Trailer brake controller ... which one are you using

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Trailer brake controller ... which one are you using

Postby Vspec » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:48 am

Leaning toward a digital one vs analog. My TV, 2017 Pathfinder, already has a pig tail connection under the dash and a 7-pin at the rear.

Recommendations? Which one to stay away from? Bad experience, good experience?
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Re: Trailer brake controller ... which one are you using

Postby working on it » Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:42 am

  • I've used time delay braking controllers on all my trucks and on other vehicles I've put them in. My preferred controller is the Hopkins' Impulse, which I installed in my '04 Chevy Silverado, and in my Father-in-laws '03, and in 5 others, all Chevrolet, using the plug'n-play wiring they came with. I put one to the left underside of the dashboard (for a left-handed friend), and the remainder to the right. I angled all of them slightly upwards, and some closer to the driver, per their choice. All have functioned well, for many years (12-13 years, since installed).
  • For other trucks, which I had done before I got the Impulse, I used a Reese Brakeman, also a time delay controller, which I installed on two of my old trucks (and also on my wife's GMC, when I had to replace her failed Tekonsha, and that was the only one I could get immediately-she was leaving in an hour, on a rush insurance call-). They were not plug'n-play, but easy enough to wire up. Both brands of controllers could have been mounted at any angle, but I've found that the "underdash/beside the steering wheel" position has been universally liked by me and others.
  • Hopkins' Impulse (like mine).PNG
    Hopkins' Impulse (like mine).PNG (167.93 KiB) Viewed 458 times
    my go-to brake controller
  • Reese Brakeman.PNG
    Reese Brakeman.PNG (108.38 KiB) Viewed 458 times
    my old favorite controller, cheaper but reliable
  • brake controller preferred mounting position.jpg
    brake controller preferred mounting position.jpg (94.4 KiB) Viewed 458 times
    easy to see & reach, out of the way install sites
Last edited by working on it on Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
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Re: Trailer brake controller ... which one are you using

Postby dancam » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:17 pm

working on it wrote:[list][*]I've used timed controllers on all my trucks and on other vehicles I've put them in.


Why always times ones?

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Re: Trailer brake controller ... which one are you using

Postby working on it » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:20 pm

dancam wrote:Why always times ones?
  • Huh? I don't understand what you're referring to. If you're asking if I use just onecontroller per vehicle, yes, of course, those "time delay" controllers are good for one or two axles, which covers all my trailers.
  • Note that I corrected the "timed" to "time delay" description of the controllers, in my post above. It more accurately describes the simple braking action that the controllers exert, a delay before ramping up to the chosen power level. Proportional braking controllers use inertial sensors, and sense and adjust braking power to fit the situation. I've gone "old school" by choosing what I know and trust, the "time delay" kind, where I can choose how much braking I want to use (it can come in handy in slow moving, stop and go traffic, using just manual trailer braking, rather than the truck brakes).
  • time delay braking controllers.PNG
    time delay braking controllers.PNG (9.09 KiB) Viewed 430 times
    description of time delay function
  • Proportional brake controllers.PNG
    Proportional brake controllers.PNG (10.49 KiB) Viewed 430 times
    description of proportional function
  • Sure, I've locked up my single-axle brakes, when I pulled into a service station after highway travel (I forgot to set the braking percentage to less-aways had controllers on tandem axles before, not a lightweight single axle). You do have to adjust the percentage for varying speeds, loads, and conditions. I was just using trailer brakes on my TTT for the first trip; I wasn't used to it, yet. Though my TTT isn't lightweight anymore (now at 2000 lbs), my truck doesn't really need the trailer brakes to stop it.
  • Choosing the type of controller is up to the user: I chose the time delay. It's what I've always used, and trusted, and can mount anywhere, at any angle, if I choose. Proportional is probably a better choice for light trailers, inexperienced users, varying road conditions; but, they're more expensive, and I think they have to be mounted level (so the motion sensor will function).
  • 2013 HHRv,"squareback/simple" TTT, semi-offroad? 4x8, 2000+ lbs travel weight
  • featuring: 3500 lb Dexter axle w/brakes & HD leaf spring system > riding on General Grabber 27x8.5-14LT tires, LED lighting inside, A/C & heat, AGM battery 12vdc, 110vac from extended run generator onboard or park power, Coleman dual-fuel stove & Northstar lantern
  • 147697148333
  • 148599125895148106
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Re: Trailer brake controller ... which one are you using

Postby dancam » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:00 pm

^i meant time delay vs. Pendulum controllers, i thought maybe you had used an inertia one and didnt like it.
I have never used a time delay one, the inertia idea just seems better to me and i didnt think the inertia ones are too expensive.
Inertia ones can be mounted at varying angles, you just move the pendulum reference point with a lever on the side of the controller.
Inertia ones are affected by weather your on flat ground, going uphill or downhill but it usually works in your favor. They brake less uphill and more downhill. But thats kinda what you want.

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Re: Trailer brake controller ... which one are you using

Postby Shadow Catcher » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:57 pm

We have a Tekonsha Prodigy P2 Trailer Brake Controller which is Proportional. We have not had a problem and it works as it should.
http://www.tekonsha.com/products/brake-controllers/proportional-controllers/trailer-brake-control-proportional/TzaIxkVx1cI5XOy!osRB52uqDvaehMa!
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Re: Trailer brake controller ... which one are you using

Postby capnTelescope » Thu May 25, 2017 11:32 pm

I use a Tekonsha P3 controller.

I wrote a Howto based on my install. YMMV.
I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.

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