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Old 09-04-2006, 07:02 PM   #1
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Hi All

While inspecting things for an outing this weekend I found the leads for the breakaway switch melted together. (They were hitched to the trailer wiring with household wirenuts, taped up and stuffed into the loom and taped some more. The wirenuts melted also.) I cut all this junk away and tested the switch for continuity, it read 42 K ohms. Not good!

So my question! What is the most reliable switch brand that I should look for? The failed one is Bargman and the wire gauge looks feeble to me for the 20+ amps required.

TIA
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Old 09-04-2006, 07:02 PM   #2
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Hi All

While inspecting things for an outing this weekend I found the leads for the breakaway switch melted together. (They were hitched to the trailer wiring with household wirenuts, taped up and stuffed into the loom and taped some more. The wirenuts melted also.) I cut all this junk away and tested the switch for continuity, it read 42 K ohms. Not good!

So my question! What is the most reliable switch brand that I should look for? The failed one is Bargman and the wire gauge looks feeble to me for the 20+ amps required.

TIA
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Old 09-04-2006, 07:23 PM   #3
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The breakaway switch proper is not fused or protected in any way. It is meant to work once, stop the trailer with full amperage to the brake magnets. Any available switch will likely melt under such direct amperage. I replaced one breakaway switch while camping, when a grand-daughter pulled the cable while playing I guess. The switch melted into a glob of plastic and copper, along with about 3'of factory wiring. I bought my replacement at a farm supply store in a nearby town.
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Old 09-05-2006, 02:17 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply.
I'm not planning to fuse or otherwise protect that circuit. Just asking if those more experienced than I had a favorite brand switch. The 5'er wiring is way more stout than the switch leads. Based on the workmanship evident with the connection (wirenuts & slapped on tape), heat generated by a poor contact could indeed be the culprit.
I'll be providing a far better connection and separating the +12 VDC lead, with additional insulation, to reduce the potential for a repeat melting.
Thanks again for the reply.
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Old 09-05-2006, 02:54 AM   #5
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The Bargman switch was a good choice, my hunch is that the switch pin was inadvertently pulled and went unnoticed. After a period of time the wires melted due to the high current draw of the brakes with a full 12 volts applied.

Unless there is an emergency breakaway (or inadvertently pulled pin), that circuit would not have any current flowing and it's not designed to be used to hold the trailer when parked or used for a purpose other than the emergency.

A brief periodic test by pulling the pin and trying to pull the trailer is all it should be getting.
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Old 09-05-2006, 03:34 PM   #6
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Rich & Ray

Replaced the switch today with one from TSC. During the install I found no +12VDC available on either lead. Went into the jbox aft of the pinbox and discovered the +12VDC lead disconnected. Fixed that and completed the install. I sleeved the +12VDC lead with tubing to help prevent it shorting to the frame or the brake wire in the future. Thanks for your responses.
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Old 09-07-2006, 04:26 PM   #7
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I had a similar problem a few years ago, however mine was a bit more involved. I had a furry rodent chew through some of the Brake wire inslualtion. this caused a short on the wires ...btw had a major HOT in the same bundel. this melted the break away switch and muliple other wires...so with that said you may want to check your frame rails, (mine happened close to the Gray/Black tanks, suppose its warmer there in the winter.
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