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Demco Stay-IN-Play DUO Supplemental Braking System Review

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Review of the Demco Stay-IN-Play DUO Supplemental Braking System

Hey everybody Ryan here at etrailer. Today we're going to be taking a look at, the Demco Stay-IN-Play duo supplemental braking system with the wireless Coachlink monitor. So probably one of the most important things, when you're looking at a braking system, is how it's going to perform. You know, how's it going to feel, and react, whenever you're flat towing down the road. And a braking system is a really important component. What that's designed to do, is apply the brakes, and your towed vehicle, whenever you hit the brakes and your motor home.

That way the motor home isn't solely responsible, on not only slowing itself down, but your vehicle too. That way you're not putting all this extra wear and tear on your motor home, you don't have this heavy vehicle behind you, and relying on your motor home to do all the stopping. You know gripping that wheel tight, pushing on that brake pedal. The braking system is going to resolve a lot of those issues. The motor home will no longer be responsible for slowing everything down, because the braking system, is going to be operating your tow vehicles brake.

So it really does make a huge difference, and when it comes to safety, and just overall making a more predictable stuff. So talking about the product is one thing, but actually using it, is a whole different story. So let's go ahead hop inside the motor home, hook up our tow vehicle, drive it around and see how it does. We hopped in the motor home, got our tow vehicle set up behind us, put it in tow mode, and we can take it for a little spin. Now unfortunately kinking up the highway speeds, and things like that.

But what we can do, is just kind of some slower driving, and see how it reacts. You should be able to feel, that vehicle behind us, and everything else. On the same note, you shouldn't really feel it pushing us around when we're hitting the brakes. So I'm trying to just get to a cruising speed, and just kind of gradually, hit the brakes, like you normally would. Let's say maybe you're hitting a stoplight, or something like that, so go ahead and gain a little bit of speed here, and hit our brakes.

