Common install mistakes - Don't do as eLightbars Donnie Don't does.

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2007 Explorer slicktop, WHICH I DID NOT BUILD, comes in to shop with a lighting problem. Intermittent short is causing all lights on one of the switches to go out and blowing the fuse on switch. I check the switch output for a ground to see if it is shorting, but no dice. I replace the fuse and everything works. I let everything run for an hour or so and no problem. I am just about at a loss and very frustrated. Then, pissed off, I slam the driver door and the lights go out. I check and the fuse is blown. Bingo, vehicle has mirror-mounted TIR3s. I pull the mirror off and find that the original installer is an idiot and did not take steps to protect wiring. This is only one of many problems I found in the vehicle after I got the go-ahead to take care of any problems I found.


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2006 Chevy Trailblazer, WHICH I DID NOT BUILD. I was contracted to add Mobile Vision Cameras to this and a couple other vehicles. I had to pull the passenger seat out to run wiring and give me room to work. This is what I found underneath, including over $18 in loose change. This is one of the reasons why I DO NOT recommend mounting anything under a seat. The Smart Siren also was getting beat up by the undercarriage of the seat. Debris, damage, heat, dust, dog hair, moisture all are a problem for under-seat mounting. This is particularly true for a fleet vehicle, such as this SUV. It may be less of an issue in a well-maintained POV.


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2011 CVPI, WHICH I DID NOT BUILD. Came in for Mobile Vision Camera install. This is what I found under the passenger floor carpet. A mess and none of it protected. This is from a "professional" turn-key dealer's upfit shop. Excess wire should not be stored under the carpet. The wire run should have been run under the glovebox, loomed and zip-tied in place. Excess wire could have been cut-out or stored in the console. Check out the grounds in the second image...no ring terminals. Just wrapped the bare wire around the bolt and screwed it back in. WTF. And of course, stereo-grade wiring, nothing marked, etc...


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This mess is from an Impala cruiser that came in for repairs. Once again, not my work. I can't remember the specifics, but this terminal block was the "PDC" for a mobile camera. The camera was originally installed by one of the largest radio shops in Knoxville, TN, who thinks their poop smells like flowers. This block was wrapped as shown in tape and just stuffed behind the passenger side dash trim panel. Nothing is labeled, improperly-sized terminals, crappy crimps, etc... Can't remember what brand camera this was, possibly a Digital Patroller?


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Strobe HAW tubes taken from another Explorer I did not originally build. Neither working, both only 18 months old. Clear one was damaged during install by being forced into improperly-sized hole that was not de-burred. When installing HAWs, particularly pop-in ones, you must drill a 1" hole, de-burr it, and lightly lubricate the bulb's rubber grommet when inserting. I use a bit of rubbing alcohol because it is slippery and evaporates quickly.


Note the red-tape wrapped bulb that was in the brake-light housing. I do not know if this was a dummy's idea fro making a red strobe or if it was intended to cover-up an install mistake (more likely). I think what happened was the original upfitter messed up and put the strobes in the taillights instead of the reverse lights. To hide the mistake, they wrapped the bulbs in red tape so they were not as visible. I don't know. Either way, stupid and a waste of a good bulb.
 
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JohnMarcson

Site Founder
Administrator
This thread is for posting pictures and descriptions of common or interesting install mistakes. If you want to post pictures of a whacked out vehicle you are looking for a different thread: http://elightbars.org/forums/f35/official-whacker-screwed-up-install-thread-185/


Example:


A picture of burnt up wires due to a non insulated connector goes here.


A picture of a car with a lightbar wider than the vehicle goes in the post linked above.
 

kadetklapp

Veteran Member
I'll start.


Back when I worked for a very small town who bought a used 2002 Impala 9c1 "Lock, stock, and barrel" from a neighboring agency. One night while checking a building for storm damage, I was running my left and right alley lights quite a bit when I smelled smoke. I noticed that three of the rocker switches in the Chinese SW200 clone went "rubbery" on me and the car filled with magic smoke. Tore in to the console to find the following-


ai256.photobucket.com_albums_hh192_kadetklapp_console3.jpg


ai256.photobucket.com_albums_hh192_kadetklapp_console1.jpg


While there are so many things wrong with the above that it's unknown what specifically caused it, suffice to say ChiCom switch boxes, not using relays, and a metric ton of unneeded wiring are all sure to be contributing factors.
 

SafetyLighting

Senior Member
kadetklapp said:
I'll start.

Back when I worked for a very small town who bought a used 2002 Impala 9c1 "Lock, stock, and barrel" from a neighboring agency. One night while checking a building for storm damage, I was running my left and right alley lights quite a bit when I smelled smoke. I noticed that three of the rocker switches in the Chinese SW200 clone went "rubbery" on me and the car filled with magic smoke. Tore in to the console to find the following-


ai256.photobucket.com_albums_hh192_kadetklapp_console3.jpg


ai256.photobucket.com_albums_hh192_kadetklapp_console1.jpg


While there are so many things wrong with the above that it's unknown what specifically caused it, suffice to say ChiCom switch boxes, not using relays, and a metric ton of unneeded wiring are all sure to be contributing factors.
LOL, Yeah but look at the money you could get recycling the extra wire!
 
OP
OP
C

C2Installs

Member
And here are some more good examples of install stupidity...


Stereo-grade installation supplies, especially fuses & fuse blocks have no place in emergency vehicle applications. The quality is simply not there, and often the stereo junk costs as much as the good stuff. Here's a hint...Waytek and Del-City don't carry it, so don't use it. Here's another hint...clear plastic is not suitable for high-temp/load use. It is generally not as stable a compound as dark plastics (part of the reason that clear AR15 mags are still not in common use).


