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Old 08-26-2005, 05:51 PM   #1
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I am ordering my Sunnybrook 31' in November
I have a ford f-250 6.0 deisel and I need to know what kind of Brake Controler (is this what its called) to order, and what is the average price.
I KNOW that price does not matter when talking about brakes but I am a Newbie

Thanks

Tom Grogan
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Old 08-26-2005, 05:51 PM   #2
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I am ordering my Sunnybrook 31' in November
I have a ford f-250 6.0 deisel and I need to know what kind of Brake Controler (is this what its called) to order, and what is the average price.
I KNOW that price does not matter when talking about brakes but I am a Newbie

Thanks

Tom Grogan
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Old 08-26-2005, 07:07 PM   #3
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You will get a bunch of opinions on brake controllers and which is best...

I'm by no means an expert, but I'll try to share what I've learned...

Essentially there are three different operating principles that different units use.

Some are triggered only by the brake light switch, and are often called time delay controllers. You adjust the maximum allowed power to the brakes to just below what will lock them at low speeds, and you adjust how quickly it ramps up to that power level. These apply the brakes the same in a panic stop, or easing up to a stop sign. I had one like this, and what bugged me most was easing off the brake while still moving, the controller would cut the brakes suddenly... These are generally the cheaper units, and installation is simple, but I wouldn't recommend going with one.

Other controllers use a pendilum (sp?) or electronics to detect deceleration, and apply trailer braking in proportion. Some of these seem to react to bumps while braking by sending uneven power to the trailer brakes... These also require the tow vehicle's brakes alone to provide the initial deceleration, to be detected by the controller, that then applies trailer brakes. I wonder if this set up would provide optimum braking in the first part of a panic stop, or on icy conditions. Some of the better ones seem to be fine, though.

Lastly, others measure the level of braking of the tow vehicle directly, and apply trailer brakes in proportion. I believe the Jordan Ultima uses a device on the brake pedal to measure it's movement, and folks I have talked to say it is very smooth in all coditions.

Brake Smart uses a pressure transducer that T's into the truck's brake system to measure brake fluid pressure. It is solid state and does not displace fluid, so it will work with ABS equipped vehicles (where older fluid pressure activated units generally won't).

To me the Brake Smart seemed most elegant, and I love mine. The draw backs are they are very expensive, installation is a bit more work (about an hour or so), and there always seems to be a backorder for them.

In the end, though, it would have been cheaper to buy a good one to start with, rather than starting with what someone sold me, to upgrade later to a good unit.

Anyhow, my vote would be for Brake Smart, or Jordan...

Sorry this post got long. I wanted to share what I wish I knew when I was first in the market for a brake controller.
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Old 08-27-2005, 08:17 PM   #4
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I have the Reese brakeman II in my Dodge, and the Teshonka Primus in my Chevy. Both are good solid controllers. The Reese is hard to locate since Draw-Tite has taken over production though. The Teshonka Primus has the same internal works as the Prodigey, just not as many different readouts on the digital screen, and is about $40 less. Both are proportional systems, and when adjusted properly, it's easy to forget the trailer is back there when stopping.
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Old 08-28-2005, 09:19 AM   #5
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I would highly recommend the Brakesmart if you can find one. If not, the Jordan Ultima 2020 is a strong 2nd choice as a truly proportional controller.

I wouldn't waste my time with an inertial (which the Tekonsha Prodigy or Voyager is) or a ramped time-based (which the Reese Brakeman II is) controller. I've used both and there's no comparison between them and the Jordan or Brakesmart.

Rusty
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Old 08-29-2005, 08:38 PM   #6
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Well, Rusty is right again. The Prodigy is inertia controlled. The new Tekonsha Primus is a totally proportional braking system; and does not have the same internal parts as the Prodigy.(had to go get the packaging and read) The Primus is brand new this(2005) year, and sells for anywhere from $99-$135. I even got the digital readout summary wrong. The Primus has more detail, not less, displaying the voltage going to the electric brakes, connection status, continual diagnostics feature,and a 15 year warranty.
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Old 08-30-2005, 06:49 AM   #7
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Ray,

Not to pick nits, but the Primus appears to be an inertial controller. The following quote is from the Primus webpage:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">(The Primus) Utilizes the primary motion sensor of Prodigy and has a one step "Point and Go" set-up. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
The Prodigy, of course, is an inertial controller. Tekonsha is claiming that the Primus (like the Prodigy) is a "totally proportional" controller based on the premise that the output signal to the trailer brakes is proportional to the truck's rate of deceleration. This may be true, but it's totally different from the BrakeSmart and Jordan Ultima 2020 where the output signal to the trailer brakes is directly proportional to the driver's application of the truck brakes. The latter is, in my mind at least, the preferred scenario.

Rusty
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Old 08-30-2005, 04:14 PM   #8
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I agree with Rusty on this one. BrakeSmart in 1st place, Jordan 2020 a real good second and if you want a Prodigy, it is a really distant 3rd place. The Prodigy is nothing more than an electronic inertia controller with the added boost and ramp up feature.

Rusty and I have both had similar experiences with an inertia controller and both are now running a Jordan 2020 with ZERO problems. They are just a tiny bit more trouble to install than a Prodigy, but when you want better, it is usually a bit more trouble.

With that much weight behind me, I want the best I can afford, not the easiest to install.

Ken
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Old 08-31-2005, 05:55 PM   #9
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Dittos on Brakesmart being #1...if I didn't have the integral Tow Command, that's the one I'd have!

Darn Rusty's ALWAYS right!!

Sean
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