Portable brake controller

Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2018 at 23:35
ThreadID: 136704 Views:1520 Replies:8 FollowUps:23
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Hi all, just wondering if anyone has experience with, or currently uses a "portable" type brake controller. It's time to fit one to the 200 & I have seen a set up where a controller loom is made up so it can be used in different vehicles. Basically runs off the 12v plug in the car & out the back to the van/trailer plug. I hope I explained that well enough.
Just thinking it makes it easy when time to upgrade, or you need to use a different vehicle to tow. Anyway, would appreciate some real world pros & cons.
Stef
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Reply By: Member - nick b boab - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 05:29

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 05:29
Stef: i got a second plug & wired it up to 2nd car then all i need to do is unscrew bracket & swap over , mind u they charge me heaps for the plug & bit of wire ??
Can't see how you could do what your talking about easly as you need to tap into wiring Circuits .
Cheers Nick b
P.S your all entitled to my wisdom.......
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AnswerID: 618911

Follow Up By: Stefandsal - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 05:45

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 05:45
Thanks Nick

Caravan hire places use the set up sometimes I think. Basically it's a loom with a brake controller on it. I plug connects to trailer plug on car, second trailer plug connects to van. Loom is just fed through middle of car (yep, open rear door/boot & slam it shut) & plugs into 12v.
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FollowupID: 891029

Follow Up By: qldcamper - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 06:37

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 06:37
The reason they charge a lot, they have to insure it and once its out of the shop it is out of their control. They have a duty of care and could be held negligent if someone is injured or killed in a brake related accident.

Only way I would do that for a customer is if I wired the vehicles with permanent wiring that complies, and most controllers have to be securely mounted with fairly strict guidelines as to angles and accessibility.

The people that just wanted it to be temporary for one trip so it didn't cost much, well their first trip was to another workshop.

I don't really fancy being plucked out of society in years to come on involuntary manslaughter charges because the lead got caught in the tailgate catch and the car got pushed into a roundabout in front of a bus. Extreme, maybe, but ultimately that's what saving someone a few bucks can do for you.
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FollowupID: 891030

Follow Up By: Member - nick b boab - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 06:50

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 06:50
Hey Steph : I think you're 200 deserves something a bit more classy than that ....
Hahah :-)
Cheers Nick b
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Follow Up By: Stefandsal - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 08:42

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 08:42
Yeah fair call.
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FollowupID: 891033

Reply By: RMD - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 08:34

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 08:34
Step
How can a brake controller be set and andjusted for proper braking preformance if it is in the back of the vehicle?
In an emergency as mentioned above, a long arm is required to access the controller in the back of vehicle if manual control is needed, if it has any such manual control.
Controllers are fixed to the vehicle so as to read decelleration and apply appropriate braking of the trailer. How does it do that if floating around on a lead in the cargo space of a vehicle?

I don't smoke, so use the ash tray slot as the mount for my controller. The controller mount bracket slides into the ashtray slot and is solid so it can read what the vehicle is doing. Unplug and slide out if removal is desired.

A 200 series must be cheap if considering a cheap suspect brake controller system with no sensing and no operator setting control possible. We all "only die once", maybe postpone that for a little while.
AnswerID: 618915

Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 09:40

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 09:40
Some manufacturers, including Redarc make trailer mounted brake controllers, there is nothing installed in the tow vehicle.

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FollowupID: 891035

Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 10:36

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 10:36
Shaker
Yes you are correct. I fitted one to a 4 ton capacity trailer a short time ago. It has a variable setting and is fixed to the trailer, not flapping on a lead somewhere though.
Has to be preset for the load.
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FollowupID: 891039

Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 10:53

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 10:53
The controller does not have to be in the back - store on the centre console in easy reach of the driver.

These portable units have been around for years and are being sold on ebay.
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FollowupID: 891040

Follow Up By: RMD - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:59

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:59
With a "stored somewhere" brake controller, how do you set and or vary the required braking force on the trailer and how do you operate the manual override to activate it manually. These are all promoted aspects of many controllers.
Perhaps Tekonsha and a couple of others don't know anything about brake controllers.
Just because autonomous units are sold on Ebay doesn't necessarily mean it is fit for purpose.
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FollowupID: 891045

Follow Up By: qldcamper - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 17:24

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 17:24
To the best of my knowledge it is no longer legal to fit drawbar mounted brake controllers unless replacing an existing unit fitted before whatever the cut off date was, they now need to be driver adjustable on the fly.

