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Old 12-04-2020, 06:46 PM   #1
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Dumbfounded... oL, PL on brake controller

So I'm completely confused on this one. Back in October I was hauling my semi-loaded Wanderer24 (UTV, 35g fuel, no H2O). Trailer brakes were no longer functional (brake controller flashing SHort and PowerLoss errors) and I had to limp it to the campsite (I ended up calling a friend with a 1 ton DRW to haul to the dealer).

I crossed a semi rough washboard road which after that road is when I noticed it. Thought it was my brake controller coming unplugged behind the dash, not the case. Hooked up and it was sending voltage back, moved the camper just a smidge and it started erroring out with the SH/PL errors). Unhooked, brought over my inlaws newer bowtie with an onboard controller, same errors. Buddy showed up with a 1ton DRW, hooked up and same thing. Noticed when my buddy hooked up the driver side started whining/humming. After he towed it to the shop he said the passenger side was grabbing but not the driver side.

Shop was stupid busy, got a hold of them today and they finished everything and found no issues. No shorts (by use of Trailer Buddy/Doctor), they hooked up and moved it around and no issues. I'll be heading up this next weekend in my new to me 1ton 3500 DRW to tow it home (exhaust brake and all) so not worried about it coming down the mountain, I'm more concerned about why the heck did it bomb out on 3 different trucks about short/disconnect and they can't find anything.

I'll head up and hook up - but yeah the shop is just as confused as I am. When I did a quick inspection on it at the campsite I didn't see any wire issues, no crimps, cuts, loose wires, etc. Tracked as much as I could see/get access to.
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Old 12-05-2020, 02:05 PM   #2
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Sounds like you should be pulling the driver side wheels and checking the wiring there to start.
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Old 12-05-2020, 06:43 PM   #3
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Howdy!

I had those problems with a Prodigy Brake controller. I found RV repair shops don’t them and make excuses, the controller knows there is a problem they can’t find. My problem was with a brand new 5er I purchased they kept telling me there was a problem. It turned out when they installed the the brakes at the factory they crimped the lines on the backing causing three it of six brake hubs to short out. I say struts your controller there is a problem ad find it.

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Old 12-05-2020, 09:32 PM   #4
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3 different trucks and all showed same issue

That means problem is on trailer

Drivers side brakes NOT working
I would be checking the wires/wire connections going to those brakes
I would also pull wheels/drums and check internal wiring to magnets

And I would find a more competent RC Shop for future services
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Old 12-06-2020, 04:28 PM   #5
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We towed it to the same dealer we bought it from (different location though). They were closer than the original dealer we bought it from (small family chain here in AZ). It was towed up to that dealer since it was 30 miles away on flat grounds vs. 100some miles downhill. The 1ton that dragged it up is older with no exhaust brake and he wasn't comfortable downhill without that.

I'm in agreeance -- three vehicles with the same issue all points to trailer. They hooked a trailer doctor to it and moved it around and it's not doing it again. My best guess right now is dirt or something got in there and when they opened it up for inspections it cleaned up and worked again (again, pure speculations).

I'll be hooking my new truck up to it and moving it - so we'll see what happens. If it starts doing the same stuff - I'll be a little upset and will bring it down the mountain and take it back to the original purchasing dealer.
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Old 12-08-2020, 04:17 PM   #6
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Does your brake wiring route thru the axle? I had intermittent wire inside my axle.
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Old 12-09-2020, 02:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
3 different trucks and all showed same issue

That means problem is on trailer

Drivers side brakes NOT working
I would be checking the wires/wire connections going to those brakes
I would also pull wheels/drums and check internal wiring to magnets

And I would find a more competent RC Shop for future services
i second that advice
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Old 12-09-2020, 02:12 PM   #8
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could also be at the connector. that would bounce around and maybe the shops system connects different or at a diff angle. that statement is to give them the benefit of doubt but reads like grasping at straw lol lol
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Old 12-09-2020, 02:54 PM   #9
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Look on the trailer for a bad ground connection point.
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Old 12-12-2020, 05:04 PM   #10
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That was my thought to. Shop said no issue - can't find any shorts or problems. Hooked up and moved it a bit, no issue. HOORAY.

Made it 1 mile down the road, hit the rough asphalt from the lovely plows and BOOM -- truck #4 started dinging about 'trailer brake disconnected' or 'check trailer wiring' messages. Four different trucks, four different brake controllers, four completely different setups - same bloody message.

