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Old 10-17-2014, 06:19 PM   #1
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Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2011 Four Winds 28Z
State: Michigan
Posts: 1,274
THOR #531
Custom toad switch.

In a similar project to my E450 dash panel, I made a custom toad switch.

My car requires the removal of 3 fuses to tow - one of which is hard to access.

So I decided to make a switch that I could disconnect the fuses.

Here is what it looks like:



And the side view:



I designed the front and back panel (the one the switch mounts to). The standoffs are standard electronic hardware items. Notice the switch handle is recessed.

It will be mounted in the lower dash area of the toad and connect to the fuse panel. So I will have to cut a hole in the dash. I will be using those "add a circuit" fuse panel adapters. I will need to modify it to work though.

These things:



It plugs into the fuse panel, then you plug the fuse into the top of the connector. By reworking the plug, I can make the fuse circuit switched.

I have not installed the switch yet. But I needed a toggle switch because the fuses are 10A, 10A, and 25A. This switch is a 4PST, with each pole rated for 15A. So this lets the switch carry the intended current with only needing a single switch.

I recessed the switch so that the handle is more or less recessed - which will prevent kicking it by mistake when I enter/exit the vehicle.

I had the front panel and the switch mounting panel made by Front Panel Express - the same outfit I used for the E450 dash panel. It was maybe $40 for the two panels. Not any more expensive than buying a tow switch from Blue Ox, Roadmaster, etc, but it is a heck of a lot better made if I do say so myself.

The panels you can make are only limited by your imagination... and luckily you can order qty: 1 of these panels. I have templates for these too.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:47 AM   #2
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THOR #531
And an update. I have been sort of working multiple projects as of late. On sunny days, I have been outside working on the RV. The weather is warm enough to be in the garage, and on rainy days, I have been in the garage.

I am working on fabricating my tow switch for the toad. I finally came up with an acceptable solution for connecting the switch into the fuseblock.

I found some small crimp terminals that were the same size as the ATM fuze terminals. But I could not find any that would accept 12AWG. I need to run this size wire for the 25A fuse, if for no other reason than to minimize voltage drop.



At any rate, I was able to solder the wire to the terminals, but there was no other mechanical rigidity, which necessitated a solution to hold the wires better.

And I think I came up with that solution.

First, I gobbed some casting plaster on a mock-up of the terminals and a short piece of wire. I then shaped the plaster with a dremel tool and knife, until I came up with a suitable plug shape:



I then used some Alumilite casting silicone and made a mold of the plug:



After curing, I popped out the plug from the silicone mold, and viola! a mold I can use for casting the real plug:



Next, I attached the ends of the lugs to the 12AWG wire and soldered them on. Since the wire is actually too fat for the lugs, I had to remove the insulation around the lug crimp area. Then I inserted the lugs into the silicone mold, and used "helping hands" to help immobilize and align the wires.

I then mixed up some electrical potting compound (basically epoxy with an anti-static additive), and poured it into the mold:



And after 18 hours of cure time, I popped the plug out of the mold, and cleaned off the flash. I now have a nice connector that makes a pretty good connection into the fuse block:



You can see tool marks and a bit of roughness from the casting plaster, but it is of no consequence to me. The thing is, these work - and came out better than I expected.

The only issue is the connector is a bit "rubbery" as the potting compound I used is a bit old. So I have more potting compound on order, and I'll have to remake this connection. Otherwise the molding process works well.

Now only 3 more connectors to make (although these can use 16AWG wire as they are only for 10A circuits).

What these connectors do is replace the fuse in the fuse block of the toad vehicle. Then I'll put an in-line fuse in one wire, and run the wires to the tow/drive switch.

This then allows me to "remove" the fuse when towing by simply throwing a switch rather than having to remove the fuse from the fuse block each time I tow, which is a pain to do (and I suppose can eventually wear out the fuse block).

For the in-line fuse, you can buy those pre-made, but I don't want to do that as I just don't like crimping several devices along a wire. One crimp and that is it.

Anyway, I found some in-line fuse crimp on blocks from a company called LittleFuse that I will use. I'll simply crimp one on each connector along the wire so I can plug in the fuse.
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Old 04-13-2015, 09:06 AM   #3
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THOR #531
These are the in-line crmip fuse blocks I found.



The next step (after the new potting compound arrives) is to find a suitable location for the switch in the car, make the wiring harness and install it.

Like this:



When I searched around, there is a commercially made version of what I am building, but I could not find one to switch 3 circuits; only 1 or 2.



And the cost of the commercial version was over $100. I figure with the molding and potting compound (which I can also use for other projects), I have slightly under $100 invested in my version.

Again, my version can switch 3 circuits, and at 25A, where the commercial ones can only switch maybe 10A at the most as they use a fairly cheap switch. You can also see the commercial version just has terminal lugs on the ends of the wire - not the nice connectors I molded.

So I started this project out of necessity of switching 3 circuits, but ended up making something better than the commercial version.
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:05 PM   #4
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Model: 2013 31L
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nicely done on that plug. Looks factory and not at all like some homeowner's special afterthought rig
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