what type of brake controller is best?

Tundra57Tundra57 Member Posts: 564
I have been watching a thread but it got very long and I thought my question might be missed. I currently have a Reese brake controller about 15 years old with my tab400/Toyota Tundra setup. I want to replace it. It seems that it is simply a timed unit with settable brake level.
I don't know if when I am stopped with brakes on are the tab brakes on too which might overheat them? If I'm stopped I turn the brake level down till I move again.
What are tabbers thoughts and recommendations for controllers where this doesn't happen. What is the trade-off between timed and proportional?

Comments

  • falcon1970falcon1970 Member Posts: 580
    The various brands of electric brake controllers are each different but the basic concept is that when you press the brake pedal in your tow vehicle electricity is sent through the umbilical cord to the electromagnet on each brake of the trailer causing the piston to actuate and thus pressing the brake shoes against the brake drum.  When you are stopped at a traffic light with the brakes on the trailer brakes are also activated.  However, there really is nothing to overheat--unless you drive down the road riding the brakes.  In that case you will heat up the brakes on both the tow vehicle and the trailer.  That will cause wear on both and since the trailer brakes are less robust than the vehicle brakes you may overheat them.  You aren't gaining anything by turning the brake level down while you are stopped.  If you leave the brake pedal depressed for some reason while you are parked overnight (and the umbilical is connected) the trailer brakes will also be activated and if activated long enough you may burn out the coil on the electromagnet.  I suspect you would actually run your car battery down to zip before the coil burns out though--and that would then release the brakes.
  • tabiphiletabiphile Member Posts: 221
    Best for what comes to mind. There are many options/choices. What makes sense for you depends upon how you plan to use it and your setup. 
    Are you pre-wired (a Tundra should be)? If yes then do you use only one TV? If yes then a hard wired unit will save you considerable money over an RF unit and save you some plug space in your cab...etc.
    A proportional controller will cost more but is more suitable for a larger trailer. It will give you smoother braking, cause less brake wear, be more suitable for hills and "interesting" terrain. It would be my choice. 
    A timed controller is best suited for a small utility trailer, ATV or snowmobile trailer....not your 400.


  • Tundra57Tundra57 Member Posts: 564
    Thanks @tabiphile and @falcon1970. My concern about the the brakes being on was the operating coils. I also thought that a proportional controller would apply very little energy to the brakes when stopped as there is no deceleration.
    Got any brake controller suggestions you have tried? I only have my tundra so it would be hard installed in the truck like the Reese.
  • nhmikenhmike Member Posts: 75
    I am not qualified to recommend the best brake controller.  When we bought our [email protected] we got a Tekonsha 90250 prodigy rf controller and we have had no issues.  It pairs easily with the trailer and then we're all set.  The [email protected] never pushes us and never holds us back.  The unit is adjustable but we never fool with it since breaking is excellent.  I would recommend the Tekonsha but I am sure there are many other excellent controllers out there.
    2016 cs-s max
  • CrabTabCrabTab Member Posts: 190
    I installed the Redarc Tow-Pro  Elite because leg space is important in our Colorado. The inertia unit installs on the firewall and the controller dial installs in the dash. The unit operates in proportional mode for highway use and has a user defined mode for off road use (haven't tried setting that yet). It is comparatively expensive, but made a clean and easy install with no reduction in leg space or potential blockage of air bag deployment.
    2019 320 Boondock Edge
    36.8,-76.0

  • Tundra57Tundra57 Member Posts: 564
    My old Reese fits in the storage slot in the center console, sobit would be nice to retain that as I ran all the wiring there.
  • ChanWChanW Member Posts: 2,708
    edited February 12
    That's where I mounted our Tekonsha (before I found out that our new Tab had hydraulic surge brakes...) If you're talking about the center cubby below the radio.
    All other easily accessible spots would have been knee bashers.
    Tundra57 said:
    My old Reese fits in the storage slot in the center console, sobit would be nice to retain that as I ran all the wiring there.

    Chan  -  Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 S Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl
     
     [email protected]'ll_Do_Ya
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 819
    edited February 12
    Not that this helps, but The Best Electric Brake Controller is the one built-into a vehicle at the factory!  :)
    Like available on F-150's, GMC/Chevy full-size and mid-size trucks, and several (larger) SUV models.

    No idea why Ford did not include one in the 'new' Ranger - - big oversight.

    All the vehicle factory installed controllers are Proportional Control.
    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  30   Nights:  174 
  • tabiphiletabiphile Member Posts: 221
    Tundra57 said:
    Thanks @tabiphile and @falcon1970. My concern about the the brakes being on was the operating coils. I also thought that a proportional controller would apply very little energy to the brakes when stopped as there is no deceleration.
    Got any brake controller suggestions you have tried? I only have my tundra so it would be hard installed in the truck like the Reese.
    Since you already have the wiring accessible it should be easy to install a new unit. There are lot's of available options...I happen to use a Tekonsha. I'm not keen on RF (go figure, my car has an electronic throttle) for a safety feature and I only tow with one vehicle so mine is hard wired. The key point in mounting is that you need to be able to easily reach the manual override for emergency use. Tekonsha and most other mfgrs. offer harness adapter kits.  
  • Michigan_MikeMichigan_Mike Administrator Posts: 2,623
    I had a Tekonsha Prodigy controller before I purchased my 2016 Silverado and agree, it is an awesome controller, easy to install, pare and use.  👍🏻
    Mike 
    Howell, Mi
    2019 [email protected] 400
    2016 Silverado 
  • DeltaPopDeltaPop Member Posts: 28
    I have a Tekonsha RF Prodigy for sale if anyone is looking, would like $175 and I will include postage in USA will send photos if interested.


