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Old 03-15-2014, 03:40 PM   #1
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Roadmaster Invisibrake problems

We had substantial difficulties with our Brake Buddy auxiliary braking system which ultimately cost us a new set of tires.

While at the Quartzsite (AZ) RV show we spoke with the Roadmaster people from Vancouver WA. Specifically about the Invisibrake system.

It seemed like an excellent system, made in USA and installed on the spot by technicians that came direct from the factory. So at a cost of $1200US we agreed to purchase the system. Which was installed and worked fine for our return to Canada.

After we arrived in Vancouver BC and detached the car we encountered some major wet weather and snow. The first time we drove the car after it was detached was a wet snowy day. Before we had gone half a mile I was aware that the brakes were coming on even though my foot was not on the pedal. I then realized that I could hear the air compressor from the Invisbrake running.

Shocked and worried might happen if the brakes locked on an icy road we pulled off the highway. I tried turning the pressure as low as it would go. No change.

Under the hood I realized they had installed an extra 20A fuse which I removed disabling the unit.

The next day I called support at the factory. I was promptly connected to a human who listened carefully to my concerns and then told me he knew exactly what my problem was.

When they install the links to the brake lights to operate the Invisibrake they install two diodes. These diodes are right under the brake lights and if they get wet they short out and power up the system!

His suggestion was to find the diodes and coat them with silicone caulk--like the kind you use around your bathtub.

When we found the diodes we were flabbergasted to discover that they were installed right in the open part of the bumper/fender exposed to anything splashing up from the road.

We did dry them out and waterproof them and the problem seems to be under control but we're still a little bit upset!

If Roadmaster knew of this problem--even though they were installing in the desert--should they not have waterproofed these diodes at installation? A rubber 'sock' or some such over them? Or perhaps a redesign that obviates the problem?

In any case, we are very disappointed that this was handled so badly. I have written to the company and to date received no response.
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Old 03-15-2014, 03:47 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasEd View Post
We had substantial difficulties with our Brake Buddy auxiliary braking system which ultimately cost us a new set of tires.

While at the Quartzsite (AZ) RV show we spoke with the Roadmaster people from Vancouver WA. Specifically about the Invisibrake system.

It seemed like an excellent system, made in USA and installed on the spot by technicians that came direct from the factory. So at a cost of $1200US we agreed to purchase the system. Which was installed and worked fine for our return to Canada.

After we arrived in Vancouver BC and detached the car we encountered some major wet weather and snow. The first time we drove the car after it was detached was a wet snowy day. Before we had gone half a mile I was aware that the brakes were coming on even though my foot was not on the pedal. I then realized that I could hear the air compressor from the Invisbrake running.

Shocked and worried might happen if the brakes locked on an icy road we pulled off the highway. I tried turning the pressure as low as it would go. No change.

Under the hood I realized they had installed an extra 20A fuse which I removed disabling the unit.

The next day I called support at the factory. I was promptly connected to a human who listened carefully to my concerns and then told me he knew exactly what my problem was.

When they install the links to the brake lights to operate the Invisibrake they install two diodes. These diodes are right under the brake lights and if they get wet they short out and power up the system!

His suggestion was to find the diodes and coat them with silicone caulk--like the kind you use around your bathtub.

When we found the diodes we were flabbergasted to discover that they were installed right in the open part of the bumper/fender exposed to anything splashing up from the road.

We did dry them out and waterproof them and the problem seems to be under control but we're still a little bit upset!

If Roadmaster knew of this problem--even though they were installing in the desert--should they not have waterproofed these diodes at installation? A rubber 'sock' or some such over them? Or perhaps a redesign that obviates the problem?

In any case, we are very disappointed that this was handled so badly. I have written to the company and to date received no response.
My Brake Buddy also cost me a set of tires, and a complete front wheel brake rebuild on a Honda Accord.
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Old 03-15-2014, 03:58 PM   #3
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Hope the waterproofing does the trick and that you get a response from Roadmaster. That would be disconcerting to have the brakes operate on their own.

