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Old 08-05-2020, 06:35 PM   #21
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Name: Craig
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Thanks for all the info and photos.

I will double check but I was told a brake controller is not built into the Atlas SE.

I would like the controls to be in the center because if my wife was driving and a situation occurred that needed the trailer brakes to be activated manually I would like to be able to reach the control. She is a good driver but flusters easily in a panic.
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:30 PM   #22
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I would like the controls to be in the center because if my wife was driving and a situation occurred that needed the trailer brakes to be activated manually I would like to be able to reach the control. She is a good driver but flusters easily in a panic.
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:49 PM   #23
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I trust you with my life.
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Old 08-06-2020, 03:19 AM   #24
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Old 08-06-2020, 04:59 AM   #25
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The Hopkins InSight is high on my list at this point.

This morning I was searching for sellers and by chance saw the Tucson DirecLink controller. The electronics box is mounted out of the way, similar to the InSight and others. But the display and controls are in a hand held unit, similar to a cb radio microphone, with a spiral cord. It can also be mounted on a bracket.

One concern I have is it plugs directly into the car computer. I am curious what info it needs from the computer.

It is very expensive at about $350. But the convenience of mounting a small control or holding it or setting it in your lap and unplugging it to store when not in use might be worth the extra money.

Does anyone here have experience with DirecLink controllers?
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:16 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Craig D. Thompson View Post
Does anyone here have experience with DirecLink controllers?
Wow, someone mentioned the DirecLink in a post here on the forum in 2010; they apparently didn't have any actual experience with it. Maybe someone has, but hasn't posted about it.

When I took up this hobby a few years ago I was determined to tow safely. At one point I was reading up on Hensley and ProPride hitches. I PM'd a long-time member of the forum asking his opinion. He gently allowed that I probably didn't need a $2,500, 180-lb hitch to tow a little 3,500 GVW Casita travel trailer. While I considered that no price was too great for safety, over time I realized how sound his counsel was.

As mentioned, we have a P3, a very popular unit which has provided us with readily-adjustable and consistent performance on two different tow-vehicle-trailer combinations. While I have consciously practiced reaching for the manual actuation lever, I have never actually had to do so in a hurry because our trailers have had healthy tongue weights and so were not prone to sway.

Personally I would counsel you to stay away from those units which require wireless Bluetooth communication between the manual-control unit in the operator's cab and the A-frame-mounted controller. While this arrangement apparently overcomes some circuitry limitation in certain modern Subarus, (as best I recall), I would prefer a wired connection on what is essentially safety equipment.

Beyond that, I would focus on finding a unit with the essential features you require, and validating from other users on your tow vehicle's forum that it won't get into a wrestling match with your tow vehicle's circuitry.

I suggest closely reviewing the list of features in each unit you are considering and attempting to divide them into three columns; 1) don't-need-or-don't-care, 2) might-be-nice-to-have, and 3) essential. From there you can consider the pros and cons against the price and other drawbacks to see what you feel good about because that's the person you have to satisfy in the end.
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:23 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig D. Thompson View Post
The Hopkins InSight is high on my list at this point.

This morning I was searching for sellers and by chance saw the Tucson DirecLink controller. The electronics box is mounted out of the way, similar to the InSight and others. But the display and controls are in a hand held unit, similar to a cb radio microphone, with a spiral cord. It can also be mounted on a bracket.

One concern I have is it plugs directly into the car computer. I am curious what info it needs from the computer.

It is very expensive at about $350. But the convenience of mounting a small control or holding it or setting it in your lap and unplugging it to store when not in use might be worth the extra money.

Does anyone here have experience with DirecLink controllers?
I would say take a long look at the Tucson controller in your particular application before you buy.
It does require an OBDII plug connection.

If there is doubt, get the InSight... simple, convenient and reliable, with all the features needed...and a lot cheaper. (I found mine on E-Bay for $59)
The hand control and digital screen mount anywhere and use double faced tape. The two peripherals plug into the main unit using connectors like a telephone landline.



