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Old 04-07-2010, 11:12 AM   #1
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Brake Question

Hello all, On the first trip this season I was in the worst traffic jam ever on the way home 2 1/2 hrs. I have a cheaper tekonsha controller and I turned everything on it down in the stop and go creep of traffic. Is this the proper thing to do to prevent an overheat of the brakes or will they only heat up on the long down hill use I have read about. Robert

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Old 04-07-2010, 11:40 AM   #2
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It really shouldn't make much difference. Stop-and-go driving in a traffic jam will generally not heat the brakes at all.


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Old 04-07-2010, 11:48 AM   #3
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Heat as in brakes is just energy and ,for the sake of discussion, energy can be calculated by multiplying the mass times the velocity sq'd. Higher velocity means higher energy. Thats why brakes get so hot when they slow something down from high speed. Thats why the space shuttle gets so hot on re-entry. It is converting mass and velocity to heat. Something moving at low low speed doesn't constitute much energy (or heat) when it comes time to stop it. It is extremely unlikely you will overheat the brakes creeping along in a traffic jam. You can adjust the controller to achieve a smoother stopping action, but heat will not be an issue.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:52 PM   #4
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Thank You,
I was just not sure if the power going to the magnets all the time would cause some type of heat issue.

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Old 04-07-2010, 12:57 PM   #5
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Now if you had "Disc" brakes - there could be an issue with the "Hydraulic" pump with some of the older units as the pump used to need to keep running every time the brake pedal was depressed - luckily within the past few years said controllers now have a "Hold" mode where the pump will energize the system then hold the pressure to the brakes - having only to run every few minutes to re-energize if the brake pedal is still depressed....

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Old 04-07-2010, 02:09 PM   #6
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I don't think you will have a problem having power going to the magnets full time.

The brake magnets have about 3 ohms resistance. Even if you applied full voltage (not the case) to the magnets, the most power they would generate is only 40 watts.

Now if you put a 40 watt light bulb in a paper bag it will burn up. But if you surround the magnet with a large cast iron brake drum and hub, I think you will be able to dissipate enough energy to keep from melting the magnets or warping the armature.

Thats my take on it. Any advice is worth what you paid for it.
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Old 04-07-2010, 02:36 PM   #7
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Turning the controller down when you are stuck in slow moving traffic can actually make the trip a little more comfortable. At slow or crawl speed, the rig will stop just fine without trailer brakes and there is no grabbing.

Somebody, please, point me to the road.

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Old 04-07-2010, 04:24 PM   #8
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If your brake controller was set up correctly there is no reason to ever adjust it do to traffic or road conditions.

There is a safety reason not to change the setting while on the road. You may suddenly brake out and travel at highway speed and have NO BRAKES when you need them.

Cehck the set up procedures for the controller and set it and forget it.
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Old 04-07-2010, 11:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bertro View Post
the brakes, or will they only heat up on the long down hill use I have read about. Robert
Hi, going down hill you need to manually down shift your transmission to a low enough gear so that you will only need to barely use your brakes or some times not at all. I have driven down many hills/mountains with out ever using my brakes. If you go down hills in overdrive, you will for sure, burn up your brakes on your tow vehicle and trailer.

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Old 04-08-2010, 01:32 AM   #10
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Remember to shift into neutral when sitting in traffic jams for those of you w/ automatics... otherwise they overheat. Your brakes won't overheat, though...

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