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Old 05-10-2012, 06:10 AM   #57
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Why put this guy on the spot? If the manufacturer won't answer your question[s], then move along. No one I know of is unhappy with SMARTBRAKE/MAXBRAKE. The "advantage" of DIRECLINK (being touted) is the addition of an anti-lock module. Warranty, service and diligence in same means more than a detailed explanation.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:38 AM   #58
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Secguru: You must understand there is a lot I can not legally say but your questions are very good ones and the same kind of questions I would likely be asking. They spend a LOT of money developing these products and I wouldn't disclose too much either. What is the difference besides ease of install? Let's talk responsiveness first. The DL unit monitors the vehicle and thus "changes what is uses" based upon braking conditions. Therefore when you are going down the road it effectively has the initial brake values ready to apply based upon what the vehicle is doing at the time. I will have to ask permission to give you more details here.

Then once you start braking it also knows vehicle deceleartion rates, among other things, and thus adjusts braking accordingly, also based upon things you currently adjust on any brake controller, like scaling and such. Yes, if you push harder on you brake pedal the system will respond accordingly.

Then let's say you are going down the highway and "crank up agressiveness". When you pull off the highway, forget to adjust scaling, turn into the gas station and push the brakes you don't skid any tires. It knows.

Yes it also does all that stuff like detecting if blue wire is connected and such. It does monitor various parameters, like trans temp, and provides that feature. Since it relies on vehicle stuff you don't have to level it, alighn it if you kick it or something and so on. In effect install it, set it, and forget about it.

The Command Module (display) also has a convenient flexible cable line on an phone, so you can easily hold it at times if you like to do some manual braking.

Where it will REALLY shine is when you have hydraulic ABS system or other future stuff where will be able to "talk to the trailer" for other things that will make your life easier.

In my coming products I will allow you to return it at a small fee for software/functionality upgrades thus not requiring you to continually buy new products until some hardware change is required. I don't know what the DirecLink people will do, if they will offer this type of service or not, but I "personally" believe the DL benefit is the network. It also gives you all that current monitoring stuff and all that. By the way, when communicating to trailer devices, say their hydraulic unit, it gives you all kinds of information.

The goal is to let you know if something is wrong BEFORE YOU PUSH THE BRAKES, like low fluid level, disconnected sensors, actual brake pressure and all that kind of stuff. The DL people often extend these features as they determine a new menu or something is needed, thus system upgrades would be nice.

The Control Module (display/keypad) actually could be used to work with my products. Ya, why buy multiple devices for "different stuff" when one will do just fine. Now I did my own display, but you will see "sharing of devices" in the future.

So in effect I "dance" because different braking conditions use different information. If you even think you may "improve your trailer brake systems" in the future I would go with DirecLink. I think the P3 people may now sell some type of communications device, likely to get around the blue wire communications patent, so "add up" that stuff and DL might be more competitive.

The guys whom sell DL "do the entire brake system" and the other guys do brake controllers. Whom do you think knows how to "tweak" the system? These guys have the ONLY ABS brake system on trailers and have approval in Europe in their resume.

I think there actually needs to be some "comparisons" on the various systems on "how fast they stop", "what a flat spot on a tire is worth" and all that kind of stuff to facilitate determining if the increase in cost is worth the expense. I think some of that exists, but will have to let the DL people provide that answer.

If I was pulling a "heavy trailer", and depending upon how much I drive around, I would clearly have ABS, even at the expense, as the straight and shorter braking distances, in my mind, would be worth it. But this is a brake controller discussion. There are other features but this is the opinion of an engineer and not a marketing guy, so please be patient. I will try to answer what I can.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:19 PM   #59
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C5Don: Excellent answer! Now I understand and it all makes sense.

I appreciate your answer and am inclined to buy the DirecLink.
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Old 05-10-2012, 03:26 PM   #60
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C5' (better than being named C4), thanks for being somewhat more intelligible and for breaking up those dense posts into a lot of smaller paragraphs—easier to read.

