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Open Roads Forum  >  General RVing Issues

 > Power voltage to brakes??

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Gdetrailer

PA

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Joined: 01/05/2007

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Posted: 09/22/22 12:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ivbinconned wrote:

The trailer is a 34 footer and around 12,500 pound.
Couldn’t get at it today but tomorrow I will start by testing my battery voltage under the load of full braking.
If it is good I will then cut the wires where they first appear under the belly at the first axel and test the voltage there.

The brakes two wires are encased inside there own grey coating and appear to be in a loom right to where they emerge under the belly.
We will report tomorrow.
Thanks for all your comments


Most likely standard off the shelf jacketed brake wiring, looks like this..

[image]

The problem is, with the wiring run with a wire harness or loom and disappearing somewhere and the resurfacing elsewhere you are not able to verify if there is multiple splices or damage to the wire.. With it hidden, you could have even had a rodent decide to make a meal out of the jacket and chewed through a bunch of the strands for good measure.

Then there is the added issue of typical RV manufacturing laziness of using a very small ga wire running through the axle tubes, that wire often breaks or gets chaffed.. Either way result is less than stellar braking.

C Schomer

Pueblo West, Co.

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Posted: 09/25/22 11:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

FWIW, I had a cargo trailer that had much bigger magnets than the same 12 x 2 Dexter drum magnets that were on my fifth wheels and that cargo trailer stopped like a champ but the 5ers were terrible. The cargo trailer brakes had the biggest magnets that Dexter listed… I think they had white wires.
I wish I would have known the difference in the magnet sizes before I spent $1700 for disc brakes on my current fifth wheel.
I even tried premium riveted and pre-arced shoes on that lighter 5er with 10 gauge wire to both sides and there was minimal improvement from all of that work. The cargo trailer with the bigger magnets didn’t even need increased wire gauge to make it break so well. Craig

ivbinconned

highway 16

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Posted: 09/25/22 10:42pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Ok
Here’s what I now know and can report. I have learned that my Ram will not provide full brake voltage standing still. It’s smart.
There is also a setting on the Ram to adjust that voltage response on the touch screen. Two options “ “light towing” or “heavy”. My has always been on light.
Learned this on a Cummins forum.


Ram and 34 ft Cedar Creek

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 09/26/22 07:33am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Yes, most IBCs now days have some compensation for light or heavy trailers, your trailer weight most definitely would fit in the heavy setting. That should be helpful as it will tailor the output more for your heavy load.

But, I suspect you are still leaving a lot of braking power sitting on the table unused and unavailable until you can get more than 9-10V at the axles with your breakaway pin pulled fixed..

IBCs like most any brake controller can't supply voltages higher than the charging voltage they get from the engine. In fact most modern brake controllers use PWM or Pulse Width Modulation which switches the 12V on off rapidly. The width of the pulse is adjusted and the output average voltage varies with that width. They work like a buck regulator and does not have boost (can't increase output voltage above the input voltage. With a buck system, the max output is always less than the input..

So, it is critical to ensure all wire losses are minimized so all of your braking capacity is available.

ivbinconned

highway 16

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Posted: 09/26/22 08:22am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks. I had hoped that by soldering all connections at both ends of both axels I would get better results but if any it was only slight.
I did hook up to my much lighter goose neck flat deck and by pulling the brake lever the tires stand.
So. Would you recommend an aftermarket controller because of the weight of the trailer.
Where good response trailer brakes becomes very necessary is when descending a long grade in icy and snowy conditions.

opnspaces

San Diego Ca

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Posted: 09/26/22 08:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The IBC may not put out full voltage sitting still so I would take the truck and IBC out of the equation. Do not hook the truck up at all to the trailer.

The breakaway switch it nothing more than an on off switch. If you pull the pin the connection is made. This is a simple 2 minute test that should tell you if you are getting full braking.

Again truck disconnected from the trailer as in no umbilical connected.
Pull the emergency breakaway pin. With the pin pulled take a voltage reading at the battery. Then take a voltage reading at each wheel. The wheel voltage should be within a tenth of a volt or two of the battery.

Plug the breakaway pin back in to stop draining the battery.


