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Old 01-01-2016, 03:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
The chassis batteries keep the Toad's battery topped up. When we stop in a campground, I usually unplug the umbilical cable as a part of setting up. If I'm Wally camping, leaving the cable connected has never been an issue, but if it did somehow deplete the chassis batteries....
I use a Toad Charge kit which contains a diode that prevents current flow from the chassis batteries to the toad's battery UNLESS the MH engine is running. That way, overnight, the chassis batteries won't get depleted despite the umbilical being left in place.

Even if I leave the umbilical in place I usually turn the CR-V's ignition off to prevent draining its battery. However, what I do then is attach the CR-V's key to the MH's steering wheel so there is no way we can drive off the next morning without having replaced it in the toad's ignition.

As for people who report that their charging lines don't keep up with the current drain on the CR-V's battery, I suspect they may have used wires in the umbilical cable for the charging circuit rather than creating a whole new wiring path with heavier gauge wires.

People who aren't that familiar with electricity may not be aware of the fact that the voltage on the charging wires may read ~13-14V in a "static" situation but there could be measurable voltage drop if a few amps of charging current flows through them. When you're dealing with a charging voltage that's only a volt or two above battery voltage it doesn't take much voltage drop to make charging less effective or totally impossible. You may have a situation in which the charging cable is "charging" the toad at a rate slower than the battery is being drained of charge. That would reduce the chance of a discharge but not prevent it.

The wires in my BlueOx umbilical cable are significantly smaller gauge than the ones that came with my ToadCharge kit which I zip-tied to the outside of the cable to create a circuit path external to the cable. We've had no problems with the CR-V battery discharging even with towing days lasting 8 hours or more.
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Old 01-01-2016, 03:14 PM   #16
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The Roadmaster Invisibrake seems to be a 'mysterybrake.' Must be the invisible part of the name. I've read the manual and looked at the wiring schematics, and I'm not sure how it works. An air cylinder and pull cable is attached to the brake pedal. In addition there are 'T' connections to put in the vacuum line(s). It seems to not have an inertia sensor like my older Roadmaster Brake buddy type box that sits in the driver's floor and pushes on the brake pedal.
Roadmaster says:
"Charges your battery while towing — InvisiBrake connects directly to the towed vehicle’s battery and trickle-charges the battery during towing — InvisiBrake will never drain the battery.

Activates only when the motorhome’s brake lights illuminate — no false braking!

Energizes your power brakes — most braking systems work on a 'dead' brake pedal. InvisiBrake energizes your power brakes so that you have the same power braking system while towing as you do while driving.
Specifications

Voltage — 12 volts DC
Fuse size — 20 amp
Maximum amperage draw10.8 amps
Idle amperage draw — 6mA
Battery recharging rate — up to 2 amps"

What puzzles me is how it keeps the Toad's vacuum system charged with vacuum. Is there a vacuum pump installed under the hood? No mention of such in manual or parts list.

The system also doesn't work well with an exhaust (or Jake) brake which often turns on the brake lights. The emergency flashers can cause the brakes to pulse with the blinking lights.

flaggship1 mentions the charge line (through the parking lights) won't keep up, but according to the specs the math says the current draw should be less than the charge line provides. The charge wire is powered from leaving the parking lights on in the RV while driving. Perhaps the parking light wiring can't provide the power needed to keep things charged?

My older model of the Roadmaster portable brake system works very well. I've tested it before each trip by putting it in the passenger footwell and driving. It will activate the brake pedal rod when driving and braking in a large parking lot. I can adjust the sensitivity and know it's working. It's easy to move to a new vehicle when needed.

