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Old 09-07-2017, 01:59 PM   #1
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Propride Power WD engineering

This thread is intended to collect discussions for Propride Power WD as started by user bapp1236 over in the The unofficial pp users guide... thread.

This is intended to be a collection point for methods, software, mechanical components and computer hardware that leads to automation of the ProPride WD jack system for us over-thinking technical folks that would rather involve computers in doing this work. (Mea Culpa, Maxima Mea Culpa (grin))

It is not intended to be a point of discussing whether or not its a good idea to do this...
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Old 09-08-2017, 03:39 AM   #2
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Propride Power WD

To start, here is a video and a picture of the app that controls an automated set of power ProPride WD jacks i built using a bunch of off the shelf parts i ordered from Amazon. The hitch currently resides on a friends Keystone 308 BHS. I removed it from my Airstream for a number of reasons, not the least of which was my wife didn't want me to keep experimenting on a trailer that cost so much. Me, I don't have a problem drilling, cutting, or welding on the thing and neither does my friend, but his wife is not so picky.

Im not on here trying to sell anything or get money from anyone. I'm just someone with more education than sense and is willing to share this knowledge with anyone how wants it. Here is the link for the video:

The unit works well and saves a lot of cranking and can be adjusted while driving in order to fine tune the jacks on the move as road and weather conditions change in order to find that "sweet spot" without all of the undo stopping and adjusting that tends to make the wife very agitated. If anyone is interested in building a set of these jacks, i will post pictures of how to make these jacks and send links to the software, hardware and coding necessary to make these jacks work. Also, the same system can be automate any system in the trailer that has an on-off switch.
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:46 PM   #3
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Propride Power WD engineering

Recently received a prototype set of power WD jacks from bapp1236 for my ProPride setup. This will be interesting to evaluate, fiddle with , and quite possibly wildly over-engineer. More to come.
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Old 11-20-2017, 03:43 AM   #4
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Waaay too much fun!!
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:34 AM   #5
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How much is this adding to the tongue weight? It is pretty heavy already.
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:28 AM   #6
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You have brought up a good point.

I plan to weigh the new jack assemblies and compare them to the old ones as a part of setting this up. The add is a couple motors with their gearboxes and a cross shaft to synchronize them.

As a casual guess, I'd say about 10-20 pound range. The motors are not all that big.

It made a bigger difference when I went to two 6 volt GC2 golf cart batteries and their bigger battery box, plus the ProPride head. The Tacoma handles all this added steel just fine...
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:46 AM   #7
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Thumbs up

You all are serious, right?


Why not just use your Makita....it only takes about 5sec per side.


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Old 11-20-2017, 10:01 AM   #8
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Stone cold serious. Engineers all. We turn grand concepts into major malfunctions as a part of our engineering efforts all the time... And we complicate the heck out of simple stuff for the fun of it.

My description of the basic issue is as such:

It has been noted that using power tools on the WD jacks tends to shear a pin in the head of the jack, so I usually use the ProPride-supplied manual ratchet wrench to make the adjustment. My DeWalt impact driver is really, really good at over-torquing things at the slightest provocation...

Typically, I set the jacks to what worked last time, and set out on the highway. At about 55 MPH (in California) I experience a bit of porpoising because of inadequate WD jack tension. I find a place to pull over, adjust the jacks by hand, and set out again, accelerating to the speed limit again. It still porpoises. Pull over again, adjust again, rinse and repeat until it's stable. (yeah, I know about measuring wheel well height on the front end of the TV during setup. Looking for porpoising works better for me when trailer load-out and TV bed load varies)

The ultimate idea of the power-operated WD jacks is to be able to reach out, and press the 'up' button to tighten them up a bit...or let the little computer controller figure it out and make the adjustment, if I really get the next stage of engineering complications going.

Like I mentioned, it's not a discussion of whether this is a good idea overall, it's a discussion about what we are playing with and what successes/failures we may have...
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:18 AM   #9
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My Bad..I didn't realize there was a reason for the endeavor.



Sorry for being so blunt, but your method of setting up your trailer for towing gives driving a train a bad name.