    Don & Mary
    2018 Tab 400
    2019 Tundra CM
    Wisconsin
  • JCALDJCALD Member Posts: 104
    I personally like the Redarc Tow Pro Elite.
  • Denny16Denny16 Member Posts: 1,529
    edited February 13
    Yes, I am leaning towards getting this one also for the TaB 400 with Boondock pitch axel set up.
    cheers
    2018 TaB400, Jeep Gladiator truck, Northern California Coast
  • Tundra57Tundra57 Member Posts: 564
    Just an interesting note on integral brake controllers. (Which my tundra doesn't have) I watched a UTube comparison of a tundra and hemi powered truck pulling a car trailer and car over the same road course. No major difference either way. Except tundra needed added brake controller and the other truck was integrated. At the end of the test (end of test was a long downhill) checked brakes on TV and trailer. Integral had major difference in temps between trailer and TV. Tundra with added controller showed a good balance. So what do you think of that @MuttonChops ?
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 819
    Tundra57 said:
    Just an interesting note on integral brake controllers. (Which my tundra doesn't have) I watched a UTube comparison of a tundra and hemi powered truck pulling a car trailer and car over the same road course. No major difference either way. Except tundra needed added brake controller and the other truck was integrated. At the end of the test (end of test was a long downhill) checked brakes on TV and trailer. Integral had major difference in temps between trailer and TV. Tundra with added controller showed a good balance. So what do you think of that @MuttonChops ?

    The Test Driver did not correctly set the integrated Brake Controller or
    as many RAM owners comment; RAM Electronics quality is not world class.
    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  30   Nights:  174 
  • Tundra57Tundra57 Member Posts: 564
    @MuttonChops ,Aha you spotted the TV. I don't think integrated ones work any better. You just have to know your stuff. :-). The old add on Reese unit works well. Had to do a couple emergency stops with the tab due to stupid so called driver's and truck and tab stopped safe with no jack knifing. Maybe I shouldn't bother changing it now I know it won't burn out the tab brake coils.
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Member Posts: 819
    Tundra57 said:
    @MuttonChops ,Aha you spotted the TV. I don't think integrated ones work any better. You just have to know your stuff. :-).  . . .
    Agree.
    Another factor for wanting the factory integrated controller is Leg / Knee Space.  On the GM Twins mid-size trucks I would have had issues with a standard hardwired aftermarket controller.
    The wireless units provide a work around for that . . . but I'm not sold on wireless (just a personal issue, no data) . . .

    '18 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE; PNW based
    TV: '17 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, GM Brake Controller
    Adventures:  30   Nights:  174 
  • SeaLaVieSeaLaVie Member Posts: 28
    edited February 15
    I was not happy with the timed controller style. It always felt jerky and made for unpleasant ride when you just needed to hit the brakes gently to slow down since full breaking eventually gets applied to the trailer no matter how lightly you are pushing the truck brake pedal. Proportional provides a much better driving experience in my opinion. I'm towing a 2018 400 with a 2006 Tundra V8 with tow package.
  • Tundra57Tundra57 Member Posts: 564
    @SeaLaVie there are quite a few tundra users I have noticed on this forum. I have a 2010 model. I can understand proportional could be better than timed. When loaded and I first set out, as long as the road is clear I dab the brakes a few times and set the brake level.
    I am not sure how the proportionals work - is it based on how fast the TV is decelerating,? Or is it just a gradual application?
  • SeaLaVieSeaLaVie Member Posts: 28
    They have accelerometers in them so they apply a varying amount of voltage to the brakes depending on how strong the tow vehicle deceleration. So tends to be a much smoother and more appropriate level of breaking.
  • DenisPDenisP Member Posts: 368
    I use a Tekonsha P3 in my 2013 Tundra with tow package. Only one I have had but it works well with the 400. Have towed a bunch of miles some in challenging conditions and the braking has been flawless. Allows me to concentrate on driving and not worry about stopping. 
    2018 [email protected] 400 with Solar
    2013 Tundra TRD 5.7L
    Massachusetts
  • simonseyzsimonseyz Member Posts: 42
    I'm using a Redarc in my 2016 Colorado, it makes a nice install.
    2018 [email protected] 400+++2016 Chevy Colorado, 3.6 V6
    Hamburg, NY
  • CrabTabCrabTab Member Posts: 190
    @simonseyz- That is exactly where I installed the Redarc controller in my Colorado. 👍
    2019 320 Boondock Edge
    36.8,-76.0

  • AirBossAirBoss Member Posts: 470
    Given the responsiveness and portability I'd  vote for the Prodigy RF controller. 
    2020 [email protected] 400 "OTTO" (build date 08/19)
    Factory Victron Solar; Norcold 3-way fridge
    '04 Chevy Tahoe Z71 5.3L Dino-killer
    Third Rock from the Sun
    San Diego, CA
    www.vividimagex.com
    www.airbossone.com

  • JCALDJCALD Member Posts: 104
    Mounted mine next to the shifter and 4 wheel drive control.
  • CrabTabCrabTab Member Posts: 190
    Nice lookling install @JCALD!
    2019 320 Boondock Edge
    36.8,-76.0

  • JCALDJCALD Member Posts: 104
    I really like the Redarc control knob.  That is the only thing you see of the controller.
  • Redfish24Redfish24 Member Posts: 25
    I decided to go with the factory Ford F150 brake controller since my truck was already set up for that style.  Clean install with a factory wiring harness. Hopefully , it will be as functional as some of these aftermarket ones I have been seeing.


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