How often do you check your brake-away switch - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 09-02-2016, 03:17 PM   #1
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How often do you check your brake-away switch

Tested ours this morning and everything worked well
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Old 09-02-2016, 03:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by LarryandLiz View Post
Tested ours this morning and everything worked well
Not specific to the Escapes

But I clearly remember on our 2011 Casita - it clearly said to NEVER activate the break away brake cable when the Casita was connected to the Tug, or else the tug could be badly damaged, electrically.

Not sure why. I just remember that point.

What is the situation on the Escapes?

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Old 09-02-2016, 03:57 PM   #3
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From the Escape manual:

Breakaway Switch
The breakaway switch is another safety device as it provides a means of automatically slowing and
stopping your RV if it should become detached during traveling. The cable from the break-away switch
should be attached to the tow vehicle so that it remains connected in the event the trailer coupling
detaches from the hitch ball. The breakaway switch is powered from the RV 12 Volt battery. If separation
occurs the pin is pulled out of the switch and current from the RV battery is applied to the trailer brakes.
See electrical section for testing breakaway switch.
DISCONNECT THE UNIT FROM THE SEVEN-WAY TOW VEHICLE CORD PRIOR TO TESTING THE
BREAKAWAY SWITCH. FAILURE TO DO SO MAY CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE BRAKE CONTROLLER.

Page 42 of my copy tells you how to test the switch.
Kudos to LarryandLiz. I've got to do that.
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:14 PM   #4
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Do not connect the electric brake cord from trailer to the tow when testing.

My escape manual recommended testing the switch before each trip (but that may be to keep the manufacturer from being sued). Frankly I was scared to touch the switch. Scared that I'd never get the switch back into the trailer. Scared that I would completely screw everything up.

I'm known as a person who OVERTHINKS. It turned out to be very easy. And now I know that the damn switch works.

Larry
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:37 PM   #5
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I agree that the electrical cable should not be connected, for the reason already shared... but that means that your breakaway switch cable must be comfortably longer than the electrical cable, so that if you have an accidental disconnection (hopefully at low speed), then the electrical cable is yanked out before the switch activates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryandLiz View Post
My escape manual recommended testing the switch before each trip (but that may be to keep the manufacturer from being sued). Frankly I was scared to touch the switch. Scared that I'd never get the switch back into the trailer. Scared that I would completely screw everything up.

I'm known as a person who OVERTHINKS. It turned out to be very easy. And know I now that the damn switch works.

Larry
When I got my first trailer I pulled the breakaway switch plug, and it was very difficult to remove; it was likely corroded internally. I replaced the old switch with a new one. It's a good thing that I tested the old one.

On the other hand, even the new one is hard to pull out (it's supposed to be), it's hard to put back in, and to know if it's working you have to check each wheel brake... which means listening for a magnet click or jacking up the trailer and trying to spin the wheel. I don't check it routinely; I certainly wouldn't check it more than annually. I doubt anyone on the planet checks it each time they use the trailer, and I wouldn't be surprised if the switch would wear out in a few dozen uses... this isn't equipment built for many cycles.
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:54 PM   #6
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Agreed Brian

The switch wasn't particularly "easy" to pull out - (but I workout )

When I pushed the switch back into place both Liz and I heard the brakes release. And we could literally see the trailer shift as the brakes released. So I am feeling pretty sure that the brake release is properly re-connected.

I will check the brake release again next season.

by the way, I have never checked the tongue weight either. And we bought a tongue weight device from Reace when we picked up the trailer the first time.
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Old 09-02-2016, 05:42 PM   #7
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For those who register their trailer in "yearly" inspection states, which Pennsylvania is one, the is part of the yearly inspection procedure required to pass inspection.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
Not specific to the Escapes

But I clearly remember on our 2011 Casita - it clearly said to NEVER activate the break away brake cable when the Casita was connected to the Tug, or else the tug could be badly damaged, electrically.

Not sure why. I just remember that point.

What is the situation on the Escapes?

I would suspect that 12v current would flow from the battery in the trailer to sensitive electronic components in the tow vehicle, potentially damaging them. Many professional welders will not arc weld anything on a trailer if it is connected to a tow vehicle. Ford does not recommend arc welding on their vehicles, not sure if they mean by "non-professional" welders but other people who weld for a living tell me the vehicles battery must be disconnected prior to striking an arc.
I am neither an electrical engineer nor fully versed in the reasons why vehicle components could be damaged should the breakaway system be activated when the trailer is connected to its tow vehicle, but let me toss out this question: Would a diode on the line from the TV which allows current to flow only in one direction prevent any "accidental" damage to the tow vehicle due to activation of the breakaway switch? Or would a diode negatively affect the performance of the electric braking system?
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Old 09-03-2016, 08:03 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryandLiz View Post
Tested ours this morning and everything worked well
Hi: LarryandLiz... I did mine once on our 5.0 entirely by accident. First time camping and backing into position. Suddenly the trailer wouldn't budge. After reving the **it out of the V6 GMC and going nowhere, I got out to ask my DW if I was against the only tree on the site. As I walked past the truck box looking at the hitch, I noticed a wire with a black plastic end on it. What's this doing here? Found the place for it to go and put it back. Continued as if nothing had happened. Good thing it was evening and no one was watching.
I do a pull away test of the brakes, before heading out on a camping trip though. Alf
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Old 09-03-2016, 04:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
I would suspect that 12v current would flow from the battery in the trailer to sensitive electronic components in the tow vehicle, potentially damaging them.
Good to consider, but how? The breakaway switch connects the positive side of the trailer's battery to the positive side of the trailer's brake magnets, which is also the output from the tow vehicle's brake controller (the blue wire in a standard towing connection). Current will flow through the magnets to the ground circuit, but that happens every time the brakes are used, so only the positive connection is the only potential concern.

The blue wire connects only to the output of the brake controller, and that's the part which is a potential damage concern, although I have no idea why susceptibility to damage this way is an acceptable feature of a controller design. No matter what the controller does, the worst it can do is apply the same trailer battery voltage to the vehicle's battery positive (which is what the battery charge line does all the time) or to the brake pedal light switch terminal... which gets battery voltage every time the pedal is pushed.

It's hard to imagine how anything in the vehicle can be damaged, but it would be bad to find out by blowing something up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
Many professional welders will not arc weld anything on a trailer if it is connected to a tow vehicle. Ford does not recommend arc welding on their vehicles, not sure if they mean by "non-professional" welders but other people who weld for a living tell me the vehicles battery must be disconnected prior to striking an arc.
Yes, and the manuals - from Ford, GM, and probably everyone else - for upfitters (companies that add custom bodies and equipment to vehicles) describe these precautions in detail. But you don't weld with as little as 12 volts, and that's the problem, or one of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C&G in FL View Post
Would a diode on the line from the TV which allows current to flow only in one direction prevent any "accidental" damage to the tow vehicle due to activation of the breakaway switch? Or would a diode negatively affect the performance of the electric braking system?
Yes, it would work, but yes, it would be a problem. No current flows through a diode until the voltage across it reaches a threshold value, and above that the voltage lost across the diode continues at that value. This would mean that the trailer brakes would not apply until that point was reached, and (less of a concern) the maximum braking force would be limited compared to having full voltage available.
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