As the use of supplemental braking systems — used to engage the brakes of a towed vehicle — continues to expand, the choices available to consumers has likewise grown into a cottage industry of sorts within the RV industry.
One of the newest concepts to come on the market, the InvisiBrake, was introduced by Roadmaster Inc. during the 48th Annual RV Trade Show in Louisville.
“The InvisiBrake is, as it sounds, the ‘invisible brake,’” said David Robinson, marketing director for the Vancouver, Wash.-based supplier. “Once it’s installed, you see no part of it. It can be installed in the trunk, under the seat, under the back seat, pretty much any orientation that you want to put it in. The goal is to install it once and forget about it. When the customer is ready to tow, there’s nothing he has to turn on, there’s nothing he has to connect — it just works.”
While it’s impressively small in size (8 inches X 7 ½ inches X 3 inches), the InvisBrake allows for mounting in relatively enclosed areas and – in what amounts to the InvisiBrake’s true breakthrough — it can utilize electrical connections already in place on the towed vehicle.
“All of the wiring is using the existing wiring that’s already in the car from the taillights,” he said. “The wiring that you run back from the motorhome to energize the turn signals and the brakes are the exact same wires that we use to operate the InvisiBrake. When you apply the brakes on the motorhome and that electrical signal activates the towed vehicle’s brake lights, it also activates the InvisiBrake.”
By tapping into to the towed vehicle’s wiring harness, the InvisiBrake connects directly to its battery — and constantly charges the battery during towing. “We actually are running a trickle charge,” said Robinson. “It’s charging the dinghy battery the entire time you are towing so there’s no danger of the system draining the battery.”
Intended as a permanently mounted unit in the towed vehicle, the InvisiBrake isn’t as portable as some other units — including Roadmaster’s EvenBrake — but as Robinson pointed out, its benefits outweigh its lack of portability.
“The nice thing about portable braking systems,” he said, “is if you have multiple cars, you can very easily transfer the unit from one car to the next. The downside is, there’s something for you to do every time you want to tow. With this unit, you simply hook up your tow bar and tow car just as you would normally — and you’re done. There’s nothing to push, pull, set, adjust, activate or deactivate.”
Additional features of the InvisiBrake, which will be released in March, include a brake pressure adjustment knob on the front of the unit that provides brake pressure from five to 80 psi, allowing the customer to dial in braking preferences, and a two-stage (audible and visual) motorhome monitor.