Electric brake actuators

Submitted: Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 12:57
ThreadID: 107349 Views:4104 Replies:8 FollowUps:10
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I,m trying to find out whether the Redarc brake in car controller will work with other electric/hydraulic brake actuator units on a trailer with disc brakes. I,ve been told that the Sensa-brake unit will not work and must use there controller. Felk systems made in NSW said they had no idea as they have not tested there unit with Redarc, Dexter a USA made system think so but may have a slight delay, and Hydrastar also had no idea. Is there any other unit on the market that might be compatable with the Redarc unit. I,ve tried locating other threads with no success, even on another forum with no help. There are a number of large boat trailers using this electric/hydraulic system but the people I,ve spoken to don't know anything as they had it installed and that was it. The boat business locally could not help with the info as they were unsure themselves

Thanks Garry R
location - Warragul -Victoria
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Reply By: Erad - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 13:27

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 13:27
Electric brake controllers generally do the same function - they apply an electric current to some solenoids in the trailer braking system. I cannot say whether the Redarc system will do the job or not, because the size of the electromagnets in the trailer brakes will vary according to the type of brake and the loads to be applied. From memory, Redarc state that their unit can operate on 4 wheel braking systems, so I imagine that their unit must put out a fair bit of current. I would think that you need a fair bit of force to clamp onto a brake disc. A friend of mine had a boat trailer and the discs were totally rusted up. So much for the brakes working...

I have a redarc unit on my tug, and this unit is not proportional ie it does not sense the rate of decelleration applied or needed. It simply puts out xxx amps to the brakes, depending on where I have the control set. I would have liked to have a unit with an accelerometer inbuilt, but did not discover the lack of it until it was installed. The size of the unit allows me to install it out of sight, with only the control knob visible (mounted in one of the blank switch covers). It is great in that respect, but I would prefer to have a unit which sensed as the vehicle was slowing and then eased off the trailed brakes a bit. I guess you cannot have it all
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 15:02

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 15:02
I have the same unit and it works extremely well.
So what if it is not "proportional".

Electric brakes on trailers and caravans are to assist the main vehicle braking.
If they are adjusted correctly they will apply enough braking force to stop the trailer, etc. from trying to overhaul the tug.

When I bought mine, the vendor of the camper trailer I was buying stated they use the same controller to manage the electric brakes on a large trailer carrying six campers.

I couldn't fit the Tekonsha unit into my vehicle even if I wanted to.
There is just not enough leg room and I didn't want to decapitate my kneecaps in an emergency.

Bill


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Reply By: Shaker - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 13:45

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 13:45
Redarc won't work satisfactorily with electric/hydraulic brake systems.

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Reply By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 14:34

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 14:34
If the Redarc won't work as Shaker says, I can tell you that a Tekonsha Prodigy, P2 and P3 all work with a Carlisle Hydrastar actuator in an electric over hydraulic disc system.

I have been successfully using a Prodigy with a Hydrastar for years. The P2, I think, and certainly the P3 have specific electric over hydraulic settings.

Just one thing to be aware of...
The 12V power for my Hydrastar comes from the caravan battery which is in turn charged while driving by a dc-dc charger. Short, heavy cabling between van battery and Hydrastar provides all the current it needs and keeps the voltage up. The blue wire from the Prodigy is just a signal wire that tells the Hydrastar what to do.

If your actuator is powered via long cabling from your vehicle battery you may have cabling issues to address.

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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 23:09

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 23:09
P3 also works great with the Dexter.
Sad that Redarc/Hayman Reece cant make a proportional remote head controller.
You wouldnt accept those sort of brakes on your car (one level of application that increases after so many seconds) so why does anyone on their trailer?
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Reply By: The Bantam - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 14:40

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 14:40
I would not worry too much about trying to find brake systems compatable with the redarc unit.

any electric brake system you fit to a trailer will be worth way more than the controller, particularly if it is electric over hydraulic.

Beter to sell the redarc and buy what ever controller is appropriate.

Even better make sure you buy a braking system that is pretty well universlally compatable and a controller likewise.

cheers
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Reply By: Ross M - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 14:43

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 14:43
Since the braking controller puts out a variable pulse width delivery of energy, which is proportionate to the degree of braking, it is therefore logical other trailer units would have to receive such a signal in order to interpret how much braking to apply.

