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Jackalopee University


phoenix2013
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Been quiet for a while, processing "life and old age". Currently in New Hampshire after leaving 100 degree weather in Florida and arriving in New Hampshire to 42 degrees and rain. Perfect for those who advocate "I like the seasonal changes". Primary reason to be in New Hampshire this weekend, two grandfathers graduating from High School and moving on to colleges. Caught one of them with a long lens.

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Not to be outdone by this generation I'm proud to report that I have obtained my own advanced degree from the University of my choice.

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I chose one of those instead of the engraved faculty chair as the graduation remembrance. Since the "university" is in South Dakota, it took place remotely via zoom which created quite a stir when some individuals turned the computer cameras on prior to sitting down.

Nevertheless, reading some of the recent post a sense a need for "refresher" course and there is a new development of the Jackalopee install area which might be helpful. I'm in the midst of small project for a customer which should be "illustrative", this is its start.

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To continue I have made the following purchases.

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An odd assortment of parts which might be puzzling even to the "veterans". So, as encouraged by by a recently retired luminary, "lets get after it" and unlike the Ivy League places I welcome open discussion, different opinions, even contrary opinions. 

 

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Here's the deal, the customer in distress, juggling several events, states apart. Buying truck in one place, picking up a commercial trailer in another, needing wiring to accomplish the mission. Solution, throw together temporary wiring, zip tied to the truck, make it pretty afterwards.

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However, the effort provided oodles of material for a seminar for the Jackalopee University faculty.

First, the basic tenet, wiring the heavy cables and taking care of the lights is only one third of the job. Wiring the brake controller and the battery power circuits are the other two thirds. It starts with three additional wires.

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Length of 16 gauge red wire, 12 gauge blue wire and 12 gauge black wire, connected as shown above. The red wire plugs into a splitter supplied with each Jackalopee. The lengths of the wires needed vary from installation to installation so have a generous length (it's cheap by comparison), the bundles you see here are about 10 feet each. The red and blue wire take care of the brake controller, the black wire the charging circuit. More details after supper, University faculty schedule.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sculptor said:

There is a disturbing lack of gorilla tape in these photos.  I’m partial to gorilla tape since my un-versity diploma is written on it.

Tape has been used on this project although inferior in quality to the brand you mention.

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It was used to protect the cable as it exits the plug, normally that function is done by a spring protector you see below.

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It appears that the latest batch of those residing in the stockroom have the opposite thread from what the plugs want. Inquiries produced Sergeant Schultz responses, "I know nothin'. Solution beyond the tape, ordering bunch of rubber boots (P.N. 11-762) from North Carolina. 

 

Edited by phoenix2013
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Posted (edited)

The second bit of wiring, which goes through the Jackalopee is the brake controller. Your semi has more than enough of air brakes to stop it and the trailer behind it, however, for safety reason (trailer jackknifing) you better have something in the trucks that activates the trailer brakes. Which means, some sort of electronic brake controller to activate the electric (or electric over hydraulics) brakes in the trailer. Brake controllers through various electronic and sensing methods determine how much electrical power (current) needs to go to the magnets in the trailer electrical brakes, or in the case of electric over hydraulic brakes send a digital signal to the hydraulic pump telling it how much hydraulic pressure needs to go to the hydraulic brakes (typically disk brakes). Whether it's a current or a signal it comes out of the controller through a blue wire.

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Above is a typical 4 wire harness as supplied with DirecLink, you should see a similar harness (and color code) on other controllers. Note I separated the four wires into two pairs, blue and red and black and white. Blue and red will go to the Jackalopee and black and white will go to the truck battery. After you mount the controller in the truck, it will be obvious that its harness will not reach neither of those places. Note what is going on here.

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There is a coil of red and blue wire coming out if the Jackalopee sufficient to connect the two in their mounting locations. The harness black and white wires will likely also need to be extended to reach the battery bank in the truck. So, what are the functions of the wires: As mentioned the blue wire carries either the current or the signal to the electric brakes in the trailer. The red wire is connected to the truck brake lights circuit in the Jackalopee (also a red wire). The white wire is connected to the ground terminal on the truck batteries. The black wire is connected to +12V terminal on the truck batteries, across a breaker.

