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Old 06-21-2024, 05:10 PM   #1
Heb
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2018 23' International
Happy Valley , Oregon
Join Date: Feb 2021
Posts: 52
Help brake controller not sensing trailer

So I have a 2017 Totoya Tundra we have used for three years to tow our 2018 AS 23FB International with. Last night when I picked it up from storage to de winterize (headed to the beach tomorrow) I noticed the trailer pushing the truck. Looked down and the brake controller was not sensing the trailer. All running lights, break lights, and signal lights work. It was working 1 week ago when I took the airstream to get new tires put on.

So far I have:

- cleaned all connections with electrical cleaner

- greased with dielectrode grease,

- took apart and replaced the connector on the trailer side. Replaced with new Pollack 7 pin connector.

- trailer came with Prodigy RF break controller (already installed) so I pulled out the Prodigy controller and tried it out around the block. Breaks work with Prodigy Controller although the trucks built in break controller doesn’t sense the trailer… this is the first time I have ever used the Prodigy Controller.

Any ideas why my truck isn’t sensing the trailer?

I will use the Prodigy controller for the weekend. It’s honestly a nicer controller. I just like less clutter in the cab with the built in.
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Old 06-21-2024, 06:36 PM   #2
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2018 27' International
Tyler , Texas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heb View Post
So I have a 2017 Totoya Tundra we have used for three years to tow our 2018 AS 23FB International with. Last night when I picked it up from storage to de winterize (headed to the beach tomorrow) I noticed the trailer pushing the truck. Looked down and the brake controller was not sensing the trailer. All running lights, break lights, and signal lights work. It was working 1 week ago when I took the airstream to get new tires put on.

So far I have:

- cleaned all connections with electrical cleaner

- greased with dielectrode grease,

- took apart and replaced the connector on the trailer side. Replaced with new Pollack 7 pin connector.

- trailer came with Prodigy RF break controller (already installed) so I pulled out the Prodigy controller and tried it out around the block. Breaks work with Prodigy Controller although the trucks built in break controller doesn’t sense the trailer… this is the first time I have ever used the Prodigy Controller.

Any ideas why my truck isn’t sensing the trailer?

I will use the Prodigy controller for the weekend. It’s honestly a nicer controller. I just like less clutter in the cab with the built in.
I had something similar and it turned out to be that my AIRSTREAM batteries were holding a charge but not voltage…from my research I think the AIRSTREAM batteries provide the 12V for brake controller and not the tow vehicle like you might think. That’s what mine turned out to be. I changed out AIRSTREAM batteries and now keep them healthy with a NOCO Genius 5x2 and so far its been back to normal
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Old 06-21-2024, 11:28 PM   #3
Heb
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Happy Valley , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BTCMUSN View Post
I had something similar and it turned out to be that my AIRSTREAM batteries were holding a charge but not voltage…from my research I think the AIRSTREAM batteries provide the 12V for brake controller and not the tow vehicle like you might think. That’s what mine turned out to be. I changed out AIRSTREAM batteries and now keep them healthy with a NOCO Genius 5x2 and so far its been back to normal

That is kinda interesting, the trailer was stored inside and plugged into shore power. Batteries show 13.4 on the meter in the bathroom. Guess I will be digging out my multimeter in the morning and testing the plug to.

Interesting that the Prodigy is still getting enough power to work when my truck break controller isn’t.

Did you totally replace it new batteries?
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Old 06-22-2024, 05:08 AM   #4
GLCMRANGER - Sue
 
2016 25' International
Littlestown , Pennsylvania
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Exact same thing with my 2014 Tundra..... take a needle nose pliers and squeeze those prongs inside the plug.... they need to be tighter. It works!!
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Old 06-22-2024, 05:43 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heb View Post
That is kinda interesting, the trailer was stored inside and plugged into shore power. Batteries show 13.4 on the meter in the bathroom. Guess I will be digging out my multimeter in the morning and testing the plug to.

Interesting that the Prodigy is still getting enough power to work when my truck break controller isn’t.

