Assistance please - Prodigy and trailer brakes

Submitted: Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:19
ThreadID: 53750 Views:3255 Replies:7 FollowUps:9
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Good evening. I am requesting some advice/assistance here.

I have just connected up my trailer with brand new brakes (installed by reputable custom trailer manufacturer) to my vehicle with recently installed Prodigy controller (installed by reputable auto electrician).

In calibrating the Prodigy I follow the instructions to try to achieve "lock up" in the trailer brakes. This is done by moving the manual knob to fully on. Then adjusting the dial until "just before lock up".

Now the problem is that even with full on dial (showing 13) and knob fully on I cannot get brakes to lock up. I can hear the electrical sound in the drums when brakes are applied and I can see the (disengaged) cable hand brake go slightly more slack as (I assume) the brakes shoes move into place (and take tension off the cable)

Would I be right in assuming that the brake shoes will take a little while to "wear/bed in" and after some mileage they will achieve "lock up". They are literally brand spankers. I am mainly concerned about doing damage to the controller or brakes in some fashion.

Would a short trip with handbrake ever so slightly engaged or Prodigy knob fully on do any damage? There's no hydraulic fluid to overheat nut it might wear the shoes in a bit so that I know it's all set up properly.

Thanks
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Reply By: Member - Olcoolone (S.A) - Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:23

Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:23
We sell and install Prodigy brake controllers and have never been able to get one to lock the wheels...maybe on a dual axel brake or a very light trailer system but not on a single trailer weighing over 750Kg.

Regards Richard
AnswerID: 282944

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:36

Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:36
Richard, the instructions that come with the prodigy may be misleading, as I have recently fitted one, and the instructions tell you to lock the trailer brakes at low speed, on tar, and then adjust from there. Maybe Pixie should just coast at low speed, then hit the manual and see if the trailer pulls him up...dunno mate...you're the expert in this field?? any advice for us all ???
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FollowupID: 547488

Follow Up By: Member - Fred G (NSW) - Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:47

Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:47
Recently acquired a new Jayco and van hasn't moved an inch since fitting prodigy controller due to rain, rain, and more rain. Any advice welcome for when I get the chance to do any setting up.
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FollowupID: 547497

Follow Up By: Gronk - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 00:01

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 00:01
I installed my prodigy in a friends 4x4 and its towing a Jayco Hawk and it will lock up on setting 5 !!!!!!!!

Set it to 3 and works fine ?????? Got me stumped ???

As you said......when it was in my 4x4 towing a KK couldn't get it to lock even on setting 13 !!!
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Reply By: donk - Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:37

Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:37
I assume you are driving the vehicle while trying to get the brakes to lock up or are you stationary & trying to get them to lock up

The reason i ask is you say you can hear noises & see the parkbrake cables moving

The wheels need to be turning to bring the brakes on

Regards Don
AnswerID: 282949

Follow Up By: Member - Pixie - Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:49

Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 19:49
i am driving (40km/h) and trying to get lock up using controller - as per instructions

if i look in the side mirror (when turning) i see the hand brake cable slacken as brakes are applied

if i listen next to wheel when stationary and someone else applies brakes i can hear the electrics

the brakes were getting stronger (ever so slightly) towards the end but i only tried for 30 mins or so.

was wondering more about bedding in time for pads
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FollowupID: 547500

Reply By: Fragle_Rock (VIC) - Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 20:38

Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 20:38
Pixie,

When I purchased my CT I also went for the Prodigy. Like you after reading the instructions on how calibrate the brakes I was under the impression that when I turned the manual knob on to full the brakes on the trailer would lock then continue to adjust the knob until just before lock up.

I spoke with a number of people including the CT manufacturer and all the info I received was that I would be unable to lock up the wheels on a sealed road.

When I went through the same process on a dirt road different story....I could quite easily lock up the wheels on the trailer by turning the manual knob to full.

I now have it set up so when travelling on sealed roads and I apply the brakes I can just feel the trailer braking, when on dirt I adjust the voltage accordingly to just before wheel lock up.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
AnswerID: 282965

Follow Up By: Member - Pixie - Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 21:07

Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 21:07
Thanks for the reply

Sets my mind at ease :)
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FollowupID: 547532

Reply By: Member - Pixie - Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 23:15

Monday, Jan 21, 2008 at 23:15
Thank you for everyone's replies
AnswerID: 283031

Reply By: Mark R - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 06:54

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 06:54
Pixie, I tow a heavy van and use a Prodigy. I have no problems locking wheels with the hand controller. I feel there must be a problem. I would suggest you might not have a good current flow. Suggest check cable sizes, all connections and adequacy of earth connection. Unfortunately "reputable" these days doesn't always mean expert and diligent.

Could also check current in wire at each brake actuator.

Alternatively, Prodigy may be faulty - may be worth swapping with another (from your supplier) to see if results are different.

Regards, Mark
AnswerID: 283043

Reply By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 09:05

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 09:05
Had the same problem with my CT.

Read the instructions about locking up for the first adjustment, and then backing off.

Newly installed brakes, and I installed the prodigy. Couldn't even get a decent chirp out of the tyres on manual control on full.

Did two things.
Double checked my electrical connections and made sure I had a good earth wire from the trailer plug to the battery.

Adjusted the brakes on the trailer. Even though they were recently installed, one was 16 clicks to lock up and the other was 12 clicks. Thats on the axle stand. Reckon the first run with the controller bedded the brakes in. Adjusted then to about 8 clicks and all works well. Different brake manufacturers recommend different settings.
AnswerID: 283071

Follow Up By: Member - Pixie - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 13:23

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 13:23
I must admit I never checked to see if they had been adjusted properly or just "installed"

thanks for the tip!!
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FollowupID: 547695

Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 13:58

Tuesday, Jan 22, 2008 at 13:58
I think the CT factory that installed them for me on my 750kg GTM CT may have adjusted them when installed, but not done a run and used them. So like all drum brakes, when I used them they settled in to suit the drums, and gained more clearance. So didn't work too well with the prodigy hooked up :o)

Mine are Dextor and from memory they recommend about 4 to 6 click back off, while Al-Ko recommend about 12 clicks back off.
Found out by trail and error that about 8 clicks suit me, and final adjustment on the prodigy.
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FollowupID: 547703

Follow Up By: Member - Pixie - Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 23:21

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2008 at 23:21
took the drums off tonight and found them way off adjustment - thread on adjuster was fully in on one side and only partially out on the other

will see how it goes with some adjustment
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FollowupID: 548074

Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Thursday, Jan 24, 2008 at 11:50

Thursday, Jan 24, 2008 at 11:50
Looks like you are getting close.
Normally you don't need to take the drums off.
Like most old design manual adjusted drum brakes, there should be an inspection cover/rubber bung that you can remove to see the star wheel adjustment.
Turn it with a screw driver.

As Pixie says, I ended up not being able to fully lock the brakes, but on almost full on setting on the prodigy adjustment wheel, the trailer pulls the whole lot pretty quickly. :o)
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FollowupID: 548127

Reply By: MEMBER - Darian (SA) - Thursday, Jan 24, 2008 at 10:07

Thursday, Jan 24, 2008 at 10:07
I have the same setup on a camper but 'gave away' the locking up idea after a few tests and adjustments - it seemed unnecessary in my view, because the braking is very good without that extreme setting.
AnswerID: 283474

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