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Old 12-31-2020, 02:17 PM   #1
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Model: 2018 Siesta 24ST
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THOR #15089
Toad related electrical question

I have a 2018 Thor Siesta 24ST, 4 down towing a 2016 Ford Focus. I wired the Focus to trickle charge from the coach's 7 pin connector, and included a diode in the positive line to keep the Focus battery from feeding back to the coach battery.

Today when I hooked up the Focus to tow, I noticed that when the electric cable was connected, the coach taillights (not the front lights) glowed very faintly (hard to even notice in daylight). I disconnected the cable and the taillights went out. Neither vehicle was turned on. I'm baffled. Any ideas? Thanks.

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Old 12-31-2020, 02:29 PM   #2
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Check your grounds...
Whilw I have no practical experience with Toad-wiring: I have always seen the funkiest electrical issues start with a bad ground...
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Old 12-31-2020, 02:54 PM   #3
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Assuming you connected this "charge line" directly to the positive side of the toad battery and not somewhere in the fuse box, this issue probably has more to do with the tail/brake light wiring than the charge wiring.

BTW, putting a diode inline in the "charging line" puts another .6 VDC voltage drop between the RV and toad batteries making charging even less effective when coupled with the voltage drop due to the long charging wire's resistance.
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Old 12-31-2020, 05:00 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=16ACE27;270474]Assuming you connected this "charge line" directly to the positive side of the toad battery and not somewhere in the fuse box, this issue probably has more to do with the tail/brake light wiring than the charge wiring.



X2. Are there functioning diodes in the focus lightís wires? Check for stray wire strands in the 7 pin connector. If thereís nothing obvious youíll have to try disconnecting one wire at a time in the connector until you locate the circuit that is backfeeding. If you had a shop do your install take it back there and tell them to figure it out.
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Old 12-31-2020, 11:15 PM   #5
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Actually, I'm not using the Focus lights: my connector from the coach operates magnetic lights stuck on The Focus roof, so the only connection to the Focus electrical system is that charging wire. And the only reason I ran it to the Focus battery was that the Demco stay-in-play braking system was running the battery dead on long tows. At least that's what I thought: New development: I just finished an 8 hour tow today, and the Focus battery (brand new) is stone cold dead, even with the charging line in place, so it isn't doing what it's supposed to. The Focus is SUPPOSED to be towable without removing fuses or disconnecting the battery, as all dash lights, etc go out within a minute or so of turning on the key to unlock the steering. So now I'm baffled on two fronts.
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Old 12-31-2020, 11:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by steve2777 View Post
Actually, I'm not using the Focus lights: my connector from the coach operates magnetic lights stuck on The Focus roof, so the only connection to the Focus electrical system is that charging wire. And the only reason I ran it to the Focus battery was that the Demco stay-in-play braking system was running the battery dead on long tows. At least that's what I thought: New development: I just finished an 8 hour tow today, and the Focus battery (brand new) is stone cold dead, even with the charging line in place, so it isn't doing what it's supposed to. The Focus is SUPPOSED to be towable without removing fuses or disconnecting the battery, as all dash lights, etc go out within a minute or so of turning on the key to unlock the steering. So now I'm baffled on two fronts.
Something is wrong with your wiring but without being there it's hard to troubleshoot. There should be NO RV lights on unless you turn them on in the RV.