Also be weary of buying brake controllers off ebay, I once rang tekonsha in America and asked who else imported them into au because my supplier at the time was charging me more than they were being sold on ebay for.

As it turned out I was getting them from the most economic legit importer. The ones being sold on ebay were not legal for use in Australia, France and Australia have different laws and were the only 2 countries where the brake lights have to activate when the panic control is activated, the others look exactly the same but don't have the extra cct board fitted to make this happen.

There are many things that isn't illegal to sell in Australia, but it is illegal to use in Australia.
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FollowupID: 891049

Reply By: garrycol - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 10:56

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 10:56
Ebay has heaps of them - Here is one example
AnswerID: 618918

Follow Up By: Kazza055 - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 19:56

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 19:56
Yes and notice that the cable is long enough to reach the dash as it is power from the ciggy socket. This will make it within reach for adjusting.

I personally see nothing wrong with this for a temporary user.
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FollowupID: 891053

Follow Up By: qldcamper - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 07:03

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 07:03
Here is an extract from the Australian standards for trailer brakes.

https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2010C00150

5.2.17.1. the power supply (generator and battery) of the motor vehicle shall have a sufficient capacity to provide the current for an electric braking system. With the engine running at the idling speed recommended by the manufacturer and all electrical devices supplied by the manufacturer as standard equipment of the vehicle switched on, the voltage in the electrical lines shall at maximum current consumption of the electrical braking system (15 A) not fall below the value of 9.6V measured at the connection. The electrical lines shall not be capable of short circuiting even when overloaded;

So if you check the fuse in any modern vehicles cigarette lighter circuit you will almost definitely find it is 10 amp, even if you up it to 20 amp, which is not recommended, it will not supply 15 amps without the risk of damaging the wiring.

It is standard practice in the industry to have the controller supplied direct from the battery through a 20 amp auto reset breaker for single axle and 25 amp for duel axle with no other accessory running off the breaker, this eliminates failure of the supply to the emergency brake function due to any other electrical fault.(check the schematics for your vehicle and see how many other things run off the ciggy lighter fuse not to mention added accessories such as CB radio and phone chargers)

But it is your life you are choosing to risk to save how much? the price of a good bottle of whisky.

Scary part is that there are other innocent people likely to get injured or killed when your 10 amp fuse blows and guess what, you will end up at the very least in jail because you failed to adhere to the above LAW.
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FollowupID: 891064

Reply By: Stefandsal - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 11:36

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 11:36
Thanks everyone - I did have a look at a few on the net & could see that plenty were for sale. Not saying I am gong down that track, but just after the real world experience & thought it a viable option. I didn't explain the concept very well either.

Ta
AnswerID: 618919

Reply By: Member - Penski - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:48

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:48
This may be of interest - https://www.camplify.com.au/index.cfm?module=STORETIGERV2&bit=products&product_id=312769&product_tab=additional_description&additional_desc_id=68462 . It requires a phone app to set it up and also to provide emergency override. Expensive!
AnswerID: 618921

Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 20:23

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 20:23
They wouldn’t be legal if you have to touch your phone to activate the emergency braking, which is crazy because you can use a normal brake controller.
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FollowupID: 891054

Follow Up By: Member - Penski - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 22:03

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 22:03
That would be interesting to test. They are ADR approved provided the phone is mounted in a cradle and connected to power. The conflict will be with State phone usage laws.
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FollowupID: 891057

Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 22:19

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 22:19
Even if the phone is in a cradle, it can’t be touched. As you say, it would be interesting, but the way the law is, it can’t be used to it’s full capabilities,
$476.00 & 4 points, no thanks!
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FollowupID: 891058

Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 22:35

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 22:35
It depends what state you are in - in some jurisdictions you can touch the phone when it is in a cradle and not being as a phone - eg a GPS
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FollowupID: 891059

Follow Up By: Shaker - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 23:00

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 23:00
Every one that I have checked forbids it, also not allowed to enter data in to a GPS unless pulled over out of a traffic lane. Could you indicate in which States it is permissible.
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FollowupID: 891060

Follow Up By: Member - Penski - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 06:01

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 06:01
I might send an email off to the supplier and see what they say as it would be worth knowing what they have determined. Regardless, I wouldn’t want to have to reach and swipe to operate the emergency brake when a lever is much more guaranteed. If I really needed multiple tow vehicle support I would consider but fixed installation is preferable.

