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Electric Brake Controller Indicates Trailer is Connected When it is Not Connected

Question:

Led lite indicates connected when its not connected. I think i smoked it,it got hot enough too smell??? !998 F-150 with toeing package..

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Expert Reply:

Brake controllers can be damaged by or malfunction from any number of things, from shorted wiring to a bad ground connection to a shorted brake magnet. If your controller became so hot that is generated a significant odor, then it has probably a safe bet that it has been damaged and needs to be replaced.

Before you connect a new controller you need to completely check your wiring to identify and correct the cause for the problem; otherwise your new controller will potentially suffer the same damage. Check for dirty or corroded connectors, loose or pinched wires or wires with cracked insulation. If your trailer has a breakaway kit, if this has been wired incorrectly (positive and negative reversed) this too can damage your brake controller. Check your vehicle wiring, the brake controller wiring and the trailer wiring. Once you find and fix the cause you are ready to select a new brake control unit.

We usually recommend the proportional type of controller as these typically provide better performance than the time-delay type. These activate immediately and sense the actual level of deceleration in the tow vehicle and send the appropriate proportional signal to the trailer. One of the easiest to use is the Tekonsha P2, part # 90885. I have included instructions and a video showing installation in a 2001 F-150.

I have also included an article concerning troubleshooting brake controllers that may be useful to you as you isolate and correct the fault.

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Adam R

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