It'd flash back and display the brakes again and I had some braking assistance, but not much at all. All the way down hill - it'd randomly pop up with the same messages (check wiring, brake disconnected). 84 miles later I pull into a truck stop to drain on of my tanks, ease in, turn off the exhaust brake and hit the trailer brake control and apply a little juice. Same thing... check wiring, brake disconnected and then 'Service Trailer Brakes'.

Another 65 miles I'm home. Buddy comes over and we start playing with the wires. I'm jiggling everything underneath (someone asked if wires to through the axle, yes they do on front & rear). Couldn't find/feel/see any damaged wiring or wire insulation. Touched the driver side and he saw the messages flash on the dash. Kept touching over and over and pretty vigorously thwacking them to reproduce again -- nadda, nadda nadda.

Jump in the rig to go fill with some gas (note to self, new truck has much more power than old truck...don't need as much throttle). Purposely hit every speed bump, construction zone and train track rough crossing I could find to try and reproduce. Nadda... It was pretty consistently going on/off with rough road patches.

So yeah - again with the gremlins. Everything is screaming a every so slightly loose ground wire somewhere - but I can't find one and the dealer couldn't even reproduce the issue. Gonna take it down to the other shop where I purchased it and have them do the same thing to see what's up (need to fix some de-lam issues anyway). It's a 3 week wait to even get in the shop - so guess I'll tear the wheels/hubs off and do a visual check on all my brakes while I'm at it.

I hate electrical gremlins :(
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:11 AM   #11
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In my experiences with electric brakes, there is no ground wire. The magnets in the drums complete the circuit to ground. If the white wire from the RV 7 way connector is properly connected and the RVs chassis is grounded to battery(s) the brakes "should" operate properly. I would bet the problem is in the blue wiring to the brakes. A friend had a very similar issue and it was a chaffed wire INSIDE an axle. Possibly damaged from factory pulling wire through and/or the wire moving in the axle during driving. He ended up rewiring the system. A fairly easy DIY job. Trailer brakes have a very simple wiring setup.

The "tester" the shop used is likely a glorified circuit tester and can't duplicate real world situations. Not sure what "moved it around" means for the dealers diagnosis. Sounds like they did not hook it up and take it out for a real test.
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Old 01-17-2021, 11:51 AM   #12
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In my experiences with electric brakes, there is no ground wire. The magnets in the drums complete the circuit to ground. If the white wire from the RV 7 way connector is properly connected and the RVs chassis is grounded to battery(s) the brakes "should" operate properly. .
The magnets must be grounded to the trailer chassis, at a minimum. That is then connected to the ground pin on the trailer connector.

If they ground by touching the drum, the drum is spinning and on greased wheel bearings. You will have no brakes and pit marks on the bearings from carrying current thru them. They know better then to do that.

If they are grounded to the axles, the axles are riding on spring bushings. Again, no or poor braking. They know better there too.

The brake magnets have 2 wires. Each one must be connected.
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Old 01-17-2021, 12:10 PM   #13
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That's a tough one....
I'm not familiar with how your trailer is wired.
If it has a grounded chassis, I would recheck all ground connections, crimps, and wires. Look for chaff, loose crimps, maybe taped wires....
Then if you can get the brake controller to consistently show the short/PL error, I would follow the blue wires and double check for damaged wires, damaged crimps, and connections. If that doesn't find it, disconnect one brake solenoid at a time and see if the error goes away, if it does correct that brake solenoid. If all the solenoids are connected in parallel, disconnecting them will be required to isolate. Wires hidden in frames or axles may need to be pulled and replaced.

Call a friend who is handy with a volt-ohm meter and light the BBQ and serve beer when finished!
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Old 01-17-2021, 07:56 PM   #14
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The magnets must be grounded to the trailer chassis, at a minimum. That is then connected to the ground pin on the trailer connector.

If they ground by touching the drum, the drum is spinning and on greased wheel bearings. You will have no brakes and pit marks on the bearings from carrying current thru them. They know better then to do that.

If they are grounded to the axles, the axles are riding on spring bushings. Again, no or poor braking. They know better there too.

The brake magnets have 2 wires. Each one must be connected.
You are correct and I apologize for the misinformation. I need to take RV brake 101 again!
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