Brake Wiring in the Scamp - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-05-2008, 11:28 AM   #1
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I recently did the mechanical installation for brakes on our 2004 13' Scamp. I'm about to do the wiring and have discovered that Scamp just uses wire nuts for the major connection of the 7-wire line into the house system. I guess this has been found to be adequate, but I'm thinking I at least want soldered connections of the brake wires into the 7-wire line. Is this overkill? I bet Scamp connects into the house wiring downstream of this major connection point for factory-installed brakes. I'm thinking of making solder connections into the 7-wire line, THEN connecting to the rest of the house wiring by whatever means is reasonable, which could include sticking with the wirenuts. It's my nature to want to do something more elaborate with terminal strips, etc, but Scamp's setup must be sufficient or they wouldn't do it that way, right?
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:19 PM   #2
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I recently did the mechanical installation for brakes on our 2004 13' Scamp. I'm about to do the wiring and have discovered that Scamp just uses wire nuts for the major connection of the 7-wire line into the house system. I guess this has been found to be adequate, but I'm thinking I at least want soldered connections of the brake wires into the 7-wire line. Is this overkill? I bet Scamp connects into the house wiring downstream of this major connection point for factory-installed brakes. I'm thinking of making solder connections into the 7-wire line, THEN connecting to the rest of the house wiring by whatever means is reasonable, which could include sticking with the wirenuts. It's my nature to want to do something more elaborate with terminal strips, etc, but Scamp's setup must be sufficient or they wouldn't do it that way, right?
Soldering of wires that move is never a good idea. The problem is the heat and solder make the wires brittle at the connection. As wires move and vibrate they break at the solder connection. I would be more likely to use wire nuts and put dielectric grease in them after making the connection. If you are concerned that they might come loose a bit of tape can fix that. The very best of connection is a made with crimp connectors. However, that requires a good crimping tool and/or a bit of strength to make a good crimp.

The most likely to fail is solder connections. Been there too many times to count.
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:04 PM   #3
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And, as been oft-repeated on this group, do NOT tin any wires before making any crimp or wire-nut or other compression connection. Solder will cold-flow under pressure and the connection will eventually not be as tight as it originally was.
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Old 03-05-2008, 01:06 PM   #4
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And, as been oft-repeated on this group, do NOT tin any wires before making any crimp or wire-nut or other compression connection. Solder will cold-flow under pressure and the connection will eventually not be as tight as it originally was.
As important tinning does the same thing as soldering, heats the wires and makes them brittle. Hence, connection failure.
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:17 PM   #5
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Wow, so you guys recommend against solder! Well, I'm glad I asked. I've done a ton of ham radio antenna work this way and never had the failure you're describing, even with wires whipping around in the breeze. What about the connections to the wires coming from the brake backing plates? I was going to solder the splices and then cover with heat shrink tubing. Would you use butt-type crimp connectors here, then tape over them to keep the crud out?

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Parker
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:42 PM   #6
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Wow, so you guys recommend against solder! Well, I'm glad I asked. I've done a ton of ham radio antenna work this way and never had the failure you're describing, even with wires whipping around in the breeze. What about the connections to the wires coming from the brake backing plates? I was going to solder the splices and then cover with heat shrink tubing. Would you use butt-type crimp connectors here, then tape over them to keep the crud out?

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Parker
Generally with antenna coax there's a connector with a pretty strong strain relief that protects the brittle part of the solder connection. With trailer wiring with a lot of vibration you don't have that.
A butt type crimp connection is good. Once the crimp is made I'd put dielectric grease in the opening(s). The dielectric grease will probably keep all the stuff out and prevent corrosion of the wires from road salts. Tape could (note could) help keep the dielectric grease in place, thus possibly providing a longer term protection.

