Things You Should Know Before Choosing Travel Trailer Brake Controllers
Whether you are a full-time fun of RV travel or you are the once in a while road trip adventure person, it is important to understand some things that can make your trips safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable. Brake and their controllers are some of those things. In its definition, a trailer brake controller is an electric device installed in your tow vehicle’s cab so that it activates the braking system of your trailer when you press the brakes from your tow vehicle. If you feel that you need to beef up your travel safety in your travel trailer adventures, here are some important tips on things you should know before choosing Travel Trailer Brake Controllers.
Types of Camper Trailer Brake Controllers
These controllers exist in a wide variety of options that you can select from depending on your trailer and its brakes requirements. They are also available in different sizes, designs, capabilities, and functionality features. However, there are two major categories. These are proportional brake controllers and or time delayed brake controllers. Understanding the similarities and differences between these two major categories will be essential when making a decision on which option to go for.
Proportional Brake Controllers:
In essence, proportional versions are designed to sense the locomotive pattern of the tow vehicle in terms of acceleration and deceleration, applying the same intensity to the trailer brakes system. In other words, the force applied on the tow vehicle’s brakes is the same that gets applied on those of the travel trailer. Proportional controllers also allow you to adjust the braking metrics in terms of aggressiveness and power to suit your trailer’s weight and maneuverability preferences.
How They Work:
Proportional controllers utilize a device known as an accelerometer or internal inertia sensor, which senses the deceleration or braking power at your tow vehicle, and signals the controller to send enough power to the trailer’s brakes system. This results to a smooth and uniform braking mechanism, the reason as to why it is referred to as proportional. This type of brake controllers is advantageous in that braking efficiency is higher, smooth, and well distributed throughout your towing setup. Braking emergencies are also easier with this option, and there is less wear on the brakes for both your tow vehicle as well as the trailer. However, the drawbacks include the fact that installation is a bit more complicated than in the case of time-delayed controllers, and that they tend to be more expensive.
Time-Delayed Brake Controller:
In time-delayed brake controllers, activation of the trailer’s brakes depends on the presets determined by the user or driver. Precisely, the function depends on present intensities of power output and the rate of applications, in other words, known as sync. When you hit the brakes of your tow vehicle, there’s normally a certain time delay before the effect can be applied on your travel trailer brakes. In addition, there is a sync setting that allows you to adjust this time delay.
How They Work:
Upon applying force on your brakes pedal at the towing vehicle, a signal is picked up and sent to the time-delayed controller via the brake switch. Using the preset parameters, the controller then sends braking power to the trailer brakes as par the output and sync setting determined by you.
The biggest difference between the two is that a time-delayed brake controller relies on your set parameters to deliver the braking intensity to the trailer brakes instead of doing so through sensors and of motion of your tow vehicle. Time delayed brake controllers are advantageous in that they’re easier to install, are more user-friendly and are less expensive than their proportional controller counterparts. However, there are higher chances of brake pulsing with the use of hazard flashers, not forgetting the higher chances of uneven brake wear between your tow vehicle and your trailer.
When choosing travel trailer brake controllers, it is important to bring the aspects of safety, cost, preferences, wear and tear, durability, and usage frequency into consideration and then choose the right one based on the descriptions above. Also, be sure to compare the various brands and models available to choose a reliable option for your vehicle.