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Old 03-30-2011, 12:11 PM   #1
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Cell Phone and Brake Controller

Prodigy says to mount the controller more than 12" from RF emitting devices (cell phone). Why? I want to know why? The only answer I could find with a Google search was that interference from the phone could cause the brakes to activate. Anybody have a better explanation? Thanks, Jamie

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Old 03-30-2011, 12:51 PM   #2
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That’s pretty much it. Cell phones are basically two-way radios. The do emit electrical energy.
This energy can cause the circuits in other electronic devices do strange things. In the case of the brake controller, the energy radiated by the phone could be interpreted by the processor in the brake controller to be the signal from the brake pedal to apply the brakes on the trailer.
Can’t say for sure it will happen, but can’t say it won’t either.

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Old 03-30-2011, 12:53 PM   #3
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Yes, in theory the RF could cause the brake controller to fail or to apply the brakes when it shouldn't.

I doubt if it would happen, in practice, with current generation cell phones. They operate at lower power levels and higher frequencies that are less prone to that kind of interference.

A handheld CB radio or a handheld VHF or UHF radio (commercial, amateur, law enforcement, DoD, aviation, marine) would pose a greater problem.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:03 PM   #4
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I use a Prodigy. It is mounted about 12 inches from the slot in the dash where I place my cell phone. I've never experienced any problems. However, I can see if the phone were placed right next to the Prodigy it could cause a problem. Keep in mind that when Prodigy says to keep a 12 in distance of separation, they are looking at it from a product liability standpoint. I'm sure there is a significant amount of margin built into their analysis.
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Old 03-30-2011, 01:36 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies. It drives me crazy when instructions tell you not to do something but not why. Jamie
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:54 PM   #6
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Most users of a product don't care why. The reason can be very technical and may generate more questions than it answers. Also the reason can give competition data that could be used against the original manufacturer in the marketing world.

The company that generates instructions really only care if they are followed or not because of the liability associated with not following them exactly. To print a reason means extra space and again the original issue of liability. If we gave you the reason and the product failed because of a different reason and you were using the product not in accordance with the instructions the user may have some ground for a claim.

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Old 03-31-2011, 05:44 AM   #7
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Hi the community,

I confirm that Prodigy brake controller becomes out of working when a cell phone is put near it.... This summer , the prodigy indicated me "non connected" so I stopped driving to check the connections between my F150 and the A/S.... but nothing wrong. By chance, I 've taken my cell phone from it place ( under the brake controller) and this indicated "connected" !!!!

now, I know there are interferences between these two electronic devices and I have to let distance between us ( on the rear seats by example... that is good as we are not allowed to phone in driving in France....)

If that can help you....

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