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Battery Drain with Curt C51170 Spectrum Brake Controller


I had one of these controllers installed in my 2020 Subaru Outback XT just over a year ago. While camping this past weekend, my battery died. The car was towed to the dealer and they identified the brake controller as the culprit in draining the battery. Would it actually take a full year for this problem to show up in my car? And would the draw be enough to actually kill the battery? I know that Subaru has had hundreds of reports about bad batteries in the last few years and theres a class action lawsuit in progress. Do you folks have any thoughts or experience with this? Do you think that a better battery would fix the issue, or do you think I should approach the folks who installed the brake controller? Thanks!


Expert Reply:

I'd be interested in why they think the Curt # C51170 Spectrum brake controller caused the problem.

Brake controllers are directly connected to the vehicle battery, so the controller will always be receiving a very minimal amount of power. Once the vehicle is shut off, and the controller doesn't sense any vehicle motion for 10-15 minutes the controller goes into a 'sleep' mode. During this sleep mode, the vehicle would need to be left unattended for 3-4 months before the battery would drain. As long as the vehicle is used regularly and the battery and vehicle's alternator are in good shape, you should never have a problem with the controller draining the battery.

I'd recommend contacting the folks that originally installed the controller to ensure that it was installed correctly

expert reply by:
Mike L

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