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Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless Trailer Brake Controller Review

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Review of the Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless Trailer Brake Controller


Speaker 1: Today we'll be having a look at and installing the Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless Trailer Brake Controller. Part number 90250.Here's what the Prodigy RF looks like installed. What's great about the Prodigy RF is if you have a trailer that is towed by multiple different vehicles that may or may not have a break controller installed in them, you'll be able to have functional trailer brakes with any vehicle towing it because the Prodigy RF is mounted permanently to the trailer and you have a handheld unit that you can swap between vehicles that only requires a 12-volt power connection.This is great for some vehicles where you don't want to install a break controller because it's not possible because you don't have a cold side of the brake light switch. Some higher end vehicles are like that or if you just don't want to deal with having a brake control mount in your vehicle because you don't want the cluttered look of having it mounted to the dash somewhere.All the Prodigy RF will require on the vehicle that's doing the towing is a 7-way connector that has the lighting functions and a 12-volt constant power source that's run to your vehicles battery. You don't need to worry about having your trailer brake signal, which is also known as the blue wire, hooked up. The Prodigy RF will handle all the braking ability internally.

You don't need to worry about the blue wire at all, you just need to make sure that the 7-way connector is getting power, and you're good to go.The Prodigy RF is a proportional braking system, which will slow your trailer down in conjunction smoothly and safely with your towing vehicle. It will control up to three axles of trailer brakes.The Prodigy RF has an internal leveling sensor, which will determine deceleration even if the unit is not mounted perfectly flat. The Prodigy RF will conduct continuous diagnostic tests to alert us to any potential faults in our trailers braking system. Our display, we have a C showing us having a proper connection, the dot after the C means that it's connected properly as well. The dot before is for our boost level.

You control the boost level settings via this small button up here to the top right. Boost level one, boost level two and boost level three and then there's off.What the boost level settings do is give us more aggressive initial braking. So if we have a heavier trailer, we picked up some extra materials, going down some steep terrain, if we want to step up the power a little bit so the brakes apply firmer, faster, we just dial up the boost level button, number one will give us a little more power, number two gives us even more, and finally three gives us the most power.Off to the right, we have a dial. What this dial does is allow us to adjust the amount of power going to our brakes. So we press the button on the left, then we move the knob up or down.

All the way is 13, you can move it down all the way to zero. Best thing to do is set it right in the middle, so right about six and a half is a good place to start. And then you can go up and down as necessary.What it means by proportional is, when we're slowing down, gradually in our vehicle, the trailer brakes will be applied gradually as well so that it slows down equally and smoothly as well as safely with the vehicle that we're driving.Now, if we ever found ourselves in a situation where the trailer starts to jack knife and we need to bring it back behind us, we can do that by using the manual override. What the manual override will do is only apply the trailers brakes, not the vehicles brakes, and that will slow the trailer back down, bringing it into a straight line behind you. And you can see when you press on the manual override button a little bit, you'll get a little bit of power.

