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How to Troubleshoot a Tekonsha Brake Controller

by Mark Corgan

There are several Tekonsha brand brake controllers, each with their own troubleshooting steps. The main controller differences include the controller activation circuitry and the way each controller type is mounted. The Tekonsha Voyager brake controller uses pendulum activation and is sensitive to the controller mounting angle. The Tekonsha Prodigy uses a self-adjusting activation sensor and can be mounted in nearly any horizontal or vertical position. Other features of each brake controller, such as the boost function on the Prodigy, require separate troubleshooting steps.

Troubleshooting the Voyager Brake Controller

Check that the front of the controller is level side to side and back to front. The controller must be positioned so it is in line with the direction of travel. Determine if the brake controller installation angle is between 70 degrees from horizontal with the controller nose pointing up and -20 degrees from horizontal with the controller nose pointing down.

Connect the trailer electrical connection plug to the tow vehicle and start the tow vehicle.

Check that the light on the top right of the controller is green. If the light is not green, the controller is not connected to the trailer or there is no power or ground to the controller. Check that the trailer's electrical connector is fully seated in the tow vehicle's receptacle. Ensure that the trailer's electrical connector wires are not corroded and there is power to the controller.

Operate the manual slide knob on the front of the controller. If the light on the top right of the controller is not red, adjust the controller braking power higher using the thumb wheel on the controller. If the light is still not red, the blue wire from the brake controller is shorted or the black and white wires on the controller are reversed. If the wires are reversed, the controller requires replacement.

Operate the manual slide knob on the front of the controller. If the light glows dim red or flashes red, the controller ground wire is not connected or the blue wire on the controller is shorted. Check for proper ground on the white wire and ensure the blue wire is not grounded.

Operate the manual slide knob on the front of the controller and hold the slide knob at the maximum setting. Decrease the braking power of the controller by using the thumb wheel. If the light gets brighter as the power is decreased, there is a short in the blue controller wire or the trailer's brake magnets are defective.

Drive the tow vehicle at 25 mph with the trailer connected. Apply the tow vehicle brakes. If the trailer braking is too aggressive or the trailer braking is delayed, the power is either set too high or too low, respectively. Adjust the controller braking power and repeat Step 7. If adjustment of the braking power does not resolve braking performance, repeat Step 1.

Troubleshooting the Prodigy Brake Controller

Check that the front of the controller is level side to side and back to front. The controller must also be positioned so it is in line with the direction of travel.

Connect the trailer electrical connection plug to the tow vehicle and start the tow vehicle.

Check the display reading. If the display reads or flashes "o.g", check the controller wiring to ensure there is a proper ground.

Check the display reading. If the display reads or flashes "o.L", the controller is electrically overloaded during use. Check for faulty or shorted wires connected to the trailer's brake actuator.

Check the display reading. If the display reads or flashes "S.H", the controller sees a short in the brake wire. Make sure the blue brake wire from the controller is not touching ground and that the trailer's brake signal wire is not grounded.

Check the display reading. If the display reads or flashes "n.c.", the controller is not connected to the trailer. Check that the trailer's electrical connector is fully seated in the tow vehicle's receptacle. Ensure that the trailer's electrical connector wires are not corroded and that the trailer's brake signal wire is not broken or disconnected.

Check the display reading. If the display is blank, there is no power to the controller. Check that the connector from the tow vehicle controller adapter harness to the brake controller is fully seated. Ensure that the tow vehicle's brake controller fuse is not blown and that the ground wire to the controller is properly grounded to the vehicle.

Check the display reading. If the display reads or flashes "0.0", the controller is set to zero power. Adjust the braking power using the thumb wheel on the controller to the desired amount of braking power.

Check the display reading. If the display reads or flashes "P.L", power to the controller is interrupted when the brake pedal is applied. Check the controller's blue brake wire for proper connection and ensure the trailer's brake signal wire is connected to the brake actuator magnets.

Check the display reading. If the display reads or flashes "E.r", the brake controller is faulty and requires replacement.

Warning

  • Failure to position the brake controller properly in the tow vehicle will result in brake controller malfunction or improper trailer brake activation, especially with the Voyager controller model.

About the Author

Based in northern Nevada, Mark Corgan has been writing RV-related articles since 2007. His articles have appeared on ModMyRV.com and other websites. Corgan holds an Associate of Science in electronics engineering from ITT Technical Institute. An information technologist by trade, he also has a technical writing background and writes how-to guides on blogging technologies.

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