Adding to this, docj suggests adding a diode to the circuit to prevent current flow from toad to RV chassis batteries. Sounds like a good solution, BUT, diodes aren't 100% one way valves. There is a small current drop even in the forward direction. I considered adding one and decided why reduce the charging current in any way? After a day of driving, RV and Toad batteries are at 100%. When I park for the night, I always pull the key, unplug the aux. brake, and lock the Toad. Leaving it connected to the RV causes no discharge in a 12-15 hour stop. If I'm stopped longer, I disconnect the umbilical to drive the Toad anyway. No need for a diode.
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Old 01-01-2016, 03:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
The Roadmaster Invisibrake seems to be a 'mysterybrake.' Must be the invisible part of the name. I've read the manual and looked at the wiring schematics, and I'm not sure how it works. An air cylinder and pull cable is attached to the brake pedal. In addition there are 'T' connections to put in the vacuum line(s). It seems to not have an inertia sensor like my older Roadmaster Brake buddy type box that sits in the driver's floor and pushes on the brake pedal.
Roadmaster says:
"Charges your battery while towing — InvisiBrake connects directly to the towed vehicle’s battery and trickle-charges the battery during towing — InvisiBrake will never drain the battery.

Activates only when the motorhome’s brake lights illuminate — no false braking!

Energizes your power brakes — most braking systems work on a 'dead' brake pedal. InvisiBrake energizes your power brakes so that you have the same power braking system while towing as you do while driving.
Specifications

Voltage — 12 volts DC
Fuse size — 20 amp
Maximum amperage draw10.8 amps
Idle amperage draw — 6mA
Battery recharging rate — up to 2 amps"

What puzzles me is how it keeps the Toad's vacuum system charged with vacuum. Is there a vacuum pump installed under the hood? No mention of such in manual or parts list.

The system also doesn't work well with an exhaust (or Jake) brake which often turns on the brake lights. The emergency flashers can cause the brakes to pulse with the blinking lights.

flaggship1 mentions the charge line (through the parking lights) won't keep up, but according to the specs the math says the current draw should be less than the charge line provides. The charge wire is powered from leaving the parking lights on in the RV while driving. Perhaps the parking light wiring can't provide the power needed to keep things charged?

My older model of the Roadmaster portable brake system works very well. I've tested it before each trip by putting it in the passenger footwell and driving. It will activate the brake pedal rod when driving and braking in a large parking lot. I can adjust the sensitivity and know it's working. It's easy to move to a new vehicle when needed.

Adding to this, docj suggests adding a diode to the circuit to prevent current flow from toad to RV chassis batteries. Sounds like a good solution, BUT, diodes aren't 100% one way valves. There is a small current drop even in the forward direction. I considered adding one and decided why reduce the charging current in any way? After a day of driving, RV and Toad batteries are at 100%. When I park for the night, I always pull the key, unplug the aux. brake, and lock the Toad. Leaving it connected to the RV causes no discharge in a 12-15 hour stop. If I'm stopped longer, I disconnect the umbilical to drive the Toad anyway. No need for a diode.
I know it can't keep up if you have the GPS and don't pull the fuse. That radio and GPS must be a big draw.

While I have read that others have trouble with the invisibrake - I have it on the road for 14 months now without any issues.

The mystery revealed.
http://www.truckcampermagazine.com/n...led-and-tested
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:01 PM   #18
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OP here. It's a front wheel drive CRV.

The discussion here makes me wonder why to bother going 4-down when I already have the dolly. Especially the solutions for supplemental brakes. Another thread I guess.
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:05 PM   #19
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OP here. It's a front wheel drive CRV.

The discussion here makes me wonder why to bother going 4-down when I already have the dolly. Especially the solutions for supplemental brakes. Another thread I guess.
If you have dollied around and don't know the answer then you were made for a dolly. Stick with what works for you. Especially if you are happy with it.
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:11 PM   #20
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OP here. It's a front wheel drive CRV.

The discussion here makes me wonder why to bother going 4-down when I already have the dolly. Especially the solutions for supplemental brakes. Another thread I guess.
Honestly, if you've got the dolly and don't mind driving the CRV onto it and fastening it down, I'd have to think real hard about modifying it for 4 down towing. The cost of the base plate, tow bar, auxiliary braking system and light kit, adds up to more than $2000. Then there's installation. If you install it yourself, it's a few days of heavy work. If you have it installed, it's probably another $1500-2400. If you decide to trade for another vehicle in a year or three, you get to pay it all over again.

