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Old 12-20-2019, 04:21 PM   #1
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Progressive vs Proportional Brakes

In researching toad braking systems I keep seeing progressive and proportional braking being mentioned.

What is the difference between the two and is one better than the other?

Thanks
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Old 12-20-2019, 05:37 PM   #2
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My Brake Buddy has both settings. I have tried both, but always go back to the progressive (normal) position. I think it is more about marketing.
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Old 12-20-2019, 06:08 PM   #3
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Not sure where you found "progressive" but I would think that it means the same as proportional.
Brake Buddy gives you setting choices of "FULL" or "Proportional" with the following definitions :

Full Braking
Removes the entire weight of the towed vehicle when stopping

Proportional Braking
Mirrors the braking action of the motorhome
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Old 12-21-2019, 12:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Craig36 View Post
My Brake Buddy has both settings. I have tried both, but always go back to the progressive (normal) position. I think it is more about marketing.
I think you are correct I think it is a marketing slogan between the manufactures. Thanks for the info.
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Old 12-21-2019, 12:55 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MorrieC View Post
I think you are correct I think it is a marketing slogan between the manufactures. Thanks for the info.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Larson View Post
Not sure where you found "progressive" but I would think that it means the same as proportional.
Brake Buddy gives you setting choices of "FULL" or "Proportional" with the following definitions :

Full Braking
Removes the entire weight of the towed vehicle when stopping

Proportional Braking
Mirrors the braking action of the motorhome
The wording progressive and proportional are being mentioned by different manufactures. Thanks for the info.
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Old 12-22-2019, 10:30 PM   #6
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I doubt anybody knows how any toad brake system actually does what they should do.
There are no system measurements to verify anything. Period.
So that feel good, warm and fuzzy, safety for all feeling is just that. A feeling. Good luck with that.
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:57 PM   #7
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I believe that progressive braking means the toad braking system is energized by the motorhome brake lights and the longer the lights are on the harder the toad brakes are applied. Light application at first and progressively harder the longer the motorhome brake lights are on.

Proportional braking systems have a sensor that monitors the forces of braking and apply the brakes of the toad in proportion the severity of the stop. Light braking of the motorhome coming to a stop at a stop light gives light application of the toad brakes. Panic stops in the motorhome will result in heavy application of the toad brakes proportional to the input from the motorhome.

I can see that a progressive system could be an issue in a long downhill run coming down a mountain pass or any time the brakes are used lightly over a period of time.

Mike

Mike
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Divide Wee View Post
I believe that progressive braking means the toad braking system is energized by the motorhome brake lights and the longer the lights are on the harder the toad brakes are applied. Light application at first and progressively harder the longer the motorhome brake lights are on.

Proportional braking systems have a sensor that monitors the forces of braking and apply the brakes of the toad in proportion the severity of the stop. Light braking of the motorhome coming to a stop at a stop light gives light application of the toad brakes. Panic stops in the motorhome will result in heavy application of the toad brakes proportional to the input from the motorhome.

I can see that a progressive system could be an issue in a long downhill run coming down a mountain pass or any time the brakes are used lightly over a period of time.

Mike

Mike
Excellent explanation.
Thank you
Morrie
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Old 12-24-2019, 06:23 PM   #9
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Now you know why I purposely have a 2800# toad behind my dp and no auxiliary brakes. I simply don't want or need them and I would have no clue how well they actually do what they are supposed to do.
Hope is not a viable strategy.
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Old 12-25-2019, 07:07 AM   #10
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To add to Mike's explanation, the inertia sensing systems will also have an interlock where two conditions are to be present for braking.

This prevents unnecessary lockups or hard braking conditions. For instance, both the inertia sensor and the brake light signal must be present for the system to apply braking. If one or the other signal is not present, then the brakes release.

For instance, you might not even see (LED indicators on toad) the toad brakes applied when braking at slower speeds.

I have two sets of LED indicators, one comes on when the brakes are applied (switch on the toad brake arm), the second comes on when the system is operating and applying braking.

There is no condition that cant be detected. I'm especially interested in the brake arm moved and the system was not applying brakes...secondarily, my TPMS indicates temp on each wheel...too hot and something isn't right.

Braking requirements vary by state/weight Towing Laws | Brake Buddy®


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Old 12-25-2019, 10:05 AM   #11
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To add to Mike's explanation, the inertia sensing systems will also have an interlock where two conditions are to be present for braking.

This prevents unnecessary lockups or hard braking conditions. For instance, both the inertia sensor and the brake light signal must be present for the system to apply braking. If one or the other signal is not present, then the brakes release.

For instance, you might not even see (LED indicators on toad) the toad brakes applied when braking at slower speeds.

I have two sets of LED indicators, one comes on when the brakes are applied (switch on the toad brake arm), the second comes on when the system is operating and applying braking.

There is no condition that cant be detected. I'm especially interested in the brake arm moved and the system was not applying brakes...secondarily, my TPMS indicates temp on each wheel...too hot and something isn't right.

Braking requirements vary by state/weight Towing Laws | Brake Buddy®


Ron
Thank you for the additional information. I like the duel LED light indicators. What brake system are you using?
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Old 12-25-2019, 12:42 PM   #12
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Some systems will have the dual trigger. The installation of those will, from my research, will require splicing into the toad wiring and braking systems.

The portable, set on the floor when towing, units are not tied into the toad wiring system and have no signal from the motorhome brakes. They are only activated by the inertial sensor. However, it seems that all of the newer portable units have some sort of remote display that will allow monitoring of the system from the motorhome when towing.
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Old 12-26-2019, 08:12 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by MorrieC View Post
Thank you for the additional information. I like the duel LED light indicators. What brake system are you using?
SMI Stay-in-play Duo https://www.etrailer.com/Tow-Bar-Bra...I/SM99251.html

This one is for hydraulic brakes, there are other similar units for air brakes.

I'd qualify this unit is quasi proportional/progressive. The combination of both inertia switch (mercury tilt switch) and the brake light signal triggers the air pump to slowly move the air cylinder and pull the brake arm. If either of the signals drop, the cylinder releases. The longer both signals are present, the harder the brake arm is pulled. Once the tilt switch is adjusted (for your load and style of driving), you get nice smooth braking action.

I added an additional plunger switch to the brake arm (etrailer had the exact bracket and switch for my Jeep) to get the arm movement signal. I powered that circuit from the charge line off the MH, that way it's dead when not in tow and driving normally; otherwise I'd have flashing LED"s every time I hit the brakes.


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