Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the questions we are often asked, hopefully they will have answered your queries. If you have any other questions or need further clarification please do not hesitate to call us on: 01205 820004.

Our list of frequently asked questions is divided into sections. To expand a section, click on it.

Ordering

How do I order?

Orders can be made by telephone, e-mail or post. Please ensure that you leave a contact number to enable us to contact you in the event of any queries.

How to pay?

Payment may be made by VISA, MASTER CARD, UK BANK CHEQUE, BANKERS DRAFT, BANK TRANSFER in UK Pounds or by Postal Order. Payment by credit card will incur a 5% surcharge to cover Merchant Services charges. We only accept card transactions over £20.

Is there any charge for delivery?

Our standard delivery charge is £12 unless otherwise indicated.

Cruise Controls

What is cruise control?

The 'heart' of a cruise control system is the electronics module which is mounted behind the dashboard. The driver controls the cruise by means of a command module which can be steering column, dashboard, steering wheel or even gearstick mounted. The vehicle's speed nowadays is controlled electronically, so there are no moving parts. Older vehicles need a system which uses an actuator - either an actuator which is vacuum controlled from the brake servo or a separate electric actuator - to move the throttle on the engine. Speed signals are generally now available electronically within the vehicle but can also be obtained via a transducer fitted to the gearbox or speedo of older vehicles or even using magnets around a prop or drive shaft. A clutch switch may also be installed where there is no existing connection available within the vehicle.

What does it comprise?

The ‘brain’ of any system is the electronics module, which contains a microprocessor and is normally mounted behind the dashboard. The engine is controlled by an actuator which is linked by a bowden cable (like a bicycle brake cable) either directly to the throttle control on the engine or, more often nowadays with ‘drive by wire’ systems, to the throttle pedal. The driver has a unit, the command module, conveniently positioned on a stalk, on the dashboard or even on the steering wheel which allows him to operate the system. The cruise control also needs information on the speed of the vehicle and this can be obtained in a number of ways - from an electronic speedo; from an added transducer; from the vehicle’s coil; from the ‘W’ terminal of the alternator or even from magnets fitted around the prop or drive shaft. It is also essential that the system instantly disengages when the brakes are depressed so an electrical connection is made to either side of the existing brake switch in the vehicle and in many instances the clutch pedal operation is also sensed.

How does it work?

The driver operates the system by driving to the required speed and pressing a ‘set’ button on the command module. The vehicle then maintains that speed without the driver using the throttle pedal. If the brake is depressed, the module is switched off or the clutch pedal is operated (if clutch operation is included) the system will disengage instantly. A touch on the ‘resume’ button will take the vehicle automatically back to the set speed. The driver can increase the speed of the vehicle by tapping the ‘set’ button - which will advance the speed by about 1/2 mph per tap; by pressing and holding the ‘set’ button - which will cause the vehicle to gradually increase speed until the button is released or by pressing down on the throttle pedal and touching the ‘set’ button at a higher speed. The driver can decrease speed by ‘tapping down’ on the ‘resume’ button (about 1/2 mph per tap); pressing and holding the ‘resume’ button and releasing it at a lower speed or braking (which will instantly disengage the cruise control system) and touching the ‘set’ button at a slower speed.

There are different command modules available which offer functions such as an ‘engaged’ light which indicates when the cruise control is operating; an additional button which, when touched, disengages the system or an infra - red module which mounts on the steering wheel. A memory module is also available which allows the driver to preset three speeds and by touching any one of three buttons the cruise control will automatically reset the vehicle speed to that which has been preset It is also possible to interface an aftermarket cruise control system with a vehicle manufacturer’s control switch so that, to the driver, the system looks like original equipment.

What are the different types of cruise control?

