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Old 04-05-2004, 12:27 PM   #1
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Electric Brake Controller, recommendations?

I just had electric drum brakes installed on my 77' Excella 31' trailer.

I have to get a brake controller installed on my 01' Dmax/Allison. I have ABS brakes.

What is a good brake controller and how much can I expect to pay for the unit and installation.

Thanks for the help.

Rob.
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Old 04-05-2004, 01:12 PM   #2
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Diesel,

I really like the "Prodigy" by Tekonsha. You can do a web search on Tekonsha to compare different models they manufacture. Price on a Prodigy is around $150 and install will depend on whether or not your tow vehicle is pre-wired or not - probably in the $75 - $100 range. $250 total should cover you on the brake controller.
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Old 04-05-2004, 01:18 PM   #3
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Prodigy On Sale!

I just noticed that www.pplmotorhomes.com has the Prodigy on sale for $109.00! That's the best price I've seen on it.
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Old 04-05-2004, 01:38 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by COLORADO_CAMPER
Diesel,
...install will depend on whether or not your tow vehicle is pre-wired or not...
There is a plug-in wire harness for brake controllers supplied with most GM pick-ups.
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Old 04-05-2004, 01:54 PM   #5
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Rob,
The prodigy is good. It is the best of the inertia type brake controllers, in my opinion. But it is not great, compared to a Jordan Ultima or the one from Hensley Arrow.
The Proddigy follows the trucks deceleration as a measure on trailer brake application. The other two use brake pedal movement, or brake fluid pressure, respectively.
I firmly believe that the Jordan or the one from Hensley mfg. are superior.
My Prodigy is real jerky at slow spees, or stop and go, while it does a fine job at Interstate speeds or long descents. Maneuvering, city driving, backing, stop and go, or moving slowly in line are no fun without completely re-adjusting the Prodigy. So, yes, it's the best inertia controlled controller, but not the best controller overall. It is an improvement over the Voyager, although a subtle one.
My next controller will be pedal controlled, or pressure controlled.
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Old 04-05-2004, 02:20 PM   #6
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Terrific controller discussion

can be found here.

It helped me decide which way I would go!
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Old 04-05-2004, 03:52 PM   #7
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I have a 'delayed time to max. current/ramp' type controller presently & it has been on my to do list to upgrade. It was a necessity purchase for a leased vehicle I'd had & was xfered to the new one just to lower the infancy acquisition details. The thread referenced above was very informative & helpful. I'm very heavily leaning towards the Prodigy. My only question is what mechanism does the Prodigy use for deceleration sensing?
I had a controller with a lg. metal ball and spring sensor before this one & it had major problems on bumpy roads if it was not perfectly level.
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Old 04-05-2004, 04:00 PM   #8
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According to RoadKingMoe's provided information, in addition to an inertia sensor built into the unit, the Prodigy also keys on the brake light signal, meaning the Prodigy will ignore deceleration motion except while the brake pedal is being depressed. This way it doesn't engage until you want it to.
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Old 04-05-2004, 04:26 PM   #9
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Go with the Prodigy

I can't understand why some folks claim they need to constantly readjust the Prodigy for traffic conditions. I never touch mine and it is smooth in all road cionditions, speeds, and grades with the one exception of the brakes being temporarily rusty after the trailer sits unused during a rainy spell. Even then, one or two applications of the brakes smooth things out.

My guess is that some folks adjust the trailer braking to be much too agressive.
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Old 04-05-2004, 04:54 PM   #10
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I can't understand it either, John. Maybe mine is a lemon, or my driving conditions are far different from yours. BTW, it's not a claim, it's a fact.
Also, Rob's trailer as well as mine are older units, perhaps wiring and connections are not as pristine as on your new unit.
I am not saying it's bad, just that it does not quite deserve the praise it gets everywhere. I bought it based on this, and wish I would have bought the Jordan for just slightly more money.
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Old 04-05-2004, 06:55 PM   #11
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Why so many models?

I have a question regarding the Tekonsha line of brake controllers.

Why do they have so many models? We have the Sentinel. Other than cosmetic differences, the functional specs seem to be the same as the Voyager or the Prodigy. Is it just primarily for marketing? Even the cost differences in dollars don't seem to be that great. I think I would have opted for the Prodigy had my dealer given me a choice. They sold me the Equal-i-zer hitch and brake controller as a package. As a newbie, I didn't know enough to even ask if there were options.

Just confused, I guess.

Dennis
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Old 04-05-2004, 07:16 PM   #12
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Prodigy

I got the Prodigy last fall and would recommend it (not that I know a lot about this stuff!). ...had no problems so far and have not had to adjust since the initial setting.