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Basic principle in automotive electrical wiring is you never connect anything requiring battery power directly to the batteries, hence the substantial fuse panels in vehicles, boats, airplanes, Abrams M1 tanks, space shuttle, space station and Starship Enterprise when they build one. So put a breaker on the black wire before you get to the batteries. 20 Amp is a nice size for that application. Yellow from this manufacturer.

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Why one of these? Unlike standard fuses which burn up when overloaded and need to be replaced, these will thermally open up, but if the overload goes away, they will function again.  They require #10 ring terminal and the brass colored terminal goes to the battery, the silver terminal to the load (harness). Depending on the battery bank you have in the truck, you might find that the 3/8" ring terminal (shown) fits nicely on the battery studs. So this is how things should look inside the Jackalopee.

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The blue wire plugs into terminal marked BRAKE CONTROLLER, the red wire shares the BRAKE LIGHTS terminal.

Any questions, please post? We'll talk about the black wire in the next post

 

Edited by phoenix2013
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Good write up and learning tool Henry.  Pics really help.  Thanks.  Question,  I just installed Tuson and ran red line to Jackalopee as you show. I used one of these but see your double connector is side by side.  What did you use?1hCMxzNl.jpg

Edited by SuiteSuccess
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, SuiteSuccess said:

Good write up and learning tool Henry.  Pics really help.  Thanks.  Question,  I just installed Tuson and ran red line to Jackalopee as you show. I used one of these but see your double connector is side by side.  What did you use?1hCMxzNl.jpg

Carl, my first instinct was to go with something like this, but depending on the skills of the installers and the tight space, it provided ample opportunity for shorts (you have to modify this thing to work). And believe me I have witnessed some truly peculiar wiring skills and "attempts".

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The customer actually PAID to have this done and after things got shorted and board burnt up he had to buy another Jackalopee.

So this is the part I found and felt would work the best.

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It is supplied with every Jackalopee sold, it comes in a little pouch attached to the instruction page dealing with its application.

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Many of you "older timers" haven't seen these two page (front and back) Cliff Notes (email will get you one). These are sent in addition to the 16 page manual. Why the 2 pages of Cliff Notes. For those who are terrified off or, TOO LAZY, or on the high horse WHY DO I NEED TO READ, 16 pages. Remember when Macbeth was your assignment and you didn't, you bought Macbeth cliff notes and pretended that you did. 16 pages boiled down to two. 

I'll have some "new material" for the afternoon session. 

Edited by phoenix2013
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Posted (edited)

Welcome to the afternoon session.

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I was "intrigued" by the power and brake controller Jackalopee wiring one of the individuals did utilizing multiconductor SO cable and all inside the Jackalopee . I like clever ideas and since I had a quantity of the splitters I tried engineering a practical solution. I figured you would need a 5 conductor SO cable and two splitters. So here it goes:

One conductor from the batteries across a breaker to the splitter on top of the +12V SWITCHED

From the same splitter another conductor to the brake controller black wire (+12V power)

One conductor from the GND tab in the upper left corner to the controller white wire (Ground)

One conductor from the  BRAKE CONTROLLER tab to the blue wire in the controller blue wire (braking power)

One conductor from the BRAKE LIGHTS splitter to the controller red wire (brake lights)

It would also require different cable grip for this cable to seal it. Hmmm? Doable and cute, buy I didn't like the same conductor feeding the charging circuit and the brake controller circuit and not having its own circuit breaker. So what do I recommend for the charging circuit.

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Run a length of black wire (12-10 gauge) from +12V truck battery terminal across 40 Amp resettable breaker to the Jackalopee +12V SWITCHED terminal.

