Brake Controllers

Submitted: Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:42
ThreadID: 120261 Views:3988 Replies:14 FollowUps:0
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G'day, I am having a lot of trouble locating a Tekonsha Prodigy brake controller. I contacted World of Caravans in Bayswater and they would not ship me with one because they advised that it was too sensitive to be shipped. I contacted Bushtracker Int about my situation and they advised they fit the Tekonsha Voyager. Steve reckons he wonders whether newer is always better seeing that it is verrrrryyyy sensitive. Any comments? Michael.
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Reply By: Motley - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:44

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:44
Michael, Seeing they are menufactured overseas, they must have been shipped to Oz at some time so so much to too sensitive to be shipped! You've probably already seen stuff here from Brian and I about the prodigy. I think it's fantastic and worth the dollars. When I contacted the distributor to find out where to get one, the recommended a company call ADP caravan Services. It's run by Andrew Phillips (hence the name) and has an excellent reputation for caravan servicing and repairs. I bought mine from him and he also did the installation. Contact details are Andrew Phillips ADP Caravan Services Pty Ltd
Factory 35 128 Canterbury Rd
Vic 3137 Tel (03) 9761 6383

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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:45

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:45
I cannot understand how Steve and BTI staff continue to push the Voyager model that they stock. The Prodigy is so much better and more reliable than the Voyager that once you have tried the two, you would never go back to a Voyager model. It really is a pity that Steve hasn't got a Prodigy, because he would change his mind if he did. He only ever seems to recommend something that has been around for a long time and had lots of testing. The Prodigy has been around for a couple of years now, and others on the CaravanersForum also highly recommend it. Brian
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:46

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:46
I think Camec have them too! Macka
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:47

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:47
Too sensitive to be shipped! This technology is used in b--y guided missiles! Collyn
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:48

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:48
I had a good chuckle at this also ....... You can read it as ..Yes Sir/Madam I'm to lazy to put it in a post container that would protect it in transit or to be brutally honest I dont know how !!! I can sell you a van with the latest in "door open/window closed" technology though .... I dont know how Pete's has survived all that outback touring mounted solidly to his Cruiser dash ......or Brian's for that matter. Anthony Explore this Great Land ...Do it Easy ...Tow a Bushtracker
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:49

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:49
Prodigy (look it up in the dictionary):- Lets you know that it is working and in communication with the brakes; will advise of any electrical fault conditions in itself AND the brakes; gives progressive braking in forward AND reverse; has great load pre-sets depending on the relative weights of the tow vehicle and trailer. Tekonsha, who make both, say the Prodigy does all these things, but it doesn't seem that the Voyager does. I have no probs with anyone who prefers the Voyager on simplicity grounds, in the same way that some prefer a Morris Minor over the current Mini or a current G4 over the original Apple Mac. Its just that you sacrifice some utility for simplicity. The question is, do you want he utility? Griff
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:50

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:50
Hi Michael, I recently had similar problems with locating a Victorian supplier for the Tekonsha Prodigy with a reasonable price. A fellow Bushtracker put me on to Auto Electrical Parts Supplies in Queensland. They were able to post me the Prodigy for $9.00 postage and the cost of the Prodigy was a very reasonable $266.75 (a total of $275.75). A bargain seeing as those I had contacted in Victoria all wanted over the $300 mark just for the part. It arrived safe and sound from Qld to Victoria and now that it is wired in appears to be working. Can't vouch for its working capacity as I leave for Qld next week to pick up my Bushtracker and will find out how good the Prodigy is then. Of course once you have your hands on the Prodigy you still have to have it fitted but if you have a handy friend, like I did this shouldn't be a problem. Fitting cost me a bottle of Jameson Whisky. Fellow Bushtrackers seem to swear by the Prodigy and recommended I get nothing less. Will know more about how it works once I start using it with my van but it comes highly recommended. You can contact Auto Electrical on 073208 5533. Best of luck, Sheryl
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Reply By: Noosa Fox - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:51

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:51
Sheryl, You certainly got a good price, It cost me $325 18 months ago for ours. Hope to see you when your up, and have a good trip. Could I suggest that you set yours up by moving the hand control fully across, then adjust dial to show 6.3. I then use Boost setting of B1 (right hand button) and find it is perfect. It should work properly at this setting, but if you feel it is not enough or too much it is easy to adjust. Brian
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:52

