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Old 05-09-2012, 11:26 AM   #43
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For travel trailers mobility is the first in order of importance as to function. And within said mobility being able to stop (as with any other vehicle type) predictably, reliably and in the shortest distance in a straight line is itself foremost.

But this is not how trailer braking systems are designed, much less perceived.

It would be difficult to conceive a difficult situation en route that is not mainly solved by slowing. To save that vehicle, the TT, from destruction.

Too much of this burden is assumed by the tow vehicle, primarily that of being reliable.

Within said reliability one of the great Internet RV threads is that of JBarca (John Barca) on Woodalls, entitled, Independent Brake Wire Feed Upgrade, simply for the examination of how poorly designed/executed are traditional TT brake electrical systems (as simple upgrades greatly change performance, chiiefly reliability).

One learns one cannot assume 13V at the brake even on brand-new trailer brakes . . and it's only a matter of very small cost to have been rectified at the manufacturer.

It might be a toss-up as to which is more important, tires or brakes (I'll vote tires), but as the chief function of a travel trailer is that it is mobile shelter, it beggars belief that even the simplest, cheapest "brakes" (charitably to call electric drums) are not given full support by way of quality wiring design & installation.

A mobile shelter that remains intact has continuing value. Failed brakes and inferior brakes cannot adequately support the highest mission of a TT: shelter from the elements as unreliability and unpredictability too closely threaten that foremost virtue.

As this thread is about a specific brake controller (the thread evolving about type) the integration of brake application force/time via strategy is central to maintenance of any mobile shelter (is how I would characterize the importance of it as argument).

The second most important TT system is that of water. And it may rival the inherent problems around mobility for removing a TT from service (skin leaks, and leaks within pressurized plumbing). If we keep this comparison to skin leaks, then actions of the part of the owner to restore integrity can take place over time. Even failed plumbing systems in TT's can sometimes be overcome.

The actions of brakes are of immediate consequence . . are likely irreversible. There is no luxury of time.

More specifically, the stopping distance of a TV-TT combination should not be so dependent on the TV itself via by brake type, brake reliability or brake performance.

While it may not be desirable to have commercial vehicle brake standards applied to TT's, one can ponder the irony of the loss of a profit on a load of goods over the loss of shelter for a family as to which is of the greater importance.

The assumption that the loss of of the service of a TT is remedied by alternatives is itself fraught with perilous assumptions.

Brakes and brake controllers -- their type, design & performance -- are central to what a travel trailer is.

.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:30 PM   #44
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Apparently it wouldn't work on our '07 Tundra, so I suppose I shouldn't even think about this any further (I suppose I could call the company, but the price is also a reason not to). Or maybe it does if it works in the older Tacoma except for transmission temp—I get that on the dashboard anyway.

But I do have concerns about braking. I agree with Rednax the trailer drums brakes aren't very good and for that reason I think a better controller may improve braking. Our P3 works fine, but maybe this or another controller would work better.

I wonder how the Ford and GM OEM controllers work—are they like this one?

C5Don seems to have some of the proprietary knowledge, but maybe does not work for Direclink. I can understand how he can't answer questions about the guts of this thing, but I don't understand how it is not possible to answer what I thought was a simple question—does this brake the trailer the same way the TV is braked, i.e., proportionally. After reading the answer I am no more educated than I was before. Our truck is supposed to automatically downshift when going down a steep grade; does this controller apply the trailer brakes when the transmission downshifts?

And to those who have bought this—the part that operates it—where do you install it? Does it have a hook that you attach to the dashboard, Velcro, a holder? One of the problems with all brake controllers is finding a place to mount it where you can actually see it and operate the manual switch easily.

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Old 05-09-2012, 02:35 PM   #45
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Gene, The "box" is zip tied up under the dash and the control unit, which is about the size of an old CB mic, slips onto a plastic mount which is 3M style double sided taped to any convenient location on the dash.

Oh, and I suspect the OEM ITBCs are similarly programmed as they interact with the stability control, provide sway control, and under some circumstances will apply trailer brakes during a sway or yaw event independent of pedal apply.
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Old 05-09-2012, 03:44 PM   #46
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Thanks dzn'. I expect the OEM units are similar, and I have no intention of buying a new TV for a few years, but was curious. The business plan of the Direclink should take into consideration that eventually their market will shrink and shrink as more and more vehicles have OEM units. Maybe they will supply them.

