View Poll Results: Which controller is the best:
Tekonsha P3 8 53.33%
Hensley TruControl Gold 4 26.67%
Brakesmart 3 20.00%
Voters: 15. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 11-01-2009, 06:30 AM   #1
Be Calm, Have a Cupcake
 
Secguru's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 223
Images: 1
Prodigy vs. Hensley TruControl vs. Brakesmart

I tow a 34' Excella (3-axel electric brakes) with a 2005 Silverado 2500 Duramax Short Bed. I intend to buy a ProPride as it seems that Jim Hensley has made several improvements over the original Hensley Arrow. I also want the best brake controller available for this rig and trailer.

I have read a lot of threads on these brake controllers, but none seem to address the key claims by Hensley that the TruControl handles declines and inclines and is current compensated and compensates for electric brake fade. Some posts state that the TruControl is the same as the Prodogy P3 but as I understand it, the Prodogy does not have any of these capabilities.

Could anyone please clarify these points without "slamming" anyone's products? I just want facts, not vitriol and inuendo.

Be kind to everyone,
Secguru
__________________

__________________
Secguru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2009, 08:00 AM   #2
Rivet Master
 
RangerJay's Avatar
 
2002 19' Bambi
Northwestern Ontario , - on the backside of the map and just above the big green spot
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 818
Images: 44
I know nothing about TruControl or Brakesmart so can't really make a comparison - what I can say though is that we've used a P2 for two camping seasons now - about 16,000 KM - and have absolutely no complaints - much improved performance over our previous Voyageur model - easy set-up - easy adjustment - informative display - consistent in its responses - smooth and reliable on hilly terrain.

I'd also be interested in knowing what additional benefits the other two models have.


Jay
__________________

__________________
Bambi - 2002 (The Toaster)
Pathfinder - 2009 (The Buggy)

"I'm not young enough to know everything ....."
(Oscar Wilde)
RangerJay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2009, 08:38 AM   #3
Rivet Master
 
boondockdad's Avatar
 
2008 30' Classic S/O
Dearborn , Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,295
Images: 21
P3 works very well with my electric/hydraulic (actibrake) brakes. 'Boost' and 'gain' easy to set... 'boost' setting compensates nicely for split-second brake delay... eliminates any hensley 'bump'
__________________
boondockdad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2009, 08:40 PM   #4
Rivet Master
 
2005 19' Safari
GLENDALE , AZ
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,441
It seems like a lot of streamers have Prodigy's. They've been in production quite a while, and I don't recall ever reading any negative comments on them. We've had ours since 2005. I think the P3 is the "next generation", although if the Prodigy will fit your application it may be a little less money out of pocket.

I'd ask around and see if you can ride along with people who have the brake controllers you are considering. That way you can "test drive" them before deciding.
__________________
Phoenix is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2009, 01:20 AM   #5
Be Calm, Have a Cupcake
 
Secguru's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 223
Images: 1
More detail on the TruControl

Dear Friends: Thanks for your replies to my question. I deeply appreciate your input. I found some more information on the difference between the Hensley TruControl Brake Controller and the others on TundraSolutions.com Following is a clip from posts by Ron Hensley (Hensley Mfg.) and others:

Essentially, the TruControl operates much like the Prodigy.The key difference is the automatic power out (gain). We simply use software to continuously adjust the gain as you drive. The input is taken from 1)acceleration, 2)incline/declilne angle and 3)acceleration around curves. We also measure amperage draw and adjust for brake heat.
What all that means is there is no "boost" or "gain" setting. You don't have to adjust between city and highway, which adds a measure of safety. I'm now convinced that 90% of the people towing have their gains set too low. I'm also convinced that a good number have at least one bad trailer brake and don't know it!
The TC is also built to handle 48 Amps of power. Overkill, yes, but the thing will never overheat or "drop off" after the initial power surge. I've talked to a lot of guys who tow the big fivers who say most controllers simply won't stop the trailer, just slow it down.
Also something on the "Hensley Bump", which I had heard about but did not understand. I hope this will be useful for those who are reading this thread.
The Hensley Bump is the result of the trailer overtaking the tow vehicle in stop or reduction of speed. The linkage allows the trailer to move forward, but not sway (anyone who hasn't seen it will be confused by that statement).
The reason the trailer overtakes the tow vehicle is because most RVers keep their gain set too low on the brake controller. That's so they don't get jerked around in city driving.