I'm sure you know a lot about what you are writing about, however, if you can't communicate with us non-engineer types, your efforts go to waste. When I was working, people didn't understand me at times and I had to work hard to communicate with them.

So your last post is better, but still roams around the subject and is not entirely clear.

What I get out of this is:

1. Maxbrake works well.

2. DL is similar and adds ABS.

3. Braking is proportional regardless of confidentiality agreements.

4. Both cost $350.

5. Both probably work better than my P3.

6. DL may or may not work with an '07 Tundra, Maxbrake does.

7. DL reads the vehicle computer and uses that info to brake the trailer, tell me transmission temp and maybe a few other things. Maxbrake may do all or some of that.

8. The DL controls may have a better place on my dash than the P3.

9. Too many "may" statements to make me buy either. Hopefully the price will come down.

10. Don't go out with a girl named "Bubbles" (since I've been with the same woman for 26 years, this was not that useful because going out with any girl regardless of name, would be a very bad idea; however, ladies, never go out with a man named "Ace").

Seems like Prodigy has a $325 one with wireless between the black box and the controls—nice touch because having a multitude of wires for electronic devices blocking the heat, A/C, radio and other things is a pain. Whether the Prodigy is like the DL or Maxbrake is beyond me.

I am concerned because the stopping distances with my present set up are too long for my comfort. Whether the DL or Maxbrake actually shortens the distance should be proven to me with tests by an independent lab. Are such test results available? Other than that, testimonials by Forum members may help.

Gene
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:44 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REDNAX View Post
Why put this guy on the spot? If the manufacturer won't answer your question[s], then move along. No one I know of is unhappy with SMARTBRAKE/MAXBRAKE. The "advantage" of DIRECLINK (being touted) is the addition of an anti-lock module. Warranty, service and diligence in same means more than a detailed explanation.
+1.

I use DirecLink but I have not received any answers to my questions. In fact my dealer even has had trouble getting info out of the vendor.

Buyer beware.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:41 PM   #62
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Secguru, sorry. I thought what C5Don wrote was obvious beforehand. The info has been available for some time (TV computational reads) . . trailer disc brakes and anti-lock integrated with the set on the TV is what has been missing.

It's more difficult to compare this controller with others, but it's virtues won't be obvious without TT disc brakes (assuming 4-whl disc on TV). Therefore, how well done are the DL components, how reliable, with what warranty, is what will matter (over specific operational parameters). My apologies.

I opened a thread last fall about antilock trailer brakes:

Anti-Lock Brakes for Travel Trailers

and maybe the mods will snip what it not directly related to the present use of the DL controller and move it to that thread (to keep one thread from "hiding" information being searched in re trailer anti-lock) as all the conjecture about the "how it's done" really has nothing to do with DIRECLINK per se.

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Old 05-10-2012, 09:20 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C5Don View Post
You must understand there is a lot I can not legally say
C5, what exactly is your relationship with DirecLink? You mentioned your own products?
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:40 PM   #64
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Do a search on "DirecLink Youtube" and watch some videos and such, it may help.

If you really want to stop, go all the way to ABS. You will stop straight, very quickly, and won't flat spot any tires. Not sure what it cost for a "Do It Yourselfer" versus having it done, but is far more than brake controllers, in the few grand range.

If you have electric brakes, PLEASE make sure they are working. Go to you current monitoring screen on whatever brake controller you are using and you should see 3 to 3.5 amps per wheel. If that is good, it means the magnets are conducting, but doesn't mean the brake shoes are moving. Make sure each one is "adjusted" and "working" properly. No brake controller is any good if your brakes aren't working properly.

I am NOT trying to sell anyone on any of the controllers, just tried, although apparently not too well, how these controllers work. Once braking I think they all, with electric brakes, are similar. Response time is an issue, as commented by some in this thread. Remember 60 MPH is 88 feet per second. A one quarter second delay is 22 feet!

