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Old 08-06-2020, 11:08 AM   #1
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Break away switch pulled

Anyone have experience with break away switch pin pulled with power on for extended time, could there be any kind of damage to the brake system. found pin laying on ground in driveway battery. Was in on position. I reinserted pin ok, but worried about braking.
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Old 08-06-2020, 11:17 AM   #2
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I think the brakes will be fine. The batteries are a different story.
How long was "extended time"?
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Old 08-06-2020, 11:20 AM   #3
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I donno.... brakes full on at 12v until battery dies? Brake coils could have been over heated. Can't say your ok or not. A brake test is in order. Maybe others with actual experience can give their opinion.
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Old 08-06-2020, 11:21 AM   #4
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Maybe days but trailer was also plugged into 30 amp shore power at house
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Old 08-06-2020, 11:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by royorbison View Post
Maybe days but trailer was also plugged into 30 amp shore power at house
In that case I think the batteries will be fine.
I would think that the brake magnetics would be fine, but like above a brake test is in order.

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Old 08-06-2020, 11:41 AM   #6
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I think I would pull a wheel to see if OK or pull all wheels to check. Good excuse to doo wheel bearings.
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Old 08-06-2020, 11:43 AM   #7
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Hitch up and apply trailer brakes and give it a pull. See what happens. Remember electric brakes only work in forward direction. Much less in reverse.
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Old 08-06-2020, 12:13 PM   #8
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I'd be more worried about burning up the switch contacts than most anything else. ±12 amps running through those switch contacts for a few days isn't going to be good for them.

Inspect that switch while you're inspecting everything else.
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Old 08-06-2020, 12:24 PM   #9
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I'd be more worried about burning up the switch contacts than most anything else. ±12 amps running through those switch contacts for a few days isn't going to be good for them.

Inspect that switch while you're inspecting everything else.
It is 12 Volts not 12 amps.
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Old 08-06-2020, 12:31 PM   #10
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You can test that switch by jacking a wheel, spin it, then pull the breakaway.
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Old 08-06-2020, 01:17 PM   #11
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It is 12 Volts not 12 amps.
If the trailer has tandem axles with four brake magnets, 12 amps is the lowest average current. Mine draws just over 14 amps when switch pulled.

Yes, 12 volts going in but don't forget the current part which causes the heat.


That said I'd wager that the breakaway switch is rated between 20 and 30 amps as some trailers have three axles and 6 magnets drawing 3-4 amps each.
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Old 08-06-2020, 01:23 PM   #12
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I donno.... brakes full on at 12v until battery dies? Brake coils could have been over heated. Can't say your ok or not. A brake test is in order. Maybe others with actual experience can give their opinion.
Perhaps however two things in their favor. First, they're designed to work in a hot environment to begin with. Second, if activated they're attached firmly to the brake drum which is now a huge heat sink.

As was mentioned earlier, the weak link would be the switch.
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Old 08-06-2020, 01:25 PM   #13
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If the trailer has tandem axles with four brake magnets, 12 amps is the lowest average current. Mine draws just over 14 amps when switch pulled.

Yes, 12 volts going in but don't forget the current part which causes the heat.


That said I'd wager that the breakaway switch is rated between 20 and 30 amps as some trailers have three axles and 6 magnets drawing 3-4 amps each.
I stand corrected, I did not realize they pull that much current. See you can teach old dogs new tricks.
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Old 08-06-2020, 01:29 PM   #14
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It is 12 Volts not 12 amps.
It is 12 volts, but if you do the math it's ~ 4Ω per magnet divided by 4 magnets = 1Ω, and 12 volts x 1Ω = ~12 amps. More or less.

Mike's right about those switches being rated for 20 amps, but given the location of most of them, the weather beats them pretty hard, so they're not in the best of shape after a little while.
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Old 08-06-2020, 02:27 PM   #15
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I stand corrected, I did not realize they pull that much current. See you can teach old dogs new tricks.
It's all good
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Old 08-06-2020, 02:51 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Bama Rambler View Post
It is 12 volts, but if you do the math it's ~ 4Ω per magnet divided by 4 magnets = 1Ω, and 12 volts x 1Ω = ~12 amps. More or less.

Mike's right about those switches being rated for 20 amps, but given the location of most of them, the weather beats them pretty hard, so they're not in the best of shape after a little while.
I know, I already responded to Mike.
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:25 PM   #17
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You can test that switch by jacking a wheel, spin it, then pull the breakaway.
Just to clarify, you do not want your RV connected via the umbilical cord to your tow vehicle when you test this. Some proportional brake controllers specifically state to not do such as the backfeed from your RV's battery to the controller in the tow vehicle can damage it.

We have several threads on this.
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:29 PM   #18
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Just to clarify, you do not want your RV connected via the umbilical cord to your tow vehicle when you test this. Some proportional brake controllers specifically state to not do such as the backfeed from your RV's battery to the controller in the tow vehicle can damage it.

We have several threads on this.
Thanks for the info. I learn something everyday from this forum.
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:34 PM   #19
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Break Away Switch

Pulling 12 amps on a 105 Amp battery, a day, battery is pretty much dead. I caught mine accidentally when unhooking at storage. When I went back 3 days later, realized the error. I had to replace battery as it would not take a charge. This was on a 1 year old Group 31 battery. When I did my next trip, we did a brake test- no damage. Also checked w/ wheel spin test when I had wheel up lubing bearings. Check battery and test brakes.
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:45 PM   #20
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Thanks for the info. I learn something everyday from this forum.
You are very welcome. Screenshot from the popular Tekonsha Voyager brake controller owners manual. #3 explains it.Click image for larger version

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