2001 Suburban 4x4. 6.0L, 4.10 3/4 ton
2005 Jayco Jay Flight 27BH
1986 Coleman Columbia Popup.

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 09/26/22 09:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ivbinconned wrote:

Thanks. I had hoped that by soldering all connections at both ends of both axels I would get better results but if any it was only slight.
I did hook up to my much lighter goose neck flat deck and by pulling the brake lever the tires stand.
So. Would you recommend an aftermarket controller because of the weight of the trailer.
Where good response trailer brakes becomes very necessary is when descending a long grade in icy and snowy conditions.


Believe it or not, your IBC is much better over any of the current aftermarket controllers even with some of the short comings of it.

Comparing your gooseneck which is lighter and most likely shorter than your RV tells me controller you have is fine. If you had same problem with gooseneck that you have with the RV then the problem would be more likely on the truck end.

The only aftermarket controller I liked was the Jordan Ultimate 2020 which used a physical cable attached to your brake pedal.. That direct physical connection didn't rely on brake lights, brake light switches or complex computation curves required by accelerometer type aftermarket controllers. By the way, the accelerometer based controllers just like your IBC also trim down the output while sitting still. Stands to reason, if you are sitting still no need to keep applying the max output.

Unfortunately The Jordan Ultima 2020 was sold to Camco, Camco promptly dropped the entire brake controller business and the only option is to find used units and most folks that have one would rather take them to their grave over parting with them.

You had stated that you were getting 9V-10V at the axles when you pulled the break away pin, that is a huge drop from 12.5V at the trailer battery! A 3.5V drop is unacceptable, I would have expected not much more than .5V! You have either too light of wire from tongue to axle or you have damaged wire from tongue to axles. This voltage drop is excessive and using the trailer battery via the break away switch removes your truck as the main source of the problem.

Go back and reread my post which gives the wire gauge resistance and you can see for yourself how much percentage of braking power you can lose..

You really need to try to bypass the wire going from front to the axles, even if it is temporary to see if you have hidden damaged wiring. While wire now days isn't cheap, you could buy some 10 gauge SJ jacketed cable with three 10 gauge wires. Use that for a test, if you see an improvement as in less voltage drop then you may wish to consider bypassing the OEM wire permanently.

You could even use that SJ jacketed cable to make the bypass permanent or buy RV 30A 120V ends and make it an extension cord for your RV shore cord from the wire you bought for the test.

You can also use a 30A RV extension cord as a temporary bypass by buying 30A replacement plugs and make adapters for each end that terminate with wire..

You can even buy a couple of 25-50ft rolls of stranded "building wire" from Home Depot or Lowes (one in black and one in white) and use that as a bypass and even still use it if you need to bypass the OEM wire permanently.

Lots of ways to approach the problem.

Mmaxed

Montana

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Posted: 09/27/22 01:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Believe it or not, your IBC is much better over any of the current aftermarket controllers even with some of the short comings of it.

Absolutely not true, if his Ram is like my '15 was from the factory.

Someone at Ram decided that below 30 mph the trailer brakes would only need about 60% input. On the bigger brakes, 12" x 3" if memory served it was dangerous. More than one fellow reported rolling through an intersection. Ram did update the programming. My 2020 has very good trailer braking.

Grit dog

Black Diamond, WA

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Posted: 09/27/22 01:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hey GDE, how many trucks with IBCs have you used and for how long?
And what trucks were they?


2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29

Gdetrailer

PA

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Posted: 09/27/22 01:56pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Mmaxed wrote:

Believe it or not, your IBC is much better over any of the current aftermarket controllers even with some of the short comings of it.

Absolutely not true, if his Ram is like my '15 was from the factory.

Someone at Ram decided that below 30 mph the trailer brakes would only need about 60% input. On the bigger brakes, 12" x 3" if memory served it was dangerous. More than one fellow reported rolling through an intersection. Ram did update the programming. My 2020 has very good trailer braking.


[emoticon]

Then you should have bought a Ford?

Even though the RAM version has some short comings, it still will be much better action/reaction than depending on your brake light switch then having a computer decode a accelerometer and then apply what it thinks as appropriate output (IE best guess mathematically).

And as the OP discovered, their RAM version has an additional effort setting of "light or heavy" trailer and the DEFAULT is LIGHT.. Bet not to many of the RAM complaints ever looked into the manual to figure out what "light or heavy" meant.. Does help to read the manual..

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