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Old 07-23-2020, 09:25 AM   #1
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RVi Brake 3 - Initial impressions - Should we return it?

Just purchased a new RVi Brake 3 system. It arrived a week ago and after setup and a fair bit of road testing here are initial impressions. Our Toad is a Jeep JKU 2013.

On the Positive side:

For a seemingly complex system (tablet, wifi bridge, in toad on floor brake unit) setup was easy and worked first time. Did require their "phantom bracket".

Relative to other higher end auxiliary braking systems, for roughly $1400 you can get the complete braking systems plus a Toad tire pressure monitoring system. Totally get it, that is still a lot of money, but all vendors products for these type solutions are pricey.

The In-Toad braking unit is quite small and low weight. RV'ing is frequently a space and weight exercise, so this helps.

You do get free add-ons like Checklists and Leveling tools. Yes, we have them already on our smartphones and built into the RV's hydraulic jack systems, but it's included with RVi if you choose to use it.

Negative issues:

Job-1 for these systems is braking. Specifically, Danko / RVi tout their product as a truly "proportional braking" solution. According to their Support Team, that is a subjective statement. Bottom-line; there are only two sensitivity settings....Normal & Panic. Not kidding, that is it. If you are a look down the road, drive at reasonable speeds, or plan ahead type driver? You will likely not see the system brake your Toad most of the day. In their own words "There are probably many folks for whom the brake rarely activates because they drive more gently." To me, it is unwise of Danko failing to provide a higher sensitivity setting. There are times like in wet road conditions where it's hard to generate sufficient braking g-loads to trigger auxiliary braking without having to add risk by more aggressively braking. Again, this is my opinion, my experience. RVi / Danko support disagree with that conclusion. There is no option for more sensitivity. Their recommendation is to add more braking pressure by overstating the type of vehicle you are towing. We tried that, it does not appear to affect sensitivity.

The Tablet; I get it, they are trying to keep cost down. From an interface standpoint the tablet is good enough. However, the battery is Not. Even if you charge overnight and set the screen brightness to 50%, you are not likely to get more than 2 hours on a charge. If you use one of the extras like Tire Pressure system and Checklists, you will likely need to piggyback on an external battery to have it last through a morning breakdown, dump, TPMS placement (RVi recommends removing when not in use), and toad connect. Otherwise it will go into low battery alert mode before you are done. Danko / RVi support stated that "I was lucky, many customers report only getting an hour." Tablet is just an Inspira Astro Tab 7" and comes with really cheap battery soldered inside.

Tire Pressure Monitoring - The sensors are quite large. Our RV TPMS solution for 19.5 wheel F53 chassis is roughly 30% smaller. Danko / RVi sensors are so large they are very close to hitting wheel on Toad. With rubber value stems, they are likely leaning on wheels at speed. Second issue, RVi / Danko clearly state the batteries are Not user replaceable. They said they would replace the batteries at $10 each plus cost of shipping. Their reasons for this are quality control. There are so many TPMS solutions out there with user changeable batteries, that seems like an unnecessary hassle.

Summary; No product is perfect. RVi/Danko Brake 3 is a decent product. It could be better for very little cost to the manufacturer. If they would just add a Higher sensitivity mode, it would be easy to ignore other shortcomings. We are on the fence now about returning the product. A family member we RV with uses Brake Buddy. We are somewhat sorry we didn't buy the Select 3 instead. Let us know what you think, should we return RVi? Will we be happier with BB Select 3 Sensitivity adjust-ability? Your feedback is much appreciated.
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Old 07-23-2020, 09:51 AM   #2
tvp
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I have the RVi 3 system with the Tire Patrol on 10 tires ( 6 on RV 4 on toad)
I like the voice command feature, our RV is the Ford 26,000 lbs F53 chassis and tow a Honda Fit . The braking system is a snap to set up and remove from Honda , like the RVi battery charging system as well .
We did have some issues with some of the tire sensors but RVi customer service is unbelievable, fast response and shipping to fix the problems ,

I also like the download software upgrades that the system has to keep current.

No system is perfect but the company behind it is important
Does RVi 3 work yes !.... does the manufacturer stand behind the product...... YES !

