ATC ???

Mar 27, 2011
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Hi all, just wondering about ATC as our recent purchase came with it fitted, when I plug the caravan into towbar electrics I hear various noises coming from A frame area, whirring noises, lasts probably 30 seconds and the light that is mounted on the Aframe goes green, I have seen it mentioned on here and am I right in that if you get into a snaking situation the ATC applies the caravan brakes as necessary to bring the caravan back under control? I also wondered if it’s normal that you get the green light when you hook up but there’s no other indication for example there’s no indication on car dash that it’s doing anything, I’m aware having it doesn’t mean you can just load the caravan any old way, but I just thought I’d find out a bit more of what it can and can’t do.

BP
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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That's the ATC going through it's self-check routine - Green is ok, Red means something's wrong and Flashing Red means don't tow until you've disconnected the ATC control rod
.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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You won’t get any indication from the car as it’s powered via the electrics from the van supplied from the socket-plug. The car doesn’t know it’s there so the green red lights are your confidence check facility.
 
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Oct 8, 2006
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That's the ATC going through it's self-check routine - Green is ok, Red means something's wrong and Flashing Red means don't tow until you've disconnected the ATC control rod
.
Note quite.
Green is go.
Red is no go.
Red flashing is indeterminate.
In the two red instances just drive a few hundred yards down the road and check again - chances are it will be green having sorted itself out.

Been there, done that, etc etc...... (and more than once!!!)
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Also you can get a green Flashing light, which when pulling forwards will hopefully go to green on, , great bit of kit when needed, had it activate once, overataking an HGV . Turned out, I had badly loaded my caravan.
 
Mar 27, 2011
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Good to have some feedback on the ATC I’m going to read the Alko link as well, I’m sure I’ll have further questions when I’ve read more and when I’ve used it more often, one thing that springs to mind is, it’s been mentioned that if it’s red/red flashing then don’t tow, could a situation arise where I connect up and get a solid green so good to go, I set off and could the green solid change to red but I wouldn’t know until the next time I had a stop and got out to have a stretch and notice I’ve now got a no tow situation.

BP
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Potentially yes, but if the van is loaded properly and the car too , tyre pressures on both are set for towing and your driving is steady you shouldn’t even be aware that the ATC had a glitch. In probability terms the chances of it needing to prevent a stability issue in your time between stops is extremely low. It’s a supplement to aid safe towing not a panacea.
 
Jan 7, 2007
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Daft question time... how do you know when it has activated? I’ve very fortunately only ever had one snaking incident and I don’t know if the ATC sorted it out or just the change in driving style / road terrain change did.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Daft question time... how do you know when it has activated? I’ve very fortunately only ever had one snaking incident and I don’t know if the ATC sorted it out or just the change in driving style / road terrain change did.
Some feel them give a gentle pull as they go around an island In a sporty manner. As for recovering from a proper instability incident I would think your mind might be elsewhere and not feeling its actual activation. Hutch ( above) might have a better description as his activated for real.
 
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JTQ

May 7, 2005
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You won’t get any indication from the car as it’s powered via the electrics from the van supplied from the socket-plug. The car doesn’t know it’s there so the green red lights are your confidence check facility.
It is not powered by the electrics of the van, the power come from the car's 12 volt sustained supply to the van. Hence why AL-KO require the car's supply fuse to be 25 Amp.

The red flashing indicates the unit has not parked its push rod fully back, so most probably the bakes are on or dragging if they had been set up okay, hence don't tow.
The solid red indicates it is not functioning, it is usually okay to tow like that, but without the advantage of its protection. It quite often clears a solid red if you pull forward a few metres.
IMO it is prudent to do that and recheck it has gone green.

Al_KO once and possibly still sell an in-car repeater of the LEDs.

IMO the only advantage of knowing it is "working" is that it has not failed to be armed and able to intervene, just as ABS etc.
It does not like these need to tell you it is doing its best to save you, that you ought to have twigged whist it is working.
Unless void of sensitivity whilst driving you ought detect its over zealous intervention that due to its very basic control system, it can act on exiting roundabouts, or when the van rolls as you creep over a calming bump or rally field. "Can" not necessarily will, but if it does it ought to be noticed, IMO a comforting sign it is healthy.

This is a no frills system pared down to just do its job without undue complication, and void of the expense of complication.
 
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JTQ

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BTW you can tow the caravan safely even if the light is solid red or flashing red. You just need to remember that you no longer have a stabiliser and you need to be extra careful.
No you can't with a flashing red as then you don't know it is not dragging the brakes and destroying them plus a fire risk. You or someone needs to crawl under and uncouple its push rod so it is unable to interfere at all.

