Historically, contractors who owned multiple vehicle fleets pulling electric brake trailers were required to wire each vehicle separately for towing a trailer.
"The electric brake trailer controller was typically mounted inside the tow vehicle within reach of the driver, usually under the dashboard," explains Carlton Saunders, marketing manager, Innovative Electronics, Inc. This can add both time and expense. "Every time a company purchases a new truck, extra time and money must be dedicated to wiring the vehicle for brake control. If not wired properly, the modification could void the vehicle's warranty, potentially costing the company more money down the road."
Consequently, Innovative Electronics introduced a new style of brake control unit that mounts directly to the trailer. The compact, 1-lb. Innovator module installs to either the trailer's jack mount plate or to the frame. Only two wire connections are required to install it on the trailer.
"Installation is very easy," says Jim Hoeger, co-owner of Complete Home Repair and Remodeling, LLC, Cedar Rapids, IA. "It took about five or 10 minutes to install the brake control unit."
With the Innovator's wireless transmitter, any vehicle with towing capabilities can tow the trailer. The transmitter is used to set the control unit, providing unloaded, fully loaded and test operational settings. (The test function allows the driver to apply the brakes to correct occurrences of "trailer sway" by holding back the trailer and allowing it to fall back in line with the tow vehicle.) A simple design with no moving parts makes the unit vibration resistant to withstand the rigors of construction environments.
The brake control unit is designed for use with any one-, two- or three-axle trailer. Using advanced diagnostic technology, it automatically monitors itself hundreds of times per second to ensure the hitch maintains neutral position.
"The Innovator offers very smooth braking, and we don't feel any jerking from the trailer," says Hoeger. "With regular control units, if you don't have it set properly, you will feel the trailer."
The brake control unit fully complies with Department of Transportation regulations by allowing the driver to actuate the trailer brakes without stepping on the tow vehicle's brake pedal. It has rated weight capacities of 5,000 and 3,500 lbs. per axle for two- and three-axle trailers, respectively. This enables contractors to tow a wide variety of equipment, from small compactors and pavers to skid steers and compact equipment.