When we installed it at Dillons in Mesa, AZ the tech had not put one in before and we didn't think it was working properly - we had the wheel jacked up and spun the wheel then hit the brakes (nothing happened for about 5-6 seconds). We called the support line and the woman explained that the unit could sense the trailer wasn't moving - we should test while moving. That's what we did and it worked fine.

Good luck!

John.
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Old 04-05-2004, 07:56 PM   #13
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My 2003 GMC did not have a pigtail supplied. I was told GM quit supplying in 2002 or 2003. My installer had a box full.

The Tekonsha Prodigy is easier to install. Positioning relative to brake pedal is not a factor. Jordan says you can mount an Ultima off line from the brake pedal but, I was concerned it could cause wear inside the cable cover/guide so mine was mounted directly inline to the brake pedal. Consequently, the steering wheel causes a little interference to a clear view of the Ultima.

Otherwise, the Ultima is just there. The only adjustment I have had to perform is to dial down the voltage to the trailer to get the truck handling its own share of the braking.
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Old 04-05-2004, 08:07 PM   #14
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From Prodigy to Jordan Ultima

I used the Prodigy for three years, sold my tow vehicle to another SOB enthusiast with the controller included, then switched to the Jordan Ultima on my new truck. To me the difference is really noticeable: the Jordon has none of the sense of 'delay' that I always found evident with the Prodigy, particularly going down long mountain grades around hairpin curves where some sensitive braking is essential.

I'm not against the Prodigy, but I really like the Jordon a whole lot more. You can check it out at www.bestbrakecontroller.com if you're interested.

Enjoy your new brakes, either way!

Bud
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Old 04-05-2004, 09:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmotini
I have a question regarding the Tekonsha line of brake controllers.

Why do they have so many models? We have the Sentinel. Other than cosmetic differences, the functional specs seem to be the same as the Voyager or the Prodigy. Is it just primarily for marketing? Even the cost differences in dollars don't seem to be that great. I think I would have opted for the Prodigy had my dealer given me a choice. They sold me the Equal-i-zer hitch and brake controller as a package. As a newbie, I didn't know enough to even ask if there were options.

Just confused, I guess.

Dennis
Tekonsha tends to offer new models every year or so, but they keep the older models in their product line. Over the yeyrs, I have had several models and each one is a little better until the Prodigy which, IMHO, is a lot better.

The big difference with the Prodigy is a space-age inertia sensor that does not require any levelling adjustments. That is coupled with smarter electrionics than the earlier models had.
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Old 04-05-2004, 10:18 PM   #16
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Thanks John,

Now it makes sense to me.

Dennis
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Old 04-06-2004, 07:42 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bud Peterson
I used the Prodigy for three years, sold my tow vehicle to another SOB enthusiast with the controller included, then switched to the Jordan Ultima on my new truck. To me the difference is really noticeable: the Jordon has none of the sense of 'delay' that I always found evident with the Prodigy, particularly going down long mountain grades around hairpin curves where some sensitive braking is essential.

I'm not against the Prodigy, but I really like the Jordon a whole lot more. You can check it out at www.bestbrakecontroller.com if you're interested.

Enjoy your new brakes, either way!

Bud
Bud,
I own www.bestbrakecontroller.com and I have to say that it's hard to convince people that what you are saying is true so I basically stopped trying. I too own both controls and not many people have tried both but those that do always agree with what you said. I once sold both and believe me, I can sell a lot Prodigy because they are popular, especially because dealers can slap them in quick and charge the customer an hours labor but what you said was exactly what I experienced. I quit selling Prodigy because I felt that strong about it. People would return them because they wanted to try the Jordan then what do i do with a used controller. I found that most of our customers are very experienced in towing and prefer the simple mechanical/electrical design of the Jordan.
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Old 04-06-2004, 10:56 AM   #18
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I've had the Jordan and several Techonsha's. My current favorite can be seen at www.brakesmart.net

Regards,
Lee
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Old 04-06-2004, 03:04 PM   #19
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I think that you'll find the bulk of the folks out there using either a Prodigy or a Jordan. Which one is better? It's kind of like the Chevy vs. Ford discussions. It's a matter of opinion....but they both are very good.

Me, I have the Prodigy and am very pleased with it.

Eric
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Old 04-06-2004, 03:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvertwinkie
...It's kind of like the Chevy vs. Ford discussions. It's a matter of opinion....but they both are very good.

Me, I have the Prodigy and am very pleased with it.
And you drive a......
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