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The Good Old Brake Smart


RandyA

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I finished up the drum to Kodiak Disc brakes using a Hydrastar actuator (formerly Carsile).

 

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hydrastar.jpg

 

I had some reservations as to how well my Brake Smart would perform with the disc brakes.

 

Well, I plugged the truck into the fiver this morning and the display immediately displayed that an electric/hydraulic controller was found (before it was just electric brakes). Defaults for disc breaks were loaded. It worked perfectly needing only fine gain adjustment. These (MaxBrake & BrakeSmart) controllers are fantastic devices. What happened to make them stop being offered? They are far superior to a Prodigy, which I assume is the technology that made them obsolete.

 

 

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I started with my BrakeSmart in my 1 ton then, with a switch of the pressure system sensor from hydraulic to air, I put it into Clifford and never looked back. It has been a great performer and I have never had cause to dis it. Mine is located under the dash to the right of the hood release on my right. I can see it and just reach the manual braking switch (which I use every time I hook and unhook).

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Mine is in the same area, dark, impossible too read and difficult to reach. I have to reach down almost having to take my eyes off the road. Perhaps a topic to touch on at the WCR if I make it.

 

That and getting the brake control lever on the dash hooked into the system.

 

Truck to trailer battery charging system will be done today and EZConnector is completed.

I hope the new pin in my thumb is stainless or my hand may become a permanent fixture to the EZ magnets.

 

Perhaps Kornel at Travel Supreme Parts in the Houston area would be interested in picking up where the previous owners left off if it is that good a system.

 

His number is on another Forum.

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I still cry when I think about the fact that I sold my Excursion and didn't take the BrakeSmart out of it. I miss my Excursion, but I think I miss the BrakeSmart more. I understand what Mark is saying about the cheapest offering but the BrakeSmart was so much better than anything else on the market.

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Randy,

 

Surely you can figure out the electronics and you could get with David Dixon or Henry for packaging and marketing and have a side business. I'll only take 10% for the intellectual property (the idea). :).

Well, don't think I have not given it some consideration.

 

A couple of years ago I built a controller (breadboard project) that was what you might call a BrakeDumb. The transducer that is installed in the air line is nothing more than a variable resistor that changes value with pressure. That is all you need to bias a couple of transistors so that the output voltage to the brake magnets increases as brake air pressure rises. It isn't really all that complicated. Personally, I think the price for the Hayes is way out of line for what is inside - It would not be difficult to build something comparable for less than half their price. Now, building a smart controller like the BrakeSmart or MaxBrake would be more difficult/expensive/involved than my bench effort. I do not have the software or programing background needed to put all of that together. I'm an old guy that matured in an analog world. I still like vacuum tubes and TTL. There is a whole new learning curve between understanding and actually doing it (doing it right, anyway). I've toyed with some ideas using an Arduino as the core for a smarter controller but truthfully have not gotten past square one. Maybe David would like to take this on - he is obviously a digital guy :). My thinking is more along the lines of an open source project for anyone wanting to put together a DIY controller.... starting with dumb and hopefully moving into a smarter device. I currently have absolutely NO desire to get into the HDT accessory product market like Henry or David, but I am always glad to share what knowledge and ideas I may have left.

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Not me, Sorry. I'm an electronics engineer that has and uses a MaxBrake, not the BrakeSmart. I can understand and "get" the concept behind the product, but like Randy, can also get why it would be a real project. To automatically find and reset to operate the electric over hydraulic unit!? Cool programming! LOTS of work! They were way underpriced for the product, unfortunately still couldn't compete because you had to have used one to understand why they were worth more than the cheap junk. Now if somebody wanted a nice sideline job and could "find and acquire" the remaining assets of BrakeSmart or MaxBrake...

 

I recently installed a Hydraulic pressure sensor on my LGT so I can move the MaxBrake controller over from the HDT when I need it on the farm. (or find a different Controller.)

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When I sold one my truck, my wife was laughing at me for removing every piece of the BrakeSmart controller system and box it back up. BrakeSmart was my favorite, but when that product disappeared, I bought MaxBrake and kept a couple on the shelf. Then they disappeared and bought DirecLink. Rather happy with it, but just do not get the same in my mind as have a pressure sensor feeding results directly to the controller vs going through the ECU and other modules.

 

I remember when BrakeSmart was bought by Dr. Performance and man, they where a character. Bought units from them, paid via credit card and for 1 1/2 years later, sent me monthly invoices and would not understand it was already paid for via credit card and have the statement to prove it. They disappeared from something about they where unable to get the chip made due to some problems. Still have my brake smart, let the max brakes go ... BIG mistake !

