electric brakes

Submitted: Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 20:34
ThreadID: 75340 Views:6074 Replies:9 FollowUps:15
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Hi to every one
I got brakes installed on my camper trailer over around 18months ago. Took trailer back 3 times to mob who fitted them as they were not working. The last time i got it back they said they could not find anything wrong and they road tested it and brakes worked. Father in law brought it home for the last time and camper has not moved since (APRIL2009) Got the trailer hooked up today as going camping on weekend and thought i would check again and what do you know they are not working. I have a controller mounted on draw bar. Dont know much about brakes and there wiring so any info on potential causes would be appreciated. I am ready to give this trailer mob a real mouthful. Worse thing is they are a pretty well known trailer manufacturer in brisbane.
Cheers in advance
Brett
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 20:51

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 20:51
The Brand of controller may get you some solutions

Bit hard to advise with no information

Possibly dirty connections if its been sitting so long


Does it have a battery and is it charged
AnswerID: 400239

Reply By: Maîneÿ . . .- Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 21:08

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 21:08
You say: "I have a controller mounted on draw bar"
if your saying your controller "electronics" are mounted on the draw bar I would not be surprised.

Maîneÿ . . .
AnswerID: 400242

Reply By: CJ - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 22:22

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 22:22
I don't understand how the controller can be on the drawbar. Legally it needs to be in the vehicle within reach of the driver

Based on the limited information provided it is hard to advise. Have you tried simple fault finding (ie power,on, power to controller, etc)

CJ
AnswerID: 400265

Follow Up By: brett J - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:12

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:12
I am not sure if it is illegal. I have seen quite a few on draw bars. It is not the same type as you would see inside a car. It is a very basic controller with only a turn knob to adjust brake power settings. Controller made by Active fabrications at Beenliegh qld
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:21

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:21
It is legal.
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Follow Up By: Lex M (Brisbane) - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:54

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:54
I believe "on trailer controllers" are still legal in Qld.
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FollowupID: 669399

Follow Up By: Horacehighroller - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 00:46

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 00:46
So if the controller is on the drawbar of the trailer you must set the level while stationary and then the vehicle must provide an electrical signal to activate the controller when you touch the brake pedal.

Does your vehicle send that signal with the brake pedal depressed?

If it does, is the setting of the controller at a sufficiently high level?

Peter

HZJ 105 n/a auto Melbourne
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FollowupID: 669401

Follow Up By: brett J - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 16:27

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 16:27
Yes Peter the car sends the signal when the brake pedal is pressed and i am assuming the controller on trailer send relative signal as per what the dial is set at , dictating how hard the brakes come on. I have tried it at full power and got nothing still.
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FollowupID: 669473

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 16:38

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 16:38
When you hook the car up presumably it powers the unit so get a multimeter and see if there is any power on pin 5 which is the electric brake wire.

Take the connector on the trailer apart and see which one should have power on it Best see if you actually have power before throwing it away

Have you checked fuse and earth wire
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FollowupID: 669480

Follow Up By: brett J - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 06:15

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 06:15
pin #5 on towing vehicle has no power when tested with multi meter. Pulled apart trailer plug and seems that brake controler is wired into plug 3 and 6 (earth and stop lights ) Then there are 2 wires that go from controller to brakes (which are both linked together )

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FollowupID: 669566

Follow Up By: brett J - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 06:32

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 06:32
My Navara doesnt seem to have any power to elctric brake pin on plug. Lets say i was to get power hooked to that, then pull the trailer plug apart and change the wire that links in the controller to the brake light and wire it to the electric brake pin, would this then work.
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FollowupID: 669568

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 09:52

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 09:52
alright You say it was working in April and not used since.


If brakes are connected to pin 3

Start car and get someone to hold brake down and see if there is power on pin 3 on the car if not trace fault in car

Sounds like where the problem may be

Turn the lights on see if there is power then at the plug or trailer lights come on

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FollowupID: 669579

Reply By: Slugsta - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:10

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:10
G`Day Brett, is there a small battery in the contoller with a small diameter steel cable looped at the end coming out of the box mounted to your drawbar. If so you have a breakaway system , if the trailer unhitches the cable [ coupled to where your safety chains go if i remember correctly ] is pulled and the brakes come on. Hope this is a bit of help
Slug
AnswerID: 400275

Follow Up By: brett J - Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:14

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2010 at 23:14
no its not a breakaway system.
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FollowupID: 669393

Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 10:12

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 10:12
We had a brake setup like this on the local scout group trailer so any one with a tow ball could pull it.