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Old 11-20-2017, 10:45 AM   #10
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I did the initial exercise of setting front wheel well height after hitching up, but I found that the front end of the Tacoma was not getting enough weight on it on some pavement surfaces and loading differences, and causes porpoising (light on the front end).

So fine-tuning of WD is in order, and that solves the 'light feeling' front end of the TV issue...usually about 1/4 to 1 inch higher on the jacks from the preset cures it.

Sometimes you have to do all the measuring, adjusting, and setting up, then the feel is wrong, so a bit of fine-tuning is in order. Once I hit the sweet spot, it drives like it is on rails...
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2012 shortbed CrewMax 4x4 Toyota Tacoma TV with more antennae on it.
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Old 11-20-2017, 11:11 AM   #11
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Question ????

Ok I'll bite...
Light 'feeling' is not a reason, light or heavy weight is.

Our rig will also bounce on a surface with a certain harmonic balance, but that is not a reason for me to change the WD settings.

It's load not road that should determine WD settings.

But I do understand your need to rationalize the engineering.



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Old 11-20-2017, 11:31 AM   #12
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Typically when my rig (and I'm only talking my combo) is acting 'light' on the front end it has an 'unsure' feel to the steering and seems to have unstable directional control. This is usually accompanied by an up and down motion that feels like porpoising in an airplane--where the nose is going up and down due to incorrect control law setup in the autopilot, for example. (Yup, more Boeing stuff...)

When I experience that sensation, or, more likely, wife starts getting carsick and complaining about the motion, increasing the WD tension to where the motion just stops restores control and peace and quiet in the cockpit...I do agree that this is most likely a response to loading in the rig, and most probably insufficient WD for the load...as you suggest. I need to find a way to easily measure and quantify the load situation...

One of the things I'm planning to investigate is some way to determine and measure this motion and respond appropriately to it. I'm looking at suspension height measurements or accelerometers appropriately located in the vehicle(s). I tend to want to quantify stuff like this, because "feel" is not a reliable indicator of ride and setup-related issues...
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Old 11-20-2017, 12:50 PM   #13
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Using the scale is for recording results. Same as with tire pressure. Known baseline, for repeatability. Whether one is above or below 100% FALR isn't the thing so much as it's a starting point.

Same as tire pressure. Repeatable results.

But now, variability; or finer grade of tuning.

I'd say the fun of the powered jacks is in coming closest to what is "best". I also think it's getting to a point it becomes hard to make general statements any longer (as individual rig characteristics come to dominate).

I think it's going to be a great way to work tire characteristics (via pressure) into the mix. Easier to modify versus that, and adapt.

Per ones rig: a given load against a given road.

I'd replace the TV shock absorbers with better or very best quality, and anti-roll bar bushings with polyurethane. Try to keep the truck motions lower, and tire "condition" (via pressure; felt changes), higher.

This is close enough to what I've had to do with Class 8 tractors (relatively new) to get them "right" versus tire wear, tracking, and reasonable ride motions. Keep it out of what the trailer is doing. Bring the signal out of the noise.

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Old 11-20-2017, 01:59 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by slowmover View Post
Using the scale is for recording results. Same as with tire pressure. Known baseline, for repeatability. Whether one is above or below 100% FALR isn't the thing so much as it's a starting point.

Same as tire pressure. Repeatable results.

Right now the setup is not repeatable, because the trailer load and TV load vary all over the map, and I usually don't have time to run across the scales each time we go anywhere.

But now, variability; or finer grade of tuning.

I'd say the fun of the powered jacks is in coming closest to what is "best". I also think it's getting to a point it becomes hard to make general statements any longer (as individual rig characteristics come to dominate).

Precisely. I see them as a "fine tune in motion" system, which is part of the reason I'm looking at methods to calibrate and repeat the settings on the jacks. Right now I line them up at the wear marks from last trip, and tune from there.

I think it's going to be a great way to work tire characteristics (via pressure) into the mix. Easier to modify versus that, and adapt.

Per ones rig: a given load against a given road.

I'd replace the TV shock absorbers with better or very best quality, and anti-roll bar bushings with polyurethane. Try to keep the truck motions lower, and tire "condition" (via pressure; felt changes), higher.

