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Old 05-13-2008, 05:21 PM   #1
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If I buy one of those boxes that has an arm on it that pokes out and mashes the toads brakes, how does it work?
I assume it needs 12 volts to activate it.
Do you just hook it up to mh's brake lights?
If so how does it know how hard to push the brake pedal?
Do you have a separate switch, valve to apply the toad brakes WO applying the mh brakes?
If it's hooked to the brake light switch, will the 4 way flashers pump the brakes as they blink?
Or is it a much more elaborate installation procedure?
Are there any wireless ones and if so are they reliable.

I've been around this forum a long time and I don't ever remember reading how these expensive 'one armed boxes' work.
Maybe if I understood how they work, I'd feel better about dishing out the big bucks for one.
I'd like to have surge brakes like many boat trailers but that looks like a clustra of things to go wrong installing that, and maybe ugly too.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-13-2008, 05:21 PM   #2
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If I buy one of those boxes that has an arm on it that pokes out and mashes the toads brakes, how does it work?
I assume it needs 12 volts to activate it.
Do you just hook it up to mh's brake lights?
If so how does it know how hard to push the brake pedal?
Do you have a separate switch, valve to apply the toad brakes WO applying the mh brakes?
If it's hooked to the brake light switch, will the 4 way flashers pump the brakes as they blink?
Or is it a much more elaborate installation procedure?
Are there any wireless ones and if so are they reliable.

I've been around this forum a long time and I don't ever remember reading how these expensive 'one armed boxes' work.
Maybe if I understood how they work, I'd feel better about dishing out the big bucks for one.
I'd like to have surge brakes like many boat trailers but that looks like a clustra of things to go wrong installing that, and maybe ugly too.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:13 PM   #3
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A popular "box" that you may be refering to could be the BRAKE BUDDY. There are others. They are simple to "hook up". For the best description of how they work, google brake buddy.

I've had one for 10 years and it gives me the confidence that it will provide sufficient toad braking capabilities in an emergency situation to help keep me out of trouble. Never have had to test it....
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:54 AM   #4
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I assume it needs 12 volts to activate it.
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>The unit needs 12 VDC to run the electronics and the small air compressor that charges the cylinder to push the brake pedal.[/list]
Do you just hook it up to mh's brake lights?
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>No.[/list]If so how does it know how hard to push the brake pedal?
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>The unit gets activated to push on the brake by sensing the deceleration you cause when you apply the MH brakes. Since is has only one setting, the toad brakes always get applied according to how you have set up the unit.[/list]Do you have a separate switch, valve to apply the toad brakes WO applying the mh brakes?
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>Not with this type of brake system.[/list]If it's hooked to the brake light switch, will the 4 way flashers pump the brakes as they blink?
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>The brake lights have nothing to do with the unit. It releases the toad brakes when it no longer senses the deceleration caused by applying the MH brakes.[/list]Or is it a much more elaborate installation procedure?
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>Its all fairly simple. You put the box on the floor, hook up the brake pedal, power it up, and hit the test button a few times to get rid of the power brake assist buildup.[/list]Are there any wireless ones and if so are they reliable.
<UL TYPE=SQUARE>The two most popular units of this type are Brake Buddy and Blue Ox Apollo. They have some differences in the way they react and how they provide feedback to you when you're driving. The best way to compare would be to look the products up on the mfg's websites.[/list]
There are also brake systems that are permanently installed in your toad, and those systems have advantages over the "box" versions. A google search of tow brakes should pull up most of them.
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Old 05-14-2008, 05:52 PM   #5
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Thanks wilanddij and jfb ,
I did'nt realize they were so simple. Sounds kind of like surge brakes. It must work off of some sort of centrifical force.
I guess you need to run the constant 12 volts for the mini compressor from the MH ?
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:54 AM   #6
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An other great way to add aux brakes is to use one that I do for our Jeep. It's called the ReadyBrake. Rather than trying to explain how it works here, go over to their website:
www.readybrake.com
I use their whole system. It works very very well and, in my opinion, offers a quality solution for a fair price.
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Old 05-15-2008, 11:45 AM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I guess you need to run the constant 12 volts for the mini compressor from the MH ? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I power my Apollo unit from the Jeep battery. Even during a long day's drive its never pulled enough power to give me any battery problems.
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:12 PM   #8
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wilanddij gave a very good explanation of how the "one-armed boxes" work. To add to his information, the Brake Pro that I have from Roadmaster ( the most recent model is the Even Brake) has 4 settings for sensitivity (how hard the motorhome is stopping before the box starts to apply the toad brakes) and 4 settings for how hard the toad brakes are applied. I'm not sure, but I think the Brake Buddy has a pressure regulator to similarly adjust braking pressure.

Also, the Brake Pro, the Even Brake and the Brake Buddy Vantage Select (and maybe others) supposedly have proportional braking. In other words, the box applies more or less pressure to the brake pedal of the toad depending on how hard the motorhome is braking.
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:08 AM   #9
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Also to add to the above, my Even-Brake only applies toad breaking above a set level of breaking on the MH. In slow stop and go situations the toad does not break. I keep my sensitivity set to medium as I don't want the toad always trying to stop the MH. Brakes on the Explorer are way too small for that.
The main reason for having the braking system is in one word. INSURANCE
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:25 AM   #10
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I have the Brake Buddy - have used it for 5-6 years with both a Jeep Cherokee and Honda CR-V. In all that time (at least 50,000 miles) I think the toad brakes have been activated less than a dozen times. I try to drive way ahead of the MH and anticipate stops. On normal freeway off ramps I am nearly always able to stop the MH without BB activation. I keep the BB sensitivity set on the middle setting, unless we are in the mountains, then I kick it up a couple of settings, just as insurance.
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Old 05-22-2008, 11:15 AM   #11
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There are actually multiple kinds of brake systems. For a gas coach, the boxes which sense deceleration seem the best - but with a caution. Sometimes they can be fooled into thinking that the MH is braking when it isn't. There have been some cases where the toad's brakes were burnt out as a result. The sensitivity adjustment is critical but so is potentially disconnecting the toad brake in a mountain downhill environment. While many are able to use their self-contained brake systems in downhills, not everyone has been as lucky.

There are also systems which can tie into the MH's brake system if it is air based. Yes, I know that has some inherent risks,too, but we have been using our Brakemaster system for going on 5 years without any problems. An air pulse from the rear brake system on our MH feeds a piston attached to the toad's brake pedal. The beauty of that system is that it brakes proportionally according to the amount of MH brake pedal pressure and it is only activated by the MH's brake pedal. Similar systems from SMI work by tapping into the toad's brake system instead of pressing on the pedal. On my Brakemaster system, the only electrical component is the breakaway switch which throws a valve on air reservoir cannister to apply the toad's brakes.
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