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Old 05-09-2012, 05:32 PM   #47
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~~
There is no dangerous time lag such as from common pendulum systems (Tekonsha P3, etc.).

~~
Let me be clear about what I am saying and what I'm not. I don't pretend the P3 is the most advanced brake controller out there or that it does any sort of magic, but if it's configured properly there isn't a time lag between moving the brake pedal and when the trailer brakes START to be applied (other than response time for the magnets to mechanically engage the shoes) and there's no pendulum in a P3.
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:45 PM   #48
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DKB', that is interesting about the P3. When I bought it I thought there was some sort of inertial system in it which would start applying the trailer brakes as soon as the truck starting slowing down, but I've never noticed it doing that. I may have gotten my controllers mixed up as this was when I was buying the trailer and knew very little.

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Old 05-09-2012, 05:51 PM   #49
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DirecLink is not proportional -- it's inertial.

What I like about it is that it has an adjustment (gain) for normal speeds and a separate one for low speeds. This works well with my Hensley.

I also like the fact it reads the transmission temp.

Last I heard though the company is restructuring, so I wouldn't buy just yet...
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Old 05-09-2012, 05:57 PM   #50
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How do you figure it's inertial when you can mount the components any old way you want?
It does read the accelerometers in the vehicle, but that's way different than an "inertial" brake controller. Presumably it reads, in addition to the accelerometers, yaw sensors, master cyl pressure sensor, road speed, abs on or off, etc..........
It hooks into and reads the data stream of the truck. Their algorithm COULD read and account for literally hundreds of inputs.
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:03 PM   #51
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DKB', that is interesting about the P3. When I bought it I thought there was some sort of inertial system in it which would start applying the trailer brakes as soon as the truck starting slowing down, but I've never noticed it doing that. I may have gotten my controllers mixed up as this was when I was buying the trailer and knew very little.

Gene
P3 has an accelerometer (not pendulum-based) and also a timed system for the initial application of trailer braking before deceleration begins. How much braking it does before the accelerometer detects deceleration depends on the gain and boost settings.

I find that I like to have a fairly high gain set, but with no boost (B0) in town, and B1 at highway speeds. B1 in town causes the trailer to jerk a bit when applying the brakes in stop/go traffic, but is about right on the highway.

This means I have to fiddle with it from time to time, which means that Maxbrake and Direclink are better just because of that, never mind the better detection (or inference) of actual pedal pressure, etc. However, "not the best" <> "chopped liver".
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Old 05-09-2012, 06:23 PM   #52
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Maybe I've never noticed it applying the brakes because of the way I set it. The first way i did it was too strong, so I backed it off one setting and it seemed fine. I never fiddle with it. I do like the idea of 2 settings on the Directlink. The P3 is mounted underneath the dash and that means I don't adjust it for conditions because it is in an inconvenient place. No place on the front of the dash for it (not sure there would be for any brake controller) and I didn't want to drill into the top of the dash and screw it down there. If I were doing that now, I would and when I sold the truck, I'd just put black screws in the holes—hadn't thought of that 4 1/2 years ago.

Maybe I don't understand proportional either. I assume it means it applies the brakes in proportion to the pressure on the pedal. I would thus assume that nonproportional means it is either on or off, i.e., lock the trailer brakes or no brakes. That doesn't make sense to me, so maybe it just follows what the truck electronics tell it and it acts proportionally, but the controller itself is not proportional though the results are.

Just did some Googling and it doesn't have any discounts anywhere—$350. There are also a lot of threads on a variety of forums about it including this thread.

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Old 05-09-2012, 07:06 PM   #53
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So I went back to the Sept. 2011 Trailer Life article on the Direclink and it says, "The first network based brake control system, the DirecLink synchronizes with the tow vehicle's computer network and uses multiple strategic data parameters to activate the trailer's brakes in precise PROPORTION to the tow vehicle's deceleration."

