Evolution of Electric Trailer Brake Controllers

04/19/2018 12:07pm

  • Tow-Pro Elite offers the latest in Proportional (Inertia Sensing) electronic braking technology
  • The Tow-Pro Elite utilizes a 3-axis accelerometer
  • The Elite also incorporates ‘Active Calibration’

Written by: REDARC Electronics

For many years, REDARC has been manufacturing electric trailer brake controllers that are known as User Controlled. User control allows the driver to adjust the amount of braking force applied to the trailer brakes. It instantaneously activates (not time delayed) when the vehicle brake lights come on, or when the override is pressed. This style of controller has been efficiently and safely pulling up caravans, camper trailers, boat trailers, commercial trailers, horse floats and much more, all over America for many years.

However, as the experts in electric trailer brake controller design and manufacture, REDARC has reset the benchmark with the Tow-Pro Elite Electric Trailer Brake Controller which offers User controlled braking as well Proportional braking.

Tow-Pro Elite offers the latest in Proportional (Inertia Sensing) electronic braking technology. Inertia sensing, or proportional brake controllers in years gone by have used what was known as a “pendulum” to measure braking force. The idea being that the mechanical pendulum would swing as force is applied to the controller body by the vehicle decelerating under braking.

The pendulum would be attached to a variable resistor or have an arm that ran across a resistive plate, which adjusts a signal to the brains of the controller telling it how hard it should apply the trailer brakes. Whilst this type of measurement was reasonably effective, and quite advanced in its day, it had some limitations.

Being a mechanical moving component, it would wear down and have “dead spots”, similar to fuel gauge sender units. Additionally, vibration and dust would affect the measurement and resulting braking force. Some later “solid state” inertia sensing controllers dealt with some of these downfalls by removing the moving components, however there was still the need to mount the brake controller body in a certain direction and within a set angle, in order for the controller to provide measurement across a range of braking conditions.

With the Tow-Pro Elite, REDARC took the theory of measuring inertia and developed technology that eliminated all the limitations that were inherent with this type of proportional brake controller. Utilizing a 3-axis accelerometer and advanced software technology developed in house, REDARC provides users with unmatched trailer braking safety, performance, and install flexibility.

The 3-axis accelerometer sits within Tow-Pro Elite’s main unit and enables it to be mounted out of the way (no more knee knocking). Measuring along all three axles also allowed REDARC engineers to adjust the braking profile to suit conditions such as ascents, descents, turning, and reversing to ensure that the trailer brakes feels like an extension of the vehicle braking.

What’s more, the “brains” of the unit are compact and can still be mounted behind the dashboard in any orientation or plane, leaving only the remote rotary knob with integrated override and LED in reach and view of the driver. It fits into the vehicle without intruding on the drivers’ area or obstructing airbags, and the stylish design of the controls make it look like a factory fitted piece of equipment. The rotary knob allows for fine tuning of the Proportional braking strength and can be pressed to apply the trailer brakes independent of the vehicle, it also illuminates to indicate braking strength, trailer connection, fault and mode selection.

With proportional braking, the controller measures how hard the vehicle is braking, and applies the suitable amount of braking force to the trailer, for smooth, safe, and efficient braking. Tow-Pro Elite’s User Controlled mode can be selected and adjusted by the rotary knob, for those extreme off- road situations where ultimate control of trailer braking force is required, such as in the sand or mud, and extreme descents or ascents, or simply for driver preference.

The Elite also incorporates ‘Active Calibration’ which allows the Tow-Pro Elite to constantly monitor the direction of travel, removing the need for an initial calibration process. Active Calibration will occur as soon as the vehicle is driven with or without a trailer attached.

So yes, trailer braking systems – in particular electric trailer brake controllers – have continued to improve over the years, with the continuous improvement philosophies of innovative manufacturers such as REDARC. No matter what you are towing, or using to tow it, REDARC’s Tow-Pro Elite has the power to stop you safely and comfortably – and you never know when you have to stop.

For more information on REDARC, please visit www.redarcelectronics.com.

About REDARC Electronics
REDARC has over 35 years’ experience in the research, design, development and manufacture of a range of electronic voltage converters and associated products including DC Power Supplies, DC to DC in-vehicle battery chargers, Electric Trailer Brake Controllers, 2.05″ Monitoring Gauges and Charge Equalizers.