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Old 05-24-2013, 12:09 PM   #29
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Steve,

The stuff you used is similar to this?...


Note the yellow wire connections here have used the marine terminals.

The wiring looks fine. If the junction block is exposed it would be susceptible to the elements. I would wire directly using solder/shrink wrap or marine connectors.

Bob
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:20 PM   #30
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ME TOO _ Same Problem as OP

I was getting very little braking with Prodigy turned up to as high as it will go. I have a 1990 25'.
Only one wheel would lock on loose gravel.

I know that when I had a problem on the road I had to do some remounting of the brake mounting plate bolts and I may have touched the pads with my greasy fingers not realizing it could / would affect the brakes.

Well I took the trailer to a trusted shop who routinely does trailer repairs, and he went through it and adjusted the brakes with no different results. Then he took a new controller and hooked it up with same results. Paid him for his time and decided to replace the backing plates as the OP did.

Well that is done and I still have the same (almost no) brakes. I did carefully clean the drum with brake-clean and was very careful not to touch the pads or the magnet. They are not adjusted up yet, but I still get the same results.

Now I haven't done any amp testing. I assume you have to cut the wire at some point and insert the multimeter on *20 amp* setting to check that with helper hitting the brakes (or pulling the breakaway).

I am thinking that I may have a wiring issue and may try what Rich said (I highly value his posts - Rich adds a lot to this forum) and run a patch cord from the controller out-put (Blue wire=trailer elec brake feed) back to the umbilical connection on the truck.

The only other thing I noticed is that several years ago my trailer plug dragged for a ways and wore down the outer wrap and the light blue wire wrap for 1/2". I immediately elec taped it and just checked it today and it the wire was bright copper and looked good. (Original 1990 plug) Just thinking what may be the problem.
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:28 PM   #31
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Need some instruction....

Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Rather than checking voltage, or resistance, the easiest thing to do is to check the current the magnets take. Find the + 12 volt pin on the 7 wire trailer plug. Find the brake wire on the plug. Put an ammeter between those two wires. Properly operating wiring should result in 2.5 to 3 amps per wheel, or 10 to 12 amps total for a 4 wheel setup. If you are not getting that reading there is some electrical issue to deal with, from corroded wires to poor grounds. If you read the full current, then there is probably something wrong with the brake setup itself (shoes, adjustment etc.)
Not sure how you do this. If I pull the trailer plug-in the Prodigy will show 'disconnected'. Are you pulling the brake wire off the back of the 7-way and then checking amps? Just trying to picture how this is done.

Thanks for anymore precise info of how to make these checks!

Steve
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Old 05-24-2013, 04:40 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve View Post
I was getting very little braking with Prodigy turned up to as high as it will go. I have a 1990 25'.
Only one wheel would lock on loose gravel.
I'm going to put it to the test tomorrow on the 20 miles into Durango. We will see what a little usage does to it. Otherwise I'm stopping at Napa to get some wire.

Thanks all.
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:30 PM   #33
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Need some instruction....
Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba
Rather than checking voltage, or resistance, the easiest thing to do is to check the current the magnets take. Find the + 12 volt pin on the 7 wire trailer plug. Find the brake wire on the plug. Put an ammeter between those two wires. Properly operating wiring should result in 2.5 to 3 amps per wheel, or 10 to 12 amps total for a 4 wheel setup. If you are not getting that reading there is some electrical issue to deal with, from corroded wires to poor grounds. If you read the full current, then there is probably something wrong with the brake setup itself (shoes, adjustment etc.)


Not sure how you do this. If I pull the trailer plug-in the Prodigy will show 'disconnected'. Are you pulling the brake wire off the back of the 7-way and then checking amps? Just trying to picture how this is done.

Thanks for anymore precise info of how to make these checks!


OK, here you go:

Grasp the trailer cord in your hand with the locater pin at the top. Measure the current from the pin at 11 o'clock to the pin at 7 o'clock.

The 11 o'clock pin will be the +12 volts from the trailer (the charge line) and the 7 o'clock pin will be the line to the brakes.

See photo 1 below. You should measure about 5 to 6 amps for a single axle trailer, and 10 to 12 for a two axle trailer.

Years ago I built an electrical tester with a car end, switches and ammeter, plus fuses all built into one case. You can see it in photo 2 below. In photo 3, you will see that when the Brake switch on the tester is activated, I measure about 6 amps on my single axle trailer.
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:37 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmaah View Post
I'm going to put it to the test tomorrow on the 20 miles into Durango. We will see what a little usage does to it. Otherwise I'm stopping at Napa to get some wire.
Thanks all.
I am also wondering how much the usage makes as cwf has said. I did do what he was talking about (getting the brakes good and hot through repeated slowdowns) but it didn't make any difference in my 5 year old brakes ( that MAY have had some grease on the pads-magnet).

