Help installing a brakeaway switch - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-22-2018, 09:29 AM   #1
Member
 
Name: Karen & Don
Trailer: 2012 Scamp 13Ft
Maine
Posts: 97
Help installing a brakeaway switch

I need to know how to install a Bargman brakeaway switch, not replace an existing one. Any know of any help on this forum? Thank you, Don.
__________________

Kardon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 10:14 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kardon View Post
I need to know how to install a Bargman brakeaway switch, not replace an existing one. Any know of any help on this forum? Thank you, Don.
In fact that is my project for today.

Assuming three wires come off the switch, one is ground (should be white), one is positive / hot (should be black) and the third is the brake power (should be blue). You might not have a ground wire on your switch... See post five below regarding the ground connection for switches that have one.

White goes to frame or battery negative post (battery post is what I am doing since frame grounds can get flaky and the battery post is handy).

Black goes to the battery positive post (assuming house battery).

Blue ties into the brake power wire that runs from the umbilical cords back to both brakes. You can connect the blue wire to the point where the umbilical brake power wire connects to the trailer wiring, or under the camper where the brake power wire is (should be blue). The latter is the way I am going to do it only because the umbilical is well sealed up now, and I want to redo the splice that is under the camper. Of course your wire could be run differently.

When the plug is pulled out of the switch, the black and green wires are shorted in the switch so that power can flow from the battery positive, through the now closed switch, to the brakes. The ground connection completes the circuit so that the full voltage of the battery is supplied to the brakes (that is to say that there is no controller to limit the braking). I assume it will lock up the brakes even at highway speed.

The cable needs to be looped or secured to the tug and not the drawbar. If the drawbar comes out, the cable needs to still be attached to the tug. I am using the hole where the safety chain attaches.

The switch needs to be mounted in a location where the cable has enough slack, but not so much that it gets unintentionally hooked on something, and so that the plug will be pulled more or less straight out of the switch if the trailer separates from the tug.

I spent about 20 minutes planning the cable and switch location.

I think that covers most of it.
__________________

gordon2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 10:33 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
Name: bob
Trailer: 1984 u-haul ct13; 1996 Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe; 1946 Modernistic teardrop
New York
Posts: 4,937
A question about the cable, should the length be so that if the trailer comes off the ball and is still attached by the chains, it will activate the breakaway switch and apply the brakes? I've seen people recommend the coiled cables, but I imagine the trailer would have to be completely disconnected, even the chains, for the coil cable to stretch out to activate the breakaway switch.
mary and bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 10:45 AM   #4
Junior Member
 
Name: Mark
Trailer: looking
Washington
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
In fact that is my project for today.

Assuming three wires come off the switch, one is ground (should be white), one is positive / hot (should be black) and the third is the brake power (should be blue).
I have never seen a three conductor break-away switch.
Rock knocker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 11:19 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock knocker View Post
I have never seen a three conductor break-away switch.
And now you have

But you are right, the OPs switch likely has two wires. And reading my post again I see that it was not clear that the ground wire from the switch is not part of the brake circuit. The brake ground does not go through the switch and the switch ground is only for the LED light that shows when it is activated (and is therefore optional). Sorry for the confusion.
Attached Thumbnails
BS.jpg  
gordon2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 12:54 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,745
Oh I did forget one thing.. circuit protection. You dont want the hot wire from the battery positive shorting out to the frame ground.. it will spark and can melt in seconds. IMHO a fuse or circuit breaker as close to the positive post as possible is called for. I think the prevailing "best practice" is to use a self-resetting circuit breaker for brake power circuits and it should be high enough value to handle the load from the brakes when they are full on (and then some).