Here is the link to this source: The Hensley Guy - Introduction - Tundra Solutions Forum


Be kind to everyone,

Secguru
__________________
Secguru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2009, 01:31 AM   #6
_
 
. , .
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 8,812
Quote:
Originally Posted by Secguru View Post
...I intend to buy a ProPride as it seems that Jim Hensley has made several improvements over the original
hi secguru

my controller (ford ITBC) works fantastically but isn't in the poll

and doesn't solve your issue.

but i can confirm there is NO haha bump IF the controller is adjusted properly and the brakes UP to the task.

discs on the trailer are especially good at stopping without the bump.

but drums can do this too IF the controller is adjusted AND the brakes in good working order...

imo the 'bump' isn't a big mystery and isn't common IF the brakes are dialed in...

nearly 900 posts on the haha here and maybe 2 on the bump...
___________________

and IF u plan to buy a pp join us HERE as we manage these things...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f464...ide-57179.html

i always try to hit the bend/sisters area in the spring and/or fall...

so perhaps we'll cross paths (controlled and with great breaking)

lots of nw streamers and some good rallies too!

cheers
2air'
__________________
all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
2airishuman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2009, 02:57 AM   #7
Be Calm, Have a Cupcake
 
Secguru's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 223
Images: 1
OOOPS! Forgive me, I accidentally clicked on the poll. Please delete my vote for the TruControl. I still haven't made up my mind.
By the way, I noticed that Sean Woodruff voted for the Brakesmart. As he has been stating that the TruControl is the same as the Prodogy P3, I understand that he prefers the Brakesmart to both the Prodogy and the TruControl. I value his opinion. I think the ProPride is superior to the Hensley Arrow due to its easier hitch/stinger insertion. But it seems to me like the TruControl is better than the Prodogy P3 or the Brakesmart due to its automatic adjustment of gain and boost. Also, I don't think I can use the Brakesmart as my vehicle has ABS. I'd be very interested in his comments on the absence of gain and boost settings on the TruControl and a technical description of why the Brakesmart is preferred over both of the others. I know there is some professional rivalry, but I'd like a purely technical answer if possible.

Secguru,
Be kind to everyone,
__________________
Secguru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2009, 03:47 AM   #8
Be Calm, Have a Cupcake
 
Secguru's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 223
Images: 1
One More Question!!!

Forgot to ask also... Do any of these brake controllers work with exhaust brakes? I assume that one would want some small trailer braking applied with exhaust brake usage, or would that be a bad idea (Brake fade, etc.)? I'm just a guy trying to assure the best possible equipment combo.

Be kind to everyone, Secguru
__________________
Secguru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2009, 04:46 AM   #9
Be Calm, Have a Cupcake
 
Secguru's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 223
Images: 1
More info on Brakesmart

I just found this information on the Escapees Forum. This was posted by Stanley P. Miller - April 16, 2008:

Where I saw the biggest difference in braking between the two types was when using the exhaust brake. The sensor style controllers applied a lot more trailer brake than I had applied truck brake because the sensor saw the total braking, not just what came from the service brakes. The ones that sense brake pressure or pedal position seem to not be confused by this.

Coming down a steep hill in 3rd with the RPMs up around 2200 coasting on the exhaust brake worked well but when I needed to slow for a corner and applied a light touch of the truck brakes (which activates the controller) I got some pretty heavy braking from the trailer instead of just a light touch. I didn't care for that as I felt it was going to leave me with much warmer trailer brakes than I cared for.

Dialing the controller back to deal with the extra braking was fine until I switched to 4th or the RPMs were different then the controller needed tweaked again. With my cable operated Jordan none of that was needed and I rarely fiddled with the adjustments, mostly just backing off a bit for wet roads.

You don't even want to deal with a timer based unit under conditions like these it will have your trailer brakes smoking in short order.


