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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been lurking and learning on this forum for a while now. It is finally time for me to contribute. Before I go about sharing my experience installing a brake controller, I would like to explain why the popular Redarc and Tekonsha installs that are well documented didn't fit my needs. Here is what I was looking for

1) I didn't want to drill holes in the trim or do anything destructive
2) I wanted manual control for trailer brakes setup in a easy to reach and ergonomic location
3) Wanted to have a unobstructed heads up line of sight to the display

So, I went with Hopkins Insight: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C5THYIK/

Step 1

Use the included two sided tape to install the manual brake in a location that works best for you. This is where I have put it. See the angle on the manual brake? Thats the angle my hand seem to be naturally reaching that location to squeeze that thing. Suit your needs. You can run the cable down the steering column to the kick panel. There is a flap and you can simply route the cable behind it. Very clean.

4781


Step 2:
Mount the display unit at a location where you have direct line of sight using the included two sided tape. I mounted it here. You can route the cable and tuck it behind the dashboard trim. I have covered the small segment of wire 'on' the dash with a black tape. These pictures were taken before putting the tape on. You can route 90% of length of the cable out of sight. The only piece that is visible is the short segment on the dash itself.

4782

4783


Step 3:
Attach the controller box on the driver side kick panel. Important note: The side where cables go out must face the direction of motion of the vehicle, forward. Following picture is taken facing driver side door looking outward from inside.

4784


Step 4:
Plugin the cables from display and manual brake (they are like ethernet cables) into the smart box.They are different sizes, so you can't accidentally plug them wrong.

Step 5:
Tuck excess wiring out of the way using zip ties and zip tie mounts.
4785


I think this is a clean install that doesn't require drilling holes and I really love the visibility and ergonomic aspects of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Appendix:

You can buy a harness specifically made for Subarus, but I used the one with 4 open ended wires that came with the hitch to connect to the smart box. I used these : https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DPS8DPM/
and a birthday candle to splice them together. Connections are simple. red to red, blue to blue, black to black and white to white.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
res from the ascent wires to this brake controller unit?
Trailer brake controller harness for ascent is hidden behind the kick panel and bundled with other wires in a pink tape. More on that here: Ascent Trailer Brake controller - PIX

You can connect to this in two ways.
1) This is the method I used.
If you have OEM hitch, they should have given you a connector harness. You plug one end in the connector above and the open ended wires on the other side to the open ended wires of the Hopkins brake controller.

2) You can buy a Subaru specific harness for Hopkin's brake controller. Plug one end to the connector behind kick panel and the other end to the brake controller.
 

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Trailer brake controller harness for ascent is hidden behind the kick panel and bundled with other wires in a pink tape. More on that here: Ascent Trailer Brake controller - PIX

You can connect to this in two ways.
1) This is the method I used.
If you have OEM hitch, they should have given you a connector harness. You plug one end in the connector above and the open ended wires on the other side to the open ended wires of the Hopkins brake controller.

2) You can buy a Subaru specific harness for Hopkin's brake controller. Plug one end to the connector behind kick panel and the other end to the brake controller.
Awesome thanks. Diy for later
 

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I think this is a clean install that doesn't require drilling holes and I really love the visibility and ergonomic aspects of it.
I like that you found a way to mount the manual control on the right. I'm left handed and steer with my left hand 99% of the time. In the event of needing the manual brake, I don't want to take the time to switch steering hands, I just want to get on the brake.

The fact that there's no drilling or cutting which makes this easily reversible is a bonus.

@ai2160 How has that controller performed for you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm left handed and steer with my left hand 99% of the time. In the event of needing the manual brake, I don't want to take the time to switch steering hands, I just want to get on the brake.
......
@ai2160 How has that controller performed for you?
I am right handed but steer with left most of the time. My right hand is either holding a drink or resting on the arm rest. I am not sure if you meant to say you would rather mount the manual brake on the left hand side. I am going to assume yes. You should be able to do that just like I have done on the right hand side. You may end up showing few more inches for wire that you can easily cover with black tape.

This is my tow setup (The tongue is riding high in this picture, I have fixed it). The brake controller has worked very well for me. Having the display on the dash within line of sight of the road has been huge. I sneak a peek at it about as often as I check my mirrors. I highly recommend this controller.

11942
 

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thanks for this fantastic write up, this is about the same price as the Tekonsha i was looking at. I like this set up.
 

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I have been lurking and learning on this forum for a while now. It is finally time for me to contribute. Before I go about sharing my experience installing a brake controller, I would like to explain why the popular Redarc and Tekonsha installs that are well documented didn't fit my needs. Here is what I was looking for

1) I didn't want to drill holes in the trim or do anything destructive
2) I wanted manual control for trailer brakes setup in a easy to reach and ergonomic location
3) Wanted to have a unobstructed heads up line of sight to the display

So, I went with Hopkins Insight: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00C5THYIK/

Step 1

Use the included two sided tape to install the manual brake in a location that works best for you. This is where I have put it. See the angle on the manual brake? Thats the angle my hand seem to be naturally reaching that location to squeeze that thing. Suit your needs. You can run the cable down the steering column to the kick panel. There is a flap and you can simply route the cable behind it. Very clean.

View attachment 4781

Step 2:
Mount the display unit at a location where you have direct line of sight using the included two sided tape. I mounted it here. You can route the cable and tuck it behind the dashboard trim. I have covered the small segment of wire 'on' the dash with a black tape. These pictures were taken before putting the tape on. You can route 90% of length of the cable out of sight. The only piece that is visible is the short segment on the dash itself.

View attachment 4782
View attachment 4783

Step 3:
Attach the controller box on the driver side kick panel. Important note: The side where cables go out must face the direction of motion of the vehicle, forward. Following picture is taken facing driver side door looking outward from inside.

View attachment 4784

Step 4:
Plugin the cables from display and manual brake (they are like ethernet cables) into the smart box.They are different sizes, so you can't accidentally plug them wrong.

Step 5:
Tuck excess wiring out of the way using zip ties and zip tie mounts.
View attachment 4785

I think this is a clean install that doesn't require drilling holes and I really love the visibility and ergonomic aspects of it.
Thanks for the write up - I decided on this same configuration and I'm very happy with it. I'd post pictures but they are virtually identical to the ones you posted! I cut a good 8-10 inches off each "pig-tail" so I wouldn't have as much to shove under the dash. We don't have our trailer yet - we are renting one for a camping trip next week - so I bought a Tekonsha Trailer Emulator from e-Trailer and verified the circuits were working. I'll add a post after our outing and review report on the Ascent towing - some flat but a little climb into the foothills. But we start at 6000 feet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the write up - I decided on this same configuration and I'm very happy with it. I'd post pictures but they are virtually identical to the ones you posted! I cut a good 8-10 inches off each "pig-tail" so I wouldn't have as much to shove under the dash. We don't have our trailer yet - we are renting one for a camping trip next week - so I bought a Tekonsha Trailer Emulator from e-Trailer and verified the circuits were working. I'll add a post after our outing and review report on the Ascent towing - some flat but a little climb into the foothills. But we start at 6000 feet!
I am glad you liked it. Happy RVing. Please share pics from your adventures.
 
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