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Old 05-30-2015, 10:50 AM   #15
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When having all the systems checked out, did you have the Jeep battery load tested?
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Old 06-01-2015, 11:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBertha View Post
We don't know if there is some kind of diode that is allowing electricity to flow from the Jeep to the coach, or some other problem. There is a charging wire from the coach to the toad, and it checks out fine.
The Unified Tow Brake standard setup has a toad charge line. The normal connections are from the MH battery positive, through a 20 amp circuit breaker on the MH end, then through their two pin umbilical cord, then a 20 amp circuit breaker on the toad end, and finally to the toad battery positive. It sounds like you either have a bad connection, or a bad circuit breaker.

Note the connections toward the lower left corner of this diagram, that is the charge line, the one labeled RED that goes through the umbilical:


Or maybe you have a custom setup: when I installed mine, I didn't use the standard flat-four connector the lights, then the US Gear two pin umbilical for the brake and charge line. Instead, I used an umbilical with a standard 7 blade plug on the MH end, and a six pin round toad connector. I ran everything through this one umbilical using the standard pin designations. My coach already was pre-wired for the Unified Tow Brake, so instead of the circuit breaker on the MH end, there is a factory fuse and relay. But the rest of the setup is electrically equivalent.

Yes, the Unified Tow Brake takes a fair amount of electrical power, both for the vacuum pump, and the electric solenoid that actuates the brakes. So, if something is broken on the toad charge line, I'm not surprised you have a dead battery at the end of the day. You say the charge line checks out, but you obviously have a problem, because a properly working charge line should be able to power the brake system and not drain down your toad battery. BTW, you should have no problem jump starting from the chassis batteries - they should be 12 volt just like your car, and will have plenty of current capacity. (There is no worry with that excess capacity overloading your toad, but do be very careful hooking up those cables: an accidental short will have lots more amps of current than a standard car battery, and the results could be spectacular.)

I would start by disconnecting the umbilical between the MH and the toad. Check for power where the umbilical connects to the MH and to the toad. Both ends should have power (that's why there's a circuit breaker on both ends.) If one of them does't have power, start tracing the wiring back through all of the connections until you get to the battery. There is likely to be a break somewhere.

If both connections do have power, then it gets a little more complicated. You might have a poor high resistance connection anywhere in the circuit, or you might have a bad ground connection between the toad and MH. Note in the diagram above that there is no ground connection between the two vehicles! The system is relying on the tow bar and/or the ground connection in the lighting harness. Not the best solution. (Are all of your toad lights being properly driven by the MH? If not, that might be your ground problem causing both sets of issues.) That's another reason I went with the single custom umbilical -- it includes a heavy 10 gauge ground connection that is always present when the umbilical is plugged in, there's no possibility of having the brake system connected without a ground.

Now, a question for you: have you ever had any false brake error warnings from your brake control panel when you have no toad connected? I just got home yesterday while driving in the rain. After disconnecting the toad, I was getting intermittent beeps and flashing lights from the control box when backing into my parking pad. I suspect that the toad connector was wet and making the control box think that there was a toad attached that was having issues? This was a first for me, have you ever seen that happen?
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Old 06-01-2015, 02:51 PM   #17
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Now, a question for you: have you ever had any false brake error warnings from your brake control panel when you have no toad connected? I just got home yesterday while driving in the rain. After disconnecting the toad, I was getting intermittent beeps and flashing lights from the control box when backing into my parking pad. I suspect that the toad connector was wet and making the control box think that there was a toad attached that was having issues? This was a first for me, have you ever seen that happen?[/QUOTE]

I had the same issue and called U.S. Gear. They told me to inspect the receptacle/plug on the MH. I removed it, pulled back the boot and was totally shocked at the amount of road dirt and grime in it and around the connectors. It was packed full.

I took it apart, cleaned, reconnected everything and used liquid electrical tape to seal it better where the wire comes into the boot.

No problems since and it's been 4 years. The service folks at U.S. Gear are quite helpful.
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Old 06-01-2015, 04:04 PM   #18
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Thanks for the confirmation. I was assuming it was moisture in the connector, knowing that can indeed be a cause greatly reduces the debugging effort. I feel better knowing it's easily explainable and not a fluke. I had just unplugged the toad while it was raining, and the uncovered connector was dangling while I was backing in to park. That has to be it.
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Old 06-01-2015, 04:36 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by R2Home View Post
From my 'limited' knowledge, you do not want to use a 6 volt system to start your 12 v toad. I am not sure what type of system your toad has, but I use a Prostrat portable battery pack to power the aux braking system for our toad. I need to recharge the battery pack about every three days when we are traveling. Using this system, I have never had a dead battery on the toad, and did not have to put in any extra wiring.
Motor home does not have a six volt system.. Never did,, No Six volt batteries installed in RV's.. (Though they do install 12 volt batteries which are in two halves for ease in handling and other reasons.. Each half is six volts,, But the installed battery is 12). I have a set of those myself They work just fine to jump start cars.

My vehicle has a towed charge system.. NO DEAD TOWED batteries. Works better than you can imagine.
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Old 06-01-2015, 06:41 PM   #20
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Motor home does not have a six volt system.. Never did,, No Six volt batteries installed in RV's..
I very definitely have four six-volt golf cart batteries in my MH in a 12 volt system and this is quite common.
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:07 AM   #21
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Thanks for the response. We have a 7-pin connector. We believe all circuit breakers to be good, as we have used a voltage indicator to check the power, and it checks good. We can only see that there is power, not how much voltage. All brake lights on the toad check good when it's connected.
When the problem first started last month, we only noticed the dead battery after leaving the car hooked up for 2 days. The last time this happened, a couple of days ago, we had only driven for one day, about 200 miles. The big difference was that we were traveling over mountain passes and using the braking system heavily.
We checked our battery bank, and there is a wire that is disconnected from our house batteries. We aren't sure what it goes to. I would think that the charging wire would be connected to the chassis battery, and not the house, but I could be mistaken. We are on the way to an RV dealership that supposedly has a Unified Tow Brake specialist, so we will leave this to the professional. Thanks for the help, and we will print off your suggestions and use them to help guide us.
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:32 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by BigBertha View Post
We believe all circuit breakers to be good, as we have used a voltage indicator to check the power, and it checks good. We can only see that there is power, not how much voltage.
Are you checking the voltages with the toad disconnected? Remember, that charge line is fed from both ends: by the motorhome battery and the toad battery.

If the toad is plugged into the motorhome, you will measure voltage along every connection in the chain, even if there is a break in the wire somewhere. Everything on the motorhome side of the break will be powered by the motorhome, while everything on the toad side of the break will be powered by the toad. There will be voltage everywhere in the circuit, but no current will be flowing if there is a break, and the toad will not be getting charged.

You need to make sure the toad is not plugged into the motorhome, and test each half independently:
  1. Plug the umbilical into the motorhome, but leave it unplugged from the toad. Are you getting the proper charge voltage at the toad's end of the umbilical (the free end)?
  2. Then, unplug the umbilical from the motorhome, and plug it into the toad. Are you getting the proper voltage at the motorhome end of the umbilical (which is now the free end)?

If test 1 shows voltage and test 2 doesn't, there is likely a problem in the toad end of the circuit.

If test 1 shows no voltage and test 2 does, there is likely a problem in the motorhome end of the circuit.

If neither test shows voltage, there is likely a broken connection in the umbilical cable.

If both tests show voltage, then you have a high resistance connection somewhere. It can pass voltage, but won't be able to pass enough current to keep the toad battery charged. If this is the case, it will be a tough one to track down as you will only be able to measure the problem when it is under load (drawing heavy power.)
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