As Andy said, you will have no brakes then.
Do not put a fuse in front of the break-away switch. If the break-away is triggered it is because of a MAJOR problem, like the trailer and tow vehicle are no longer travelling together. When that happens and your break-away trips it sends power from your trailer battery to the brakes. It takes EVERYTHING in the way of supplied power and sends it to your brakes. Guaranteed that if you have a fuse in that path it will surely blow and release the trailer brakes.
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Old 02-12-2005, 01:59 PM   #27
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http://65.196.229.70/pdf/N5100.pdf

This link will show you that Draw-Tite requires a automatic-reset breaker. It is an Adobe Acrobat file so you can save it to your PC for reference.
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Old 02-12-2005, 03:00 PM   #28
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Thanks Lou.

You managed to agree with everyone. I think that's the setup the dealer did on mine. The DIYer needs to get the right type resetting breaker. Would that be a Type I or III? I think Type II is manual? Type I is autoreset with power on and Type III is auto reset when the power is turned off. I may have them backwards.
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