12V Guru – ESC Wiring in your caravan

12V Guru – ESC Wiring in your caravan


Complete caravan novice here.

I have a JAYCO CROSSTRAK (and still waiting for the delivery of a new PRADO). I have also installed WiTi Antitheft and Wireless brake controller, planning to use their Wireless towing interface.

Is there any reason why I cannot connect the ESC to the caravan batteries?


Christopher Deakin

12V Guru Says..

Hi Christopher,

Thanks for your question. This is one that we have not yet covered.  

The WiTi product is a relative newcomer to the market and as such, I have not seen a lot of commentary about its interoperability with trailer brakes. However, after digesting their product information and our intimate knowledge of sway systems such as the ESC and BMPRO SwayControl, happy to share the following.

The ESC system has been designed to take power from the towing vehicle and it is recommended that you wire appropriately through a 12-pin plug or via a separate 2-pin Anderson connection.  Here, best practice suggested that constant power is supplied from the tow vehicle. In comparison, the BMPRO SwayControl is designed to maximise the opportunity to utilise the caravan house battery. There are benefits and pitfalls to both.

The ESC system from ALKO is suitable where there is no battery in the caravan, using the power from the towing vehicle. The downfall to this system (in my experience) is that you need to ensure that your connections from the towing vehicle are well maintained and in “tip-top” working conditions otherwise you can experience the ESC cutting in and out when it is required without the driver having any knowledge of this actually happening.

The BMPRO SwayControl on the other hand enables you to utilise the house battery in your caravan and is powered directly by this battery. So, you will need to ensure that not only is there a battery onboard but that it is maintained and charged to a level that can provide the adequate power requirements.

Best Practices for ESC

I strongly recommend that you keep the ESC wiring powered from the tow vehicle as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.  To ensure that these safety systems work effectively it is imperative that wiring for the ESC is kept as a dedicated system.  From a power management and earthing perspective, it’s wise to ensure that the WiTi system is kept dedicated to its purposes and the ESC is left independent to function effectively. Only authorised installers should operate on the ESC system to ensure its integrity.

Unlike the SwayControl the ESC system does not have an off-road mode. So, when at rounding kerbs/roundabouts or heading offroad and if it is not separated from its power source (like the 12V Anderson), you are likely to activate the brakes on the caravan unnecessarily. Also, the ESC when connected directly to caravan batteries could cause unnecessary braking in rough terrain due to its permanent power source. In addition, if a constant power source is supplied to the ESC, it will likely drain the house battery. But if it is powered only from the towed vehicle, when the ignition is turned off then so does the ESC – preventing battery drain. 

Overall, I suggest installing safety systems such as the ESC or SwayControl exactly as per the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that it meets your expectations, especially in the case of an extreme emergency.


Safe travels,

12V Guru

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