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Old 04-06-2019, 09:21 AM   #1
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best brake controller

Sorry for yet anther thread on this well worn topic. This question sort of dove-tails to my epic "no trailer brakes" thread. Although I think my brake controller is operating normally, it does have some tech features like self-calibration that brings into question whether it is compatible with the Lippert self-adjusting brakes on my Surveyor TT. The controller I installed is a Curt Triflex model #51140. It is plugged into the factory tow wiring harness using the correct adapter.
In the event my controller is suspect in my no trailer brake problem, what do others use for a controller? Are there any favorites or features to look for?
My past experience with brake control goes back to the analog days with simple manual controls and settings. Is simple better?
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:26 AM   #2
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I've got a Tekonsha (sp?) Prodigy on my truck. I use this controller with several different trailers, and it works WONDERFULLY!



If I had to buy another controller, this would be the one. I think Tekonsha also makes another unit with more features than the Prodigy, but this Prodigy superb. 110% satisfied with it.
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:42 AM   #3
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Thanks BriaBeck, there are 4 proportional controllers on the Tekonsha website, Voyager, Primus, P2 and P3.
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:50 AM   #4
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OK.. I guess I'm a little behind the times on Tekonsha's product line LOL


The Prodigy was the 2nd from the top of the line when I bought mine...



If it says Tekonsha on it though, I think you'll be pleased.
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:55 AM   #5
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Had to look at the Tekonsha website


the Prodigy is still there, just updated and listed as the Prodigy P2. It is under "Proportional Controllers"...


Looks just the same as mine, except it's now in a grey case and blue LED's... mine is black with red LED's.


Get yourself one, you'll be happy I'm sure.
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Old 04-06-2019, 10:10 AM   #6
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Tekonsha prodigy here also. P2 in all of my tow vehicles
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Old 04-06-2019, 10:29 AM   #7
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I went with the Prodigy RF. The controller is pluged into the 7 pin trailer cable and bolted to the frame. Then inside the Jeep I have the radio transmitter/receiver that I Velcro in place when I tow and store most of the time. It seems to work great.
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Old 04-06-2019, 10:57 AM   #8
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The Tekonsha P3 is the best. I had that on my last truck. I had the P2 before that. Neither is as good as the built in one in my F-150 though but for an add on, the P3 is the best you can get. My understanding is the RF one is the same as the P3.

The P3 has an electric over hydraulic mode if you ever decide to go for that someday(disc brakes).
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Old 04-06-2019, 01:08 PM   #9
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The Tekonsha Prodigy is by far, the most popular brake controller for towables.
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:20 PM   #10
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Tekonsha p3
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:37 PM   #11
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Tekonsha P3 is the best. Not sure if you need the absolute best, though. Some of the other models by Tekonsha are still good and there are even some other brands that are fine.

In my experience, brake controllers don't wear out. So, saving $30 or whatever wasn't really that interesting to me. I just paid the ~$90 (8 years ago) and bought the best.
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Old 04-06-2019, 06:17 PM   #12
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I used the P3. Worked perfectly.
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Old 04-06-2019, 10:31 PM   #13
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I'm still using the Tekonsha Prodigy that I bought new in 2007. It was the state-of-the-art at that time; it looks like today's Prodigy P2, before it was called a P2. It's simple to use, reliable and keeps on ticking.
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Old 04-07-2019, 10:20 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone, I ran the exploratory cost of a P2 or P3 install past my dealer and was quoted $400.
Thankfully I can get one (if I need it) on Amazon for $125 and do it myself in 30 min.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:16 AM   #15
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Thanks everyone, I ran the exploratory cost of a P2 or P3 install past my dealer and was quoted $400.
Thankfully I can get one (if I need it) on Amazon for $125 and do it myself in 30 min.
WOW! $400 for that? What a ripoff.
My P2 cost me $100 from RVW. Took me 30 minutes to install it and that included splicing in the basic wire harness.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:45 AM   #16
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WOW! $400 for that? What a ripoff.
My P2 cost me $100 from RVW. Took me 30 minutes to install it and that included splicing in the basic wire harness.
I've been using a Prodigy since 2004 (whatever model was the big deal that year) and it's performed flawlessly with two trailers.

Hardest part of the installation was finding a place I could reach the manual lever in a hurry if I needed and would be out the way of my knees.

Only thing better, in my opinion, would be a built in unit but that would increase the price by $40-$50k, depending on vehicle.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:26 PM   #17
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It's been several years since I installed mine, but I remember it being pretty much plug and play... very easy to install.

If you can operate a screwdriver, you should be able to install the controller. You might need a harness to make the wiring adapt to your truck's system.
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Old 04-07-2019, 11:42 PM   #18
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I pulled my Prodigy out of my previous tow vehicle ('07 Chevy Avalanche) and re-screwed the same mount underneath the dash of my '17 Titan. I bought a Nissan-specific electrical harness at Camping World for $12.95. Needed a flashlight to find the brake controller wire module zip-tied up in the bowels of the Titan's dash. Plugged in the two ends of the harness and done. Pretty easy.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:27 AM   #19
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WOW! $400 for that? What a ripoff.
My P2 cost me $100 from RVW. Took me 30 minutes to install it and that included splicing in the basic wire harness.
Yea, with instant price searching available on smart phones, you wonder how a RV dealer can ask those prices.
RV dealers need to offer some "price match" policies or people like me take their business elsewhere.
Paying $400 for a P3 install is nuts.
As mentioned, it's an easy DIY install, especially in this day of factory installed tow wiring.
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:36 PM   #20
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I got my Prodigy in 2003 when towing a 2000 Coleman popup behind a 1997 Chrysler minivan. Used it for 7 seasons for the popup, and going on the 10th season with the hybrid (behind our 2006 Mountaineer). It has no moving parts, and I don't think it will every stop working.


The current "P2" is functionally the same as the original Prodigy, just different color housing, and blue characters instead of red.


The "P3" is functionally nearly the same as the "P2", although it may handle more axles than the "P2", and may also handle electro-hydraulic brakes. Most of us don't have those, nor do we have more than 2 axles. What you really pay for in the "P3" isn't function, but the better screen. It's an LCD screen that will show you actual wording, instead of diagnostic codes (for a lost ground, or other issue). I think you can also change the color.
So, it depends on what you want. If you want the best function at lower cost, get the P2. If you want that same function with a bit more flare and easier to read, get the P3. I think P3 cost is around 30-40% more than P2. Honestly, if my Prodigy ever goes bad, I'm not sure which I would get, but I guarantee it would be 1 of these 2.


PS - The Prodigy RF is nice if you intend to tow the same trailer with multiple tow vehicles. But you end up with hardware mounted to the trailer that could be stolen by someone who knows what it is. But it is very nice for someone that does not have brake wiring in their tow vehicle. If you have brake wiring already, stick with the P2 or P3.
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