Start here, ignore the HD version ...
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Old 08-06-2020, 02:30 PM   #28
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I would say take a long look at the Tucson controller before you buy.
I looked long enough to work my way through the video.

It sounds like the OBD connection provides the raw data signals which are used to determine the level of braking, and that they have eliminated the accelerometer which is typically a part of proportional controllers.

I don't know that bumps and such cause my controller's accelerometer to actuate as they imply following 1:57. So, I'm not clear that I'm experiencing a problem for them to cure in this respect.

I would be interested in knowing more about what specific signals they gather from the tow vehicle to feed their controller's algorithm. Sometimes a vehicle synthesizes a conclusion without direct instrumentation.

As an example, some vehicle tire pressure monitoring systems alert you based on a differing revolution count from the ABS system, rather than actually depending on a pressure-monitor within each tire. In fact, as per a peek at Wikipedia, there's now a second-generation system that has even more capabilities:

Quote:
Indirect TPMS
Indirect TPMS do not use physical pressure sensors but measure air pressures using software-based systems, which by evaluating and combining existing sensor signals like wheel speeds, accelerometers, driveline data, etc. estimate and monitor the tire pressure without physical pressure sensors in the wheels. First-generation iTPMS systems are based on the principle that under-inflated tires have a slightly smaller diameter (and hence higher angular velocity) than a correctly inflated one. These differences are measurable through the wheel speed sensors of ABS/ESC systems.[5] Second generation iTPMS can also detect simultaneous under-inflation in up to all four tires using spectrum analysis of individual wheels, which can be realized in software using advanced signal processing techniques.
It sounds like accelerometers are now getting to be part of the mix in vehicle instrumentation, which makes sense given all the advanced features they are implementing.

Being able to monitor the transmission temperature with the DirecLink aroused my interest slightly. However, I already have that capability in my vehicle. I've also read that OBD monitors on some makes of vehicles are not able to "read" the transmission temperature as the vehicle manufacturers don't cooperate in making it accessible to the OBD readout manufacturers. So, I'd wonder if the DirecLink system will be able to provide it in all cases.

All in all, I'm not seeing any clear advantages for my applications. But I do have to admit, the future is coming, maybe even sooner than we expect.
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Old 08-06-2020, 02:43 PM   #29
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I have read MANY reviews about the DirecLink in the past day and most folks ask that same question: what data does the controller actually use and how does it use it.

The hand held control box is interesting but probably not worth the extra money for me.

The InSight is still my top choice at this point. That could change with further research.
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Old 08-06-2020, 04:54 PM   #30
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I like a real installation with the controls always in the same convenient location.

The Insight does that and does the job as well as the most trusted brake controller maker in the world... Tekonsha and its P series.
I don't want anything permanently plugged into my OBDII port, nor would I like fumbling around searching for a "MIC on spring" control module in a pinch.


For these reasons and for the fact that the technology in the P3 and the InSight and the RedArc is proven, reliable, and effective that I chose the Insight.


I have a P3 and an old Tekonsha on the shelf and would trust either of them with the task for which they were designed. I would have a P3 in my new truck except for the difficulty of convenient location of the unit.
The InSight solves that problem for my application.


The P3 is still the king if you have tough knees or a vehicle with a good mounting location. I have a P3 in my TC.
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Old 08-07-2020, 06:01 AM   #31
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Yes to all of your comments.

I have decided to get the InSight. The Hopkins site does not provide a list of sellers. Whenever possible I do not buy from Amazon.

My local NAPA that has treated me very good shows $138 while PepBoys shows $56. Several others in between.

etrailer and Campingworld do not have the InSight.

Are there any other recommended sources?
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:32 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Craig D. Thompson View Post
Yes to all of your comments.

I have decided to get the InSight. The Hopkins site does not provide a list of sellers. Whenever possible I do not buy from Amazon.

My local NAPA that has treated me very good shows $138 while PepBoys shows $56. Several others in between.

etrailer and Campingworld do not have the InSight.

Are there any other recommended sources?

