Curt Echo Mobile Trailer Brake Controller Review

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Review of the Curt Echo Mobile Trailer Brake Controller


Speaker 1: Today we're going to be taking a look at the Curt Echo. This is a proportional wireless trailer brake controller. It's designed to work with one, up to two, axles. Part number is C51180. Now the Curt Echo it really changing the game when it comes to brake controllers. Basically, we are no longer required to install a bunch of wiring inside of our vehicle.

Or if we didn't want to do that, we'd have to install or permanently mount something on our trailer. In this case, we're basically going to plug this right between a working 7-pole and the wire on our trailer, sync it up with an app, and we have full wireless control. We can adust our gain. We can adjust the sensitivity, and we can store several different profiles for several different trailers.Now this type of controller is going to be great in a lot of applications. It's designed to work with trailers that have one or two axles, so four total brake assemblies.

But just imagine rental areas that rent equipment on trailers. A lot of customers aren't going to have that brake controller installed. This is going to allow them to safely haul that load. Also, fleet companies .. Maybe you've got six trailers and four different trucks, and each truck pulls a different trailer at a different time, or you don't want to go through the expense of adding a brake controller into each truck.

This can very quickly and easily be switched from vehicle to vehicle or trailer to trailer with no issues. I also see this being used a lot for the more complex wiring situations that we run into with our higher end or multiplex style wiring.Also, if you just don't want to put holes in your dashboard, you don't want to adjust or modify anything in the vehicle, this is going to give you the perfect solution. So there's a lot of different areas where this brake controller is really going to shine. Now the nice thing about the Echo is that it is a proportional brake controller. So now we're traveling.

We're just going to lightly hit our brakes. And see our brakes are applied just in that light affect. Now we'll go around the corner here. We'll hit our brakes a little harder once we get around, and we'll see what it does there. Once we get into this more of an emergency stop situation, you notice we've got much more brakes being applied and much more quickly. Now if we go to our sensitivity, if we don't feel like those are coming on quick enough, we bump that up just a little bit, hit our brakes again, and you can kind of fine tune it to get the feel that you're looking for.The benefit to that over a time delayed system is that you don't have to wait for it to come on in an emergency, and it's not going to come on too quickly just in your normal everyday stopping situation. Now for our manual override, you'll notice we do have the orange button here in the middle. This is basically going to come into play when you just want to apply the brakes on your trailer. So if you have a sway event or something like that, simply by hitting that button, you can see those brakes are going to be applied and will settle that right back out.Now the Echo is going to work in any of your working 7-poles. Basically, you just want to install it like you would your trailer plug. The thing I like about this with each manufacturer . Like on the Jeep here, for instance, the door opens from the side. On Chevys they kind of open up, so you have to have it in on the bottom. So regardless of which angle that we have to get this installed into the back of our truck, it's going to work equally as good. Now in our case, we're just going to open our 7-pole door. Keep in mind the tab that sticks up should always be towards the door. And we're going to slide that in just like a normal 7-pole plug. You'll notice we've got a LED light right here. It's flashing blue. That means that it is synced, so we already have our app open. It just doesn't recognize the trailer yet.That LED light is going to tell you exactly what's going on with your controller. The different lights mean different things, and the thing I like about that is that in your quick guide all of those are listed. So you don't have to go all the way back through your instructions or find it. Keep that quick guide with you. If you have any issues, it's going to let you know right there on the controller. Now we'll hook up our 7-pole from our trailer just like we would plugging it into the back of our vehicle. At that point, our brake controller is installed, and as long as you've got it paired to your smartphone it's ready for use.You'll notice our flashing green light once we're plugged in. That indicated to us that it is recognizing the trailer. It is getting power, but the app is not open yet. As soon as you open the app, the flashing green will turn to solid green. And to set up your brake controller, you'll need to download the current app. Once you initially get in there, it's going to have it get started right down here at the bottom. We're just a step beyond that, so we're going to hit the menu button up here. Once we select that, we're going to have sync devices. We've got right here. Allow it to look. Now one thing to keep in mind, of course, you do want the Bluetooth on your phone to be turned on. Here we see a found device. That's our Echo brake control. Would we like to pair with that Okay.At that point it asks us for our code. That's going to be a six-digit number. It's going to come in the package with your brake controller on your quick start guide, which is going to be here. You can see it's on the back. But if you happen to lose that card, it's also located underneath the lid on your brake controller. We've got our number entered, so we'll hit okay. As you can see now, it's going to show connected, pairing successful. We'll want to continue. You can see we've got the five different profiles to choose from. Now this can be different users. It can be different trailers. You've got several different ways you can set that up. Just get into our current there, and we'll see that we've got our output. We've got our sensitivity. That's our manual override right there, so you just hit that center button. That's going to take care of any of the sway events that you might have.And you see we've got our plus and our minus here. That's going to jump in increments of five. It's going to give us 19 different settings, so 19 different output settings. It's going to really allow you to adjust or fine tune your braking. Then to fine tune that further, we've got our sensitivity. Here you can see we have nine different levels, and that's going to change the quickness and aggressiveness in which our brakes get applied. So once we get into a heavier load situation or rough terrain, we want to increase that sensitivity. If we're driving on a nice flat level surface with an empty trailer, well, we want to bring that sensitivity down. We don't need that quickness and that aggressiveness. And also, we can adjust the theme. So we can go to a darker screen. It's going to be more beneficial driving at night. And if you choose, if you want to brighten it up a little bit you can for the day.Now from our operations screen, if we'll hit the menu, we can go to profile list. So we'll select that. Now from the controller profile screen, we can go to application profiles. You'll see here it says add profile. Basically, what we're able to do is name a profile specifically. So we'll go here. We already have one saved as Little Red. So we're going to do Black Tandem. It's one of the other trailers that we have here. Hit okay. We can go to our current profile. We'll see Black Tandem. Go back into it. Our settings are saved where we want them. Go back to our profile list, and we can select Little Red. Would you like to activate that Now a few things to keep in mind for increasing the user experience that you're going to have with the brake controller would be, one, you want to ensure that you update the app regularly. They're, of course, going to make changes and improvements to it, so you want to stay up to date.And the other thing we'd recommend is having your cellphone mounted on your dashboard. As you use the brake controller, the application is going to stay open, so it's readily available and easy to access. The situation with that would be if you've got it in your cup holder, if it falls off your seat on your floor, well, you're not within arms reach of it. So having a dashboard mount so you can keep your cellphone up here easily accessible is going to be the safest way to operate it. We do have a couple different dashboard cellphone holder mounts available. One that we'd recommend would be PC03. And it's also a good idea to have a power source plugged in. With the app staying on, of course, you can dim your phone screen down, kind of minimize the battery drain, but with the power source in there it's something you're not going to have to worry about.You'll notice the Grand Cherokee we've been working with today has an after market brake controller installed. That's just like the Silverado we we're working with earlier. However, that one is from the factory. The good news is with the Echo in line, it's going to stop the aftermarket or factory brake controller from sending it's signal through to the trailer. It takes all of the brake controller duties on until it's unhooked. At that point, your aftermarket or factory brake controllers are going to be right back working as they we're before. Now when comparing the Curt Echo to other brake controllers out there on the market, I think that the Tekonsha Prodigy RF is going to be the closest one. This is a brake controller system designed to mount and be permanently attached to your trailer.I think the Curt has some significant advantages in that this can be switched from trailer to trailer and vehicle to vehicle with zero issues or zero wiring really needed. Also, sometimes when pairing the Prodigy RF in a particular vehicle, it won't work. You'll have to use a second vehicle to actually get the system paired, and then get it in the vehicle that you want to use. This can lead to some headaches with certain vehicles and manufacturers. Another brake controller that it's going to be very comparable to is going to be the Prodigy P3. It's one of the best selling brake controllers that we have here at eTrailer, and people really tend to love it. With the P3, you're going to pick up a few additional axles as far as the capability goes. It's going to work for up to four axles. Very rarely are you going to see a triple or quad axle trailer, but some car haulers and campers do have them.So if your trailer has more than two axles, the P3 is going to be the way to go. We get slightly better diagnostics functions with the P3, but all in all it's going to take a lot more labor, it's going to take a lot more materials to get that brake controller installed in a lot of applications. Whereas, with the Curt Echo, simply plug it in. It has the diagnostic functions there that can help you in the event that we do have any issues. You can store the same amount of profiles, and overall the installation doesn't take any time at all. Now the only application we've really found so far where the Echo needs a little bit of assistance in working is on the Ford trucks. From '15 to '17, Ford kind of messed with the way that 12 volt power is supplied back to your plug on the back of your vehicle.What we recommend is just doing away with the factory 12 volt power going back and running your own 12 volt power through a circuit breaker from your battery. That alleviates that from the '15, '16, and '17 models. Now the good news, they've kind of revised that on the 2018. In that case, you just want to ensure that your total haul mode is activated. As long as that's activated, you're getting the power you need for this controller to work. And that's going to complete our look at the Curt Echo, part number C51180.