Did you totally replace it new batteries?
yes…totally replaced batteries with new Interstate AGM type 24. I think what you are seeing is 13.4 is the installed converter charger voltage…and not the actual battery voltage. That is my understanding of the 13.4. Turn off shore power and then you see actual battery voltage. Mine with new batteries and shore power off is about 12.4-12.6. My 24 GMC AT4 HD has to have at least 11.9 or more to keep the controller engaged and truck alarm if trailer 7 pin pulled while truck is off.
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Old 06-22-2024, 09:58 AM   #6
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2018 27' Flying Cloud
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There are several good ideas mentioned in this thread so far although in my 2018 Flying Cloud I am pretty sure the brakes are powered from the car through the 7 way plug and not by any power source in the trailer.

In my case, with this message, somehow the wiring to one of the trailer brakes had broken. I had to crawl under the trailer to restore the wires. Not fun and because the wiring was difficult to reach, it did not turn out pretty. The near wires are the ones I repaired using Wago connectors with the wires taped up with electrical tape. You can see in the tire beyond how it should look.

When one of the brakes loses connection, the disconnect light comes on.
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Old 06-22-2024, 02:41 PM   #7
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Fuse?

There is at least 1 but may be 2 fuses in the Tundra that protect the controller and its wiring. Worth finding and checking that.
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Old 06-22-2024, 05:20 PM   #8
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Woodstock , Ontario
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The brake controller supplies the voltage to the brake magnets in proportion and response to the deceleration of the Tow Vehicle. On the prodigy, the “b” setting determines how fast the trailer brakes are applied when the controller senses the brake signal
The only thing trailer batteries supply is full voltage to the breakaway switch which applies full voltage to the trailer brakes if the pin is pulled.
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Old 06-22-2024, 06:09 PM   #9
Heb
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2018 23' International
Happy Valley , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BTCMUSN View Post
yes…totally replaced batteries with new Interstate AGM type 24. I think what you are seeing is 13.4 is the installed converter charger voltage…and not the actual battery voltage. That is my understanding of the 13.4. Turn off shore power and then you see actual battery voltage. Mine with new batteries and shore power off is about 12.4-12.6. My 24 GMC AT4 HD has to have at least 11.9 or more to keep the controller engaged and truck alarm if trailer 7 pin pulled while truck is off.
We are Boone docking tonight at a harvest host. Have been off shore power for several hours only running the propane fridge and water pump. Meter is still showing 12.7. Did not have time to get the multimeter out to check the plug. Had my 5 year old directing the morning. Lol
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Old 06-22-2024, 06:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCWDCW View Post
The brake controller supplies the voltage to the brake magnets in proportion and response to the deceleration of the Tow Vehicle. On the prodigy, the “b” setting determines how fast the trailer brakes are applied when the controller senses the brake signal
The only thing trailer batteries supply is full voltage to the breakaway switch which applies full voltage to the trailer brakes if the pin is pulled.
Except, some vehicles need to sense a certain voltage to determine that the trailer is hooked up. This is probably the actual problem BTCMUSN had and fixed with new batteries.

You are right that the voltage from batteries is not used for normal braking.
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Old 06-22-2024, 06:17 PM   #11
Heb
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Happy Valley , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GammaDog View Post
There is at least 1 but may be 2 fuses in the Tundra that protect the controller and its wiring. Worth finding and checking that.
I will pop over to the Tundra forum. The Prodigy RF was a far superior towing experience today over our coast range mountains than the Tundra integrated controlled. So maybe I will wait till we get home and plug it into one of the other trailers…


[QUOTE=glcmranger;2740374]Exact same thing with my 2014 Tundra..... take a needle nose pliers and squeeze those prongs inside the plug.... they need to be tighter. It works!![/QUOTE

I will try this tonight. Maybe my ground receptor on the truck has gotten a little loose. I did tow another trailer half the winter.
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Old 06-22-2024, 06:53 PM   #12
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do this first
1 clean all connections with electrical cleaner
2 add dielectrode grease,
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Old 06-22-2024, 07:23 PM   #13
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1988 32' Excella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waninae39 View Post
do this first
1 clean all connections with electrical cleaner
2 add dielectrode grease,
From opening post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heb View Post
So far I have:

- cleaned all connections with electrical cleaner

- greased with dielectrode grease,


- took apart and replaced the connector on the trailer side. Replaced with new Pollack 7 pin connector.

- trailer came with Prodigy RF break controller (already installed) so I pulled out the Prodigy controller and tried it out around the block. Breaks work with Prodigy Controller although the trucks built in break controller doesn’t sense the trailer… this is the first time I have ever used the Prodigy Controller.

Any ideas why my truck isn’t sensing the trailer?

