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Old 04-22-2018, 09:53 PM   #1
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Default Wacky Electric brakes

So I tested the electric brakes by pulling the safety pin, and nothing happened - trailer still rolled. I figured since it is a 2001 that some things might need fixing. Started by looking at the brakes - magnets totally worn but everything else is ok. Ordered magnets.

Checked the circuit to the magnets and got no voltage, and I don’t see where there is a fuse or breaker for that circuit.

Checked the safety switch, and at first thought it was ok, but then my wife accidentally wiggled the pin in the “off” position and I got intermittent connection; found the same thing in the “on” position. Ordered new switch.

This is where it gets interesting. Diagram shows the blue wire going to the magnets. I checked and the magnets get the blue wire and ground, so I would assume the blue is POSITIVE.

BUT, the blue wire checks out as NEGATIVE.

The diagrams show a negative ground, and this is just a DC circuit, so for the magnets to work, the blue needs to be positive since the other wire of the magnets goes to ground.

Am I missing something?

Once my magnets come in I will test out at the battery with the new switch, and then reconnect the existing blue wire appropriately.

Does this all make sense?
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Old 04-23-2018, 06:57 AM   #2
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Could the switch be wired backwards? But that seems rather hard to do with a single pole switch. Is the switch connected to the positive side of the battery? The brakes are definitely to be positive.
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:20 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by RichR View Post
Could the switch be wired backwards? But that seems rather hard to do with a single pole switch. Is the switch connected to the positive side of the battery? The brakes are definitely to be positive.
The switch had been replaced before, since the wires are spliced. A continuity check on the blue wire inside the battery compartment shows it is direct to negative.

Since the magnets are worn, the brakes worked at some time, but I think someone replaced the switch and somehow wired it incorrectly and moved things around.

I noticed on my Towlite that the magnets had one wire connected to a white ground wire screwed into the frame.

Anyone know if that is typical? From a reliability standpoint, screwing into the frame at such a high exposure location is asking for trouble from corrosion.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 04-23-2018, 03:24 PM   #4
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It’s common to use a floating ground like that on trailers. I hate it. Floating grounds are problematic enough in cars where everything is protected.

White (IIRC) is standard color for ground on trailers.

You can try to cleanup where the white wires ground (remove wire, grind the spot clean).

Push comes to shove, you can run a ground wire from the front of the trailer to each brake ground. I did this on a trailer cause I didn’t wanna deal with the problems of a float.
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