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Hydrastar Troubleshooting Guide

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Repairs & Maintenance | 4 comments

Hydrastar Electric Brake Actuators are widely favoured for boat trailers with hydraulic brakes. If you are experiencing issues with your Hydrastar unit, there are a variety of steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue.

Troubleshoot: Hydrastar Not Working

  • Ensure the actuator has been wired correctly via the provided diagram.
  • Check that a 12 gauge wire has been used to wire the unit.
  • Check all wires are correctly connected to the trailer plug and car socket.
  • Ensure there is no corrosion in the trailer plug and socket.
  • Ensure that the component is properly ground via the white wire at the plug and not screwed directly to the trailer chassis.
  • Check that the unit is receiving power from the tow vehicle (black and blue wire from the actuator)
  • Ensure your tow vehicle is compatible via the compatibility chart. If required, check that HBA-CAM is wired correctly.

If issues still persist, conduct a battery test via the procedures below. The problem is not with the Hydrastar unit if the actuator passes the battery test. If the actuator fails the test, we recommend contacting the Hydrastar Technical Department.

What if my Hydrastar is clicking?

The brake-away system may not be wired correctly.

One common mistake is having the blue brake controller wiring from Hydrastar wired into the brake-away. To test this, attach a yellow wire to the positive (+) terminal and attach a white wire to the negative (-) terminal. Your Hydrastar should run if these steps are followed.

If your brake-away system is fine, try following the advice above.

What if my Hydrastar has a delayed response?

Ensure that there is an adequate level of uncontaminated brake fluid. We recommend re-bleeding your trailer braking system (starting with the Hydrastar first).

Hydrastar Battery Test Procedure


Attach the BLACK wire to the positive (+) terminal, and attach the WHITE wire to the negative (-) terminal.

Hydrastar SHOULD NOT run
Attach BLACK wire and BLUE wire to the positive (+) terminal, and attach WHITE wire to the negative (-) terminal.Hydrastar SHOULD run

N.B. Use a 12 Volt battery source and isolate the wires from the Hydrastar when conducting this test.


  1. Alan Coulton

    My brake controller was working, now when the pedal is applied the motor runs continuously and the brakes are not effective, can you help?

    • Stephen

      Hello Alan, There could be a number of issues here. Best take your trailer to a service mechanic for a quote.

  2. Robert Marchesi

    Why do the brakes come on when the controller is turned right down. Sometimes only one brake and sometimes two or three. Then sometimes they will be ok. Driving me crazy.

    • Stephen

      Hello Ian, Sound slike sticking pistons especially if they are phenolic type. A good investment is to change them over to stainless pistons. The older type piston is susceptible to scratching and absorbing moisture. This causes the piston to stick and not retract properly. Stainless pistons do not absorb moisture.


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