Multi use of Coromal Excel van using Elecbrake

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 16, 2019 at 21:50
ThreadID: 138175 Views:4142 Replies:5 FollowUps:6
This Thread has been Archived
Hi everyone. Newie to the forum. Just doing a "what if" scenario for my family. Looking to purchase in the future a Coromal Excel pop top van which will weigh under 1600kg and tow with a Ford Territory with existing 1600kg towbar.
My 2 sons both have a Territory and BF wagons with similar towbars. I would like all of us to use the van but cannot justify each car being fitted with a Redarc brake controller. I contacted Redarc and they told me their controllers that are trailer mounted are mainly intended for farm work when many vehicles would tow the one trailer etc.
I then made an inquiry on Elecbrake and they have something suitable that is used in caravan hire companies and is used by controlling the device via bluetooth on smart phones held in cradles on the dashboard. All I would need to do is ensure each person has the App on their smartphone.
Does this seem doable and if not what would be the best alternative? Camplify use this controller on their rental fleets.
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: RMD - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 08:12

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 08:12
I would wire each vehicle, battery to controller and then to the towbar plug because you have to have lights anyway. With a suitable solid mounted bracket able to transfer decell forces to the unit in each vehicle you can simply interchange the controller, ie, a Tekonsha, into which ever is used at the time.
That way you have the normal braking set for the van, unlikely to need much fine adjustment at each change over and each driver can also activate manually, the emergency override too. Most people give it a light application to check the van is functional at the beginning of each day.
Not sure how/if the Bluetooth is able to maintain a constant uninterrupted safe control and emergency application too and while control may be possible how do tap and control manual emergency braking actions
The wired connection is more desirable than phone which may go flat, develop a fault, the app freezes or drops out or under rough roads sees the G sensor in the phone begin to activate the brakes when you don't want it to happen.

While away in Queensland I fixed for a fellow vanner, a normal controller which was flappily mounted to a Ford dash and the non accurate transfer of G forces made the van braking almost non operational. He unfortunately discovered the
issue going down mountains and only the 4 disc brakes of the vehicle saved the whole rig. They were nearly fried, he and wife very frightened.
AnswerID: 624998

Follow Up By: Member - Racey - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 08:29

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 08:29
I agree with you RMD.
FollowupID: 898574

Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 09:47

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 09:47
Yet lots of trailers including many hire companies use ElecBrakes and it works well. To use the app the phone must be on a cradle, the phone must be on charge, car lights on and screen switched to on.

People who have never used anything are the first to criticize its use - the phone acts as your controller and if manual control is needed it is on the phone just as you would on a normal controller.

If your van is is on 1600kg - depending on what you are doing good old overide brakes may be suitable - yes they have disadvantages but are fine depending on circumstances.
FollowupID: 898575

Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 11:42

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 11:42
I understand the system might work ok, but it isn't anything like the reliability of a wired in unit. I spoke of this today to a friend who Racey also knows (GH), and the opinion of a radio technician is, there is nothing as secure as a piece of properly used copper wire cable.
Just that alone would be a deciding factor for me.
If it had double or triple redundancy as it's function/features together with a definite control, tactile "feel" to the operation it may be ok. Touch screen control in emergency isn't my idea of safety.
FollowupID: 898580

Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 13:44

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 13:44
Well if that is your view that is your view but it is not based on anything real.

If they were as bad as you think the authorities would not allow their use and the many hire companies would not be risking their businesses by using them.

In an emergency, I actually think it is easier to access my mobile phone in its secure cradle on the right hand side of the windscreen at eye height rather than having to grope around at the bottom of the dash to push a button a slide a slide, taking your eyes off the road.

So why not give it a try if any of your friends of friends of friends who is a radio technician have a unit - or even get advice from someone who has actually used one.
FollowupID: 898583

Follow Up By: RMD - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 15:00

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 15:00
If you have yours under the dash where you can't get to it in an emergency and actually need to also look to see where it is, being unfamiliar with feel and position, then you probably aren't a safe user of a brake unit in a vehicle. After dark would mean not possible for you.
I would never have to take my eyes off the road and can apply the Prodigy unit very easily. I even practiced the manual use of it so it is in reflex memory. No good having to start looking, searching and feeling if the chips are suddenly not in your favour.
A hand operating a dash unit above dash height is also hard to control accurate movement of the hand/fingers, especially if the emergency situation requires items to be touched correctly on a screen. Just how do you accurately apply, release and reapply the brake in a short space sequence as you see fit during the emergency by screen control?
FollowupID: 898585

Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 15:16

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 15:16

I cannot even accurately type-in alpha characters on my phone sitting in my armchair, let alone use the phone to select operating icons in haste.
Give me a big red button anytime! lol


My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

FollowupID: 898586

Reply By: Kazza055 - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 12:05

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 12:05
You could go for a portable electric brake controller. They are quiet often used by caravan hire places which saves the customer needing to have one permanently installed.

AnswerID: 624999

Reply By: Jeff L8 - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 16:53

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 16:53
Thank you all for your thoughts and opinions. My understanding is that once set and adjusted via the App the unit is set to work on this setting. This means in the event of loss of bluetooth connectivity, it still works from the brake signal light. It will just not be able to be used in a swaying caravan situation on its own.
Having never owned a caravan before I no idea how often this situation would happen, but have faith that if it has ADR certification, these situations would have been taken into account. Also the cars with luggage are appreciably heavier than the Coromal Excel so hopefully that will also assist.
AnswerID: 625007

Reply By: qldcamper - Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 17:37

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019 at 17:37
Is the device you speak of proportional? Trailer mount systems become illegal and needed to be able to be adjustable by the driver so they started mounting basically the same device in the cab.
Does this app just give you the ability to adjust a preset control from the cab and make it legal?

Preset controllers are very tricky to use and i think dangerous because people just select a very low setting and be done with it.

Most hire companies that used the drawbar mount controllers disconnected them because it cost too much in flat spotted tyres.

Spend the money and get a controller in each car. It just might be one of my loved ones in the car that is involved in an accident caused by your family saving a few dollars.
AnswerID: 625009

Reply By: Member - peter_mcc - Tuesday, Apr 23, 2019 at 14:59

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2019 at 14:59
Elecbrake also have a small remote - I'd pay the extra and get that. It needs to be powered all the time from a USB charger but it connects to the trailer mounted unit and allows you to adjust/control it. It has an "override" button which will apply the trailer brakes manually. That way the driver doesn't need to have the phone app installed & running all the time.

As for applying the brakes to stop a trailer swaying - my guess is that most people who don't tow all the time (and probably many people who do tow all the time!) wouldn't apply the manual override if the trailer started swaying - they'd probably panic and just sit there hoping it would stop.

I've just installed an Elecbrake unit in our Tvan - it seems to work ok though at the moment it puts the trailer brakes on too heavily and I haven't had time to play with the settings to tone it down a bit. The remote needs to be powered all the time because its internal battery doesn't last very long.

Lifetime Member
My Profile  Send Message

AnswerID: 625111

Sponsored Links