Location of original post:

Escapees Discussion Forum > Brake Controller


Be kind to everyone,
Secguru
__________________
Secguru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2009, 08:41 PM   #10
Rivet Master
 
ROBERTSUNRUS's Avatar

 
2005 25' Safari
Salem , Oregon
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,271
Images: 18
Blog Entries: 51
Correction.

Hi, the brand name is Tekonsha. No Prodogy P-3

Tekonsha, Voyager

Tekonsha, Prodigy

Tekonsha, P-3
__________________
Bob

2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
[ Small Silver Castle ]
2000 Navigator / 2014 F-150 Eco-Boost / Equal-i-zer / P-3
YAMAHA 2400 / AIR #12144
ROBERTSUNRUS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-02-2009, 11:47 PM   #11
Be Calm, Have a Cupcake
 
Secguru's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 223
Images: 1
Thanks for all the great comments

Dear Friends:

Thanks for all the great comments. And thanks for correcting me on the Tekonsha/Prodogy boo-boo.

After reviewing comments on my other thread (Hensley Bump = ProPride Bump?), I understand better why Sean Woodruff prefers the Brakesmart. The most important thing about a brake controller seems to be that it engages the trailer brakes before the truck brakes and that braking is proportional to the TV braking. This especially applies to exhaust braking where trailer push can creep up on you. I had this disconcerting experience once with my old Freightliner FL60 towing a 37 foot fiver on a hill in heavy rain, hence my concern about the Hensley bump. The Brakesmart would seem to be the best at assuring that the trailer brakes energize before the TV brakes due to its tie-in to the TVs brake reservoir, so it can be configured such that the trailer brakes engage before there is any significant pressure on the TV brakes.

Although as I understand it, the Hensley and ProPride both may both exhibit the bump, it should be viewed as a warning of improperly adjusted trailer brakes. Any trailer can jack-knife if the trailer starts pushing the TV (happens to big-rigs doesn't it?). Hensley and PP hitches are unique in that they give an advance indication of the push (and that bump can also break the TVs rear tires loose in a turn, causing a nearly instant rather than gradual jack-knife condition).

So my conclusion is: ProPride with Brakesmart controller, with Tekonsha P3 being a close second.

I'd appreciate any further comments correcting any improper conclusions I may have drawn. The expertise and experience available on the Airstream Forums is a great help to everyone. Thanks so very much.

Be kind to everyone,
Secguru
__________________
Secguru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2009, 01:11 AM   #12
_
 
. , .
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 8,812
hi sec'

i know next 2 nothing about pendulum, gyro, 'motion sensing' controllers.

only that i prefer NOT to use one.

many folks DO and LIKE them.
_______________

i'm spoiled by the itbc used on the fords.

it has worked flawlessly in 70,000+ miles of towing these last 4 years.

and after initial setup, i've only adjusted in twice.

one of those times was to gain MORE trailer breaking on a LONG stretch down,

that had patches of snow and ice from a sudden spring storm at elevation.

once back to normal roadways i dialed the unit back (and only increased it 1/2 point )

i'm not a fan of using exhaust braking in rving EXCEPT for limited situations and EARLY slowing.

i like having 10 brakes working to slow the rig not 4 or just the drivetrain.
________________

my choice from the aftermarket segment would be the BS unit that goes ON the master cylinder...

because it basically works just like the oem ford.

works with antilock brakes, isn't dependent of a gyro and imo hydraulics are very reliable system to provide input to the controller.
________________

the scenario u describe (braking on a curve and being pushed into a bent position) can happen.

it's a scary feeling to be sure.

but in addition to having the correct set up, good brakes and a responsive controller is...

NOT braking in the curves!

i know that can be a challenge and is sometimes IF we brake too late or ENTER a curve with too much speed.

LEARN about the 'friction circle' concept and theory.

here are some starter links but google and get more...

The Pansy Patrol » The Friction Circle

Friction Circle (The Basic Theory)

Friction Circle

DAM Driving School Friction Circle Explained...soon

basically ANY given tire has a limited amount of GRIP.

cornering (turning), accelerating and braking are 3 actions that RELY on tire grip.

doing ANY one thing (turning, accelerating, braking) allows ALL grip for that ONE thing...

