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Old 10-14-2014
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Towing (electric brack controller)

Not sure if this is the correct section for this, but perhaps it will get some attention. And I spelled brake wrong in the title. can't edit that!

I had an RV shop install an electric brake controller (free, part of their service for buying a camper from them). My question is this: is an aftermarket controller always powered on, even if there is no connector plugged into the receptical in the back, or when the ignition key is off? I ask because of possible power drain. I checked their work via the wiring diagram that came with the controller, and it seems correct from the controller standpoint. One of the wires from this controller (red lead) goes to the solid green wire of the brake switch (only "hot' when the brake pedal is pressed, as tested by me when the brake pedal was pressed). Another wire goes to battery ground, another to a relay, which in turn jumpers to a second relay that sends 12V to the rear plug.

With no trailer connector attached and the ignition key off, I can press the button on the controller (which is used to apply power to the trailer brakes in a panic situation without pressing the brake pedal) and the LED readout shows a numeric value (that's fine), telling me that this unit is powered somehow other than the lead that is wired to the brake pedal stop switch, which only showed power on my multi-meter when the brake pedal was pressed.

This past Saturday, my battery went dead after a few stops around town. I was not sure of the age/condition of this battery, so I purchased a new replacement. But now I wonder if this controller is wired wrong, and is constantly drawing power off of the battery, even with the key off.

Those of you with aftermarket controllers (not factory), is your controller powered, even when the key is off?

Was it just coincidental that my battery died a couple of days after this controller was connected up?
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Old 10-14-2014
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I would guess that it was just coincidence. I personally do not have one in my truck but my grandfather has one in his 03 f150 that behaves the same way. He has never had any issues and rarely drives that truck accept to tow his tractors so its an 03 with only 50k miles and still running the factory battery (lots of time just sitting). From my understanding after using it there is an internal relay that is activated by brake pressure and the override switch. Similar to your radio it does have a constant power but only activated by the relay when the pedal is pressed or the override switch applied. However your new battery should have a warranty so id go ahead and swap it and just keep an eye on it. Even if it dies then you'll know you have an issue and they should replace the battery for free. Also its not a huge draw but if you don't know the condition of your alternator the extra load may be too much for it may be wise to get a charging system test from the guys who installed the battery.
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Old 10-14-2014
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Wiring sounds correct, unit has no power draw unless brakes are applied.

What year is your Ranger?
Batteries last from 5 to 7 years normally

New battery should show 12.7 or 12.8 volts with key off
5 year old battery(50% max. charge) will show 12.2volts

Engine running should show 2 volts above battery's at rest voltage, so 14.8volts just after starting engine, this is the "recharging voltage", after a few minutes voltage should drop to 1 volt above battery's at rest voltage so 13.8volts, this is the "maintenance voltage" it keeps battery charged but doesn't "cook it".
If you turn on lights, blower fan and other electrics voltage at battery should drop then come back up to 13.8volts, that's the voltage regulator working.
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Old 10-15-2014
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Thanks. I'll put the meter on the battery and check it for these tests.

The Ranger is a 2000, 3.0 XLT 4x4

I guess it was a freak coincidence that the battery died two days after the controllers install. Because it bothered me, I traced every wire of the install, and it's all correct, based on the wiring schematic of the controller. A week ago, I installed a 130 amp alternator, so I should be good there too when hauling the camper.

I did pull the camper from the RV place to its storage unit, and the Ranger did fine. I can certainly tell its back there, as my speeds drop significantly on the highway. However, that 3.0 has enough grunt to tow it on the nice flat roads of Florida. I can say with certainty however that I would not wish to "challange" any hills or mountain ranges with it in tow.

I also keep the overdrive off during towing.

