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Old 02-07-2005, 09:28 AM   #1
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Brake fuse

Does one fuse the brakes. The wiring diagrams don't show fusing for any of the trailer running lights, ect. While some of these curcuits may fuse in the TW it looks like the brake line comes unfused off the tw control panel aux post to the Brake controller then on to the brakes. Should a fuse be in there somewhere to protect the brake controller. I was thinking an inline fuse at the connector box in the trailer for each axel.
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Old 02-07-2005, 09:48 AM   #2
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Protecting an electrical brake line with a fuse or circuit breaker is taboo.

The idea is to have some kind of brakes, even though a short or partial short developed.

Partial shorts usually come from worn out brake magnets.

Andy
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:01 AM   #3
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Thanks Andy. Kind of thought that may be the case. Better to have brakes with smokin wire than good wire and no brakes.
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Old 02-07-2005, 10:45 AM   #4
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Isn't there supposed to be a fuse or circuit breaker in front of the brake controller?
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Old 02-07-2005, 11:14 AM   #5
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Don.

Absoluely not.

The theory is that even with most shorts, you will still have some braking.

It is far better to be able to stop, than to be worried about some smoking wires.

The short can be fixed. Your life cannot.

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Old 02-07-2005, 11:57 AM   #6
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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.
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Old 02-07-2005, 12:11 PM   #7
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I agree Don, a fuse or circuit breaker is needed. At least you won't be on FIRE when you can't stop ;-)

To clarify, the circuit breaker/fuse is in the tow vehicle on the wire that feeds the brake controller. And all fusing is done right next to the battery positive post, as close as possible.

There is no fuse for the brakes on the trailer itself.
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Old 02-07-2005, 01:13 PM   #8
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Breakaway Switch Fuse/Breaker

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
.....I think you should have a fuse or breaker in front of the breakaway switch too.....
Having become quite intimate with the electric panel on the '78 Sovereign, I know for a fact that there is a 50 amp breaker on the line feeding the breakaway switch (this line is common to the electric tongue jack). The feed line from the breaker to the front (jack/breakaway switch) is only 12 gauge wire.....

The phrase "too hot to handle" comes to mind, quickly followed by "lit up like a Christmas tree".

I agree with Inland Andy - on the breakaway - since you have no way to monitor the trailer (breakaway) system, it would be unwise to install a fuse on the breakaway system.
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Old 02-07-2005, 01:15 PM   #9
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Dealing with theories, opinions, guesses, or logic, is not the same as factual proof.

First of all, a fire will not start if you have a magnet shorted.

Secondly, controller manufacturers, because of liability, suggest fusing.

Third, all of us have choices to make.

If you wish to have no brakes, because you had a short, just to save some wiring, that's your choice.

Most owners, want the security of knowing that even with a short, they will still have some brakes.

Lastly, since power will not be applied to the brakes for more than a few seconds, that is not enough time to overheat the wires.

Also, the wires themselves offer some resistance in addition to the magnets resistance. Therefore, it is impossible to get a "dead" short.

That being the case, the heavy wires will get hot, but they won't burn.

Bottom line is how well someone choses to be as safe as they can, regardless of the circumstances.

Ask any pilot.

Andy
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Old 02-07-2005, 01:31 PM   #10
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I would certainly encourage anybody to think very carefully about the advice given in the above posting by Inland RV. If you don't have enough experience to figure it out, ask someone you trust.

I ain't no fool. I'm going with what feels right, which means every wire should have circuit protection. That means a resettable breaker ahead of the brake controller, and a fusible link or breaker on the breakaway switch.
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Old 02-07-2005, 01:52 PM   #11
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There is a marked difference between somones opinion, and 39 years of dealing with any specific problem.

That becomes factas well as experience, our ageless teacher.

Anyone, I am sure, that had to stop quickly, would readily agree that to have some brakes, gives them a chance.

To have no brakes, gives a person, a big fat zero chance.

Don, the choice is yours, as well as theirs.

Leading anyone down a road with zero brakes, is not my idea of safety.

But, again, that's your choice. My only advice would be don't lose your brakes, and hit someone, or, get into a sway, and find out you have zero brakes.

That's not a good situation for anyone to get into.

Stopping a trailer, at all costs, when necessary, is the object. What it may cost to do that, very quickly, becomes insignificant, under the circunstances.

Safety, when dealing with lives, has no cost.

I have been there and done that, personally, with test trailers, single as well as tandem axles.

But the real bottom line, is convert to disc brakes, and then the fuse question becomes meaningless.

Andy
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Old 02-07-2005, 03:26 PM   #12
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So once again, 39 years experience means that you have all the answers, and everyone else is wrong.

Happy for ya.
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Old 02-07-2005, 03:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In

But the real bottom line, is convert to disc brakes, and then the fuse question becomes meaningless.

Andy
Ahh....

Like they always say, 'Follow the money'.

Most tow vehicles come prewired today with a brake controller pigtail and fuse in the glove box to be installed by the brake contoller installer. There is a fused brake controller feed built into the tow vehcile fuse box.

The AS, even my '71 has 40 amp fuse which leaves the battery location to the tow vehicle where it is tapped off there to the electric jack and break away switch.

Power should always be fused or breakered at the battery positive post. And if two batteries are connected together as in a trailer/tow vehicle, they need to be fused at both ends.

One more note. The short may not occur in the brake itself, it may occur anywhere along the length of wire and with no fuse protection you have a very real chance of a fire starting.
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Old 02-07-2005, 03:42 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In
...But the real bottom line, is convert to disc brakes, and then the fuse question becomes meaningless.
The hydraulic pump (aka a possible failure point with disk brakes which drum brakes do not have) will need a healthy chunk of power to do its job.

Following the "don't put a fuse on the controller" argument, it would appear that the pump falls into the same frame of reasoning.

Tom
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