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Old 04-09-2011, 10:46 PM   #1
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RF causing brake controller malfunction

Has any one had their brake controller malfunction while using their ham transmitters in the car. I just bought a Hopkins mfg brake controller and the instructions said to keep RF devices, cell phones, 2 way radios ect at least 15" away. Anyone having trouble while transmitting with any of their controllers?
Thanks nm1oqrz
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Old 04-09-2011, 10:52 PM   #2
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Has any one had their brake controller malfunction while using their ham transmitters in the car. I just bought a Hopkins mfg brake controller and the instructions said to keep RF devices, cell phones, 2 way radios ect at least 15" away. Anyone having trouble while transmitting with any of their controllers?
Thanks nm1oqrz
Cell Phones? 15ft away? I would say the controller is not shielded well enough.
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Old 04-10-2011, 04:00 AM   #3
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Where I went to school, 15" = 15 inches.

This seems like a reasonable distance to avoid potential radio frequency interference.

I have read that some other manufacturers provide similar warnings about their brake controllers.

These type warnings, although they do not refer to specific distances, are in hospitals, airplanes, and other areas that have equipment susceptible to RF interference. Apparently, some brake controllers are susceptible too.
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Old 04-10-2011, 06:53 AM   #4
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IMHO If you are using a handheld in the vehicle then the RF can and will affect the controller if its not shielded well.Athough I have not experinced this ,I have seen what RF can do it eletronic speedometers and TATTLE TALES(electronic monitors) in big trucks as I have ran both 2M FM and LowBand in them.Those frequencys make that stuff go nuts.
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Old 04-10-2011, 12:16 PM   #5
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Where I went to school, 15" = 15 inches.
I just read it wrong ok. Chaulk it up to Attention Deficet Disorder. It is a dis-ability. Some are not visible. We all make mistakes.
Still any distance is suspicious.
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Old 04-12-2011, 05:18 PM   #6
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A lot of variables to consider since the maximum output power of a hand-held cell phone is 600 milliwatts or 0.6 watts. Two meter FM mobiles are usually between 25 & 50 watts output but use an external antenna. A mismatched antenna with high SWR could cause an unusually high level of RF inside the vehicle. I'm using a Tekonsha Prodigy controller and have had no problems with RFI from my 2M/70cm dual band radio. Years ago, Toyota engine control modules (ECM) were susceptible to RFI and I read an article in QST that the ham car owner was denied warranty coverage when his ECM was fratzed by his 25 watt 2M FM radio. In most cases, the caveat about RFI was because of the company attorney trying to deflect claims. I also have a Pressure Pro system system on the truck and trailer and the individual tire pressure sensors transmit data to the receiver right in the 70cm amateur band! My system works fine and I've never had a problem from my radio interfering with the Pressure Pro receiver.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:03 PM   #7
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I have never had any problems with the operation of brake controllers and run up to 500 watts on the low bands. VHF/UHF has not been a problem either On the other hand the Tekonsha brake controllers have generated RF noise which will interfere with reception on some bands when the brakes are activated.
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