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Old 08-24-2015, 09:35 PM   #11
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I have too much experience with remote RF devices from military service to ever trust one to keep me/us safe. How does one know when the communication link between transmitter and receiver is lost, and then how do you restore the link?
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Old 08-24-2015, 09:38 PM   #12
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Loved that RF controller; would've kept it except it help sell our 17B. Murano wiring also fussy but hard to believe what one may have to go through with a VW. Shamwow not!
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Old 08-25-2015, 12:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by tractors1 View Post
I have too much experience with remote RF devices from military service to ever trust one to keep me/us safe. How does one know when the communication link between transmitter and receiver is lost, and then how do you restore the link?
The in-vehicle unit tells you that it is not communicating - it's a two-way link so either end can tell whether or not it is getting a response.
There is a re-connect method. I can't remember offhand if it can be done "on the fly" or requires stopping.

Even with the radio link lost, the controller still works. It would be either incompetent or reckless to make braking ability unnecessarily dependent on a radio link in a poorly managed environment, and I haven't noticed that Cequent (the maker of Tekonsha) is either incompetent or reckless.
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Old 08-25-2015, 12:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The in-vehicle unit tells you that it is not communicating - it's a two-way link so either end can tell whether or not it is getting a response.
There is a re-connect method. I can't remember offhand if it can be done "on the fly" or requires stopping.

Even with the radio link lost, the controller still works.
Think I'd have to play with one in person to figure out how communication to the brakes work without the radio link from the brake pedal (by way of the brake controller) functioning.
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Old 08-25-2015, 12:45 AM   #15
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Think I'd have to play with one in person to figure out how communication to the brakes work without the radio link from the brake pedal (by way of the brake controller) functioning.
The only role of the brake pedal in a conventional controller is to trigger the brake light switch to turn the brake lights on - that's what the controller uses as an input. The Prodigy RF (on the trailer) is connected to the brake light circuit in the cable from tug to trailer, so it gets that signal as well, at the same time.

In the Prodigy RF even when the radio link is functioning, the unit in the vehicle still doesn't send anything to control normal braking. The in-cab unit is just
  • for the driver's information,
  • to adjust the gain (or other) setting, and
  • to manually apply the trailer brakes.
I've never had a reason to apply the trailer brakes manually other than during the adjustment process, but it potentially is useful to damp down sway if that happens.

The biggest problem I see with using the light circuits is that the primitive four-wire system used in North American non-commercial trailers doesn't have a separate stop (brake) lamp circuit - it has left and right stop+turn circuits, and you don't want the brake controller to respond to turn signals. The controller can just look for both coming on at the same (which is what happens when you brake), but it still needs to filter out four-way flashers, and not pulse on and off when combining turn signalling and braking. It can do that, but it potentially adds a moment of delay.
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Old 08-25-2015, 01:01 AM   #16
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Prodigy RF

Once the RF is paired with your vehicle, it never has to be done again, as it pairs automatically every time you hitch up. Audi Q7 and Escape trailers use 7-pin plugs, so no issue as with 4-pins. Since controller with inertia sensor is on the trailer, trailer braking is modulated by deceleration. With hard wired controllers in the vehicle, the inertia sensor is located there. RF works very well. I highly recommend it for the Q7.
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Old 08-25-2015, 01:09 AM   #17
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To each their own, as the saying goes. My primitive four-wire North American non-commercial trailer system works well for me since I have three added pins, one for the brakes, on my truck.
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Old 08-25-2015, 01:19 AM   #18
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Audi Q7 and Escape trailers use 7-pin plugs, so no issue as with 4-pins.
Of those seven pins, only four are used for lighting (5- left, 6- right, 3- tail, 1 - ground)... the other three don't make any difference to the ability of the trailer-mounted controller to clearly detect the stop (brake) lamp signal: power (pin 4), brake control (pin 2), and the auxiliary circuit (pin 7). That auxiliary circuit can be used for a stop lamp circuit, but it is not wired that way in an Escape, is not normally wired that way in a tow vehicle, and it appears that the Prodigy RF doesn't expect to get a stop lamp signal on that pin so it wouldn't help to wire it up anyway.

The RV-style 7-pin connection is just the 4-wire (including ground) lighting-only connection, plus those three other pins. The Prodigy RF does need the power circuit, so it does need the 7-pin connection.
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Old 08-25-2015, 01:25 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Of those seven pins, only four are used for lighting (5- left, 6- right, 3- tail, 1 - ground)... the other three don't make any difference to the ability of the trailer-mounted controller to clearly detect the stop (brake) lamp signal: power (pin 4), brake control (pin 2), and the auxiliary circuit (pin 7). That auxiliary circuit can be used for a stop lamp circuit, but it is not wired that way in an Escape, is not normally wired that way in a tow vehicle, and it appears that the Prodigy RF doesn't expect to get a stop lamp signal on that pin so it wouldn't help to wire it up anyway.

The RV-style 7-pin connection is just the 4-wire (including ground) lighting-only connection, plus those three other pins. The Prodigy RF does need the power circuit, so it does need the 7-pin connection.
Good catch, just read the manual online myself since the 4-wire comment didn't make sense to power anything.
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Old 08-25-2015, 01:25 AM   #20
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To each their own, as the saying goes. My primitive four-wire North American non-commercial trailer system works well for me.
Because turn signals are not distinct from braking, it doesn't work well enough as a way to signal other drivers to be legal for vehicles in most of the world. On the other hand, the additional of centre-mounted high-level stop lamps (the "third brake light") helps somewhat... except on trailers, which don't have them.

Trailers are interesting to me, in part because they are such anachronisms. There's nothing in the design of a typical current trailer chassis that wasn't readily available half a century ago... just like the old-style light setup.
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