For whatever that is worth.
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Old 05-09-2012, 07:15 PM   #54
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@Rednax: You said it, electric brakes are used for cost reasons on trailers where there are now various electrohydraulic units, which is an improvement and about as good as you can do with todays brake technologies. I can't recall who said it, but yes, the DirecLink result will clearly fell proportional. And all the other comments were accurate on most "traditional" brake controllers, thus use electronic accelerometers which effectively is electronics replacing the pendulum. The firmware inside the brake controller uses multiple vehicle messages, does it's magic, and out comes the PWM control if you don't have a DirecLink capable electrohydraulic actuator connected, and uses DirecLink if a DirecLink capable brake unit is connected. If you somehow "smoke" DirecLink brake controller and actuator go back to traditional "blue wire". Other statements made on 13V and such are right on. If you have "thin wire" or "bad connections" you will notice that 13V at a controller is MUCH less, possible half, at the "point of control" during inrush conditions, and a few volt drop during normal braking is not uncommon. So ya, electric brake wiring may start out good when new, but give it a few DIY brake changes using wire nuts, corroded grounds and such and braking goes to pot. Only DirecLink when used with their Electrohydraulic brake controllers will provide you constant diagnostics on electrical connections, fluid level and too many items to discuss here. But again, it assumes the hydraulic unit exists. I should mention that DirecLink has "multiple interpretations" where one can assume it is referring to the OBDII vehcile network interfaces, but it also refers to the technologies the change "blue wire" into a "contol network" used to communicate with DirecLink capable devices on the trailer. When I reference DirecLink, I am referencing the "blue wire" network. This is how we "talk to brake actuators" and "trailer stuff". Great thread.
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Old 05-09-2012, 08:53 PM   #55
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OK, forgive me for this. But my father only gave me two good pieces of advice. He said 1) Never go out with a girl named "Bubbles", and 2) Watch out for anyone who talks around any subject without really saying anything.

Here's another example: Once I was in the hospital for an appendectomy when Jimmy Carter (then President) was giving a speech on the TV. A nurse came into my room, saw him speaking and asked "What is he talking about?". I answered: "I don't know, he didn't say."

Last example: Albert Einstein famously said: "There is no principle of physics that cannot be explained to a 6-year-old in two sentences."

C5Don, you clearly know a lot about the DirecLink product, and between the two threads you have been asked a number of very straight questions, but so far all I'm hearing is techno-gibberish. I hope that you can have somebody who CAN speak about DirecLink start talking about it.

I am immediately in the market for a top of the line brake controller. I plan to buy one this month. But the more I read your posts about it, the more suspicious I become about the product.

OK, Last chance (for me at least):
- Why would I want to buy DirecLink over any other brand (besides that it is easy to install)?
- What does it DO that others do not?
- If it controls brakes better than other controllers, how does it do that (and that does not take an explanation that would violate your non-disclosure unless you are somehow not allowed to disclose what it does that works better). Nobody is asking how it does what it does. Everyone is asking what is it that it does that is any different than any other brake controller.

I am hearing you say that it brakes proportional to brake pedal pressure, but also that it doesn't. I am hearing you say that it senses inertia, but also that it doesn't act like an inertial controller. You imply that its responsiveness is instantaneous, but the inertial thing implies that it could not be.

A few years ago, I got similar non-answers to straightforward questions from a bomb detector manufacturer that also claimed to have the best product but would not answer direct questions. The owner of that firm is in prison now for conducting a fraud on the U.S. and British governments, putting their troops in harms way with an utterly ineffective bomb detector.

Enough with the mystery! I get similarly vague answers when I ask DirecLink the same questions. At this point, I've got to believe that this could all just be a fraud. Why else won't you or DirecLink answer the simple question what makes this a better controller? I'm not talking about how it connects or such. What does it DO that is any different than any other controller?

Could you just kindly give some kind of a straight answer? Otherwise, I have totally lost interest and will just buy a MaxBrake.
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Old 05-09-2012, 09:02 PM   #56
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OK, forgive me for this. But my father only gave me two good pieces of advice. He said 1) Never go out with a girl named "Bubbles", and 2) Watch out for anyone who talks around any subject without really saying anything.

Here's another example: Once I was in the hospital for an appendectomy when Jimmy Carter (then President) was giving a speech on the TV. A nurse came into my room, saw him speaking and asked "What is he talking about?". I answered: "I don't know, he didn't say."

Last example: Albert Einstein famously said: "There is no principle of physics that cannot be explained to a 6-year-old in two sentences."

C5Don, you clearly know a lot about the DirecLink product, and between the two threads you have been asked a number of very straight questions, but so far all I'm hearing is gibberish. I hope that you can have somebody who CAN speak about DirecLink start talking about it.

I am immediately in the market for a top of the line brake controller. I plan to buy one this month. But the more I read your posts about it, the more suspicious I become about the product.
Ummmm, I was thinkin' it....but I didn't say it!
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