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Old 04-24-2016, 08:45 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Hammer bird View Post
We are just now considering a toad. Could you post pictures of your modifications to the Bake Buddy to hold it in place? Makes me nervous!
Here are some pictures of the plywood base I made for my Brake Buddy. It would be slightly different for the various vehicles but you can see the idea. The Brake Buddy pushes against the support which is against the seat frame so there is no lost motion. The Velcro strap fastens the Brake Buddy to the frame. It takes no time to sit on the floor before putting the Brake Buddy in and when not in use it does not take up any extra space.
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Old 04-24-2016, 10:40 AM   #44
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Brake Buddy Ruined Brakes

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Originally Posted by Hit_the_Rhod View Post
TwelveVolt, I'm kind of at a loss as to what you would take as proof that the Brake Buddy is working! Several people had posted pretty positive indications that theirs is working properly, "feel a pull" "indicator light on dash illuminates", driving their car with the brake buddy in the passenger seat in order to observe the responses of the brake buddy to deceleration, etc, and apparently nothing is capable of convincing you that they work!

The people on here that have had problems seem to attribute their problems to improper placement of the brake buddy, or incorrect sensitivity or gain on the adjustment of the Brake Buddy, incorrect length of cable for the breakaway, or placement of wiring in the case of another brake system, etc. For the most part, it appears that people are pretty happy with their systems.

Perhaps the solution for you is to just eliminate all the mechanical aspects, have someone else drive the coach, and you can sit in the toad while it is being pulled and apply the brakes to the toad manually every time you feel it is necessary! That will ensure that they never apply when not needed, and that they will never cause damage to your brakes! . . . . . but maybe I'm overthinking all of this! Could there perhaps be a law against riding in the toad for thousands of miles?!? No, probably not!

Bottom line, Brake Buddy works for me, Works for countless other people out there for many years and many thousands of miles, as do other braking systems! Use what works for you, use the forum to help you decide what is best for you, and use the forum for advice of how to fine tune whatever you purchase to work better and get out there and travel!

Dear Brake Buddy dealer or manufacturer;
We all thank you for your marketing input and amusing silly suggestions.
My point is that the indicator light should turn on to indicate that the piston has extended and there is adequate air pressure pushing it. This would define "working". The Brake Buddy and similar products I have opened up have no such feedback hardware. The light indicates that a signal has been sent in the hope that all the downstream hardware (valve, air tubes, fittings, etc.) are functional. Also, there is no diagnostic feedback to explicitly notify the user of a component failure, such as a runaway compressor that is trying to start a fire. The choice is to build it right or to build it cheap.
Thank you for highlighting this point.
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Old 04-24-2016, 11:22 AM   #45
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Brake Buddy Ruined Brakes

After 16 years of flawless operation and zero issues.....on a 3200 lb car and a 4500 lb Wrangler....on the 3rd MH and still going....at default settings of 4 and 55lbs....and it saved a life....BB is absolutely great!
YMMV.



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Old 04-25-2016, 07:52 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by TwelveVolt View Post
Dear Brake Buddy dealer or manufacturer;
We all thank you for your marketing input and amusing silly suggestions.
That's just SO funny! I absolutely WISH I worked for Brake Buddy! Then I'd have a 2nd income, or rather third, since I draw Military Retirement from flying helicopters for 20+ years and now work full time creating sculptures out of metal. Wish I had time for another full time job as well, well, maybe not. . .

On supplemental braking systems, whether Brake Buddy, Air Force One, or Roadmaster, whatever, empirical evidence as stated above suggests (doesn't definitively prove) that Brake Buddy and other systems WORK when properly installed, and set for the individual characteristics of the system it is installed in. (Hint: You may have to read and follow the directions!) That's good enough for me, and many other people. If you contact all the supplemental brake manufacturers out there, I'm sure that they can give you more information on their products. I would love to help you more on the Brake Buddy, but I can't seem to find the payroll checks they keep promising to send me, and my bat phone doesn't have their sales department on speed dial any more!

Research, research, research, and test, then use what works for you! When you purchase that Brake Buddy, don't forget to send me my commission check please.
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Old 03-18-2017, 07:59 PM   #47
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Last Summer, on the last leg of my trip, my Brake Buddy Classic (Red Box) went nuts.... but I didn't know it until I by chance was coming to a stop... and I heard and saw in my rear view mirror smoking tow car brakes... and then my tow car hub cap when rolling by.

...Not funny!

I inspected the tow car and found supper-hot wheels and all four hub caps had melted off my 2009 Saturn Aura.

I inspected the BB and tried to rest it, but to no avail, so I remove it from service.

My tow car still rolled ok, but the front brake rotors pulsed a bit and the braking was impaired. So i took it to a brake shop for a free inspection and quote. They said my 2 front rotors and calipers were damage and warped. The rears were too, but less so. The brake shop handed me an estimate of $650, but could not take me until next week so I drove off and found this out...

The front calipers were freed up more and my braking system was almost back to normal strength, but the pulsing was still there.