A couple good thoughts here--a little less 'slop' in the TV suspension might help in my setup. The Tacoma is a softly-sprung 4x4 truck. Very compliant suspension, but not necessarily best for towing control.

This is close enough to what I've had to do with Class 8 tractors (relatively new) to get them "right" versus tire wear, tracking, and reasonable ride motions. Keep it out of what the trailer is doing. Bring the signal out of the noise.

Interesting. Didn't realize big rigs had similar handling tuning issues. I guess they could be 'interesting' on a bigger scale. I did see one towing a trailer with bad or no shocks on the trailer. Crossing a bridge, the trailer started bouncing, and eventually the wheels on the trailer were clearing the pavement by over 2 feet. Obviously a resonant situation--I poured on the coal and got outta the way fast...

.
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Old 11-20-2017, 02:18 PM   #15
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I wont be building a contraption to adjust my jacks on the fly,, BUT, adjusting til it feels right is just my speed.

A stable combination that drives right is the goal isnít it?
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Old 11-20-2017, 02:37 PM   #16
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Ones rig -- no matter the load that trip -- will still fall into a range of weight where hitch and tire changes have upper and lower limits.

New shocks on your Toyo or on a Kenworth will "better" straight line tracking. The higher the quality, the more this is so. One might consider it as a balance or ratio between tire and shock.

Decent Bilstein or KONI on my Dodge are about $90-$125. But shocks climb right past $350/ea with sophistication. Best tire & shock is very big deal. The "fineness of detail" is what one gets.

Heat due to load and conditions matters with shocks. Thus separate reservoirs, etc. Its not only adjustability.

Read around on your vehicle. Talk to manufacturers about per wheel loads.

My prediction is that you'll get to a dead zone where tire pressure or jack adjustment won't yield much difference. That's the place better tires/shocks will continue to give feedback.

Obviously, this isn't racing. Still some tires will be remarkably better, and the high dollar shocks will give best background to the test.

I would also look for a rear Panhard Rod for if not so equipped.

One has smoothed out the surface of the paper. Now, to draw.

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Old 11-20-2017, 03:01 PM   #17
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Maybe a guy that can build remote controlled power jacks that he can adjust going down the highway can also build in some load sensors or strain gauges to measure how much lift is on the bars.
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Old 11-20-2017, 03:19 PM   #18
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Part of the initial thinking is to come up with a reliable method to measure suspension loading on the TV, which might give an indication of weight transfer. I have my doubts on making this kind of measurement in motion, because of noise induced by the motion and road surface, but if there is a reliable way of measuring suspension height at low speed, that could give a number for processing an initial jack adjustment at rest.

Any ideas?
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2012 shortbed CrewMax 4x4 Toyota Tacoma TV with more antennae on it.
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Old 11-20-2017, 03:24 PM   #19
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Maybe a guy that can build remote controlled power jacks that he can adjust going down the highway can also build in some load sensors or strain gauges to measure how much lift is on the bars.
I think getting the jack height is fairly straightforward, just accurately count the turns cranked into the jacks by the motors. There is a cross shaft that couples both jacks, so the count only had to be done on one side. Load sensors get expensive for high accuracy, but I haven;t looked in that direction much yet.

The first step, IMHO, is gaining repeatably in the initial settings, and a turn count is the easy way. A magnet and a reed switch buys you that if you start from a known point, and a lower limit switch gets the 'zero' height you can start with. Just count from there knowing the direction you are driving the motor... Or use a slotted wheel and two photo pickups in quadrature. Then you can figure out the count and direction if it wanders or rolls back.
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2012 shortbed CrewMax 4x4 Toyota Tacoma TV with more antennae on it.
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Old 11-20-2017, 03:44 PM   #20
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Part of the initial thinking is to come up with a reliable method to measure suspension loading on the TV, which might give an indication of weight transfer. I have my doubts on making this kind of measurement in motion, because of noise induced by the motion and road surface, but if there is a reliable way of measuring suspension height at low speed, that could give a number for processing an initial jack adjustment at rest.

Any ideas?
Cat Scale to Cat Scale. With the phone app and separate locator, it's easy. Second weighs up to dozens are $2/ea.
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