Phantom 5 amp draw - Brake-away brake switch deployed

elbowwilhamelbowwilham Member Posts: 10
Rovnblood posted a similar thread about this: https://tab-rv.vanillacommunity.com/discussion/10725/5-37-amp-phantom-draw#latest
I decided I would start my own thread since I have a 320 with no inverter. 

I had issues with the stock battery that came with my tab. It was dying in the middle of the night. So I replaced it with a 100amp battleborn. But the same thing happened on Friday night. I was boondocking and the battery was charging fine all day, but then it just died in the middle of the night, leaving me with no heat. 

When I got it home I hooked up an amp meter. I didn't have anything inside the tab turned on. No lights or heating system. But there was a 5 amp draw. 

Does anyone know what could draw that much power? That seems like more power then even the refrigerator would pull.  
2020 320S Boondock Edge - 2013 Honda Ridgeline
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Comments

  • elbowwilhamelbowwilham Member Posts: 10
    Update: I pulled all the DC fuses out and the draw is now sitting at 3.5amps.

    I didn't even know about the E brake on my [email protected] Where would I check that on a 320?
    2020 320S Boondock Edge - 2013 Honda Ridgeline
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 5,466
    edited April 26
    Make sure the emergency brakeaway brake pin is plugged into the switch.  If it gets pulled out of the switch, the Tab brakes engage and it can drain a battery.  To test to see if they are working, pull the pin and try to roll the Tab - it should stick like glue.  Here is a picture of the 320 switch.  Tge other end should be free of the tow chains and attach to the TV - preferably not on the hitch.  Your cable may be silver with a loop at the TV end.


    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 5,466
    Was your frig on 12 v?
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • elbowwilhamelbowwilham Member Posts: 10
    No, I've never run my fridge on batteries yet. I did it on propane for one day, but it was pretty cold out where I was so the fridge stayed cool without the propane

    Thank you for the picture. This is a picture of my brake switch. 
    Am I supposed to have a cable there?


    2020 320S Boondock Edge - 2013 Honda Ridgeline
  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 634
    edited April 26
    @elbowwilham, I don't want to step on @Sharon_is_SAM's likely reply, but "yes," your breakaway switch is missing the plastic plunger (pin) that is connected to the electric brake "breakaway" cable.  The cable, in turn, connects to your tow vehicle and is designed to activate the electric brakes (which are powered by your trailer's 12V battery) in the event the trailer becomes disconnected from your tow vehicle while towing.  That is most likely the cause of your dead battery and it definitely needs to be replaced before you tow the trailer.

    This photo and labels may be of assistance to you:


    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    edited April 26
    @elbowwilham

    You are missing the cable to the left of your brake switch. The cable connects to your tow vehicle. Here’s what it should look like (2019 model, ignore the screw protruding above the loop in mine, that’s from the sway bar mount):


    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 5,466
    @Bayliss - good pics!  I am going to use them on another thread.
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 634
    Thanks, @Sharon_is_SAM.  The second photo is from @VictoriaP, so thanks go to her for that.  I had previously obtained the photo with the labels from eTrailer.com, I believe.  I saved it just in case it would come in handy in instances like this.
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • elbowwilhamelbowwilham Member Posts: 10
    I don't even know that I ever had that cable. I have been having issues with the fuse from my TV battery to the Tow plug blowing after about 15 minutes. When I was messing around with that, I never saw that plug. 

    Is that something Uhaul should have installed when they installed my hitch and plug? To be honest, the techs at Uhaul didn't seem to really know what they were doing. 

    Have I been towing my [email protected] with the e-brake on this whole time!!??
    2020 320S Boondock Edge - 2013 Honda Ridgeline
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    edited April 26
    I don't even know that I ever had that cable. I have been having issues with the fuse from my TV battery to the Tow plug blowing after about 15 minutes. When I was messing around with that, I never saw that plug. 

    Is that something Uhaul should have installed when they installed my hitch and plug? To be honest, the techs at Uhaul didn't seem to really know what they were doing. 

