Diagnosing a Brake Controller Problem
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Identifying a Brake Controller Problem
Alright, today on this 2009 Ford F-150 we are going to diagnose a brake controller problem. Now we can use these steps on any brake controller that is on the market to verify if it is working or not. Now our brake controller is already telling us that it has an error message. It is flashing an Er on top. Usually it means an internal problem. We tested our trailer so we know it is good. So, it is not that. So first off we will make sure we have a constant 12 volt power supply. We will check the black wire first. OK, we are good there. Now we will try our red wire for our brake signal. OK, that is good there. Now we will try our blue wire and that will be our output. So we should have output on this wire whenever we hit the foot brake or the manual override. OK, we get nothing on the foot brake and nothing on the manual override. So definitely the error is internal and this brake controller does have to be replaced.
Questions and Comments about this Video
Hello,I have Draw Tite brake contoller where the red led light starts flashing afterjust a few miles of braking and then goes out thus rendering the brakes inop.With the trailer disconnected the light works in conjuction with the bake pedelnormally. The brakes are in good shape all parts purchased at etrailer two yearsago ..everything new. Since it only starts acting up after a braking my thoughtis magnets ?Thank you in advance for any adviseDave
comment by: Dave B - 11/4/2012
Magnets could be the problem. You can pop the drum off axle and take a look at the magnets. If copper windings are visible on the magnets, they should be replaced.
Without the trailer connected, you should see a single decimal point displayed on the screen indicating the the controller is active, but there is no trailer connected. If you are seeing numbers displayed, without a trailer connected, some how the controller thinks there is a trailer connected. That could mean the controller is bad, or something is going on with the wiring. If corrosion builds up in the trailer connectors, it can cause crossed signals.
Patrick B - 11/12/2012
I am trying to test the electric trailer brakes on a trailer just acquired. The trailer has brakes but they were not wired up. The brakes only have two wires coming out of them. My truck has a brake controller. Without the trailer hooked up I read 12V between ground and the brake output at the connector. Activating the controller does not change this reading. 1. Is this as it should be without the trailer hooked up? 2. Do the two wires coming from the brakes have polarity. 3. Is there a way to check the brakes without hooking the trailer to the truck?ThanksNick
comment by: Nick M - 12/24/2012
There is no way to check if the brakes are properly working with out hooking up. The brakes should be adjusted so that there is a light, even drag on the drum when spinning the wheel by hand. Once the brakes are adjusted, then you can apply power with the truck to make sure the brakes activate. You can test the magnets and make sure they are proper. I have added a link to an FAQ on the matter.
The brake magnets are not polarity sensitive. One wire is for ground, the other is to connect to the brake output circuit and it does not matter which.
You should see 12-13 volts on the brake output circuit when activated with the gain or power on the controller turned all the way up or close to. With the brake controller un-activated, you should see no voltage on the brake circuit contact. Make sure you are testing the right pin. As you face the connector on the truck, the brake control output should be the pin in the 5 oclock position. The center pin is not brake, it is either reverse lights or a 12V auxiliary power circuit. I have included a link to a wiring FAQ that has diagrams of the common trailer connectors. Patrick B - 12/28/2012
The technician in this Visio used a wiring dignostic tool to pierce the outer wire covering which is light years in advancement as to user friendly compared to the standard ice pick with an embedded light to detect current that is sold by every automotive/ wiring company virtually the standard tool since batteries were added to cars. The small diagnostic tool used by your technician utilized a top hook and sliding point which allowed one hand operation to determine if power was indeed in the wires as necessary to properly run the appliance.I would like to purchase one of these tools - I think this one tool and the ease with which it was used to detect power flowing is one of the best ideas and concepts I have seen in years.Regards Don
comment by: Please p - 12/30/2012
We carry a few different circuit testers, but the one used in that video is our top end model. It is part 40376 and I have added a link to it below.
Patrick B - 12/31/2012
Hi,I have a starcraft camper with electric brakes. I have been using this for sometime and the brakes are great. This week we took the camper out and you will push the brakes and the red light will come up on the controler and you will start to feel it braking and it will release will still braking. It then starts to light up again and when it gets to full again it releases. Any ideasThanks
comment by: Nick - 1/13/2013
I have added some links to the part and instructions. There is a trouble shooting guide in the instructions and I would start there.
Also, your brake assemblies may need to be adjusted. Over time the shoes wear and need to be snugged up. The hub should be able to spin along the shoes when turned by hand, but there should be an even, light drag the whole way around. Patrick B - 1/22/2013
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