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That terminal is connected and continues on the circuit board to a relay. Also note that there is a blue wire coming from the truck plug and ends on the +12V AUX tab. There is a connection from that (AUX) tab to the same relay, you can see it on the PCB

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Note on the trailer side that the relay is connected to the black wire which goes directly to the trailer battery (+12V stud). So a beautiful marriage occurs along the +12V SWITCHED circuit. You get into your truck, turn the key on, +12V AUX goes to +12V, that +12V clicks the relay on and the truck battery circuit is happily married to the trailer battery circuit. You turn the key off and get out of the truck and the relay instantly divorces of the two systems. 

Edited by phoenix2013
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5 hours ago, phoenix2013 said:

I was "intrigued" by the power and brake controller Jackalopee wiring one of the individuals did utilizing multiconductor SO cable and all inside the Jackalopee . I like clever ideas and since I had a quantity of the splitters I tried engineering a practical solution. I figured you would need a 5 conductor SO cable and two splitters. So here it goes:

One conductor from the batteries across a breaker to the splitter on top of the +12V SWITCHED

From the same splitter another conductor to the brake controller black wire (+12V power)

One conductor from the GND tab in the upper left corner to the controller white wire (Ground)

One conductor from the  BRAKE CONTROLLER tab to the blue wire in the controller blue wire (braking power)

One conductor from the BRAKE LIGHTS splitter to the controller red wire (brake lights)

It would also require different cable grip for this cable to seal it. Hmmm? Doable and cute, buy I didn't like the same conductor feeding the charging circuit and the brake controller circuit and not having its own circuit breaker. So what do I recommend for the charging circuit.

Henry,

This the way I wired mine 3 years ago except I toke the brake controller off the blue 12vdc so my controller wasn't powered when the truck is shut off. I only used a 30 amp instead of 40 amp breaker. Drawing of wiring in link.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fjy4UT1Wc1Te_A9WInI0pufSdNwimIDz/view?usp=sharing

Ken...

 

 

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12 hours ago, hatrack said:

Henry,

This the way I wired mine 3 years ago except I toke the brake controller off the blue 12vdc so my controller wasn't powered when the truck is shut off. I only used a 30 amp instead of 40 amp breaker. Drawing of wiring in link.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fjy4UT1Wc1Te_A9WInI0pufSdNwimIDz/view?usp=sharing

Ken...

 

 

Ah, so you are the clever one. I was intrigued because in engineering you learn that anything can be designed many different ways and different does not mean wrong, only different. The other reason was, that this facet of wiring generates most phone calls for "help", so any route to simplification is worth exploring.

So, using the +12V AUX to power the controller explains one thing, but it raises another questions, what are you using to charge the trailer batteries? What is the year and make of your truck? I'm asking because on newer trucks utilizing the AUX circuit can throw a computer code, or sometimes prevents turning off the engine once started. The other question I have is the picture on the lower right corner of the schematic you attached. Essentially color transition from DOT plug to RV socket, and the reason is?

This whole thread started because I was preassembling an entire Jackalopee system

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for a temporary installation, so why not use this "opportunity" to document some of the not so obvious aspect of the installation and share it with you guys. Here's few other things I can share with you guys. No, I am not interested in doing this or offering this as a service. The reason I did it, the guy was in a real bind and the truck dealer was offering to do it "their way", but the more he asked what their way was the fuzzier the answers became. I suggested that he save the day of work and $700 and RUN, I'll help you. Anytime anyone suggests that it can be done on a semi by cutting here and splicing there, RUN.

So, how much time it took a "pro" to get to this point, five hours. But, I was taking pictures and screwing around with other things. Four or five hours is reasonable time to get to this point. But remember that does not include mounting the unit, running the cable along the frame, mounting the RV socket, mounting the brake controller and running the wires to the brake controller and the truck battery.

Another "pro" tip for saving ton of time and getting the "look". 😉    Want to avoid this look? 😝

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In the manual on page 14 there are a couple of pictures for the RV side and

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the truck side.