Questions and Comments about this Video

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Chuck M 03/30/2019

Having Problems with 2018 Toyota Tundra Inagrated Brake controller Will this work with it. 51234

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The echo brake controller is designed to work independently of any integrated brake controller. 46776

-- Rachael H - 04/02/2019



Henning Schwalbe 05/27/2019

Thank you very much for this thorough review. Towing newbie here with a 2009 Fleetwood E3 and a new Subaru Ascent coming next week. I think I really like the way this one installs and works. Now the cherry on top and that is my question: Would you you happen to know if the Curt Echo App works with Apple CarPlay? That would make a phone mount obsolete. Thank you! 55772

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The Curt Echo is currently designed to be compatible with your phone, but is not compatible with Apple CarPlay. 49002

-- Rachael H - 05/29/2019



Dan 08/15/2019

Can this be used If I have converted from a simple 4 flat connection to a 7 round, and am only using the original 4 wires,ie not adding the power lead for charging or the blue wire from the controller? 60040

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The Curt Echo brake controller does require the 12V power wire to function. Normally we would recommend the Upgrade Kit # ETBC7L but since it sounds like you already have the connector/adapter you only need 10 Gauge Wire # 10-1-1 (sold by the foot), a 40 amp Circuit Breaker # 9510, and then some butt connectors like part # DW05745-5 and a ring terminal that matches up to your battery. Zip ties are helpful but not required for the install. Once you have the 12V power wire connected to your battery and then back to your 7-Way you are good to use the Echo! I am attaching a helpful article on routing power wiring for you to check out. 51749

-- Jon G - 09/19/2019

Helpful Links

faq-Routing-a-Power-Wire.aspx



MIKE 08/24/2019

Having trouble with the app loading 60358

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Try deleting the app competently then reinstalling it, clean the cache (memory), and then you can try a different device if possible. Also be sure to follow all of the installation instructions directly. 52912

-- Jon G - 09/27/2019



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