1979 Burro - Electric brakes - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2007, 08:36 PM   #29
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Question on the wiring from the individual wheels should I be bringing each wheels wires to the distribution block or bring the right wheel wires to the left wheel wires and connect the two then go to the distribution block? I don't have much to go on from what's left of the wiring thats there now.
I would probably tie the left/right wheels together at/near the axle and then just bring 2 wires forward... I don't really think there's any advantage to running 2 pairs of wire to the front, where you're just going to have to join them together anyway...

For this project, it's not clear that a terminal block or breaker panel is going to buy you anything except possibly debuggability... On my current trailer, I didn't touch the 'tow' wiring... So it comes in from the tongue, and then runs around through the trailer to the various lights and then out the floor to the axle... It all seemed relatively sane so I just organized it a bit and left it. All the cabin wiring was ripped apart and unspliced and run through a breaker panel, to a main breaker and from there through a fusible link to the battery...


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In this picture, the power comes in through a fusible link, to the main breaker (top left). From there it splits off to the inverter. There's also a feed on that side from the automatic battery charger. (not pictured). On the other side of the main breaker is the feed from the solar charge controller, and then it goes off to the panel (far right). There's a big copper ground strip far right, forward of the panel where all the grounds are attached. The AC breaker panel is the brown 'hunk' on the bottom left of the picture. It's the old AC panel hacked off of the original Boler power converter... It feeds the fridge, battery charger, and convenience outlets.

All the multi-colored wires lying underneath the red/black/white are the tow wires (ground, tail, left, right, brake). The whole setup is not 100% clean and organized, but it's organized enough, well labelled, and should be easier to debug out in the field.


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There's the DC breaker panel.
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Old 07-07-2007, 08:52 PM   #30
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Nice job, Greg! I like the terminal block.

Another terminal block option is one of the wiring boxes sold for wiring commercial trailers. It's a seven-terminal strip in a plastic box with a gasketed cover, intended to be installed outside (although you could use it inside). I used one for my Boler.

The terminals of the commercial wiring box are labeled, although some substitution is required: the commercial 7-way wiring does not include brakes, but does include a separate brake light terminal, and does not include battery charge but does include clearance lights - the studs in the strip are all the same, so I just used put the wires on (using crimp-on ring terminals) in sensible order.

I mounted my box outside, so the brake wiring doesn't go inside the trailer body just to go out again, and all seven circuits of the connection to the tug are readily accessible for checking and testing when a light stops working (notice: when, not if...)

I would have left the original tow wiring (like Herb), but the tug end of the cable needed replacement so I was re-doing connections anyway. I cut it off at the new box location on the tongue, continued from there with new cable, and changed the wiring inside only to remove the old brake wiring.

You can just continue the random-connections-in-space of the original installation. It is the industry standard practice, and the only thing which looks particularly bad in the existing situation is the wires which are connected to nothing (but you'll fix those). I would want to check those wire nuts, though: crimp-on connections are fine, set-screw wire nuts would be okay with me, but just twist-on stuff scares me in a vibrating environment. My stove hood fan had them, and they fell off when I touched them (to fix the non-running fan).
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Old 07-07-2007, 08:59 PM   #31
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To test the brakes, I did what Herb did. For the one which didn't work, I checked its resistance with a ohmmeter - a typical brake magnet has about 3.8 ohms of resistance... anything vaguely close to that suggests magnet which is neither shorted out nor open circuited (broken wire).

To test the mechanical operation of the brakes with no wiring in place yet (other than the pigtails of the magnet), I would certainly just apply 12 volts. That's what the breakaway switch does. As Roger says, I suppose you don't want to do this for a long time. Also, the brakes are applied by the arm which the magnet rides on only due to rotation of the brake drum - to really know they work, you need to have the drum in place and spin them.

Dexter publishes an Operation Maintenance Service Manual, which is available from their website (and would be a nice addition to the Document Center...). Even if the axle is Dexter, it's a clear and useful guide.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:04 PM   #32
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To test the mechanical operation of the brakes with no wiring in place yet (other than the pigtails of the magnet), I would certainly just apply 12 volts. That's what the breakaway switch does. As Roger says, I suppose you don't want to do this for a long time. Also, the brakes are applied by the arm which the magnet rides on only due to rotation of the brake drum - to really know they work, you need to have the drum in place and spin them.
Sorry to hijack the thread but I've been meaning to ask about the breakaway switch. I've presently got it "ignored" but do need to address it. It looks like it got used at some point because the cable is broken at one end (torn)... So, is the breakaway switch a single-use item to be replaced after a "significant event" or can one have multiple "significant events" with it?
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:06 PM   #33
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...Question on the wiring from the individual wheels should I be bringing each wheels wires to the distribution block or bring the right wheel wires to the left wheel wires and connect the two then go to the distribution block?
On one hand, I agree with Herb that they need to come together anyway, and I copied the original (I had something to copy...) by bringing them together in the middle of the trailer (underneath) and running a single 2-conductor cable forward. I did this as much because the clips were there to hold a single cable as for any electrical reason.

