Common Tow-Pro installation mistakes explained
There’s a few things that catch out a few installers when they fit an electric brake controller. We always recommend to refer to the user manual which provides specific installation instructions for the Tow-Pro Elite. This is paramount to follow so that your customer has the best user and most important of all safest experience when using their Tow-Pro Elite. Below we have detailed the 5 most common brake controller installation mistakes and how to avoid them.
Brake signal pickup
The requirements for a suitable connection of a brake controller trigger wire are quite specific. It must provide battery voltage output while the vehicle brakes are applied / 0 volts output while the vehicle brakes are not applied. It must also accept battery voltage when the brake controller manual override is operated and illuminate at least the trailer’s brake lights.
Unsecure or loose mounting
Whilst REDARC’s Brake controllers can be mounted in any orientation, it’s important that inertia sensing (proportional) models such as the Tow-Pro™ Elite are securely mounted to the vehicle. The internal accelerometer relies on a solid mounting to know how hard the vehicle’s brakes are applied so it can vary its output accordingly.
Power supplied via relay
Brake controllers should be powered directly from the battery via a circuit breaker. There are two reasons to avoid using a switched power supply; Firstly - you want to retain trailer brakes even if the ignition cuts out unexpectedly.
Secondly (on inertia controlled units) - removing power will clear the unit’s calibration. This would result in rough braking until the unit has recalibrated again.
Dashboard too thick
When choosing a suitable mounting location it’s important to also consider the thickness of material the controller will be installed on (or anything else hidden underneath like airbags!). For REDARC’s Tow-Pro™ range the remote head must be installed in material between 2-3mm thick so that the override button can be depressed correctly.
Inadequate wiring or connectors
The final stumbling block is wiring gauge and/or poor connections. Under full braking force, a trailer can draw as much as 25 Amps. Whilst your own trailer may only have a single axle, it’s best to think ahead and allow sufficient cable width for the boat with 3 Axle trailer you might borrow in the future.
Also, remember that cheaper components such as blade fuses or crimp terminals are often not up to the task of currents of this magnitude (particularly after a year or so underneath your car).