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Old 05-08-2013, 04:41 AM   #15
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If you suspect your brake wire, by all means replace it with a new one, perhaps run under the belly pan, well protected with some flex conduit. Those old brake wires are often suspect in any event, and corrosion works it's way up the insulation from the point the wire attaches to the magnets. I think you would be safest if you did it that way.

You will run two wires in the conduit, one is the hot, the other is the negative or wire attached to the white "ground" wire from the battery and tow vehicle. It does not matter which wire attaches to which on the brake magnet side. Use crimped connections, with heat shrink tubing for insulation where you splice it, and connect to the magnets.
You've given me a new point of attack. I can look for the brake wire at the brakes themselves and run that wire forward. That way, I won't have to worry about what color Airstream decided to use on the day my trailer was built. I'm assuming the wire will be visible running into the brake drum. If the wire runs under the belly pan from one brake to the other, I'll run a new wire for both sides. Otherwise, I'll run a new wire from whichever side gives me access to the wire.

A few days ago, I ran a new wire from the battery to the jack. I enclosed it in clear vinyl tubing and attached it to the gas pipe with cable ties, so it's well-protected.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by idroba View Post
If you suspect your brake wire, by all means replace it with a new one, perhaps run under the belly pan, well protected with some flex conduit. Those old brake wires are often suspect in any event, and corrosion works it's way up the insulation from the point the wire attaches to the magnets. I think you would be safest if you did it that way.

You will run two wires in the conduit, one is the hot, the other is the negative or wire attached to the white "ground" wire from the battery and tow vehicle. It does not matter which wire attaches to which on the brake magnet side. Use crimped connections, with heat shrink tubing for insulation where you splice it, and connect to the magnets.
I thought I had posted a follow-up question, but I don't see it. I decided to run a wire directly to the wheels from the A-frame/breakaway switch. There is a "Brake Cable" containing two wires near the wheels. One wire is black, and the other is gray(?). Red wires are connected to each and run to the wheels.

So, I run a hot wire to one of those wires that go to the brake - the black one? I tap into that hot wire with one of the wires from the B-A switch.

Then I connect the B-A switch to ground,

The result is that the brake has a hot wire connected to it, and the ground is completed when the pin on the B-W switch is pulled?

It's late, and my brain keeps cutting out.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:02 PM   #17
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NoNo, don't do that. The Breakaway switch is supposed to send the battery 12 volts to the brakes to apply them in an emergency. Don't connect the switch to ground!!
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:56 PM   #18
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NoNo, don't do that. The Breakaway switch is supposed to send the battery 12 volts to the brakes to apply them in an emergency. Don't connect the switch to ground!!
That's why I am patient - no burn-outs needed. So, one wire on the switch goes to hot, and the other one goes to the brakes. The question still remains: at the wheels, I have a black wire and a gray wire coming from the front of the trailer to the brakes. These are paired together with insulation labeled "Brake Wires." A red wire runs from each of them to the brakes. Where do I connect the wire coming from the B-A switch, to the black wire or to the gray?
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:09 PM   #19
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The switched wire from the break away switch is normally connected to the brake connector in the seven pin cable from the TV. On my trailer the connector is on the front wall behind the gaucho.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:32 PM   #20
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The switched wire from the break away switch is normally connected to the brake connector in the seven pin cable from the TV. On my trailer the connector is on the front wall behind the gaucho.
I found that, and the brake wire is probably yellow. The problem is getting the wire from the 7-way connector inside the trailer to the outside. I thought I could drill straight down, but there's too much frame in the way. Running it straight back under the trailer, enclosed in vinyl tubing, will be easier, but I have to know where to connect the B-A switch at the wheels.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:47 PM   #21
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This is where a voltmeter or test light is used. You need to find which wire has the voltage applied to it from the brake controller. Whether red or black, because the other wire should be connected to the frame ground somewhere near the front A-frame. Then you connect one wire from the breakaway switch to the "Hot" brake wire, and the other breakaway switch to the +12 volts at the tongue jack. This will apply full +12 volts from your trailer battery to the brakes in event of a trailer/tow vehicle separation while towing. Assuming, of course, that the breakaway cable is connected to the tow vehicle.
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Old 05-09-2013, 02:58 PM   #22
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This is where a voltmeter or test light is used. You need to find which wire has the voltage applied to it from the brake controller. Whether red or black, because the other wire should be connected to the frame ground somewhere near the front A-frame. Then you connect one wire from the breakaway switch to the "Hot" brake wire, and the other breakaway switch to the +12 volts at the tongue jack. This will apply full +12 volts from your trailer battery to the brakes in event of a trailer/tow vehicle separation while towing. Assuming, of course, that the breakaway cable is connected to the tow vehicle.
How can I do that without a tow vehicle? The wires at the wheels are black and gray.
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Old 05-09-2013, 03:14 PM   #23
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It will be difficult, unless you have a very good test meter, then you may be able to test using an Ohmmeter. The wire with resistance is the "hot" wire, the one with 1 ohm will be ground. However, if any of the connections are poor, then you will get about the same readngs, because the brake coils are low resistance. Best to wait until you can hook up to your tow vehicle, test for the presence of voltage.
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Old 05-10-2013, 05:00 AM   #24
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It will be difficult, unless you have a very good test meter, then you may be able to test using an Ohmmeter. The wire with resistance is the "hot" wire, the one with 1 ohm will be ground. However, if any of the connections are poor, then you will get about the same readngs, because the brake coils are low resistance. Best to wait until you can hook up to your tow vehicle, test for the presence of voltage.
I'm surprised that the Service Manual doesn't show the color of the wires. Brakes are pretty important. And having both wires that come from the brake drums colored red doesn't seem like the best idea.
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Old 05-10-2013, 07:57 AM   #25
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I'm surprised that the Service Manual doesn't show the color of the wires. Brakes are pretty important. And having both wires that come from the brake drums colored red doesn't seem like the best idea.
The color of the wires coming from the brake backing plate are totally meaningless.

One of the wires goes to ground, and the other one goes to the brake line.

Electric brakes are not polarized, therefore it makes no difference which wire goes to ground or the brake line.

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Old 05-10-2013, 10:22 AM   #26
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The color of the wires coming from the brake backing plate are totally meaningless.

One of the wires goes to ground, and the other one goes to the brake line.

Electric brakes are not polarized, therefore it makes no difference which wire goes to ground or the brake line.

Andy
Right, but I don't want to connect the hot wire to the ground on the brakes, and vice versa.

One wire from the B-A switch will go to power, and the other will go to one of the brake wires, but which one?
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:33 AM   #27
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One of the wires goes to ground, and the other one goes to the brake line.

Electric brakes are not polarized, therefore it makes no difference which wire goes to ground or the brake line.


As Andy says, either wire from the magnets can go to ground, the other goes to the + 12 volts. It does not matter which.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:51 AM   #28
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Right, but I don't want to connect the hot wire to the ground on the brakes, and vice versa.

One wire from the B-A switch will go to power, and the other will go to one of the brake wires, but which one?
Here's a picture of the wires. The cable contains two wires, a black and maybe a yellow. Each wire is connected to a red wire that runs to the brake drum. What I want to know is where to connect one of the wires from the breakaway switch.
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