One advantage of running each brake wire separately to the a single junction point is that it means one less connection. Almost every electrical wiring problem I've seen (in the Boler, cars, house, appliances, computers...) is at the connections; wires themselves rarely fail.

There was, perhaps, more distance from brakes to wiring terminal in my 17' Boler with the terminal block out on the tongue than the 13' Burro would have. I don't know if this matters.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:16 PM   #34
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Breakaway switch is a multiple use gizmo, usually a non-conducting pin between two sprung contacts. Tekonsha warns on Prodigy to NOT pull pin when TV is hooked to Egg or damage may result to controller.

I agree with the cable tie cutter; they were a must-use in the telephone company to prevent injury. In my experience, black ties are UV proofed, but white ties usually aren't unless the package is marked; telco always uses black outside.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:18 PM   #35
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Sorry to hijack the thread but I've been meaning to ask about the breakaway switch. ... It looks like it got used at some point because the cable is broken at one end (torn)... So, is the breakaway switch a single-use item to be replaced after a "significant event" or can one have multiple "significant events" with it?
This can't be a single-use item, because it's operation is supposed to be tested. When I tried to test mine, I couldn't pull the plug out (the plug being the part which is connected to the cable; when the plug comes out the switch closes) so I detemined that I needed a new switch. I can pull the new one out (it takes a significant tug, but you wouldn't want this falling out...), and have done so a few times in testing.

The crimping of the loops on the ends of the cable sounds like more of a concern to me than the switch itself. I've noticed with our dog's tie-out cable (same thing, bigger scale) that the ends pull apart more easily with time as the plastic covering degrades and the perhaps the wire corrodes.

With a breakaway switch, you don't need a brake controller to test the brakes when stationary. In fact, a good (proportional) controller is lousy for stationary testing, because you need an assistant to hold the manual control lever on while you work on the trailer. Good help is hard to find these days, so I don't have any...

I don't think the breakaway switch is sensitive to the "significance" of the event. As long as the plug pulls out without mechanical damage, and clicks back in properly, I don't see a need for replacement; of course, it's a cheap item so if you have a real problem its cost will be irrelevant, but I wouldn't have a problem with just not knowing its history.

The full braking current is only about 6 amps per axle, and it's hard for me to imagine a breakaway switch not being able to handle that indefinitely. The same switches are used for up to four axles, so I figure ours have it easy.
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:22 PM   #36
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btw, my highly sarcastic post earlier in the thread was intended as levity towards Brian which apparently was taken correctly by Brian but others took offense for some reason... My point (and Brians probably) stands.. Any wiring outside the trailer needs to be secured, sheathed, and sealed...
Absolutely... on both subjects!
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Old 07-07-2007, 09:31 PM   #37
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I agree with the cable tie cutter; they were a must-use in the telephone company to prevent injury. In my experience, black ties are UV proofed, but white ties usually aren't unless the package is marked; telco always uses black outside.
I only mentioned it because I made the mistake of buying a cheap bag of black zip ties from princess auto... When you cinch them by hand, the little square housing stretches ever so slightly causing the little lock tab to come loose as soon as you let go of the tail end... They work ok if you use the tool to tighten them but after about a month of sitting exposed to the sun, these black ones became brittle and simply shattered...

So, I guess you get what you pay for. Don't assume they're good against UV just because they're black. The electrical supplier I buy stuff from here in town carries Panduit and they're a high quality item. I'm somewhat less fond of the Mode ones that some of the other places carry but they also seem to work just fine.
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Old 07-08-2007, 09:54 AM   #38
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Ok I got a brake drum off this morning and here are my pictures.
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Burro_Brakes_001.jpg   Burro_Brakes_002.jpg  

Burro_Brakes_003.jpg   Burro_Brakes_005.jpg  

Burro_Brakes_004.jpg  
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Old 07-08-2007, 09:57 AM   #39
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Ok I got a brake drum off this morning and here are my pictures.
So, Dave... what's your assessment?

Roger
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Old 07-08-2007, 10:33 AM   #40
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So, Dave... what's your assessment?

Roger
I would say the drum is fine.
The bearing looks good but needs to be greased/packed.
The shoes are fine and all the mechanics look ...almost new.
Having never seen one I am wondering about the magnet it's self. I don't know how much meat these things start out with. I see where it has been worn down but is this typical standard where and is this magnet ok or should it be replaced?

Also more pictures here I am wondering about the way the magnet fits on the post I see it attached to. Is there supposed to be that much slop between the magnet casting and the post it is over? Last picture is after hosing off the brake parts.
Also the wires look fine. I dont feel any rubber grommet on the back but the wires are undamaged. I pulled them into the brake area and checked them.
How am I doing?
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Old 07-08-2007, 01:19 PM   #41
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Trailer: Burro 13 ft 1979
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More information....
Axle:
Dura Flex
Cap 1200 (trailer weight 1400 no?)
serial number 1-171272
1970
CAN (Canada?)

You'll be happy to know I removed the duct tape that was wraped around the axle that used to hold the brake wiring!
Dave
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Old 07-08-2007, 02:12 PM   #42
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Ok I got a brake drum off this morning and here are my pictures.
The brakes look ok but the torsion axle seems like it's a little high and doesn't have much travel but I have no experience with those.
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