Breakaway Switch - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-02-2015, 04:38 AM   #29
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Two schools of thought

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Originally Posted by Bob Miller View Post
..........The safety chains are only a part of the system. Should you have a trailer come off of the ball and fall onto the safety chains you might not know about it immediately and the trailer will come forward and can even spin around when you hit your brakes when this happens.


For this reason the break away switch cable has to be kept short enough to activate the brakes with the safety chains still in place.
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Originally Posted by Borrego Dave View Post
....... Breakaway switches are controlled by a pull out pin and a safety cable at the switch to automaticly apply braking power from a battery on the trailer to the trailer brakes only after the trailer has broken away from the tug.
Should the cable be short so the brakes activate with the safety chains still attached or long so as to only activate the brakes should the chains break ? If you search this question you will find pages and pages of opinion with at times much passion.

As I would prefer to keep control of the situation for as long as possible, I chose the later. Raz
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:49 AM   #30
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I keep all the wiring longer than the safety chains, so the only way I lose the connection is if I lose the entire hitch or tongue somehow. As such, I leave the breakaway cable longer than the chains, so I can control the braking if the safety chains are still attached.


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Old 01-02-2015, 09:58 AM   #31
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I always opt to have the trailer brakes take over by pulling the breakaway pin as soon as the trailer comes off of the hitch and is then being towed by the safety chains.


First, the separation may well take the brake connection with it on the way.
Next, the "crossed Chains" may or may not hold the hitch off the ground.
And, in even the few seconds it takes the very experienced driver to realize what happened, a lot can happen.


With the trailers brakes full ON, it's going help to keep the trailer behind you, not suddenly along side when you hit your TV's brakes.


As I mentioned in post 18, I have had this happen and it was only by a lot of luck that a serious accident was not the result.


For that reason I don't like the "Coiled Cord" design shown as you can't predict exactly when the pin will be pulled and, what with the coiled cord's tensions, it could be popped out due to a hard bump or a worn pin retainer.


BTW: Where was it even suggested to connect the break-away switch to the TV's battery? I missed that.....
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:45 PM   #32
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I always opt to have the trailer brakes take over by pulling the breakaway pin as soon as the trailer comes off of the hitch and is then being towed by the safety chains.











BTW: Where was it even suggested to connect the break-away switch to the TV's battery? I missed that.....

Acually it was you Bob in post #22
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Old 01-02-2015, 01:47 PM   #33
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I want to put one on the Casita 17sd but do most of you use the trailer battery or are you adding a second battery that come in a breakaway kit? I wasn't sure what the law has to say about having 2 separate battery curcuits or just use the trailer battery.
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Old 01-02-2015, 02:53 PM   #34
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Anti-Sway Bar

We had our trailer come off the ball once, as I mentioned earlier, causing us to install a breakaway switch.

When the trailer came off the ball our anti-sway bar was (surprisingly) very effective at keeping the trailer and tow vehicle together. When the trailer came off the ball the trailer's nose dipped causing the anti-sway bar to twist (and lock). This virtually kept the trailer in line behind the tow vehicle. I recall the trailer brakes remained functional; the trailer cable did not disconnect.

Though our situation resulted in nothing negative it made me realize what could happen. As a result I added the breakaway switch and always attempt to jack the trailer off the ball after connecting.
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Old 01-02-2015, 03:54 PM   #35
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Quote:
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For that reason I don't like the "Coiled Cord" design shown as you can't predict exactly when the pin will be pulled and, what with the coiled cord's tensions, it could be popped out due to a hard bump or a worn pin retainer.
The "Coiled Cord" retainer on the breakaway cable has just enough tension built in to keep it from sagging. It is not like a heavy spring. If you hit a bump hard enough to activate the switch, you are probably going too fast for the road surface/condition. Also, if the pin retainer is worn and is in danger of falling out easily, it would be wise to replace the switch with a new one. Neither situation would be caused by the "Coiled Coil" design.

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Old 01-02-2015, 04:50 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dudley View Post
I want to put one on the Casita 17sd but do most of you use the trailer battery or are you adding a second battery that come in a breakaway kit? I wasn't sure what the law has to say about having 2 separate battery curcuits or just use the trailer battery.
I connected mine to the trailer battery. I made the connection inside the trailer rather than at the battery itself. I believe kits that include a battery are intended for trailers that don't normally come with a house battery, like a cargo or boat trailer. Raz
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Old 01-02-2015, 05:44 PM   #37
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Connections

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I am of the school of thought that everything connected to the coach or TV battery should be fused. Even the airbags in TV's are usually fused.


