Videos are provided As a guide only. Refer To manufacturer
installation instructions And specs For complete information.
Palm-size brake controller activates trailer brakes with preset intensity when you apply the brakes in your vehicle. Adjust power output and braking aggressiveness with easily accessible, up-front buttons. Digital display and manual override.
The Activator IV applies your trailer's brakes when the brake pedal in your tow vehicle is engaged. Every time you apply the brakes in your vehicle, a signal is sent - via the brake switch - to the Activator. The controller then sends power out to your trailer brakes to activate them with an intensity set by you, at a rate determined by you. Both the amount of braking power (output) and rate of application (sync) can be adjusted to suit your preference, the road conditions, type of trailer, and size of the load. To determine which levels are best for your application, you must test out your towing setup and choose what feels best.
A time-delay controller is so named because there is a delay between the time that you initially apply the brakes in your tow vehicle and the time that the controller reaches the set maximum power output. Unlike a proportional brake controller, which activates your trailer's brakes based on the deceleration of your tow vehicle, the Activator sends power out in the same way, with the same user-set delay, no matter the braking situation. Although this delay always exists, it can be adjusted by changing the sync setting. The controller will continue to send out power to the trailer brakes as long as your foot is on the brake pedal, even when your truck and trailer have come to a stop.
The diagram above shows the controls and components of the Activator IV electric trailer brake controller.
The power output control lets you set the maximum amount of power that will be applied to your trailer's brakes. Typically, the power output is only readjusted if you switch from a heavy, loaded trailer to a much lighter, empty trailer - or vice versa. During the initial setup process, use the plus and minus adjustment buttons on the top left of the Activator IV to adjust the output.
The sync setting represents the elapsed time from the point that the brakes are first applied to the point that the set power output reaches its maximum. This setting is responsible for determining the aggressiveness of the braking action.
To adjust the sync, use the plus and minus buttons on the top of the unit. If you want to reach maximum power output faster, press the plus button. To get smoother braking action by supplying power to the trailer brakes more gradually, press the minus button. You can alter the sync setting to suit your driving preferences or to improve handling based on changing road conditions or varied trailer loads.
The Activator IV brake controller features an easy-to-read LED window that displays the power settings as you adjust them. The power output is shown as a number, with 0 indicating minimum output and 10 indicating maximum output. The sync setting is shown as a number followed by the letter "o" to differentiate it from the output reading. The least aggressive sync setting is 0o and the most aggressive is 9o.
While braking, the unit displays the power output. To see or adjust the sync setting, step on your brake pedal and press either the plus or minus button at the same time.
The display will also show trouble codes to alert you to any potential problems, such as short circuits or overloads, or if there is an internal problem with the controller.
The manual slide lever overrides the preset power output and allows the operator to engage the trailer brakes without using the vehicle's brakes. In addition to being a necessary safety feature, this option helps to control trailer sway by slowing the trailer to put it back solidly behind the tow vehicle.
You can also engage the manual override to help you move a sliding 5th-wheel hitch closer to your truck's tailgate for tight maneuvering during slow speed turns. Just apply the manual override to hold the trailer in place while slowly moving the tow vehicle forward.
Because inertia plays no role in the functioning of this controller, you do not have to mount the unit at any particular angle or position it in any particular direction. As a result, mounting options are limitless, so long as you can still easily access the manual override.
Installation of the Activator IV requires that you either purchase a custom wiring adapter designed to plug into the controller or that you hardwire the controller directly into your vehicle. To hardwire the controller, you must remove the plug at the end of the integrated wiring harness.
A vehicle-specific, dual-mated wiring adapter is available for most newer trucks and SUVs with tow packages. One end of the custom adapter plugs into your vehicle's brake controller port, and the other end plugs into the controller - no hardwiring required.
A universal wiring harness (20127 - sold separately) that plugs into any Draw-Tite brake controller is also available. The 4 leads on the universal harness can then be hardwired into your vehicle. By splicing the universal adapter into your wiring instead of directly connecting the brake controller to your wiring, you gain the ability to unplug and remove the controller from your vehicle should the need arise.
Note: If a custom brake-control wiring adapter is not available for your vehicle, one of the following will be required:
20-Amp circuit breaker (9506P - sold separately) for 2- to 4-brake applications
30-Amp circuit breaker (38630 - sold separately) for 6- to 8-brake applications
See also etrailer.com's exclusive 7- and 4-way brake-control installation kit (ETBC7 - sold separately) if you don't already have a 7-way plug at the back of your vehicle.
Video of Draw-Tite Activator IV Trailer Brake Controller - 1 to 4 Axles - Time Delayed
Videos are provided As a guide only. Refer To manufacturer
installation instructions And specs For complete information.
