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Jacknife warning ideas

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BrownOut

Banned
After jacknifing my trailer for the second time yesterday, I began to think about a system that warns of an impending jacknife. The indicator would be simple enough, flashing light and loud buzzer. What I'm unsure of is how to detect the position of the trailer. I thought about heavy duty switches mounted on the trailer that would contact the vehicle's bumper, and activate the warning. But that might not be the best idea. Also thought about a ball hitch that would measure the angle. That seems complicated though. Anyting with light sensors or IR also seems complicated. I'm an electronics guy, not a optics guy.

Anyone have any good ideas?
 
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gabeNC

Member
Is that where you got your name from? The massive amount of adrenaline shock to your system during a jackknife? Maybe you should invest that money into driving lessons.

I'm kidding, sounds like an interesting idea. I wonder if a switch on the bumper would contact way too late, maybe a longer plunger type switch angled from the hitch to the bumper? Some kind of rotary encoder on the ball, tracking the degree of change. Might be interesting what ideas/solutions other people come up with.
 

smanches

New Member
Put chains/cables on each side of the bumper that connect to the trailer. The cables on the vehicle would attach to some sort of pull switch. When the trailer starts sliding to one side, the other side will pull it's switch.

Sorry if I didn't explain that well. Having brain problems this morning.
 

BrownOut

Banned
I really like the encoder idea. Implementing it would be complicated though.
 

BrownOut

Banned
Put chains/cables on each side of the bumper that connect to the trailer. The cables on the vehicle would attach to some sort of pull switch. When the trailer starts sliding to one side, the other side will pull it's switch.

Sorry if I didn't explain that well. Having brain problems this morning.

You explained it perfectly. Thanks!
 

user_88

Member
accelerometer

If you placed an accelerometer on the rear axle, you would get a significant signal output whenever there was a transverse, or sideways, motion at that location.

Interface the accelerometer output to a warning light in the cab to let you know when there is a potential jack-knife event.

The data for the accelerometer unit listed here states that the output signal is some type of pulse. You ought to be able to convert it to one usable form or another.
Memsic 2125 Dual Axis Accelerometer - RadioShack.com

The only question is whether the activation of the warning light will be a sufficient notification for you to actually do something about it.
 

Boncuk

New Member
Is that where you got your name from? The massive amount of adrenaline shock to your system during a jackknife?

In that case "Blackout" would have been the better choice. :D
 

kchriste

New Member
Forum Supporter
Are you talking about jack knifing the trailer while backing up or going full tilt into a corner on the highway? :eek:
 

BrownOut

Banned
I'm talking about backing it up. I know I didn't specify. Probem is I rourinely break the first rule of backing; I don't have a spotter on the ground. It's unfortunate, but there isn't someone who will ride with me each time I need to back a trailer, and so I end up doing it by myself often. Twice now, I've jacknifed one. The last time, it was because the tralier was too small to see, and I didn't know I was jacknifing it till it was too late.

So any system that will give a warning will work. BTW, I see alot of patent filings for such a system, but none available for purchase.
 
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gabeNC

Member
Good one Boncuk!

Back to the rotary encoder, humor me for a little while... i'm just imaging what it would take to pull that off. I suppose you would want the assembly below the hitch since you obviously couldn't "read" something off of the ball.

Would an accelerometer work when hitting rough roads and bumps? Would you get alot of "bad" information?

This whole project is interesting and of course the easiest solution is smanches.
 

BrownOut

Banned
My first thought was a swiveling ball with a rotary encoder. Problem with that is the mechanics of making a swiveling ball that will be as sturdy as a conventional one. Then, I began to think about driving it with a friction wheel that is rigidly attached to the trailer hitch, just above the ball. It is much more complicated than a simple chain and switch, but having a real time trailer angle readout might be handy, not to mention cool as can be.

But so far, smanches cable and switch is the simplest, and most workable.
 
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Boncuk

New Member
Hi Brownout,

I googled for jack knifing but couldn't find a proper translation to German, so I don't know exactly what it means.

I just imagine that it means damaging the vehicle while backing up for parking.

Please explain the term to me using other words.

Maybe I'll get a good idea to solve your problem.

Regards

Boncuk
 

kchriste

New Member
Forum Supporter
A jack knife is a pocket knife where the blade folds up. Imagine that the handle is the car and the blade is the trailer. "Jack-knifing" is when the trailer folds into the car when the driver is trying to back up or does some other maneuver.
 
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Mikebits

Well-Known Member
What about better and larger side view mirrors?
 

MikeMl

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
...Twice now, I've jacknifed one. The last time, it was because the tralier was too small to see, and I didn't know I was jacknifing it till it was too late.
....

I have one of those tiny Harbor Freight trailers that is too low to see over the tailgate of a pickup. I solved the problem of not seeing it (and potentially jackknifing it) by attaching one of those fiberglass poles to the rear of it with the flag on top like you see on kid's bikes or grandma's scooter. That gives me an aiming point when backing it up. It is a ***** to back up because the distance from hitch to wheels is way less than the wheel-base of the towing vehicle...
 

Boncuk

New Member
A jack knife is a pocket knife where the blade folds up. Imagine that the handle is the car and the blade is the trailer. "Jack-knifing" is when the trailer folds into the car when the driver is trying to back up or does some other maneuver.

Thanks for the precise explanation, Kchriste,

so in other words the car and it's trailer would have opposite traffic in extreme cases, getting super critical already at an angle of 90 degrees, meaning to kiss off the maneuver :D

I guess I have an idea for a good solution, but I must think about the mechanical part before I suggest it.

Thanks again for helping a non anglo-saxon polishing his English knowledge. :)

Regards

Boncuk
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the precise explanation, Kchriste,

so in other words the car and it's trailer would have opposite traffic in extreme cases, getting super critical already at an angle of 90 degrees, meaning to kiss off the maneuver :D

I guess I have an idea for a good solution, but I must think about the mechanical part before I suggest it.

Thanks again for helping a non anglo-saxon polishing his English knowledge. :)

Regards

Boncuk

Bon, I think you are a Anglo saxon or a least a descendant,. see quote: :)

Anglo-Saxons (or Anglo-Saxon) is the term usually used to describe the invading Germanic tribes in the south and east of Great Britain from the early 5th century AD, and their creation of the English nation, to the Norman conquest of 1066.[1] The Benedictine monk, Bede, identified them as the descendants of three Germanic tribes:[2]
Anglo-Saxons - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I guess modern description now refers more to English heritage.
 
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Boncuk

New Member
A jack knife is a pocket knife where the blade folds up. Imagine that the handle is the car and the blade is the trailer. "Jack-knifing" is when the trailer folds into the car when the driver is trying to back up or does some other maneuver.

Thanks for the precise explanation, Kchriste,

so in other words the car and it's trailer would have opposite traffic in extreme cases, getting super critical already at an angle of 90 degrees, meaning to kiss off the maneuver :D

I guess I have an idea for a good solution, but I must think about the mechanical part before I suggest it.

Thanks again for helping a non anglo-saxon polishing his English knowledge. :)

Regards

Boncuk
 
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