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Old 07-14-2012, 08:23 PM   #1
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Default Lesson Learned

I had the brakes lock on our HiLo just as we were pulling out of our driveway a few days ago. There I sat on the middle of the road and I had to put the Ecoboost to work and literally drag the trailer to get it straightened out enough to not block traffic. The readout on the dash said there was a trailer wiring defect or failure. I ran back to look for the trouble, unplugged the trailer and plugged back in, ran back and still saw the same message. Went back and started looking and saw the breakaway switch gizmo hanging down. I plugged it in and heard the brakes release and we were back in business. Somehow the breakaway switch cable got caught up in the safety chains.

Two things I learned: 1.Check to make sure you have everything hooked up properly, and 2. The brakes work very well with the breakaway switch activated.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:47 PM   #2
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From what I've read, your lucky it didn't ruin your electronic brake controller. Did your Ford came with an installed brake controller? I wouldn't want to try that with my Tekonsha Voyager.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:38 PM   #3
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Default lesson learned

We had the same thing happen to us except the trailer wouldn't move from its parking spot on our lot.Dh walked home about twenty minutes to get something to fix the problem. When he came back he discovered the breakaway switch had pulled out. Simple fix dah!!
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garyk52 View Post
From what I've read, your lucky it didn't ruin your electronic brake controller. Did your Ford came with an installed brake controller? I wouldn't want to try that with my Tekonsha Voyager.
Yes, I have the Ford controller. The Tekonsha could have been toast. You can test the breakaway switch with the Tekonsha hooked up, just don't press on the brake pedal, but I don't recommend it because it is too easy to forget and hit the brakes.

It was ok when we were going out the driveway, but when I turned right onto the road the safety chain must have caught the breakaway cable somehow. Trying to pull four locked wheels on blacktop isn't easy, Big Red was straining against his harness.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichR View Post
The Tekonsha could have been toast. You can test the breakaway switch with the Tekonsha hooked up, just don't press on the brake pedal, but I don't recommend it because it is too easy to forget and hit the brakes.
At least it wasn't an expensive fix

Also how would having the breakaway switch disconnected and pressing on the brakes damage the Tekonsha brake controller? Just wondering.
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Old 07-15-2012, 02:57 PM   #6
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I second Pappa. Why would that have damaged the brake controller? Does that mean if your trailer breaks away and you hit the brakes, which would seemingly be an obvious reaction, you also fry your brake controller at the same time?

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Old 07-15-2012, 03:45 PM   #7
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I second Pappa. Why would that have damaged the brake controller? Does that mean if your trailer breaks away and you hit the brakes, which would seemingly be an obvious reaction, you also fry your brake controller at the same time?

Rick
The way I understand it, is backfeeding the controller from the camper battery could, might, maybe destroy the controller.
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Old 07-15-2012, 04:11 PM   #8
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The break-away switch uses the 12v power from the trailer battery to activate the trailer brakes in an emergency if the tow vehicle becomes disconnected from the trailer. If the tow vehicle is attached (electrically) to the trailer and you pull the pin on the break-away switch, you now have two 12v power sources providing "juice" to the trailer brakes. I believe that this situation would be the cause for the brake controller to fry. Circuit boards and too much "juice" do not mix. Right or wrong, that is my opinion and I am sticking to it.

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Old 07-15-2012, 06:51 PM   #9
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Is there anyone here with a Tekonsha P2 that would like try that to see if it really does burn out the controller?
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:54 PM   #10
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I might be old and a little crazy but not that far gone.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:02 PM   #11
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I have a Tekonsha P2 controller but I don't think I would like to experiment with it either.

I was trying to find out for sure if this is something I should be aware of and try to avoid.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:13 PM   #12
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I might be old and a little crazy but not that far gone.
That is good to hear.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:41 PM   #13
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Again, I second pappa. Actually this good info to have. It's probably something I would have done at some point. I haven't tested my breakaway switch yet and I could see me doing it with everything hooked up.

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Old 07-15-2012, 10:58 PM   #14
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Default brake controller and berakaway kit

Apparently- somebody asked the same question on E trailer"

" Question Was Asked By - Randy S

Will a Breakaway Kit Damage the Brake Controller if Tested with the Trailer Connected

Question:

I have a Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller,it works great.I just bought a Hopkins 20001 Break-Away-Kit. After installing the break-away-kit,do I need to make sure the truck is not connected to the trailer before testing the break-away-kit,on behalf of the possible damage to the Prodigy brake controller ?

asked by: Randy S

Expert Reply:

I would disconnect the connector before testing so that you do not back feed power to the Prodigy controller. This is the best way to ensure there is no damage to the controller and to be sure the breakaway system is functioning properly. The breakaway is designed to work when the trailer has detached from the vehicle so the electrical connection would be severed.

Most Brake controllers are protected from back feed so if you did test the breakaway with the trailer connected you should not have any problems with the controller or related circuitry.

expert reply by: Bob G "

Sort of two answers, I guess. But, I'll stick with this group.

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Old 07-16-2012, 08:30 AM   #15
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Yes, I have the Ford controller. The Tekonsha could have been toast. You can test the breakaway switch with the Tekonsha hooked up, just don't press on the brake pedal, but I don't recommend it because it is too easy to forget and hit the brakes.

It was ok when we were going out the driveway, but when I turned right onto the road the safety chain must have caught the breakaway cable somehow. Trying to pull four locked wheels on blacktop isn't easy, Big Red was straining against his harness.

The key phrase in my post was to not press on the brake pedal when testing the breakaway switch when the trailer is plugged in.

For safety's sake unplug the trailer when testing.
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:13 PM   #16
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Yeah it does look like it is safer to make sure and unplug the controller if your going to pull the breakaway switch.

I remember now when I was doing troubleshooting on my brake controller not showing up a connection due to a wiring issue on the trailer that poprichie had also mentioned to disconnect the TV connection when testing the breakaway switch. I had looked in the Prodigy manual and it does say something as well about not leaving the TV connected with the breakaway switch pulled as it may result in damage.

Thanks and this should help others as well that are not aware.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:38 PM   #17
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Default A related problem

If you want to kill your battery/batteries in short order and possibly ruin them pull the breakaway switch and forget to stick the plunger back in. You can also run the chance of ruining the brake magnets by doing that. They were not made to have long term current run through them, they will get hot.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:04 PM   #18
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Um... testing your brake-a-way switch? Why would you need the TV plugged in at all? I mean, I thought the idea of the switch is to put the brakes on when the trailer tries to go some other direction without you...

I mean, it works off the battery on the RV anyway not the TV.

Give the cable a tug and listen for the brakes before you hook up to the TV... TV is not needed to test it at all, unless you want to try and tug on it and would be pretty pointless if the battery in the RV is dead, wouldn't work at all then... it (TV) won't be there when it happens for real so why test it with it there at all...

Mine is woven into the chain, I suspect it was done to prevent it from snagging on something and tripping needlessly... seems like it would work ok, so I have left it that way. If it does go bye-bye, the chain will be gone as well...
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:15 PM   #19
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Knowing that the breakaway switch works is good, knowing that the brakes work is good, knowing that the brakes lock the wheels from turning requires a little tug by the TV. So hooking up to the TV without the trailer plugged in, pulling the breakaway switch, and giving a short tug is about the only sure way of finding out.
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:28 PM   #20
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Pretty sure I said that...
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