The further you press, the more powers being applied to the trailer brakes.Now, because this is a proportional system, the only way it's going to apply power to the trailer brakes, is when your foot is on the brake pedal of your vehicle or you press the manual override. This won't give us any false braking.Not the Prodigy RF will apply our trailer breaks at a reduced power level of 25% of where we have them set at, when our foot is applied on our vehicles brakes and we are stationary for longer than five to seven seconds. And what this will do is provide less ware on the magnets in our trailer brakes.The Prodigy RF is also capable of providing proportional braking to our trailer, even when we're in reverse. This is something that a lot of other brake controllers out there can't do. What I really like about the Prodigy RF is if we have another vehicle that has a 7-way on it with power going to the 7-way, if we want to tow our trailer with that vehicle, it's not a problem. All we have to do is take our handheld unit, unplug it from the vehicle that's normally towing the trailer, and then we can plug it into the power outlet in the other vehicle, and we're ready to go.When we take it out on the road, you can see as we come to a stop, the brakes are applying, and as we stop, they shut off after a second. And after our foots on the brake for the five to seven seconds, it'll give us about 25% of our power right here to help hold out trailer in place. This is important because if we're on a hill, we don't want to have the weight of the trailer trying to push our vehicle down the hill, or pull us down the hill. Depending if we're going up or down.Now that we've gone over some features, we'll show you how to get it installed.Now there are many ways to install this, however there are two things you need to make sure that you do all the time. You need to make sure the side of the sticker faces up and preferably the end of the cable faces forward.So for our particular application, we're gonna mount it on the drivers side of our frame on our trailer, as far back as we can, closest to where the camper begins. Now we'll take a small drill bit and make a mark at all four hole locations. With all four of our locations marked, we'll now drill a small pilot hole. We'll now run our self-tapping screws that are provided into the hole.K, we'll leave that one loose, and we'll get the other ones to start as well the same way. Now the factory 7-way and our plug, which would plug into the 7-way on our tow vehicle normally, will plug into the back here. But in order to do this, we're going to re-route our cable and cut off the excess slack so we don't have to worry about zip tying it up underneath the vehicle. So we're going to undo this so it comes back from our junction box, which is located right behind the Prodigy unit and just have a very short cable that's just long enough to plug in here. That way, it's permanently connected all the time.So we're just gonna cut off our factory 7-way from our trailer, making sure we leave excess slack in it. That way we just have our end right here like this, and we'll undo the rest of this from our factory junction box.K, so we'll pull the 7-way wire out of our loom clamps. Now this is our junction box, we have two Phillip screws on it. We'll remove those screws, the lid will pull right off, and we find all the wiring connections inside.K, now we have two Phillips screws here and here. They hold a clamp in place that holds our 7-way wire in. We'll remove those screws. Now we can pull out the grommet that our 7-way wire passes through. We'll cut these wires off here to get our plug out of the way.Now we'll take the 7-way end that we cut off, and we'll plug it into the back of the Prodigy. Now we'll make our connections with this wire once we cut off all the slack that we don't need. So our 7-way wire, we have routed over the top of our junction box here, making sure we leave enough slack so we can still unplug it if necessary from the Prodigy. So we're going to measure off how much wire we're going to need. Right about here will be fine. So we'll cut off the excess there.K, so now we're going to peel back the black outer insulation to right about here. Making sure we don't cut any of the wires underneath. K, once you have it cut all the way through it'll just pull all the way off. K, so we have the wire through our grommet and the grommet pushed back into place in our junction box. Now we can reinstall our clamp that prevents the wire from ever being pulled out of the junction box.K now what we're going to do one by one is remove the nuts from each one of our terminals in our junction box and then we're going to take off the corresponding color wires that we cut off of our 7-way connector. So for example, this one here, that's all the way over to the left, that has the yellow wire going to it, so we'll take the yellow wire that we ran back in and reconnect it to each terminal. The reason we do them one at a time, that way anything that comes off that terminal, we know exactly where it's gonna go back.So we'll strip back some insulation from the yellow wire, we'll place them on these small yellow ring terminals, which we have available on our website, and we'll crimp it into place. And we'll get that back into position over in that stud and reinstall the nut.K, now that all of our connections are made, we'll reinstall our cover. We'll begin our process of doing the pairing procedure. We'll start by making sure our trailer is disconnected from the Prodigy unit itself. And then we'll connect the Prodigy to our vehicle 7-way. K, now we'll start our vehicles engine. Now we'll plug our handheld unit into a 12-volt power source.K, we'll press our boost button here and our manual override button here and hold them until it says PA. And we'll release and then we'll press and hold our brake pedal until it starts to flash zero zero. And then we'll slide our knob up and now we can connect our trailer back to the Prodigy unit. Now that we have our trailer connected, you can see that our display changed from N.C., which means no connection to C, which means we are properly connected.And that completes our look at and installation of the Tekonsha Prodigy RF Wireless Brake Controller, Part number 90250.


Questions and Comments about this Video


Gerard S.
I will be picking up my RV in Arizona next week. 36' Monaco Diesel Pusher. On my way home I hope to be picking up my car hauler 8.5x20 tandem axle enclosed trailer in Texas. The RV currently does not have an electric brake controller. This Prodigy model sounds Ideal! What is the allowable functional range "distance" between the plug port on the dash and the trailer tongue placement of the Prodigy RF unit? Will the system "Bluetooth signal" work 36 plus Feet away from the controller on the dash? Will it transmit the signal through all the different confines/barriers that are found in an RV? Is this the best unit for me? or do you have a different suggestion? Thanks
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

Sounds like quite the trip. This is a great question but unfortunately the wireless range for this setup is only about 20 feet, so it's definitely not the ideal choice when the tow vehicle is a larger RV. Your best option is going to be a wired controller like the Tekonsha Primus IQ TK90160. You could call the dealer ahead of time to see if it's possible for them to install the controller before you pick up the motorhome.

Reply from Gerard S.

@ChrisR

Trailer S.
I recently installed prodigy P90250 on new travel trailer. I adjusted gain to 6 as recommended and tested. All good. After traveling over 100 miles and using brakes gently, I was experiencing brakes grabbing and locking up. I progressively lowered gain to 2 but am still experiencing grab at low speeds (less than 10 mph). Should I continue to lower gain until grab disappears? Should I add boost to help high speed braking?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

It sounds like you have the Tekonsha 902501 (now # TK94FR) Prodigy RF, and proportional, trailer brake controller. Couple of questions. Brand and Model of trailer? Does your trailer have standard electric brakes? What is weight and style of trailer? What is the boost level set to?

