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Old 05-12-2012, 08:18 AM   #71
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dznf0g: I have a patented software architecture I license to my customers and develop products for them; hardware, firmware, software and so on from concept to manufacturing test. I do products in commercial, industrial, medical and vehicle markets, primarily "highly distributed control". Tuson is one of my customers, in fact, the ONLY customer that allows me to say anything about our relationship and how their products work, not revealing anything proprietary.

Relative to blue wire due to controllers showing "voltage" people think it is an analog signal, it is not. The "voltage" is actually an "average voltage" since the blue wire signal is either battery voltage (12V) or off (0V). It is what is called "pulse width modulated" signal at about 300 cycles per second. For example 6V would be where the blue wire signal is on 50% of the time and off 50% of the time, 3V would be on 25% of the time off 75% of the time. This cycling on and off occurs 300 time every second. If it was actually an "analog voltage" the heat dissipated at the controller would be huge at low braking levels, thus "pulse width modulated".

Most controllers also send a short pulse, once in a while, and measure the "current" that flows during this pulse. If the current is below some threshold value the controller will give you some type of "disconnected" indication. This does not mean your brakes are actually working, just means an amp or two of current is flowing during that pulse. Some of the vehicles, like Ford brake contorllers, do some slight modificaitons of this approach, but they all merely indicate a slight current flow.

Thus if you want to see if a brake magnet is "disconnected" go to the respective current monitoring screen for the controller, and you should see about 3 to 3.5amps per wheel. If not, a brake magnet is disconnected. As stated elsewhere, if current is flowing it does not mean the brake is moving or adjusted properly.
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Old 05-12-2012, 08:24 AM   #72
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Thanks, I always though that the controller regulated amperage to the magnet, but you say it is average voltage regulated? How does that differ from the control over the hydraulic actuator?

Also, when you say that , with the ABS and other future stuff, there will be a network between the TT and TV, does that mean the the blue wire will carry other digital signals at the same time it carries the apply voltage? Or will other wiring be necessary between the TT and TV?
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:36 AM   #73
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C5',

Thanks for your comment.

I am still wondering about the following:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
C5',

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?
And to your question about electric brakes. Basically they suck. We are still in the day before hydraulic brakes almost a century ago. I suppose this is no surprise since we have only recently been able to get self adjusting brakes (a 50 year old technology). Maybe trailer brakes aren't the problem it looks to be because I don't hear a lot about people towing trailers rear ending a lot of people.

I used to adjust them frequently and I believe I did them correctly. Then I upgraded to self adjusting brakes and check them regularly. They slow a trailer, but only barely stop it after what seems like an eternity. Thus great brakes on the tow vehicle are very important to pick up the slack.

I don't know the solution and whether it can be done solely electronically. Bigger shoes would help and maybe 10-20% bigger would help a lot (not much space for any larger). Better magnets may be able to increase pressure on the drum without using more power. I think part of the problem is a limit to the power* in a 12 volt system running off the tow vehicle electrical system.

Perhaps something like a capacitor which will give bursts of electricity to the brakes with more power and do it like an ABS system does when I stand the brakes in a panic stop**. Could a virtual ABS be created for a trailer? Would a controller operating off the TV ABS work well with something like that? Can anti-skid control be built into the trailer brakes? Can this be done so RV companies like Thor who are known for buying the cheapest components they can get will buy this? I know you can't answer that one, but having to upgrade out trailers on the aftermarket is expensive.

There are mechanical and electrical issues here. Bigger shoes, maybe better composites (ceramic shoes?), maybe other parts can be improved—I think the mechanical side could be made to work with less friction (except, of course, on the drum) and maximize efficiency. As for the electrical, certainly improvements are possible. We may see motor vehicles go to 24 v. in 5 years and that will lead to changes in RV's too (a good time to invest in 24 v. battery chargers as they will be in great demand). Better batteries with higher capacity are also coming, probably sooner. I think those changes would be very helpful for this issue, but in the meantime, we have to deal with what is. Maybe a dedicated battery in the trailer just to boost brake power?

I am speculating. Cost, as you recognize, is very much an issue. If it weren't, I'd be pricing discs for my trailer.

