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Author Topic: Which trailer brake controller for bus?  (Read 1048 times)
belfert
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« on: March 30, 2007, 08:10:06 PM »

What is a recommended trailer brake controller for a bus?  I used the Brakesmart on my former pickup and they do make an air brake version.   Do I need to worry about the trailer brakes not be activated when the Jake is activated?  Will an inertia based controller work better with Jake or are they only active when brakes are applied?

Has anybody done a writeup on installing a trailer brake controller in a bus?  A brake controller doesn't just plug in like most pickups.

Brian Elfert
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Hartley
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« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2007, 04:30:21 AM »

The inertia sense type controllers work very well in a bus. Doesn't matter what is slowing the bus down since braking inertia
is telling the brake controller to apply power to the trailer brakes until inertia lightens.

I run a Tekonsha in  my MC9 and it has worked flawlessly every time.

You have to make sure to run at least a #10 wire from the blue brake line on the controller all the way back to
the trailer plug.

A 12-volt source will need to feed the controller.( put a 30 amp fuse in this line! )

If you have 24 volt system, You will probably want to add a relay to the brake light circuit to toggle a 12 volt source on and off when the brakes are applied. This goes to the brake-sense line on the controller.

I did something odd on mine, I found a spare wire in the factory harness and ran it from the trailer plug terminal for the trailer brake lights back up front to an LED marker light under the dash to tell me when the brakes were applied. This way I can see when the trailer brake lights are on or off. The advantage was that if I had a relay failure that kept the trailer brake lights from working it also would alert me that my brake controller probably wasn't working either.

The newer Tekonsha's also indicate whether the brake circuit is connected with an LED on the display. Green is Good !
( saves that long walk back to check if I plugged in the cord.... )
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belfert
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« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2007, 06:05:50 AM »

The inertia sense type controllers work very well in a bus. Doesn't matter what is slowing the bus down since braking inertia
is telling the brake controller to apply power to the trailer brakes until inertia lightens.

Don't the inertial type controllers only activate the trailer brakes if the brake pedal is depressed, or am I wrong? 

My brake lights are 12 volt so they are activated by a relay already since the bus is 24 volt.  I'm not sure if the Jake activates the brake lights.  Newer trucks and buses activate the brake lights with the Jake, but I have no idea if my 1995 is new enough for that.

Do the interial type controllers causse any jerking of the trailer.  My travel trailer that weighed as much as my F350 never stopped smoothly with a Tekonsha Prodigy.  I finally upgraded to a Brakesmart and trailer braked great.

Brian Elfert
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Hartley
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2007, 09:02:17 AM »

You are correct, They only activate when they see a signal from the brake light switch.

No, I don't know if the Jakes (active) circuit is connected to your brake lights. It should be for safety reasons
but that doesn't mean anything these days.

I would think that "any" postive braking " action should activate the brake lights to tell the people behind you
to slow down.

I have had good luck with the Tekonsha but you have to find the "sweet" spot in the adjustments or it could
cause uneven braking. That's why they have 2 controls on them. One for sensitivy ( changes the angle of the g-force sensor ) that may also need to be touched up on steep grades( it also affects the RAMPing speed ). And the Braking Level control. That's the one that can really cause aggravation and surgeing if adjusted too high or low depending on the circumstances. It's all in the learning curve. I guess I have been lucky.

I think there was a recall for some kind of problem with the Prodigy series a while back because some were found defective but don't remember what that was all about.
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JerryH
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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2007, 03:33:27 AM »

I bought and installed a Reese digital controller.  Old controller just has a little LED bulb, while this newer unit has a digital readout.  Easier to adjust before and during transit.

JerryH

http://www.reeseprod.com
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