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Old 07-10-2016, 12:28 PM   #1
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2016 23' International
Fair Oaks Ranch , Texas
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RF Wireless Break Controller, who is using and how is it working?

We have a 2016 MB GLE Coupe and purchasing a 23fb international and would like some input on this type of Break Controller. Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2016, 12:38 PM   #2
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We've installed several on customer's trailers. Kind of pricey, but they work like they are supposed to.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:16 AM   #3
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Prodegy RF - $600 dealer installed. Much less if you DIY. Simple process, but our ignorance and concern with connectivity drove us to make that problem the dealer's responsibility. The hand unit plugs into the cigarette lighter socket and has no other wiring. The control module is mounted to the trailer tongue and the trailer umbilical cord plug connects to it. The control umbilical then connects to the tow vehicle plug. Unit must recognize TV. It's called pairing as with other RF devices. Seemed to work well with our vehicle, but others have reported problems.

The hand unit rests in our console. That may or may not be to your preference as it takes multiple actions to access in an emergency to apply trailer brake only. Attentive driving only here. It does change setting from handling and bumping against stuff, so periodic setting check is needed and appropriate procedure for use. Test at each use to verify connectivity. We have been very happy with the unit. Only question we have is will it be compatible with disk brakes if we ever make that upgrade.

Note, you likely have to install an LED interface plug in the 7 connector plug socket for the car to recognize the trailer lights. It's about $40 and may no longer be required by new vehicles.

Good luck and travel safe. Pat
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PKI View Post
The hand unit rests in our console. That may or may not be to your preference as it takes multiple actions to access in an emergency to apply trailer brake only. Attentive driving only here. It does change setting from handling and bumping against stuff, so periodic setting check is needed and appropriate procedure for use. Test at each use to verify connectivity. We have been very happy with the unit. Only question we have is will it be compatible with disk brakes if we ever make that upgrade.
I just looked at the Company's video and called their tech support. Neither showed me any reason to consider this unit. The inconvenience of fumbling for the remote in an emergency, the need to release it before backing up, and the lack of a means of monitoring the current drawn, as a test of magnet condition, during braking did not cause me to want to consider it any further. Relying on an accelerometer to determine braking, no indication of the presence of a pendulum, to tell if you are going up or down hill leaves something to be desired.

If your experience has told you differently please advise
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:54 PM   #5
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Howie

My experience is that the controller works well for our application. Service has been over 20K miles and included a trip through Colorado on 70, a run across to Maine, and an intrusion into BC and Alberta. Trivial compared to others gear testing but a reasonable shake down.

Some folks hold the hand unit or rest it in their lap. We don't find a need as we tend to drive slow enough to reduce the risk of sway. Understand the point, which is why it was mentioned. From our experience there is no need to give any special attention to the brake control when backing the rig, so that comment is quite odd. Would not expect to move the rig with the brakes locked, so maybe your driving style or backing conditions differ significantly. No desire to monitor magnet amperage. That may change as the brake condition changes over time. At present the braking force is evident by feel, but it is easy to understand an instrument measurement would be helpful if brake condition was of concern. No pendulum needed as hill position is evident by TV load data and fuel consumption feedback. The accelerometer works well as stated prior. There is usually more than one way to solve an engineering problem and in this case it's an electronic solution.

Thanks for adding the information. May well help others to make an informed decision. Folks do require different tools and using what works for your application is certainly justified.

Travel safe. Pat
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Old 07-13-2016, 10:54 AM   #6
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I tend to analyze things from a fail safe standpoint. By that I mean how will a product act during a failure mode.

The remote is a requirement of the DOT to provide manual braking in an emergency and should if well designed be positioned in a predictable accessible location. The fact that it is free to wander at the length of it's cord is not what was intended buy DOT. Additional the fact that Prodigy implies that the brakes will work if the remote is not plugged in not only gives one a false sense of security it is wrong in that the emergency function will not work.

My mention of the need to disconnect the system while backing up is straight from Prodigy's video and I offer no additional comment.

The availability to see current draw while braking is a test used to tell one how many brakes are functional. Each magnet draw 3.5 amps when fully applied. Periodic testing and noting a lesser draw tells you that a magnet is no longer working. A nice thing to know.