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The above is a common stereo-grade glass fuse block. It has overheated and melted well before the glass fuse even came close to blowing (the filament isn't darkened or even warped). I see this fairly often when I start looking at some older installs. This is another reason that I don't like, trust, or recommend glass fuses. They are not reliable, IMO , and more prone to failure over time.


Here is another example of a stereo-grade fuse holder:


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As you can see, this one heated up and started to melt, as evidenced by the distorted black cap and bubbling of the plastic. Crap supplies are not for emergency vehicles.


Now, if you do get a good fuse block, don't modify it...


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These geniuses, a radio shop out of Knoxville, decided they needed a 6-position block instead of an eight position block. So, they cut it. Crudely. Here's the problem, this left the internal buss exposed to shorts. and it was mounted inside a metal console...you guessed it...with the cut facing and nearly touching the side wall. Nice work, guys.


Lets look at some more work from the radio guys...this time some crappy crimping, a true "how not to do it."


Problem: What if I cut the wires too short?


Solution: Well, just extend them!


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REALLY? Back-to-back butt connectors. I swear I am not making this up.


Problem: What if I need to make a Y-type connection to merge two wires into one?


Solution: Grab the biggest honking butt connector you have and crush the life out of it!


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Yep! They used an 8 gauge butt connector to join a 14g wire to a pair of 16g wires. And, they apparently didn't have a proper crimp tool for 8 gauge terminals, so they just crushed the connector as much as possible. Once again, real nice work.


Problem: I have a complicated series of connections to make, how should I do it?


Solution: Meh, just wing it! Use the above techniques and it'll come together for you!


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There was more, but I kinda had to just walk away...


I'll leave you with this example of why you should be careful not to crush wires:


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Jordan_TCFD

Premium Member
Oh let me guess. Central Communications? We got a lot of TVA cars(we don't do them anymore, since the local for Ford dealer took to selling Code 3 and blowing everyone out of the water), that were like that when we went to remove the old stuff. We wondered on so many how were they working and not burnt. Have heard Cartwright isn't much better, but does at least do regular wiring and such.


Jordan,TCFD
 
OP
OP
C

C2Installs

Member
code4services.com said:
Here are a few from my Hall of Shame folder:
Holy heck, Jared! I feel you, bro...I've seen all of that, too. I can't believe the stuff they get away with. I lose sleep at night over minor mistakes and would never let a car out with that junk work.


Jordan, I will not name the guilty party.
 

theroofable

Veteran Member
Yeah, I see that with one town we do radios for. They have the public works guys do everything, except they use two inline auto reset circuit breakers. I dont know how nothing has happened.
 

Andy L.

Member
I found this a few years back when hired to install a Ledco dock in an Intrepid. The larger red cable is a OEM power cable for the vehicle in the floorboard area, passenger side. Who ever did this install took a sheet metal screw and "tapped" a ring terminal to the OEM cable to provide power to the console. No protection on the line either.


Pentwater_Intrepid003.jpg
 

James

Banned
it sounds like you really know what your doing with installs. when i get my car soon im only putting in a dash light. but once i turn 19 and save up enough money, id like to get my car done with lights. anyway you could do them? lol
 

TritonBoulder47

Site Guru
Andy L. said:
I found this a few years back when hired to install a Ledco dock in an Intrepid. The larger red cable is a OEM power cable for the vehicle in the floorboard area, passenger side. Who ever did this install took a sheet metal screw and "tapped" a ring terminal to the OEM cable to provide power to the console. No protection on the line either.
View attachment 23650
That, is......... Different... lol
 

StEaLtH2

Enthusiast
Andy L. said:
I found this a few years back when hired to install a Ledco dock in an Intrepid. The larger red cable is a OEM power cable for the vehicle in the floorboard area, passenger side. Who ever did this install took a sheet metal screw and "tapped" a ring terminal to the OEM cable to provide power to the console. No protection on the line either.
View attachment 23650
There goes one of those "and now i've seen it all" moments...... unbelievable.... :duh:


Someone prolly got paid some good money to come up with that one
 
C2Installs said:
Holy heck, Jared! I feel you, bro...I've seen all of that, too. I can't believe the stuff they get away with. I lose sleep at night over minor mistakes and would never let a car out with that junk work.

Jordan, I will not name the guilty party.
Yeah, I lose sleep over pretty minor issues compared to what these companies charged MORE for and couldn't have cared less. Disgusting:bonk:
 
Andy L. said:
I found this a few years back when hired to install a Ledco dock in an Intrepid. The larger red cable is a OEM power cable for the vehicle in the floorboard area, passenger side. Who ever did this install took a sheet metal screw and "tapped" a ring terminal to the OEM cable to provide power to the console. No protection on the line either.
View attachment 23650
GROSS!


I have seen a similar method in an install guide for some crap product but I can't remember what is was.
 

firefighter_2000

Premium Member
This was an uninstall & re-install I did a few years back. Very shameful to whoever did the initial install.


I pulled everything out of the console and this is what I found.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_0987.jpg


A relay that was soldered and taped.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_0988.jpg


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_1005.jpg


A home made four way.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_0989.jpg


Ground "stud" made with a bolt into the bottom of the console mount.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_0992.jpg


Power supply under the seat.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_0993.jpg


The console removed.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_0995.jpg


The power supply plug... Kinda burnt...


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_0997.jpg


The fuse in the power supply.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_0999.jpg


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_1000.jpg


Got the wiring correctly bundled.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_1001.jpg


Put in a high amp circuit breaker, and a continuous duty solenoid.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_1003.jpg


Put in a few relays.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_1008.jpg


And the finished product.


ai95.photobucket.com_albums_l128_firefighter_2000_Bad_20Install_100_1013.jpg


I thought I had more, but thats it for now.


Craig
 

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