Brake Controller Units

Australians love a tow bar. From helping a mate move, to taking the boat out for some weekend fishing, to travelling the country in our caravans, the versatility a tow bar adds to our vehicles has almost become a necessity for every household. In Australia, a trailer is required to have its own braking system if its Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) is over 750kg. A brake controller unit will work to operate the trailer brake system depending on the type of unit. There are currently two main types of brake controller units available. They are Time Delay units and Motion Sensing units. The type you will need is dependent on your budget and the needs of your particular type of towing.

At Access Auto electrics we recommend and install REDARC Electric Brake control units and Elecbrakes. REDARC brake controllers provide ultimate safety when towing and offer a smoother trailer braking response. They are also the only unit on the market that offers two types of braking in one unit. This includes proportional and user-controlled modes. Elecbrakes is an Australian-owned, designed, and manufactured wireless electric brake controller revolutionizing the way we tow. They are an alternative to a traditional brake control unit and require no modification to your towing vehicle. Elecbrakes connect wirelessly to the in-car remote control and the user's smartphone. They can be installed on any trailer and you can use any suitable vehicle to tow.

Elecbrakes

REDARC Electric Brake

What Is A Brake Controller Unit?

A brake controller unit is an electronic device that regulates the amount of power provided to a trailer’s brakes. A brake controller unit is either time delayed or motion sensing and can operate on either a single axle or all axles. Regulations specify the setup you will need and are summarised in the table below.

A Time Delayed Unit

A time delayed unit applies a gradually increasing amount of power to the brakes when the tow vehicles brakes are applied. These units will require constant intervention from the driver to tweak both the time in which it takes to achieve maximum braking and the maximum power that is applied to the brakes. Road conditions and trailer loads need to be continually assessed and compensated for. While these take more effort to operate they are more cost effective, can be mounted in more places and easier to install.

A Motion Sensing Unit

Motion sensing brake controller units operate via an internal pendulum that adjusts the power to the trailer brakes depending on the intensity of the deceleration of the tow vehicle. They must be installed where they can sit level and are more expensive, however, they are self-sufficient and require little to no intervention from the driver depending on the unit you choose.

When Is It Needed?

All trailers with a GTM exceeding 750kgs must be fitted with brakes and a brake controller unit, according to Australian regulations.

GTM

≤750kg

751kg-2000kg

2001kg-4500kg

Electric Brakes

Not required

Yes – must be fitted with an efficient brake system considered to have brakes operating on the wheels of at least one axel

Yes – must be fitted with an efficient brake system, must have brakes operating on all wheels

Break Away Unit

Not required

Not required

The brake system must cause an immediate application of the trailer brakes in the event of the trailer becoming detached from the towing vehicle. Under these circumstances, the brakes must remain applied for at least 15 minutes.

Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) - weight of the trailer not coupled to the tow vehicle

Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) - weight on the trailer axles when coupled to the tow vehicle 

How Is It Installed?

Depending on the type of unit you choose, installation will involve placing the control unit within reach of the driver and running the necessary wiring to the battery and to the connector harness at the rear of the vehicle. We will need to have the vehicle/trailer booked in for a day to complete the installation and testing and to ensure it will have minimal impact on your vehicle.

Access Auto Electrics Know Accessories

At Access Auto Electrics we can help you assess the units that are available on the market and choose which one will best suit your towing needs. For all your electronic vehicle accessory needs, we have a specialist who can supply and fit it to your vehicle. Get your vehicle tow ready, Contact Us today.

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