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CA_Tallguy's Achievements


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  1. VERY COOL! I wondered if anyone had done something like this! So the hitch extends and retracts? How big of a deal is it as you move the hitch away from the centerline on the back axles? I guess the further away it is, the more of a lever action there is on the pivot? I'm new to 5th wheels and the needed geometry for hitch placement on the tow vehicle. Has anyone used one of those in-motion sliding hitches as well? The ones made for short bed trucks, I think, where they move on turns to give extra clearance? Not sure how much room they give you but for people running long, maybe every inch counts. Or at least if you are close, maybe it could put some people within legal length -- as long as truck and trailer are straight when the officer comes with the tape. And also for an extending/retracting hitch -- maybe you could snug up the trailer by a foot or two by the time you pull over to get measured.
  2. Thanks for sharing pics and info on how you did it, @Moresmoke and @Scrap And @Scrap that 280 system is one I hadn't heard about before.... this looks very exciting. This is Metri Pack? Here's an overview I found for anyone else who may be interested:
  3. STILL TOO MUCH DIY? HOW ABOUT NEARLY ZERO WIRING!!? This Tekonsha 119251 ZCI Zero Contact Interface Universal ModuLite Kit ($130) uses current sensors on any wiring you can find with the signals you are interested in. You simply provide +12v to the unit and then clip the current sensors on the signal and brake wires, etc. https://amzn.to/3xYjgTE Then take the 4way output and plug it into 7way, run your brake controller and you've done enough to get on the road.... Hopkins 47185 Multi-Tow 4 Flat to 7 Blade and 4 Flat Adapter ($20): https://amzn.to/3uyedHJ So you have a complete wiring solution for $150 instead of $280. And it's far more simple to install than the Jackalopee. I think only 3 wires are essential -- +12v, ground and the output for your brake controller. NOTE: THESE ARE NOT TAPS -- THEY DO NOT CUT INTO THE WIRES! You would likely need to put the current sensors somewhere on wiring to the existing tail lights on the truck as they need to sense current to operate. (It may not work if you put them on the normal trailer wiring connector as there isn't any current on the wire without your trailer connected to it.).
  4. Well, I think it's more like there are green apples and red apples and washington and granny smith and more. Lots of options. But the "core" of all of the relay based options is less than $20 in relays, even for the exact same relays used in the Jackalopee. Is the rest worth $180 (with shipping) or $280 with some extra wiring? To me that is a heavy premium. You can get this waterproof version of the relays used in the Jackalopee for $4 each https://www.qualitymobilevideo.com/bu5084.html Donald Trump may crap on a golden toilet but I'm fine with porcelain LOL. They do the same thing and there is nothing deficient in my porcelain toilet over his. I think some people said the Hoppy didn't last very long but there are dozens of other ready made alternatives such as below. To make things really easy, you could get one of these 7 way trailer connecter sockets that can take a 4 way input, which some of the units below provide as output -- ( https://amzn.to/3uyedHJ ) and then you just do a direct run TO THE SOCKET of your brake controller, +12v aux/charging circuit if needed, reverse lights if needed. No real need to put those through the Jackalopee anyway. It can't get much more plug and play than this.... even less wiring than with the Jackalopee! Hopkins 46255 ($45) https://amzn.to/3o9HRAE (5 amp) Hopkins 46265 ($55) https://amzn.to/3tuW105 (8 amp) Hopkins 46155 ($20) https://amzn.to/3bf15iQ ("Each unit can power 2.1 amps per stop/turn signal") Curt 56187 ($20) https://amzn.to/3ezynLU Tekonsha 1119178 ($30) https://amzn.to/3vUVO7Y - 2.1 amp stop light/turn signal circuit capacity; 7.5 amp taillight circuit capacity Reese 8507900 ($36) https://amzn.to/3o12Sx8 - 2.1 amps for Turn/Stop circuits and 7.5 amps for Tail light circuit The main consideration with these is how much current your trailer will draw, apparently. If your trailer has LED tail and stop/turn lights, you are probably fine with any of them. Perhaps the people using Hopkins in the past had incandescent lights and the low power version?