There are two basic cruise control systems available which use either electric or vacuum actuators - either working effectively and safely on all types of vehicle. The vacuum actuator consists of a cylindrical actuator with a rubber diaphragm inside, the centre of which is connected - via the inner of a bowden cable - to the vehicle’s throttle. The power to operate this actuator is normally taken from a pipe leading from the brake servo, which is cut, a ‘V piece inserted and a rubber tube attached which is then routed to the vacuum actuator. The disadvantages of the vacuum system are that because it uses a rubber diaphragm over time it will wear and any small puncture will cause it to become inoperative; it tends to be more sluggish in its operation; it tends not to hold the set speed as well as the electric system; in the case of a warranty problem with the vehicle the manufacturers could, if they were so inclined, state that the warranty is invalid because the vacuum source had been taken from the brake servo by cutting into an existing pipe. The advantage of the vacuum system is that it is cheaper. The electric actuator comprises an electric motor, geartrain and electromechanical clutch all contained in one unit The disadvantage of the electric system is that it is more expensive. The advantages are that it does not use a rubber diaphragm in its operation; it does not cut into any of the existing pipework of the vehicle; it holds the set speed more accurately and is less sluggish.

What are the benefits of cruise control?

The main benefits of cruise control are no accidental speeding; better fuel economy (because the cruise control only uses sufficient fuel to maintain the set speed and no more, with a far greater degree of accuracy than in normal driving); more relaxed driving (because the driver can stretch his legs and alter his driving position easily]; safer driving (because the driver concentrates on the road and other road users and does not have to worry about his speed].

What about future changes?

Cruise control has become more popular in recent years, which has led to greater reliability, improvements in its operation and a wider selection of features. Vehicle manufacturers still tend to offer cruise control either as standard on higher spec cars or as an option - but only for particular vehicles. Luxury car manufacturers (notably Jaguar and Mercedes) now offer adaptive cruise control on their more exotic models. This is simply a cruise control system incorporating forward looking sensors which indicate when the vehicle is getting too close to the vehicle in front and slow it down. Drivers wanting a cruise control system can have an aftermarket system installed by an experienced fitter and be assured that it will perform as well, if not better, than those offered by vehicle manufacturers.

Can I install a cruise control system myself?

Yes. We are happy to supply kits for DIY installation and also offer telephone technical support where required.

Can I change over an existing cruise control system to a new vehicle?

Yes. With the AP 900 it may be necessary to change the 'T' harness to one suited to the new vehicle and if you are changing over an actuator system, the ELEC-1 is easier to transfer than the VAC-2.

What happens if I'm using the cruise control system and I need to brake suddenly?

The instant you touch the brake pedal the cruise will disengage.

I've been told that you can only use cruise control systems on motorways or other good dual carriageways?

Operating the cruise control system is simply a matter of pressing a button or flicking a stalk control. The cruise controls can generally be operated from about 25mph upwards and can be used on any road.

How will the cruise control help with fuel saving?

The cruise control electronics module monitors the vehicle's speed many times each second and makes minor adjustments to the throttle to ensure that the set speed is maintained. These throttle alterations are far more precise (and use less fuel) than could be achieved by driving normally when, even if the driver is concentrating, variations in the speed (and the use of fuel) will occur.

Reversing Aids

Will the reversing TV work properly at night?

All of the systems offered feature cameras with built-in infra-red LEDs which will give an image on the monitor even if there is no ambient light.

Can I add another camera to the system?

Yes, the system can be tailored to suit your particular requirements by adding one or two additional cameras. Different cameras are available to allow you to tailor the system to your precise needs. For example you may prefer a side view camera installed to allow you to keep an eye on the side of your vehicle whilst you are driving or reversing.

I've heard that there are 'blind spots' in reversing sensor systems so are they effective?

The sensors 'see' an object and its distance by sending out ultrasonic waves and 'reading' the return signal. The angle of the signal is wide but there are 'blind spots' very near to the vehicle. However, for a vehicle to reverse such that an object is in the 'blind spot' would mean that the object would have to pass through the 'field' of one of the sensors first and so would be detected. The systems are very accurate (to about 1 cm) and will detect objects but, as with any aid to reversing, the driver is ultimately responsible for his vehicle.

Are reversing sensor systems difficult to install?

If the person installing has normal handyman skills they are relatively easy to fit. The 'wired' systems require just two wires to be permanently connected into the reversing light wiring. The sensors are fitted into the bumper of the vehicle and the wires are then routed to the electronics module which is mounted inside. If a dashboard display model is selected, the wiring has to be run from the back to the display at the front.

Shows

See us at many of the motorhome and outdoor leisure shows during the year!

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News

Special Offer
An AP900 with STALK/MEM command module installed for only £415 (a saving of £23 on the normal price).

This offer assumes that no additional elements are required for the installation such as a canbus interpreter, clutch switch or speed pulse transducer.