I'm probably going to go the dolly route when I get rid of my 15 year old toad. I've thought about where and how we travel and camp and can't think of any situation where a tow dolly would have been a hassle.
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:20 PM   #21
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I know it can't keep up if you have the GPS and don't pull the fuse. That radio and GPS must be a big draw.

While I have read that others have trouble with the invisibrake - I have it on the road for 14 months now without any issues.

The mystery revealed.
Roadmaster InvisiBrake Installed, Explained and Tested
Thanks for the link to the installation, it explains more than the owner's manual or wiring diagram does. I was struck by a comment by the Roadmaster fellow, "It’s totally idiot proof. You set it and forget it." I've learned over the years in the truth in the old saw, "Those who try to build idiot-proof systems always underestimate the persistence and ingenuity of idiots." and variations on that idea. Many a hand out, test, or letter to participants in some activity I was in charge of always proved that anything I said could be taken another way and misunderstood.
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:25 PM   #22
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I think the real difference comes down to having to wrangle the dolly around. I'm still able to move the EZTow around by myself and stand it up on end to store it in my garage. Haven't run into a situation yet where I've had to store it off my camp site. Also have to carry a spare tire, or in my case I carry two since I had a blowout last summer. The tire was destroyed and the rim was ground to uselessness before I could pull over. It's such an oddball size I'd be concerned about getting a replacement quickly if I needed one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
Honestly, if you've got the dolly and don't mind driving the CRV onto it and fastening it down, I'd have to think real hard about modifying it for 4 down towing. The cost of the base plate, tow bar, auxiliary braking system and light kit, adds up to more than $2000. Then there's installation. If you install it yourself, it's a few days of heavy work. If you have it installed, it's probably another $1500-2400. If you decide to trade for another vehicle in a year or three, you get to pay it all over again.

I'm probably going to go the dolly route when I get rid of my 15 year old toad. I've thought about where and how we travel and camp and can't think of any situation where a tow dolly would have been a hassle.
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:33 PM   #23
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Adding to this, docj suggests adding a diode to the circuit to prevent current flow from toad to RV chassis batteries. Sounds like a good solution, BUT, diodes aren't 100% one way valves. There is a small current drop even in the forward direction.
I probably did a disservice to ToadCharge to call its device a diode. It's a gadget which shows that the connection between the two batteries has been established (by lighting a green LED) but which doesn't permit current flow until the voltage on the charging line exceeds a threshold. This voltage threshold is only achieved when the MH engine is running and the voltage applied to the circuit is the ~13.5 volts of the alternator rather than the ~12.6 volts of the chassis battery. So the chassis battery won't discharge itself to the toad battery when the MH engine is off except to the extent that the current flow is sufficient to light the LED.

Maybe someone with a better understanding of electronics than mine can explain what kind of active device is needed to achieve this. Presumably it could be done with some form of switched device, but I figured that a diode with a threshold voltage would achieve the same result with probably lower cost.
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Old 01-03-2016, 09:13 AM   #24
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Just did our initial trip (3-hour drive) with our new 2014 CRV. Haven't gotten a 4-down set up yet (can't decide an supplemental braking system), so I used my EZ Tow dolly. Much easier set up on the EZ Tow with the CRV than my old Murano. Smaller tires so the nets are easier to set up and there are tow hooks on the front of the CRV for the safety chains so I don't have to crawl under the car to attach the chains. My wife keeps bugging me to get a 4-down set up, but so far I'm kind of unmotivated based on what I've seen so far with the EZ Tow.

I don't get where people are complainInc about battery drain while towing CRVs. I put the key in, unlock the wheel, and just leave the key in the "off" position. I know the wheel won't lock up unless you pull the key. Just to make sure, I put a wrap of white electrical tape at the 12 O'clock position of my steering wheel and peek at it while turning the coach. You can see the steering wheel turn as you go. No battery drain at all.