  5. Looking over my circuit design, there may not be too many crimps to do.... hell this has to be easier than putting together a piece of Ikea furniture LOL! INCOMING CONNECTIONS GROUNDS - Relay terminals #85 for all four relays get tied together with the incoming and outgoing ground RIGHT TURN - Tie the incoming right turn wire to terminal #86 from one relay and #30 on another relay LEFT TURN - Do the same for terminals #86 and #30 for the other two relays and the incoming left turn wire BRAKES - Tie the last two #30 terminals to the incoming brake wire RELAY TO RELAY (the above gives us a "right" and "left" relay pairs) For the "left" relay pair, connect remaining terminal #86 on one relay to #87 on other relay Do the same for the right pair OUTGOING CONNECTIONS LEFT TURN/BRAKES - Tie the two #87a terminals on the pair of "left" relays to the outgoing left turn/brake wire RIGHT TURN/BRAKES - Do the same for #87a on the two "right" relays with the outgoing right turn/brake wire I think the remaining wiring gets passed through from incoming to outgoing wires (running lights, reverse) and the brake controller is connected to the brake control pin on the 7 way blade connector. Disclaimer: I have not tested this except using a simulator online so if anyone tries this it may be good to rough out and loosely connect the wires at first before doing final crimps and heat shrink. Refer to my circuit diagram for troubleshooting or revert to one of the methods in the FAQ if things needed. If I get into this maybe I'll try the circuit on a breadboard to verify. With quality, waterproof relays of the same brand as used on the Jackalopee, it should last the life of the truck. https://www.qualitymobilevideo.com/bu5084.html
  6. My soldering is also not great although recently I have been trying to improve. Some also say that solder for a mobile application isn't great while other people swear by it. Like you, I mostly opt for crimping. That's why I would probably end up using relays with pigtail sockets like I previously posted: https://amzn.to/3eRD6Y9 (maybe a waterproof version with waterproof relays) Then I would use marine grade crimp connectors AND marine heat shrink tubing over those. (I'm always afraid that I might puncture the heat shrink on the connectors while crimping.)
  7. @NeverEasy thanks for the reply. It's great to hear from someone who appreciates that diy OR jackalopee are both fine solutions. The experience you had a the 2019 ECR rally is exactly the type of scenario when a DIY option is perfect because sometimes you want to implement a solution right on the spot. I agree with you about being careful with quality of many of different components you can source. I do tend to gravitate toward reputable brands and sellers. On Amazon, if there are a large number of positive reviews -- AND (very important) if the product is sold by one seller only (so you can know the reviews are applying to not only the product but also the seller) -- I may take a chance on the product as long as there are not a lot of reports of faulty items in the reviews themselves. I also priced out the same brand that I could see were used in the Jackalopee and am pleased to see that they were modestly priced too.... just $3.59 at the first place I looked so I didn't bother to go any further. Now I just looked again and see the model I linked is also WATERPROOF so that's a nice bonus and makes a separate waterproof enclosure less important if used for a DIY installation. https://www.qualitymobilevideo.com/bu5084.html
  8. I never said it was a better option. I've said it is an alternative -- one that the HDT community already lists in the FAQ -- that some people will prefer. It seems a lot of people are very passionate about the Jackalopee and I've said again and again.... that's great. I've said it is a lovely product. This will be the third time I've said -- some people may have more time than money and this can work for those people. It's really all anyone needs and will likely be completely sufficient for as long as they own the truck. Most every post has been to tear apart the unimaginable notion that someone might wish to simply wire together a few relays costing $13 (perhaps even the very same relays in your Jackalopee) and spend the remaining couple hundred bucks on something else. Here's the link to the FAQ again: http://www.hhrvresource.com/node/203.html If this is a terrible idea, perhaps someone should update the FAQ to remove it.