Good luck with yours. We are looking to take a 6 week trip very soon and this is slowing us down....
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Old 05-24-2013, 05:54 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Need some instruction....
Quote:
OK, here you go:

Grasp the trailer cord in your hand with the locater pin at the top. Measure the current from the pin at 11 o'clock to the pin at 7 o'clock.

The 11 o'clock pin will be the +12 volts from the trailer (the charge line) and the 7 o'clock pin will be the line to the brakes.

See photo 1 below. You should measure about 5 to 6 amps for a single axle trailer, and 10 to 12 for a two axle trailer.

Years ago I built an electrical tester with a car end, switches and ammeter, plus fuses all built into one case.
Thanks for your very quick response!!

That helps explain what I'm looking for. I also assume you are pulling the breakaway cord in order to get the juice going to the brakes. And the cord not being plugged in allows one to check without breaking into the wires.

BTW, that electrical tester is way cool. Think I remember you talking about it before. Any pics from previous posts on how it is wired on the inside?
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Old 05-24-2013, 06:44 PM   #36
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Iroba

Kudos on the test box.

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Old 05-24-2013, 06:50 PM   #37
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Could it be the design of the controller? My trailer doesn't start braking hard until the truck is doing some serious deceleration, then the trailer adjusts to that deceleration rate. Just a thought. You would need to have the truck hitched to the trailer, going down the road then hit the brakes. As the truck starts to slow, the trailer brakes start kicking in more aggressively. This would prevent unintensional lock-up of the trailer brakes.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:33 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve View Post
Thanks for your very quick response!!

That helps explain what I'm looking for. I also assume you are pulling the breakaway cord in order to get the juice going to the brakes. And the cord not being plugged in allows one to check without breaking into the wires.

BTW, that electrical tester is way cool. Think I remember you talking about it before. Any pics from previous posts on how it is wired on the inside?
The test that I showed in photo 1 does not require or want the break away switch to be pulled. It takes the +12 volts from the trailer battery (the 11 o'clock terminal) and directly connects it to all the brakes (the 7 o'clock terminal) through the ammeter. That allows you to measure the brake magnet current, which should be 2.5 to 3 amps for each wheel. It also will test the charge line to the trailer through the cord, and the brake line wire through the cord.

I do the testing with the little tester I made a few times a year to check that the brake electrical system is working as it should. One time on a two axle trailer I had I found only 3 amps of current. On investigation, 3 of the 4 lines to the wheel magnets were corroded off , a disaster waiting to happen.

The tester is simple and made up of parts from my junk box. Essentially it is wired this way: The + 12 volts from the 11 o'clock terminal on the "car end" plug was routed through a switch and 20 amp fuse and then through the ammeter shown on the tester. A 12 volt light is also in the circuit, to show me that I have 12 volts at the cord. The second wire from the 12 volt light is connected to the ground line on the cord, which also confirms that the ground line is working.

After the ammeter, a wire goes from each other terminal on the plug, through a switch. Be sure you do not run a switch to the ground terminal! Each switch then will be connected to something, running lights, left brake and turn, right brake and turn, back up lights, and brakes. Label them. Since they all go through the ammeter, you can see, from the tester and the built in meter, that each circuit is taking current. Keeps walking back and forth to a minimum, although the new LED lights take so little current my simple meter does not respond to them. If there is any short, the fuse blows.

I built it about 25 years ago and it has been a valuable tool to test my own trailer and friends and neighbors who come to me with a trailer light or brake issue. It will work on all standard 7 wire hookups which use the conventional pin connections. Now, if the trailer has been wired by someone with the old farmer mentality, all bets are off as to what you may find. That is where the fuse is very handy....LOL.
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Old 05-24-2013, 07:59 PM   #39
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Electric Brakes

First: The long and short shoe must be in the right place.
Second: Voltage does not create magnetic field strength in electromagnets, current does.
First: Determine that the shoes are installed correctly.
Second: Checking the voltage tells you little if you don't know what the current flow is. I have a clamp on DC current meter to dealwith this. If you have a brake electromagnet ( herein reffered to as a magnetic) with a resistance of .5 ohms you should be drawing around 20 amps according to the DC pie chart.(Voltage = Current times Resistance)
If you have measured the resistance of the electromagnets then you will know how much current they should be drawing.
Now, lets say that each electromagnet has a DC resistance of 1 ohm (lets keep the math easy for me).
At that resistance with a voltage of 11 volts each magnetic should be drawing 11 amps.
If you are not drawing 11 amps then you have high resistance in the circuit, probally in the ground side of this circuit.
You have two wires comming from the backing plate. One of them is connected to ground.
Check the voltage on both wires. If you have 11 volts on both wires, you have a bad ground. YOU MUST HAVE A COMPLETE CIRCUIT.
In a perfect world you will have 11 volts on one wire and 0.00 volts on the other wire. In our world you should not have much more than .5 volts.
A lot of people do not look at the ground side of the circuit because no body talks about it much.
Determine which wire is the hot wire to the magnet and which wire is the ground.
A perfect benchmark ground would be to run a # 12 wire (tempory) to the tow vehicle battery and the ground wire of the magnet. With 11 volts at the "hot" side of the magnet and the ground wire running from the tow vehicle battery you will have your 11 amps of current.
I us a clamp on DC amp meter so that I will not have to break any connections to troubleshoot.
If you have any questions feel free to ask.
Beginner
PS. The above post was not there when I started writing my suggestion.
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Old 05-24-2013, 08:19 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Thompson View Post
Could it be the design of the controller? My trailer doesn't start braking hard until the truck is doing some serious deceleration, then the trailer adjusts to that deceleration rate. Just a thought. You would need to have the truck hitched to the trailer, going down the road then hit the brakes. As the truck starts to slow, the trailer brakes start kicking in more aggressively. This would prevent unintensional lock-up of the trailer brakes.
Bob,

