Electric Brake Controllers
If you are towing a Van or Trailer with electric brakes filled you will need to have an electric brake controller fitted in your car.
What is an Electric Brake Controller
An electric brake controller is a device that detects when you are braking, and will activate the electric brakes in your trailer or van via the 7 or 12 pin plug between it and your vehicle. This means the van or trailer is able to do a large proportion of its own braking rather than relying on your vehicle brakes.
How do they work?
Electric brake controllers are connected to the brake lights in your car allowing them to detect when you are using the brakes. With this information, they then send an electric current to the brakes in your trailer activating them.
Electric brake controllers have a control on them that allows you to adjust the amount of brake power applied to the Van or trailer (similar to pressing harder or softer on a separate brake pedal for the Trailer or Van). This allows you to adjust for the weight and properties of your trailer, preventing it from locking up or relying too much on your tow vehicles brakes.
Electric brake controllers also feature a manual override that allows you to activate the brakes in the Trailer or Van independently of your vehicle brakes.
Where do I install an Electric Brake Controller?
Electric brake controllers are usually small slim line units (about the size of a couple of match boxes). They need to be installed within reach of the driver so are usually installed under the dash. It is even possible to get remote head brake controllers, allowing the control to be installed with your dash switches while the actual control unit is mounted out of sight.
What are proportional brake controllers?
Proportional electric brake controllers have a small moving part in them that is able to detect the way your vehicle is braking and mirror that in your Van or Trailer. This provides a smooth braking action.
In contrast, non-proportional or electronic-only brake controllers apply to the trailer or van brakes at a pre-determined rate. This means that if you apply the brakes heavily in your vehicle it may take a short time for your trailer or van to catch up. In contrast if you lightly apply your vehicle brakes you might end up with your trailer or van braking too heavily.
How can we help?
Touring technology can supply and install a range of electric brake controllers. Contact us for more information.