I strongly recommend dielectric grease for any outside connections. We did a test a few years ago. Submerged a product with connector in salt water for about 1 year. The dielectric grease protected the connector with no signs of any corrosion. The same connector on the outside of a vehicle corroded and the connector failed after about two months. Made me a believer.
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:54 PM   #7
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One more question, then, since you're advocating crimp connectors. How do I bring two #10 wires in on one side of a butt connector to mate with a single #10 wire on the other side (a Y connection, so to speak). Not a problem with a wire nut, but where do I get crimp connectors to make such a connection?

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Old 03-05-2008, 03:14 PM   #8
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Two ways I can think of:

Use a large butt splice, put all three wires in one end, crimp, apply dielectric grease to both ends.

Use one of these , crimp and fill. These connectors are very standard in home wiring and come in many sizes as I recall.




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Old 03-05-2008, 03:19 PM   #9
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Two ways I can think of:

Use a large butt splice, put all three wires in one end, crimp, apply dielectric grease to both ends.

Use one of these , crimp and fill. These connectors are very standard in home wiring and come in many sizes as I recall.
Well, I guess that's simple enough. Back to Lowes! I think for the simple butt splices at the brake backing plates I'll used the standard crimped butt connectors, fill with dielectric, then cover with heat shrink to keep the grease in and the crud out.

Thanks,
Parker
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Old 03-05-2008, 03:45 PM   #10
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I guess I am a contrarian.
I have never been without a boat and boat trailer for the last 40 years. I have a 3 ATV trailer, a Trillium and my Scamp. In the past I have had stock and horse trailers and other travel trailers.
I solder every connection that I can when working on the lights or brakes. I tin the ends of the wires when making up the electrical connectors from the TV to the trailer. On exposed joints such as the brake wires at the backing plates I use 2 layers of heat shrink tubing and then coat it with Liquid Electrical Tape.
I have never had a soldered connection fail. I cannnot remember the last time I had a problem with my lights or brakes, other than on a new to me trailer, other than a burned out bulb.
Maybe I have just been lucky but it seems to work for me.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:01 PM   #11
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I guess I am a contrarian.
I have never been without a boat and boat trailer for the last 40 years. I have a 3 ATV trailer, a Trillium and my Scamp. In the past I have had stock and horse trailers and other travel trailers.
I solder every connection that I can when working on the lights or brakes. I tin the ends of the wires when making up the electrical connectors from the TV to the trailer. On exposed joints such as the brake wires at the backing plates I use 2 layers of heat shrink tubing and then coat it with Liquid Electrical Tape.
I have never had a soldered connection fail. I cannnot remember the last time I had a problem with my lights or brakes, other than on a new to me trailer, other than a burned out bulb.
Maybe I have just been lucky but it seems to work for me.
John
Test for you.. Solder a couple wires together, use a crimp connector to splice a couple wires. Now wiggle the wires at each connection until failure. Come back and tell us which one failed failed first.

I've been in the electronic manufacturing business for over 40 years. I have yet to see a properly crimp connection fail. Just last Friday I had to tear apart a piece of production machinery and repair a solder connection. I seem to need to repair solder connections three for four times a year, not the same ones.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:08 PM   #12
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Actually, I've never had any of the connections fail, so doing anything might be a waste of time<grinz>.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:52 PM   #13
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Actually, I've never had any of the connections fail, so doing anything might be a waste of time<grinz>.
At quick guess I've seen a couple thousand or more solder connection failures, probably more.
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Old 03-05-2008, 05:06 PM   #14
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Based on the above, two out of three don't have problems. And the third only has problems if connections are soldered.

Seriously, I've never had a problem with crimped or wire-nut trailer connections on a long series of boat, utility and travel trailers except when the wires suffered physical damage by being crushed or pulled.

Even if it were not a potential problem, I wouldn't go to the trouble of soldering connections. I'm not trying for Mil-Spec, just good. Crimps and wire-nuts have been good in the past, and any future connections will be finished with dielectric grease.
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Old 03-05-2008, 10:11 PM   #15
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Based on the above, two out of three don't have problems. And the third only has problems if connections are soldered.

Seriously, I've never had a problem with crimped or wire-nut trailer connections on a long series of boat, utility and travel trailers except when the wires suffered physical damage by being crushed or pulled.

