The alert system for the ReadyBrake is an option, and it is a wire system (it turned out on my 40' pusher, running that wire the length of the motorhome was the toughest part of the whole installation job!!) They suggest connecting this wire in the toad to the brake switch. I had a wire back at the taillight, so I connected it there on the side of the diode that was just hot when the foot pedal on the car was depressed. Then you run the wire to the dashboard of the motorhome. I ran the wire right through my standard harness so I didn't have another wire to worry about at hookup. The indicator on the dash is a small red led that works just fine.
Nice work. Here's my thoughts on the US Gear System
"Monitoring. Application of the toad’s brakes is signaled (wire umbilical cord between motor home and toad) to the coach. I think this is base on the toad's brake light switch. Does anyone know for sure?"
This is based upon the small Power Module (http://www.usgear.com/utbcomponents.htm #20) in the Toad.
"Adjustments to the system from within the coach: The braking force of the toad’s brakes relative to that of the motor home’s brakes can be adjusted. I assume that this is also equivalent to being able to adjust the sensitivity – how quickly the coach must be stopping before the toad’s brakes are activated. Can anyone confirm this?"
I agree with other comments on this paragraph
"Adjustments to the system from within the toad: No adjustments are made in the toad."
Modify to read that no adjustments are required after the system is installed. The solenoid that activates the brake pedal requires some adjustment during installation and tweaking at first road test. I have not changed mine since installation.
"Use’s the toad’s electrical system. (Looking at the wiring diagrams, it appears that the toad’s battery could receive a trickle charge from the motor home. That is not listed as a feature. Can anyone shed a light on this?)"
I have not tried this. I find it easier to simply run the toad for 10-15 minutes to recharge the battery at day's end if this is a concern.
1988 Ford F350 Crew Cab Long Box 4WD with 7.3L IDI Turbo diesel, 5 speed
1998 Fleetwood Wilderness Lite TT 24' with Heart Freedom 2500/12 inverter and Link 1000 remote, 4 6V batteries and a Honda eu2000i generator
73 de VE6LK
Although I have not yet made all of the correction in the draft report, they will made before the final is posted. (I need to get to school so I can print the whole thing out. It's too big for me to analyze where changes belong.
You wrote "Fred, Did I guess correctly that the Silent Partner uses accelerometers instead of a mercury switch? Anyone visiting their website would have a hard time determining that Stay-IN-Play is a variation that can be applied to either of three basic units. Determine if accelerometers are used is impossible to get from the website."
I can't locate the papers that came with my unit, but I read them all during the installation and I don't think it answered that question. I can say that when using the "real time" mode the control module applies the toad brakes when the coach brakes are applied and SUFFICIENT DECELERATION FORCE force is detected. It will also release the toad brakes when the deceleration force is reduced even if the coach brakes are still on. Now whether this implies accelerometer or mecury switch, I don't know. Since the sensitivy is adjustable I think it may be more than a mercury switch. I've sent an email to SMI asking this question. I'll let you know when I get an answer.
I would like to make a couple of comments on this very informative write up.
I had origionaly installed a VIP Tow Brake system in my Honda CRV. It took three overnight deliveries to replace the defective parts before I was able to get the system installed and operating (they claimed they had an employee that made a lot of mistakes). The retracted stroke on the piston is adjusted by a switch held in place with a set screw. If the set screw fails the piston retracts all the way and trys to tear the brake pedal out. Guess what, mine failed (they acknowledged the failure) and damaged a vehicle that at that time was two weeks old to the tune of $675. Even though they acknowledged the failure they would not reimburse me for any of the damage. The did give me the money back for the system. IMO a very poor way to do business.
For two years now I have had the SMI four wire system. Very pleased with it. One minor problem with a component and they overnighted a replacement. They have since made a couple of improvements and have offered to make the changes to my unit free of charge if I return it to them. Turn around would be three days. I have called a couple of times looking for information (new MH installation) and there technical dept. has been great to deal with. I would highly recomment there unit....Hutch
Celia Lee, Hutch & Dixie our Choc. Lab
Good Sam & KOA
2007 Keystone Everest 344J, Quad Slides
2005 Ford F-350,Crew Cab, SWB, 6.0 Diesel, Reese 16K Slide Hitch
I am in the frustrating process of researching auxillary braking systems. I found draft very informative. The August 2003 issue of MotorHome magazine has an article on Dinghy Braking Systems that may be of help.
Does anyone have any information on the Roadmaster BrakePro(February 2004, MotorHome magazine, upsidedown page 60)? It looks very similar to the BreakBuddy or Appolo, but has proportional breaking. I sent RoadMaster an email requesting more information, but have not heard back from them yet. Camping World never heard of it and when I inquired at a RoadMaster dealer in my area, they tried to sell me a BreakBuddy. RoadMaster's website doesn't mention it.
As I stated in the original post, I don’t want this thread to advocate for or against any of the products. Certainly there is a valuable place for advocacy, but I want this thread to provide an overview of different systems to help forum members filter their choices. I would also like for the thread to be an objective foundation for future discussions. Since you have used the VIP system, can you help me with this outstanding question? Adjustments to the system from within the toad: The amount of force applied to the toad’s brake pedal arm is set with a pressure regulator on the actuator assembly. Confirmation or correction?
I think it is excellent information, but here is a caution I posted in the other thread.
Although it is the best compilation I have seen in one place and is well worth the time to read, two things should be remembered when comparing the data:
It was not produced by an independent source. VIP Enterprises is selling an auxiliary system and has presented the data in a light most favorable to themselves. Example: The chart claims that no auxiliary system Applies Towed Brakes in true proportions (same as M/H). There are some manufacturers who would disagree with that statement.
The chart has not been revised in two years (last revision 1-1-02) and as such, some of the information is outdated. How much error in the chart this creates is not easy for me to determine. I would think the MSRP comparison is wrong. I know there are places that list optional equipment which is now standard.
Having done considerable research recently, I'm aware of other errors in the chart. For example: The chart claims that, as an option, BrakeBuddy has Automatic Operation with manual override. There is no manual override with a BrakeBuddy system.