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CURT ECHO BRAKE CONTROLLER - Product Review

BRAKING BREAKTHROUGH
Written By: 
John Arens


Visit any riding area and it quickly becomes evident that Side by Sides are a major factor in off-road recreation, and for good reason. They’re easier to drive than a dirt bike or ATV, you can share the ride and trail exploration with a companion, and they’re just plain fun! The downside is they are also much larger than most other off-road vehicles, with some nearly the size of a Jeep Wrangler, and that means larger tow vehicles and larger trailers to haul them. With all that extra weight behind, you had better be able to stop it safely. We’ve always counted on our Aluma trailer, but a new braking tool from CURT is the greatest thing for towing since the ratcheting tie-down.



ECHO MOBILE TRAILER BRAKE CONTROLLER

If you’ve ever wired a truck for the electric brake system of your new, larger trailer you know it is an exercise in fishing wire through holes, around moving parts or anything hot, and tying it into the vehicles electrical system, hopefully without popping any fuses. Once inside the cab and no doubt to the horror of some vehicle interior designer from Detroit, you then need to drill a few holes in your highly sculpted dash and hang a rather conspicuous control box. Try that in a Jeep and see how much knee room you have left! The Curt ECHO controller is like a gift from the God of Towing in that it makes all of that go away.


The Curt ECHO brake control system follows practically everything else these days in that it is mastered by an app on your smartphone. That eliminates the need for any control box mounted under or in your dash and all wiring connecting the box to the trailer. The new Echo Mobile Brake Controller works over a Bluetooth wireless signal between your phone and the trailer / truck connection. It’s a simple plug & play connection that takes all of 3 seconds to install, but the advantages go far beyond the quick connection. Highlights of the system are many:


  • Wireless design allows it to be transferred between vehicles, and it stores multiple trailer and vehicle profiles.

  • Works off a 7-pin connection and can mange single or double axle trailers.

  • Locking tab help maintain a strong connection, and a potted circuit board is sealed off from the elements for durability

  • Triple-axis, motion-sensing accelerometer for highly responsive, smooth stops

  • Multi-color LED indicates power, trailer detection and wireless connectivity

  • Compatible with low-volt, PWM, ABS, cruise control and electric over hydraulic

  • Smartphone Bluetooth connection provides automatic calibration, controls and monitors all brake settings, and sends status updates.

  • System can be overridden at any time by pressing phone for more stopping power

  • Incoming calls still allowed, even when using system.

  • Assembled in USA



ECHO ON THE GO

The first time you plug the Echo Brake Controller into your vehicle you’ll need to download the app, and you can either scan the code on the package as we did, or download it from the Google Play or the App store. Just plug the Echo Brake Controller into your vehicles 7 pin connection, then plug the trailer 7 pin connection into the back of the Echo. It’s absolutely the easiest accessory you’ll ever install. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your phone so the two can connect, and the Echo will immediately let you know its connected to the trucks wiring harness (turn the truck on for power) by flashing a blue LED light. This means it is ready to connect to the app. Now start the phone app. You will need the 6-digit pin from under the Echo Controller cap or the Echo quick connect packaging, and when the Echo and phone connect the LED will stop flashing and show solid blue. When the trailer wiring harness is attached the light will then flash for a little over 5 seconds as it calibrates and then turn to a solid green color. At that point you can set the trailer profile in the app.


Setting the profiles in the app was easy enough, and you can store profiles based on tow vehicle, different trailers, and even the load on the trailer. You don’t need the same braking power when empty as when fully loaded. It’s also possible to adjust sensitivity and power output for each profile at any time. This is especially handy for adjusting braking power when pulling a heavy load, or when on a slippery surface such as snow when you need a gentle application of the brakes rather than potentially locking them up. We love this feature! Inside the Echo Mobile Brake Controller is an accelerometer that senses the braking pressure you apply, and this adjusts the trailer braking pressure to match so you’re not locking up the trailer wheels, or relying completely on the truck’s brakes.


Once underway, you will notice at all times the Echo Mobile Brake Controller app shows a large, red button in the center of your screen. This is the panic button. Should you find yourself in an emergency situation, hitting the button will quickly ramp up to maximum brake force. As an added safety feature, if your phone and the Echo Mobile Brake Controller lose their connection the controller will continue to function at the setting you were last using. It should be noted that you want to mount your phone on one of those dash clips in a conspicuous, easy to reach location, but just like texting and driving, keep your eyes on the road and don’t fiddle with it while underway.



 


OUR NEW FAVORITE TOWING TOOL

We can’t say enough about the Curt ECHO Mobile Brake Controller. We’ll never find ourselves crawling around under a vehicle or drilling holes in our dash to hard wire a controller again, it’s easy to use, and it’s both highly adjustable and portable for different vehicles! What more could one ask for in an accessory? Combined with our beloved Aluma trailer that has delivered our ATVs and Side x Sides safely over many, many miles we have the ultimate towing combination.


CURT ECHO MOBILE TRAILER BRAKE CONTROLLER    -    $261.84 USD