    Have I been towing my [email protected] with the e-brake on this whole time!!??
    I would think it’s unlikely UHaul touched it, but I suppose it’s possible. Normally, the breakaway cable and emergency brake setup are supplied with your trailer. And yes, my understanding is that if the pin is pulled, the electric brakes are engaged. If there’s a likelihood you’ve towed any significant distance like that, you should have the brakes checked.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 634
    @elbowwilham, I agree with @VictoriaP.  You should get the brakes checked (and probably the wheel bearings checked and re-packed and/or replaced as well.)  It might be best to take it to a small trailer supply business since RV repair shops are often backed up.  Also, it sounds like you probably do not have an electric brake controller on your tow vehicle, so you need to get that installed as well.
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • elbowwilhamelbowwilham Member Posts: 10
    I never saw or attached the breakaway cable while towing. If it came with the trailer, I would have attached it right?
     
    Uhaul installed the Curt Echo bluetooth brake controller. 
    2020 320S Boondock Edge - 2013 Honda Ridgeline
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    I never saw or attached the breakaway cable while towing. If it came with the trailer, I would have attached it right?
     
    Uhaul installed the Curt Echo bluetooth brake controller. 
    Did your Tab dealer not walk you through hookup when you first picked up your trailer? If it was missing, it should have been noticed right then. There’s honestly zero reason I can think of for UHaul to touch the emergency brake switch or cable, it doesn’t need to be connected to a brake controller, and the Echo appears to install between the 7 pin socket on your vehicle and the 7 pin cable on your trailer. Neither is attached to the emergency cable.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • NomadPilgrimNomadPilgrim Member Posts: 95
    That plastic plunger pulling out only part way not only killed a battery and fried my inverter but the brakes locking warped my axel, which had to be replaced. It was a very big deal. I have photos of the melted plunger and brake controller box.
    2016 [email protected] Maxx CS-S  following a 2008 4Runner Ltd

    Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.-
    Paulo Coelho
  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 634
    edited April 26
    @elbowwilham, you can purchase a new breakaway cable at any RV supply store, eTrailer.com, or through Amazon.  Here's a link for one on Amazon, but they have several to choose from on their site:

    https://www.amazon.com/Fastway-Foot-Breakaway-Cable-80-01-2160/dp/B004TR4IGW/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=1T1ZP5YMIRXSQ&dchild=1&keywords=trailer+breakaway+cable&qid=1587939709&sprefix=trailer+break%2Caps%2C201&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExOEtEWTYyQzVEMklHJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwOTg4MTk3T0gzRk8xWTVWT1ZaJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAxNzEyNTEzS0lGMzlHVVBUTTMwJndpZGdldE5hbWU9c3BfYXRmJmFjdGlvbj1jbGlja1JlZGlyZWN0JmRvTm90TG9nQ2xpY2s9dHJ1ZQ==

    Since you have a brake controller, the new cable should work without any issues.  Just plug the plastic pin into the breakaway switch and the other end of the cable, which has a loop, attaches to a secure point on your tow vehicle.  You can research how to connect and use it on eTrailer.com or YouTube, or a general "Google" search.  Also, take a look at the video on the post that @Sharon_is_SAM created.

    Not only will you need the new breakaway cable for your electric brake system to work as designed, but (other than cutting the wires, which you don't want to do!!) you will need that pin inserted fully and securely  into the breakaway switch to cut the constant flow of electrical power from the trailer 12V battery to the electric brakes.  Otherwise, as long as your trailer battery is connected (without that pin inserted), it will continue to be drained since it will be sending full power to the trailer brakes.

    Until you have the opportunity to replace the breakaway cable, disconnect your battery and re-charge it.  Leave the battery disconnected until you get the new breakaway cable installed.  Once you get the cable, you should then be able to tow the trailer safely.  HOWEVER, be sure to adjust the brake controller as described in the brake control manufacturer's instructions before towing the trailer too far.

    I just noticed that your trailer is a 2020 model, so if you have not driven it too much, the brakes and bearings should be OK.  Regardless, if for some reason the dealer accidentally disconnected the emergency breakaway connection before delivery of the trailer to you, then they should check it all out for free to make sure everything is OK.  Have them go over the braking system with you again............and, if they did not go over the trailer features and operation (inside and out) with you when you purchased it, have them do that for you.  That is standard practice for a dealer and should have been done, if it wasn't.