Today we're going to review part number 5504. This is is Draw-Tite Activator IV Time Delayed Trailer Brake Controller. This is designed for trailers from using one to four axles. This brake controller will activate your trailer brakes with a pre-set intensity. The signal is sent to your trailer brakes when your tow vehicle's brakes are activated. This time delayed brake controller is so-named that because there is a delay between the time that you initially apply the brakes on your tow vehicle and the time that the controller reaches the set maximum power output.
Although this delay will already exist, it can be adjusted by just changing your sync setting, right over here. What I am going to do, just so can go through these, is I have an example of a plug here. I'm going to plug this in, so we have power to it. Now that I got it plugged in, turn the power on and I just want to show you, initially if you do not have your trailer connected, when you try to apply the brakes all you will see is that red dot. That just means the trailer is not connected. I'm going to connect the wire to the trailer.
With that wire connected, you'll see, when we apply the brakes, it'll give you the readings. So, what we're going to do now is we're going to talk about it. The sync setting that I had mentioned, you can change that sync setting. This will let you adjust the aggressiveness in which the brakes are activated. Right here it says sync.
These buttons right up here at the top, the plus and minus button, what you'll do is you can increase your activations speed. It will give you full power output a lot faster, just by pushing the plus. Basically, if I go plus, you can see it raises it 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. Nine is the highest. You go minus, you can see it brings it all the way down to 1, whoop it will go all the way down to 0, I'm sorry.
Zero up to nine, so that will . Now, if you decrease that activation speed . In other words, if you have it 5, let's say, and you put minus and go down to 4 or 3, when you're decreasing that activation speed, this will supply the power more gradually and give you a lot smoother braking. Over here is the gain, the power output control, which is also know as the gain. This part will let you determine the amount of power sent to your trailer and brakes. So, the same way as a plus and a minus. If you set it to a higher, you can see it goes up to 8. It goes up by half, all the way up to 10, 9.5, 9. So, if you go higher output, when tow . You'll use that when you're towing in like a hilly terrain or with a fully loaded trailer. If you go minus or back off the power, you'll do that when you're towing a light weight or an empty trailer, so it's going to control the amount of power sent to your trailer's brakes. The manual control slide lever right here, as you can see, this will override the preset power output and allows the operator to engage your trailer brakes without using your vehicles brakes. This will, if you'll notice, when you push this all the way, goes up to 7.5. Seven and a half you'll notice is what the gain setting was, so the gain is what you'll be . Whenever you push this slide lever, it's only going to go up to the maximum gain that you have set on it. It does have this nice, easy to read LED digital display. This will give you your brake power output, the sync setting. It'll also give you air codes. It'll show diagnostic codes for any overloads or open ground and it is short circuit protected. This is a very quick and easy installation, as I'm mentioned, it's a plug and play installation. What we do recommend . This can be mounted at any angle, at any plane, in any direction. Because it's not like a proportional brake controller, it doesn't rely on any inertia or the accelerometer in here. It doesn't rely on any of that, so it can be mounted in any direction. The mounting bracket, right here, and the hardware is included. As you can see, the bracket would just slide in there. You mount it up to the side and then to your vehicle. We do recommend when you do install this, it's possible to use a plug in vehicle specific brake controller adapter, which we do sell separately. Some vehicles will have this adapter plug that you can buy with the end that'll slide into the brake control. The other end can be either wired to your vehicle or it can have a plug that would match the brake controller port in your vehicle. Again, a few specs on this, the application . This is for trailers with up to 4 axles or 8 brake assemblies. It is designed for use with electric brakes only. The harness length off the controller is about 8" and this does come with a limited lifetime warranty. Again, just to show you, you're going to set the sync. You can go high or you can go minus and if you're going to set the gain, you can go up by half inch increments, all the way up to 10 or all the way down to 0. Then again, we have the gain set at 2, when you go apply your manual override, you'll see that it'll only go up to the maximum gain setting. That should do it for the review on part number 5504, the Draw-Tite Activator IV Time Delayed Trailer Brake Controller designed for one to four axles. .
Average Customer Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars (49 Customer Reviews)Palm-size brake controller activates trailer brakes with preset intensity when you apply the brakes in your vehicle. Adjust power output and braking aggressiveness with easily accessible, up-front buttons. Digital display and manual override.
