The best trailer brake controllers
Accelerometer based brake controllers are currently the industry standard for brake controllers, and unlikely to be beaten for years to come. We have Tekonsha to thank for this technology, when they release their Prodidy range of controllers. Most accelerometer brake controllers have a solid state controller, measuring acceleration and / or angle, which allows the unit to adjust for severity of braking, angle of decent / accent, and speed. Accelerometer trailer brake controllers come in two main types, proportional brake controllers and time delayed brake controllers.
Trailer Brake Controller | Proportional Brake Controllers
When a driver press on the brake pedal, the accelerometer in a proportional brake controllers detects how fast the vehicle is stopping. It will then apply the relevant power to the trailer’s brakes, in direct proportion to how fast / slowly the towing vehicle is braking. This process enables the trailer to brake at the same rate as the vehicle that is towing it. So, if a driver has had to slam the brakes on in an emergency, a proportional controller will immediately send the preset maximum amount of power to the brakes on the trailer.
Generally, proportional trailer brake controllers provides the quickest and smoothest braking experience, and usually lead to the least amount of wear on the brakes of the trailer, and the towing vehicle. Proportional brake controllers are firstly “enabled” when the brake pedal is pressed, and then “activated” as soon as the accelerometer (or pendulum circuit in older models) detects the vehicle’s stopping motion. It will then provide the proportional level of voltage to the brakes on the trailer. When properly configured, braking efficiency as at it’s very best, as the the vehicle and trailer decelerate at the same speed. Here at Trailer Brake Controller, we believe proportional controllers to be the very best option for most people.
Trailer Brake Controller | Time Delayed Controllers
Using a time delayed trailer brake controller, a preset amount of power is provided to the trailer brakes when the brake pedal is applied in the towing vehicle. The preset amount is set by the user, and is determined by the weight of the trailer and load. As the name suggests, there is always a time delay on these controllers, from when the brake is applied to when the unit reaches the maximum power output, as set by the user. A “sync” switch is found on most time delay trailer brake controllers, which allows you to lengthen or shorten the delay, though it will work the same way for fast and slow stops. It is important to set the sync switch properly, otherwise either the vehicle or the trailer will be braking harder than the other, if it is set too higher or lower respectively. This will cause uneven wear on the brakes.
Time delay trailer brake controllers are generally the easiest and most user friendly of controllers (though proportional controllers are always catching up on this front as technology progresses). They have a low profile, and can be fixed at any angle in the vehicle. One issue people find is that the digital display will flash when hazard flashers are being used. If the trailer brake controller has been set too high, the pulsing may be felt through the trailers brakes. This can be avoided with the use of a pulse preventer, which isolates the brake controller from the flashers, and also stops the display flashing.
Trailer Brake Controller | Go Proportional, Not Time Delayed!
We strongly advise people spend the extra cash, and purchase a proportional trailer brake controller instead of a time delayed controller. Time delayed controllers are based on old technology and methods, and provide nowhere near the smooth experience of proportional systems. We also feel that time delayed systems can be blamed for many accidents involving trailers, due to the poor performance under emergency stop conditions. It’s worth going for a proportional trailer brake controller whenever possible.