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Old 06-12-2017, 07:04 AM   #1
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RVi3 braking system. Experiences?

My conversion from dolly towing to 4-down is almost complete. Tow dolly sold, baseplate installed on my CRV, Blue Ox Alpha sitting on my workbench. After looking at all brake systems available, I had decided to go with a Blue Ox patriot. Seemed to have good reviews, met several people at campgrounds who had them and liked them. Then I saw someone with an RVi3. It was so much smaller it really grabbed my attention. The woman who I talked to said she didn't know much about it, but her husband had done the research and really liked it.

For me, 4 down is all about convenience and getting rid of big hardware. The size impressed me and the wireless connectivity to the coach seemed intriguing. I ordered one and it should be here late this week. I was looking for tips and experiences from people who use this system .

I will say that their customer service appears to be outstanding. I had a few questions and they responded quickly and even accommodated me on a delivery issue.
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:11 AM   #2
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Please post info when you get it installed. Ease of install and function. Am leaning toward Air Force One but interested in all that are easy and work.
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:20 AM   #3
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I don't have a RVI3, but I have been using a RVI2 for almost three years and it has been outstanding. It works perfectly with our Wrangler and as you have already discovered, their customer service is top notch. The setup time is less than a minute with each hookup and the compact size is definitely a plus. In addition, there is very little installation required. All you have to do is run a wire for the breakaway switch and that's it. It does require a 12v connection that is hot all the time but I have found a charge wire is not necessary. I have towed for three days in a row and never had a battery problem.
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Old 06-12-2017, 03:58 PM   #4
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I love and hate my RViBrake3. It is very well-designed and well-engineered. It's quick and easy to pop in and out of the car. It has voice-guided setup prompts, which are a nice touch. It's smaller than other portable alternatives. And it's worked flawlessly.

My problem is the "Command Center" they include. It's a DEDICATED WiFi hotspot and Android tablet which can ONLY be used for RViBrake products. Lame. These are two more bits of gear I have to worry about and keep charged. I'm certainly not going to MOUNT a 7-inch tablet on my dash for my toad brake--that's overkill. Then, if you TOUCH the tablet while moving, it's doing to do a "brake test", which is a cool feature, but now I have to worry about my kids picking up the tablet and accidentally touching it. What a complete bother and total hassle. My wife and I have taken to calling the command center "The Stupid Tablet", as in "Where did the stupid tablet go?" or "Is the stupid tablet charged?"

Maybe it would be interesting if they included an unlocked WiFI hotspot that I could use for any purpose, and a tablet that I could use for anything with just an app. Or I suppose I can just throw them in the trash (my instinct) and ignore them. Still, I'm vexed that the price of the unit included these pieces of annoying high-tech gear. I wish there was just an "RViBrake3 Lite" which skipped the "command center" entirely.

If I could design this, I'd run two wires through the 6-pin plug up to the dash. One would have a light showing that the brake was braking, the other would activate the test mode. Then I could attach these to one of the unused switches on my dash. Perfect.
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:11 AM   #5
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Absolutely agree with your point on a proprietary tablet. I'm guessing by doing this they don't have the expense of having to update android/iOS/windows apps.

Certainly not a deal breaker, more of an annoyance. I wonder if their TPMS system is any good? That might make it worthwhile



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vacay Wheels View Post
I love and hate my RViBrake3. It is very well-designed and well-engineered. It's quick and easy to pop in and out of the car. It has voice-guided setup prompts, which are a nice touch. It's smaller than other portable alternatives. And it's worked flawlessly.

My problem is the "Command Center" they include. It's a DEDICATED WiFi hotspot and Android tablet which can ONLY be used for RViBrake products. Lame. These are two more bits of gear I have to worry about and keep charged. I'm certainly not going to MOUNT a 7-inch tablet on my dash for my toad brake--that's overkill. Then, if you TOUCH the tablet while moving, it's doing to do a "brake test", which is a cool feature, but now I have to worry about my kids picking up the tablet and accidentally touching it. What a complete bother and total hassle. My wife and I have taken to calling the command center "The Stupid Tablet", as in "Where did the stupid tablet go?" or "Is the stupid tablet charged?"

Maybe it would be interesting if they included an unlocked WiFI hotspot that I could use for any purpose, and a tablet that I could use for anything with just an app. Or I suppose I can just throw them in the trash (my instinct) and ignore them. Still, I'm vexed that the price of the unit included these pieces of annoying high-tech gear. I wish there was just an "RViBrake3 Lite" which skipped the "command center" entirely.

