Today we are going to cover a few notes on testing an electronic brake controller. What we are going to cover here is going to apply to virtually all brake controllers. Basically, if you run into a problem where you think your brake controller is not working, well, it could be a the brake controller or it could be something in the truck itself, in the connector or c it actually could be problems in the trailer. What we are going to show you today is how to look for problems that will either rule out the brake controller or make sure that it is the brake controllers fault. Just like any electronic devices, they seem to have a limited lifespan some will work for years and some will not. But this way you can also verify that it is working good.
All right, the steps involved to test a brake controller are going to be pretty easy. You need one definite tool you need a light tester, like we have one here. Basically you ground it onto the body of the vehicle and you use this to probe the wire you are going to test. And it is best to use an incandescent bulb because a lot of times voltmeters do not put out sufficient load to actually activate the brake controller itself, because brake controllers are activated by the magnets that are on the trailer, and thus a load. So you can replace that load with a simple incandescent light bulb. So one of the first things you want to check if you suspect your brake controller is pretty simple. Go ahead and make sure you have power going to the brake controller.
So we will our ground our tester, and the black wire is going to be positive so we will go ahead and test it. Okay, we know we have got power going in, so that means you have a good 12 volts going into it. The next thing you want to double-check is the red wire. That is typically the signal that is coming off the brake switch. Again, the same thing applies. So go ahead and put your tester on that and then hit your brake switch. And if you have got signal going to it, then that part of the circuit is fine, too. If you do not have power going, then obviously your brake controller is not going to work when you hit your foot brake. Now the last thing you want to do is go ahead and test the blue wire. Now the trick is, with this, you want to go ahead and disconnect this blue wire from the rest of the vehicle. The reason for that is that it eliminates any problems with the connector on the back of the vehicle or the trailer itself. That way you verify you have output coming from the brake controller itself. So you test that, and then press the manual override. And then if you have a time delay brake controller you can do the same thing with the foot brake, kind of an additional little test you can do.
If all that is working, then your brake controller is fine, and there is something else usually down the road from that. So basically the next you want to check is to make sure your blue wire is connected to the harness securely, and then go out to the back of the truck to the rear connector of the truck. Again you probably want to have somebody manually activate the brake controller and make sure you have current from the blue wire out the end of your connector out back. Now if that is all fine, then you know there is something definitely wrong with your trailer, and you have to start troubleshooting from there.
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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.
All right what we are going to do on this install is the reverse light lead to our electrical connector. For instance on a 5-pole you can use this on a boat trailer that has a reverse lock out for hydraulic brakes on it. Also you can use on a 7-pole application the trailer may have reverse lights on the back of it. Some RVs have a reverse light hook up on the back of it. I will show you the basic generic steps of how it is installed. 00:22
Today we are going to talk about the two main kinds of brake controllers, the proportional and the time delay. The two we have here are the Journey HD and the Draw-Tite Activator II. These are what you call the time delay brake controllers. Basically what happens is that when you hit the brakes, they come on at a certain speed that you set on the brake controller. Like on this one here, we have a sync switch here that controls how fast it comes on and then this knob here controls how much power it takes to stop the trailer. Basically you hit your foot brake and it comes on at the rate you determine and at how much power you have set aside for it, and then it stays there until you completely let off the brake.
Today we are going to cover a frequently asked question. It really turns up a lot. And actually it is easier than you think. Basically, if you have a pickup and you got a tow package with it and you got one of these wire harnesses that plug underneath the dash and plugs into your brake controller, you might have five or sometimes even more wires coming off of it. And you notice that your brake controller only uses four. We have got one over here, we will show you, that has just the four wires and what do you do with the extra wires? The short answer is do not worry about it, because the brake controller has all that it needs from these four wires.
Today we are going to show how to remove the break shoes on a typical electric break axle, this one in particular is a twelve inch drum. We are using that one because it is large and easy to see. This applies to virtually all electric brakes from this size on up and down to the smaller sizes. We will go over how it comes apart and the tools you will need to do it with.