What caused the tire and front end problems with the Brake Buddy.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by adonh View Post
Hope the waterproofing does the trick and that you get a response from Roadmaster. That would be disconcerting to have the brakes operate on their own.

What caused the tire and front end problems with the Brake Buddy.
DON:
In addition to the waterproofing and now that we're safely back home...not towing....I have removed the 20A fuse and won't put it back til we're ready to tow again.

RE the Brake Buddy: It engaged itself while we were driving about 30MPH and locked the brakes....we dragged the car just long enough to ruin the tires.... it could have been worse I guess as we were just about to get on the freeway!
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:31 AM   #5
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I would be worried that the diodes &/or connections were exposed to enough road salt that corrosion will need them up over time under the water proofing.
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Old 03-16-2014, 01:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adonh View Post
Hope the waterproofing does the trick and that you get a response from Roadmaster. That would be disconcerting to have the brakes operate on their own.

What caused the tire and front end problems with the Brake Buddy.
Locked up brakes and flat spotted four tires, all needed to be replaced. Lightly applied brakes which could not be felt in motorhome. Caused front brake fire which completely destroyed brakes, $800 repair. Threw the thing in a dumpster, a piece of junk.
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Old 03-16-2014, 02:01 PM   #7
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So I'm not the only one with the problem. As an electronic tech working on electrical systems on vehicles it was a shock to find the brake sensitive to what I will call leakage voltage.

I surmised that my issue was/is water getting in the connection on the front. However the issue could easily be leakage at the diodes. I have mine tucked behind my tail lights on my Edge. I did the install myself so know exactly how they were installed.

I contacted the factory however they did not suggest it was the diodes and agreed that it could have been water in the front socket.

Last month I started the car to go to town and the brake came on by itself. I don't remember if we had rain that evening or not but likely we did here in Central Florida. I unplugged the power from the front of the box. After a week I plugged it back in and no issues.

When it happened towing it was only after hitting the MH brakes that it continued to hold them on till they timed out at about 12-15 seconds.

If they would give me a schematic I could fix the problem. I suspect the brake is too sensitive to the voltage input signals. I did not try to turn my running lights off when the issue was happening because it was raining. The leakage could easily be from the constant voltage of the running lights keeping the brake sense line active.

In any case, this is a serious issue since there are several of us that have experienced it.

Maybe I will get the garden hose out and douse the diodes to see if I can duplicate it and then come up with a simple resistor load to protect it.
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:52 PM   #8
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Great Support from Roadmaster

Re the following comments about the Invisibrake system. We have since been contacted by Roadmaster with the assistance of Good Sam and they have taken steps to rectify the situation.




Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasEd View Post
We had substantial difficulties with our Brake Buddy auxiliary braking system which ultimately cost us a new set of tires.

While at the Quartzsite (AZ) RV show we spoke with the Roadmaster people from Vancouver WA. Specifically about the Invisibrake system.

It seemed like an excellent system, made in USA and installed on the spot by technicians that came direct from the factory. So at a cost of $1200US we agreed to purchase the system. Which was installed and worked fine for our return to Canada.

After we arrived in Vancouver BC and detached the car we encountered some major wet weather and snow. The first time we drove the car after it was detached was a wet snowy day. Before we had gone half a mile I was aware that the brakes were coming on even though my foot was not on the pedal. I then realized that I could hear the air compressor from the Invisbrake running.

Shocked and worried might happen if the brakes locked on an icy road we pulled off the highway. I tried turning the pressure as low as it would go. No change.

Under the hood I realized they had installed an extra 20A fuse which I removed disabling the unit.

The next day I called support at the factory. I was promptly connected to a human who listened carefully to my concerns and then told me he knew exactly what my problem was.

When they install the links to the brake lights to operate the Invisibrake they install two diodes. These diodes are right under the brake lights and if they get wet they short out and power up the system!