If I could design this, I'd run two wires through the 6-pin plug up to the dash. One would have a light showing that the brake was braking, the other would activate the test mode. Then I could attach these to one of the unused switches on my dash. Perfect.
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:45 AM   #6
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I have the RViBrake3, and use it with my 2017 F-150 with a Blue Ox Avail tow bar. I'm a big fan...it's really a compact unit, easy to set up and take down (less than 60 seconds), and for me (in my F-150...a SuperCrew cab) I can store it under the 2nd row of seats. I also got the carrying case, which I'll likely never use, but if you store it in the trunk or someplace where other stuff might hit it I'd recommend the case (or keep the box in the car).

I've spoken with the owner/designer several times, and have provided feedback on the tablet. For example, for "brake test" mode I suggested some kind of 2-step process to avoid accidental activation from fat fingers, and he came back with a suggestion for a delay (so, press/hold the test icon for 3 seconds or something) which I think is a better idea. At some point there will be an update to the tablet, and I imagine this and other tweaks will come. For me it's no issue...the brake test only comes on when you touch the tablet on a specific spot when that particular screen is up.

You can use the system without the tablet...entirely...if you want. This includes setting up the braking force manually on the RViBrake3 unit in the towed vehicle (this is a one-time walk-thru that takes about 30 seconds following some voice prompts from the unit). When I ordered my unit the tablets were behind in schedule, so I had them send me just the RViBrake3 unit itself, and I used it this way for about 2 weeks before I got the tablet.

While not a requirement to use, the tablet makes adjustments more convenient (click-and-done), and you can change braking force on-the-fly without having to stop the motorhome (perhaps when you transition from flatlands to hills, etc.). I've done this a few times, and it's nice to be able to do so instantly. But again you can just leave the braking unit set to whatever force you want and not use the tablet ever again. This makes the RViBrake3 a bit unique when compared to most other braking systems...you *can* change it on-the-fly if you want, or just set-and-forget.

I've not yet tried the TPMS, but it's next on my list. I currently use the TST TPMS, but if I can monitor braking force and TPMS on one tablet I'd certainly provide a permanent mounting spot in the cab.
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Old 06-13-2017, 06:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jondrew View Post
Certainly not a deal breaker, more of an annoyance. I wonder if their TPMS system is any good? That might make it worthwhile
Right... The more of their products you use, the more the command center makes sense. We already have an EEZ-Tire system, which I'm not thrilled with, but good enough that I don't want to buy another replacement system.

Also agree, not a deal-breaker. Just aggravating.

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You can use the system without the tablet...entirely...if you want.
Almost. You can't use the "brake check" without it. The brake check is pretty cool. It's handy to see verification that the brake is actually braking.

IMO a better-designed system would allow access to these features without SO MUCH tech overkill.
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Old 06-14-2017, 12:50 AM   #8
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Tablet Frustrating

My tablet at low intensity only lasts about 4 hours. The danger of hitting the test is real and potentially dangerous. I do love this unit and have used it countless times without the remote. I like that the level of breaking is adjustable on the fly. wish it had an Android app I could use on my phone but then Apple zealots would hate it.
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:01 AM   #9
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My tablet at low intensity only lasts about 4 hours. The danger of hitting the test is real and potentially dangerous. I do love this unit and have used it countless times without the remote. I like that the level of breaking is adjustable on the fly. wish it had an Android app I could use on my phone but then Apple zealots would hate it.
I keep mine plugged into power at all times when using the tablet on the road. With all of our iDevices (sorry...I'm one of those Apple zealots) we have several USB ports in the cockpit area. The only issue I have is that it seems to take a long time to boot up, but I've just added powering it up to the front end of the preflight checklist.

The test [virtual] button can only be hit if that screen is up. However, I like the screen (to see when/how much braking is being applied), and at some point if/when I get their TPMS that will be on the same screen (so I understand). If they implement what I talked to the designer about (having to press/hold the test button for several seconds to activate) that would address the accidental testing issue. Personally I don't find this to be an issue, as I keep my tablet up higher on the dash where there is little possibility of me hitting it unintentionally.