Thanks for engaging in this dialogue. It must be frustrating when some of us tell you we don't understand you and I appreciate that you keep at it. We are all seeking knowledge and ideas and that never has been simple. Someday when I am convinced something like the DL will significantly improve my braking I will then seek the elusive answer to why an '07 Tundra differs from an '08. Meanwhile I'll keep asking my multitude of questions.

Gene

*I purposely used the weasel word "power" though maybe I mean amps. "Power" keeps me from being too technical and looking more ignorant than I am (at least, in my own mind).

**I can only remember one panic stop in 40,000+ miles of towing, but it made an impression. I wasn't going more than 35 in a many-miles-long traffic jam on an interstate when an 18 wheeler stopped fast in front of me as I was trying to look around him and not noticing him standing on his brakes for a second or two. As I watched our truck slowly closing the distance between the 18 wheeler and us while slowing ever so slowly, I focused on that steel beam they use for a rear bumper and thought what it would do to my grille and radiators, then the water pump and finally the engine (time was also going slowly). I stopped with about 15' to spare. I want better brakes at a reasonable price, but not sure what to do.
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Old 05-12-2012, 03:00 PM   #74
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dznf0g: Both electric & hydraulic receive the same blue wire signal, where a LOT of current (3 amps per brake) from from brake controller to brakes with electric brakes.

The electrohydraulic units vary somewhat in this area. Some pull current from blue wire as well as a separate power wire from the TV and TT batteries, and other only monitor the blue wire signal, pulling very little current from it, and pull all their current from the TV and TT batteries.

CrawfordGene: No problem answering questions as it kind of "wakes me up" relative to what people care about, and what they don't care about, and what the product suppliers can do to provide a better understanding of the operation of the systems. Sometimes we get a "little to close to the technology and no longer see the forest through the trees".

Relative to electric brakes I tend to agree with you but it is clearly a very large market. Relative to "how they work" I can tell you what I am told and I have no real personal experience in this area, so if wrong and if someone knows, perhaps they could jump in and clarify operation. I am told that the "rotation of the wheel" helps apply the brakes due to their rotation and that the magnet gets them going in the right direction. I had some here once but never really did any tests to gain an improved understanding of the "laws of physics involved". When I saw them for the first time I kind of just stared in misbelief and figured I just didin't undertand. I figured if a hydraulic drum brake works in the 700 psi range, disc brakes in the well over 1200 psi range and actually limited by the controls to not destroy the calipers (Tuson makes some awesome motors) where they can do almost 2000 psi, I could not understand how 3.5 amps at 13V could add sufficient pressure. As you say, perhaps why TV need "good brakes".

I have been told that when people first drive a trailer with hydraulics they are amazed that they don't even notice they are stopping with a traiiler behind them! In fact, most hydrualic trailer brake testing is done solely using the trailer brakes. As you say, I believe there are "some things" that can be done to improve electric braking somewhat where I tend to agree with you, we "can't change the laws of physics".

I do know a few things about the electric and hydraulic systems, which go beyond the brakes themselves. For example, the hydraulic / disc brake systems use bearings that keep the wheel running true, so we can monitor the rotor rotation for ABS systems. The electric brake systems use "lower end bearing" systems, thus effectively "wobble" so it is very difficult to monitor their rotation. I personally haven't tried to do this, but I know of efforts by others that failed in this area. Don't know what happens to the cost of these "systems" as improvements are made to attempt to do electric brakes ABS. I can't say for sure, but my gutt says some amount of imprivements will always come where a market exists and competitiors attempt to gain advantage on one another. Thank god our country, at least at this time, still follows the capitalistic model else there would be no motivation to "fix and improve stuff".
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:36 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post

And to your question about electric brakes. Basically they suck. We are still in the day before hydraulic brakes almost a century ago. I suppose this is no surprise since we have only recently been able to get self adjusting brakes (a 50 year old technology). Maybe trailer brakes aren't the problem it looks to be because I don't hear a lot about people towing trailers rear ending a lot of people.
Gene

I don't have that much towing experience, but I completely agree with you. I think the reason that there are not more accidents is that there are not that many trailer/tv on the road (probably way less than 1%) and the owner/drivers know that the brakes are terrible so they keep a safe distance behind the vehicles in front and drive defensively. I know that I do.