Statistically, I am guessing that the chances of getting a short in the wire that has to run outside to the switch has a greater chance of happening than that of the safety switch ever being used. And that wire, when connected to the coach battery, if shorted out, could lead to catastrophic results up to a fire.


The RV Doctor website ( The RV Doctor: Electric Trailer Brake Maintenance ) posted this chart for current requirements:


Brake Size Amps/Magnet
7 x 1-1/4 inches 2.5
10 x 1-1/2 inches 2.5
10 x 2-1/4 inches 3.0
12 x 2 inches 3.0


I would use a fuse rated at about 2X the nominal current draw for all brakes.

Hmmm..... I don't see anywhere in my post #22 where I make any mention of connecting the break-away switch to the TV's battery
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Old 01-02-2015, 07:20 PM   #38
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Cool Trailer vs Tow battery

Of what use is it to have a break-away switch attached to the TV? By definition, the trailer is "broken away" from the TV, which naturally would include the electrical so how will the trailer get power to activate the brakes?
We have built-in batteries for other uses in our trailers. Utility trailers which would normally not have batteries, will need a battery if they have a break-away switch.
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Old 01-02-2015, 08:09 PM   #39
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I agree.... someone thought that it had been suggested in my post #22, but I don't see that even mentioned.
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Old 01-03-2015, 01:34 AM   #40
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I agree.... someone thought that it had been suggested in my post #22, but I don't see that even mentioned.
Bob, in post #22, first paragraph, you said you believe in fusing everything including the breakaway to the trailer. I'm only answering your question that you said you didn't see it posted/stated. That's how I read it and it seems others do also to a fuse in trailer brakes curcuit with an on board trailer battery for brake power. I think if you have a small battery for brakes (the add on kit) you have a much higher probability of a dead battery than a short in the wiring. Not so much with tying into the house battery. In a situation such as a trailer disconnecting for what ever the reason, don't you think that a fuse for a possible short would really be the last thing to worry about at that time ?
Maybe we are reading/taking it differently than you meant but it didn't come across that way.
There are many places for fuses for sure but not all ckts are required or are better off for the intended use.
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Old 01-03-2015, 06:48 AM   #41
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I agree.... someone thought that it had been suggested in my post #22, but I don't see that even mentioned.
If the breakaway switch is activated and the safety chains are still intact (having survived the sudden jolt of the trailer brakes being applied) then it is safe to assume the umbilical is still attached as well. In that case the tow vehicle will be powering the trailer brakes, at least in part. Perhaps that's where the confusion lies.

In regard to fuses: fuses protect wires and little else because they are very slow to react. If the maximum current is 10 amps then use a 10 amp fuse. There is no need for derating. Remember a fuse is simply a wire designed to get hot enough to melt when the designated current is exceeded.

I would not fuse a break away switch as I'd rather know about any defects before it's needed and checking the fuse every time I head out is not something I wish to add to my list. Raz
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Old 01-03-2015, 08:28 AM   #42
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I'm sorry, but I still don't see any reference to your statement. The words in italics just aren't there.


"Bob, in post #22, first paragraph, you said you believe in fusing everything including the breakaway to the trailer." But, if what I wrote was misunderstood, I will try to be more exacting in the future.

All that said, my bigger concern and, reason for fusing the line from the trailers battery to the breakaway switch, mostly revolves around the general practice of never having a hot line that isn't protected, not only against overloads, but against possible short circuits.


I have worked on an untold number of RV's repairing wire damage and short circuits. Causes range from wire insulation wearing through from physical contact with frame edges etc. and rubbing through the insulation, to rodent damage from mice that seem to love the flavor of insulation. In almost all cases the extent of the damage was a blown fuse and not a burned up wire loom an un-fused short could have caused.


As an example, I am aware of apparent mice damage to an unfused wire starting an under hood fire that led to a motorhome being totaled by the insurance company. The rodent damage happened while it was in winter storage and it wasn't discovered until spring when the batterys were reinstalled and the smoke started.
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