So You Have a Caravan With Electric Brakes. What Now?

The caravan brakes will not work unless you have an Electric brake controller in your car. This device can be attached under, or in the dash of your vehicle, or sometimes in the centre console. It is wired to the car’s battery, the stop light circuit and also to the seven or twelve pin 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. Installation usually takes Hardings Swift around three to four hours depending upon the vehicle.

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 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 or proportional brake controller. Why? Because a proportional controller 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 that can assist with correcting 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 – The Hardings Favourite

Tekonsha Prodigy P2 - Caravan Brake Controller

The Prodigy is the most technologically advanced brake controller available. Even with its pendulum based output it requires no levelling 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, but particularly the boost, self-levelling and digital displays make it an outstanding electric brake controller.

Tekonsha Prodigy P3

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.

$450 fitted.

RedArc Tow Pro Elite

Tekonsha Primus - Caravan Brake Controllers

We are now also fitting the Redarc Tow Pro electric brake controller. This is the first proportional remote head brake controller on the market, and is a great choice in some vehicles where we can’t fit a Prodigy, due to knee airbags, limited space under the dash, etc.  With just a rotary dial mounted through the dash, and the rest of the control unit hidden under the dash, it makes for a very neat fit, taking up very little space. Also, being proportional, it provides smooth braking. The price is $495 fitted, to most vehicles.

 

 

Feature Description/Explanation Prodigy P2 Prodigy P3 Tow-Pro Elite
Pendulum Operated Does the controller automatically apply power to the caravan brakes PROPORTIONALLY to the tow vehicles deceleration. YES YES YES
Manual Pendulum Levelling Required Most Pendulum Operated Controllers require a simple one off adjustment to achieve smooth brakes. NO-AUTO NO-AUTO NO-AUTO
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 NO
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 Rotary knob through dash, main unit under dash, in any position.
TROUBLESHOOTING DISPLAY Digital display symbols which provide helpful information to the operator DIGITAL DISPLAY DIGITAL DISPLAY LIGHT
 – “Trailer Connected” Symbol/light indicates the caravan is connected YES YES YES
 – “Circuit Indicator” Symbol/light indicates the braking circuit is complete YES YES YES
 – “Loss of Power” Symbol/light indicates a loss of power to the unit YES YES YES
 – “Short Circuit” Symbol/light indicates a short in the braking circuit YES YES YES
Warranty Term of warranty LIFETIME LIFETIME TWO YEARS
Size Approximate Dimensions Height/Width/Length (mm) 35/65/130 35/65/130 30/80/105 (UNDER DASH)
Number of Axles Suitable up to how many braked Caravan axles? FOUR FOUR THREE
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 $450 $495

European Vehicle Installations

At Hardings Swift Caravan Services 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 are usually additional costs with these vehicles as their electrical systems are very complex.

Caravan Brake Controllers


Watch our video on car and caravan electrics