Maybe it works on their car and not yours because they have a different set up on thier car to the trailer connection?

So if you turn the controller up to the top setting, do you get brakes coming on?

Are the brake lights on the trailer coming on?
(Controller is usually tripped by the brake light circuit.)

Are the car brake lights coming on?
(Sometimes these controllers pull a bit of power and blow the fuse in the car brake light circuit.)

Is the controller powered seperately to the brake light circuit?
(Maybe the controller is not getting enough power to turn the brakes on.)
AnswerID: 400298

Follow Up By: brett J - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 06:28

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 06:28
The brakes are not coming on at all. Does not matter what setting they are on. The brake lights on car and trailer both work. It seems as though the brakes are powered off the brake lights as when i pulled the plug apart on trailer the earth and brake lights had wires going to brake controller and to rear of trailer for brake lights. The brake controller then had 2 wires going to what i assume would be brakes. The drum brakes are linked together
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FollowupID: 669567

Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 08:46

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 08:46
Yep, same as the scout trailer.

The trailer brake lights and brake controller are powered off the car brake light circuit through the one pin on the trailer plug.

For some it didn't work because they could not get enough current through the standard car brake light wire to power the brakes. Too much voltage drop with small diameter wires. Some cars had heavier wiring for the car rear brake lights and it worked OK.

Trailer brakes can pull 10 to 15 amps, depending on the setting on the controller. I had to upgrade my fuse for the pajero brake light circuit from 10 amp to 15 amp otherwise every time I used the scout trailer my brake light fuse blew.
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FollowupID: 669573

Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 08:50

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 08:50
PS,
With on trailer or in car brake controller, trailer earth to the car is critical.

Check you have a good earth from trailer to earth pin on the trailer, and plug pin to car. Might be good enough for a couple of amps of lights, but not good enough for triple that ampage with brakes coming on.

If the brake current can't return to the battery to complete the circuit, the brakes are not going to work.

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FollowupID: 669574

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 10:43

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 10:43
Brett, You don't mention what sort of brakes you have?

I am sure I've read about (or possibly seen at a caravan/camping show in Adelaide) about a relatively new braking system that incorporates high quality disc brakes. If my memory serves me correctly, there is a trailer/van-mounted electronic box but there is also a "normal" in-car brake controller. This brake controller sends it's "messages" to the electronic box on the c/van trailer etc, which in turn makes the disc brakes activate. Is this the sort of system you have, possibly?

Or, are they just your standard Alko-style drum brakes?

Roachie
AnswerID: 400300

Follow Up By: brett J - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 16:30

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 16:30
Hey Roachie,
I dont have an in car controler at all, just the one on the drawbar. I have just standard ALKO Drums
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FollowupID: 669476

Reply By: brushmarx - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 10:48

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 10:48
We had a draw bar controller fitted to electric brakes on a horse float.
It needed two power supplies. One connected to the brake lights that actuated the controller, and a heavier cable direct from the battery to operate the brakes.
If you have the same system, do you have two power supplies from the car?
Cheers
I'll get there someday, or die wanting to.

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AnswerID: 400301

Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 10:50

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 10:50
I would get rid of it and get an in car controller, that can be adjusted on the move.
AnswerID: 400302

Follow Up By: brett J - Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 16:31

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 16:31
yeah thinkin that way, might just shoot it down to the local auto sparky and be done with it. Trailer guys who fitted seem to have no clue
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FollowupID: 669477

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 16:27

Thursday, Jan 21, 2010 at 16:27
Brett J.
If the camper weighs less than 750kg then A-frame mounted controller would be ok as brakes are not required by law.
If however the loaded camper weighs more than 750kg brakes are required by law. Over ride brakes are OK, but If electric brakes are fitted they must be able to be controlled from the drivers seat.
Ref: VSB1
Trailers must be fitted with an efficient brake system that complies with ADR 38/-. Except for over-run brakes, all brakes must be operable from the driver's seat of the towing vehicle.
ozjohn.
AnswerID: 400471

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