Prodigy sends a short pulse on blue wire to check "continuity" of blue wire, as does DirecLink. Not sure about maxbrake as I never had one on my bench.

If I was using ABS I obviously would use DL. If I was concerned about future compatability with "trailer stuff" I would use DL. I personally would use a "pressure sensor" based brake controller over an accelerometer based brake controller if I wasn't using DL brake controller as it doesn't require deceleration like a P3 to "work". Think of it this way, if you are on ice or gravel, slam on your brakes, the vehicle does not decelerate much, thus no blue wire and no trailer brakes applied! The pressure sensor based brake controller (or brake pedal position ones) would apply trailer brakes where the accelerometer would not other then its initial time based pulses when intially pushed. In effect, you would need to go manual.

Good luck in your decisions, I know it's not easy.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:55 PM   #65
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Good luck in your decisions, I know it's not easy.

Thanks, your points are well made.

No, it is not as easy as one would like . . a bit of a coin toss at present.

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Old 05-11-2012, 08:16 AM   #66
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C5,
If you would clear up a couple of things, I'd appreciate it.

1) If one does not have the actulink and ABS module, do the DL and DL(NE) perform exactly the same way with electric over hydraulic brakes.

2) Does the NE read and control anything with a non Tuscon actuator and/or ABS system? More or less than the Tuscon system?

3) Is the only difference between the DL and DL(NE) software programming? I am beginning to think I should have purchased the NE so when my Actibrake DOES quit....and we all know it probably will...I may consider ABS in addition to a new actuator. Did I understand that my non-NE DL could be upgraded at that time?
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:19 AM   #67
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C5',

You mention "blue wire" frequently, but I don't know what that is other than a color coded wire. What does it do and where does it come from?

You also mention ABS, but are you talking about ABS in the truck or an ABS system that maybe some people have in trailers? Does a truck with ABS transmit a signal through the DL to make the trailer brakes operate like ABS brakes? If the latter is true, I don't see how they can operate as I thought part of the ABS system in motor vehicles was some parts at each wheel to make the brakes do the ABS thing.

It is beginning to sound like the DL is really for trailers with hydraulic disc brakes and maybe with an ABS system in the trailer too. Is this true? It seems like Tuson sells those systems as well as the DL and the brake controller is the next step for people who have the Tuson disc brakes. Is this so? If this is so, does DL do much of anything for those of us with old fashioned electric brakes?

Even though it seems not to be compatible with my truck*, I am interested enough to try to figure this out, but at times this thread seems to be for people who already understand all this.

Gene

*How can it be compatible with a 2008 Tundra and not a 2007? So far as I know, there is no real difference between them.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:04 PM   #68
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danf0g:

1) relative the "blue wire signal" to anyone elses electric brakes or hydaraulic brakes is pretty much the same. The brake controller does "sense" if something is connected, and if a trailer exists, it then determines if it supports serial communications (DirecLink) to the trailer. If it does it then switches over to use "network communicaitons" versus traditional "pulse width modulated" (PWM) 12 volt pulses. If it is a DirecLink capable trailer then it does different identification and diagnostic functionality over the network.

2) WIth a Tuson brake actuator it does LOTS of stuff. From a normaly user perspective it tells you fluid level, various voltages and currents sensed in the networked devices, temperature of the control electronics and LOTS of diagnostics to facilitate troublshooting should you ever have a problem in the future. The Brake Controller display tells you detected faults in "words" and doesn't give you a numer like my Cayenne did the other day P0141 and P1486! By the way, those were "false indication an an effect, not a root cause". There is also a "brake bleeding feature" and a bunch of other stuff.

