DRIVING/TOWING - TOWING
Redarc Electronics released the next generation of its award-winning electric trailer brake controller, Tow-Pro Elite, in early 2019.
This is the third generation of Redarc’s
Tow-Pro brake controller, featuring a smaller remote head that allows quicker and easier installation.
The new model needs only one hole drilled into the dash and it has improved illumination, providing better clarity of the braking force selected.
Software upgrades have also been included in the third-generation Tow-Pro Elite that are said to provide smoother braking when towing heavy trailers and caravans. The controller is rated for trailers up to 4.5 tonnes GTM.
The third-generation Tow-Pro Elite maintains the simple operation it’s renowned for and selectable modes of braking: ’Proportional’ for highways and sealed roads and ‘User-controlled’ for off-road driving.
Like previous generation Tow-Pros, the Elite provides proportional braking technology via a patented algorithm.
Tow-Pro Elite V3 continues to be suitable for 12V and 24V electrical systems and for electric-brake and electric/hydraulic brakes, with no user input required to select the mode.
Redarc has produced a range of vehicle-specific wiring kits that simplify installation via ‘plug and play’ connectivity and switch inserts that allow the installer to create a seamless-appearance
remote head mount.
This new installation system is said to be more user-friendly than that for the V2 unit that was the subject of a recall in January 2019. Some V2 units produced between September 2018 and January 2019 could develop no-braking issues if not installed exactly as specified in the manual.
The Tow Pro Elite V3 LED display shows the selected brake operating mode, but also displays fault code lights in a pattern that indicates what the wiring problem is.
Like all Redarc products, Tow-Pro Elite V3 comes with nationwide support, including a two-year warranty, technical support and after-sales service.
For more information visit http://www.redarc.com.au/tow-pro-v3.
Tow Pro V3 testing
We fitted a V3 unit to our LandCruiser HJZ 75 Series that is a non-electronic vehicle and we also asked JLRA to fit one to a new Range Rover Sport P400e Hybrid-electric machine that’s about as electronic as you can get.
Both installations were seamlessly fitted, with the small brake control knob emerging from the dashboard, beside the steering column, on old Harry HJ and on the column shroud on the Rangie. In both cases the small knob didn’t intrude into the cabin ambience: not a problem with the ancient 75 Series, but a potential issue with the very stylish Range Rover.
We towed a part-loaded Tray Tek camper trailer and a loaded car trailer behind the 75 Series and a part-loaded BRS Sherpa cross-over camper trailer behind the Sport Hybrid.
Both installations self-calibrated as described in the fitting instructions and confirmed status with a soft blue LED illumination of the knob bezel.
That calibration also set the brake action in Proportional Mode, meaning that the controller applied the trailer brakes in proportion with the driver’s brake pedal pressure and the level was driver-adjustable, by turning the control knob between one and 10.
Importantly, it was possible for the driver to dial trailer brake pressure up and down while driving, without needing to look at the knob setting. On both vehicles, the right amount of trailer brake ‘feel’ was with the knob around its middle setting.
The Redarc Tow Pro Elite V3 can also be set in User Controlled Mode and in this mode the trailer brakes will apply at the level set by the control knob, regardless of foot brake pressure.
We reckon this feature can be used at low speed in off-road conditions to prevent the trailer from ‘pushing’ the tow vehicle, but needs to be employed with great care, by people experienced with electric trailer brake use.
There’s also a manual override function that can operate in Proportional and User Controlled Modes, by simply pushing the knob inwards. This action applies the trailer brakes only, to a ‘light braking’ level in Proportional Mode and to the knob-preset level in User Controlled Mode.
As with the User Controlled Mode, we reckon this feature should be used by experienced towers only.
The reason we urge caution in playing around with trailer brakes is that the inexperienced can easily misjudge the ideal brake balance between tow vehicle and trailer. Just because there’s a feature fitted doesn’t mean it’s there for every user.
Proportional Mode is the optimum on-road towing program for most situations and we found it very easy to select the correct balance for different load conditions.