Posted 09 June 2012 - 04:16 PM
Another issue with inertial controllers is that they don't sense braking, they sense angle and deceleration and can't distinguish between the two.
First that means if you are heading downhill and apply your brakes the inertia unit will add the braking force and the downhill component and over-brake the trailer compared to the truck. The reverse applies if you are baking uphill where the grade component subtracts from the braking component and you under-brake the trailer. Second if you apply the service brakes the inertia controller adds all braking forces, hill, service brakes and engine brake, the trailer brakes proportionally to the sum of the three. That means that you can see a LOT of trailer brake applied when you just tap the service brake if you are getting a good amount of engine braking. Even without an engine brake you will see some over-braking due to the engine's slowing the truck if you downshift.
Add that all up and your trailer brakes can see a lot of braking compared to the truck brakes on a downgrade, the truck brakes will still be cool but the trailer brakes will be near their limits since they have been over-applied by the inertia controller.
I fooled with this a good bit back when I had my McCall hitch that showed you if the trailer was pulling or pushing on the truck. I'd see the trailer pulling really hard on the hitch when going downhill even if I just touched the brake pedal. That over-braking is why I switched to a controller that worked off braking pressure rather than inertia.
Still inertia controllers are pretty decent, most of the time they do a pretty good job for most people. They just get confused a bit in the above situations, the more supplemental braking you have the more confused they get.
Now a timer based controller is a piece of junk, no help for one of them and I'd suggest scrapping one if you have it. They apply the brakes based on how long your brake lights have been lit. The longer the lights have been on the harder they apply the trailer brakes. That makes trying to park where you are idling back and forth with the brake pedal being used to keep your speed down very frustrating since you have to keep lifting your foot to unlock the trailer brakes or as most folks end up doing disconnecting the silly thing when parking. Going down hill you need to be very careful to use the "stab and coast" method of braking or the trailer brakes will be way overused.
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