His suggestion was to find the diodes and coat them with silicone caulk--like the kind you use around your bathtub.

When we found the diodes we were flabbergasted to discover that they were installed right in the open part of the bumper/fender exposed to anything splashing up from the road.

We did dry them out and waterproof them and the problem seems to be under control but we're still a little bit upset!

If Roadmaster knew of this problem--even though they were installing in the desert--should they not have waterproofed these diodes at installation? A rubber 'sock' or some such over them? Or perhaps a redesign that obviates the problem?

In any case, we are very disappointed that this was handled so badly. I have written to the company and to date received no response.
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Old 06-28-2014, 07:29 AM   #9
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I had Invisibrake installed on my new Honda CRV by Camping World this week. While driving the car yesterday leaving a car wash, the compressor came on and the brakes stopped the car three times. I almost was rear-ended and it could have been a very serious accident. After reading this forum I am floored to hear that others have had this problem and Roadmaster has not immediately repaired or even recalled the product. This could result in a serious accident and huge liability to the manufacturer. I am going back to Camping World this morning and will show them this thread. It looks like getting my car washed has caused some type of short, like the other post on this thread. I am also going to contact Roadmaster on Monday morning and voice my concern. My wife says she will not drive the car with this product installed unless I can disable it when the car is not being towed. So, as of this morning, I am not sure if I am going to keep the Invisibrake system due to this serious flaw in the product.
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Old 06-28-2014, 06:36 PM   #10
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After discovering the issue myself I tried giving them information and even offered my technical expertise to solve it. No response at all. It would be a very easy fix if they would provide me with a schematic. I had similar issues with the SMI stay in play on my H3 Hummer. After fighting it for a couple of years I gutted it and ended up with 1/3 of the parts and a positive functioning brake. Before our current trip from Florida to Calif I filled the ends of the pigtail with silicon grease to help keep water out. We went through absolute torrential rains and never had an issue. A heavy car wash would be the same.

I had mine come on by itself after a torrential down pour and driving through heavy water on the road so I unplugged the power plug from the unit for several weeks. I am very certain it is water getting into the socket on the toad that causes the issue.

Next time it will be a ready brake for me. Can't false and is a simple go/ no go setup.
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:01 AM   #11
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Surprised this is still happening!

I'm very surprised this is still happening! I was assured by Roadmaster that the problem was fixed on later models.

There is a 20A fuse on my unit right at the battery. Removing the fuse has disabled the unit. If you can find the fuse removing it should solve your immediate problem but I'd be very interested in what Roadmaster has to say!
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Old 06-30-2014, 10:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasEd View Post
I'm very surprised this is still happening! I was assured by Roadmaster that the problem was fixed on later models.

There is a 20A fuse on my unit right at the battery. Removing the fuse has disabled the unit. If you can find the fuse removing it should solve your immediate problem but I'd be very interested in what Roadmaster has to say!

Do tell. One would hope they would put out something on their site for an upgrade.
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:24 PM   #13
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I had some problems like this when we traveled east and got in the rain. The Roadmaster tech told be the same thing about the diodes. The diodes on mine are in a try area of the trunk on our Honda Accord. When this happened I pulled the plug and left it pulled. I now only plug the unit in when we are towing and it's dry. (which happens a lot in California. I don't know how to seal the diodes any better, but maybe I should look into it.


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Old 06-30-2014, 09:59 PM   #14
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I suspect it is the socket and not the diodes. On this trip from Florida to Kalifornia I filled the sockets with silicon grease and went through rain almost every day. Sometimes torrential and never had a problem. I believe it is leakage voltage across the contacts in the socket that keeps the brake engaged after you press the pedal and let off. Guess I should experiment with this and then put a leak resistor across the brake input line. Heck, maybe I will just add a parasitic bulb across the line. Stick it in the dash and I would be able to see in the camera if things were going amiss.

One other thought is it might be the running light voltage that is leaking across the brake input line. In any case a leak resistor would stop that.
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