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Old 07-01-2019, 10:26 AM   #1
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How to test brake controller without trailer?

Just installed a brake controller in my E350.
Does anyone have experience testing out a 7-way round plug to make sure everything is working correctly?
Iím planning a long drive to go pick up a boat and I want to make sure it works before I depart.
If using a multi-meter I could put the black (ground) probe from my multi-meter on the ground pin on the 7-way, then put the positive probe on the pin that is for the trailer brakes.
But what should the multi-meter be set to and what readings should I be looking for?
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:39 AM   #2
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The boat you are picking up has electric brakes?

Anyways, set your multi-meter to DC. You should see no voltage when the controller isn't being manually activated, except for a periodic blip on the fancier models which is used to verify when the trailer is connected. If you have the voltage turn all the way up, then you should see 12+ volts at the pin when the manual override paddle is fully engaged. If you test it by pressing the brake pedal, you'll see a much lower voltage. Usually 1.5-4 volts, since proportional units only send voltage in proportion to deceleration.

Did you buy a proportional brake controller? Timer based units will test slightly differently (voltage will ramp up depending on time brake pedal is depressed). And they garbage as far as brake controllers go anyways.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:44 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carringb View Post
The boat you are picking up has electric brakes?

Anyways, set your multi-meter to DC. You should see no voltage when the controller isn't being manually activated, except for a periodic blip on the fancier models which is used to verify when the trailer is connected. If you have the voltage turn all the way up, then you should see 12+ volts at the pin when the manual override paddle is fully engaged. If you test it by pressing the brake pedal, you'll see a much lower voltage. Usually 1.5-4 volts, since proportional units only send voltage in proportion to deceleration.

Did you buy a proportional brake controller? Timer based units will test slightly differently (voltage will ramp up depending on time brake pedal is depressed). And they garbage as far as brake controllers go anyways.
The boat Iím buying does have a dual axle trailer with electric brakes.
I did buy a proportionate brake controller.
I tried it with the brake pedal but the reading seemed to jump all over the place. Will try with the manual brake override lever(or whatever itís called).
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Old 07-01-2019, 08:20 PM   #4
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Garage
Search "7 pin trailer plug tester". Lots of results.
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:03 PM   #5
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You need a reasonable load on the brake line, so that you can get a good reading. I've used an old halogen headlight. This has the advantage of being something I can see from the front - as you squeeze the manual override, you will see the headlamp brighten up. I then use a basic 7 pin tester to check the other circuits, e.g., brakes and turn signal.
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