There were 2 functions of the pendulum in older systems. Initial setting of the system while on level ground. Changing the amount of braking as a function of off level. Increasing the braking force while going down hill and lessening it while going up hill. With out it you will have the same application applied independent of the percent of the grade.

Yes there are always more than one way to solve a problem Designing a system that does not include those solutions already available is not a step forward.

Chrysler designed the 56 Imperial without a Park function in the transmission. Those that lived on a hill found that to be a problem.
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:33 AM   #7
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I have a Prodigy RF Controller. Works well and can be used in a newer vehicle with a brake controller already installed with no modification.

I like the fact that you can set an emergency setting and if you just "feather" the brakes going down hill it meters the braking, however if you have a panic stop, it implements max braking instantly versus the old stile that just increases voltage over a few seconds. Much better than the old controllers IMHO.
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:54 AM   #8
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I have a Prodigy RF that I previously used with a 2011 Mercedes GL 350, and recently transferred to our replacement TV. We tow a 34' with no issues. As others have said, I keep the remote unit nearby when in heavy traffic or urban areas. We have had good luck with the RF, and Tekonsha's support.

The only issue I have is that I cannot tow other trailers that require a brake controller since the box is mounted on the Airstream.

Neil
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Old 07-13-2016, 11:58 AM   #9
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I recently got a 2016 FB25 and towed it with a Cayenne a few times with the wireless brake controller. It worked fine but slightly jerky braking at low speed. Probably an adjustment problem. I just Velcro-Ed it on the center console and it was always handy. (I since got a new TV and no longer need it.)
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Old 07-13-2016, 04:31 PM   #10
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Howie - good to analyse with respect to fail safe design.

Backup disable - take a peak at the video again. That feature is related to the boost settings. The boost is disabled for low speed backup operation and self enables when towing resumes. As the 23 is a light trailer, we do not use boost. Large trailer users may find this to be a feature worth considering, but it sounds straight forward.

Emergency operation - take a peak at the opening scene in the video again. Emergency situation, driver uses the brake pedal only. No reach for the brake controller to actuate the trailer brakes. The need to activate the manual brake over-ride that I am aware of, is sway that is growing out of control. Only had one, controller worked well and was easier to access because of it's location. So with respect to this issue, it likely depends. Your argument is not wrong, it's just not exclusive. The value here is that folks understand the issue.

Your belief in a false sense of security because the controller works if the hand unit is unplugged kind of ignores your fail safe analysis. But it would be necessary to plug the hand unit into a power source before you could activate the trailer brakes with the manual over-ride. It is an unlikely event as the plug fits quite securely in the socket. What is not an unlikely event is never plugging the unit into power before starting the tow. A check list is always a must do. Something will get you if you don't make a list and use it.

Variable up hill and down hill brake force, is not a feature I find valuable. I want a brake system to react the same every time I use it.

The magnet condition measurement does give a body pause. Your point adds to my rationalization that an upgrade to disks, which would eliminate the variable reliability of magnets, would be a good idea. Thank you for that point. Until then, regular maintenance and testing seems appropriate.

Travel safe. Pat
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:49 PM   #11
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Zero Issues

We've used Tekonsha's wireless brake controller for 2 1/2 years and 70,000 miles. We bought on Amazon for $280 and had dealer install at no charge when we picked up our new Airstream. We love it. Simple to dial in the braking power you want. Doesn't take up much real estate in cab. Zero issues since we've had it. Would recommend to a friend.

Good luck!
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:57 AM   #12
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Rc

I installed it myself on the front Jack using U bolts 2 x 4 and angle iron. So it is in front of the propane tanks. I've used it for over year now and I've had no trouble whatsoever.
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Old 11-26-2016, 03:15 PM   #13
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RF Wireless Break Controller, who is using and how is it working?

Update: we went with the prodigy RF brake controller and is working great.
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Old 11-26-2016, 03:36 PM   #14
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I just got my 2017 Bambi 16' and tow with a Porsche Macan S. I utilize the Prodigy RF Brake controller and just towed over the Continental Divide with it for my first tow outing. I loved it. Set it up myself (easy as pie) and it worked as advertised with zero issues.

Note that since I am towing with a European car I did make sure that I had the 7 pin adapter prior to setting up my system.

In regards to the person saying you have to disable to back up... No you do not.
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