  9. Is anyone mounting their Jackalopee in a location where they need more than an IP65 rating? Seems unadvisable. An enclosure for these relays is a luxury more than a necessity. The relays could be mounted in a toolbox, drawnbox, or the cab, for example. Most people I would guess have many electrical components mounted in various places and few are probably in IP65 or greater cases. The enclosure I posted does have means for protecting the wiring in the back -- which would be required for the IP65 rating. There are numerous alternatives on Amazon if you are looking for something better. This one was the highest rated and is marketed to off road enthusiasts, so I'm guessing that over the road use is a lighter use case. 4.6 out of 5 stars from 1510 reviews which is about as good as it gets. I find the reviews and customer Q&A on Amazon will likely address or surface any issues you may be concerned about. https://amzn.to/3eWNttx
  10. As I said in my opening -- if you have more money than time, then by all means spend away. Those of you who have purchased a truck already done by one of the outfitters will likely fall into this category. If you like the make of the Jackalopee, go ahead and support him. But not everyone is going to have this luxury. Other folks are going a DIY route, and this is a simple way to save a few bucks. Spend that money for things you can't do yourself, or to upgrade some other component that you otherwise would not that would make a bigger difference to your vehicle. "DIY where you can and spend where you must" may be a strategy for some. If all DIY'ers priced their labor at $75/hr I doubt there would be much DIY happening in the world. Some other folks like me will just balk at paying nearly $300 for something I can put together myself for pocket change. In minutes, not hours. (Just crimp together some wires on the $13 relay set with wired sockets I posted. 5 relays + 5 sockets with wiring for $13 https://amzn.to/3eRD6Y9 4.7 out of 5 stars from 3381 reviews) Maybe some people will opt to try an option from another source like Tekonsha that only costs $30. I would suggest they study the reviews carefully on any unit to try to determine if it is reliable and long lasting. I don't believe that ET hitch has the only solution. (ET's solution is lovely but some people may decide solid state is preferable to mechanical relays.) We all have our own ways of doing things and our own priorities -- that's why no two HDT's are exactly the same, right? So there can be more than one "correct" solution here. Multiple DIY solutions are already listed by the HDT community in your FAQ so I'm not proposing something new and radical here. There are many benefits in addition to cost savings, such as repairability with standard components available anywhere and immediate availability without waiting for an order to be delivered. Perhaps someone will come upon this information when they are doing their final prep after a build, not having realized this would be a problem to solve, and hoping to go on the road tomorrow and they need a solution right now. There are many ways to accomplish this functionality for under $20 and a couple of minutes crimping connectors (not 2 hours) instead of $180 (plus $100 for the wiring). You can put the relays inside a toolbox or other protected location with some improvised moisture and dust protection. Or for $30 just get this enclosure that is about as highly rated product as you will find on Amazon. They have free returns so there is no harm in ordering it and sending it back if you don't find it suitable.
  11. I came across a mention of the Jackalopee in another thread and didn't want to hijack that any further about DIY solutions. The Jackalopee appears to have many fans and if you have more money than time, it's probably a great solution. Some of us are trying to DIY build a lot more of our own HDT (I'm still exploring HDT) so I wanted to post some info that may help others trying to save a few bucks to make their own solution. The other benefit of DIY is you can use standard components available EVERYWHERE and if you have any problems, any competent vehicle mechanic with electrical skills can help you. Other folks have pointed out that ET Hitch is amazing with their service and you can talk directly to the designer of the product for help. That's great, but I think it is even better to be able to replace any component from a DIY solution any day of the year in any city in north america (probably the world) and you can get hands-on help everywhere too. But honestly, if you use good relays you will likely never have a problem. The DIY plans in the FAQ are conveniently numbered to match standard relays so anyone should be able to follow along to build their own unit. Thanks to @Nigel for directing me to this http://www.hhrvresource.com/node/203.html I also designed my own 4 relay circuit that you can play with on CircuitLab here: https://www.circuitlab.com/circuit/5r6nrm9kfcax/trailer-light-converter/ -- It works by passing through the turn signals when a brake signal is absent. If brakes are also pressed when a signal is engaged, the turn signal +12v is used to power one of the relay coils to cause a momentary interruption in the brake light on the indicated side. Said another way, the power from the turn signal is used to TURN OFF (flash) the brake light on the left or right side. This method will be opposite of what your truck is showing -- so when the truck has a blinker ON, the trailer would have the blinker OFF. If this inversion bothers you, just spend a little time adjusting the circuit or see if