    (NOTE:  The only other likely explanation for the pin being gone/pulled out is possibly that you were simply unaware of its existence and it became disconnected when you unhitched the trailer, assuming you have unhitched it, that is.  However, if it was connected when you took possession of the trailer, the other end of the cable would presumably still be connected to your tow vehicle.)
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Member Posts: 500
    edited April 26
    @elbowwilham Check your safety chains. Often dealers will thread the cable through the chain so it doesn’t dangle loose (should still have a carabiner or hook on the loop at the car end so you can attach to the vehicle), so if it simply pulled out at some point, it may still be tangled in the safety chain. If not, order a new one like the one @Bayliss linked. I actually just ordered that one myself, as the coiled cable and bright red attention-getting color as a reminder look like a good upgrade over the simple wire cable that came stock.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r (being replaced, not recommended!)
    Pacific NW
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Moderator Posts: 5,466
    It requires a serious pull to dislocate the switch pin.  Anyone else try pulling it out without success?
    Sharon / 2017 [email protected] CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan / Westlake, Ohio
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 725
    In ay event, the OP should have the brakes checked.  If the trailer has a disconnect switch, turning it off, should disconnect the brakes also, but taking the black ground wore off the battery will also work.  I would not tow it until everything gets sorted, including having the brakes checked, and adjusted if needed.  
    Cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • elbowwilhamelbowwilham Member Posts: 10
    Thanks so much guys. Learning something new about my [email protected] all the time.

    I ordered a new cable from Amazon and I am making an appointment to have the brakes checked. I drove it about 500 miles and I am pretty sure the E-Brake cable was out the whole time. Better to have them checked just to be sure. 
    2020 320S Boondock Edge - 2013 Honda Ridgeline
  • TampakayakerTampakayaker Member Posts: 151
    I'm surprised he didn't feel drag while towing or smell something burning when stopping.

    But, if he had the battery disconnect turned to off while towing the brakes wouldn't engage, right?
    2006 RAM 1500 4 door, 2016 [email protected] 320 MAX S 
    Tampa FL
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Member Posts: 1,280
    In theory, most likely, probably...yes, the switch off disengages the brakes.  This thread goes through the whole thing.
    If you are new to towing and all the moving parts of hooking up a trailer, this Purdue University brochure is interesting, informative, and entertaining.  The discussion on the science of Safety Chains begins on page 42, and the next chapter is all about the Emergency Brake cable.   You can always find the booklet here on the Forum by searching "Purdue."



    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 634
    edited April 27
    @Tampakayaker, the answer to your question is a bit tricky, so I have included a drawing of the wiring, which includes the electric brake connection (a copy of the drawing is in the electrical resources folder on this forum.)

    When towing (tow vehicle ignition on), if properly wired, your tow vehicle seven-way wiring provides an electrical connection directly to the trailer's electric brakes, regardless of whether the trailer battery is connected or disconnected.  HOWEVER, and it is a BIG HOWEVER, it is very important that your trailer's battery also be connected while towing so that an independent electrical connection to the trailer brakes is available in the event that your trailer should somehow become disconnected from the tow vehicle.  The whole idea of the emergency breakaway switch is to immediately engage the trailer brakes and stop the trailer in the unlikely event of it becoming completely detached from the tow vehicle.

    I too would expect some very noticeable drag of the brakes/wheels if the electric brakes were fully engaged during towing.  There would also likely be noticeable smoke from the brakes or tire rubber rapidly heating up.  The only thing that might prevent that from happening is if the brakes were not properly adjusted (i.e., very loose.)  I'm guessing that maybe the brake cable was attached during travel, but somehow became disconnected during the unhitching process (although I would think that the other end of the brake cable would still be connected to the tow vehicle.)

    @elbowwilham, can you shed any more light on this for the benefit of others on the forum?  I know I would appreciate the info.  Looking back on it now, do you recall any issues with the brakes while towing over the 500 miles?


    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • elbowwilhamelbowwilham Member Posts: 10
    @Bayliss @Tampakayaker Hmm, this is interesting. I can't say I noticed any drag or smoke. 

    I always disconnect the battery and close the propane before taking off. Never was told I should leave it on. Now I know, and knowing is...

    As I mentioned before the fuse from my battery to my electric brake kept blowing about 10 minutes after driving. This would be the BLK cable into #6 on the chart above. 

    I just left the fuse out for the rest of the trip. 

    So with the battery off and the fuse to my trailer brake blown, its possible the brakes were not engaged?