TRY to do 2 things (turning AND braking) and EACH action has LESS grip.

so the thinking and action steps are...

BREAK before the turn.

TURN before accelerating

ACCELERATE after turning.

and try to NEVER brake and turn, OR accelerate and turn.

YES the combos can be done, IF carefully balanced,

but the FRICTION CIRCLE explains WHY LOSS OF CONTROL happens at those times.
______________

now HOW this applies to trailering is that it is MUCH more stable to brake WELL IN ADVANCE of the turns,

and roll through them (with mild acceleration) without braking.
_____________

in also helps drive home the point that WEIGHING the rig is critical,

so that you can confirm proper WEIGHT on the steering AND drive axles.
_____________

anyway my vote is for the master cylinder style, controllers.

i'm sure you've checked the TECH sections at BS and their vendors right?

cheers
2air'
__________________
all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
2airishuman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2009, 06:10 AM   #13
Just an old timer...
 
85MH325's Avatar

 
Tipton , Iowa
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 4,031
Images: 37
I'm constantly amazed at folks' desire to have the 'best' gizmo (whatever 'best' means) and allow technology to try to compensate for their inability or inexperience. The Prodigy was the 'best' of the Tekonsha line until the 'P3' was released. Now the P3 is the 'best'. Does that mean that the Prodigy isn't competent any longer? If the ProPride is 'best' does that mean that the HA isn't competent? Because the HA was invented, is the Reese Dual Cam no longer competent?

Secguru, as much as it pains me to say this, I have to agree with 2Air's position on driving skill. I towed our 34' Limited many thousands of miles with an Excursion using a Tekonsha Voyager (then the 'best' brake controller) and a Reese Dual Cam, and managed not to crash the rig despite being in some less than ideal circumstances over the years. It's up to the driver of the rig to properly set up, maintain, and monitor the condition of the trailer/tow vehicle, understand completely the handling characteristics of the rig, and drive it appropriately. There's absolutely no excuse to EVER travel with 'at least one bad brake' and no amount of technologic prowess is ever going to be able to compensate for an inoperative brake.

I currently have the Prodigy in my Titan tow vehicle. I need to replace an older controller in my '94 B-van and may, in fact, replace it with a P3, but haven't decided for sure. The bottom line is that any of the high-end hitches work as advertised, and so do the controllers. 'Best' is subjective, and I haven't seen anything revolutionary in any of them since the introduction of the Prodigy (and clones). Everything since then is merely evolutionary. They are all competent, and all you're going to get past that is either 'fanboy raves' or manufacturer's advertising hype.

Select the one you can get the best deal on, learn how to use it and your hitch setup properly, inspect your equipment regularly and go travel!

Roger
__________________
AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
85MH325 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-03-2009, 10:44 AM   #14
Don't forget your cat nap
 
Ag&Au's Avatar
 
Port Orchard , Washington
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4,464
Images: 1
BrakeSmart

Well, I have spent a bunch of time last night and this morning reading about the BrakeSmart controller. I didn't know it existed before this thread came along. It is significantly more money than the other controllers, but I am convinced it is worth it. I think it is a much more technically sound approach to controlling the braking on a large trailer. I am going to give myself a few more days research time and if I don't uncover any negatives, I will order one. My wife and I decided this trailer is a long term investment, so spread out over time the cost doesn't seem that bad.
Regards,
Ken
__________________

__________________
Ag&Au is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hensley TruControl: comments? Aage Brakes & Brake Controllers 4 06-09-2008 09:35 PM
Hensley TruControl Brake Controller? fred bartlet Brakes & Brake Controllers 4 09-06-2007 09:21 PM
Brakesmart Dwight Brakes & Brake Controllers 11 07-09-2006 04:24 PM
Brakesmart & Hensley setup Dwight Hitches, Couplers & Balls 9 02-26-2005 11:41 AM
BrakeSmart (TruControl) Dwight Brakes & Brake Controllers 6 07-21-2004 11:56 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:24 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.