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Brakes - Emergency Breakaway Switch power wire has no fuse holder or fuse???


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10 hours ago, John E Davies said:

A fuse will not blow when the breakaway switch is activated when everything is working correctly, because the normal current flow is less than the fuse rating.

The fuse is there to protect the wire if it should short out to ground, such as if a mouse chews through the insulation and the conductor touches the aluminum frame, and the wire suffers a severe current overload. The fuse pops, the wire is saved. If the same thing happens without a fuse, the wire overheats and literally melts somewhere. And your emergency brakes don’t work in either case. You still have to find and fix the problem, you just don’t have other burned stuff also, or, the worst case ever, have your beautiful Ollie burn to the pavement...

Most people do not understand, a fuse protects the wire, not the device at the end of it. Your stereo shorts out, the fuse blows, the wire is safe, you replace the stereo and replace the fuse... no worries. Electrical fires are not to be taken lightly, use Google to look at some pics of “automotive electrical fire images”. Like this one:

A0AB8CFF-747E-473E-842E-6E173385694C.thumb.jpeg.28cf55fd97963b484206c0d74ecd88f7.jpeg

John Davies

Spokane WA

Wow - what a dramatic image.  Interestingly, that's also what the battery could look like after the travel trailer broke free from the TV and crashed and burned - all because the emergency brakes didn't work due to a blown fuse that isn't supposed to be there.  I think I'll wait for OTT to issue a safety recall if it's not correct as is.  

Edited by NCeagle
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Looking at similar discussions on other trailer forums like Airstream Airforum and the Escape forum it looks like the breakaway switch is not fused by other trailer manufacturers either.   Whether it is a regulatory retirement issue or not isn’t clear but the industry practice seems to be no fuse on the trailer emergency breakaway power circuit.   So I wouldn’t say this is an oversight by Oliver or a flaw.  It looks like it was a risk assessment decision by the manufacturers, balancing the risk of fuse problems vs. the risk of electrical short in a mission critical emergency system.   And based on discussions here and elsewhere, fuse problems (wrong value installed, fuse holder corrosion, etc.) seem far more common than dead shorts in wiring.  

Edited by FrankC
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2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

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5 hours ago, NCeagle said:

I think I'll wait for OTT to issue a safety recall if it's not correct as is.  

Yup, same here

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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II hull #709

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Well, this has been very interesting, there are strong feelings on both sides. I am waiting to see if the BAS manufacturer replies with any useful info. If so, I will post their response here.

As an ex aircraft tech, my personal view of the Oliver electrical systems is that they make mistakes or weird choices through lack of care in the production line, or from marginal design engineering. Like the inverter recall a couple years ago because they left off the mandated extra chassis ground (they never caught that very serious error until it was pointed out here in the forum and they were notified as a service request). Burying important wire splices in inaccessible places. Not using minimal cable lengths, and instead leaving the many extra feet of it in an unsecured tangle, AKA “rats nest”. Using grossly oversized inverter cables, which are costly and awkward to deal with.

I am making those statements based on Hull 218, they have definitely improved, but I won’t blindly accept something like the lack of fuse protection here, unless there is a documented reason for it, one that actually makes sense to me. 😬

John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Perhaps it is a RIVA spec - here is a link:  https://www.rvia.org/standards-regulations/laws-and-regulations  &     State/Cite (rvia.org)

Or NHTSA.  Perhaps it is a Canadian regulation? Call Oliver - I would believe they know. 

I don't really care to spend time searching. My 16"  tandem 3500 lb axle "farm" utility trailer does not have the break-away - however my former enclosed tandem axle did have the BAS. All my boat trailers did not have BAS. Who knows??? 

As the BAS is a normally open - closed when activated - you would NOT know of a open fuse until it is to late - in most cases.  

As has been stated - Oliver must be counted on to understand the requirements, and engineer and build accordingly. I would not recommend altering the circuit - for legal reasons alone.  Were one to have an issue - your Oliver takes off on it's own. the brakes do not work as designed, the subsequent wreck causes havoc on something or someone - and a subsequent investigation finds the altered circuit. Hmmm - we have seen this move before.    