3) I would have to open the projects and take a closer look on absolute differences between the ABS system and non ABS realtive to the brake controller, versus connected brake actuator. There are clearly some differences in the actuator, since it needs to communicate with the ABS module. To do ABS you must have Direclink (blue wire network) to configure some stuff and "run the best" and I "think" there are some hardware differences in the actuaor, as well as firmware differences, and as sad as this sounds I really don't recall if there are different software builds for the brake controller or not. A lot of stuff in the brake controller "appears" when it finds a specific device in the system, so you wouldn't see things unless the right devices were installed. Sorry but I can't give you a good anwer because I don't get involved in their product offereings. They are REAL good people, and I don't want to say someting here that is not in their marketing plans as I wouldn't want someone to do that to me.

3a) The ABS module has a bunch of additional diagnostic feature, like condition of each wheel sensor where you can monitor their output as you drive along, valve shorts and opens and stuff like that. In effect their goal is NOT like your car; "Engine Light" for user, P0141 code with obdII diagnostic tool and then "have a nice day". Their goal is to be able to ask you what certain screens say, tell you what that means, and help you diagnose a problem if you are so inclined to do so.

Relative to what product works with which system, and what can be udpated and what can not be updated, can say this; I am going to offer some products soon, and I will offer "firmware updates" at a minimal fee so "when the only change needed is a firmware update" send it in and we will rerun diagnostics, do some configuration backup at our site if approprate for the proudct, provide the update, an restore to you configuration before returning unit.

I know some of my product(s) will require a hardware change or modificaiton, and in those cases you would likely have to buy a new one if modifcations are extensive (not cost effective). One of my company mantra's is; "Get what you pay for, buy only what you need". Next time I talk with one of the primary guys I will try to remember this question and ask him specifically what they do in the varoius "versions".

In response to your question I honestly don't know what diecisions they made in the product builds, both hardware and firmware, as I don't get involved in their manufacturing. Your quetion is a good one and I will see if I can find out for you. I would think if you call them they could give you an anser on this one.

Primiarily I need to find out, when possible, will they will offer firmware updates. "My gutt feel is, if they can, they might do so as it is just good business." I have worked for companines that would just say; "buy a new one" since they are not "set up" for updates.

Since you have this question, others will as well, so they should clearly make up some type of queston and answer sheet to facilitate customers making a buy decision. I am quite certain there are some hardware differences in the actuator controller between ABS and non ABS where an ABS can run non abs, but a non abs obviosuly can not run abs. I don't know if they sell a "split unit with a future abs expansion" option or not. My guess is no one has asked, so they likely do not. Or perhaps a split actuator (futer abs capable) is such a small maket it may not justify the expanse of stocking yet anohter version. Problem with customers "updating a system themselves" is stuff can go wrong, then they have a warranty problem, so if it was my system, I would likely off ABS and NON ABS Actuators.

I will bring this up next week and if I can provide a better answer at that time, I will.
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:17 PM   #69
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CrawfordGene:

1) Blue wire is what those in the business use to describe the signal wire that controls your trailer brakes, primarily because the "wiring standard" made the wire "blue".

I can't comment on my customers product plans, but all this stuff is like anything else in the world today. If there is a market for something and the "value added" is worth paying for, someone will build a product to meet those needs.

I will soon be introducing a tank gauge that solves all the "reliability problems" I know of today, and add other features. Some customers say all they need is their flashlight to look down the toilet to see the level. Others want the tank status to appear on their TV! Bottom line is making products in the "sweat spot" that the purchase price justifies the benefit is the key to product success. Heck, who would have thought people would be paying $500 for a phone or buying a throw away unit five years ago?

I personally think that thanks to companies like Tuson that trailer braking is finally improving. Your guess is as good as mine, but I think there is plenty of room improvement to electric brakes, which may not be able to meet the performance of hydraulic systems, but we all know these systems clearly need improvements.

What would those on this thread want to see done to electric brakes?
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Old 05-11-2012, 06:40 PM   #70
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C5,

Thanks for the answers. So is your relationship to Tucson such that you are a calibration and software engineer contracted to their hardware?

Also, to clarify, is the "blue wire" the analog current carrying wire which is , in the DL system, also carrying digital signals at the same time?
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