I also plan to install some air shocks to help in pushing the back end up when the camper is on the hitch. I noticed the back drop, which the air shocks should remedy.
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Old 10-15-2014
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Awesome i could have sworn the 4x4's all had the upgraded alternators to handle the electronic shift better but i could be mistaken. But either way the 130amp is an excellent upgrade. Air shocks will be nice and the compressor will be happy you added the 130amp lol. Also if you have any interest look into some headers. I have a set that was built in torque monster style and definitely help with torque. I had a 4k lb trailer behind mine when moving which was a little over the rating but it was only about 5miles to the new place and the headers make a noticeable difference. Also the e-fan swap made for better overall temps since it can run at high speed if needed even at stop lights. Not a must but definitely worth considering since it will also take some load off the engine while towing.
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Old 10-15-2014
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Why did you install the 130amp alternator?

Just an upgrade or were there starting/charging issues.

As an alternator fails it can damage the battery, so it is not uncommon for battery failure soon after alternator problems.

And installing a new alternator can cause overcharging of an older battery which will shorten it's life
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Old 10-15-2014
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Well RonD, you may have offered other reasons for my battery failure.

And to answer pearlkid9988's suggestion of an e-fan, yep; already ahead of you!

I installed an e-fan about three or four months ago, as I could not stand the "roar" of the clutch fan! Because of this two speed Mark VIII fan setup (simular to the Taurus e-fan), along with a Ron Francis controller, I was concerned that the 95 amp alternator would not suffice. The alternator I had did appear to be old, and I was not sure of its condition, since I bought the truck off of a Ford used vehicle lot, and there was no prior maintenance records to go with it. Since I wanted to do a bit of "preventative maintenance, plus I knew I was going to be towing, I figured I'd upgrade this alternator to the 130 amp, and to also handle any potential electrical load the e-fan may place on the charging system.

So, I have a two speed e-fan, a 130 amp alternator, and now, a new battery.
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Old 10-15-2014
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Yes, e-fan could have helped an older battery toward the Exit Door
2000 is 14 years old so my guess would be it was end-of-life on second expensive battery or close to end-of-life on third less expensive battery 15 years.

I would still use a volt meter to check voltages and add the e-fan to the test to make sure voltage stays at 13.5 or higher but not above 14 after starting + 5 minutes(recharge time)

Just FYI, once a battery is made and electrolytes added it begins to deteriorate, that's why the average 5-7 year life.
Over charging(14+ volts all the time) and no charging at all will shorten that average life span.
Disconnecting battery doesn't help, unless there is a problem with electrical system, i.e. slow drain.
Battery should be charged once a month if just sitting, this prevents hardening of crystals on the plates, sulfation.
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Old 10-16-2014
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Good stuff to know RonD. This will help others who do a search sometime in the future if they too have issues with charging.

Thanks!
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Old 10-16-2014
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Excellent! glad you got it all sorted out. I originally wanted to go with the Mark VIII but i couldn't find a good one. Since its such a huge part of the cooling system i went with a new aftermarket taurus replacement for peace of mind since i do sit in stop and go every day didn't want to risk a used one crapping out on me.
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Old 10-17-2014
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I bought this fan used (35.00), and trimmed the surrounding shroud off of it so that it would fit within the shroud of my 2005 F150. Used some 1 1/2 inch tube spacers to attach it within the shroud. Sold that truck, and eventually bought this 2000 Ranger. Since I kept the e-fan when I sold the truck, I simply did the same proceedure in the 2000 Ranger; installed the e-fan within its stock shroud.

I swear by the Ron Francis controller. Their customer service folks are great to work with. The controller handles the two speed fan with having two relays on the circuit board; one 30 amp, and one 40 amp (for second speed).

And the electric motor for this e-fan uses a Siemens electric motor, which is easily obtainable (for replacement) from your local automotive parts store.

Last edited by bucko; 10-20-2014 at 06:26 AM.
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Old 10-17-2014
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Awesome yeah I'm running the Delta controller and its built very similar it can handle more than the fan draws and has handled the GA summer heat very well. Never tried the Ron Francis unit.
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