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Draw-Tite Brake Controller - Proportional Controller - 5535 Review

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Review of Draw-Tite Brake Controller 5535


Today we're going to be taking a look at the Draw-Tite I-Command Proportional Trailer Brake Controller. This controller is going to activate the trailer brakes in proportion to your vehicle's braking action, it's going to automatically adjust the trailer's braking based on deceleration of the towed vehicle, and it activates immediately, so there's no pausing like when using time-delayed brake controllers. This unit's also going to automatically level. The brake control will automatically acquire the proper level setting, it's also going to automatically adjust as you travel up or down hills. A few unique features about this system. As you can see here, we have the easy to access buttons, we're going to have the boost setting right here on top and it says 'Boost' right here on the disc plate, so that way we know these button go with that setting. On this side we're going to have the gain control, and it says 'Gain' right there so we know that these buttons are associated with that control.

The boost setting is going to let you adjust the aggressiveness with which the brakes are activated, so this is setting is great in situations where you're hauling heavier loads or your trailer weight is significantly more than your vehicle weight. It's going to be available in three settings, you're going to have Boost 1, Boost 2, and Boost 3. It's going to allow you to get full power output faster by pressing the plus buttons right here, or the minus buttons to achieve maybe a smoother braking action. You can get full output power faster by pressing the plus button to increase the activation speed, and then you can achieve smoother braking by pressing the minus button to supply power gradually. Located right here at the front is going to be the easy to read digital display. This is going to be an LED display, it's going to show the controller activity.

The unit is short-circuit protected. On this side you're going to have the gain setting, this is going to establish the maximum amount of power available to the trailer brakes. As the gain increases, and you just the plus or minus buttons to do that, so it's very easy to adjust, but as that increases what that means is more power is going to be available to the brakes when the brake peddle in the vehicle is pressed or when the manual control is used. We do have the built in slide bar manual override right here at the front, very easily accessible. Gain is going to be shown from zero to ten, with zero being the minimum and ten being the maximum. That simply represents a percentage of the full power.

It's a quick and easy installation, your mounting bracket and hardware are included, and then it's going to be able to plug into a vehicle specific brake control adapter. Those are sold separately and can be used for certain applications to help reduce installation time. Again, this is designed for trailers with up to four axles or A-brake assemblies. It's designed for use with electric brakes only. When mounting this, you can mount this anywhere from -20 degrees nose down, anywhere to 70 degrees nose up in the vertical plane.

You want to make sure this is parallel with the direction of travel, but anywhere in between those indicators that I gave you, -20 degrees nose down or 70 degrees nose up, this is still going to be fully functional. All the leveling, the sensor inside, that's going to be functional as long as you stay within those increments, or those measurements of negative 20, 70 degrees nose up. Really nice design, it's a nice small compact unit as well. Here at the widest part it's only going to measure about 2-3/4" wide, and then the overall length is going to be about 4-1/4", and then the depth or the thickness is only 1-1/8". It's going to be covered with a unlimited lifetime warranty. Now what I want to do is I just want to show you how easily that display can be read. I'm just going to hook up a couple of wires here today just to send some power to it, I'm going to hook up a ground power then the power wire, and then we thumb through some of the settings and you can get an idea for how easy it is to read and how easy it is to see that display. NC is going to stand for Not Connected, but it's still going to allow us to kind of go through. We have our gain setting, you can see how that easily adjusts with a simple press of the button, and again you can go all the way up to ten, you can hold it down, which is going to allow you to adjust quicker, all the way up to ten. Then you can press individual to make finer adjustments, or you can hold it down and it's going to go all the way down to zero. You can adjust to anywhere in between that setting, really nice design. You're also going to have the manual override right here, which for me it's just saying I'm not connected, which is correct since I'm just feeding off a power box. Then you're going to have your boost setting. You're going to have Boost 1, Boost 2, Boost 3, then just the B shows you that you're in the boost settings, then you have 1, 2 and 3 to choose from. That's going to do it for today's look at the Draw Tite I-Command Proportional Trailer Brake Controller.


Mike S.

4/23/2021

Just installed this unit on my 2006 Chevy Suburban 4 x 4. 20 minutes to install including zip ties to hide the wiring. Easy as pie.

Adam

7/31/2020

I have a Draw-Tite 5535 that's been fine for two years. Now it is behaving differently. No matter what gain I have it set at, there is a four second delay before the numbers start climbing; it stays at 0.0 for four seconds, then gains. Also, the displayed gain is about 1/4 of the set gain. That is, if I set the gain to 2.5 it only gains to .7 in use; set to 5 it only gains to 1.4; set gain to 7.5 it only gains to 2.1; set gain to 10 it only gains to 2.8 in use. Very incremental, just incorrect. The displayed gain feels like what is actually going on with the brakes, not the set gain. I can achieve the actual set gain with the manual slide lever. It works as it should. Boost settings do not affect the problem with gain. Any ideas?

Etrailer Expert

Jon G.

8/11/2020

You're going to want to start off by checking your wiring. Make sure that the ground is securely connected to a clean, bare-metal surface, check the blue wire about 6" back from the controller to make sure it is outputting 12V, check the red wire to make sure that it is sending power correctly (when you place your foot on the pedal), and that you have consistent 12V power on the black wire. If you are still having issues then you probably need to look into replacing the controller.

Adam

8/11/2020

Thank you for getting back to me, Jon G. In the meantime a factory rep diagnosed a faulty accelerometer and offered a warranty claim. Hope that helps someone in the future.

Etrailer Expert

Jon G.

8/25/2020

Awesome, thanks for the info!