What am I missing? Do you do something different when towing 4-down (other than cycle the trans before leaving and putting it in neutral)?
We had battery drain on our Ford Edge and I added a Toad Charge system to my set up and it solved the problem. If you are at all handy it takes about 2-3 hours to install.

TOAD-CHARGE Dinghy Vehicle Battery Charger/Maintainer
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:14 AM   #25
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We had battery drain on our Ford Edge and I added a Toad Charge system to my set up and it solved the problem. If you are at all handy it takes about 2-3 hours to install.

TOAD-CHARGE Dinghy Vehicle Battery Charger/Maintainer
A lot of RVs already have a 12V charge wire at the 7-way plug. Many people connect the 12V charging line direct to the battery and let the MHs alternator and voltage regulator charge the toad's battery, just like the batteries on a 5th wheel or TT are charged. I have a battery charger similar to yours, made by RVIBrake. The only benefits I can see are preventing back feeding in the event that one or the others batteries are bad, or if the coach's voltage regulator went out.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:53 AM   #26
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A lot of RVs already have a 12V charge wire at the 7-way plug. Many people connect the 12V charging line direct to the battery and let the MHs alternator and voltage regulator charge the toad's battery, just like the batteries on a 5th wheel or TT are charged. I have a battery charger similar to yours, made by RVIBrake. The only benefits I can see are preventing back feeding in the event that one or the others batteries are bad, or if the coach's voltage regulator went out.
I agree with almost everything you said. I added a couple of auto reset circuit breakers between the batteries and the bumper plugs on both vehicles to protect from shorting and to limit current flow. With RV chassis and Toad batteries charged, there is minimal current flow between the 2 systems. Electricity, like water, seeks to level out. When the RV engine is started, there might be a drop in RV voltage as the starter cranks, but the circuit breakers limit how much current can flow. Once the engine is started, the alternator is now 'pushing' current to the toad battery to maintain full charge. When we stop for the evening, I take the keys from the toad and lock it and unplug the umbilical to prevent any trouble.

The only advantage I see to a Toad Charge is it makes your wallet $100 thinner. It also provides pretty LED lights, IF you look under the hood to see them. If you want to keep everything connected when stopping, you could add a diode to the charge wire to prevent current flowing from the Toad back to the RV, just be aware the diode will reduce current flow a bit from the RV to the Toad. That shouldn't be an issue if the alternator works and the wires are appropriately sized.
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Old 01-03-2016, 10:36 PM   #27
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To answer an earlier question, yes the Roadmaster Ivisibrake is a small vacuum pump. We installed one in our Jeep Liberty and inside the small box mounted under the seat is the compressor/pump that provides vacuum to the toad's brake booster. There's also a small piston actuated cable assembly that runs along the door jam up to the brake pedal via flexible cable to actually pull the brake pedal upon stopping.
From there you just splice into your toad's brake/turn signal wiring.

I had originally wired our's directly to the toad's battery but, upon leaving the toad parked when not towing the battery is drained. I've since wired the power with a 12 volt access. plug and now I just plug it in before we take off.
It Does Not actually provide any charge for the toad's battery despite Roadmaster's claims. Maybe if I had wired the system into the MH's power this would work. My manual clearly said to wire it to the towed vehicle's battery through a fuse so, where it's supposed to get this mystery electricity to maintain the toad's battery is beyond me.

Otherwise, the Ivisibrake works great.
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Old 01-04-2016, 06:42 AM   #28
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A lot of RVs already have a 12V charge wire at the 7-way plug. Many people connect the 12V charging line direct to the battery and let the MHs alternator and voltage regulator charge the toad's battery, just like the batteries on a 5th wheel or TT are charged. I have a battery charger similar to yours, made by RVIBrake. The only benefits I can see are preventing back feeding in the event that one or the others batteries are bad, or if the coach's voltage regulator went out.
Mine probably did as well but I already had a setup which didn't take advantage of it. The toad charge was a nice $80 solution.
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