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Brake Controller?


QLStar

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Like OldFlySwatter wrote, I did the same. I made the replacement during the 2014 ECR in Crossville, TN; it's a very simple installation...especially, if a Jackalopee is installed to interface the truck's electric systems with the trailer's electric systems. The installation seems to be working very well; I've driven about 11k-12k miles with that installation since then. I agree with his recommendation, too.

 

Raymond

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  • 3 months later...

I'm about to order a brake controller myself.

 

This seems to be a polarizing issue, but I wanted to ask you guys if there was a general consensus on Hayes vs. Direct Link at this point.

 

The Hayes seems to be pretty popular - http://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Hayes/HA100400B.html

 

Are there any major benefits of one over the other?

 

I have purchased a Jackalopee as well.

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BM - The Hayes is a great controller - it pushes a piston with air from your HDT brakes and sends a variable current based on that. More brake air - more current to the trailer brakes. Simple and straight forward, been around a long long time.

 

DirectLink - new kid on the block and works by FM - -- Magic. It ties into the J1939 data buss and 'reads' the truck wheel speed change in rotation. It changes that to a pulse width modulated (fancy current changer) power to the brake pucks. Now, as Trey mentioned, with the rest of the parts, this gives anti lock brakes and digital communication back to the controller in the truck over the brake line. The Direct Link is set for the next evolution (anti lock) in trailer brakes where the Hayes will do a great job with current tech.

 

There is no polarizing issue, Directlink costs more but your ready for an upgrade. Hayes works but no upgrade unless you start over.

 

Or Gee whiz over old reliable. Hayes is about $250 and I think I paid $450

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Since you have a newer truck, I'd go with the Direct Link. It seems to be the preferred controller for the newer computer controlled trucks. It's also the one that Gregg uses in his customizations. If our truck was newer I'd use it instead of the Haye's

 

Thanks, Bill and Jim. That's just the explanation and differentiation for which I was looking.

 

DirecLink it is. I sent them an email earlier this morning as soon as I hear back from them I'll get one on order.

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Hayes is elegant simplicity. All it is is a linear power potentiometer in line with your batteries modulating current with air pressure changing the position of the wiper mechanically. That's it, one part, three connections.

Direct link seems very sophisticated, if it was developed by the same people who designed the Tucson Brake system I would be intrigued. I spent some time with the Tucson engineer at the Rally, these guys are top shelf designers. Don't know about the technical principles they use to generate the PWM to the pucks, but I would assume these days there is a lot of info on that data bus one can tap into and utilize.

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I like the Hayes for it's simplicity. It needs nothing but air from the pedal. Nothing computer controlled, it just works. If it was the difference between HD TV and non HD TV that I have to look at every day, then I might want fancy and sophisticated but I don't even look at it when I tow my trailer. It is the last thing I think of after I hitch. The HDT and hayes controller work better than anything I ever towed with, it is the best I have ever had. I don't need to spend more to do "best" more expensively.

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I understand and like that about the Hayes, as Phoenix and 5er said. It's the antilock that ran my decision. Commercial trailers can have them, why can't I in a RV? I carry a Hayes as a "It broke, oh sh..., this will work".

 

I also added a light to the side of the trailer so that I can see power is going to the brake bucks (Well, hydraulic controller anyway).

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I need to bite the bullet on one too.. So the one that Bmzero posted is the preferred no frills one?

 

http://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Hayes/HA100400B.html

 

 

 

I'm about to order a brake controller myself.

 

This seems to be a polarizing issue, but I wanted to ask you guys if there was a general consensus on Hayes vs. Direct Link at this point.

 

The Hayes seems to be pretty popular - http://www.etrailer.com/Brake-Controller/Hayes/HA100400B.html

 

Are there any major benefits of one over the other?

 

I have purchased a Jackalopee as well.

 

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I think there is a lot of merit in the ability to add ABS later.....if in fact that is possible with the equipment you have or will get. ABS does make a difference on the trailer. You will find out real fast if you test drive one in slippery conditions. It is remarkable.

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The "magic" concept here is proportionality. You have two uncoupled systems basically operating independently, truck brakes and trailer brakes. Each capable of doing each own thing regardless what the other one is doing. The trick is how you mirror each other first and then how you apportion their action to equalize it.

The cheapest controllers use time segments which does none of the above well, but it doesn't matter if you use them on a popup behind an SUV, it will do. Pendulums works OK to some extent detecting what's going on, but don't work as well on HDTs where weighst are up there and the trailer doesn't affects the truck as much as a pickup. MaxBrake, BrakeSmart and Hayes work well because they sense what you foot is doing to stop everything. They look at brake line pressure, either air or hydraulic fluid, and generate more or less current depending how hard you press the pedal. The adjustments on these further regulate the ratio between the two systems (equalizing the "aggressiveness" of the fifth braking).

There is a lot of information on the J1939 bus in modern vehicles, generated by myriad of sensors in engines, transmissions, wheels, etc. I have no doubt that a very precise software algorithm can be written from that info to simulate braking and to generate the appropriate current flow to the pucks. We done something similar 20 years ago (well before the J1939 standard) but it is not simple or easy.

The trucking industry doesn't fool around with any of that, they couple the two systems together with hoses so that whatever your foot is telling the truck brakes to do, the trailer instantly knows it too.

That's why in this discussion I think the BluDot air over hydraulics system needs to be.mentioned too. It is probably the most proportional system between the truck and the trailer and uses trucking industry parts with decades of use and reliability but it is not as simple to install as the others.

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That's why in this discussion I think the BluDot air over hydraulics system needs to be.mentioned too. It is probably the most proportional system between the truck and the trailer and uses trucking industry parts with decades of use and reliability but it is not as simple to install as the others.

When I built this trailer (the 2015) I had to decide if I was going to put on ABS and use the Tuscon system in both the truck and trailer, or stick with BluDot on just the trailer. It was a very difficult decision.

 

In the end, I decided that since I had the Bludot I'd just put that on, knowing that I could upgrade to the Tuscon system if I keep this trailer, and wanted to do so (the Dexter/Morryde disc brake system have the tone rings in them). I pulled the BluDot off our 2012 because the person did not want air/hydraulic brakes. Instead they have electric/hydraulic. So the BD was "free". BUT, if I wanted the best possible system I'd probably do either a commercial trailer ABS adaptation, or a Tuscon system.

 

The BD works flawlessly and is truly proportional. The two units totally act as one.

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