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Old 12-10-2010, 12:10 PM   #1
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Question SMI "Stay-IN-Play Duo" vs. US Gear "Unified Tow Brake"

Has anyone compared the qualities of the SMI "Stay-IN-Play Duo" brake system to the US Gear "Unified Tow Brake" system? If so, what are the pros & cons of the two systems?
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Old 12-10-2010, 03:12 PM   #2
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Hi TrailerFool,
The question begs a very personal view of each product. That personal view may or may not provide you the same result after making a purchase. Both are highly rated systems. Both work. Both require installation and the customer to plug in the system to make it work. I have the US GEAR system for 5+ years and 67K+ miles of towing. It works as advertised and I would make the same purchase again. If I was making the decision again, without the benefit of prior ownership, I'd read the specs of each system, understand how each works and and what I need to do for hooking up and unhooking the toad. Then go with either system you are most comfortable with.

The two systems you are comparing are both top of the line systems. It comes down to personal preference.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
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Hi TrailerFool,
The question begs a very personal view of each product. That personal view may or may not provide you the same result after making a purchase. Both are highly rated systems. Both work. Both require installation and the customer to plug in the system to make it work. I have the US GEAR system for 5+ years and 67K+ miles of towing. It works as advertised and I would make the same purchase again. If I was making the decision again, without the benefit of prior ownership, I'd read the specs of each system, understand how each works and and what I need to do for hooking up and unhooking the toad. Then go with either system you are most comfortable with.

The two systems you are comparing are both top of the line systems. It comes down to personal preference.

Excellent answer in my opinion.
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Old 12-10-2010, 06:17 PM   #4
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I recently installed the smi in my jeep after first considering the us gear. I too think they both are great systems. My choice to go with the smi was based on my toad. the us gear solenoid is quite large and I did not want to give up the floor space (there's not a lot in the jeep). I prefer the smaller air operated, pedal mounted actuator from SMI. the cable connects directly to the floor below the brake arm mount. the cable for the us gear is longer and connects from the solenoid to a point below the brake arm and then to the brake arm. I did not like the idea of having the cable strung out and possibly binding.
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Old 02-05-2011, 10:30 AM   #5
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Cat hit the nail on the head with the SMI. Both systems are quality systems. But the SMI brake actuator is the SMALLEST and lightest in the industry.

Study them both, you can't go wrong with either.

Regards Jim P.
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Old 02-06-2011, 10:18 PM   #6
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I also use the SMI in a wrangler. It works great. Installation was perhaps a bit involved, but once it was all done, all I do is throw the switch on the controller box (mounted to the drivers side kick panel in the jeep) and I'm ready to tow.
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:35 PM   #7
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I installed my own SMI "Stay and Play" DUO in the Saturn and I have not touched it since. I don't really have to turn it on or off or fuss with it in any way. The unit is mounted under the hood so it's out of sight. What activates the unit is when you connect it to the motorhome. Absent that connection the SMI just sits around waiting to go camping!
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:06 AM   #8
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I don't really have to turn it on or off or fuss with it in any way. What activates the unit is when you connect it to the motorhome. Absent that connection the SMI just sits around waiting to go camping!
hmmmm, are you sure it works?

There is nothing in the motorhome connection that would activate it.

With mine, if I leave it switched on and drive the jeep, the unit "applies the brakes" whenever I step on the jeeps brake pedal fairly hard. I can't drive the jeep unless I switch the smi off.

Only exception I could think of is if you are wired with a completely separate towed lighting system, separate bulbs and the works. I really wish I had done mine that way, coulds skipped a handful of relays and diodes!
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Old 02-07-2011, 07:22 AM   #9
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I installed my own SMI "Stay and Play" DUO in the Saturn and I have not touched it since. I don't really have to turn it on or off or fuss with it in any way. The unit is mounted under the hood so it's out of sight. What activates the unit is when you connect it to the motorhome. Absent that connection the SMI just sits around waiting to go camping!
Mine has a toggle switch ( on/ off ) attached to a small black box inside the car, that must be switched to on. But that's all I have to do with the SMI, once the coach is plugged in to the toad.
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:05 PM   #10
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For JimM and wrangler with SMI

Just put SMI on Wrangler.....new to the MH and the towing. I had some time getting sensitivity set, so used a fair amount of battery I guess, but seemed much less than a modest trip. The turn signals activated the brakes, which is apparently related to setting the sensitivity to high or low. Anyway, got that straight. But battery dead after got home. So, what seemed a short time of getting this straight, drained the battery. Question: Do you have a problem or solution(s) to not draining the battery? Maybe I just started out with a low battery on this shake down 10 miles trip, but seems unlikely I could go 300 miles with everything set right and arrive able to start the toad. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for your or other insights, help.

CMH
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Old 03-31-2011, 11:58 PM   #11
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I just bought the Unified Brakewithout considering the others. Seemed like the least complicated and easiest to hook up. 4 years of towing a Subaru and now it's installed on my new Jeep. And no problem with the battery going dead or have to flip a switch.
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:13 AM   #12
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Regarding the SMI and battery drain. Regarding the blinkers activating the SMI tow brake - that will happen at the lowest (most sensitive) setting, but by raising the knob as instructed this will no longer occur. Regarding draining the battery, since the only time the jeep battery is used is when the brake is activated, it should not be enough to drain the battery. But with the key in the on position there is a constant drain, I added a trickle charge from the MH to jeep battery, with an inline fuse for protection. I used the existing MH charge line.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:04 PM   #13
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I chose the U.S. gear Unified tow brake. The pedal 'actuater' fit very very well under the extremely busy driver's seat in my 2011 JGCO Summit (tons of electronics under there). The other reason i chose the U.S. gear is because i am sure about not tapping into the coach's air supply.
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Old 04-03-2011, 09:10 AM   #14
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I did use the motorhomes trailer charge circuit to keep my jeep battery charged. Also disabled the steering lock so I could tow without the key in.
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