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Old 09-09-2014, 10:28 AM   #1
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Question Break Away Switch Left Activated

What a bonehead move. Parked the 5th wheel along side the house as normal. Unhooked everything as normal. Plugged the shore line in as normal. Got a new puppy, not normal.

New pup = 9mo old Australian Cattle Dog

I guess the new pup found the break away cable fun to play with. One of my boys noticed that the cable was in the back yard with a chewed up pin.

I went to the hitch and found the switch melted.

I don't know how long it had been that way. I have a new switch ready to install. I'm wondering if the brakes are shot.

Does anyone out there know if this will destroy the brakes?
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
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Does anyone out there know if this will destroy the brakes?
Leaving the brakes energized for an extended period isn't a good thing (as you know), but it's hard to really know for sure if they are damaged, including the wiring to them.

You don't how long they were energized before the breakaway switch melted, and/or if the switch melted in a way that cut power to the brakes...or they were energized until the battery finally drained.

I would advise to replace the switch, and also pull the tires off and start looking for charred wire, visually inspect the brakes, etc.

Hate to hear this happening, but you will get past it and actually laugh later. It definitely is an interesting story.
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Old 09-09-2014, 10:51 AM   #3
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Old 09-09-2014, 11:48 AM   #4
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Just a side not; if you energize the brake away while its plugged into your tow vehcile it will destroy your trailer brake controller. Ouch
I've never tried it but my Prodigy brake controller says it will.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:01 PM   #5
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I would replace all the magnets just to be safe.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:11 PM   #6
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According to Dexter, each brake magnet will draw about 3 amps max at 12v. So if you have a dual axle that would be 12 amps total. I doubt if that would be enough to damage the wiring. Not sure about the magnets, but they are just a coil, so I would be surprised if it damaged them in anyway. I would replace the switch, hook it up and see what happens.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:14 PM   #7
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According to Dexter, each brake magnet will draw about 3 amps max at 12v. So if you have a dual axle that would be 12 amps total. I doubt if that would be enough to damage the wiring. Not sure about the magnets, but they are just a coil, so I would be surprised if it damaged them in anyway. I would replace the switch, hook it up and see what happens.
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Old 09-09-2014, 12:57 PM   #8
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Hi,

About five years ago. Jayco 311 fifth wheel. I set up in Estes Park, CO, and pulled the truck away without disengaging the breakaway cable. Plugged in to shore power and went about my business.

Fast forward five days.

Went to hook up and noticed the cable dangling there next to the power cord, and realized what had happened. Since I was about to take the rig over the Continental Divide, I was understandably concerned.

Called my dealer, who I've dealt with for decades, and asked him what he thought. He advised that I should have experienced no permanent damage to anything, and that of course I should test the brakes before leaving town, just to be sure they seemed OK.

No visible damage to the switch or wires feeding it. Good test in the campground. Good test on the highway just outside the camppground. Went over the Rockies no problem, and no problem for the next 3,000 miles of that trip.

When I got back home, it was time anyway for a complete brake inspection/ bearing vrepack. There was no visible sign that anything had happened.

Not saying this would extend to others with different rigs and different brakes setups. But I just thought I'd pass it as an actual situation, and how it turned out.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
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