Which Brake Controller ??

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 15:37
ThreadID: 69915 Views:2374 Replies:8 FollowUps:3
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Hi all, I am looking at fitting an electric brake controller to my 01 prado Auto T/D. YES I have done a search and nothing really answers my questions they mainly refer to odd problems so sorry to any one that may not like me posting this question again. I can buy one from $30 to $360 ?? Am I wasting money getting the top of the range one for $360 ?? Should I go midway ?? Also there are brands that I have never heard of before BUT are they better then the known brands ?? Money is not an issue when it comes to safety and pulling up the van when required but reading the specs on some of them most do the same job but there is such a huge price difference. I believe Hayman Reese to be the most popular one ?? I thing the other main one was Prodigy ??(spelling) I have done a lot of towing of boats, vans etc but never used an electric controller before always been hydraulic.. Will be towing an 18 footer if that makes any difference to which contoller. Thankyou Regards Steve
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Reply By: Tenpounder (SA) - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 15:55

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 15:55
Hi. Well I started with a Tekonsha Voyager, then I read that, in the US, the Voyager was subject to a no questions asked recall, with the Prodigy being supplied free of charge as a replacement, because the Voyager was prone to failing in service, and allowing the activating current to flow to earth from the brake light power lead at odd times, and flattening the vehicle battery. Then my trailer man, who is also a Tekonsha dealer, told me he refuses to sell or fit the Voyager, so I bought a Prodigy from him. I understand that, in OZ, Tekonsha will provide a free upgrade to a Prodigy where a Voyager fails, but, heh, I didn't want to take the offer up whilst I was 1000 km from civilisation - like in Melbourne or something.
Since changing over I have had no worries, the readout is very clear and useful, set up is a piece of cake, and the unit can be removed when not needed (also removes the possibility of an electrical fault if the Prodigy has any family links to the Voyager circuitry.
Yes, the Prodigy is dearer, but it does the job, which as you say, is an important one.
Hope this helps.
AnswerID: 370518

Follow Up By: Ianw - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 20:29

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 20:29
The Voyager does not "fail in service ". It is either defective or not. Some of the earlier ones were. The defect was that they would occasionally turn on the brake lights for a short period, any time of the day or night, van connected or not. If your car is normally in a shed or out of your view most of the time you would not even know that it had the fault. I only noticed mine because I didnt lock the car away one hot night and we were outside having a drink for most of the night. Thought I was Pssst. or had ghosts. Lucky it had a 5 year warranty - it was nearly 5 years old then. Then I read about the Voyager problems and took it back to the retailer who sent it back to Tekonsha. They sent me a new Primus model which is similar to the Prodigy but less expensive. It was a lot easier to set up and use than the Voyager.

FollowupID: 637890

Follow Up By: Member - Terry W (ACT) - Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 20:45

Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 20:45
Hi Ian,

Not sure that is quite right, but not sure its wrong either. We had a Voyager, and on the last leg of a recent trip back from Bathurst to Canberra via Crookwell (lots of dirt), it suddenly failed to operate. No brakes at all. Didn't matter what I did to go through the set up again in Crookwell, no brakes. I checked the connections etc, without finding a fault, so assumed that a rock had cut a wire somewhere. We limped home very carefully, with no caravan brakes. Several weeks later I put it back on the road to take it to be repaired, and brakes were working fine again. Never found a cause, but lost faith in the Voyager which I believe had an intermittent fault possibly caused by the vibration from the dirt road? I took it off, replaced it with a Prodigy, and could not believe the difference. Chalk and cheese!
FollowupID: 638057

Reply By: Sir Kev & Darkie - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 16:13

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 16:13

I used to have a Hayman Reece in the Triton, and now have the Prodigy in Darkie.

IMHO I reckon the prodigy is a better unit and gives a better indication of faults when in use.

Cheers Kev
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AnswerID: 370519

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 16:22

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 16:22
There was a bag batch of Voyager a couple of years back, but current stock are OK. The Voyager are an extremely good unit, but Prodigy are much better.
I've used just about every make and type on the market over he past 40 years of towing an the Prodigy is by far the best unit I've ever used. Easy to set and once done, just forget it. They now have another model Prodigy designated the P3. It costs a little more and has improved diagnostic functions which probably only interests Auto electricians in possible fault finding.
For me. the prodigy every time.
AnswerID: 370522

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 16:34

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 16:34
Will back up all of the above. Have had a Prodigy in two vehicles and had no troubles at all .
They are easy to install.
Just make sure there is heavy wire back to pin 5 on your van connector as light wiring drops the voltage.
I actually have two strands of 6mm wound together so get plenty of grunt.

FollowupID: 637838

Reply By: Maîneÿ . . .- Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 17:19

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 17:19
I've fitted the American made 'Hayes Wheels® Electronic Brake Controller, it has a 5 year warranty and has both manual and also full automatic operation.

It's good to have separate control over the load your towing when going downhill on narrow tracks, as the trailer brakes can be used independently for control if needed.

Maîneÿ . . .
AnswerID: 370534

Reply By: Member - Axle - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 19:02

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009 at 19:02
G/Day WHG, ... Been down the same road mate , was a newie to electric brakes when we bought our 18ft windsor tandem, But Prodigy is what we have on the cruiser and Defender and when adjusted right are very good. The only thihg we noticed with the Defender at Easter was in the pouring rain with all lights on and wipers etc there was a voltage drop ( Bloody landrovers..lol), which did alter the feel of things a bit, But no sign of such problems with the cruiser, so as stated above watch the wiring installation carefully.

Cheers Axle.
AnswerID: 370556

Reply By: Ray - Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 08:39

Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 08:39
My Son has a prodigy and it started to shew "SHORT" and upon checking I found that the magnets on the brakes had worn too much. I gave him a right bollocking over lack of maintenance and drew up a maintenance planning programme for him.
He is a self employed professional carpenter and tows a heavy trailer and suspect that he has sawdust for brains
AnswerID: 370627

Reply By: Shaker - Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 21:06

Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 21:06
Nobody has mentioned it so I will, for ease of operation & installation due to it's small size, look at Redarc.
They even have a remote head model.
AnswerID: 370765

Reply By: Wherehegon - Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 21:18

Thursday, Jun 18, 2009 at 21:18
HI all, thanks for the replys. I have decided to buy the Prodigy. Seems good value for money and going by the above replys seems to be the way to go. As I mentioned in my first question money will never be the issue when it comes to my'n and other peoples safety. Thanks again. Regards Steve
AnswerID: 370770

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