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Brake Controller

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David and Danette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote David and Danette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Brake Controller
    Posted: 12 Nov 2019 at 10:59am
 On our way down to Florida our brake controller malfunctioned it is a Tekonsha  Prodigy P-2. We pulled into a rest area I checked wheels and they were very hot and there was a humming sound coming from the wheels apparently the brakes became engaged by the malfunctioning brake controller. It is in shop now having bearings repacked and brakes checked for ware or damage. The service tech said there is a pendulum that swings in the brake controller and for some reason swung and got stuck he removed the brake controller and shook it and reconnected it and started working normal again. Has anyone heard of this happening before? I finished the rest of our trip with brake controller turned off about 200 miles without trailer brakes keeping a safe distance from vehicles in front of us. Now I am deciding if I should take the chance of it happening again or replacing controller with a new one. We have had our current brake controller since about 2009 when we bought our 2009 r-pod.
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furpod View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote furpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Nov 2019 at 12:21pm
The P2 and P3 are pretty much the standard, and don't fail often. I don't know that they have a pendulum, I thought they had accelerometers. Since they are not expensive, I would probably replace it.
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Nov 2019 at 12:34pm
My Hopkins InSIGHT Flex-Mount controller has performed very well. Since it separates the manual control and display from the control unit, the control unit can be placed where it won't be kicked and the other parts put where they make sense for the driver.

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David and Danette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote David and Danette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Nov 2019 at 1:26pm
Originally posted by furpod

The P2 and P3 are pretty much the standard, and don't fail often. I don't know that they have a pendulum, I thought they had accelerometers. Since they are not expensive, I would probably replace it.
  I just picked up camper and the brakes were checked and they are OK thankful for that, another tech gave me the same answer about the pendulum when I was picking up camper. Perhaps they are both wrong I don't know they do a very big trailer business that's all they do. The second tech said he has known it to happen before. So if it has a pendulum or not it is working now. I am thinking perhaps I should buy another brake controller to be safe. My first thoughts when it happened was what if they caught on fire and the trailer caught fire they were hot and had a burning smell. But I think it must of just happened as I was approaching the rest area I think I would have felt the brakes on if I was driving down the interstate. Campers seem to have more problems than automobiles but yet campers are less complicated. Everything is working now hope it stays that way for a while.
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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Nov 2019 at 1:39pm
If there is a moving part in the controller (I don't know, I'm speculating), the controller needs to be mounted horizontally to prevent it from "sensing" deceleration. If it's mounted in such a way that you might push it up with your knee or something, it might be fooled into thinking there is deceleration.
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David and Danette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote David and Danette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Nov 2019 at 1:55pm
 I did a internet search and the Tekonsha P-2 does have a Pendulum and I think GlueGuy you are maybe right and I have it mounted at too much of a angle never had this problem before and maybe I did hit it with my knee and the pendulum got stuck. I don't know but it is mounted in a fixed position maybe a jolt caused the pendulum to get stuck. It seems strange after several years this happened I may need to replace it like Furpod said it is not worth the risk of something serious happening.
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GlueGuy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Nov 2019 at 7:51pm
One of the reasons I like the OEM brake controller in our F-150 is because it doesn't care about level. It is tied into the OBD-2 system, and gauges brake pressure directly by how hard you're pressing the brake pedal. You can watch it on the trailer status display when you're sitting still, in park. As you press harder on the pedal, the trailer brake increases gain.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2019 at 4:42am
Originally posted by David and Danette

 I did a internet search and the Tekonsha P-2 does have a Pendulum and I think GlueGuy you are maybe right and I have it mounted at too much of a angle never had this problem before and maybe I did hit it with my knee and the pendulum got stuck. I don't know but it is mounted in a fixed position maybe a jolt caused the pendulum to get stuck. It seems strange after several years this happened I may need to replace it like Furpod said it is not worth the risk of something serious happening.



Where did you see that the P2 has a pendulum? That is very old tech, I can’t imagine it would use that, it costs more and is less reliable. Everything I’ve seen indicates that the P2 uses a solid state accelerometer (like your smartphone has). It is capable of being mounted in any position as long as it is kept level side to side. That indicates that it can measure accelerations in two axes (along its length and depth but not it’s width). I use a P2 and nave it mounted nearly vertical, work fine.
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David and Danette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote David and Danette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2019 at 6:07am
   I found the information on e-trailer from a 2011 answer from one of their techs. He said the P-3 uses a inertia accelerometer activated by a pendulum circuit. If that is the same thing the technician was referring to that repaired our trailer I don't know. If it does not have a pendulum of some sorts and the our brake controller malfunction because of some faulty electronics then I think it should be replaced. Our P-2 brake controller is about 10 years old don't know if the technology changed but I am thinking it is the same as the P-2 controllers built today. I think for the correct answer I would need to call the manufacturer. I am thinking about the P-3 the price is about the same as a P-2. One thing for sure I am not a electrical engineer.
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Nov 2019 at 8:13am
I found a couple of e trailer responses stating that the p2 has an accelerometer. So, I think you're on the right track to call Tekonsha and ask to speak to a tech about it to get a definitive answer. I called them once on how their electric over hydraulic mode works and they were very helpful.

Pendulum or accelerometer aside, probably you do need a new controller, that's a lot cheaper than replacing cooked brakes and bearings. In the meantime you can keep an eye on the voltage output reading on the P2 and stop if it shows anything other than zero when you're not using the brakes. I don't think there is any practical difference between the P3 and the P2 unless you tow multiple trailers and can make use of the P3's memory functions. 

Electric trailer brakes are 1950's technology, so sure they're simple but not very reliable and need a lot of maintenance and adjustment by today's standards. Hydraulic disk brakes with active (antilock) technology on modern vehicles are worlds better. Vehicles are far more complex yet last much longer and need much less maintenance now than they did 60 years ago. And it doesn't help that our trailer brakes and axles are made as cheaply as possible either. 
 
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