This break controller and harness installs in a 2014 Silverado with factory wires already installed. If you want to install in the dash where the factory break controller should be ,it fits with some modifications. First be careful when cutting the back of dash board. The factory wires are connected to the back of the plastic that you will cut out. The wires are located top right of the panel. Stay away from this area. You will also need to cut out the back bottom to feed the plug from break controller to drivers side fuse panel and run down under the dash board on top of parking break. Remove the black cover next to break pedal and plug in the wire harness. You will need to cut out a piece of plastic on the side of the cover box next to the plug insert, because the harness is not long enough to route thru the top. The break controller will stick out of the dash about 2 inches. This gives access to top control buttons. I mounted it this way because I like it at eye level and not down by my knee. Also did not want to drill holes in my leather appointed dash. 145442
by: Allen R.08/26/2014
I had an Activator 3, which I really liked, until it quit on me a few months ago. The controller would recognize that you were connected to a trailer, but would display all 0'set and you couldn't adjust it up. Then I swaped it for my brother's Activator 3 and it did the exact same thing, which is sad because I rarely tow, and my brothers hadn't even been hooked up yet. Both were about 3 years old. Anyway, I was going on a camping trip in the mountains pulling a 5th wheel camper, so I needed a replacement. I like the looks of this unit, it's narrower than the Activator 3, and it's black, which I like because it doesn't stand out in my tan interior, which is something I hated about the Activator 3, it was silver and was gaudy in a tan truck. I like that the manual brake switch is actually a potentiometer, and will vary the braking power depending on how far you move the lever. The Activator 3 is just a switch. I did like the gain adjuster wheel on the Activator 3, over the buttons, but it's no big deal. You usually only adjust by half points anyway, but if you wand to go from 9 to 3 for an example, it's kind of a pain where I have my controller tucked up in. Overall I am happy with it. The only concern I have is that the internals are probably the same as the Activator 3, so hopefully theyou got that fixed and this one doesn't quit on me in 3 years. I know the have a lifetime warranty, but I didn't have time to do a warranty claim on my last unit. 148609
Installation was very easy in my Tahoe thanks to the information available on your website. While I didn't need to call for assistance from your team, reading other reviews gave me confidence to place my order. Add to this that your price was very competitive, the quick shipping, and you can count me as a very satisfied customer! 230063
everything was exactly as described. fit perfectly on my truck. 149899
Great products. Fit great in my truck. Very far delivery!! 150562
by: Rodger G01/30/2016
The draw tite brake controller arrived very quick. I installed it very easy on my 2015. Ram. I called Tekonsa and made sure what plug in wiring adapter need it was the 3024 p. I was told by service tech Tekconsa that they maiddraw tite. Also the guy from etrailer I order from new all the questions, very good at his job. I installed it in about an hour and that was finding the best place. The adapter plug is above the gas peddle. Will from etrailer again. Good Luck you will be satisfied. 236610
by: Maribeth R.10/16/2014
This brake controller was remarkably easy to install and worked well right out of the box. I followed the recommendation of etrailer for my make and model of truck, a 2000 Chevy Suburban, and everything was exactly as depicted in the video. After viewing the video I felt as if I had done it before when I went to install my device. I was surprised that it really was as easy as it had appeared in the video. Great job, etrailer! I will definitely be back! 156382
Great brake controller. Bought the adapter plug and had it installed and ready to go in the truck in less than 30 mins. Easy to set and adjust. Customer service was great. Needed it shipped to me fast. Called and the lady in customer service made sure it was shipped that day and arrived to me in 2 days. She sent me emails making sure I knew when it shipped. Great company to deal with. Would definitely order from them again. 76020
by: Rick E.01/16/2017
My son just bought a Popup camper. So we bought a draw-tite class lll frame hitch receiver pn75073, a draw-tite brake controller pn5504, a universal brake control wiring kit pnETBC7, and a custom fit wire harness pn118329 for his truck. It took us a couple of hours to install. The instructions were spot on. He hooked up the camper to his truck, and drove off. Worked as advertised. (hope I get to see him soon!!) 335704
by: Dan M.04/29/2013
Product is simple and strait forward to install. Controls are simple and doesn't take a lot of messing around with to get the hang of. My only gripe is that I wish instead of having self tapping screws to mount to the car, it came with bolts/nuts. That way you don't have a pointy screw protruding out the back of a panel and possibly running through what's behind the panel or rubbing on other wires. 78265
by: Paul V.09/04/2012
Installing this into my 2005 Tahoe was a breeze. If you just follow the directions and check out etrailers videos you should have no problem. I went from a small popup to a bigger hybrid so I had to get the EBC system. This sure beats taking it to the RV or Dealer store and paying retail plus labor. Thanks etrailer.com 53924