I suppose alternatively you could pull its in-car fuse to freeze its movement and then jack the van up to check no wheel brake is dragging.
But undoing its push rod is the official action.
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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It is not powered by the electrics of the van, the power come from the car's 12 volt sustained supply to the van. Hence why AL-KO require the car's supply fuse to be 25 Amp.

The red flashing indicates the unit has not parked its push rod fully back, so most probably the bakes are on or dragging if they had been set up okay, hence don't tow.
The solid red indicates it is not functioning, it is usually okay to tow like that, but without the advantage of its protection. It quite often clears a solid red if you pull forward a few metres.
IMO it is prudent to do that and recheck it has gone green.

Al_KO once and possibly still sell an in-car repeater of the LEDs.

IMO the only advantage of knowing it is "working" is that it has not failed to be armed and able to intervene, just as ABS etc.
It does not like these need to tell you it is doing its best to save you, that you ought to have twigged whist it is working.
Unless void of sensitivity whilst driving you ought detect its over zealous intervention that due to its very basic control system, it can act on exiting roundabouts, or when the van rolls as you creep over a calming bump or rally field. "Can" not necessarily will, but if it does it ought to be noticed, IMO a comforting sign it is healthy.

This is a no frills system pared down to just do its job without undue complication, and void of the expense of complication.
So where does the ATC connect to for its supply. Isn't it somewhere off of the caravan electrics just like road lighting? Semantics.
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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So where does the ATC connect to for its supply. Isn't it somewhere off of the caravan electrics just like road lighting? Semantics.
No, it is not as stated "it’s powered via the electrics from the van ".

It is powered from the car's electrics.

Not "semantics" fact, that surely is best understood than otherwise.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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No you can't with a flashing red as then you don't know it is not dragging the brakes and destroying them plus a fire risk. You or someone needs to crawl under and uncouple its push rod so it is unable to interfere at all.

I suppose alternatively you could pull its in-car fuse to freeze its movement and then jack the van up to check no wheel brake is dragging.
But undoing its push rod is the official action.
Therefore you are agreeing with me that it can be towed with a flashing red if you check first as per the manual supplied? We towed from Newark down to Malvern with flashing red which turned out to be a poor connection. It was a Lunar Delta TI and not even a month old!
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Therefore you are agreeing with me that it can be towed with a flashing red if you check first as per the manual supplied?
No, I am defiantly not agreeing with you that:
"BTW you can tow the caravan safely even if the light is solid red or flashing red. You just need to remember that you no longer have a stabiliser and you need to be extra careful."

The error is towing with the "flashing red" and the only way that can happen is if you have power to the ATC.
It runs totally counter to AL-KO's statement and whilst you might check it carefully to believe you can ignore that advice, how do you know that travelling along that power left available might not drag the brakes?
With flashing red despite any pre towing checks you certainly are not ensuring the van is as claimed being towed "safely". If you remove the power so it is not flashing and have checked for no drag then you move to being a bit safer. Pulling the car's fuse enables the other legal functions supplied via the socket to be there but not the ATC powering.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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No, I am defiantly not agreeing with you that:
"BTW you can tow the caravan safely even if the light is solid red or flashing red. You just need to remember that you no longer have a stabiliser and you need to be extra careful."

The error is towing with the "flashing red" and the only way that can happen is if you have power to the ATC.
It runs totally counter to AL-KO's statement and whilst you might check it carefully to believe you can ignore that advice, how do you know that travelling along that power left available might not drag the brakes?
With flashing red despite any pre towing checks you certainly are not ensuring the van is as claimed being towed "safely". If you remove the power so it is not flashing and have checked for no drag then you move to being a bit safer. Pulling the car's fuse enables the other legal functions supplied via the socket to be there but not the ATC powering.
Then I am unsure why we did not have an issue on a long tow? We knew that the brakes had not locked on and that the caravan could move freely. We were told by a technician at the time that we should be able to tow and we believed him. I never pulled the car'sfuse as had no idea where it wsa located. We took it easy travelling down to Malvern. Maybe we were lucky? Not arguing, but trying to find an answer. We no longer have that caravan anyway as it was a problem from day one!
 
Nov 11, 2009
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No, it is not as stated "it’s powered via the electrics from the van ".

It is powered from the car's electrics.