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Cut to those lengths, strip (1/4-3/8"), crimp on the lugs and this will be the results.  Another tip, use decent long nose pliers and and start installation with the heavy conductors first (white, black and blue).

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Next session we will talk about the reason I purchased this.

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On 6/15/2022 at 3:58 PM, phoenix2013 said:

Note on the trailer side that the relay is connected to the black wire which goes directly to the trailer battery (+12V stud). So a beautiful marriage occurs along the +12V SWITCHED circuit. You get into your truck, turn the key on, +12V AUX goes to +12V, that +12V clicks the relay on and the truck battery circuit is happily married to the trailer battery circuit. You turn the key off and get out of the truck and the relay instantly divorces of the two systems. 

This would be the "engineering" solution for those of us that have trucks that won't shut down when connected to the trailer because the fuel shutoff remains open when a 12V backfeed from the trailer is present.

Because my trailer had a small solar panel on it I just disconnected the charge line from the Jackalopee and allowed the panel to "do its thing" while in transit, but this system would work for those that want to apply a little power to the house bank while on the road.

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8 hours ago, phoenix2013 said:

So, using the +12V AUX to power the controller explains one thing, but it raises another questions, what are you using to charge the trailer batteries? What is the year and make of your truck?

Henry,

I ran a 10 awg wire from battery through a 30 amp auto reset and I installed it on the pin +12 volts switched to isolate from trailer when ignition is off. Truck is a 2020 Volvo VNR 640 straight truck and ordered factory singled.

Ken....

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8 hours ago, phoenix2013 said:

The other question I have is the picture on the lower right corner of the schematic you attached. Essentially color transition from DOT plug to RV socket, and the reason is?

Forgot to answer this part. I wanted the wiring so everything could be unplugged so I use the extension cables for QCSii cabling and tied everything together. I did the drawing so I wouldn't  forget how I wired it. I did the same wiring diagram for the 12 lights I have on the back for stop, running, turn, markers and backup.

Ken....

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Posted (edited)

Good morning Gentlemen, Welcome to another session at the Jackalopee University

Heard from the individual who received the conglomeration of the Jackalopee and parts. He's installed most of it, it works like a charm, he hasn't been on this website, he is going "by the book" (the manual). He is up to installing the DirecLink and he provided me with another  teachable moment worth sharing.

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I have one of these provided to me as a courtesy by DirecLink. Going with my philosophy, "don't' BS folks to appear smart when you don't know poop" I never installed or programmed one (I had air over hydraulic brakes on the trailer, didn't need one on my Volvo). So, I will post what I know and pose questions for others with direct experience to fill in.

It's probably the most sophisticated instrument for the job of braking on the market at the moment. I've had electrical and electronic (sophisticated) brake controllers in my trucks and I had BluDot air over hydraulic on my last Volvo. I consider BluDot superior. Why? Instantaneous, fully proportional, all mechanical utilizing components produced by the millions proven in millions of installations. The downside, only works on trailers with hydraulic brakes, which is a fraction what's produced. The DirecLink (and many other) electronic brake controllers will also work on trailers with hydraulic brakes utilizing electronically controlled hydraulic pump.

The key to this unit's operation is that coiled harness with a DB-9 connector that plugs into the DirecLink and that round plug at the other end that plugs into the the OBD socket on your semi. OBD stands for On-Board-Diagnostic and pretty much every vehicle now has one. This is a socket that a technician uses to plug his computer in to read the codes and the data on your vehicle and its "health". The port is connected to the vehicle computer which monitors multitude of sensors throughout the vehicle, but what the DirecLink is most "interested in" is the vehicle speed which the computer monitors. They have an algorithm in the unit (we heard a lot about those nasty algorithms lately) which can determine if the vehicle is accelerating, decelerating and if decelerating is it a gentle stop or a panic stop. Depending on which, it knows how much current (or hydraulic pump signal) it needs to send to the trailer brakes to match the braking of the truck. As we all know we decelerate all the time, going up hill, lifting foot off the accelerator pedal, coasting to a stop. You don't want the unit "doing its thing" every time it sees a deceleration. That's why what we talked about earlier is important. The connection of the red wire from the unit to the brake lights line is the key. When it sees the brake light being activated it know that it needs to go to work and send whatever power it calculated to the trailer brakes. That's it in a nutshell.