Now this is another area where there seems to be some debate but I have given you my opinion. A fuse or breaker on the break-away power wire might be another possible failure point that would stop the brakes from working when the break-away switch is activated but that is not likely, esp. if you check things once in a while. The bigger risk IMHO is the wire chaffing, animals chewing the insulation, or something of the sort so that you have a short and all the energy in the battery is dumped out in seconds. And that heat and possible fire is right next to the propane tank too

As for activation or not when the safety chains are still attached, I can see arguments either way but I think 51 % of the time it is better to not activate the break-away if chains are attached. But I could be wrong. Its probably academic for me however since I doubt I could rig it to reliably activate or not with the chains still attached while also not activating when the trailer is hitched (thats bad). As long as it activates with the trailer fully loose, makes me legal, and reduces my potential liability, I will be OK with it.
gordon2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 02:48 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Glenn Baglo's Avatar
 
Name: Glenn ( second 'n' is silent )
Trailer: 2009 Escape 17B '08 RAV4 SPORT V6
British Columbia
Posts: 6,612
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
As for activation or not when the safety chains are still attached, I can see arguments either way but I think 51 % of the time it is better to not activate the break-away if chains are attached. But I could be wrong. Its probably academic for me however since I doubt I could rig it to reliably activate or not with the chains still attached while also not activating when the trailer is hitched (thats bad). As long as it activates with the trailer fully loose, makes me legal, and reduces my potential liability, I will be OK with it.
If the chains are still attached and trailer brakes are not activated by the breakaway switch, you will be rear-ended by your trailer as you apply the tow vehicle brakes. Up to you.
__________________
What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?
- Bertolt Brecht
Glenn Baglo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 03:28 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Jon in AZ's Avatar
 
Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
Arizona
Posts: 8,509
Registry
If the chains are still attached, isn't there at least a good chance the umbilical cord is, too?
Jon in AZ is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 04:35 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
floyd's Avatar
 
Name: Floyd
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
IllAnnoy
Posts: 7,442
Registry
You don't want to fuse a breakaway switch just as you should not fuse the power wire to the brakes from the brake controller.
The former should be wired directly and the latter should use a self resetting breaker.
I agree with Gordon that the breakaway switch should only be activated if the trailer is completely detached from the trailer. That is the purpose and why it is called a "breakaway" switch.
floyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 05:40 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
You don't want to fuse a breakaway switch just as you should not fuse the power wire to the brakes from the brake controller.
The former should be wired directly and the latter should use a self resetting breaker....
Why would you use a circuit protection device on one battery that supplies power to the brakes, but not on another? Shorts can occur in either case.
gordon2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 06:27 PM   #11
Member
 
Name: Karen & Don
Trailer: 2012 Scamp 13Ft
Maine
Posts: 97
Gordon, what I have is a two wire brakeaway switch. I was just wondering if anyone has ever seen a video on how to install one of these. Don.
Kardon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 06:38 PM   #12
Senior Member
 
mszabo's Avatar
 
Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Michigan
Posts: 850
https://youtu.be/gEomUD8lla4
mszabo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 06:38 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kardon View Post
Gordon, what I have is a two wire brakeaway switch. I was just wondering if anyone has ever seen a video on how to install one of these. Don.
Well there are plenty of videos...
https://www.google.com/search?tbm=vi...&bih=589&dpr=3

In my post just ignore the part about the ground (white) wire.

With your two wire switch it does not matter which wire goes to the battery positive and which goes to the brake power wire (blue). You just need the switch to make a connection from battery positive to the brake's power wire when it is activated.
gordon2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 08:14 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
floyd's Avatar
 
Name: Floyd
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
IllAnnoy
Posts: 7,442
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Why would you use a circuit protection device on one battery that supplies power to the brakes, but not on another? Shorts can occur in either case.
The manufacturers of brake controllers call for a circuit breaker which resets in the event of it tripping. The circuitry is a part of the TV with wiring usually running through the TV from front to back.

The breakaway switch is an emergency device which only powers the brakes in case of a catastrophic failure no second chance for a breaker and you are only protecting about 3feet of wire on the tongue in any case.
I suppose a 30A fuse wouldn't hurt but the switches I have installed do not recommend a fuse or a breaker. Maybe they think the arch caused by activation could blow the fuse ?

