custom brake controller?

Discussion in 'Towing & Trailer Tech' started by quicksilver8817, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. quicksilver8817

    quicksilver8817 Rockstar 100 Posts

    is it possible to make your own? i dont need a fancy display just a gain knob and a engage slider. in the style of the newer chevys intergrated controller and or fords ?
  2. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy All hail the Mad King!! Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    It's probably possible to engineer your own brake controller. However, it's most likely easier and cheaper to buy one on the market. If you were to build your own your insurance company may not like it either.
  3. quicksilver8817

    quicksilver8817 Rockstar 100 Posts

    id love to just buy one however i feel that they are very unsightly and i have yet to find one that will mount into the dash area and look clean like the factory intergrated ones .. idk why companies havent started making these . I have yet to speak to someone who actually like a controller screwed to their plastic.
  4. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy All hail the Mad King!! Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Well you just met one... If you don't want to attach it to the dash, tuck it up under the dash. You can remote the manual brake switch far easier than you can engineer a whole controller. Depending on the style you go, you either have to build a circuit that ramps up voltage based on time, or build one with an accelerometer that ramps up the voltage based on G-forces. Either way, it's not worth the time or money.
  5. quicksilver8817

    quicksilver8817 Rockstar 100 Posts

    so what you are saying is i could buy a cheap one take it apart add my own gain control knob and my own slider ( extend the wires to the circuit board ) mount those to my dash and tuck the actual controller away?
  6. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    As food for thought on what's possible, here's my installation:

    • I'd have taken a Dremel to the dash and flush-mounted my controller in the dash if it weren't for the potential need to use the manual lever. Given that need, I chose an existing cavity in which to mount my controller.
    • I did not use the smaller, upper cavity because its shape would have required me to place the controller closest to the passenger side, because my controller would not have been level on the left/right axis even if closest to the passenger side, because the upper cavity is not as deep as the lower cavity (resulting in the controller face not being flush with the cavity's face), and ALSO because there's little space behind that cavity for the wiring that extends into the dash.
    • I have very small hands, which was an important factor in my mounting location -- because if I had big meat hooks for hands this location would not have sufficed. The controller is HANGING from a bracket mounted inside the cavity ... such that I can activate the spring-loaded, manual lever on the bottom of the unit with my index finger. It moves in a 180 degree arc from the passenger side of the cab toward the driver's side ... and my fingers are small enough for this to be usable for me with the controller in this mounting location. :)

    I figured I'd share this so that you can come up with your own ideas as to mounting a controller. You're not limited to whatever cradle or bolt-up ugliness the controller manufacturer provides; use your imagination to come up with an approach that suits your particular needs and style! Tailoring a mounting location is probably a lot easier than tailoring a controller, you know?
  7. quicksilver8817

    quicksilver8817 Rockstar 100 Posts

    yes that i actually like .. but im not fortunate enough to have the center counsel
  8. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member ROTM Winner 1000 Posts

    You could always add one. They're on ebay from time to time and it's pretty simple to remove/install. (I know because I've had mine completely out when doing sound deadening work.) That might get spendy, though.

    Another option would be to fab a bracket that hangs -behind- the driver's side knee panel (there's plenty of space, there) and carefully use a Dremel to cut and shape an opening in the knee panel that matches the face of the controller. For that to work you'd need to also fab a lever extension for the controller and cut a slot for it so the lever could be used desite the unit residing behind the knee panel. The mounting/cutting is easy enough to do cleanly if you've got steady hand with a Dremel, the appropriate attachments, and a propane torch (I use this to return plastics that have faded after cutting ... back to their original colour). The lever work would be the trickiest, as it'll be very specific to the controller you buy.

    You definitely want to keep any custom installation as close to the driver's side as you can. My own install is about at the maximum limit in distance without having to upsize all the wiring to account for voltage drop across a greater distance...
  9. Kady

    Kady Epic Member 5+ Years GMTC Chick 100 Posts

    Hmmm> i don't mind mine being bolted to the dash plastic.. Fits nicely there...

    Do you have the CD compartment under the radio that flips open? You could always shove it in there.
  10. quicksilver8817

    quicksilver8817 Rockstar 100 Posts

    no i have an aftermarket radio. and no center counsel. ill by a cheap and see if my idea works and let you guys know

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