Sunday, 28 April 2019

Murphy's Law

What to name this post.  I started with "Joneses Luck" then moved to "Wasted Time" before settling on "Murphy's Law". 

Most of yesterday was spent on the laptop doing some initial planning for a future outback trip.  By now you will have realised I don't like paying for information if I can find a free source and that's what I've been doing with the maps.  My technique is to use five sources.  Initially I look at websites where I collect gps reference points (latitude and longitude) to key points (where tracks meet, water, fuel, points of interest. etc)  Then I trace the track I want to use in the Open Street Map.  This isn't particularly accurate when it comes to outback tracks so I then convert the trace to a Google Earth format using a free program (GPS Babel).  The converted trace is then loaded into Google Earth.  Next I insert the reference points from Step 1.  finally I closely examine Google Earth looking at the satellite photos and correcting the trace.  Finally the corrected trace and reference points are converted to Garmin GPS format using GPS Babel and uploaded onto the GPS.  This process takes a long time. 

Whilst working on this yesterday I realised I hadn't checked the electric brakes on the camper trailer.  Had the Chinese manufacturer done a good job?  This morning the trailer was jacked up and placed on stands.  I then spun the right wheel and depressed the brake pedal in the 4x4.  No brakes! 

Well I fitted the electric brake controller and cabling into the 4x4 so it was down to me to find the problem and rectify it.  All the wiring was traced, checked and then double checked.  Logic told me there was power to the brake controller as the LED's were illuminating.  So I started checking everything back from the brake controller to the plug beside the towbar.  Everything was pulled apart and rechecked.  There appeared to be nothing wrong with my installation.   It must be those dastardly Chinese!

The next step was to remove the right trailer wheel.  That's when I noticed the loose wire.

The wire was reinserted into the plug but still the brakes didn't work.  The next step was to dismantle the hub to check the brake solenoid and internal wiring.  If you're going to do that you might as well check the wheel bearing and re-grease them.  There didn't appear to be any obvious issues.  That's when I decided to call on the assistance of the family chief financial controller.  With Jan at the wheel of the 4x4 I spun the opposite trailer wheel and had her apply the brakes.  The trailer brake on the wheel stopped it.  OK, I have a fault with the electric brake on the right trailer wheel.  \

Of course I could have established that five hours earlier and before pulling the 4x4 apart if only I'd used my head!  

The problem was that same wire in the plug behind the hub.  It had popped back out when I'd reconnected the two halves of the plug.  This time I ensured the terminal remained inside the plug when I connected the two halves.  Next I wrapped duct tape around the wire and plug to hold them together.  Finally I used a couple of cable ties to secure the cable to the hub.  I've done this last step in an effort to minimize the potential for stones and other debris on the tracks pulling the connection apart.

So "Murphy's Law".  If I had checked the opposite trailer wheel first I would have discovered the trailer brakes were working and would probably not have bothered tested the wheel with the defective wiring.   Also, I should have more faith in my own wiring!



Mike Griffin said...

And.....if you can't fix it with Duct tape you haven't used enough. Can't imagine life without Duct tape and cable ties..........

Tom and Jan said...

You got it Mike! :-)