And really smooth actually. Felt like we really weren't holding a vehicle behind us. And then it felt smooth, and it feels like we're getting pushed around, or you know the vehicle was dragging, nothing like that. So I think the braking system, is doing a great job so far. But that said, we can kind of swing around here. And I think this time, what I'm going to do is pick up some speed, and kind of make more of an aggressive stop. To see if it reacts quick, and does what it's intended to do. We're going to straighten out, we'll get going here, I'll try to pick up a little more speed this time. And I'll kind of hit this brake pedal a little bit harder this time. And we came to a stop a lot smoother, and faster than I thought actually. We have a heavy motor home, relatively heavy a towed vehicle, and so I think it did a great job. Like I said everything felt smooth, It felt like we we're just one unit, coming to a complete stop. And not forcing our vehicle to stop almost. Or pulling it behind us, or anything like that. So it feels like the braking system, is doing exactly what it's intended to do. So I think one of the reasons, the braking system performed the way it did, is the fact that it is proportional. So more or less what that means, the harder you apply the brakes in your motor home, the towed vehicle is going to do the same thing. So that just really helps bring it to a smooth and predictable stop, like we just experienced. So to kind of give you an example, on what that proportional means or less, as let's say if we're kind of just coasting, and we see a red light up in the distance. And we kind of just you know, halfway hit her brakes. Gradually apply them. Our towed vehicles got to do the same thing. On the other hand let's say maybe we're on the interstate, and there might be an accident, or some traffic up ahead, And we kind of have to make more of an aggressive stop and really kind of push down on that brake pedal, and kind of stand on it a little bit. The towed vehicle, is going to do the same thing. So it's really just going to make your driving experience that much more pleasant. So one of the big things, that really helps separate this braking system, from many of the others is the fact that we have this wireless Coachlink here. And this is really going to come in handy. Most of the braking systems, don't utilize this. A lot of them, simply just have a small light, that is attached to the towed vehicle, that illuminates, letting you know, when the braking system is functioning. And that's great, but a lot of times, you can't really see that light. If your motor home doesn't have an observation camera, it's really difficult to see, and even if it does, at least in my experience, if you're looking through that camera especially during the daytime, it's still kind of tricky. And this solves that issue. So this is going to let you know, right here clear as day, when you're driving down the road that your braking system, is indeed operating. And depressing the brake pedal. So to give you an example of that, whenever you're braking systems on, and you're flat towing, and you push down the brakes, the lights are going to illuminate red. You let off the brakes, and it's going to be playing. Nothing's going to happen. There's also another feature too, when you apply the brakes, and it only illuminates red, after about seven seconds or so, you're going to get an audible noise as well. As I said, whenever you're hitting the brakes, and you see those lights illuminate, after a few seconds we got to hear that buzzer. So you have an audible note letting you know. Now the whole purpose of that buzzer, is to act as kind of a backup device. Which is perfect, on these really sunny days like this. Sometimes it's not super easy to see the letters lighting up red letting you know that the brake pedal, is being depressed. So it's nice to get a couple of different options there if you don't want that buzzer, or whatever the case may be, the good news is, if you look on the back, there's actually a switcher. So you can turn it off, drive around, whatever you want to do, and you always have the option to turn it back on. So really convenient, at the flip of a switch. Now what's great about this, is the fact that we're going to have no false readings. So what I mean by that, is a lot of these other braking systems, that use that kind of that traditional indicator light, that's connected to towed vehicle, what can happen is, a lot of times the way you have to wire those up, is that indicator light, is going to illuminate more or less, just one of the system activates. While that's really only telling you half the story. You could have an issue with the connection down at your brake pedal, and your towed vehicle, and see that light coming on, and you're going to think it's working properly. That's because it's not actually tied into, that brake pedal switch itself. And with this setup here, the transmitter, that our coachlink receives the information from, is physically tied into our factory towed vehicles, brake pedal switch. So when that switch activates, or that brake pedal actually moves, that's when this is going to illuminate. So you can have a hundred percent confidence, whenever this is illuminating, that your brake pedals actually being depressed, and working like it should. As long as you have a 12 volt power outlet, that's all you're going to need. And you plug that in, and this is going to power up. So every motor home that I've seen, has usually one if not multiples of these, so shouldn't give you any issues there. The cord is going to be quite long actually, So it really does give you a lot of mounting positions, or places where you can put this, kind of where it best suits your needs, And on the bottom of it, it does have some rubber pads, almost these little rubber feet, and they do an okay job, of helping keep this secure, I'm not going to lie it would be nice to see maybe a little something else that would, you know give you a different way to secure this thing. Maybe keep it a little more stable, and maybe a hood, or a cover that came out a little ways there to help you see the actual light on these bright sunny days. But not really huge deal, this thing still works great, you can see it here, put it pretty much anywhere you want, just a couple things I wanted to mention. So now, as far as the braking system itself goes, I am a big fan of the Stay-IN-Play duo. I've personally installed, tons of these braking systems, on many different makes and models. And it's by far my favorite permanent style braking system. They are super easy to use, really reliable, They just work overall you know, you set everything up, and you hit the road, and they do what they're designed to do. We hardly have any issues at all, with problems and things like that. Down the road, after many miles of flat towing with the braking system, you really just don't hear about any issues. So overall, a braking system, you just really can't go wrong with. So this braking system, is going to work with pretty much every motor home, and every make and model, of vehicle for that matter. Really with one exception. And that's if your motor home, has air brakes. If that's your case, I would definitely recommend, using the air force one, supplemental braking system, that's designed specifically for, this motor homes with air brakes. It's a great choice, I've had a lot of experience with them, and they work awesome. You can also get that system, with the coachlink as well. So you can still have that really neat feature of having that monitor upfront in your coach. Now with that being said, this is more of a permanent type braking system, it's going to stay with the vehicle once it's installed. And so that means it's going to be super easy to use and pretty much virtually no setup for the most part. So it's gonna be real quick, and straightforward, when you're ready to flat tow. And so it'd be great choice for those of you that flat tow often, and for those of you that flat tow every now and again. You really can't go wrong with it. You know, as I said, super straight forward, turned the braking system on, you know it's going to work, and you can be on your way. So whenever you are ready to flat tow, and you're all hooked up, all you're going to have to do, is come to your G-Force controller, which is this box right here, and turn the braking system on. That's really all there is to it. When you're done flat towing, you just turn it off. So as I said, really straightforward. The controller is also going to have, an adjustment knob, which is this here and that's gonna allow us to adjust the sensitivity. This is something you really only have to do once, and kind of find that sweet spot, let it be. But it's still nice to have that option. So let's say, for example, if you feel like the brakes in your towed vehicle we're applying too soon, what you could do is, make that adjustment to make it less sensitive. If let's say, you felt like the braking system wasn't doing a good enough job stopping the vehicle is kind of delayed or late. You can make it less sensitive. So it gives you that adjustability there and the G-Force controller, itself is also gonna play a part in determining when to apply your towed vehicles brakes. And that's because there's an inertia type sensor in here. So this is going to detect movement. So the braking system is going to use that piece of information, as well as the brake light signal from your coach, to determine when to apply the brakes. So for example, say, if you're driving down the road, hit the brakes in the motor home, braking system's gonna see, that brake light signal, it's going to communicate with the inertia switch here in your G force controller, and say okay, we're moving, we're applying the brakes. We need to hit the brakes in our towed vehicle. So we'll do that for you. On the other hand, let's say if you're at a stoplight or just in a stationary position, with your foot on the brake, the braking system will see that brake lights signal from your motor home. But it'll talk to our nurses switch here and say, okay, we're not moving, we don't need to apply the brakes in our towed vehicle because we're sitting still. So that's really convenient. You know you're gotta reduce the wear and tear on your braking system, and not to mention your towed vehicles brakes as well. And that way you're just not applying the brakes in your towed vehicle for no reason. So the way that the braking system is actually going to apply, your vehicle's brake pedal is by using this actuator cylinder here. So this has gotta be connected to the brake pedal arm, it has a cable out of the back of it, and connects to the vehicle's firewall, as an attachment point. There's going to be a line that runs to it, from the braking system operating unit. This is going to be a air pump more or less. And so whenever a system turns on, what's going to happen is, the brake pedal is going to be depressed, by this activate or this actuator cylinder activating. So really convenient, you know, it's sturdy and stable, and not to mention, a lot of times you can mount this, relatively high up that way it's out of sight, and out of the way, whenever you're just driving around town like you normally would. So with this system being permanent, it's really going to be convenient. You know, all this stuff is already in place. Just to kind of compare it to a portable type braking system. Those work great, and definitely have a time and a place to be used, the downside with them, is you're going to have to set it up every single time. You got this big unit that sets in the floorboard here, and you're going to have to clamp it around your brake pedal arm, Every time you went to use it, remove all that stuff when you're done using it and store it away. So the permanent type system, definitely has an advantage jerks, especially when it comes to ease of use. So one of the things I really do like about this system is that the actual main operating unit which is this here, is relatively small. You know, it doesn't take up a ton of space. It's about as small as it could get. And that's very important. Especially in today's newer vehicles, you usually don't have a ton of room. Everything's just kind of crammed in. well I will say I've installed a ton of these braking systems, and I've yet to come across a vehicle, that it doesn't fit. Or you can't find a spot to put it. I always know finding a spot, whether it be really popular vehicles that are often flat-towed, or kind of those not so popular vehicles, that you don't see all that often. So regardless of what you have, you should be able to find a spot to mount off your operating unit. So the kit is also going to come with a safety device, which is called the breakaway switch. Which is this component here. And this is going to be mounted here, towed vehicle. You're going to attach a tether to it, which will go to your motor home's hitch. And what this is going to do, in the event of an unlikely disconnect, this pen will get pulled out, and that's going to turn on, or activate the braking system. So it'll apply the brakes in your vehicle, and help bring it to a safe stop. Also with the coachlink, whenever this is pulled, the coachlink will illuminate also. So what you know, that your braking system is activating. So if you're just going down the road, and you're not on the brakes, and that light comes on, you definitely need to check things out. So kind of a win-win there, and definitely a safety feature, that would give me a little more peace of mind. So at the end of the day, choosing a braking system is a big decision. And you want to make sure you get the one that's going to work best for you. And honestly, this is a kit, you really can't go wrong with. Super easy to use, reliable, and one of my personal favorites. And that'll finish up our look at of the Demco Stay-IN-Play duo supplemental braking system with the wireless Coachlink monitor..