Even if it were not a potential problem, I wouldn't go to the trouble of soldering connections. I'm not trying for Mil-Spec, just good. Crimps and wire-nuts have been good in the past, and any future connections will be finished with dielectric grease.
I was getting my non-fiberglass trailers ready for their annual inspections this week. On my new-to-me cargo trailer I noticed it had a plastic junction box for the 7 pin pig tail. I opened the panel and found a fused 7 pin terminal strip. This works great for tying in the breakaway switch and all the terminal connections are protected. The junction box was made by Quest but I could not locate one locally. I did find a sealed 7 pin terminal strip box (W/O fuses) at Redneck and ordered two for my flat bed trailers. They arrived today and I was real pleased with the boxes. I plan order two more to install them in both of my Scamps with brakes. They go for around $20. ea. and make a neat looking wiring job.
Besides aiding in tying in the breakaway switch wiring, the breakaway battery boxes are now coming with sealed lead acid batteries with a charger lead. The box also lets you pick up vehicle 12 VDC at a convenient location to keep your break-away battery charged. The Redneck box also has strain relief clamps built into the box inside the sealed area and it comes with hardware.
Looks like I have about another week of packing bearings, replacing and adjusting brakes and fixing lights. At least trailers donít have engines and transmissions.


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Old 03-06-2008, 12:06 AM   #16
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i've worked @ two trailer manufacturers, & crimping w/dialectic grease is the way to go... & much easier to disassemble if you ever need to change/repair wiring...
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:11 AM   #17
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I was getting my non-fiberglass trailers ready for their annual inspections this week. On my new-to-me cargo trailer I noticed it had a plastic junction box for the 7 pin pig tail. I opened the panel and found a fused 7 pin terminal strip. This works great for tying in the breakaway switch and all the terminal connections are protected. The junction box was made by Quest but I could not locate one locally. I did find a sealed 7 pin terminal strip box (W/O fuses) at Redneck and ordered two for my flat bed trailers. They arrived today and I was real pleased with the boxes. I plan order two more to install them in both of my Scamps with brakes. They go for around $20. ea. and make a neat looking wiring job.
Besides aiding in tying in the breakaway switch wiring, the breakaway battery boxes are now coming with sealed lead acid batteries with a charger lead. The box also lets you pick up vehicle 12 VDC at a convenient location to keep your break-away battery charged. The Redneck box also has strain relief clamps built into the box inside the sealed area and it comes with hardware.
Looks like I have about another week of packing bearings, replacing and adjusting brakes and fixing lights. At least trailers don't have engines and transmissions.
Thanks for the tip! I may end up with such a setup before I'm done. I am installing a breakaway battery with the charger in the box as you described. I'm mounting it under the front seat area of the Scamp near the rest of the wiring, running out through the same opening as the 7-wire cable to the breakaway switch.

Parker




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Old 03-06-2008, 12:46 PM   #18
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Note for the archives: If one already has a battery on board (aka 'house' battery), which is the case with most eggs, a separate battery for the break-away brake switch is not needed.
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Old 03-06-2008, 02:20 PM   #19
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Note for the archives: If one already has a battery on board (aka 'house' battery), which is the case with most eggs, a separate battery for the break-away brake switch is not needed.
I was heading that way myself, but was admonished by someone else here not to use the house battery. I forget the concern....the fridge may run it down if the car is not charging it for some reason, so the brakes won't work in a breakaway, or the breakaway switch will run down the house battery if activated, instead of just the small separate battery. Anyway, I decided to spend the 50 bucks and put one in. Probably a "nice to have" item in the long run, minus whatever maintenance it takes.

Just finished all the external wiring on the brakes (with crimp connectors ) while we had a little warming spell, so now I can move inside to make the final connections and not have to try to heat the garage.
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:03 PM   #20
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Here's an interesting tidbit I ran across in an axle PDF I downloaded from Redneck Trailer. Lots of good info in the PDF.


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