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Old 04-23-2024, 11:07 AM   #1
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Suggestions for a better brake controller

I have an Echo brake controller I use with my 20' Caravel. It uses the "OneControl" app on my iPhone to operate the brakes via a wireless connection. This setup came with the Caravel when I bought it.



For the first few months of use it seemed to be OK but it did seem like the trailer brakes may have been a bit light when braking, but I was gradually increasing the settings. More recently there seemed to be a change in ownership and the iPhone app was changed to use the OneControl app. Now the trailer brakes are very erratic and grab when even the lightest brakes are applied and then release very suddenly. The result is a jerky response that feels somewhat unsafe. I have tried lots of settings with little change.



I am concluding that this system needs replacement. I would appreciate any suggestions about better systems I should consider.
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Old 04-23-2024, 11:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dclark064 View Post
I have an Echo brake controller I use with my 20' Caravel. It uses the "OneControl" app on my iPhone to operate the brakes via a wireless connection. This setup came with the Caravel when I bought it.



For the first few months of use it seemed to be OK but it did seem like the trailer brakes may have been a bit light when braking, but I was gradually increasing the settings. More recently there seemed to be a change in ownership and the iPhone app was changed to use the OneControl app. Now the trailer brakes are very erratic and grab when even the lightest brakes are applied and then release very suddenly. The result is a jerky response that feels somewhat unsafe. I have tried lots of settings with little change.



I am concluding that this system needs replacement. I would appreciate any suggestions about better systems I should consider.
What is your tow vehicle?

I installed a RedArc TowPro Liberty in our TV and have been very happy with it. The brains/module gets installed up out of the way under the dash. The control head is just a small lighted dial that can fit almost anywhere on the dash that is conveniently within reach. It works very well and was very simple to install.

Whatever brand/model you end up choosing, I would steer you to a hardwired unit rather than a wireless/app-based version. Positive control of the trailer brakes is too critical to leave to a wireless app connection, imo.
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Old 04-23-2024, 12:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
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What is your tow vehicle?

I installed a RedArc TowPro Liberty in our TV and have been very happy with it. The brains/module gets installed up out of the way under the dash. The control head is just a small lighted dial that can fit almost anywhere on the dash that is conveniently within reach. It works very well and was very simple to install.

Whatever brand/model you end up choosing, I would steer you to a hardwired unit rather than a wireless/app-based version. Positive control of the trailer brakes is too critical to leave to a wireless app connection, imo.

I am towing with a BMW X5.
Your suggestion looks good but I have no idea how to access the necessary connections. I may call the Airstream dealer and see what they install.
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Old 04-23-2024, 12:49 PM   #4
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I am towing with a BMW X5.
Your suggestion looks good but I have no idea how to access the necessary connections. I may call the Airstream dealer and see what they install.
Many vehicles are “pre-wired” for installation of a brake controller. To find out if yours is, consult your vehicle owners manual. If yours is pre-wired, it’s just a very simple matter of ordering your vehicle-specific harness and plugging the harnesses together.
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Old 04-23-2024, 01:40 PM   #5
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I usedone on my Range Rover, jumped in and had to re-install the app. Also noticed really jerky braking, but reduced the output.

Looks like there is max output and sensitivity adjustments. I haven't tried it since, I got flat tire on the Rangie that day, swapped back to the RAM 1500

https://assets.curtmfg.com/masterlib.../51180_INS.pdf
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Old 04-23-2024, 01:55 PM   #6
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We have the Tekonsha Prodigy P3, which I think a lot of people use and if I recall they were selling it at the Jackson Center service center. With our Audi Q7 the towing connection was under the front floor on the driver's side (I had to pull off some panels and dig around). Tekonsha sells an adapter for the Q7. If you have factory tow package, I'd guess it's the same with BMW. If it didn't come with factory towing then you would have to run the wiring and maybe have a trailer shop do it.

We started out with the Echo, but didn't like that it tied up the phone and you have to leave the app up in order to activate the brakes to dampen sway if it happened (never did). The P3 has worked very well for use, no issues.
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Old 04-23-2024, 03:50 PM   #7
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I also have a P3 and it has worked just fine, better than fine actually. I do not like the idea of having to be connected via WiFi for the brakes on my trailer. I like the idea of being hard wired in. Most, if not all, new trucks come wired for brake controllers. I simply purchased an adapter for my tundra and plugged it in. Easy Peasy.
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Old 04-23-2024, 07:28 PM   #8
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RE: Suggestions for a better brake controller

Greetings dclark064! Welcome to the Forums!

I will admit to being one who sticks with a product indefinitely when it works well for my use characteristics, and the Hayes Energize Brake Controllers have been exceptionally reliable with performance that I have been able to count on since 1983. My current unit dates from the mid 1990s, but continues to perform beautifully under all conditions.

The only sad thing is that, on the new models, they have discontinued the optional remote control panic button that allowed the panic button to be handy to the driver -- mine is draped over the automatic shift lever and is far easier to reach in an emergency than the control box mounted on the dash. I haven't had to use the panic button since I have been towing my Airstream and Argosy (1995 and after), but it was needed often with my box style travel trailer that I owned during the 1980s. I am hoping that my current unit lasts as long as I am able to travel.

Good luck with your investigation!

Kevin
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Old 04-23-2024, 08:00 PM   #9
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Redarc

Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeCamper View Post
What is your tow vehicle?