Very happy with RVI 3
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Old 07-23-2020, 10:11 AM   #3
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i have the rvi2 that i got off craigs list. less than half cost of new one. no crappy tablet thing. the brake pedal claw did not fit my fiat 500 pedal. they sent me a replacement for no charge. great customer service imo.
3400 mile trip to south dakota the brake may have applied 4 times. twice because i forced it to see if it was working. my toad is very light and probably don't need the rvi. otherwise good product.
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Old 07-23-2020, 10:51 AM   #4
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I had an older brake buddy panic stop only and it was OK. Sold it with toad & bar as a pkg deal.
New to us MH and newer toad I went proportional with RVi3 and like it.
I've had a couple tablet issues. One read a special restart as nd other reqd tablet replacement that RVi handled quickly with no questions and sent it to our next stop while on the road.
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Old 07-23-2020, 12:01 PM   #5
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With the short battery life, how can the tpms work?
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Old 07-23-2020, 12:03 PM   #6
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When the wheels are not turning the battery switches to standby ...off
So the sensor last a long time
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Old 07-23-2020, 12:16 PM   #7
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Tablet battery life. A tpms sensor can't alarm anything if the receiver's dead.
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Old 07-23-2020, 12:35 PM   #8
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Tablet absolutely has to be plugged into a charger if you are planning to use it while driving. Battery would be depleted very quickly after getting on the road otherwise.

My number one complaint about RVi Brake 3 is a lack of Sensitivity Adjustment. Supposedly Dan (founder of RVi) designed the original Brake Buddy. Maybe he's contractually prevented from using a Sensitivity Adjustable feature?

No logical reason was provided by RVi Support as to why no sensitivity adjustment. If Brake Buddy can do it, I'm sure RVi could, which makes me think they are contractually prevented from doing so. Pure speculation. Wish I had known before buying. Otherwise we would have bought BB S3.

Now stuck trying to decide if we should delay next trip and return / switch from RVi to BB.
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Old 07-23-2020, 09:17 PM   #9
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I'm looking at buying a brake system plus $300 in PressurePro sensors so the RviBrake system looked enticing. Now, not so much. Thanks.
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Old 09-25-2021, 02:31 PM   #10
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RVi Brake System

I purchases the RVi 3 braking system along with 10 TPS, Battery charging monitor to tow vehicle, wireless break away sensor, and tablet.
I am on my third tablet. The first two did not work for an entire drive day unless plugged in with the charging adaptor provided (when it worked). I switched to a more reliable adaptor, and more rugged charging cables. The USB charging cables were less then adequate.
RVI recently sent me another new tablet the new generation, this is a great improvement. RVi customer service is good I have even visited the headquarters on my first trip.

When I speak of trip, last year was 19K miles Alaska to TN, VA, and Arizona. We drove most of that distance without a working tablet. the original failed, I stopped by RVi and traded (thanks RVi ) The second tablet only reminded on about 100 miles. By process of elimination I determined I had a fault USB cord, charger, and finally the second tablet failed. RVi sent me a new generation replacement tablet I continue to use the improved USB cord and charger I purchase and things work well. I now have TPS sensors that have a battery problem and need another $150.00 worth of sensors. I placed the order only to discover RVi was holding the order to confirm I had actually bought their system ( which I purchased directly from RVi) Time ran out so now I have a couple of thousand miles to drive prior to me sitting in the same spot to reorder the sensors.

My take away is RVi brake system and other add owns is a good system, with some bugs. RVi customer service is good if you have the time. I am thankful the brake system works fine without the tablet once setup.
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Old 09-25-2021, 03:12 PM   #11
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I like my RVI3 due to its small size, and the available wireless breakaway switch (no need to to drill thru the firewall)

You can always manually activate the brake by tapping the button on the tablet.

