Prodigy.. electrical battery ground ? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-12-2006, 03:08 PM   #1
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I am havng trouble with the Prodigy loses connection to battery ground? Does anyone know where this problem might lay? They checked out the truck and its fine so its something in the trailer? I cant adjust the brakes at all per instructions.. its just giving me the o.9 display?? I need to take this back over to the rv place, but maybe if i had an idea of whats wrong they could fix the problem quickly??? They grounded it better to the frame but its still reading the o.9?
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:05 PM   #2
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I believe that a connection problem to the trailer should produce the "n.c." (for No Connection) message on the Prodigy display (changing after 15 seconds to " . ."), rather "o.9". The owners' manual does explain that "o.9" indeed means "Trailer is connected and Prodigy loses connection to battery ground." I assume that this means the (normally white) wire to the ground side of the tow vehicle battery, and their use of the term "battery ground" rather than just "ground" reinforces the recommendation in their installation guide:
Quote:
The WHITE wire must be connected to a suitable ground location. The negative terminal of the battery is a suitable ground location in the absence of a Trailer Tow Package connection.
The controller is connected to power, the brake light wire, and ground. The ground connection should be a very direct dedicated wire, so making a good connection should not be difficult. I ran the ground wire right to the [b]battery terminal, not to a frame ground (my Sienna has no factory controller pre-wiring available). If an ohmmeter really shows that this is a good connection, perhaps the controller has a defective connection internally. The Prodigy has a plug-in connector on the back, so it is easy to unplug it and test the wires, but perhaps the connector itself has a bad ground pin connection or contact?

(P.S. the "o.9" indication actually has the "o" in the top, not bottom, of the left digit, but I don't see how to make a raised character in IPB...)
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:15 PM   #3
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Brain.. yes i understand what n.c means. i printed out the manual but will have them check to see what can be done and have them check the wiring to the prodigy.. I bought it from a person on the list here.. and he had sent new wiring with the controller... i have printed out your reply and see whats next... brake lights work good, turn signals etc...
perhaps the controller has a defective connection internally hopefully this isnt the problem.... but it will be checked out.. i got such a good price for it.. and I know he wouldnt have sent me a defective one...unless he didnt know about it....
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:41 PM   #4
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[b]perhaps the controller has a defective connection internally hopefully this isnt the problem....
Near the end of last year's trip, my Prodigy Controller developed a problem, intermittant at first, sometimes saying not connected / sometimes saying short circuit; progressing to a [b]complete short in the system. (I forget what my error codes were.)
Since I purchased it from Camping World, and had them install it, I took it back for them to troubleshoot. They had a free bench test, which my unit came up trouble free. My problem was in my trailer. I traced the wiring out and discovered that my wiring for the tongue mounted Bargman Breakaway Switch had chaffed against the frame. I replaced that wire, routed in a different way; problem solved.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:49 PM   #5
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thanks Fred.. I will also print your post off too... I dont know if Scamp has one of those"bargman Breakaway switch" ..
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Old 04-12-2006, 08:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
thanks Fred.. I will also print your post off too... I dont know if Scamp has one of those"bargman Breakaway switch" ..
Every trailer with electric brakes should (as in, likely legally required to) have a [b]breakaway switch. It can be made by Bargman, Tekonsha, or anyone else. It is mounted on the tongue and has a cable (not electrical) running from it to the tow vehicle, like a leash. If the trailer "breaks away" from the tug (hitch fails) the cable pulls a plug out the switch, and it connects a trailer battery directly to the brakes. The trailer (which may by now be rolling down the road all by itself) then gets full-power braking, as if you had turned your controller up to max and pulled the manual lever on all the way.

An example: Tekonsha
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Old 04-12-2006, 08:22 PM   #7
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.. I bought it from a person on the list here...
Great, the controller is proven to work. Now it might have just developed a connection problem internally, but if I had to bet I'd put my money on the wiring to the controller. The Prodigy comes with a "pigtail": a connector to mate with the controller, and a set of wires to connect to the tow vehicle by either plugging into a factory-supplied "pre-wired" connector, or extending with custom-installed wires to the brake switch, battery, and trailer receptacle.

I think from an earlier post you are towing with a Nissan pickup, Christi (but maybe I'm completely mistaken). If so, you probably have the [b]factory pre-wired setup, so the Prodigy-to-truck connection is hopefully done with a harness made specifically for the truck, with the Prodigy connector on one end and the specific-to-truck connector on the other. That may mean more connectors, any of which could be a little corroded or bent to cause connection problems, but at least you wouldn't have to worry about the design of the wiring being appropriate.

By the way, trailer wiring colour standards don't match typical automotive practice well, so it's easy for someone to connect the wrong wires if they are not paying attention. The wiring harness chart from Tekonsha shows, for instance, that the white controller wire (ground) goes to the black truck wire, while the black controller wire goes to the red truck wire.
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Old 04-12-2006, 08:35 PM   #8
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ok thanks.. another print out..LOL i feel like this !!

They should know what they are doing as far as wiring.. its a very reputable place for taking your RV's around here...

ok i am going to bed.. my brain is fried....
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Old 04-12-2006, 09:02 PM   #9
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Just a troubleshooting thought:
The Prodigy is a really common controller, and has that handy plug. If this one can be plugged into someone else's vehicle, its operation can be confirmed. If someone else's Prodigy can be plugged into the problem tug, and the same problem occurs, it's likely the vehicle wiring...
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Every trailer with electric brakes should (as in, likely legally required to) have a [b]breakaway switch.

The need for a breakaway switch is controlled by fedral law. I recently read it, but don't have the link handy. It states that if brakes are required then a breakaway switch is required. If I remember correctly it make the breaks required, breakaway switch required very clear, or breaks not required, break away switch not required.

My S13' has breaks but they aren't required, therefore I'm not required to have a breakaway switch.
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:06 PM   #11
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Don`t some jurisdictions require the brakes to be operable and used along with the break away if they are on the vehicle to start with, irrelevant of trailer weight......seems I read that somewhere.... ..Benny
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:50 PM   #12
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Don`t some jurisdictions require the brakes to be operable and used along with the break away if they are on the vehicle to start with, irrelevant of trailer weight......seems I read that somewhere.... ..Benny
Oregon requires that if brakes are on the trailer they must be operable. But they aren't required by Oregon Law, therefore a breakaway switch isn't required.


Now back to our original subject.
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Old 04-13-2006, 11:33 AM   #13
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I think if a trailer has brakes it needs a breakaway switch. They are cheap and easy to install. Nice peace of mind. I've seen a couple trailers come unhooked, if mine ever did that I'd want it stopped as quick as possible!

I can't see any reason not to have one.
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Old 04-18-2006, 11:52 AM   #14
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A breakaway switch was original equipment on my Boler, and I still have one. I even replaced the original when I completely replaced the brake wiring, so it's not just there by default. I can understand leaving it out, because every device (with associated wiring) is a possible source of failure, and can cause problems in a system which would otherwise be working, which is why Fred brought it up in the first place.

In my installation, the wiring of the breakaway switch is easily accessible and easily removed due to the termination box setup which I added, which will help if I need to track down any mysterious electrical behaviour.

As for the basic purpose of the switch... I see the logic of wanting a detached trailer to stop before going too far, and I suppose a trailer hanging on by nothing but safety chains is better pulling (under its own braking force) than pushing into the tug, but the idea of a locked-wheels anchor behind my van at highway speeds does concern me a bit. I don't think there is a perfect solution to handling a hitch failure.
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