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Old 03-16-2004, 03:40 PM   #1
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Testing breakaway switch

How do I test the old breakaway switch on my trailer? I bought a new one, but want to see if the old one worked, or was hooked up correctly.

I have a house battery with juice, and I know there is power to the wires going to the switch. I currently have one of my brakes off of the trailer and have the 2 wires handy and stripped. I tried putting my voltmeter on them and then pulled the pin. Should I get a reading of any kind? I would think so.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-16-2004, 04:23 PM   #2
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Sneakinup,

Before trying the switch I would test the wires. One should have 12 VDC the other should have little or no resistance to ground. The wire with no resistance will be the one to the magnets. If this is not the case then there is a wire issue.

Upon pulling the pin the meter should read less than 12 volts on both wires. If that is the case the switch is working.

If you have no continuity to ground on one of the wires you will need to find the loose connection. The brakes all run off of one input voltage. The brake controller sends a different level of current down the wires to either give you mild or firm braking. The breakaway goes full out so the brakes should lock if the trailer was moving.

If you pull the pin and have voltage on both wires then I would start by checking the voltage at the connector in the hub assembly and seeing if you have voltage there. I would not leave the pin pulled for too long or you will cook the magnets and kill the battery.
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Old 03-20-2004, 05:57 AM   #3
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Sneakingup,

What did you find? I am curious to know............
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Old 03-20-2004, 06:36 AM   #4
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I haven't spent a whole lot of time on it... yet, but... I did put my voltmeter on the bare wires and pulled the pin. I think I need to change the batteries in my meter, as I appeared to get fluctuating readings. I know I have 12v at the switch wire, but I didn't really achieve any answers yet.

Thanks. I will post an update soon.
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:06 AM   #5
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Sneakinup, if you pull the pin you will hear the magnets actuate. It's easier if someone else pulls the pin while your ear is close to each wheel in turn. To do a more thorough test, jack each wheel up in turn, pull the pin, and rotate each wheel by hand in the direction of forward travel. After a couple of inches of free travel, the actuating lever willl lock the wheel. If it doesn't lock, that's when I get out the digital voltmeter. Don't leave the pin out for longer than a few seconds. You don't want to overheat the magnets or the axle spindles. Good luck. Nick.
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sneakinup
... I did put my voltmeter on the bare wires and pulled the pin. I think I need to change the batteries in my meter, as I appeared to get fluctuating readings.
If you have a digital meter probably, if it is an analog meter the batteries are only used to measure resistance. Voltage & current, both ac & dc, 'self-power' the movement.
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Old 03-20-2004, 10:45 AM   #7
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Thanks for the input. I just tried the wheel spinning trick and pullng the pin. I counted to 10 before the grenade went off... nothing happened. The wheel kept spinning, and the trailer didn't blow up... fortunately. Someone prior to my owning the trailer had done some playing around with the wires on the switch and jack, so I am pretty certain I will have to start there. I am in the process of swapping out all my running gear anyway. Front axle is currently laying on the ground. Very easy to get off, and when I get to wiring everything back in I will start from scratch.
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