My guess is that your "shorts" would be soiled anyway if the breakaway switch was ever activated at speed.

I don't have a breakaway switch... and for only $8 I sure would have one if I thought it was needed. Perhaps on a double axle trailer over 5000 pounds and over 25-30 ft long you might have a slight chance of its being effective. Probably just go upside down in the ditch anyway!

My guess is that a renegade 13ft Scamp simply would not stop straight and would immediately resemble a giant misdirected ping pong ball.
Breakaway switch or not.
Brake chambers on semis are fail safe but more for loss of air pressure than for accidental trailer disconnect.

Best advice in any event is to inspect your rig regularly and check the connection before every departure.
My wife and I do separate connection checks and we check all DOT lights before leaving... Every time.
floyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 08:51 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
...
Well you make a number of good points.. but bottom line I think is that you are balancing one risk (a short circuit) against another risk (the possible failure of the last ditch braking in the chance of a trailer coming unhitched).

Yes, inspections can prevent this and almost all problems. In fact I just found the nut on my sway control ball loose. It might soon have caused the loss of the ball and the dropping the front of the sway bar to the ground, likely at 65 MPH.. glad I found it.

And I agree.. a 13 and maybe 16 footer Scamp likely has the brakes a little unevenly adjusted, or other slight imbalances that will cause the trailer to spin around and who knows what else if it get unhitched and the brakes activate at speed (or even if there is no braking). But even if I dont think I need a break-away switch, which has been my opinion for the first 30 months or so of ownership, there are also legal and liability considerations. If my trailer becomes a 2,600 pound unhitched spinning ping pong ball and someone gets hurt, I would rather be able to say in court that I had a break-away switch then I didn't have one because I didn't think I needed one. But the chance of an unhitch event is so small as long as things are maintained and checked regularly that I would not lose much sleep if there was not a break-away switch (unless I was on the jury in a State or Province that required one). YMMV
gordon2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 10:22 PM   #16
Member
 
Name: Karen & Don
Trailer: 2012 Scamp 13Ft
Maine
Posts: 97
Thank you Gordon and all that responded to this. I just got off work and I will look at this tomorrow. Don.
Kardon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2018, 10:50 PM   #17
Senior Member
 
floyd's Avatar
 
Name: Floyd
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
IllAnnoy
Posts: 7,442
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
Well you make a number of good points.. but bottom line I think is that you are balancing one risk (a short circuit) against another risk (the possible failure of the last ditch braking in the chance of a trailer coming unhitched).

Yes, inspections can prevent this and almost all problems. In fact I just found the nut on my sway control ball loose. It might soon have caused the loss of the ball and the dropping the front of the sway bar to the ground, likely at 65 MPH.. glad I found it.

And I agree.. a 13 and maybe 16 footer Scamp likely has the brakes a little unevenly adjusted, or other slight imbalances that will cause the trailer to spin around and who knows what else if it get unhitched and the brakes activate at speed (or even if there is no braking). But even if I dont think I need a break-away switch, which has been my opinion for the first 30 months or so of ownership, there are also legal and liability considerations. If my trailer becomes a 2,600 pound unhitched spinning ping pong ball and someone gets hurt, I would rather be able to say in court that I had a break-away switch then I didn't have one because I didn't think I needed one. But the chance of an unhitch event is so small as long as things are maintained and checked regularly that I would not lose much sleep if there was not a break-away switch (unless I was on the jury in a State or Province that required one). YMMV
For my trailer...
1] no brakes are required (1900 pound trailer)
2] Brakes are required above 3000 pounds.
3] Breakaway switch required above 5000 pounds
My trailer is 3000 pounds below the requirement.
Still if I thought it would increase public safety or the security of my property I would have one.