When I get the toad charger, the tablet will also show the battery voltage in the toad as I drive.
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Old 09-26-2021, 05:07 AM   #12
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I have the RVi3 brake system, TPMS system and toad battery charger system installed last month by me, so have only used them a few times. So far they have all worked well. (Thor Hurricane 29M on Ford F53 chassis towing a 2021 Ford Escape Hybrid weighing 3500#) I am not an aggressive driver and my normal braking does not actuate the RVi3 brake on the toad at all. I can test brake a little harder than normal and the toad brake will actuate as indicated on the tablet. I have it set for normal braking and I think this is a good setup. I believe the fact that it is a proportional system negates the need for a manual sensitivity setting. It will brake as hard as is called for by the rate of deceleration it detects. I think the "panic only" mode will not actuate the toad brakes at all except in a very hard brake application.
I can see where some folks would want to be able to set the sensitivity themselves so the toad brakes would act more aggressively or less aggressively to match their driving style. I would rather save the toad brakes as much as possible and only use them sparingly so for me this is a good system. I can tell by the brake pedal feel on my coach during normal stops, that my stopping distance is increased when I am towing a vehicle and as such I adjust my driving accordingly so as not to require the toad brakes. I do, however, like the knowledge that the toad brake system is just sitting their waiting and ready for whenever I really need it without having to consider what my sensitivity setting might be and if it is appropriate for the current situation.
I agree that the tablet and command center battery life is very limited. This is not an issue for me as I just leave them both plugged in to their dedicated chargers during travel. I would rather that I could change the TPMS wheel sensor batteries myself, but if they last 2-3 years I will be satisfied.
I really like the ability to monitor the toad brake, the tire pressures, the tire temperatures, and the toad battery charge level and rate all in real time while driving.
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Old 09-26-2021, 06:24 AM   #13
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I used to tow with a Brake Buddy and a remote brake pedal transmitter. It too used an inertial sensor and frankly I can never remember it braking at all. Upped the sensitivity setting and still little braking if any. I know it was "working" since I always performed the post setup tests. TOAD weighed in at #4500.

On my new rig I installed an Invisibrake and frankly I couldn't be more happy. It is a progressive system, rather than proportional. This means that it increases the pedal pressure as the brake event gets longer. This is achieved by a steadily increased level of vacuum supplied to the brake booster in the car. Unlike my previous experience, the TOAD brakes are almost always applied as indicated by the cab LED. I have adjusted the cylinder pressure so that the braking is smooth and not overdone (I can test it when driving the car even when detached from the coach.)

I prefer some TOAD braking always being used since a following #5000 load needs a little braking no matter what the situation might be and think that only a "panic stop" assist places far too much load on the coach brakes during normal driving. I also prefer continually knowing that the TOAD brakes are there and active!

Just my two cents...
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Old 09-26-2021, 02:30 PM   #14
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I have had an RVi Brake 3 since 2017 along with the RVi TPMS that I bought orginally for my 37' Gasser. I've moved it to mu Winnebago 38W DPa 40' DP. Had no real issues with the gasser but had a lots of problems since then They've replaced the entire setup twice now. Moved it to my 45' DP and things are not any better, IMO. They have a great support group and they respond quickly but it failed me big time on my 40' Forza, constantly losing connection. They had me move it to different locations even the 2nd time complete replacement including tablet didn't help in fact that failure could've been catastrophic. On one long trip with the constant loss of communication I still checked them manually once I stopped and again before I headed out to the next stop. Couldn't trust what they were reading if they read. On my final leg home late last year with our Winnebago Forza 38W, I checked the tires before I left. One front tire sensor wasn't reading but the rest were at the time of departure. About 10 miles down the road alarms going off for low readings on the back tires, then no communication so found a spot and pulled over. Took the sensors off checked all tires and they were good. Communication off and on the rest of the 400 miles home. Unloaded the MH checked the tires... Pass. inside dually 10 PSI Drivers inside dually... Flat... yup 0 PSI.... While I was aware of an issue with these tire valves (FL Recall) it drove me to be extra careful and more dependant on the TPMS system. FL sent up a mobile tech one day to confirm then the next day he brought a mobile tire tech to change out the rear tires completely with new ones and new valve stems all around required via the NHTSA Recall. Again complete change out on the system support sound almost like this was a none issue. Now I have another RVi complete set from them and if I still have issues with them on my Tiffin Phaeton 44OH as I get ready for a long trip then time to take the loss, again this time I'll toss them and go to something else that is more works. I have only 6 TPMS because I need to buy two for the tag axle but hesitate spending anymore money on this system if it doesn't work. BTW I have a buddy with similar issues that I'm having and has had his replaced. Braking on both of us works with or without the tablet but as mentioned if you tablet is dead or loses communication like I did the TPMS is worthless in my book, as I already found out though I was lucky I made it home without a disaster. I've been patient but time is at the end for me.
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