I think that is the most desirable feature of the Maxbrake, you push and it sends your signal on command. Works for me.

Gary
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:02 PM   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba View Post
Need some instruction....
Quote:
Originally Posted by idroba
Rather than checking voltage, or resistance, the easiest thing to do is to check the current the magnets take. Find the + 12 volt pin on the 7 wire trailer plug. Find the brake wire on the plug. Put an ammeter between those two wires. Properly operating wiring should result in 2.5 to 3 amps per wheel, or 10 to 12 amps total for a 4 wheel setup. If you are not getting that reading there is some electrical issue to deal with, from corroded wires to poor grounds. If you read the full current, then there is probably something wrong with the brake setup itself (shoes, adjustment etc.)


Not sure how you do this. If I pull the trailer plug-in the Prodigy will show 'disconnected'. Are you pulling the brake wire off the back of the 7-way and then checking amps? Just trying to picture how this is done.

Thanks for anymore precise info of how to make these checks!


OK, here you go:

Grasp the trailer cord in your hand with the locater pin at the top. Measure the current from the pin at 11 o'clock to the pin at 7 o'clock.

The 11 o'clock pin will be the +12 volts from the trailer (the charge line) and the 7 o'clock pin will be the line to the brakes.

See photo 1 below. You should measure about 5 to 6 amps for a single axle trailer, and 10 to 12 for a two axle trailer.
Thanks Idroba,
I set the multimeter on 20 amps side and measured across the two plug positions as you recommended (12+ and brake) and I got a 12.6x amp reading for the double axle (4 brakes) which sounds about right. That's about 3 amps per wheel.

I thought I had a clamp ammeter to measure the brake wires without disconnecting. Found out that the cheap-o Harbor Freight clamp on is for AC only.

I did redo some connections under the tanks where the breakaway is wired in. They actually looked alright.

I also scraped the contacts on the 23 yr old plug which has always been out in the weather. It was a little green and the brake amp reading did try to dance around abit toward the down side. It may be time to pull out that umbilical cord and run a new one.

Thanks for all your help
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Old 05-25-2013, 12:34 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sav'h Steve View Post
Thanks Idroba,
I set the multimeter on 20 amps side and measured across the two plug positions as you recommended (12+ and brake) and I got a 12.6x amp reading for the double axle (4 brakes) which sounds about right. That's about 3 amps per wheel.

I thought I had a clamp ammeter to measure the brake wires without disconnecting. Found out that the cheap-o Harbor Freight clamp on is for AC only.

I did redo some connections under the tanks where the breakaway is wired in. They actually looked alright.

I also scraped the contacts on the 23 yr old plug which has always been out in the weather. It was a little green and the brake amp reading did try to dance around abit toward the down side. It may be time to pull out that umbilical cord and run a new one.

Thanks for all your help
Glad you got a good 12+ amp reading. That for the most part checks the brake electrical system on the trailer. The tow vehicle outlet must also be in good condition. Sometimes the wires going into it become corroded and it will not deliver the brake current reliably. I have no magic test process to check that....LOL.

On clamp on meters: Very few, from any manufacturer, no matter how costly, will measure DC current. It is electrically a tricky issue to do. I have one which does do it, but it is a bit hard to use and the measurements are not all that accurate or repeatable. So, the HF meter is in there with the rest of them in not measuring DC current in the clamp on stile. For DC, direct wire measurements are best.

The trailer umbilical cord plug will get to need replacement over time and it is not a bad idea to do that. The green corrosion you see is generally on the +12 volt pin (the one at 11 o'clock) as it always has power to it, and when wet or dirty conducts a small amount of current causing the corrosion. You may find the same problem in the TV outlet pin which carries the charge current to the trailer. Looking into the TV outlet, that pin would be the one at 1 o'clock and the brake pin is at 5 o'clock.

A spray electrical contact cleaner, often available at an auto parts place, or Radio Shack is also in order. Spray both the plug and the TV outlet, put the plug in and pull it out several times and that will wipe the contacts about as well as anything I know of. Corroded wires on the back of the TV outlet are harder to deal with.

I am happy some of my ramblings are of help to you.
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