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Randy I would love to come up and check out that brake job. Are you at home for awhile? We just got back from 16 days at the old pottery C/G now called Campark. Cheap. Passport America. Enjoyed doing nothing and loved it. We rode up to Lazy Acres C/G. Have you ever stayed there? Do you ever get down this way ? And the most important ? is how is the finger? That really looks like a great brake job. Have you had a chance to actually try it on the road? Pat

 

 

The Old Sailor

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Randy,

 

Surely you can figure out the electronics and you could get with David Dixon or Henry for packaging and marketing and have a side business. I'll only take 10% for the intellectual property (the idea). :).

Only if you build your own first, like you did with the bed wiring harness. ;-)

 

Well, don't think I have not given it some consideration.

 

A couple of years ago I built a controller (breadboard project) that was what you might call a BrakeDumb. The transducer that is installed in the air line is nothing more than a variable resistor that changes value with pressure. That is all you need to bias a couple of transistors so that the output voltage to the brake magnets increases as brake air pressure rises. It isn't really all that complicated. Personally, I think the price for the Hayes is way out of line for what is inside - It would not be difficult to build something comparable for less than half their price. Now, building a smart controller like the BrakeSmart or MaxBrake would be more difficult/expensive/involved than my bench effort. I do not have the software or programing background needed to put all of that together. I'm an old guy that matured in an analog world. I still like vacuum tubes and TTL. There is a whole new learning curve between understanding and actually doing it (doing it right, anyway). I've toyed with some ideas using an Arduino as the core for a smarter controller but truthfully have not gotten past square one. Maybe David would like to take this on - he is obviously a digital guy :). My thinking is more along the lines of an open source project for anyone wanting to put together a DIY controller.... starting with dumb and hopefully moving into a smarter device. I currently have absolutely NO desire to get into the HDT accessory product market like Henry or David, but I am always glad to share what knowledge and ideas I may have left.

 

I like the idea of approaching this as an open source project (well, I tend to think that way about most software...). Especially something with safety and/or security implications, putting the source code and hardware schematics out in the open lets others take a look, ask questions, and help improve the design and identify flaws.

 

 

Not me, Sorry. I'm an electronics engineer that has and uses a MaxBrake, not the BrakeSmart. I can understand and "get" the concept behind the product, but like Randy, can also get why it would be a real project. To automatically find and reset to operate the electric over hydraulic unit!? Cool programming! LOTS of work! They were way underpriced for the product, unfortunately still couldn't compete because you had to have used one to understand why they were worth more than the cheap junk. Now if somebody wanted a nice sideline job and could "find and acquire" the remaining assets of BrakeSmart or MaxBrake...

 

I recently installed a Hydraulic pressure sensor on my LGT so I can move the MaxBrake controller over from the HDT when I need it on the farm. (or find a different Controller.)

 

I'm with you there--it's not a small amount of work to do what they did. Some of it may be overkill and/or just showing off, but it's still a lot of work that's been lost.

 

I've kicked around the idea of putting something together, possibly as part of an integrated light and brake controller that would plug in to the glad hands and trailer wiring plug. It's not too high on my list right now though--I'd definitely have fun with it, but I'd need some volunteers with heavy, well-packed trailers to test with! As the Henry and the MaxBrake and BrakeSmart guys have figured out, it's a tough nut to crack commercially. And it's going to be a changing market as well, with most (all?) of the light duty trucks equipped with integrated brake controllers. As the need for the standard inertial controller goes away, it might mean that there's a new opportunity for something better. It might also mean that some of the non-LGT products (like the Hayes air-actuated controller) get caught up in the shrinking market and go away as well.

 

Now for another fun idea (looking at you Randy ;) ): Let's try to take one of the electric parking brake mechanisms that I so hate on passenger cars (it should always be a handle between the front seats...) and implement it on one or more trailer axles. Then, a long stop in traffic or a breakaway situation doesn't mean pouring power into a set of magnets until the battery is dead--the brakes actuate and are set until powered to release.

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A bit off topic -

 

Anyone know why a Maxbrake in a LGT would be working when you pull in a camp spot then have failed 3 days later when you brake check preparing to pull out? I contacted Dutch and Di at the time and Dutch ran through all the tests we could do over the phone. It was seeing the signal from the hydraulic brake pressure sensor so it was decided it is something internal in the control box.

 

A standby Prodigy pos control worked when plugged in to the same connector...

 

Installed a DirecLink once we got home and put the Prodigy back in the spares box...

 

Still have the Maxbrake in the fix it someday box...

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My maxbrake let me down for the last time this spring,sitting at the border you are not allowed to 'set your brakes' so I have to hold position with the service brakes.

It happened 4 years ago on the way to the ECR,smoke came out and the heat sink melted free and was rattling around inside.Fixed it and all was good as long as I remembered to unplug if I was going to stand on the brakes for 15 - 20 minutes or more.

This year I forgot and I smoked again, done with it bought a direct link and it works fine.

I'll carry the max around until the next rally if anyone needs parts.

Danbree the pressure sensor is still in the truck , come to a rally and we can see if its easy to get to.

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