That was the wordiest review that I have ever been subjected to. It could have been 1/3 the size - get to the point and just say it! Given that Demco wants top dollar (and more) for their system, and the reviews below are awful, I think I will pass. That brings us to which system is best?

Etrailer Expert

Jenny N.


@Jhank I am happy to make a recommendation for you, I just need to ask a few questions. What is the year, make, and model of the vehicle that is being flat towed? Does your motorhome have air brake or hydraulic brakes?



I am very deceived and feel I have bee fooled by the false affirmation. I DO NOT RECOMEND THIS PRODUCT. This system is nothing but proportional. All proportional wording should be removed. It's actually an on-off system. When braking light is on and the tilt sensor is on the pump is on at full pressure pressing the brake until it bottoms out, period. The pump inlet creates a vacuum for the brake booster and the pump outlet is for the cylinder pressing the brake. All triggered by a simple switch. Nothing is regulated or proportionally controlled. Totally false information is provided here. Unfortunately the initial concept is good, but lacking the extra electronic pressure regulator and electronic control. I had to set the accelerometer switch so the system ONLY TURNS ON in the event of an emergency.

Rog H.


@Steph I just installed the system and discovered the same thing as you did. Absolutely no proportional braking, just turns on the air pump to apply the brakes. I have a vehicle with electric power brakes and no matter where I set the GForce control, if the toad brakes apply, my tires are squeeling as I drag my toad. Demco recommends plugging the vacuum hose to calm it down. I already have the check valve in backwards, but I may add a pressure regulator in the line to the cylinder. That will tame the brakes down but still not proportional. Very disappointed.
Etrailer Expert

Mike L.


@Steph According to the fine folks at Demco, the Stay in Play DUO is considered a Progressive brake unit. The longer the pump runs, the more the vehicle brakes get actuated. With a short tap on the brakes, you'll get very little braking action, as the pump won't be operating for very long. For harder braking, the pump will operate longer and will more fully press the brake pedal for stronger braking. Demco says that the Stay In Play DUO comes 'as close as possible' to proportional braking. We're currently fixing this issue on our website and we apologize for any confusion this might have caused.
Etrailer Expert

Mike L.


@RogH According to Demco, they consider the brake system to be 'Progressive', not 'Proportional'. We're having that corrected, and we apologize for any confusion this might have caused.
See All (23) Replies to Steph ∨

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