Do You Have a Caravan With Electric Brakes? Have you heard of a Caravan Electric Brake Controller?

Electric Brakes on a Caravan
Caravan Electric Brakes

An Electric Brake Controller is a control module in your car that is needed for people who have electric caravan brakes. The Electric Brake Controller is attached under the dash of your vehicle and wired to the car’s battery, the stop light circuit and also to the seven-point socket into which the caravan plug connects. Its installation is virtually independent of the vehicle’s electrical circuit and has no conflict with car computers or ABS Braking Systems.

A wide range of Caravan Electric Brake Controllers are available but they all operate on similar principles. Power is fed from the vehicles stoplights into the controller then back to the caravan through the seven-point plug and socket. This allows the caravan brakes to come on automatically when you apply the vehicle brakes. The characteristics of the power flow will vary from unit to unit.

Hardings Swift recommend a pendulum based brake controller because a pendulum sensor sends a variable amount of power to the caravan brakes in proportion to the stopping motion of the motor vehicle. This will deliver smoother and more responsive braking in all situations. Most controllers also have a manual device which allows the user to apply the caravan brakes independent of the car brakes. This is a helpful feature to minimise caravan sway or instability.

Following is a brief description of the most popular Caravan Electric Brake Controllers and a comparison chart for thorough analysis. We invite you to call us with any questions that you may have or to make a booking for installation.

Tekonsha Prodigy P2 – Hardings Swift Favourite Electric Brake Controller

Tekonsha Prodigy P2 - Caravan Brake ControllerThe Prodigy is the most technologically advanced brake controller available. Even with its pendulum based output it requires no leveling and is equipped with a self-adjusting sensing device to compensate for varying terrain. Its digital display illustrates the voltage level delivered to the caravan brakes whilst driving and also reports any electrical fault conditions such as power loss, short circuits and more. It has a plug in wiring harness for easy removal and a unique pocket mounting for flexible options. This Unit has a variable power level that is further complimented by a “boost” feature for incremental power. In summary, The Prodigy has a number of features, some are not important, but others particularly the self-leveling and digital displays make it an outstanding electric brake controller.

Alternative installation in Center console in a ford territory due to airbag location where controller would normally be mounted.

Tekonsha Prodigy P3- Caravan Electric Brake Controller

Tekonsha Prodigy P3 - Electric Brake ControllerThe P3 unit is the more recent model released and is meant to be more user friendly than the P2 unit. It is essentially a very similar unit and is a little easier to adjust than the P2 unit. Whereas the P2 unit needs to be adjusted with the manual control held across, the p3 unit has a more user friendly scroll button system The Boost Amplifier button is easier to read when illuminated on the screen. In essence though this unit is very similar to the P2 but sets up a little easier.

$455 fitted.

Tekonsha Primus- Caravan Electric Brake Controller

Tekonsha Primus - Caravan Brake ControllersThis is the unit we fit when a customer rarely tows or is after a budget system, thus we don’t have a huge demand for them. It still has a pendulum system however it is like the older pendulum units in that it is set by an external lever (i.e. not self levelling like the Prodigy units) It uses a digital system like the P2 Prodigy and seems smoother than the older generation Hayes and Voyager units but in our opinion not quite as smooth as the Prodigy P2 or P3!

 

Feature Description/Explanation Prodigy P2 Prodigy P3 Primus
Pendulum Operated Does the controller automatically apply power to the caravan brakes PROPORTIONALLY to the tow vehicles deceleration. YES YES YES
Manual Pendulum Leveling Required Most Pendulum Operated Controllers require a simple one off adjustment to achieve smooth brakes. NO NO YES
Variable Output Can the power level be increased/
decreased to suit different caravan loads or driving terrain.
YES YES YES
Manual Control Operation Application of the manual lever will apply the caravan brakes independent of the car. This helps to control any caravan sway. YES YES YES
Digital Display of output level to brakes. The digital readout gives the operator powerful information to achieve consistent braking. YES YES YES
Mounting of Unit Pendulum Based Controllers require the front of the unit to be horizontal but the angle can vary. 0 to 70 degrees 0 to 70 degrees 0 to 70 degrees
TROUBLESHOOTING DISPLAY Digital Display Symbols Which Provide Helpful Information to The Operator DIGITAL DISPLAY DIGITAL DISPLAY DIGITAL DISPLAY
 – “Trailer Connected” Symbol indicates the caravan is connected YES YES YES
 – “Circuit Indicator” Symbol indicates the braking circuit is complete YES YES YES
 – “Loss of Power” Symbol indicates a loss of power to the unit YES YES YES
 – “Short Circuit” Symbol indicates a short in the braking circuit YES YES YES
Warranty Term of Limited Warranty LIFETIME LIFETIME LIFETIME
Size Approximate Dimensions  Height/Width/Length (mm) 35/65/130 35/65/130 35/65/130
Number of Axles Suitable up to how many braked Caravan axles? FOUR FOUR FOUR
Plug in Harness A snap connector makes it simpler to swap from car to car. YES YES YES
Memory Feature Microprocessor to retain Power Level selection. YES YES YES
Price Hardings supply and fit to Conventional Vehicle $395 $455 $355

European Vehicle Installations

At Hardings we have two auto electricians who specialise in caravan brake controller fitments. We often install brake controllers into BMW X5, VW Toureg, Audi Q4, Land Rover Discovery plus other European vehicles.

There is usually additional costs with these vehicles to make the hand control on the brake controller operate.

Caravan Brake Controllers