the circuit in the FAQ is more to your liking. The main function of Jackalopee appears to be provided by a set of 5 relays in a weatherproof box. You can get a highly rated weatherproof box at Amazon (4.6 out of 5 stars from 1510 reviews) WITH SIX RELAYS and a set of fuses (extra protection over the Jackalopee, I think) for $29.95..... https://amzn.to/3eWNttx In comparison, the Jackalopee price on the website right now is $180.90. To save even more, you could purchase the same brand relays as on the Jackalopee for about $3 each and fashion your own wiring. The DIY plans posted in the FAQ call for 3 or 4 relays depending on which method you choose. So we're talking $9 to $12. https://www.qualitymobilevideo.com/bu5084.html Or you can get this set of 5 relays + 5 sockets with wiring for $13 https://amzn.to/3eRD6Y9 (4.7 out of 5 stars from 3381 reviews) -- these are also numbered so you can follow along with the DIY design in the FAQ linked above. MOST of the wiring is from one relay to another, so since these sockets have wires already attached. you would be splicing or soldering a lot of these wires together. The additional wiring option for Jackalopee (about $100 today) is mostly some wire + a socket and adapter. You can get a wide variety of pigtails and mounts at Amazon to suit your needs, such as this 8ft for $30 or 12ft for $38: https://amzn.to/3eg1JP8 (you could use some of the wire in this pigtail for your cross-relay wiring). If you shop around on amazon there are many deals to be found and you can get higher or lower quality to suit your own taste and budget. If you like the LED's that the Jackalopee has, you can pick up a cheap LED tester for 7 way blade RV sockets at any RV supply store or probably at any Walmart. For example this one is $10: https://amzn.to/3toFUBq
  12. I'm not seeing anyone complaining about failures of the Tekonsha unit in the reviews. They have given it 4.8 out of 5 stars at eTrailer. Some things I read said that you HDT folks were supposed to be more DIY inclined but I'm starting to wonder! For under $20 you could buy the exact same relays Jackalopee uses and it wouldn't be hard to wire them up. I'll sit down and draw out a schematic and post. There is nothing magic about this Jackalopee box. I think these are the same relays as used in the Jackalopee -- Beuler brand. Just $3.59 ea. https://www.qualitymobilevideo.com/bu5084.html If people are willing to spend $180 (or $280 with a few extra wires) on a handful of relays and a few LED's, wow, I should print up some circuit boards and have some made, then put them on Amazon. Am I missing something that all this does is combines the turn and brake signals? If you want test LED's, just get a trailer wiring tester for $10 https://amzn.to/3toFUBq The other commercial models like Tekonsha may be all electronics rather than relay based. Electronics should be a more reliable design since they don't have any moving parts, but in the end, it's probably doing to depend on the quality of the electronics and how much they are protected or resilient in the face of vibration/dirt/moisture. Same thing with relays except they have the additional consideration of moving parts and contacts to wear out or corrode. Someone developed what they think would be a good electronics based design here: https://www.electroschematics.com/trailer-stop-turn-signal-converter/. At the end of the page, they noted some problems with a commercial model they purchased at UHAUL due to low quality, inexpensive components.
  13. I looked up the Jackalopee -- Seems awfully expensive for a bunch of relays. Doesn't Tekonsha 119130 for $30 do the same thing? You could then get a splice it into the middle of a 7 way round to 7 way blade pigtail and you are done for about $60. Seems like you could do it for even less $$ if you just wired up a 7 way blade socket from the Tekonsha adapter. And I'm guessing there are other adapters out there for even less than the Tekonsha. Etrailer has an article talking about ways to do this. They list 4 different adapters for combining the brake and turn signals.... https://www.etrailer.com/question-111684.html
  14. This unit is REALLY nicely done and sounds like they worked with a coach builder AND volvo to customize it. The paint and body appearance make it feel a lot less imposing as it feels more like a traditional/typical/modern RV Seems pretty clear that they started with a day cab, right?
  15. Came across a few Volvo toterhomes.... This one is an old listing so may no longer be available, but is maybe close to what I'd like. No factory sleeper and still has a fifth wheel. Also has a slideout for extra space. https://www.facebook.com/commerce/listing/561357350881031/?media_id=0&ref=share_attachment This next one is 1999 Volvo with factory sleeper + a box made into a motorhome behind it. Pretty well done. The only thing is once again the factory sleeper really isn't put to good use. There area just a couple bench seats in it. I wonder if they use it as a dinette? https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/484320195920371/ This is something I have been thinking about. For a DAY CAB or SHORT sleeper, I could probably live without a pass through unless it would give me a little more space to move the drivers seat back in the cab. Most of the pass throughs I've seen are just a opening with accordian type rubber baffle in between so they would offer no extra legroom. For a 660 or 780+ sleeper, a pass through might be essential as I'd want to try to incorporate the sleeper space into the rest of the living space.
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