Nice controller that doesn't take up a lot of space. Installation was so easy that I wonder how places charge $200+ to do this. Found a nice spot to mount bracket, plugged wire harness in, attached controller to bracket & used 3 zip ties to get wires out of the way. Total install time was less than 15 minutes 266211
by: James W06/21/2013
Sir, I recieved the brake controller & wiring harness promptly & the unit was well packaged. Yesterday I installed the controller on my 2002 Ford 150 pickup. Everything went well and the harness plugged right in. Iam very well pleased with the unit & the service I recieved from your company. Many thanks, James 85408
by: K Maconachy01/30/2012
The Product was easily to find on your site. I was able to browse controllers specifically for my truck. The controller arrived as expecteed. I was kept informed on the order, shipment and delivery, and it came right when you said it would. It installed easily in about 1/2 hour. All the tests we did worked well. 30629
by: ed j07/20/2014
Install on my 2014 Frontier could not have been easier. I just plugged in the NIssan wiring adapter and it was working. Only challenge was finding good location for mounting. My solution was to use a couple of strips of stick on velcro to attach it to the console side. Picture attached. 142287
A good product at a good price, delivered QUICKLY! Install was a cinch with a youtube video assist. Placement was a head scratcher. Imagine that with a truck so big. The clear and easy to read display is a real plus. Don't forget the extra harness. 253010
by: Brad M08/05/2014
E-Trailer, Product arrived in great condition. It also came through the postal service faster than I expected. I haven't had time to install the product yet but if everything works as good as it looks it will be just fine. Thanks, Brad 144427
This controller works, but this review should be about etrailer.com there service was incredible. Very friendly and true to there word. Will be ordering and purchasing from etrailer for years to come. Thank you! 146187
by: Sisto A.12/24/2014
etrailer provided all the info I needed to research the product that I needed and was reasonably priced plus free shipping. My order was processed and sent immediately. I will purchase from them again for sure. 166798
Purchased the draw-tire activator IV trailer brake controller.... Very fast shipping and easy installation! Had it installed and working less than 30min! Wiring adapter made made it so easy! 172045
by: Rich G01/18/2017
Installation was easy and the brake controller works great. When pulling my travel trailer, my truck stops almost like it wasn't towing anything. Very satisfied. Thank you, eTrailer! 333474
by: Tim Boyer11/20/2016
Hopefully b - control is correct one. Wish I would have known I needed conversion wiring , seeing all others sold with control when applicable !! Only cost me a week waiting..... 318334
by: Dan W08/15/2016
This controller was easy to install and worked well on my pop-up and just as well on our new 25 foot camper. Very pleased with the performance of this controller, thank you Dan 283851
Great product. Easy to research and compare to other products on etrailer.com. Easy to buy, prompt shipping, easy to install. Works as advertised. A+++ experience. 109450
by: Draw-Tite Activator IV Trailer Brake Controller -08/19/2015
Product came as described. I have not had a chance to use the product yet but it is very straight forward. Looking forward to using the product this weekend! 220322
by: Fred F06/28/2016
Compact unit takes up little space. Easy to install, plug & play, worked first time I tried it. Haven't decided yet exactly where to mount it. 266057
by: Jim L08/22/2016
Was very easy to install. I was able to make it fit in the slot where the factory installed unit would have been. Works great so far. 286451
by: Charles Billingsley11/24/2014
Product was easy to install, hooked up easy, and works like a charm. The video on the trailer break controller was a great help. 162369
by: Justin B10/22/2014
Nice sleek design. fits under dash with no problems. Simple to hook up, just plug it up and go. easy to set the gain too. 157439
by: Jonathan W.10/06/2016
Delivered in timely manner. Haven't installed yet but after watching videos looks very simple and straight forward. 304275
The controller arrived very quickly & in good shape. Haven't installed it yet so I don't know how it will work. 324014
The brake controller works exactly as advertised and the service from from e-trailer was excellent 270172
Great price, shipping, and Customer Service Response. Will order more from E-Trailer. 339677
by: Karl T.07/18/2016
Install went very smooth. Had clear video on your website to help me along thanks 273495
by: Erick e07/09/2015
Fast shipping and was just what ordered and I'm happy with the product 210649
by: Rich W.10/21/2014
Easy setup and install....work great first time...easily adjustable. 157095
Works awesome very easy install and great service from etrailer !! 100657
Works as advertised. Wouldn't tow car trailer without one 313926
by: Dennis Thomas07/07/2016
works well but i only tow the camper a few times a year. 269153
by: Chad C.02/20/2016
Simply plugs into your harness, 4 screws and your done. 238270
by: Larry B10/21/2016
Product is excellent small compact and easy to install 309503
by: Kevin F01/31/2017
So easy just plug it in t the correct h arness.. 337369
by: David Y12/08/2016
Fast shipping and everything was great. 323225
by: John R.06/09/2016
Great product, easy instillation.... 259707
by: Dany O.01/22/2017
Fast delivery, just what I ordered. 334410
Easy to wire and works great! 269422
Great product, no problems 228655
Great kit and parts 262950
by: bill f.04/03/2015
great company 182854
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