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Old 10-07-2015, 08:18 AM   #1
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1974 31' Sovereign
Leesburg , VA
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 23
Running wiring for brakes

I apologize in advance for this question if it turns out to be really obvious.

To start, I got two new axles and ran new 14/2 wire from the front to the axles.

My questions are:

1. Do I ground each brake to the frame closest to the brake, or wire each into one of the wires on the 14/2. If you ground then at the frame, then what does one use the other wire in the 14/2 for?

2. What is the best practice for connecting the positive lines. Should I run the wire down one side, then tree off to each brake.

3. From what I have read it doesn't matter which wire from the hub is the positive or negative. Is this correct?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 10-07-2015, 08:39 AM   #2
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
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1. Run each ground wire to the front along with the hot line. I would connect them all to the (-) wire on the umbilical cord.

2. Only one line needs to be run back to the axels. Then use good practice wiring to branch to each brake. I am old fashioned and like solder connections with heat shrink covers. Crimp connections, unless true professional quality (and not easily available in most locations) are not as good in my opinion. Wire nuts are a no no, unless you use the potted variety and even then can be questionable.

3. Yes, the brake magnet wires are interchangeable.

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Old 10-07-2015, 09:17 AM   #3
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Hopefully you're using stranded wire and instead of soldering or crimp, perhaps this is better.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:23 AM   #4
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Fwiw I always run 10ga for brake wiring.

Brevi tempore!
The fact that I am opinionated does not presuppose that I am wrong......

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Old 10-07-2015, 09:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by nrgtrakr View Post
Hopefully you're using stranded wire and instead of soldering or crimp, perhaps this is better.
4-Way RGB Terminal Block Connector - 4 wire connectors
A terminal block is good idea..But.... it is harder to protect from corrosion, road stuff, etc. It also does not do well as vibration can still affect the clamp force and vibration fatigue.

When using proper wiring, properly soldered and sealed/protected, I have found a higher reliability. We did this on all our boat and horse trailers which tended to have harsher environment exposure than our AS (with exception of towing AS on 'treated' roadways or coastline service.

On our 1999, we have ONE pair of wires running from umbilical to the axle area which then 'splits' to feed each side.

It is key to have good 'grounding' for the brakes to operate reliably. However, I am a fan of having a 'return' ground to the Tow Vehicle (TV) for several reasons:
1- ground necessary for high current flow of brake magnet operation
2- frame 'ground' can be 'intermittent' between TV and Trailer... having a dedicated 'ground' helps resolve this possible loss of 'ground'.
3- good feedback to the 'brake controller' for control of brakes
4- good 'ground' between TV and Trailer help reliability of 'trailer signal lights', and 'charging' circuits, too.

We once had a horse trailer (1960's) with electric brakes and at times the trailer brakes would 'grab'....causing great disturbance to the horses we were transporting.

We had used the 'we have always done it that way' of 'frame grounding', depending upon the physical clamping force on the TV / Trailer connection.

We cleaned rust off the ball and coupler...
we removed all grease from the ball and coupler...
we found corrosion between the bumper and frame of the TV which had a high 'resistance'... even tho all the bolts were tight...

Finally, I wired a 'dedicated' ground from the battery to the trailer... and the problem disappeared. My dad said "the horses quit acting up", that it was not a wiring/ground issue... Ok, Pop....
Peace and Blessings..
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Old 10-07-2015, 12:07 PM   #6
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Running wiring for brakes

Check with Lewster for his ideas on RV wiring.
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Old 10-07-2015, 09:18 PM   #7
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
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Lewster will likely recommend terminal posts with weatherproof crimped ring connectors. It's a good option if you can find a good place to mount them and can make good crimps. You can get good crimps with a ratcheting crimper.
Those are for 10-12ga, you'll need some for 14-16ga with 1/4" holes which may be tough.

I bought these planning to use or have available as an option but since I had run the wire that branches to the other wires long ago I didn't have enough slack to have a good place to put them that would be relatively accessible in the future.

I ended up going the sacrilegious route and used appropriate sized waterproof/buriable wire nuts. Practiced a few times and then was careful to get a good twist and connection of the wires. Twisted wires back from the nuts a few inches, zip tied near and back from the nut a few times for strain relief. Then wrapped the nut and wire in heavy duty electrical tape to keep it from vibrating loose.
My trailer had 35yo wire nuts that still had good connections so I ended up going this way.
Since they're there run both direct positive and negative lines from the brakes.
I drilled a hole in the belly and put in an access plate to make access easy in the future if needed.
I also put split loom over the cables for added protection.

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