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Author Topic: Question on brake controller  (Read 604 times)

RVRAC

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Question on brake controller
« on: July 31, 2017, 12:00:13 AM »
I recently bought an American Dolly with the brake controller.  I am new at this and am concerned that whenever I hit the brakes it feel like a clunck or a thump like the brakes in the dolly are holding the whole thing.  I contacted the manufacturer who told me it is normal as it is time delay system.  Does this sound right?  Any suggestions?
2017 Leprechaun 311 FS
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot
American Dolly
Home: WI
Snowbird 6 months/yr.

SkateBoard

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 12:49:30 AM »
That's normal. The electric brakes don't come on slow like you pushing on the pedal in your car. The ones on the dolly either go on or off. There is no gradual anything.

lynnmor

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 07:56:25 AM »
I guess that you are talking about the dolly that carries the front wheels of a car.  The one shown on the American Car Dolly website is a basic cheap piece of timer controlled junk.  You should install a proportional controller on the tow vehicle.

JoelP

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 08:23:59 AM »
Before I went to flat towing I had a proportional controller that was adjustable for the load.  It could sense if I was going up hill or downhill and braked accordingly.  When I set the sensitivity correctly it braked far better than what I have now for my flat towing.  It seems you need a better controller.
Joel from San Jose

2010 Itasca Suncruiser 37F
8.1L Chevy Workhorse with Banks PowerPack
2016 CMax Energi Hybrid dinghy

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 11:10:46 AM »
Gotta agree with lynnmor - the EZ brake controller sold with the American dollies may be simple to connect up but the function is decidedly basic, neither proportional nor adjustable.  They tout "no need to adjust", but [in my opinion] that's more of a shortcoming than a feature.

So the answer to your question is probably Yes, that "sounds right" for what you have.  It is not, however, right for all brake controllers and not the "right" way to design a trailer brake system.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

RVRAC

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2017, 11:50:39 AM »
Your responses affirm what I have been thinking.  I need to think about a different controller.  Thanks.
2017 Leprechaun 311 FS
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot
American Dolly
Home: WI
Snowbird 6 months/yr.

KandT

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 11:13:20 PM »
Another thing to learn about!  This gave some basic info of the differences between time and proportional:

http://www.truckspring.com/blog/post/2015/05/09/trailer-brake-controllers

I do not know if it is as simple as swapping out controllers because the American Dolly seems to use the brake light to activate the brakes.  But again I need more education in this realm.
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 09:54:48 AM »
That controller on the front of the dolly is eliminated/bypassed if you use a different controller on the tow vehicle itself, so the way it reacts to the brake light is no longer relevant.  However, whatever controller you do install will almost surely have a tie-in with the brake light switch to help manage the trailer braking in a smart way.
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

KandT

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 07:59:56 PM »
Thanks Gary
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

tracyimc

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2017, 07:46:39 PM »
Gotta agree with lynnmor - the EZ brake controller sold with the American dollies may be simple to connect up but the function is decidedly basic, neither proportional nor adjustable.  They tout "no need to adjust", but [in my opinion] that's more of a shortcoming than a feature.

So the answer to your question is probably Yes, that "sounds right" for what you have.  It is not, however, right for all brake controllers and not the "right" way to design a trailer brake system.

Exactly, you are an expert on brake controllers.
Thanks Gary
Newbie, Wish to have a RV. Blogging about car tricks.

KandT

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2017, 12:35:21 PM »
So if I were to get a proportional brake controller would the brakes be built to work with the new controller?  My guess is the controller has a rheostat in it and would simply send less voltage to the brakes which would apply less braking force.  However are some brakes built for time controllers and other brakes built for proportional controllers? 

I can't figure out how they get enough braking force out of the brake light lead so I assumed the rotation of the wheel caused some of the brake force.  Sometimes I thinks too much!
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

lynnmor

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2017, 03:18:35 PM »

I can't figure out how they get enough braking force out of the brake light lead


You use the wire that comes from the controller for power to the brakes.  The brake light wire simply tells the controller to turn on and of course lights the brake lamps.  Go to eTrailer.com and watch some videos.  Then you can get the correct products and advice to complete the job.  And no, electric drum brakes all function the same.

KandT

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2017, 04:05:59 PM »
You use the wire that comes from the controller for power to the brakes.  The brake light wire simply tells the controller to turn on and of course lights the brake lamps.  Go to eTrailer.com and watch some videos.  Then you can get the correct products and advice to complete the job.  And no, electric drum brakes all function the same.

Ahhh.  Makes sense - thanks!
2005 Winnebago Vectra
American Car Dolly
2009 Accord Toad
It's not a problem.  It's a project!

RVRAC

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2017, 10:13:24 PM »
"Go to eTrailer.com and watch some videos. "

Can you point out some of the videos you are suggesting?
2017 Leprechaun 311 FS
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot
American Dolly
Home: WI
Snowbird 6 months/yr.


Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2017, 08:01:10 AM »
Electric trailer brakes are the same, regardless of the controller design.  Basically one wire from the controller feeds 12v current to the electric magnets in the brakes. What differs is when and how much current the controller sends
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

RVRAC

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2017, 01:23:39 PM »
Thank you folks.
2017 Leprechaun 311 FS
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot
American Dolly
Home: WI
Snowbird 6 months/yr.

RVRAC

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2017, 10:46:58 PM »
I want to bring you to speed on this issue.  I installed a P3 proportional brake.  What a difference!  I drove from WI to TX and was impressed with the difference.  Worth the investment.
2017 Leprechaun 311 FS
Toad: 2016 Jeep Patriot
American Dolly
Home: WI
Snowbird 6 months/yr.

viceprice

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Re: Question on brake controller
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2017, 12:47:42 AM »
We just changed to a P2 (did not need all the features of the P3). I agree with RVRAC, major improvement and worth the investment. We are much safer on the road and the braking action is much more controlled at all speeds and situations.
Karen, Kyle and the K9s
1997 Chevrolet C2500 7.4L Silverado
2016 Cougar X-Lite 28RBS

 

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