Now a few items that could use a wider discussion from more knowledgeable people. Apparently there are different OBD cables for different trucks from different truck manufacturers and even different vintages of computer software on those trucks. This customer has a Pete and DirecLink wasn't sure which one would work (they have two), so he ordered both to find out which one he needed. Comments and wisdom would be appreciated.

Use of OBD Y harnesses? He discussed his need to Y the OBD output since he plans to use it for two purposes, tracking and the DirecLink. The answer he got from DirecLink, they weren't sure if there could be a conflict and the devices might knock each other out. Comments and wisdom would be appreciated.

Edited by phoenix2013
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In my 1999 Volvo VNL, I'm using an OBD Y harness so I can have all the wiring hidden inside the dash, but still have access to the port below the dash for a tech to connect up. It's worked just fine for several years, no hiccups at all. Jay

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Used this thread and the cliff notes version and after looking at book realized Green needs to be longer for marker lights.  I think the jumper will be fine.  Yes, Henry's wiring looks better and I still can't find the other 4 cover screws.  I'm wondering if it was assembled with the 2 to hold the cover on and the others were meant to be installed later and it was overlooked.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Overthinker said:

Used this thread and the cliff notes version and after looking at book realized Green needs to be longer for marker lights.  I think the jumper will be fine.  Yes, Henry's wiring looks better and I still can't find the other 4 cover screws.  I'm wondering if it was assembled with the 2 to hold the cover on and the others were meant to be installed later and it was overlooked.

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First, the missing screws, pure FUBAR,  while putting lots of covers on pile of units at the same time. Email me a name and address and more will arrive via first class mail.

Ah the green wire, another teachable moment. Your solution is fine but now I have an idea to "suggest" that in this pattern (trailer side)

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the green wire is 5 inches long instead of 2 inches long, then depending which way one wants to wire the RUNNING LIGHTS it's a much simpler task (cut 3 inches off), although I feel most folks will go for the 5 inches option. The reason and the difference is explained on page 7 of the manual, for those who are MANUAL-less here it goes. Both RUNNING LIGHTS and MARKER LIGHTS are the same, they come ON when you turn running lights switch ON. The difference is that you can flash the MARKER LIGHTS on and off with a momentary switch mounted either on the steering wheel or the dash. Wonna' flash those running lights on your trailer like a trucker, go with 5 inches.

Another teachable info. Note that the wire going to the marker lights tab on the board, from the truck plug, is black and heavy 10 gauge, same as the white 10 gauge. This is the legacy from the old pre-LED days. If you wanted your truck and trailer look like a Christmas tree with lots of running lights you needed lots of juice, hence the heavy gauge wire.

Edited by phoenix2013
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On 6/17/2022 at 1:38 PM, phoenix2013 said:

Use of OBD Y harnesses? He discussed his need to Y the OBD output since he plans to use it for two purposes, tracking and the DirecLink. The answer he got from DirecLink, they weren't sure if there could be a conflict and the devices might knock each other out. Comments and wisdom would be appreciated.

You can Y from the diagnostic plug without an issue, so long as you keep the added length to the Canbus wires fairly short. Typically, there is a Canbus terminator located near the diagnostic port. The terminator is a couple of resistors that have the job of preventing echo on the bus. If you end up with a branch circuit in the Canbus that is too long, it can induce reflectance (echo) and cause communication problems.

Also to note on the red wire of the brake controller, it serves two purposes. As noted above, it provides a signal to the brake controller for when you activate the brakes. It also provides power back to the brake light circuit when the slide bar on the brake controller is activated. It is important to have the red wire connected in the right place, or you may end up applying the trailer brakes manually, and not having any brake lights.

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