I conclude that the calipers expanded and were "stuck" and that they were damaged due to excessive and prolonged high temperatures... caused by my pulsing or dragging BB system. And that the braked shop provided some relief by removing the caliper and pushing the brake pad to check for caliper operation. That "freed-up" the caliper so I now have almost full braking, but the pulsing is still their because the caliper is warped.

I have not sent the BB back to the factory for full inspection and repair, but I will soon. My calls to Brake Buddy concluded that it would be better to let them diagnose the problem. However, I suspect the program board is faulty and perhaps the compressor froze-up too, because I could not get the actuator working in test mode.

Brake Buddy informed me the maximum bill will be $250 no matter what is needed to return the BB to service; and that the total bill could be less depending on the repair. However, the tech seemed to think there could be over $450 in parts and labor involved.

Has anyone had their BB overhauled 100% and what did BB factory charge?

At this point I like having a brake assist unit, but I don't like the idea of this system failing again and ruining new tow car brakes and possibly the tires as well... and really don't like that my hub caps melted off which indicates a ton of unnecessary heat!

Thank you for more information about what failed in your BB and if you still trust it?
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:25 AM   #48
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Hello IMNPRSD - I too was a victim of a Brake Buddy failure. It completely ruined the brakes on my 2014 Chevy Captiva. Luckly, I was not that far from my home base, so I just towed the toad home. Over the summer, I decided to see if the BB was working or would I have to send it in for factory repair. I placed the BB in the front passenger side of the Captiva and connected the power. Being an electronics engineer, I also wanted to monitor the signal coming from the alert pins of the BB, since I had the remote wireless alert signal. I then started to drive around my neighborhood braking the car from light to sudden stops. What I found out is that the settings "suggested" in the users manual was way, way too sensitive - #4 and 55 pounds of pressure. Even light stopping would trigger the BB! As I decreased the sensitivity from #4 to #1, the BB started to work much, much better. What I believe is that BB Mfg purchasing wanted to "cheapen" the electronics or that their Chinese contract manufacture changed a component like the sensor making the original "suggested" settings in the manual way off. Therefore, I will be using the lowest sensitivity setting #1 and lower pressure setting (from 55 pound to 30 pounds). I am also designing a "fool proof" alert signal when the BB is activated. Instead of using the wireless alert signal which is not very robust, especially in coaches that are long (mine was a tag axle 43 foot) - I will use the alert signal pins to "fire" a stop light signal mounted in the windshield of the toad. I can then monitor the BB by viewing the stop light in my camera system.
I suggest BEFORE you decide to spend Big Bucks on sending your BB back to the factory, do the same experiment as I did. If you find out the settings you used was also too sensitive, use a lower settings. Hook up your toad and "test" the settings around town and or the highway. Get out and feel the brakes - too hot or warm?
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:55 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Mr_D View Post
I destroyed the parking brakes on our Odyssey. Never felt/smelled or saw any smoke either.
Note to self: Check parking brake before leaving!!
Note to all. When applying the parking brake do it like you mean it! That is very firmly. That way you have a better chance of noticing it's still on.
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Old 03-19-2017, 05:05 PM   #50
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Brake Buddy Ruined Brakes

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Originally Posted by Dutch Master View Post
I am also designing a "fool proof" alert signal when the BB is activated. Instead of using the wireless alert signal which is not very robust, especially in coaches that are long (mine was a tag axle 43 foot) - I will use the alert signal pins to "fire" a stop light signal mounted in the windshield of the toad. I can then monitor the BB by viewing the stop light in my camera system.

Best Regards
Dutch Master

Questions:
1) What is the alert signal (+12vdc?)
2) Is the signal active because the piston has extended, or just because the controller told it to?

I am wondering if two separated LEDs might make a more distinct visual indicator.
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Old 03-19-2017, 06:03 PM   #51
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Hello TwelveVolt,
Q1: NO - the signal is not 12 volts
Q2: Signal is activated by the control board.
I have not designed the electronic circuit/PCB and built the first prototype yet, but it does take more than a mere single LED. The problem with using an LED is that it is way too small to see in the rear view monitor - hence the use of a standard off the shelf brake light is the way to go.
It also needs to be tested in action and "refined" - i.e. circuit modifications, to insure that the circuit works time in and time out. 1st round prototypes are merely "proof of concept" and not the final product for release.
An electronic system could be designed to "monitor" the brake arm, but this would be more complex as I have thought about it.
The goal of my system is simple, low cost, reliable, repeatable, and easily seen.
Best Regards
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Old 03-20-2017, 07:39 AM   #52
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Why not just tap into the Brake light switch on the Brake pedal (cold side) and run that wire up to the dash on the coach. Yes it will require another 50 feet of wire, but then you won't have to take your eyes off the road to look in the rear camera. You could put the dash light where it is easily seen in you field of view. If the Brake pedal is pushed your brakes are on. I don't care what the BB thinks.