Regarding Apple or Android apps, I would not be in favor of this...or at least not in favor of that being the only interface. We use our iDevices often when driving for maps, email, texts, etc. (passenger, not the driver), and it would be risky to have the possibility of accidentally switching to the app. Also, many people with small children let them play with their phones...imagine THAT surprise if your kid popped open the app and hit the test button.
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Old 06-14-2017, 09:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vacay Wheels View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by hilgert View Post
You can use the system without the tablet...entirely...if you want.
Almost. You can't use the "brake check" without it. The brake check is pretty cool. It's handy to see verification that the brake is actually braking.

IMO a better-designed system would allow access to these features without SO MUCH tech overkill.
My apologies for not being clear. The point I was trying to make was that without the tablet the RViBrake3 is like other braking systems that have no remote...except that it does have a remote if one choses to use it.
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Old 06-15-2017, 09:36 AM   #11
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...........

The test [virtual] button can only be hit if that screen is up. "...........

Regarding Apple or Android apps, I would not be in favor of this...or at least not in favor of that being the only interface. We use our iDevices often when driving for maps, email, texts, etc. (passenger, not the driver), and it would be risky to have the possibility of accidentally switching to the app. Also, many people with small children let them play with their phones...imagine THAT surprise if your kid popped open the app and hit the test button.
The "screen" is the only reason for having the remote. The potential and serious hazard could be fixed a dozen easy ways and the 'app' is already android of course. I really like the unit and the remote feedback is very useful to see proportion of braking and if power is lost so I definitely want it. What I don't want is a huge device that requires power and has broadcast ID set for wifi so every device I have wants to connect to it.
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Old 06-15-2017, 10:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
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The "screen" is the only reason for having the remote. The potential and serious hazard could be fixed a dozen easy ways and the 'app' is already android of course. I really like the unit and the remote feedback is very useful to see proportion of braking and if power is lost so I definitely want it. What I don't want is a huge device that requires power and has broadcast ID set for wifi so every device I have wants to connect to it.
For me (at least) there is another reason for the remote, and that is to easily make braking sensitivity changes on-the-fly when driving. One irritation I have is the "monitor" screen is landscape, and the "setting" screen is portrait...makes no sense.

Having this as iOS and Android apps would make pushing out changes to users easier, but would add costs to RViBrake's development (not sure if this was a consideration, but proper app development is not cheap). I also agree the tablet is a bit large for the intended purpose...something half the size (or less) would be sufficient.

I have no issue with my iDevices wanting to connect...I have "Ask to join networks" turned off so I don't get nagged with new network join requests. Not sure if Android has a similar setting?

I can say from personal experience that the folks at RViBrake are happy to listen to feedback...so contat them up and make suggestions...they will listen.
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Old 06-15-2017, 01:17 PM   #13
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I have just started using the rvi brake. So far, except for the ridiculously large tablet and puck that needs to be plugged in all the time I like it better than my brake buddy because of the size and the setup is pretty easy. Although I do not know why you have to push the button 3 times. You would think that one push would start the sequence.

I would buy it again.
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Old 06-16-2017, 06:00 PM   #14
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Got my RVi3 yesterday and today was installation. Pretty simple. Well, except for the part about getting the break away switch installed. That took about 2 hours between bolting the switch to the frame behind the facia of the car and snaking the wire through a grommet hole for the main electrical bundle in the firewall.

Then came the question of what to do with the CRV bracket kit. It wasn't clear if I was supposed to just attach the spreader bar across the two seat mounts, or use the brackets to move the bar forward. Should I drill and screw into the metal behind the seat bracket covers, or just screw the brackets into the plastic covers? And what about my Weather Tech floor mat? Would I have to cut that?

So I called customer support and got hold of Don (or maybe it was Dan). I discussed all my questions with him. He told me putting the bar by itself across the seat brackets was probably not good enough. He said it didnt really matter if I used the plastic covers or drilled into the metal. When I told him I didnt really want to cut my floor mats he said he hears that from a lot of customers. He said some people actually just cut a 2x4 and put it across the front of the seat brackets and that works just fine. I said I like that solution and that's exactly what I did. Set the system up, plugged it in and tested it with the tablet. I literally does take less than a minute to set up.

Of course my car was sitting out in the sun, with the doors open for several hours. When I was all done, I went to move the car and the battery was dead. So now my next task is figuring out how to connect power to the unit. If I pull fuse 19, the accessory fuse, I'll have to pull a seperate line from the battery because both my auxiliary 12 plugs go dead. I might go with a tow power line from my coach. Also have to figure out turn signals. I have an old wired set of magnetic tow lights that work fine. Just have to make sure the wires dont flap around in the wind while driving. Loose wires scratched up the hood of my Murano.
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