ebrakes (breakaway switch) as a short term anti theft measure

Discussion in 'Tires / Brakes / Bearings / Axles' started by Anthony Hitchings, Nov 3, 2021.

  1. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    Brakes are not intended to be energized for long periods of time. The also don't see 12V in practice during normal driving. You will burn out the magnet coil in no time.
     
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  2. Michael J

    Michael J Member

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    What brand and type you use that sounds kinda cool
     
  3. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    its not me - it was from another forum member
     
  4. Wrenchgear

    Wrenchgear Near Elmira, Southern Ontario

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    So, what did you wind up doing for security that night?

    Heavy chains and the best pad locks can easily be beaten with a cheap cordless angle grinder and a cut off wheel. Bad guys can buy that set up for a lot less than what you spend on your chains and locks, and then just cut a link or a shackle in literally seconds. Yes, it makes noise, but its noise that is over very quickly. I have crappy locks on my hitch coupler too, but if I'm too worried about something happening to it, I'll take a wheel off. If you think the bad guys are driving around with a spare tire to put on, then take both wheels off. Beyond that, you need to chain a big dog to the trailer tongue.
     
  5. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    There is no way I would do this.

    The breakaway switch system is intended to never be used, but if it does get used, it's to mitigate the damage your trailer causes to other vehicles in a catastrophic event. So almost consider it a single-use design.

    Sure, you may be able to pull it 20 times and it's fine. But I really doubt it would be ok leaving those magnets engaged at maximum force for even an hour. The magnet coils will heat up and prematurely fail. The switch itself will wear out prematurely. And the battery will be under load the entire time as well. If that load is 3A, ok no problem -- you could run it 13 hours. 6A, you could run it 6 hours. But each hour at 3A is about 80% of your total available capacity.
     
  6. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    to answer Wrenchgear, for security that night :

    big tongue lock to block access to ball "socket"
    big security cable to nearby tree
    motion alarm inside the camper

    plus, it was inside our cul-de-sac, which seems to rarely attract bad persons
     
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  7. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    So what would be the drawback to the suggestion I had on Sunday? Sure the battery would drain in an hour or two. But it would be cheaper to buy or re-charge the battery than to buy a whole new camper. If nothing else you could follow the black tire mark all the way to where the tires blew out.
     
  8. davido

    davido Well-Known Member

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    The drawbacks would be prematurely worn out brake magnet coils, and breakaway switch mechanism.

    The proper tool for this job is an anti-theft boot on the wheel. Yanking the breakaway switch is harmful to the switch itself, designed for single use, and harmful to the brake coils.

    If everyone keeps saying this is a bad idea and you keep asking "well how about for just a couple hours?", why ask our opinion? I've seen no new information or clarification that changes my opinion it's a bad idea.
     
  9. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    No drawbacks if it means that you get to keep the camper - brake stuff is cheap compared to a camper - especially if you have put a lot of work into modifying the camper - as we have.

    Cooking the brake magnets won't start a fire - its inside a metal space.

    And the exterior wiring is more than adequately rated for the continuous current
     
  10. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    Brake magnets cost about $60, plus the labor (yours or hourly) of removing the entire hub. I just replaced one this summer. Cheaper than a new camper, sure... but it's far from foolproof as far as anti-theft.
     
  11. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    TEST RESULTS
    at the end of 2 hours, in 68 degree F air.

    current started closer to 2 amps and then soon settled at 1.79 amps, peak localized temperature is 257 deg F after 2 hours. The metal pan below the magnet is 85 deg F.
    Electricity was supplied by two 12V SLA wired in parallel.

    In actual use as an anti-theft brake, the magnet would lose heat to the brake drum, so this test is escessively arduous.

    This is only FYI - I am not advocating anything at this point in time, other than experiment beats theory.
     
  12. Grandpa Don

    Grandpa Don Well-Known Member

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    Okay, okay. I get it! I get it! But, we are talking about replacing two magnets and a break-away switch, verses replace a $10,000.00 camper only if that once in a life time event happens where someone want your camper more than you do. By the way, I was not aware that the switch was designed for one-time use. Where does it say that?

    I just got off the phone with etrailer. They say the switch is not a one-time use switch. Pulling the lanyard is how you test the brakes when doing service. Also, the magnets are available separately for around $20-50.

    I personally have not done this. I do remove one wheel, and put the stabilizer jacks down. I also have a tongue lock, and I park the camper in my driveway with a tree on one side, the house on the rear side, the sedan car on the right side, and my truck inches from the tongue.

    I just got another cool idea. How about this? Install a very loud car horn connected to the battery through a trip switch. Anchor the switch lanyard to a fixed point under the camper. Moving the camper pulls the lanyard and off goes the horn.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2021
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  13. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Well - your opinion is fine for you. But unless the original notion burns the house down (or the camper), whose to say its so very terrrible? As the saying goes, "there is more than one way to skin a cat".

    The great value of posting ideas in this forum is to get all the pros and cons out there on the table, so that the poster (or someone else) can make an informed decision.

    And my experiemnt of this afternoon adds some real data to the issue.
     
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  14. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    todays experiment - 2 hour run time - the magnet did not burn out.
     
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  15. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Follow up:

    magnet coil resistance - cold - after the test, is 4 ohms, sounds about right.
    resistance between coiil wires and magnet metal body is semi-infinite - so no shorts developed due to it getting really hot.
     
  16. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    The strands won't effect the ampacity of the wire. That's determined by the total cross sectional area. The wire should have a published rating. That being said, you won't get the same ampacity with stranded if the external size is the same as solid.
     
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  17. tfischer

    tfischer A bad day camping beats a good day at the office

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    I just reread the original post. You are this paranoid of losing your trailer at your own home?
     
  18. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    when its not inside my gated-fenced yard, yes. My utility trailer was stolen off the street in front of our house. A few blocks up the road a new teardrop was stolen. Cars and trucks are stolen regularly, even in broad daylight. Its Oakland, its not Mayberry.
     
  19. tombiasi

    tombiasi Well-Known Member

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    Don't forget, it's now legal to steal trailers in California.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2021
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  20. brettstoner

    brettstoner Active Member

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    High security chain will protect you against bolt cutters and saw attacks. Nothing will protect you against a cordless grinder but if I am home I would definetely hear someone grinding away at 4 am in my driveway. A high security chain will take a minute or two to grind through verse 5-10 seconds for regular hardware store chain.

    As for GPS tracking on my robot lawnmower I use a generic Chinese made 4G 12v tracker. Mine looks like this. It has an antenna for the GPS and an antenna for the cell signal. It is hard wired inside the lawnmower and takes about 10 minutes to disassemble the lawnmower to get to it. Has a internal backup battery as well. I use H2O wireless pay as you go $3 a month plan. It uses the AT&T cell network. I set up a boundary around my house to text me if it leaves my yard. You can also setup GPS Trace to track it online but I stopped using it since I never used it.

    This is the absolute cheapest setup you can run. Most places will provide a cheap GPS tracker and charge you $30 a month to track it on their website. Its a ripoff when I can do the same thing for $3 a month. Just make sure your GPS tracker is using 4G. eBay and Amazon are flooded with 3G GPS trackers for dirt cheap because 3G is going to be turned off next year by cell companies.
     

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