Troubleshooting Brake Controller Error When Trailer Brakes are Grounded to the Trailer Frame


We have a dump trailer with a battery - can this also be used for the emergency brake-away? The negative side of the battery is grounded to trailer chassis. When we put the negative wire going to the brakes to the chassis, the brake controller shows an error. Does the negative have to be kept isolated from the trailer even though it is grounded to the truck frame?


Expert Reply:

First, you will need to check with state and local regulations as some states require that a break away system have its own dedicated battery not used with anything else. The battery also needs to be capable of engaging and holding the electric trailer brakes for at least 15 minutes.

The problem that you are having sounds like a short to ground issue. These can be tough to find but easy to fix in most cases. Usually with a short to ground you will also have some blown fuses.

I have included several videos on troubleshooting grounds and finding shorts that should help. As far as grounds, you will want to make sure that all grounds are attached to a bare metal surface that is free of dirt and corrosion. For shorts, you will need to check the entire length of the wiring for physical damage and/or loose or broken wires or bad connections that may be causing a short. The best tools for this job are a circuit tester, # 40376, or multimeter, # BTMT15.

expert reply by:
Michael H

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