JMHO
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:09 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by BPoland View Post
Why not just tap into the Brake light switch on the Brake pedal (cold side) and run that wire up to the dash on the coach. Yes it will require another 50 feet of wire, but then you won't have to take your eyes off the road to look in the rear camera. You could put the dash light where it is easily seen in you field of view. If the Brake pedal is pushed your brakes are on. I don't care what the BB thinks.

JMHO
X2. I have one of the original Brake Buddy that is pretty much all mechanical. Works great. I have an LED light with magnets that I put on the roof. It comes on when the brakes are applied and I can see that with the rear view camera.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:19 AM   #54
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Maybe I am re-hashing the basics, but I have seen people put in the Brake Buddy with the driver's seat too far forward, resulting in slight pressure being applied to the brakes even with the piston/actuating lever completely retracted, thereby having a slight continuous braking applied. Kind of like drivers who rest their left foot on the brake all the time. Possibility?
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:15 AM   #55
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OK… LETS TALK ABOUT INSTALLING A TOW CAR STATUS LIGHT in the RV cockpit.

Why? Because a lot of people want to know if the Brake Buddy is malfunctioning… to avoid expensive brake repairs.

Of the several options I have evaluated, the only solution I would trust seems to be a hard-wired “tow brake status light” mounted somewhere in the RV dash. TBD. I say somewhere, because you want the status light to somewhat visible at all times, but not so noticeable at night when it could be annoying and glare in your eyes.

Note: I’m choosing an LED for the status light and a toggle switch combination so I can turn the light off at all times. Like when I am not pulling a tow car, or when I just want to turn the status light off.

PROPOSED ACTIONS:

* Order from Amazon a LED Toggle Switch (red or yellow) that matches the OEM toggle switches in your RV and use a bezel. Then cut a hole for the bezel where it makes sense, which means you have tested the location out during the day and at night.

* I think I will use a single blue wire and splice it to either my left or right brake wire (not the running light wire) in the trunk area of the tow car… and then run it 60 feet (40+20) to the RV cockpit where the toggle switch will be mounted.

QUESTION #1: Am I right? Does the tow car tow light module & relay that isolates the tow car’s 12V system from the 12 volts coming in from the RV? (Through the 4-flat-wire-connector.)

If so, this is why I am running the blue wire all the way to the trunk of the tow car; i.e., you don’t want to splice-in between the RV tow wires and the Tow car module probably mounted and hidden under your tow car’s dash.

QUESTION #2: I would prefer to run just one “+ blue” wire from the trunk of the tow car all the way to the RV cockpit -- instead of two wires (+ & -), because the ground wire to the toggle switch can come from under the RV dash. Will this work?

Or do I need to run a ground from the tow car? I don’t think I need to do that, because the tow car ground should be connected to the RV ground through the 4-wire-flat-tow car connector, but if that’s not right, please let me know. Which is the case?

OPERATION SUMMARY: WHEN the toggle switch in the RV cockpit is “on” or “closed,” this LED status light will come on anytime the Brake Buddy actuates the brakes the tow car.

This could be when you press the RV brake… or hit a bump and that activates the inertia switch in the BB momentarily… and/or most importantly when you are rolling down the road… and you see the status light on in the RV cockpit… which would signal the BB has malfunctioned!!! …Indicating your brakes are superheating your rotors. (TIME TO PULL OVER AND CONFIRM.)

REMINDERS:

**** BE SURE you test cycle your BB 4-5x – WITHOUT THE TOW CAR ENGINE RUNNING – before you start towing.

This will bleed off air in your tow car brake assist system allowing you to set the right BB sensitivity setting you can count on time and time again.

* Some BB owners have also built a ridged, wooded backing plate for the BB to press against, which I think is a good idea, but maybe you can get away with a ’’ piece of properly cut plywood that is positioned between BB and the front seat???

* DON’T POSITION YOUR BB TO CLOSE! (Brake pedal to front seat.)

* SEPARATE-RELATED PROBLEM: My tow car battery was dead after towing at night. Why? Turns out the tow car brake light wire, where the wire meets bayonet bulb mount (bent at 90-degrees) was cut by the metal and was shorting to ground.

== > Problem solved with a little black electrical tape and then later I replace the bulb bayonet. This was a real PITA (Pain in the a**.)

* Your tow car wiring probably does not include fuses. This means in the event of a short: a) your tow module will “fry” or your fuse in the RV tow box will blow. So I plan on installing fuses where the tow module wiring is spliced… I my trunk area. And I will make a schematic so me and other people can find the fuses years later.

END.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:22 AM   #56
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imnprsd-

When you make a long post, and one that includes both questions and answers, and one that tangentially relates to the original issue of the thread, you stand a chance of derailing the thread pretty severely. I suggest you start a new thread in this forum asking your questions about a towed vehicle brake activation light. One way to do that is to ask the moderators to move your post to a new thread. You can get their attention by clicking the "caution" icon (the white triangle with the red exclamation point) in the lower left corner of your post. Or, you could start a new thread yourself. Either way, people can then respond to your questions better.
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