New Breakaway - with or without own battery? - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-21-2017, 10:03 PM   #1
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V'sGlassSleeper's Avatar
Name: Val
Trailer: 1988 Bigfoot Deluxe B19 19 ft / 2007 Nissan Frontier V6 NISMO 4x4
Posts: 356
New Breakaway - with or without own battery?

I am replacing some of the worn-out items on my 1988 B19 Bigfoot. Since I have no idea how old the Bargman breakaway switch is that came with my trailer (would guess at least 10 years old, but possibly much more) and they are not expensive, I am thinking I should replace it. Here's my question:

I was initially just thinking of buying pretty much the same thing and wiring it like the original, which appears to run back into the trailer to connect to the AC DC Converter, but would obviously get its power from the trailer battery. My original one looks like this and I was planning to buy the same thing:

But then I saw the breakaway kits that come with their own separate battery, like this one:

Tekonsha Breakaway system with battery and switch 1028 - Read Reviews on Tekonsha #1028

I would appreciate feedback from others who have replaced their breakaway switch with either model (i.e., a breakaway switch that just runs off the trailer battery or a breakaway switch with its own separate little battery).

How likely is it that the model without the separate little battery will run down my travel trailer battery?

I am all about safety, but is the separate battery really necessary, as long as my travel trailer battery is charged and operational? Is it overkill or a really good idea?

I prefer to keep things simple, and the separate breakaway switch battery sounds like one more thing to have to maintain (and install)...

Thanks for your feedback!

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Old 08-21-2017, 10:16 PM   #2
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Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 4,647
The breakaway switch only draws power when it has been activated by pulling out the pin. So, if you have a house battery, you don't need a switch with its own battery.
But, before replacing it, why not just see if it works? Have somebody next to the wheel listen for a click when you pull the pin.
Don't have the trailer 7-pin connected to the tow vehicle though, or you may destroy your brake controller doing the test.

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Old 08-22-2017, 12:00 AM   #3
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Name: Val
Trailer: 1988 Bigfoot Deluxe B19 19 ft / 2007 Nissan Frontier V6 NISMO 4x4
Posts: 356
Thanks for the reply, Glenn. Once I have the new converter / charger in, then I will buy a new battery and test the existing breakaway switch, as you suggested.

It's nice to know that if it does need replacing, I can just get the same type without it being an issue, but even better if it doesn't need replacing.
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Old 08-22-2017, 12:05 AM   #4
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Name: Jan
Trailer: '02 Bigfoot 17'
Posts: 69
I would be surprised if a break-away switch went bad. It's possible the contacts in the switch have some tarnish/corrosion. Should be easy to just unplug and re-plug the break-away a few times to clean the contacts (done with battery disconnected). Maybe spray the insides with some electrical contact cleaner. Then test as suggested.
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:40 AM   #5
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Name: Joe
Trailer: 1999 Casita 17' SD
Posts: 595
I had one go bad. You should test it often and that's when I found mine was not working.
My new one is a Hopkins brand and has a red LED that lights when the pin is pulled to tell if it's working.

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