A huge number of people tow a trailer on a regular basis. Whether its a Caravan, Camper Trailer, Boat, Horse float, box trailer or anything else, they are hugely useful and very popular.
However, if the trailer weighs over 750kg, it needs to have brakes, and for the Caravan and Camping industry, the most common setup is electric brakes.
The trailer is home to the physical electric brakes (on each wheel), but to make them work you need a brake controller. There’s a few options out there, but the Redarc Brake Controller is by far and away the most common, and comes with a stellar reputation.
What is a Redarc Brake Controller?
A Redarc Brake Controller is a type of Electric Brake Controller. They mount inside your dashboard, and have a small dial that is used for monitoring and controlling the amount of braking force you apply. They are sold as Redarc Tow Pro’s.
These work on a gyro arrangement, which starts applying the trailer brakes the moment you do in the vehicle, and the harder you brake, the harder they apply the brakes too.
You have a setting from 1 to 10, which increases how hard the brakes come on, and the little knob displays a pink colour when you touch the brakes, and if you brake hard it will change red, and apply proportionally more braking power.
As soon as you take your foot off the brakes it will stop braking too, with about a half second delay.
You can use the Redarc Tow Pro in manual mode, or full automatic mode and they are very user friendly.
How much do they cost?
You can pick up a Redarc Tow Pro Elite for about $300, and to get them installed with an Anderson Plug (which is generally needed when towing a camper or caravan) you are looking at anywhere from $500 – $800, including the unit itself.
Under normal circumstances, your Redarc Brake Controller will be blue (unless you’ve previously changed it), once its calibrated and working.
Blue is automatic mode, and green is manual mode. To change between the two, set the knob to zero, apply the vehicle brakes, double click the knob (two presses within 1 second) and it will swap over.
How well do they work?
These are exceptional units, and installed on hundreds of thousands of 4WD’s in Australia. As long as your trailer brakes are working well, these will pull any trailer up extremely efficiently.
We generally keep ours on about setting 4 unless in heavy traffic where we’ll turn them down a bit, but if you crank them and jump on the brakes you’ll probably see smoke coming from your camper or caravan, as it will lock the wheels up.
Redarc Brake Controller Problems
In the Redarc Tow Pro Manual that you get, there’s a series of flashes and colours that correspond to various faults.
This will occur if your brake controller isn’t seeing the trailer properly, or its still learning, or something isn’t quite right. Simply match the faults to the manual and you’ll know what’s going on.
The Redarc Brake Controller problems we’ve had related to the trailer plugs not making good contact, and it dropping out.
On our 80 Series I had the plug come loose a couple of times (on a bitumen road would you believe it!), and the brake controller just goes off completely. No fault of the brake controller, but it can be a pretty serious issue when you rely on your brakes and they suddenly stop working.
I’ve also had it take a long time to calibrate, and suspect again it relates to poor connections in the trailer plug. Other than that though, its been flawless on both vehicles.
Is the Redarc Tow Pro worth buying?
If you are in the market for an Electric Brake Controller, you can’t go wrong with the Redarc Tow Pro. It’s cost effective, small, easy to use and does a great job of making any trailer pull up when you want it to.
I know on our next vehicle I wouldn’t hesitate to get another.