Disconnect your "Charge Line" from the Focus and see what changes.
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Old 12-31-2020, 11:41 PM   #7
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Ace, thanks, I'll try that in the morning. That should put me back where I was before installing it, meaning the Demco will be drawing down the Focus battery. Tomorrow's trip is through some pretty flat Arkansas and Texas interstate route, so I think I will leave the Demco turned off. If the battery still goes dead I'll know the Focus is draining it even when the dash lights go out. If the battery stays up, I'm wondering if the Demco can be powered from the charging wire from the coach, eliminating any connection whatsoever to the Focus battery. Thanks for the info!
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Old 12-31-2020, 11:59 PM   #8
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As I recall, the Stay In Play system uses the coach brake light as one of its trigger signals. Perhaps the faint light you see is actually the brake lights and not the tail lights. That brake wire is he only electrical connection left that could be at fault. I canít actually think of any way a constant current could be backed that way but perhaps there is a fault in the control box or it simply is wired improperly. Do the Fords brakes work as they should when towing? You might need to call Demco and see if they have a notion.
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Old 01-01-2021, 12:14 AM   #9
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As I recall, the Stay In Play system uses the coach brake light as one of its trigger signals. Perhaps the faint light you see is actually the brake lights and not the tail lights. That brake wire is he only electrical connection left that could be at fault. I canít actually think of any way a constant current could be backed that way but perhaps there is a fault in the control box or it simply is wired improperly. Do the Fords brakes work as they should when towing? You might need to call Demco and see if they have a notion.
I just saw that as well in the Demco's feature list:
Quote:
No false braking
Coach brake light must be on for system to activate towed car's brakes
So, like you, I suspect there is some back-feeding through the braking system to the coach's brake lights.

The Demco also uses a vacuum pump to utilize the power assist in the toad. Ideally, it only operates after brake application to restore vacuum, but if you have a vacuum leak in the system or the Demco's vacuum sensor is not working correctly the vacuum pump would run way too much and discharge the toad's battery.
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Old 01-01-2021, 12:58 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by 16ACE27 View Post
I just saw that as well in the Demco's feature list:





So, like you, I suspect there is some back-feeding through the braking system to the coach's brake lights.



The Demco also uses a vacuum pump to utilize the power assist in the toad. Ideally, it only operates after brake application to restore vacuum, but if you have a vacuum leak in the system or the Demco's vacuum sensor is not working correctly the vacuum pump would run way too much and discharge the toad's battery.


The pump running too much certainly could run down the battery although a vacuum leak large enough to do that might be noticeable when driving the Ford. And, of course it wouldnít seem to be connected to the electrical backfeed. I use this same braking system with my Jeep and have towed it for 2 consecutive days and 800 miles without a battery charge line and no issues. I did, finally add one of these though.
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Old 01-01-2021, 01:17 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the input. I'm going to try to speak with Demco Monday.
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Old 01-01-2021, 01:38 AM   #12
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slightly related
we tow a 2012 edge
i run a dedicated charge line off the motor homes trailer connector that is 12v +


it goes to a 15 amp fuse then right to the positive side of the battery


i then ran a dedicated 12v cigar lighter to power the patriot off a dedicated 15 amp line straight off the positive battery post and the negative straight off the negative on the battery


i then ran the lines from the 6 wire connector to the rear lights and turn signals using hoppy wire kit


i say all this because if the motorhome is off, and toad plugged in, there was a back feed to the F/L arrens box , but since the relay was off, it stopped there.


I ran dedicated ground wires for the 6 wire off the motor home and a dedicated ground for the light kit wiring and they do not share a same point of contact.


i would 2nd the GROUND issues and ask what supplemental brake system are you using and how is it powered?


i place the edge in N and take the key fob with us , and press the start button to shut off accessory power.


hope it helps
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Old 01-01-2021, 02:13 PM   #13
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both our 2014 Fiesta and 2014 Focus, towed over 50,000+ each, never have had any issues with 'battery' voltage - but I also use a very simple battery disconnect, mounted under the hood. Simple.

and, when I had both of my Blue Ox tow plates installed, I had the shop also add the integrated bulbs/wiring back to the rear lights - so, also, no additional needs for any 'top mounted' external lights on the vehicle while towing. The integrated power from the power cable from the RV handles the rear tail lights, as they are powered just like the rear lights of the RV itself. Easy.
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Old 01-02-2021, 05:23 AM   #14
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Powerboatr, I think that might be it. My charging wire from the coach was positive only, as the Focus battery negative terminal was already "grounded", but it's not, is it? The Focus and the coach have different grounds, separated by rubber tires. Because I am using magnetic lights, their ground is that of the coach, not the Focus! I'm going to try adding an additional negative connection from the coach connector to the Focus ground and see if the battery charges. Thanks!
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