I will use the Prodigy controller for the weekend. It’s honestly a nicer controller. I just like less clutter in the cab with the built in.
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Old 06-24-2024, 05:27 PM   #14
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1976 31' Sovereign
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Tundras of that year (and 16 and 15) have very poor brake controllers. I just went through this exercise last week. I gave up and installed a Prodigy. All is working fine now. Going on my first long pull on Friday. I'll report back.
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Old 06-24-2024, 10:52 PM   #15
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I can’t say for certainty what your problem is but I can tell you about what I went through. I had a 2007 tundra and installed a Prodigy controller with no problems at all. I got my new 2017 with better back up camera and an integrated brake controller. After hooking it up, I was not pleased. It acted like a timed controller. Approaching stop and tapping the brakes lightly, it wasn’t doing much. As I approached a stop it would lock up the wheels. After many attempts at a solution, I installed my old Prodigy and haven’t had a problem since. It is now 2024 and am still using my Prodigy.
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Old 06-25-2024, 10:26 PM   #16
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Thanks. That is my hope. Towing a 31 foot 1976 Sovereign. My guess is 7.5K lbs. Up and down Colorado mountain passes. We installed new axles and opted for the upgraded 12-inch brake drums for those reasons. Worked fine with my f150 but you could never relax like you might be able to with a 250 or diesel. Doable. My hope is the prodigy helps with that.

I'll report back the week of the 9th.
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Old 06-27-2024, 03:28 PM   #17
Heb
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Happy Valley , Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cvliv View Post
Tundras of that year (and 16 and 15) have very poor brake controllers. I just went through this exercise last week. I gave up and installed a Prodigy. All is working fine now. Going on my first long pull on Friday. I'll report back.
So I got back and plugged my truck into a trailer we use to tow the tractor with and the truck sensed it just fine. The battery on the trailer even had an alarm light on to recharge or replace it. LoL…

The Prodigy RF is what is in my AS and it is night and day better than the Tundra integrated controller. Literally felt like the trailer wasn’t even there. Had to make one or two hard breaking because people like to act like morons around a trailer being towed and it felt like the truck was un loaded. I feel like the prodigy has a much more progressive breaking pattern than the integrated controller that is either breaking or not.

I won’t be going back, only towing the AS with the Prodigy from now on.
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Old 07-07-2024, 12:59 PM   #18
JBC
 
2015 23' Flying Cloud
Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania
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I had the same issue with the same model. For me it turned out to be a broken wire on the brakes. Safety look under your trailer and look for wires hanging down from the back side of your wheels.

Good luck. JBC Pittsburgh
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Old 07-07-2024, 02:32 PM   #19
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My 2015 Tundra had the wiring harness, but no built in controller.
I use a Techonsha Prodigy3(?) mounted under the dash. It has served well, but in my case, because the Tundra has the 7-way receptacle laying on it's side (the keyway is at 90 deg.) a right turn tugs on the plug and the brake lead is almost opposite the keyway. So it loses contract first. Yes, I need to squeeze the contacts, but it always feels like the plug is ready to fall out.
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Old 07-08-2024, 06:58 AM   #20
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LAKE MILLS , Wisconsin
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Brake Controller clarification

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCWDCW View Post
The brake controller supplies the voltage to the brake magnets in proportion and response to the deceleration of the Tow Vehicle. On the prodigy, the “b” setting determines how fast the trailer brakes are applied when the controller senses the brake signal
The only thing trailer batteries supply is full voltage to the breakaway switch which applies full voltage to the trailer brakes if the pin is pulled.
The brake controller wiring operation is as follows;

"Black wire" from tow vehicle generally charges trailer battery.
"Blue wire" from tow vehicle sends brake pulses to trailer brakes, increasing pulse widths as greater braking is needed.
I don't know about the RF prodigy but most brake controllers indicated NC (Not Connected) when two or fewer brake magnets are drawing current. Yes, two of the four brakes or four of the six brake magnets can be disconnected and most brake controllers will indicate connected! Only one controller I am aware of indicates actual current flow down the blue wire.
Per referenced post brake battery powers bakes when break away switch is activated.
If you have a Tuson Sway Controller installed it pulls power from brake battery to modulate left and/or right brakes based upon the magnitude of a sway event.

If a brake controller is indicating NC then it is not detecting sufficient current flow to the brake magnets down the blue wire.

Hoep this helps.
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