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:52
Sheryl, You picking up your bushtracker next week!?! So am I!! I pick mine up on Friday 5th December.... are you picking yours up on the same day??? We are leaving Maitland on Thursday afternoon and staying overnight in Brisbane on Thursday night and should arrive BTi by 8 a.m. Friday. Cheers, Michael & Melinda.
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Reply By: Paul and Barb - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:53

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:53
Hi all, I have the Prodigy brake controller also, however I found that I had to have the settings up a bit higher at first for it to work properly. However after the first brake adjustment at 1000klm I now use the same settings as Brian. I assume that the brake shoes bedded in by this time. It's also important that the correct size cable if fitted to carry the current. Paul.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:54

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:54
Hi Michael & Melinda, Probably by the time you read this you will be the proud owners of your new BT. Good luck with it all. Hope you have or have had a fabulous day picking it up. I will be leaving Victoria on Friday to pick up my BT on the 8th December so will not see you on your big day. It will then be a mad dash to spend a day or so with my parents on the Gold Coast and be back in Victoria by Monday the 15th to return to work. Hi Brian, As you can see from the above my time is limited and although would love to call in and meet you all, will not have time. Hopefully we will meet up on the road somewhere in the future. I am hoping to head out early January with my possible first port of call being Portland on the Vic/SA border. Best wishes to all Sheryl
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Reply By: Whiskywoo2 - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:55

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:55
Hi everyone, My name is Peter, Send my first message to BOG last week,but must have got lost in cyber space, can`t find it so here go`s again. Joan and I collected our BT last August and now takes pride of place in front yard (when not traveling off course). Although Paul checked out everything before departure the one thing on the way home to Newcastle we found worrying was the van not braking effectively( not the van`s fault as it turned out) but a unreliable old model MK.12 Tekonsha . Very greatfull for BOG.information re new models and have since found two distributors, 1 in Newcastle, 1 Sydney ,hope this may be of help to other members Car-van Supplies Hodgsons Caravans 9 Rocky Pt. Rd. 76 Kalaroo Rd. Kogarah 2217 Redhead 2290 Ph.02-4942 6233 Ph.02-9587 4599 Fax 02-4942 6888 Fax 02-9587 3321 Quoted price is $275/ Prodigy. Cheers for now P^J
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:56

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:56
Re caravan braking generally. For reasons that defy sanity, caravan brakes use what is known as mechanical 'positive feedback'. This relies on the action of the brake shoes being drawn into the rotating drum by braking forces to apply braking power. This enables very strong braking forces to be applied by very small inputs (typically 50-100 watts for full braking). Some brakes utilise this effect with both brake shoes (each drum has two shoes) which mean the brakes are far less effective in reverse. Some exploit this effect from only one shoe. The serious and major downside of this arrangement is that braking effect is hugely dependent on the the brake lining friction. Very small changes in friction make huge differences in braking. This is why it is necessary to allow brake lining to wear a bit and settle down before finally adjusting the system. This effect was known even before I was born (it's THAT long ago). The introduction of power braking enabled the development of drum braking systems in which either the opposite effect was used for stability, and of disc brakes where this positive feedback effect is not feasible anyway. The ongoing use of braking systems that were obsolete in cars fifty years ago (and were abandoned for very good reason) is another reason for my cynicism re 'caravan technology' in general. Fifty years of doing the same thing after 12 months experience is not 51 years experience. It's 12 months of experience and 49 years of practice. Electrically controlled hydraulic disc brakes are readily available for caravans. They cost more than the dreadful drum brakes still used but it's quite beyond me why they are not used more commonly than they are. Collyn Rivers
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Reply By: Deleted User - Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:57

Thursday, Nov 27, 2003 at 19:57
Collyn Agree totally with the logic and practice. Having had experience with bi and tri-axle disc-braked boat trailers, I was pretty amazed to be offered 10" or 12" drums on the BT. Much research and argee-bargee between BT (who were vehemently opposed to discs), Simplicity (bogey suppliers) and Titan (disc brake suppliers) got me to within a gnat's testicle of ordering. The ONLY thing that stopped me is that at that time (6 months ago), Titan did not have its hand brake system approved. Don't know the deal yet on whether they have got it sussed. Time was pressing, so I didn't want to hold up delivery while I researched other suppliers. If there is a next time, I will go for it, I suspect. Currently still playing with settings - at very low speeds can be quite grabby when set to give good characteristics at higher speeds. Need more experimentation. Griff
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