New type hitch with brake controller - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 12-26-2016, 10:10 AM   #1
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New type hitch with brake controller

looks interesting IntelliHitch - The Most advanced Trailer Hitch on earth..
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Old 12-26-2016, 08:48 PM   #2
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Very clever. Any way to manually apply brakes like with conventional brake controllers? Or fine-tune sensitivity or program delay? Not clear from their web promotional.
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Old 12-26-2016, 08:55 PM   #3
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I can't get past the price.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:04 PM   #4
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It is an interesting idea. It was inevitable that someone would offer surge braking with an electronic sensor running the trailer's electric brakes, and that's what this does. I remember seeing this some time ago, and rejected it as unsuitable... and after looking at it again today I remember why.

Unfortunately, instead of measuring braking force it measures position as the hitch slides in response to braking force; that's how hydraulic and mechanical surge brakes work, too, but they slide with enclosed roller systems. This design appears to depend on this device's shank sliding smoothly in the hitch receiver, and I don't think that's a reasonable expectation.

I wonder about the person who wrote this section:
Quote:
Electrical (usage) Requirements:
Vehicle: 7-round plug must be fully enabled, including the break-away/charge circuit. (charge circuit should be verified BEFORE Intelli-Hitch installation.) Trailer: Standard implementations of 12V electric brakes for single or dual-axle trailers w/ 7-round plug.
It all makes sense, except that the breakaway circuit has nothing to do with the vehicle - it is entirely contained within the trailer.

This electrical section also confirms that the power situation is like Prodigy RF: power comes from the 7-way connector's battery charge line, so that must be operational. No problem there, just something to keep in mind if considering this solution... it's not a workaround to having only a 4-pin connection.

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Originally Posted by War Eagle View Post
Very clever. Any way to manually apply brakes like with conventional brake controllers? Or fine-tune sensitivity or program delay? Not clear from their web promotional.
There is a lot which is not clear... although perhaps the answers are in the many, many videos. I'm not about to watch what could be hours of random rambling in hope that there might be information that they didn't bother to write up and post.

Strangely, I don't see anything on the website about either adjustment or remote manual activation. I would expect a radio-linked remote, like the Prodigy RF, but there does not appear to be one, or any controls on the device itself.

I submitted a query to the manufacturer to confirm this and answer other questions; however,
  1. the web query form results in nothing but a timeout error
  2. a message to the provided e-mail address was returned with another error message: "Your message can't be delivered because delivery to this address is restricted."
  3. a web query form submitted to the parent company (jandbindustrial.com) produced nothing but yet another (different) error message.
I would not consider this product without very good answers to my questions, and I have no expectation of getting them.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
I can't get past the price.
It replaces both the brake controller and the ball mount (and it's adjustable), as well as potentially some wiring on the tow vehicle, so maybe it's not so bad.

I assume that the price problem is that it is produced in very low volume by a company struggling to recoup development costs.

I would pay the asking price if it were the product that I wanted, but as it is it's intriguing at first but doesn't deliver.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:32 PM   #6
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Reviews offer slightly conflicting information. A rep from the manufacturer says it's a digital proportional brake controller, and another reviewer from MrTruck says it's a surge brake controller. Because it uses a plunger in the receiver, I assume it's actually a surge controller. One other thing I don't really care for is the inability to adjust. They tout the fact that there's "nothing to adjust", but anyone who's towed a travel trailer for thousands of miles can tell you, being able to adjust the brake gain, or even manually apply additional braking force via the controller levers, can definitely come in handy.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:33 PM   #7
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Jim started a similar thread in FiberglassRV, and I see some of the same concerns are coming up there:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverGhost View Post
Problem I see with this design is it depends on their stinger sliding freely in your receiver to actuate the strain gauge (and there fore the brakes). I don't see that being reliable in the long term.

They do appear to make the same setup that replaces the tongue of your trailer. But setup appears to have the same flaw.
Same thing that I noticed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sokhapkin View Post
Do I understand right that weight distributing hitch can't be used with this device? Same for a hitch silencer.
True. These are additional consequences of the need for the shank to slide in the receiver.
One FiberglassRV member thinks there is a solution to the WD limitation, but I disagree:
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverGhost View Post
Also it looks like you could have weight distribution hitch, but it would require welding or bolting on the hardware.
No, even if you found a WD head which would bolt into the channel instead of the stock ball mount, the shank would probably bind in the receiver due to the high torque applied.

If you used the trailer-mounted version, the forces applied by the springs and chains would certainly mess up the surge action.
There are "cushioned" ball mounts (such as the one by Convert-A-Ball) that use a block of elastomer inside the hollow shank, and pin into the receiver through a sliding block. This design is one of those, plus a position sensor and the brake controller electronics. The lack of smooth sliding in the receiver is probably not a big issue with the cushioned mounts, since they only really need to move under major shocks; however, it seems like a much bigger problem for brake control.

The published reviews which I've read don't mention this problem of not sliding smoothly, but their text appears to have been written by the manufacturer.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:34 PM   #8
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Appears they are using it to tow trailers hauling effluent.
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Old 12-26-2016, 09:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Reviews offer slightly conflicting information. A rep from the manufacturer says it's a digital proportional brake controller, and another reviewer from MrTruck says it's a surge brake controller. Because it uses a plunger in the receiver, I assume it's actually a surge controller.
Those are not conflicting statements. It is a digital controller which applies braking action which is proportional to how hard the rig is braking. The triggering method is a surge design (known as "overrun braking" in Europe), rather than measuring tow vehicle braking system pressure (like the factory integrated controllers and rare aftermarket units), or pedal force, or pedal movement, or deceleration... but it's still proportional (rather than fixed or timed). Traditional surge braking systems provide proportional action (but are not digital, or electronic at all).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
One other thing I don't really care for is the inability to adjust. They tout the fact that there's "nothing to adjust", but anyone who's towed a travel trailer for thousands of miles can tell you, being able to adjust the brake gain, or even manually apply additional braking force via the controller levers, can definitely come in handy.
I agree that it should be adjustable for gain. Although measuring overrun force reduces the need for adjustment due to loading, it should still be adjusted to suit the characteristics of the specific trailer's brake system. Hydraulic surge systems are also not adjustable, and depend on appropriate sizing of components (e.g. master cylinder diameter).

I think of manual application as separate from gain adjustment. While it should never be necessary to manually apply the trailer brakes, it doesn't make sense to me to pay for all this hardware and not get this capability.
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Old 12-26-2016, 10:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Appears they are using it to tow trailers hauling effluent.
It is designed to calm sloshing loads. Stops your beer from foaming up.
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