I installed a RedArc TowPro Liberty in our TV and have been very happy with it. The brains/module gets installed up out of the way under the dash. The control head is just a small lighted dial that can fit almost anywhere on the dash that is conveniently within reach. It works very well and was very simple to install.

Whatever brand/model you end up choosing, I would steer you to a hardwired unit rather than a wireless/app-based version. Positive control of the trailer brakes is too critical to leave to a wireless app connection, imo.
Totally agree. Had the Echo. Not reliable .
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Old 04-23-2024, 10:05 PM   #10
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Not every vehicle is pre wired. However, any competent RV tech can install a brake controller.

There are four wires: power direct from the battery with a resettable circuit breaker; a wire that connects downstream of the brake light switch under the dash (and will backfeed that circuit to illuminate the brake lights if you activate the manual switch on the brake controller); the output wire that connects to the trailer brakes via the 7 pin connector; and, of course the ground wire.
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Old 04-23-2024, 11:44 PM   #11
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AS Service and BMW service

I called the local AS service center and they told me they don't install brake controllers and told me to contact BMW. BMW service seemed clueless about brake controllers. I am going to call them again and escalate my service request. I have found several posts on the internet about DIY installs of the brake controllers and my X5 is supposed to be prewired. The problem is that the connector is special and all the DIY installs need to cut off the connector and install one that is purchased. Not something I want to do. I'm going to press BMW service about it.


Anyone have BMW install a brake controller?
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Old 04-24-2024, 12:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Now the trailer brakes are very erratic and grab when even the lightest brakes are applied and then release very suddenly. The result is a jerky response that feels somewhat unsafe. I have tried lots of settings with little change.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeCamper View Post
I installed a RedArc TowPro Liberty in our TV and have been very happy with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by knunut View Post
Totally agree. Had the Echo. Not reliable .
We also had the low speed grabbing with the Echo and found it dangerous. We switched to a Redarc and all is good.

Tim
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Old 04-24-2024, 07:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dclark064 View Post
I called the local AS service center and they told me they don't install brake controllers and told me to contact BMW. BMW service seemed clueless about brake controllers. I am going to call them again and escalate my service request. I have found several posts on the internet about DIY installs of the brake controllers and my X5 is supposed to be prewired. The problem is that the connector is special and all the DIY installs need to cut off the connector and install one that is purchased. Not something I want to do. I'm going to press BMW service about it.


Anyone have BMW install a brake controller?
I know our Audi dealer knows next to nothing about towing and brake controllers. We took our Q7 in for service and they asked if the brake controller was a radar detector. I'm guessing BMW is not all that familiar with them as well. A trailer shop might not know BMWs but should have a better understanding of what needs to be done. Also, maybe try googling and see if there are any YouTubes on how to do it. There was one for our Audi.
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Old 04-24-2024, 09:53 AM   #14
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In this video, the guy mentions that BMW offers a factory TBC kit for the X5 but he builds his own because it was back-ordered:

https://youtu.be/nq6La5Fut4A?si=AEdzhiaekt2AUs0S
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Old 04-24-2024, 10:07 AM   #15
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We have the Tekonsha Prodigy P3, which I think a lot of people use and if I recall they were selling it at the Jackson Center service center. With our Audi Q7 the towing connection was under the front floor on the driver's side (I had to pull off some panels and dig around). Tekonsha sells an adapter for the Q7. If you have factory tow package, I'd guess it's the same with BMW. If it didn't come with factory towing then you would have to run the wiring and maybe have a trailer shop do it.

We started out with the Echo, but didn't like that it tied up the phone and you have to leave the app up in order to activate the brakes to dampen sway if it happened (never did). The P3 has worked very well for use, no issues.
Tekonsha P3. Hands down

Have had Three with different trailer set-ups. The on;y better controller I've had was the Jordan but no longer made
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Old 04-24-2024, 10:50 AM   #16
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We pull a 25’ Lance 1995 and use a TOW-PRO ELITE ELECTRIC BRAKE CONTROLLER. Easy to install, no unsightly big box and work great. Highly recommended.
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Old 04-25-2024, 01:58 AM   #17
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Call these people in California (760) 996-5764
They install redarc products.

2575 Progress St, Vista, California 92081

Info@BasilsGarage.com
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Old 04-25-2024, 10:37 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dclark064 View Post
I called the local AS service center and they told me they don't install brake controllers and told me to contact BMW. BMW service seemed clueless about brake controllers. I am going to call them again and escalate my service request. I have found several posts on the internet about DIY installs of the brake controllers and my X5 is supposed to be prewired. The problem is that the connector is special and all the DIY installs need to cut off the connector and install one that is purchased. Not something I want to do. I'm going to press BMW service about it.


Anyone have BMW install a brake controller?
I googled to find the prewire on our 2016 Benz and found it buried under the dash as per the video
I bought the correct cable on Amazon
Took a while as it had to come from Tekonsha but after some initial confusion the adaptor did fit the vehicle harness
Try searching for your BMW brake controller installation
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Old 04-25-2024, 11:20 AM   #19
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Redarc all the way. Easy install and easy to use. Looks like it is OEM..
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Old 04-25-2024, 11:37 AM   #20
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We use the Tekonsha Prodigy P3

no issue after 6 years of use
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