What is a controller?

A controller, or management, is how you get the air from the tank/compressor to the airbag. It is the part of the system that has the most effect upon the price.

Controllers can simply be basic non-solenoid manual paddle controllers which are very simple, relatively cheap and quite slow. These are the controllers of choice for motorhomes and vans; they can also work very well on cars. They are used on more subtle systems and usually take between 10 and 20 seconds to lift a vehicle from fully-down to fully-up.

There are also solenoid controllers. Solenoids can be controlled by any electrical controller and these vary from switches like those used for electric windows to switch boxes, multi-function remotes and ECUs (which have their own page here).

Basic solenoid and non-solenoid controllers tend to look very similar, so it is not always obvious which system a car has. Both will normally have a switch, which is either electric or pneumatic, next to a standard 52mm gauge. The gauge normally has two needles – one for the left and one for the right bag.

The controllers are used by simply pressing up to inflate and down to deflate. The gauge needle will give a very good approximation of the height of each corner. It is simple to learn what pressure is needed to drive without catching, what is most comfortable, and how much to increase the rear by if you have extra passengers.

What kind of controllers do we offer?

At the deluxe level, we offer a system with three programmable pre-sets that will allow you to adjust to a pre-set height. This comes with a four-corner controller that allows you to adjust each corner individually. This system is the most automated and includes height maintenance, which means it will automatically adjust itself to the load and road conditions. It is controlled either from a phone app or from an on-board wireless controller.

The standard computer system includes five programmable pre-sets and a full four-corner controller that allows individual adjustments to each corner and precise levelling. However, this system works from pressure sensors alone, rather than height sensors, and so may not necessarily maintain the height or balance loads automatically. It is controlled from an in-car wired controller or from a phone app.

The manual paddle kit includes four switches that allow you to mechanically control the air in each of the bags. This allows you to adjust each of the four corners and set your own ride heights.

The solenoid kit includes four advanced, easy-to-install electric solenoids. These are both more responsive and faster than the manual paddle kit and come with more compact switches.

To be able to adjust using any form of remote requires solenoids.

How to choose a controller/management

How do you want to be able to control your vehicle?

Make sure you only choose an FBSS (Front Back, Side-to-Side), four-circuit system. Anything else is not safe for road use, and therefore not legal for road use. We don’t supply any system which is not fully independent for each wheel.

For customers wanting pure function and no play then the Manual Paddle Controller (MPC) or small solenoid kits are perfect.

For users wanting pre-sets, to lift to a specific height with the touch of a button, or to go to a specific height when the ignition is switched on, then a computer/ECU is the best way forward.

Simple Schrader valve kits have historically been the first choice for motorhome owners, but more customers are now seeing the benefits of full On-Board Air (OBA) to be able to adjust the height at the touch of a button and therefore always get the absolute best from the system.