The technology is here to provide disc brakes and abs for trailers. You would think that the premium brand trailer supplier (Airstream) would provide this and could justify the cost increase by the safety improvement in the braking performance. They could show the improved stopping distances and control on dry pavement, wet pavement, gravel, etc. compared to drum brakes without abs. If they don't offer it as standard than it should certainly be an option. If I were about to pay 50-75k for a new trailer, I certainly would be willing to pay 2-4k for an engineered and tested disc brake abs system. They should also include the appropriate brake controller to be installed at the Airstream dealer.

The problem is that obviously there is no incentive for Airstream to upgrade the braking system to disc/abs. Sales seem to be good. Here is where we need the Japanese to come in (again) and force the improvement in the American product. This is not going to happen.

I don't think that anybody driving a modern vehicle would ever want to back to non abs drum brakes.

Here is an opportunity to engineer, package, test and install the hardware and software necessary to retofit all trailers from the antique non abs drum brakes to state of the art disc brakes with abs. Airstream dealers could be trained to retofit the new brake system for Airstream trailers. I think that there is a good market for this.

Dan
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:02 PM   #76
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One more point I forgot to make. Folks like Banks Engineering have made a business out of improving the performance of tow vehicles, mainly diesel trucks. People have spent a lot of money to improve the performance of their tv's. I think that people would be willing to spend significant money to improve the braking performance of their trailer, but they must be educated about the amount of improvement in braking backed up by test data. Good marketing is needed in addition to solid engineering, system integration and testing.

Dan
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Old 05-15-2012, 04:24 PM   #77
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All well put, TouringDan.
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:24 AM   #78
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A question about "buzz" from control head

HI - I hope some of you are still monitoring this thread. Based on all the discussions here and elsewhere on the forums, for a first time brake controller I bought the Direclink, not only for the technical aspects, but also for the ability to monitor the transmission temperature.

Everything now seems to work, but I haven't yet "pulled" with it. But the biggest issue is the handset-control head is emitting a buzzing hum at a frequency that I can only hear when held near or when everything is quiet and the unit stays on for a minute or two after the ignition is turned off -- but SWMBO hears and and says "this is unacceptable." The only solution has been to pull the telephone wire connector to the head (this is also the only way to darken the screen at night - it's like a blue spotlight).

About the only positive thing is that she said the fact I cannot hear the buzz as loud as she can is that "...it is not related to SPOUSAL DEAFNESS." Thank goodness for that.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:29 PM   #79
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I have no buzz in mine. The screen is dimmable. I now have about 1000 miles with the unit and like it better than any I have had in the past.
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Old 06-25-2012, 07:40 AM   #80
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Is it possible to have both the Direclink and an active tuner/scanner like the 'Predator' plugged in, simultaneously?
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:45 AM   #81
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Uh, what sort of other device? (I'd imagine a "yes", but I'd also ask the folks at DIRCELINK what others have experienced).
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:48 PM   #82
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Sumting like this: U7198 DiabloSport Predator Silverado Siera Tahoe Yukon Suburban 99-02 on eBay!
gives real-time feedback and tuning, in addition to code reading
plugs into the OBD port. So, the Direclink would need a pass-thru... splitter, maybe?
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Old 06-26-2012, 07:40 PM   #83
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Splitter sounds easy. Ask DIRECLINK, too.
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Old 06-27-2012, 09:19 AM   #84
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I was wating for others to answer so I talked to the guy whom runs all the development testing in vehicles as I recall the Brake Contorller once had some "issues", I think with Bulleydog or something like that. I had to make some minor tweaks (I kind of recall) so that we both could talk with a "splitter" where it gets into network addressing issues. Anyway, it then ran with that unit and he said it also coexists with a LOT of the various OBD anayzer tools. He also said that I beleive in some 2012 vehciles some of the vehicle manufacturers do some dynamic address changes that the performance guys didn't see coming and thus they no longer worked and had to make changes, although the DirecLink products still ran OK. So unless those performance guys provide a unit to him do test the system, he can't say for certain on all of them, but the system has not had a problem yet. I am not allowed to tell you why, but let's just say the vehicle manufacturers would have to violate some specs to disable DirecLink. The DL system does "look" for other devices and the "do some stuff" to work, where some of those other devices may not do the same, and since I know some get "sloppy" when it comes to network communications and some may not have expected two devices on the OBDII, the spec does allow for I think up to 5 devices, but the devices "plugged in" need to support that interface. Sorry can't be more specific, but good luck.
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