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What is the Difference Between a Time Delay Brake Controller and a Proportional Brake Controller  


Why does this brake controller say it is Time Delayed?


Expert Reply:

The Tekonsha PowerTrac brake controller # 39523 is a time delay brake controller. The other type of controller is a proportional controller. 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 maximum power output. Unlike a proportional brake controller, which activates your trailer's brakes based on the deceleration of your tow vehicle, a time-delayed controller sends power out in the same way, with the same gradual delay, no matter the braking situation. Although this delay always exists, it can be adjusted by changing the sync setting.

A time-delayed brake controller doesn't rely on internal parts to sense braking motions of the tow vehicle. This allows you to mount the controller at any angle.

Every time you apply the brakes in your tow vehicle, a signal is sent to the brake controller. The controller then sends voltage back to the trailer brakes to power them at the level set by the user and at a rate chosen by the user.

The amount of braking power and rate of application (how quickly the power ramps up) can be adjusted to fit personal preference, 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 proportional brake controller senses when and how your tow vehicle brakes with an internal inertia-based sensor. This sensor responds to the deceleration of your tow vehicle as you brake by signaling the controller to send out enough power to your trailer brakes so that they are activated with an intensity that matches. The result is uniform braking across your towing setup. No push-pull action - just smooth, proportional braking every time.

With a proportional brake controller, such as # 90885, you can get heavy-duty emergency braking, general braking, or slow-to-an-idle braking for your trailer automatically. The intensity with which your trailer brakes are activated and the rate at which they are applied are dependent on the deceleration of your tow vehicle. This means that, unlike time-delay controllers - which send the same amount of preset power to your trailer brakes every time - proportional controllers are able to adapt to every braking situation differently. So if you slam on the brakes in your truck, your trailer brakes will activate with the same extreme intensity. And if you merely slow down as you approach a red light, your trailer will gradually brake in the same manner.

I have included a link to our help article on brake controllers for you that contains the above information and much more.

expert reply by:
Michael H

Patrick P.


Hi Sales, I am shopping for a brake controller for my 2013 Lincoln Navigator 2WD. Ill be pulling a heavy water trailer ~ 7000lbs and think I need a Proportional unit. That said, do any of the proportional controllers include some kind of manual squeeze control to stop something like fish-tailing where only activating the trailer brakes is necessary? Product recommendations would be welcomed.Regards

Etrailer Expert

Chris R.


All proportional controllers will actually have that feature. It's typically referred to as the manual override and it's used for exactly what you described or in an emergency situation where full braking force needs to be applied. I really like the Tekonsha Prodigy P2 # 90885. The manual override slide lever on the bottom of the unit is easy to access and control.

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