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How Electric Brakes Work

How Electric Brakes Work

Electric brakes are standard features on trailers, and they’re similar to the hydraulic brakes on cars. The only difference is that electric options use electromagnets while hydraulic pressure powers car brakes.

An electric braking system has several components, including a magnet, shaft, actuating arm, small front shoe, reactor spring, and larger rear shoe. All these parts work together seamlessly to support the overall function.

If you’re curious about the workings of an electric break, this post is going to help you to learn that.

Read on to learn more.

The Controller

An electric braking system requires the use of brake controller, which is usually connected to the battery and stop light switch. This component regulates the electric current sent to the brake once your press the pedal.

Your trailer can have the time delay or proportional brake controller. These are the two common types of controller. Proportional controllers work by determining how the tow vehicle is stopping and regulates the power to the brake proportionally.

Proportional controllers work by determining how the tow vehicle is stopping and controls the power to the brake proportionally. The use of this controller allows the trailer brakes to be applied at the same time and rate as the tow vehicle brake.

With a time delay controller, you have to adjust its controls to suit your trailer weight and the moment when you apply the trailer brake. This is important to avoid too little or too much stopping resistance when braking.

The Braking System

As you already know, electric brakes have a magnet, which is usually on the backing plate. The plate is usually bolted to a flange on the trailer axle, which is the passage of the hub and the bearings. This magnet has two conductor wires that are directly connected to the trailer spring.

So, when electric power is on, it activates the magnet, which is then attracted to the drum face. The contact of the magnet and the drum face results in friction that prompts a rotating action. This rotation causes the actuating arm to pivot, pushing the brakes shoes out against the inside of the drum.

When this happens, the hub stops, resulting in the stopping of the wheels.

Safety Features

Federal laws in most states require the use of a safety circuit for trailers that have electric brakes. This circuit is known as a breakaway system, which is designed to apply the brakes if the trailer disconnects from the tow vehicle.

The breakaway system features a battery and switch. The switch has a non-conductive plastic that separates its contacts. A lanyard connects the plastic to the tow vehicle. So, if the trailer disconnects from the trailer, the lanyard pulls the plastic, allowing the switch to close. This stops the brakes of the trailer.

Electric Brakes – The Bottom Line

Understanding how electric braking systems work is essential to ensure safety when using your trailer. Different states have varied laws regarding the ideal towing practices.
Ideally, it’s safe to have electric brakes if you have a camper or an RV. Make sure to get braking system that suits your particular vehicle for the best performance.
Do you have any question on electric brakes? Feel free to get in touch.
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