Reply from Trailer S.

@LesD

Reply from Trailer S.

@LesD Trailer is Oliver Elite II with standard electrical brakes. This is a twin Dexter axle fiberglass hull trailer weighing 5200 lbs. Boost is set to default or 0.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

Sorry, also need to know the year, make, and model of the towing vehicle before I call Tekonsha.

Reply from Trailer S.

@LesD 2014 VW Touareg TDI Executive

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Les D.

@TrailerS if you have completed the other steps, then the last suggestion is to "bed in" the brake pads - especially since you say this is a new trailer. Find a nice empty area to drive where you can accelerate to 25, then bring the truck and trailer to a stop using only the prodigy manual over ride. You will need to do this 10-12 times. It is ok for the brakes to smoke a bit as you brake firmly.

Sylvain H.
I have toyota tacoma 2021 with travel trailer alto safari condo m'y contrôler break prodigy rf switch all the time the system goes n.c to c all the time is it broken
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Victoria B.

I would start by checking the connection points on your vehicle, the Prodigy, and the trailer. Make sure the connection tabs are clean and free of corrosion. If there is any corrosion, dirt, or debris in there, it could be causing your weak connection and the remote bouncing back and forth between connected and not connected.

John L.
i have a question about the product - as anyone confirmed that it works with the Ford Ranger XLT with Tow Package.
Val D.
I recently purchased a new 2020 ford escape, my older 2016 ford escape had no issues with this RF unit. I am finally able to pair, but after driving for about 15 minutes the system just goes from .c. to nc . This never did this before. does this mean a bad unit now?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

If the only change in your setup is the tow vehicle then I would venture to say that there is something going on with the connection. You may have a bad ground or some corrosion somewhere causing the nc code you mentioned. I would test all of your connections, making sure they are in good working order and then you can also test out the trailer connection with a different tow vehicle if you're able to.

J M.
I cannot get my trailer/brake controller to pair. I only get nc. I religiously followed the directions and I had several other people try also ( they have same unit), and nothing. I had to drive home with no brakes. help? I have had problems all along since I got this- what do I do? Is there any kind of recall?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

If it says NC then that means it has paired successfully but it isn't sensing that the trailer is connected. This usually means that you have a wiring issue either on your truck or trailer. I'm attaching a few troubleshooting articles that you can reference to help you out with this.

Richard G.
What is the best wireless break controller for a Honda Passport Trailing a Casita Camper?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Kef G.

I recommend the Curt Echo, part # C51180 . It plugs into your 7-way and connects to your phone via bluetooth. It's the easiest installation of any brake controller we have.

James F.
My prodigy RF says it’s paired but then it keeps giving me the N.C. which it says the trailer is not connected. But I do have a connection because I have trailer brake lights, signal lights etc. what am I doing wrong?
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Jon G.

Sounds like there isn't enough of a load being put on the trailer brake wiring circuit for the Prodigy RF to recognize that the trailer is connected. The Adapter # 20142 should do the trick for you.

Rpod
I cannot get from n c to c. I tried it on a second vehicle and it paired no problem. I cannot pair it with my Number 1 toe vehicle. What should I do ? Thanks
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

If you're having trouble getting the RF to pair try simply going through all the steps listed in the manual, even if the display isn't showing what it's supposed to. A lot of times if you just power through it'll eventually connect. If you can let me know what tow vehicle you have I may be able to offer some more specific advice.

Reply from Rpod

@ChrisR Thanks.

Etrailer Expert
Reply from Chris R.

@Rpod No problem - just let me know if the issues persist.

Bill M.
What if it’s a rental? I don’t think it would be advisable to drill holes in the trailer.
Etrailer Expert
Reply from Rachael H.

I would advise checking the with the rental location. Sometimes that is taken into account the the trailer is equipped with surge brakes that do not require an electric brake controller and input from the tow vehicle.

Kayaksmurf
In roughly 13 minutes, I learned everything you need to know about this system. In typical etrailer.com fashion, presentation was pithy and and viewer intuitive. You guys are the BEST. I remain your loyal customer.
Kenneth L.
It might be a good idea to instruct the installer to disconnect the trailer battery before cutting the existing 7-Way cable as there is hot battery power and ground wires that could short out.

Info for this part was:

Employee Jacob T
Video Edited:
Jacob T
Employee Kathleen M
Installed by:
Kathleen M

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