Farm stores, and auto parts stores often have them, I think I first saw them at one of those "parts boutiques" like O'Rielly's or AutoZone.
Even WalMart has them.
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Old 08-08-2020, 12:14 PM   #33
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I have the CURT ECHO wireless brake controller. It works like a champ and it's so easy to install and use. No brake controller needed in the tow vehicle. Connects to your tow vehicle but needs power from the battery.
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Old 08-08-2020, 12:18 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Craig D. Thompson View Post

The Redarc and Curt both have controllers with just a small dial on the dash. What do you give up without a display? Any members here have experience using any of these?

.
I have the Redarc installed in my 4Runner. I use it for our off-road teardrop, not the Lil Snoozy, which has surge brakes. I really didn't want to bump my knees into some of the other controllers, so the remote components of the Redarc made it attractive. The intensity of braking is indicated by the intensity of the light on the adjustment dial. It works fine. The other cool thing is that it has two modes, proportional and user-controlled, which works really well.
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Old 08-08-2020, 01:05 PM   #35
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Compact Brake Controller

You might want to look at a CURT Spectrum brake controller (#51170). The main module mounts out of the way under the dash in any position, and the control knob is compact and appears easy to use. I just installed one in my Pilot.
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Old 08-08-2020, 01:29 PM   #36
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Thank you all for your continued input.

I mentioned previously that I had decided to get an InSight but at this moment it could be that or the Curt or the Redarc.

Somewhere I read that somebody installed a Curt system and experienced a continuing parasitic current draw when not in use. Any knowledge about that?

And I read about a Redarc user where he found that the knob turned too easily. He would bump it lightly and change the adjustment. Or when pushing the knob to manually activate the brakes it would turn. Any experience with that aspect?

How useful is the display in the InSight system compared to the Redarc and Curt systems without a display?
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Old 08-08-2020, 02:06 PM   #37
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I use a Tekonsha P3, only because I got a good deal for it. Wired it myself. TV is a 2012 RAV4 v6, pulling a Scamp 16. The P3 is easy to program and very user friendly. Definitely recommended.
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Old 08-08-2020, 02:58 PM   #38
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Here is the Prodigy P3 mounted in the center console of my 2009 VW Tiguan. Perfect location. Accessible, but not in the way. I needed to remove the console to install the P3 mounting bracket securely.

My Tiguan had the VW accessory trailer wiring module, but that does not include an electric brake circuit. Had to wire that in myself.

Mike
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Old 08-08-2020, 04:42 PM   #39
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CURT Echo Wireless Brake Controller

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Colangelo View Post
I have the CURT ECHO wireless brake controller. It works like a champ and it's so easy to install and use. No brake controller needed in the tow vehicle. Connects to your tow vehicle but needs power from the battery.

John, I have this controller and though it was a super simple piece of cake to install/bluetooth sync, I'm having a heck of a time in getting smooth braking. While moving at highway speeds (55-60 mph) it brakes/slows smoothly, however when slowing and coming to a full stop, braking is like slamming on the brakes, releases, then slam on again (am not pumping the brakes). The same when pulling out from a full stop, jerking, releasing then smooth sailing. I know I need to call CURT, but in the meantime...



Do you have any tips on how I can get smooth braking? Any particular youTube vid you would recommend?



Anyone else have this controller that can chime in?


Many thanks.
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Old 08-08-2020, 04:43 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Craig D. Thompson View Post
I mentioned previously that I had decided to get an InSight but at this moment it could be that or the Curt or the Redarc.
I watched the video for the Curt. While it has a clean look with a single button on the dash, it was not intuitive what they were doing to select the various settings they were adjusting; was that a press-and-tap and hold-and-rotate and tap-again - ? Even if I learned it, I don't know if any of that would be intuitive when I took my trailer out of storage next year. Spectrum™ Brake Control User's Guide

It sort of reminds me of the Onion News article where Apple eliminated the keyboard in favor of "the wheel". Revolutionary New Laptop

Personally, I prefer the sort of display which describes and indicates what you are doing, like the P3's. Tekonsha P3 Electronic Brake Controller

But, I'm not the one buying anything here. I just like to try and keep up with what's going on in the market.
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