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Old 04-10-2004, 06:19 PM   #29
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Prodigy Controller IS Doing its Job!!

Hi Folks,

I think I have finally solved the problem with the brakes on my trailer. The truck is wired correctly and the Prodigy is working perfectly. In fact, it is the Prodigy that brought my problem to a head. It indicated an 'nc' condition intermittantly, definitly a cause for concern!

Today I spent several productive hours confirming the brakes are wired correctly at the backing plates. I was getting frustrated until I realized the wires for the breakaway switch hadn't been checked. One of the wires was firmly attached to the blue brake wire with a wirenut, however, the other one pulled out when I attempted to move the wire into a position to check it. It seems the wire was simply pushed into the wirenut and was not making proper contact. Some times the wire would touch the power and the controller indicated a connected condition and the brakes would work. Other times it indicated a not connected condition and nothing worked. Again, it was the Prodigy that let me know there was a problem.

I have repaired the connections with weather proof connectors and the controller indicated connected at all times. I'll be doing a full road test soon, but at least now the system looks solid at all times. It is nice to find a real problem and be able to fix it before it 'fixes' you!

From what I have learned to date I will never knowingly use a controller that doesn't check and report connection integrity continuously ever again. The Prodigy did its job and I finally did mine. My trailer is safely back on the road.

Now for the plumbing . . .

Take care,
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Old 04-23-2004, 11:40 AM   #30
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...I just got the AS back from JC, and I am still having brake problems...will post more info...
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Old 04-26-2004, 08:50 AM   #31
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...Strangeness, indeed.

I think I figured out the NC business -- the bargman connector on the trailer had the little clamp on the brake connector spread out completely. I bent it closed with a little screwdriver, and I drove the trailer around for 90 minutes yesterday through our neighborhood, and I did not notice anything strange...I also sprayed it with contact cleaner.

I took the chance to tweak the Prodigy brake setting -- I was able to lock the brakes up on three of the four wheels with the prodigy set at 9.
It seems to work well around 6.8 or so, with it set to b3. (Quite a skid mark at 9...).

Anyway, I was confident I had finally cured it, when the controller started indicating an sh/ol while I was parking it (backing up for a while -- it is a bit of a manuever to get it parked, and I had to try for several minutes.)

I unplugged it, put the emulator in, and the Prodigy was happy. I ohmed out the brakes -- .9 ohms, where they should be. No short. I plugged trailer back into the truck, and it indicated a sh.

After I got it chocked and the door open, I went back, and the prodigy was not indicating a short anymore...

I am not sure if the magnets change their load when they heat up -- I would expect resistance to go up with temperature, as they are just a coil...at any rate, they ohmed out to the proper value.

I am not sure what I am going to do yet. I did notice the LED display flickers (it does not go off completely, but it flickers a little bit -- you have to stare at it to see it). I wiggled the harness and it seems OK -- the LED does not go blank at any point -- it just seems to flicker a bit.

I think the trailer brakes are OK.
The problems do not duplicate with the emulator.
I think I found why it was going into NC.
But the last question is why it overloads while parking in reverse...
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Old 06-19-2004, 01:15 PM   #32
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Fixed the bugger!

Well, after 10 months of annoyance, I finally fixed my intermittent "NC".

My experience matches Dinoburb's and Hohne's to some respect. Most of the time my "NC" problem was so intermittent that whenever I went to fix it, it was working perfectly. Finally, today -- two days before we were ready to launch for Lansing -- it failed completely (could not get the Prodigy to connect at all). Normally I would be dismayed by that, but in this case it was a relief since I could now seriously troubleshoot the bugger.

I found the problem in by simply wiggling the umbilical plug aggressively. Doing this with someone watching the Prodigy, we caught it displaying ".C" (connected) for just a second or two. Aha!

Open the connector, and what do I find? Corrosion on three of the wires, and one completely loose! Five minutes with some emery cloth and a screwdriver, and voila! Problem solved.

I have to agree with Dinoburb. I'd rather the Prodigy help me identify potential problems (like slowly corroding connections) than just ignore them until failure.

-- RL

PS: Dinoburb -- you can pass the emulator to someone else!
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Old 09-12-2004, 10:18 PM   #33
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towing had become low stress and enjoyable, then...

Well our trailer is at the dealer now with essentially the same problem. It started off very intermittantly and progressively got more solid. In fact when I hooked up to tow the trailer to the dealer the Prodigy registered solid .5H. But I was able to set and adjust the Prodigy and manual/panic breaking worked. On the way to Tucson it bounced back and forth between .NC, .C and .5H. As the Prodigy was under warranty I went to Camping World and they hooked up their Tekonsha tester (a large sheet metal box with lights, meters and a Tekonsha logo) to the truck's bargeman connector. No errors. The tech reseated all the cable connectors and couldn't get it to fail. Last report I had from the dealer was that they had the wheels off and were looking at the brakes. I'll be surprized if they find anything there. I'm hoping they hook the sales managers truck up to our trailer (he has a Prodigy too) and can reproduce the problem. That will convince me (and hopefully the dealer) that the Prodigy is not the issue. Then they can start tracing the wiring.
Good thing everything is warranty,
Ken
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Old 09-13-2004, 12:46 AM   #34
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Hi Silverback!

The best troubleshooting tool is already installed on your truck: the Prodigy self-test feature. With all of the brake problems identified through the cryptic codes of the Prodigy, so far every code has been traced to a vehicular/trailer problem. The brake controller is not at fault when transmitting codes. It's doing exactly what is it supposed to do: alert you to a problem in the braking system.

Because the codes are new to most of us used to the older style of controller, there is a tendency to assign failure to the controller rather than trust what the unit is reporting. ("It's always seemed to work OK before," syndrome) Tekonsha is a reputable company producing many fine controllers over the years. The Prodigy is the latest with some new features we, the users, need to become more familiar with before assigning blame to the unit itself.

Of course, once a problem has been identified the fun(?) begins. Intense troubleshooting with meter, wirenuts, wire, brake componentry, and nearly anything else electrical involved with the brakes becomes the pressing issue.

Take care,
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Old 03-18-2005, 04:54 PM   #35
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Jackson Center fixed the problem...

Had our trailer back for minor warranty issues...

They still could not find the problem with the brakes -- they did a current check and visually inspected the wiring when they had the wheels off for the bearing recall.

They wanted me to come up with the tow vehicle and show them the problem.

Got hitched up, pulled it up 5 feet, and the problem duplicated.

Outlined the tale of woe to the mechanic -- he was not sure what to do as he did the checks and also looked at the wiring visually.

I suggested we try to use another tow vehicle, and see if the problem duplicated. He came out with a a late model Pick-up with a Prodigy in it...

We hooked it up, and it showed sh (short). He said not to get too excited, he went in, got some contact cleaner, and sprayed the socket of the truck, and it started to behave.

He drove is around the service center via the factory gate, and the problem duplicated.

To make a long story shorter, he jacked up the AS so he could spin the wheels, and spun each one and found which wheel it was.

He pulled the wheel, and found where the magnet pigtail had rubbed on a moving part of the brake assembly -- the wire would occasionally hit a rotating part of the wheel if the brake was actuated. It was missed during the visual inspections due to brake dust hiding the rub...

All is working normally, without the occasional braking excitment...the Prodigy was not the problem.

-RobH
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Old 03-18-2005, 07:47 PM   #36
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Rob, it's great to hear they finally found the problem!
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