Breakaway brake switch - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-21-2006, 08:31 AM   #1
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Trailer: Casita 17 ft Liberty Deluxe
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My 2002 Casita LD (bought in September 2001) didn't come with a breakaway brake switch.
I installed one but never wired it to brake or battery. I'll be traveling to Canada this summer
where I understand the provincial authorities might be a little more observant about such
things than US authorities have been so far. I've run the wires into the closet but still haven't
hooked 'em up. I think I remember a thread on the original Casita Club forum that described
in detail which wires in the closet to hook into. I've searched the old forum but come up
blank so far, same here on FRV. Any help will be much appreciated.

Rich
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Old 04-21-2006, 08:52 AM   #2
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In Canada the general rule is you only need it if it came with it, or you are building a new one.

having said that, I am also installing one on my Trillium 5500.

you need to feed from the battery positive post, to the positive lead going to the brakes.
(the same lead your brake controller powers). Many controller companies warn that if you hook up to the wrong polarity, it may destroy the controller.
always test the breakaway with the tow vehicle unplugged electrically from the trailer.
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:09 AM   #3
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...Many controller companies warn that if you hook up to the wrong polarity, it may destroy the controller.
always test the breakaway with the tow vehicle unplugged electrically from the trailer.
It could also be a dramatic short across the battery, since the circuit you're trying to build connects the battery to the brakes through the breakaway switch (on the + side) and the ground connection (on the - side). If the breakaway switch is mis-wired to connect battery + to brake ground side, that would be a short circuit through the ground wiring.

A breakaway switch connecting the battery ground to the brake power (+) side wouldn't do anything when unplugged from the tow vehicle (and wouldn't work), but I can see how that would be bad for the controller.

So it's battery + terminal to the breakaway switch, then switch to brake power side (whichever wire the blue wire from the tow vehicle supplies). Of couse the original question is which wires are these in a Casita, and I can't help there.

The Tekonsha Instructions are a good generic guide, found in their Breakaway Systems and Accessories page.
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Old 04-21-2006, 09:56 AM   #4
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The Blue wire in the Casita is the Brake wire.
The Black wire is the 12 volt + wire.
When i installed a brake a way box on Lill-Trill i did all the wiring on the outside.
if you do it from inside the closet you have to run the wires out to the break away switch and it was easy to split the caseing on the pig tail and splice in the wire there. The closet is good because it would be one less break in the wires to fail latter on .

ps i have accidentaly tested mine a few times while hooked up ( not enough Slack in cable and makeing a turn out of the driveway) i dont think that is the brake controller people where talking about when they said reverse polarity
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Old 04-21-2006, 10:49 AM   #5
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Just a footnote here re: Brakes and breakaway switches.

If you have any type of trailer in B.C. with electric brakes you must have a fully charged wet cell battery installed in the trailer with a break-a-way switch that has a cable attached to the tow vehicle so that if the trailer tounge snaps off or comes off the ball it will pull the plunger out of the break-a-way switch and lock the brakes up for a minimium. of 15 mins.
That is the Code, no exceptions. Drycell batteries are not legal!

I really got run through the hoops years ago over this when we bought our first horse trailer.
The law is different in Alberta where we bought our FeatherLite horse trailer and had to revamp it when we got back to B.C.

The code is not the same in all provinces or in each state for that matter. Too bad they can't seem to standerdize.

Having said all that, I know for a fact that there are lots of trailers on the road here in BC that are not setup the legal way.
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Old 04-22-2006, 12:30 AM   #6
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Doesn't matter what kind of trailer it is -- The breakaway switch is wired DIRECTLY to the positive (+) terminal on the trailer's battery (if the trailer has no battery, one must be installed) with NO FUSE in the circuit.

The other wire from the switch is spliced into the blue wire connecting the brakes to the tow vehicle.

Here's a link to a picture:

Tekonsha PDF for wiring schematic for breakaway brake switch

Tekonsha warns against testing the breakaway switch with the tow vehicle wiring attached because sending battery back up the blue wire to the controller may fry it.

BTW, Tekonsha has a lifetime warranty on the Prodigy controller (and on their other models??) -- Just bring a bad Prodigy in to any dealer selling them and they will swap it for a new one (I've done it, and they did!)
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Old 04-22-2006, 09:48 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. I think I got it, black to blue (break) and black to black (battery). Both the black and the blue wires in the Casita clothes closet are easily accessible and should be easy to tap into. Since there's no marking on either of the black wires coming from the breakaway switch, I assume it doesn't matter which black wire goes to blue so long as the other goes to black. Yes, no...?

Rich
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Old 04-22-2006, 09:59 AM   #8
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You're right the switch is non polarized, it doesn't matter which lead goes where.
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