I must say Oliver owners are a cut above - most others just use the RV until they don't - BAS - what BAS.

Happy Trails all

Keep them little doggies behind you

Hooked up, tethered, and BAS working.

Edited by BackofBeyond
correction
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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"
ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for all the comments. I did hear back from a Bryson Elliot, customer service rep at Equalizer Hitch, the manufacturer of the Zip BAW switch used on our Ollies. While he VERY expertly danced around the "Why" part of my message, he did say two important things:

"There is not once in our company history since we have released the zip cable that we have had a problem with the zip shorting and burning the trailer at all." He did not mention internal (inside the hull) wire failure.

"There isn't a need to use a fuse with the zip breakaway cable. However we haven't ever had any issues with people using a fuse with the cable. So you can do whichever you'd prefer." He did not say why their wiring diagram shows no fuse, or even a recommended wire gauge, for that matter.... I did look all over the Web for diagrams, I found ONE that showed a fuse in this circuit. No others.

So, take his comments for what they is worth, they are still vague. Do as you feel, understanding the possible (remote, but maybe serious) legal implications of modifying this wire. I will open a Service request to see what Oliver says about this.

Thanks for your time and participation.

John Davies

Spokane WA

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"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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1 hour ago, mjrendon said:

I also looked a the wiring instructions for several other break away switch manufacturers and none of them showed a fuse in their instructions for their switches.

Yep, I agree, but I did find this one with a fuse from an unverified source. But only this one....

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John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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This would be an ideal use of a panel mounted fuse holder (probably under the rear dinette seat) visible from the trailer cabin. In particular a fuse holder that lights up when the fuse is blown. Periodic testing would be more important with a fuse installed in the emergency brake power wire. 

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I have submitted a Service Ticket and will follow up with any new information.

John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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California Highway Patrol will inspect large trailers, (big ones) as a class a driver license (same one as an 18-wheeler) is required. The checklist includes many points. One of them is to verify that there is NO fuse in the breakaway wiring. The wiring is also checked. the checklist does not provide a justification, but the assumption is that if needed, a problem causing the blown fuse may exist when the trailer is rolling away from the TV.

(Also, the checklist includes for the breakaway cable to be connected directly to the TV, and not the safety chain.)

John

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2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4

2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

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  • 1 month later...

Update via email, Jason described the factory wiring of this switch, I have NOT completely inspected my trailer to verify this. The circuit is not fused, and he could not tell me why. The wire goes from the rear bus circuit breaker, then it exits through the belly and runs along the outside to the breakaway switch. So some of the wire is out in the open, but several feet of it is NOT, and that remains a fire hazard IMHO.

I kept the 20 amp inline fuse that I added, and will not worry about anything more. I will continue to test the switch operation before each trip. If you feel like crawling around under your trailer, look to see if there is a wire coming out above the axles, heading toward the front. Please comment about what you find, or don't find 😉

Thanks.

John Davies'

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Our Ollie (Elite-I) is in winter storage now, but last fall I scoped out the route of the pink BAS feed to help me understand what's what if I ever got to the point where I could install EOH disc brakes. On my Ollie the pink wire goes from the battery side of the 20A self-resetting breaker on the tow vehicle 12V charge line (street-side,, adjacent to the wheel well) into a bundle of split-loom protected wires. It exits the hull from the bottom of that bundle somewhere very close to there, and comes out right above the street-side end of the axle. From there (also covered by split-loom) it goes to the center of the trailer and then follows the hollowed-out path forward along the bottom of the hull, along-side the soft copper propane line to a point near the front of the fiberglass chassis. From this center-forward position the pink wire then heads street-side where it is butt-spliced to the "hot" pigtail on the breakaway switch.

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Tom

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite #409 - 2017 Silverado 1500, 5.3L, 4x4 Z71, Dbl Cab, Std Bed

2020-12-18 Oliver Camped States (small).jpg

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