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Rain Tracker RT-50A w/ Auto Headlamp Control Review

April 3, 2010

Many of today's vehicles are coming equipped with auto windshield wiper technology which operate by turning the wipers on automatically when driving in the rain. Those fortunate enough to have driven on of these vehicles know how beneficial this feature can be. For those without it, Rain Tracker brings us the RT-50A, which not only gives us auto wipers, but adds auto headlights as well.

There are two models available the RT-40A (59.99) and the RT-50A (79.99). The difference between the two is the RT-50A provides additional features such as the ability to control the high speed setting for your wipers and adding the auto headlamp feature. The lower model also does not come with can-bus support for vehicles that require it.

With the minor difference in price, I decided to go with the higher model RT-50A.

 

Unpacking the RT-50A

Installation took about an hour and was a breeze due to the wiring instructions provided on Rain Trackers web site. Headlamp wiring was not provided, and required manual testing with a multi meter. For those looking to install this on their own, look for a negative trigger (if possible) for your lights to avoid wiring an additional relay. Find the parking lights and the headlamp and diode isolate each. An additional switch is also required to mount if you want to control this function. If you didn't get a word of what I just said, then professional installation is recommended.

I tested it out with a spray bottle after installation, and made sure it went through the high speed function as well. The headlights also automatically come on whenever the rain sensor is activated, or in low light conditions.

Testing it out in the real world, I tested it in some of the lightest drizzles, to heavy rain. In light drizzling conditions, an manual wipe is sometimes required by the driver. Keep in mind this is in really drizzle type situations and when the drops of rain might miss the sensor. The thing that immediately catches your attention is the adaptability of the unit in real time. Rain conditions can change quite often when driving, and the RT-50A does an excellent job in keeping up. It wipes when necessary and stops immediately when no rain is sensed. These changes are so fast that the small bits of dry land under overpasses are enough to make the sensor think it has stopped raining!

A final wipe always follows the last wipe about 30 seconds later. This is for any water that may have splashed up on your windshield from your hood. It really makes sense when you see it in action, and is a great feature of the product.

The only problems I have seen with the Rain Tracker is there would be very rare instances where the wipers would wipe, with no visible rain. This could be due to just having a dirty windshield over the area of the sensor, or it could be the sensor sensing very minute levels of moisture in the air. A separate switch that is not provided is also required if you want to turn the auto headlight feature off. I thought it would have been better if the same switch controlled both, but later came to the conclusion that it was better this way, as there are times when you don't want your lights running, but want your auto wipers working.

My final thoughts on the Rain Tracker? I guess it depends on how often you drive in wet conditions. In Hawaii, it's every other week, (every DAY on the windward side!), but it does give me two less things to worry about when driving. It's definitely an art watching the automated wipers, and can make rain desirable at times. If your passengers often remind you that it stopped raining a couple miles back, then it can definitely help you. Not to mention, the auto headlamp feature is something that "comes into play" on a daily basis. I see it becoming a standard feature one day parallel to power door locks or power windows, but for now this is the best solution for vehicles without it.

Bottom Line- The Rain Tracker RT-50A works as advertised, has exceeded my expectations on the responsiveness and will provide maximum visibility during rainy conditions.

 

 

Buy the RT-50A here or the RT-40A here!