Update: Their FAQ explains it and has a useful reference to each State and NZ and their exceptions including links to the State rules. Of course it doesn’t mean all law enforcement officers will always interpret the same.
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FollowupID: 891063

Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 10:44

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 10:44
@ Shaker "Every one that I have checked forbids it, also not allowed to enter data in to a GPS unless pulled over out of a traffic lane. Could you indicate in which States it is permissible"

You didn't look very hard - NSW - look at their mobile phone usage page. In particular the FAQ page.

Only requirement is in a cradle, and must not obscure vision and cannot be touched if not in a cradle.

Other uses like playing music have the same requirement but must not be touched and have to be controlled via voice or bluetooth.
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FollowupID: 891066

Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 17:41

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 17:41
I looked as hard as felt necessary, did you want me to check every State & Territory?.
I had read the NSW rules & they clearly say that you can’t touch the phone to make or receive calls, or to play music. They also say that you can use it as a GPS, but doesn’t mention touching it.

300 Use of mobile phones by drivers (except holders of learner or provisional P1 licences)
(1) The driver of a vehicle must not use a mobile phone while the vehicle is moving, or is stationary but not parked, unless:
(a) the phone is being used to make or receive a phone call (other than a text message, video message, email or similar communication) or to perform an audio playing function and the body of the phone:
(i) is secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle while being so used, or
(ii) is not secured in a mounting affixed to the vehicle and is not being held by the driver, and the use of the phone does not require the driver, at any time while using it, to press any thing on the body of the phone or to otherwise manipulate any part of the body of the phone, or
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FollowupID: 891081

Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 19:50

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 19:50
Keep looking - is took me 5 seconds to go straight to the page on the NSW Government Website - hint Roadsafety - Know the Rules - Mobile Phones - FAQ

"Can I use the GPS function on my mobile phone?

Yes, if you have a full unrestricted licence. You can use a mobile phone as a driver’s aid, such as GPS, as long as it is secured in a mounting fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure your view of the road. You cannot hold your phone to use the GPS function.

No, if you have a learner or provisional licence, you are not permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving."
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FollowupID: 891086

Follow Up By: Shaker - Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 09:11

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 09:11
Yes you can use it as a GPS, but as with the rules regarding GPS use, you can’t enter data whilst driving, so it amounts to the same thing.
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FollowupID: 891495

Follow Up By: garrycol - Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 11:17

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 11:17
Read the rules again. It has been pointed out to you where they are. If you are on a full licence and your mobile phone is in a cradle you can touch it if being used as a GPS - if it is not in a cradle you cannot touch it.
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FollowupID: 891498

Reply By: mountainman - Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:55

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 12:55
Give me a portable jake brake any day.
Ooh the noise. Mmmmm
AnswerID: 618922

Follow Up By: Member - shane r1 - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 17:23

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 17:23
Especially with sports mufflers!
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FollowupID: 891080

Reply By: Graham G4 - Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 09:53

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 09:53
I have one that I used to use when I had a small van,

It plugs into the cigarette lighter and sits on the centre console. you need to wire a trigger wire into the van plug so when you press the brake pedal it sends the signal back to the controller. (Very easy fit, just put wire into brake light connection)

You can use the manual override slide for heavy braking but it does not have the inertial automatic emergency function.

It's a handy thing for the odd time you need to tow behind a car that hasn't got a controller but I definitely wouldn't recommend it for ongoing usage.

Also modern controllers like the Redarc are much more advanced and safer.

Hope this helps.

AnswerID: 618934

Reply By: andrew t - Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 10:38

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 10:38
we have a redarc trailer mounted controller on our camper and it enables the camper to be towed with any tow rig as long as we turn on the battery on the camper to supply power to the controller. it uses the brake light signal in your trailer plug to activate the brakes and can be adjusted only when you are stopped, it has served us very well for the past 5 years and over 20,000 km travelled.
AnswerID: 619223

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