My concern has always been to educate myself, then take responsibility for my actions. While compliance is important, I would never live my life in fear of it!
The paranoid are punished daily, long before they are accused!
floyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2018, 06:59 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
Posts: 3,745
Quote:
Originally Posted by floyd View Post
For my trailer...
1] no brakes are required (1900 pound trailer)
2] Brakes are required above 3000 pounds.
3] Breakaway switch required above 5000 pounds
My trailer is 3000 pounds below the requirement.
Still if I thought it would increase public safety or the security of my property I would have one.

My concern has always been to educate myself, then take responsibility for my actions. While compliance is important, I would never live my life in fear of it!
The paranoid are punished daily, long before they are accused!
There is a big difference between reasonable risk assessment and response, vs. fear and paranoia. Your characterization is hyperbole. Like I said, I used my Scamp for about 30 months with no break-away switch and the entire time I was not afraid or paranoid. The chances of it being needed are just too small to be much of a concern. But surly you don't think that, all other things being equal, your rig is safer without a break-away switch than it would be with one?

Part of the reason for my decision to add a break-away switch is that I plan to travel through areas where is it required through statute. Sometimes the law is if you have trailer brakes, you also need a break-away switch, so in those cases the trailer's weight is irrelevant (if it has brakes already). It's a reasonable thing to do, not done out of fear or paranoia.
gordon2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2018, 08:05 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
floyd's Avatar
 
Name: Floyd
Trailer: 2004 13 ft Scamp Custom Deluxe
IllAnnoy
Posts: 7,442
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
There is a big difference between reasonable risk assessment and response, vs. fear and paranoia. Your characterization is hyperbole. Like I said, I used my Scamp for about 30 months with no break-away switch and the entire time I was not afraid or paranoid. The chances of it being needed are just too small to be much of a concern. But surly you don't think that, all other things being equal, your rig is safer without a break-away switch than it would be with one?

Part of the reason for my decision to add a break-away switch is that I plan to travel through areas where is it required through statute. Sometimes the law is if you have trailer brakes, you also need a break-away switch, so in those cases the trailer's weight is irrelevant (if it has brakes already). It's a reasonable thing to do, not done out of fear or paranoia.
There was neither hyperbole nor accusation in my response.
It was measured and reasonable.
I merely stated that I believe that while compliance is important, it is not as important as being motivated by understanding and taking responsible action. having done so obviates paranoia and exceeds compliance.
Law is of course not properly judged by its letter but rather by its spirit and motive.

A trailer might well be safer with an automatically deployed drag chute and remote controlled steerable wheel which also deploys upon detachment. After some consideration I have determined that the risk simply does not justify the application.

From the consensus of your posts I assume you put safety above compliance and understand that the two can not always be conflated.
floyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2018, 08:49 AM   #20
Senior Member
 
Paul O.'s Avatar
 
Name: Paul
Trailer: '04 Scamp 19D, TV:Tacoma 4.0L 4door, SB
Colorado
Posts: 1,581
I am with Floyd on this. Gordon says:"Part of the reason for my decision to add a break-away switch is that I plan to travel through areas where is it required through statute."

As an example, my car was not purchased in California, is not registered in California and I am certain it does not meet many California requirements for emissions or other issues "that are known to the state". Can I travel there without taking a huge legal risk? I am just trying to make sense of this, so I think it is a reasonable question.

This is not to denigrate that state in any way - we'll be camping there next month, first time, actually.
__________________

Paul O. is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
geographic


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need help with mystery wire to water pump switch Sandstone Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 10 06-30-2017 09:17 AM
Help Needed - installing a disconnect switch and a battery charger Joe & Cherie Electrical | Charging, Systems, Solar and Generators 21 04-09-2016 07:59 PM
Help! What is this red switch in our U-Haul? Bridget T Problem Solving | Owners Helping Owners 6 07-06-2010 06:40 PM
Installing Water Pump and Faucet with Switch Patrick M. Modifications, Alterations and Updates 28 05-04-2007 06:18 AM
Scamp 16' installing breakaway switch Carol H Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 23 04-17-2007 05:49 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:01 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
×