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Old 05-30-2015, 06:55 PM   #1
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Motorhome Towing a Trailer and Brake Control

So, I've got a 7 pin connector on my motorhome and a 7 pin connector on my tandem trailer. The axles on the trailer are both fitted with electric brakes. Are the trailer brakes activated when I apply the coach brakes or do I need to add some sort of additional brake controller? If they are activated, at what rate? Seems that an additional controller would be required if the coach doesn't have one built in.

Confused...
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Old 05-30-2015, 07:04 PM   #2
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You will need an electronic brake controller that activates with the brake light, then controls the amount of power applied to the trailer brakes. Most have an adjustment for the amount of power applied. There are a number of brands; Curt, Reese, Tekonsha, etc. Your motorhome may or may not be pre-wired for a brake controller. If it's not, you may have to add a dedicated 10ga wire from the controller to the 7 pin connector on the rear.

You can open the connector on the rear of the motorhome and check. If there is a wire on the lower right connector (looking from the rear) then chances are it's pre-wired. Chances are with the newer year model of yours, it will be pre-wired and there may be a connector under the dash for the controller. Your owner's manual may even tell you if it's pre-wired.
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:02 PM   #3
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It is pre wired. I have all the pins in the 7 way connector and I found two wires under the front dash that have Stop Switch and Brake Controller labels.

I'm going to call Spartan and see if I have to splice into those wires or if there is a wiring harness kit I can buy for a controller.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:19 AM   #4
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Still you need a controller. Get a test attachment you can plug into the rear coupler and see if you are getting power to the lights and brake. I had to add a new blue wire from the Tekonsha controller to the plug.
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Old 05-31-2015, 09:36 AM   #5
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I've got a Fluke meter so I can test the operation now that I "think" I understand whats going on here.
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Old 06-06-2015, 07:02 PM   #6
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The controller would normally be under the driver's side dash. That way, the brakes can be engaged/disengaged as desired. These can be wired or wireless.

Another option is a controller mounted on the trailer. Can be a DIY with a regular controller mounted in a box on the tongue - or - a purpose built unit like:
Trailer Mount Electric Trailer Brake Controller (EBTM) - REDARC
These also allow a break-away by just adding a small battery to the controller on the trailer.

Am not afflilated with Redarc.

Best luck
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:16 AM   #7
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Here's another good brand controller Tekonsha

Also, if you don't already have this; a break-away system on the trailer Tekonsha - Breakaway Kits This applies the trailer brakes if the hitch becomes disconnected. Probably legally required (above a certain trailer weight?).
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
...If they are activated, at what rate? ...
I can't speak for them all, but the two brake controllers we have used (Tekonsha and BlueOx) both have pre-sets for breaking pressure AS WELL AS a manual override (a lever that you can use to apply the brakes by hand). I've found that handy many times. Be sure to install the brake controller within easy reach of your dominant hand. \ken
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:50 AM   #9
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If your trailer has electric brakes, then it should have a breakaway battery already installed. Look for a small box on the tongue.

The brake controllers have an internal accelerometer (or a device that does the same thing) to sense how much you are slowing and when the unit gets a signal from your brakes it will apply the trailer brakes in a proportional amount. This feature is adjustable as well as the amount of initial application. You will have to "dial it in" based on the weight of your trailer and how effective the brakes are.
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:09 PM   #10
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Ok, I got the brake controller hooked up and it is on all the time. I would think that this thing is using the chassis batteries?

Do those that have brake controllers have the same issue with it being on all the time or am I going to have to disconnect mine when not in use?

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Old 06-13-2015, 03:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by coachmanrvr View Post
Ok, I got the brake controller hooked up and it is on all the time. I would think that this thing is using the chassis batteries?

Do those that have brake controllers have the same issue with it being on all the time or am I going to have to disconnect mine when not in use?

coachmanrvr
The Tekaonsha P3 controller will time-out and shut off the screen after a few minutes when the trailer is disconnected. I had the same cocerns with mine after install and while reading the instructions...low and behold when I got back to the unit it was off.
Cheers Rick T
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:40 PM   #12
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Took the dogs for a walk and came back to a blank screen on the control unit. Guess it shuts off after a few minutes of inactivity. It's all good. Now to adjust it when we get the trailer out in a couple of weeks.
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by coachmanrvr View Post
Took the dogs for a walk and came back to a blank screen on the control unit. Guess it shuts off after a few minutes of inactivity. It's all good. Now to adjust it when we get the trailer out in a couple of weeks.
Maybe I missed something but did you read the manual for this P3 yet?
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Old 06-13-2015, 03:57 PM   #14
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Maybe I missed something but did you read the manual for this P3 yet?
jesilvas
I can't say whether the manual was read or not. But if memory serves ME, and its been a few yrs since I installed my P3, I don't recall reading anywhere that the screen timed out to blank. That's why I was happy to see the screen off after a few minutes.
We are supposed to be here to help each other....

Cheers Rick T
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