    2020 320S Boondock Edge - 2013 Honda Ridgeline
  • falcon1970falcon1970 Member Posts: 568
    With the battery off you will have NO emergency breakaway braking at all whether or not the pin is pulled from the emergency switch.  You did, if you have the correct brake controller on your tow vehicle, have normal trailer brakes when you pressed the brake pedal--unless, of course, there is an issue with the trailer brakes or the controller.  When you set up camp and turned the battery on the electric brakes activated.
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 778
    I always disconnect the battery and close the propane before taking off. . . .

    As I mentioned before the fuse from my battery to my electric brake kept blowing about 10 minutes after driving. This would be the BLK cable into #6 on the chart above.

    Sorry, you have confused me.  On the trailer side there is No Fuse for the Electric Brakes.
    Is your Tow Vehicle (TV) blowing a fuse?  On Ridgelines that is a 20A fuse on the +12V (to trailer) circuit.
    Or is your aftermarket Brake Controller Fuse blowing?

    [email protected] trailer have 10-inch electric brakes; Dexter manuals state at 100% on one axle (two brake drums) will draw 6 Amps Total.  So if your TV +12VDC fuse is blowing it's most likely not the brakes.

    If a Fuse in the [email protected] is blowing . . . and from some of your comments that might be the case. Then there is a short in the [email protected] - - - So which fuse - - - WFCO DC Panel Fuse (value, location) or TV fuse is blowing?
    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  26   Nights:  160 
  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 634
    edited April 27
    @elbowwilham, I am wondering if you have a "short" somewhere in your wiring.  Possibly a loose ground connection that is alternately breaking, and then re-connecting the electrical connection, such as when the trailer is bouncing down the road.  On the other hand, that would not likely be the issue if the problem is that the electric brakes are draining your battery while the trailer is sitting, such as at a campground overnight, because power would obviously be going to the brakes.  It would not take long for a constant flow of electrical power to the brakes to drain the battery, just as it doesn't take long for a three-way fridge powered only by a wet cell battery to quickly deplete the battery.

    Can you provide a description, or better yet, a photo of the specific location of the fuse that kept blowing?  You indicated that the fuse from your tow vehicle (TV) battery to the tow plug (7-way plug?) was blowing after about 15 minutes.  But you also described it as the fuse from your battery (tow vehicle?  trailer?) to your electric brake that kept blowing about 10 minutes after driving.  It is not clear if you were driving when the fuse blew.  If so, how did you know it had blown (i.e., before actually inspecting the fuse?)

    I am not familiar with the Curt Echo bluetooth brake controller and could not find any info online about it having a dedicated fuse.  So, do you recall what you were doing when that fuse blew?  Did that occur more than once?  If so, what were the circumstances, or what you were doing at the time (e.g., towing, applying the brakes, checking a wire, etc.)?

    Sorry for all the questions, but the answers may help resolve the issue and provide helpful info for all of us.  Thanks, and good luck with getting the problem fixed.  I am looking forward to hearing the resolution.       
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • BaylissBayliss Member Posts: 634
    @MuttonChops, I must have been writing my response while you were posting yours, but it sounds like we are on the same track.
    2019 [email protected] 320 S Boondock Lite; Alde Compact 3020 Boiler; 2007 Toyota Tundra TRD (5.7L V8)
    Greg & Marlene (Tucson, AZ)


  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 725
    No, the Kurt Echo does not have a obvious fuse in it. 
    cheers

    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 778
    @elbowwilham ; Been thinking on your problem.
    Have reviewed each posting for details.

    - A -  Assuming the Fuse that keeps blowing (you remove) is in the Tow Vehicle.

    - B -  The trailer brakes are on due to Emergency Breakaway Switch being engaged (pin pulled).

    - C -  This is most likely why the fuse is blowing.  Not another short in the trailer.

    - D -  Expect your trailer brakes themselves are OK.  You have been driving without trailer brakes after the fuse blows (or you remove it) as you have been setting the trailer battery cut-off switch to Off when towing.

    Diagrams work better for me, so here we go . . . .

    Your Ridgeline with U-Haul installed 7-Pin and Curt Echo Controller.
    How it would look under normal conditions; Trailer Battery On, E-Brake not engaged (pin in).


    How You have been towing for the first few minutes before the Ridgeline fuse to 7-Pin blows or you remove it.


    Once the fuse blows (or is removed) there is no power to the Curt Echo or trailer.  Trailer brakes will not work.

    That make sense?  Have i captured the issue you are having?
    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  26   Nights:  160 
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