It is worrying that the suppliers and fitters of the gear have not much idea and haven't researched their system so they can advise on an application in order to maximize sales.
It would seem a smart thing to learn about, especially seeing they are dealing in braking system and it is safety related.

May work, might have a delay, not sure if it works, etc, isn't much help to the customer who relies on competent advice.

there are a few on the forum with a background in the electronics field and they probably can "see a way" if the operation of the units are known.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 17:52

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 17:52
I rang Redarc late last year, they told me that their controller wasn't compatible & that they were "working on it".

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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 23:16

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 23:16
Ross, not sure which brake controller you are referring to, but Redarc and HR as far as I know dont put out a "variable pulse width delivery of energy, which is proportionate to the degree of braking".
They put out a preset voltage which then increases after the brakes have been applied continuous for so many seconds (30 I was told but may not be accurate), quite crude but reliable I suppose.
For me I wouldnt accept that system in my car so not for my boat trailer either.

Sensabrake uses a pad on your brake pedal to sense the voltage required from pedal pressure and Tekonsha uses an accelerometer.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 00:31

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 00:31
Fisho, they all use pulse width modulation to control the amount of current being applied to the brakes. The difference between proportional and timer controllers is the control circuitry that drives the output switching transistors.
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Follow Up By: fisho64 - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 00:50

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 00:50
Oh-yes, but how does the timer work to vary the effort required on each stop?
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 14:03

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 14:03
The timer controllers do not vary the effort on each stop. They have a fixed algorithm. The stopping power can be varied by a user control but once set the stopping power will be remain fixed until someone subsequently resets the control.

When the brake pedal is actuated it sends a signal to the controller. The circuitry in the controller then applies power to the brakes. The power is near zero to start and increases over a short period of time up to the level that the user has set with the adjustable control. The braking effort remains at that level until the brake pedal is released.
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Follow Up By: 489 - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:28

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 16:28
so what I'm understanding is I need to really install a second unit in the vechile if I'm going to install electric/hydraulic disc's on the other two work trailers. My son-in-laws trailers and my own personal trailers are set up with electric drums/redarc and we inter change with each other. The other work utes are set up with redarc as well.

I was trying to get over the situation on installing other controller units in the work vechiles as well as the Redarc. I was looking at installing twin axle disc's on the two new trailers for extra safety as the load is rather heavy and thought is would be a benefit and easier to maintain

Garry R
location - Warragul -Victoria
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 18:20

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 18:20
Garry, there is no need to have two controllers. Any controller that will work with the disk brakes will work with the electric brakes as well. You will just need to adjust the output for each trailer. Any of the newer controllers with the self levelling decelarometers in them have a voltage readout on them. You just note the voltage to set them to when you trim up on the first trip. On subsequent trips after you swap the trailer you simply set the controller to the noted setting for it before driving off and bobs your uncle.

Once you have your new controllers installed you can pitch your clunky Redarc units and wonder why you got them in the first place.
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Reply By: Iza B - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 18:51

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 18:51
I'd like some explanation of why the Sensa-brake unit will not work. Both the Redarc and the motion sensing units offer a voltage to the trailer brake system as a proportion of 12 volts, as set on the unit. The standard brake magnets typically draw up to 3 Amps at full voltage; Redarc will service up to 4 wheel mounted magnet units.

The Sensa-Brake website tells me they have a propriety designed brake triggering unit so I figure you should use their whole system for proper performance.

The Felk website tells me their system works with Redarc clones as well as the motion senor types. The Felk site also tells that they use many of the same components as Dexter and Hydrastar but the physical arrangement is different.

When you write that "There are a number of large boat trailers using this electric/hydraulic system", what do you mean by "this"?

Iza
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Reply By: gbc - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 19:22

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 19:22
Sensabrake works off brake pedal pressure and actuated with compressed air so has pretty much nothing in common with a red arc electrical controller. You could conceivably have both units in a car for controlling different trailers, but you won't be able to control two different trailers with the one controller.
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Reply By: Phil D1 - Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 21:17

Friday, Apr 18, 2014 at 21:17
I have the Redarc in my 100 Series and it works fine with the Carlisle and disc brakes on my Kimberley Kamper. It is remote and out of the way, and great for a 1700 kg load.
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Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 08:33

Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 at 08:33
It may work, but if you talk to Redarc, not properly!
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