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What Is A Brake Control

Written by hitchweb Team
Friday, October 14, 2011 — 1 Comment
What is a brake control

What Is A Brake Control?

An electric brake controller is a device that supplies power from the tow vehicle to the trailers electric brake. It is a small device which is mounted underneath the dashboard on the drivers side of the tow vehicle. A typical brake control looks like the image on the left:

 

How does a brake control Work?

This unit taps into the same electric circuit the tow vehicle's brakes use. When the driver applies the brakes on the tow vehicle, an electric current signal's the brake control which send an electric current to the appropriate brake wire in the 7 blade plug that activates the trailer. Here is an image of how it works:

How does a brake control work

What Types Of Brake Controls Are There?

Many styles of brake controls are available that differ from how they look, to the number of brakes they can power. All brake controls can be devided into two main groups: Proportional (also known as pendulum or Inertia) and Time Based (Also known as 'Solid State')

Time Based Brake Controls

When the brakes on the vehicle are applied, an electronic signal is sent. The output signal causes a pre-determined amount of power (set by the user) to be sent back to the trailer brakes. There is a time delay from the time when the brake pedal is pushed to when the unit reaches the maximum power output (hence the name 'Time Based') . The signal sent from the brake control increases in a few seconds until it reaches the set point. The brake control is set by using the sync dial on the brake control, which means no matter how fast or how slow you are going, the trailer will brake the same way every time depending on how the sync dial is set.

All Time Based brake controllers share the same basic features:

 Time based brake control

 Proportional Brake Controls:

Also known as inertia brake controls can sence how quickly the tow vehicle is stopping and apply the same amount of braking power to the trailer. When the tow vehicles brakes are applied, a motion sensing device inside the controller knows how fast the tow vehicle is stopping, applying power to the trailer brakes equally as fast (or slow) as the towing vehicle. A proportional contoller is enabled by the brake pedal switch. It is then activated by a pendulum circuit that senses the vehicle's stopping motion and applies a proportional voltage to the trailer's brakes.

All Proportional Brake Controllers share the same basic features:

Proportional Brake Control

 

When Do I Need A Brake Controller?

With laws changing on a regular basis it is aways best to check with the department of transportation (DOT) to see what the towing restrictions and laws are in your area.

If you have any questions or advice to share, please post a comment to this post, or call 800-300-4067.

Posted in Towing 101

Comments


Anonymous
Friday, May 15, 2015

Hi guys, Thank you for this an amazing article, actually! When I tolk with trailerhitchcargocarrier I be taught that your trailer could be wider than your automobile if the items are you hauling occur to be especially vast. Your trailer cannot be much wider than your car, but there are trailers that can take up a complete lane as you drive. The widest trailers are simpler to control because they are usually not as long.

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