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Old 06-10-2013, 08:21 PM   #1
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Brake Away Switch

Hi folks. This is my first post. I looked but couldn't find anything quite like these two questions so I apologize if these are a repeat. Any assistance would be appreciated.

I picked up my Mini Lite (2104S) for a weekend trip and found the battery was dead. When I stored it I made sure that the Battery Disconnect Switch was properly activated. I tested it so I know it was set correctly. However, when I stored it I also removed the Brake Away Switch and cable so they would not get stolen. I was told this would provide added protection from theft of the unit as the wheels would lock up. But now I'm wondering since I believe that switch requires battery power to be effective, does it bypass the Battery Disconnect Switch and could this have killed the battery?

And related, I ran a test to see. With the RV cable not connected to the vehicle, trailer battery disconnected and the Brake Away Switch removed, I pulled the trailer a few feet. If the Brake Away Switch was bypassing the Battery Disconnect Switch I expected the wheels to lock up. They didn't. So to confirm I did the same test again, this time with the battery connected. I expected the wheels to lock up for sure this time. They didn't. So do I have another problem with the Brake Away Switch or am I expecting the wrong results?

Sorry for the length, but thanks for responding!
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Old 06-10-2013, 08:36 PM   #2
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First, welcome to FRF!

No one is going to steal your break-away switch cable. It's just not worth anything. As you surmised, what you did killed your battery, and in another recent thread, could have melted your switch.

It's hard to judge what your other tests accomplished because the battery may have been too low (or may have been damaged) so that you really didn't have any power even with your tow-vehicle connected.

So don't ever pull the plunger on the break-away switch. It should only be pulled by a disconnect between the RV and tow. I suggest you get the battery charged (hopefully it will take a charge) and then you can run your test to verify that the break-away is working. It won't necessarily lock up the wheels, but should definitely slow the vehicle down quite rapidly.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:14 PM   #3
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Well there you go! I'll be leaving the break-away switch in from now on. I'll just buy a spare if losing it keeps me up at night, lol. Thanks very much for the feedback. This answered all my questions except for one. I'll have to assume then that the break-away switch uses battery power even if the power disconnect switch has been activated? Also, I'll retest the battery and the break-away switch. Hopefully I haven't damaged the electromagnets in the brakes. Believe it or not, the advise to remove the break-away switch while in storage came from the dealer's mechanic. Maybe they should pay for any repairs! Hmm, how would anyone prove that! And why would I go back there? Rhetorical! Thanks again for the advise!
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:17 PM   #4
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I would never take the brake away switch off, too many bad things can happen. If you’re worried about someone stealing your trailer, buy a good ball lock or store it somewhere safe. If you’re storing it for a few days then the battery shutoff switch should work. If you’re talking weeks, then you need to take the battery out and use a good float charger to maintain the charge and will usually make it last months to years longer than letting it go dead.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:20 PM   #5
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X2 on what Barry said, the break-away is designed to activate the trailer brakes in the event of separation from the tow vehicle. It's OK to perform a short test of the system by removing the pin to verify the brakes have been applied. If you don't get significant braking with a fully charged battery when you pull the pin it would be a good idea to have your dealer check the magnets and wiring for damages.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:22 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum. At last another 2104S. Had ours for about 3 mos and really enjoy it.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirthawg View Post
...
Believe it or not, the advise to remove the break-away switch while in storage came from the dealer's mechanic. Maybe they should pay for any repairs! Hmm, how would anyone prove that! And why would I go back there? Rhetorical! Thanks again for the advise!
OMG! The other gentleman who's dealer told him to do this was from Toronto. I wonder if you're both victims of the same idiot tech! He melted his switch because he was on shore power the whole time it was pulled out.

Here's a link to the other thread FYI. New Trailer - Fried Emergency Brake Box

I do hope you'll talk to (naw, YELL AT) that dealer.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:35 PM   #8
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As for your question about pulling the switch with and without the battery disconnect.. how far did you pull it? The wheel has to rotate until something inside aligns before the brakes lock up. I don't know what or how far, but having some movement isn't necessarily bad. But if you got an entire revolution out of the wheel- then there is a problem.

I'd look for a guide in how to properly test the breakaway switch.

(That was a lot of "breaks" and "brakes" - hopefully I got 'em all right! :-))
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:10 PM   #9
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Wow! Totally enlightening! Thanks everyone. I don't think the switch has melted or warped, but I'll check. The wheels during the test did not rotate a full revolution so I'll retest and check that too. The battery disconnect is currently activated but the break-away pin has been pulled for about a day now, (just returned from a weekend vacation). I'll be putting that back in ASAP and leaving it there. After restoring everything and retesting as suggested, if I find anything amiss, yes, I will probably yell at the dealer. They weren't from Toronto, but very close. Could be the same one. I'll repost with all the results. Thanks everyone for the great feedback!
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:27 PM   #10
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So here's where I'm at, and really strange - I didn't get any of the results I expected. The break-away pin was out for a couple of days so I expected the battery to be dead. It wasn't. I expected the break-away switch to be possibly melted, warped or difficult to push the pin back in. It wasn't. I retested the emergency brakes again with the pin out, no connections to the vehicle wiring and pulled the RV about 30 feet this time. I expected some resistance. There wasn't any. All wheels turned freely, (not good!). So my summation is it's time for a discussion with the dealer! My guess is that the electromagnets might be damaged and no longer effective, therefore not drawing power from the battery when the pin is out. The saving grace would be that saved the battery and maybe the break-away switch, both of which I suspect would be a lot cheaper to replace than the electromagnets. On a side note, I was able to confirm that the battery disconnect switch when activated does not cut power to the break-away switch or power tongue jack, but you probably already knew that, lol. More come after my adventure with the dealer. Hope I'm wrong!
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