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Old 04-10-2005, 04:36 PM   #1
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I read somewhere on the forums here that if you have a Prodigy Brake Controller and the breakaway lifeline cable is pulled while still plugged in, the brake controller gets fried.

Well, quite unintentionally, I proved that to myself this weekend. The break away cable got wrapped up on something and when unhooking, it got pulled. I had left the lifeline cable plugged in because my batteries were low and I need to leave connected to use the truck batteries. when I plugged in to come home this afternoon, my Prodigy was showing a SH (I assume SHORT) and the trailer brakes did not work. Of course, there is no place to get a replacement on a Sunday.

But, anyway, it is true. The brake controller gets fried if plugged in and the breakaway Caleb is pulled.
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Old 04-10-2005, 04:36 PM   #2
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I read somewhere on the forums here that if you have a Prodigy Brake Controller and the breakaway lifeline cable is pulled while still plugged in, the brake controller gets fried.

Well, quite unintentionally, I proved that to myself this weekend. The break away cable got wrapped up on something and when unhooking, it got pulled. I had left the lifeline cable plugged in because my batteries were low and I need to leave connected to use the truck batteries. when I plugged in to come home this afternoon, my Prodigy was showing a SH (I assume SHORT) and the trailer brakes did not work. Of course, there is no place to get a replacement on a Sunday.

But, anyway, it is true. The brake controller gets fried if plugged in and the breakaway Caleb is pulled.
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Old 04-10-2005, 05:08 PM   #3
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John,

Sorry that your controller burned out, you'd think it'd be designed so as to not be damaged in the event of a breakaway switch activation.

Tekonsha has a disclaimer in their Breakaway Switch Installation Instructions that says to disconnect the trailer plug before testing a breakaway switch. Problem is that no one gets this sheet of paper from the OEM's for the rigs we buy, not sure if it comes with the controller either.
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Old 04-10-2005, 05:11 PM   #4
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I've pull the pin (unintentionally) several times with the Jordan controller that I had in my old truck and also with the BrakeSmart I currently have. As an electronics engineer, I can tell you that a brake controller that fails under this condition is poorly designed. A simple diode in series with the controller output should prevent the problem.
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Old 04-11-2005, 12:08 AM   #5
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Since I'm not an electrician, why would the break controller short out if the breakaway cable is pulled?
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Old 04-11-2005, 02:50 AM   #6
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Don,

IMHO, they shouldn't short out.

Unfortunately the Prodigy does and Tekonsha warns us of that potential. Seems strange that a safety device will cause related equipment destruction upon performance of its designed purpose.

Presumably, the electrical explanation is that the 12 volts from the trailer's electrical system is applied to electrically sensitive components in the controller's circuit board via the blue brake wire. Poof!
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:05 AM   #7
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Since I'm not an electrician, why would the break controller short out if the breakaway cable is pulled? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well what happens when the "Breakaway" is activated is it supplies 12 volts at full potential to the wires that connect to the brakes. This powers up everything connected to that wire run. Well your brake controller is at one end of the run......

As posted, a simple diode in series with the output section of the controller would prevent the potential from reaching the output section of the controller. Same principal as a diode pack installed on the "Towed vehicle" light systems prevent problems with the "Towed vehicle" electrical systems.
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:27 AM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Don (W5IT):
".......a simple diode in series......." </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Not a bad idea, I might install one in mine.

Any thoughts on what amp rating it'd need to be to keep from popping the diode? I suspect in the 10-12 amp range or somewhere there abouts.
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:28 AM   #9
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I would have been more upset if I wasn't going to be replacing the Prodigy soon anyway.

Another design fault with the Prodigy (I can't say that I can explain it to much detail) is that it cannot be used with the trailer I have on order. My new trailer will have Electric over Hydraulic brakes. The Prodigy may or may not work with that braking system. It is hit or miss. I have been told that there is a simple fix, but the manufaturer is reluctant to implement it. I was planning on replacing it anyway.
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Old 04-11-2005, 10:12 AM   #10
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I had an error code on my Prodigy ( 09) and called tekonsha with my serial# and was told to bring it to nearest dealer for replacement.It couldnt hurt to try.They seem to be having a silent recall of certain ones,yours may be one of the faulty ones.
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Old 04-11-2005, 02:57 PM   #11
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Off topic, but wanted to say hi to Don and Richard. Told you guys I dont post much, but read alot. After looking at our registration dates, I see us three registered one day apart ing 2000. Rod
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Old 04-14-2005, 07:45 AM   #12
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I have the Prodigy controller in my rig. Last summer, while turning right at an intersection, my truck suddenly lugged down and stopped; trailer brakes were locked up. I knew right away that my breakaway cable had gotten snagged and the pin was pulled from the switch (it had happened to me before). I quickly jumped out in the stopped traffic, reinserted the pin and proceeded on my way. There was no damage done to my controller because it works as it had before and I have used the rig several times since. Since my power cable to the truck was connected at the time this happened, does anyone have an explanation as to why my Prodigy apparently wasn't "fried" like the others?
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Old 05-09-2005, 06:36 PM   #13
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To clear things up, my Prodigy brake controller DID NOT FRY. I did not want to perpetuate an internet misnomer.

I called Tekonsha tech support and they assisted me with my error code. What I found was a loose wire in the trailer wiring. Coincidence that it happened the same weekend as the breakaway switch being activated.

Pulling the breakaway pin does NOT fry the Prodigy.
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