Not "semantics" fact, that surely is best understood than otherwise.
To my mind a caravan has three electrical systems. One road safety, two supplementary and three habitation. Systems 1 and 2 are powered by the cars electrics. The supplies are distributed from within the caravan. (Alko reference in FAQ)
 
Mar 27, 2011
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Well there’s a lot more to know than just plug it in and forget, I am a tugger that I’d class as being one of the slower tuggers that annoys solo drivers, I’m not especially slow but definitely don’t go over the lower speeds allowed when towing so hopefully I’ll never get to feel it activate, I’m happy to arrive in one piece than not arrive at all, but it’s nice to know it’s there just in case. having read all this my only reservation is, if we tow for a trip that takes 3 hours it’s likely I’d stop for a stretch after a couple of hours then carry on, so I set off with a green light on and at any point during that 2 hours it could go to red flashing or solid and I’m not going to know, if it’s got the brakes binding it would be a short time before the pads got really hot, I might look to see if there’s still a repeater that I can have in the car if only for this reason.
great feedback from all many thanks

BP
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Maybe we were lucky? Not arguing, but trying to find an answer.
Yes, that was the case , "lucky" as you had flashing red and towed with the ATC system powered up, connected in both the mechanical and electrical senses.
There is a chance falling either way the ATC could be somehow locked and will not budge again or still receiving power to move, it might just do so.

Hence AL-KO's very sound advice "Do not continue with the ATC connected" Table on their page 4

Should you find that flashing red, then to tow or not you have to determine if the push rod's "RED" indicator is visible or not. Details on their page 5 of the above link.

If it is then you can't tow until the rod has been physically disconnected.
If it is not, then you can, but they don't overrule the previous statement about "not continuing with the ATC connected".


So to repeat, if it remains powered and also mechanically connected, then possibly it might just move again. If the power is disconnected it will not have any chance of getting the energy to push the brakes on.

If it came on its full strength you would know and could stop. IMO the bigger danger is just dragging and destroying the brakes so they can't help you stop.
 
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Nov 16, 2015
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When I had our ATC activate , I had just passed an HGV car Transporter, and as the caravan was passing the Tractor unit the van got into a huge two swings, the caravan brakes came on hard and straightened up the van and us the speed dropped to about 45 mph and then released. The system works well.
I had too much weight under the rear island bed, . Very balance aware now.
 
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Mar 17, 2020
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When I had our ATC activate , I had just passed an HGV car Transporter, and as the caravan was passing the Tractor unit the van got into a huge two swings, the caravan brakes came on hard and straightened up the van and us the speed dropped to about 45 mph and then released. The system works well.
I had too much weight under the rear island bed, . Very balance aware now.
I think car transporters are renown for their turbulence. We had a similar experience about 30 years ago in France but without the benefit of ATC.

I fail to understand why anyone would opt not to have ATC on their van.

As you're suggesting we all can make sloppy loading errors and get into difficulty. With ATC, in your case thank goodness, everything settled down without mishap.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I suspect ATC or it's equivalents, has not been widely adopted so far becasue of cost.

To some extent I'd ask is ATC necessary ? and the accurate answer is no - providing everyone loads and drives caravans correctly. However there can be little doubt that some people fail to load or drive correctly, so the assistance ATC can provide is beneficial, but it hasn't reached the public's or politicians minds in the same way the Seat belts ABS braking and daylight driving lights etc have.

Perhaps in the future ATC will bee seen as one of those essential back up safety devices and produce insurance incentives or made a legal requirement.

There would of course be difficulties becasue it can only be fitted to trailer with brakes and that would exclude sub 750KG garden trailers, and some other commercial trailers.
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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I suspect ATC or it's equivalents, has not been widely adopted so far becasue of cost.

To some extent I'd ask is ATC necessary ? and the accurate answer is no - providing everyone loads and drives caravans correctly. However there can be little doubt that some people fail to load or drive correctly, so the assistance ATC can provide is beneficial, but it hasn't reached the public's or politicians minds in the same way the Seat belts ABS braking and daylight driving lights etc have.

Perhaps in the future ATC will bee seen as one of those essential back up safety devices and produce insurance incentives or made a legal requirement.

There would of course be difficulties becasue it can only be fitted to trailer with brakes and that would exclude sub 750KG garden trailers, and some other commercial trailers.
Sub-750kg unbraked trailers aren't an issue - their towing vehicle must have a kerbweight at least 2x the unbraked trailer's maximum weight, ie a towing ratio less than 50%
 
Mar 27, 2011
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I got my insurance through CAMHC and they gave me a discount for having ATC I can’t remember if it was 10 or 15% discount so it saves a bit of the cost, I can’t agree with the statement above that says if everyone loads and drives correctly it is unnecessary, I understand the reasoning of saying that but even the best loaded van at speeds within limits for the road they are on can still get caught out by HGV’s especially car transporters and side winds gusting from the side and causing a bit of instability, maybe in a perfect world or utopia such things would never occur, but we’re living in a totally chaotic world, and utopia it certainly ain’t.

BP
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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Clive , pin 9 permanent live. Live even when engine Not running.
Only had flashing red once. Coincidence maybe but I had not released the handbrake. Releasing that and reconnecting the 13 pin again everything
was fine. Some other sites say tow for 50 yards and check flashing red has gone green. If not then you shouldn’t tow in case the malfunction activates the brakes later on if not already on!
 

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