Why is 10 or 12 Gauge Wire Recommended for Electric Brake Assemblies

Question:

Hi There - for 10 inch electric brake assemblies it is recommended you use #12 or #10, 2 conductor wire - looking at the green wire on the assembly it looks like #14 or #16 wire - how/and why then should you connect a #10 wire to a #14 or #16 wire. Thank You

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Expert Reply:

The reason that 10 Gauge # 10-1-1 or 12 Gauge # 12-1-1 wire is recommended for 10" brake assemblies, like part # AKEBRK-35-SA, is because they pull more power than the lights on your trailer. I believe the green wire you are referring to carries the right turn/stop lighting functions as you can see from the attached photo of a trailer side 4-Way. The 14 and 16 gauge wires are too small for the amount of power needing to get to the brake assemblies and they could potentially get too hot, fail, or catch fire.

If you only have a 4-Way on your trailer then you also need to install a 7-Way like the part # A10-7W6 or the part # 277-000141 which comes with a junction box for better wire management. The brake signal for your trailer brakes should be coming from a brake controller like the Prodigy P3 # 90195 that is mounted inside your tow vehicle cab. This brake controller allows you to control the amount of brake power that is being output and has a manual override in the event that emergency stopping is needed.

I am attaching a helpful article that gives you more info about trailer wiring that you can reference as well as a video of the junction box being installed that you can check out.

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expert reply by:
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Jon G

Question:

Hi Again - I think you misunderstood my question - the green wire I am referring to is the green wire on the electric brake assembly [3500 lb]. - it is the wire that is attached to the magnet. [This is the wire you attach to the #10 or #12 brake wire - hence the question - how do you correctly attach a #14 or #16 [green wire from brake assembly] to a #12 or #10 brake wire that come from the junction box to the wheel brake assemblies. My fix - is to strip double the amount of wire on the green wire from the brake assembly and fold it over and twist [increases size] and then place it into the ‘yellow’ butt connectors. Is there a better way - I have heard of butt connectors that have two different end sizes?? Solder the two together [not practical]??

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Expert Reply:

I apologize, I did misunderstand but I can clear it up for you.

Over distance there will be some power loss. The larger gauge wire allows more power to go further (safely) which is why you want to use that over the smaller 14 or 16 gauge wire.

You can actually use either the 12-10 Gauge Heat Shrink Butt Connectors # DW05745-5 or the 16-14 Gauge Heat Shrink Butt Connectors # DW05744-5 as you can see from the attached videos. The larger ones make it easier to connect the larger gauge wire and you can definitely double up the wire on the brake assembly side. The smaller connectors will fit more snug around the wires on the assembly but it may be a little more difficult to get the larger wire inserted. Since these butt connectors secure by crimping them and then heating the heat shrink the wires won't move once installed properly.

Soldering can be done but you lose the protection of the heat shrink. You would have to find a way to keep that connection protected from the elements if you wet that route.

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expert reply by:
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Jon G

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