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Old 08-07-2011, 08:37 AM   #1
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Breakaway switch problem

when i pull the pin on my breakaway switch the brakes do not come on...just started this today...apparently ther switch is bad...is there a way to check the brakes by bypassing the breakaway switch...is...can i cut it out of the line and splice the two wires together to complete a circuit, then pl;ub into the tow vehicle and see if the brakes work...
thanks
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:46 AM   #2
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Yes you can just splice the two wires together to test the brakes. You do not need to be connected to the tow vehicle to test them. The power to the breakaway switch comes from the trailer battery. DO NOT leave the wires connected for long or you risk damaging the magnets on the brakes.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:50 AM   #3
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The breakaway switch applies the brakes from the trailer battery.

1. If you have a battery cutoff switch make sure it is on.

2. The breakaway switch switch holds the contacts open when the switched is pulled it shorts the two wires together.

3. I would test by taking a small pin and stick one in each wire, measure for 12VDC between the pins, pull the pin and test for a short circuit.

If you cut the wires and tie them together the brakes should engage unless there is a broken wire going back to the battery or the battery is dead.

How do you know it is no longer working?
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vpurdy View Post
is there a way to check the brakes by bypassing the breakaway switch
If that is the question, the brake pedal or the brake controller manual lever will activate the brakes. The other tool is someone's foot or hand while you are at the brakes.

That's the better way to do that, not puling the breakaway switch.

If in attempting to test the brakes you have found out the breakaway switch is not working, that's another problem. The first thing I would do is clean the contacts within the switch. It is recommended you periodically oil the switch so it pulls easily, but eventually the oil collects dirt and could prevent the contacts from contacting. If that doesn't work, then the advice you have gotten would be next.

Gene
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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DO NOT CONNECT THE TWO WIRES TOGETHER. The trailer breakaway system is a system of last resort and not designed for constant duty. If connected you will be drawing 3 to 4 amps per brake and if the wiring is undersized you will melt the wiring.

First thing to do is test for DC power on one side of the breakaway switch. That power should be fused protected and coming directly from the battery without going through the battery cut off switch. If no power at the switch check for and test the fuse, check the wire all the way to the battery for brakes in the wire.

Once you have power at the switch open the other wire if there is a removable connect close to the switch or just cut the second wire. With the second side open pull the breakaway pin and check for voltage coming through the switch. If no voltage the switch contacts are not making and replace the switch. I say replace because it is not worth attempting to clean the contacts. This system is the system of last resort and should be dependable.

If everything checks out OK to the secondary side of the breakaway switch there is a problem in the wiring from the switch to the bakes. The secondary wire should be spliced into the brake wire coming from the umbilical cord to the brakes. Check that connection and the wiring to the brakes.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:35 AM   #6
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I agree with Howie, but… Cleaning may work and if you are on the road or can't get a new switch in time, cleaning may be the only option for a while.

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Old 08-07-2011, 11:13 AM   #7
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thanks folks...when i pull the switch pin..the brake pump does not come on...this tell me the breakaway switch is bad...i have cleaned it...a couple of years back i had to replace the breakaway switch...
i replaced the pull pin, plugged the trailer in to the tow vehicle...applioed the brake...nothing...tried manual control on the brake controller...nothing...
i cut the switch out...i know have the two wires...i touched them together..still nothing...
it just seems to me that if i touch these wires tiogether it's doing the same thing the switch does when i pull the pin...making a circuit...right?
i have cj
hecked the fuse on the actibrake..it's fine...the jack works fine and that's what the breakaway is connected to at kleast according to my manual...and i checked the breaker under the sofa..there is one labeled breakaway/jack...it's not tripped...
i'm at a loss...unless it's the breakaway switch that has to be in the circuit to make the brake pump (elec over hydraulic) come on.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:59 AM   #8
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I did no pick up on the fact that you have a hydraulic system. I was treating it as a magnetic system.

Now give what you have just posted. nothing with the controller, nothing with the breakaway switch, and nothing when shorting out the system you have a problem either in the wiring going to the pump or a bad pump. All of these tests have 2 things in common. They all rely on the wire going to the pump and they all assume the pump is good.

To test the pump take a wire directly from the battery positive terminal to the pump input, after having removed the current input wire. If the pump comes on under this condition check the wiring leading to the pump for a break.
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