Anyone growing up during the 80s and the 90s will have experienced the IT revolution and the computerisation of our lives. Everything became digital and, because prices for electronics was so cheap, our houses were full of computers, home theatres and other gadgets. These were usually connected with a myriad of wires which were unreliable, unsightly dust collectors. That was until wireless technology transformed our lives and made our personal technology portable, reliable and, most importantly, more reliable.
So you really have to wonder why, in this wireless age, that we caravanners still rely on wired connections to our trailers lights and brakes. Seriously, no matter which system you use, round, square, 7 pin, 12 pin, they have the same fatal flaw. They are unreliable, prone to the effects of weather and the environment, and, in the worst circumstances, destroyed on rough terrain. It’s amazing that the industry hasn’t developed some form of wireless technology to connect our trailer brakes and lighting.
Well now they have. It’s called WiTi and I believe it is a game changer for all caravanners and anyone else who regularly tows a large trailer or tows off road.
The WiTi system consists of 2 control modules. One for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer. It connects in parallel with your existing trailer wiring. The control modules can be mounted inside virtually any cavity, storage space or panelling of the car and in a convenient location in the van. WiTi recommends either in the tunnel boot or under the bed.
The trailer module includes a motion sensor and alarm speaker output and functions as a security immobiliser/alarm system for your trailer. In the event someone tries to steal it, the motion sensor detects the movement, sounds the alarm and locks the brakes, making moving the trailer nearly impossible. The system is controlled by the included key fobs. It’s a brilliant feature and adds to the appeal and value of the system.
Now, I consider myself a bit of a tech-head. I like my gadgets and I love technology that makes my life easier. That said, even considering the troubles I’ve had over my years of towing with broken or unreliable trailer wiring, when I was approached to trial the WiTi system, I was somewhat apprehensive about installing it on our caravan. I really don’t know why. Perhaps it was a step into unfamiliar territory or just the fear of trying something completely new. Whatever it was, it was totally unfounded. The WiTi system is absolutely brilliant.
The physical installation is relatively simple for anyone handy with basic 12v electrical wiring although to ensure a professional job, it might be a good idea to have it installed by a qualified auto electrician or caravan repairer.
It involves finding the 7 core wiring that goes to the plugs, stripping back the outer sheath to expose the individual core wires, carefully stripping back the insulation on each wire and t-joining the corresponding colour wire to the WiTi unit. At present you will need a length of 7 core trailer cable in order to have sufficient cable length to reach the WiTi unit itself. The manufacturers are looking into providing a wiring loom in the future as part of the package.
It’s a similar process for installing the module for the trailer. There is a slight complication here has you need to be able to access the cable for the lights and brakes in a convenient location to where you intend to mount the control module. Most caravan manufacturers run the cable from the plug down inside one of the A frame beams. Where the cable goes from there is a bit of a lottery. At some point it will enter the caravan frame where it is virtually inaccessible.
We were lucky with our Roadstar caravan as the cable exited at the rear end of the A frame and then back up into the wall. There was a conveniently exposed section of cable that we could easily tap into and run the new wire to the space under the café lounge seats where we mounted the trailer WiTi module.
Installing the trailer module is basically the same as the tow vehicle with the exception it has the added connection for the alarm horn. It also has its own break away emergency activation system that complies with ADR38/04 and New South Wales VIB06. If your caravan already has an emergency break away system, there’s no need to use this feature. It is important to note that power to the electronic brakes must now be provided by the van’s batteries. Given most breakaway systems are linked to these batteries in order to charge the emergency battery itself, there is no further rewiring required. You just need to ensure the van batteries get sufficient charge from your solar panels or from an Anderson plug connection to the tow vehicle alternator.
WiTi recommends the horn for the security feature be mounted at least 2 metres away from the control module to prevent the vibrations of the horn triggering the movement detector.
Once both modules have been installed, the two units should automatically pair and start to work together. If this doesn’t happen, simply recheck your wiring and check to ensure none of the included fuses have blown. If all is good, simply remove the fuse from one of the modules and reconnect it. This resets the units and they should now pair successfully.
Everything should now work as it did previously, just without the trailer plugs connected. This includes the electronic brake controller in the tow vehicle. Even proportional braking systems function perfectly through the WiTi connection.
After we completed our installation, I took our rig home via Melbourne’s CityLink where there was excess traffic thanks to the football being on that night. It was also dark so I really needed the system to work from the get go. To my amazement, it work so well it was impossible to tell anything had changed in the system. The brakes worked immediately and with the same proportionality as they did before. I didn’t need to adjust the brakes at all. The lights worked perfectly all the way home. Just brilliant…!!
Couple of things you need to consider before purchasing a WiTi unit. You must have LED lighting on your van or trailer. The system is not capable of handling the high power demands of older incandescent lights. Fortunately it’s not hard to upgrade an older van to LED lighting systems. Also, if you have an older Redarc non proportional brake controller, you may need a resistor wired in to the system for it to function correctly. If you have one of these, contact WiTi for details on what is required.
The WiTi system will not replace any Anderson plug charging of your trailer batteries, fridge power or any wired camera systems. These will still need to have physical wired connections.
A little side note. On the way home, I heard a call over the UHF CB from someone calling a car towing a large caravan. When I answered it, the caller said that my lights weren’t working. When I looked in my rear view mirror, I could see them working perfectly. He was following someone else who had obviously forgotten to connect their plugs in or had an issue with their connection. Fairly typical of the old wired systems. At this point I realised the true value of the WiTi and I am very happy with the decision to install it.
To sum up the WITi system, it’s a brilliant innovation to caravanning and towing generally. It’s easy to install, does what it says it will do and provides the additional anti-theft feature as part of the package. It gives you total piece of mind when it comes to trailer lights and braking connections. If you do any off road towing, or you’ve experienced issues with your trailer lights in the past, you will totally appreciate the WiTi system. And because it is wired into the existing wiring connections, in the unlikely event the WiTi system fails, you have your old wired connections to fall back on.
We give it a big 5 Westies rating.