A Simple Introduction to Trailer Brake Controllers

Most truck owners almost always end up towing something, whether it is a trailer, boat, or any other kind of load. If you are one who is familiar with towing, then you know how dangerous slowing down on the road can be when you are pulling a heavy load. Also, you must be aware of one of the towing safety facts that between 12% and 15% of the trailer’s weight should be resting on the hitch of the tow vehicle.

Truck owners in most states are required to install their trailers with not only brakes but brake controllers as well to prevent accidents. A brake controller is a device that connects the brake system of your truck and the trailer brake system so they are able to communicate either through motion sensor technology or manually. The best trailer brake controller ensures there is towing safety for both the truck driver and the general public.

There are two main types of brake controllers. The first is time-delayed brake controllers and second, proportional brake controllers. Time delayed brake controllers are those that exert a pre-determined level of power on the trailer brakes when the truck towing it has stopped. They are called time-delayed brake controllers because once you apply the brakes on the tow truck, a delay occurs allowing the brakes on the trailer to be pushed. Time delayed brake controllers come with a sync switch that allows the tow truck driver to lengthen the delay time.

Proportional brake controllers are those that come with a motion sensor device. This kind of brake controllers works a lot like a pendulum that is why they are also known as pendulum brake controllers. These devices use the physics of a pendulum to sense motion.

When the tow vehicle is immobile, the device is at the center. When the tow car starts moving the device is seen facing the back of the car, and when the driver breaks, the device moves forward with a degree of force that has been applied on the breaks.

The device then sends the same amount of force to the trailer brakes causing it to stop. While most of this process is automatic, there is one thing that the driver should do. The tow truck driver must always calibrate the device before starting the journey. A proportional brake controller is considered to be the best trailer brake controller between the two types. This is because the chance of your trailer brakes wearing out are very slim compared to when you use time-delayed brake controllers.

So how do you know how much power you are applying on your trailer brakes while driving? The best trailer brake controller will come with a monitoring system. Most brake controllers have an inbuilt monitoring system which is convenient for the driver. Make sure you place the device where you can see the digital screen.

The monitoring screen also helps you to know if your trailer brakes are working, if there is an electrical problem, and most importantly the amount of power you are putting on the trailer brakes. Today, thanks to technology, new electronic brake controllers have come into the market. One of the advantages of electronic brake controllers is that you can continuously monitor the brakes system of your vehicle. The quality of the screen is better, and you can choose different languages.

The best trailer brake controller comes with a four-wire configuration system. The connections are:

  • Battery power
  • Ground
  • Brake switch
  • Trailer feed

The battery power connection provides the brake controller with power. The ground connection is where a negative grounded source is connected to the brake controller. The brake switch connection allows the transfer of power to the trailer brakes as the brake pedal in the truck is pressed. The trailer feed supplies the trailer connector with brake power.

The installation of brake controllers is relatively easy, depending on the type you choose. Time delayed brake controllers are said to be easier to install than proportional brake controllers. Most drivers install their devices under the dashboard on the right side for better viewing.

One important thing to always keep in mind is the weight of your load. With this in mind, you will be able to choose the best brake controller for your needs.

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