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Car Security Installation Guide
Unlike some upgrades, installing a car security system is a complex task. There are nearly a dozen separate components and sensors to place, wires to run, and connections to make; needless to say, there is plenty of room for error. This guide will walk you through the installation process by explaining the steps involved and helping you lay out a plan of action.
Tools Needed (depending upon vehicle):
Preparation, preparation, preparation!
Adding a security system is one of the most involved, complicated additions that you can make to your vehicle. Sure, it is possible for inexperienced hands to install a car security system, but it takes time, patience, and a careful plan of action. "Ready, Fire, Aim" is no way to go when taking on a project of this magnitude. First off, remember that you don't have to do it all in one day. Break the job into bite-size pieces and verify that each segment of the system works as intended before moving on.
Day 1 — Disconnect the negative terminal of your car battery — this will protect your electrical system from a short circuit, and you from contacting a live wire. Find a spot to mount the "brain" (control module) and siren. Hook the siren, LED indicator and valet switch to the brain, taking great care to route and connect the wires in a safe, secure way. Connect the power and ground leads to the brain. Test.
Day 2 — Position your sensors in their intended mounting locations and connect them to the brain. Test the coverage area of the sensors and make final adjustments before you fasten them down.
Day 3 — Tie into your door triggers and your power door lock circuit for keyless entry. Tie into your dome light and parking light circuits. Test these functions. When everything is working properly, secure the brain to the mounting surface.
Note: Set the parking brake and disconnect the negative battery terminal before attempting any installation.
Mount the system processor (i.e. the "brain")
Choose a mounting location that will be close to the wires that you need to tie into, but far enough out of the way to discourage an experienced thief who may try to disable it. Common locations include under the dash near the steering column, behind a kick panel, or under a front seat.
Warning: removing your seat could deactivate your vehicle's SRS system.
|The small alarm "brain" should be installed somewhere close to the center of the car and out of sight. Under a front seat, under the dash near the steering column, or even under a center console are good locations.|
- Access your installation location, (for example, if installing behind the dash, remove your receiver and select a suitable location in the dash cavity.) and set the brain in place. Don't attach it permanently until you've made all of your connections.
- Connect the wires and harnesses that you'll need to connect the brain to the rest of the system. If you need extra wire to extend the leads from the brain to switches, sensors or a power source, take the brain plug with you to the hardware store. Buy stranded wire that matches or exceeds the gauge (thickness) of the leads you need to extend. For sensors, 18 gauge or larger should work fine. For power leads, 16 gauge or larger is usually required.
- Your alarm brain has a built-in pigtail-type antenna wire. It is important that the wire point straight away from the brain (a drinking straw acts as a good reinforcement), or at a right angle to the brain. Do not cut or ground this wire.
|The alarm brain installed behind the center console panel.|
Mount the siren
- Choose a spot to mount the siren under the hood. Someplace high in the engine compartment, preferably at least 18 inches from heat sources like exhaust manifolds, radiators and heater cores, is best. It's best to aim the siren parallel to, or angled slightly toward, the ground — this will help prevent water from getting trapped in the siren.
|Mount the siren in your engine compartment and route the wire back through your firewall.|
- If you mount your siren to a metal surface, use sheet metal screws rather than drywall screws and be careful not to accidentally penetrate fuel lines. brake lines, vacuum lines, control cables or wire bundles. If you mount your siren to a plastic inner fender, use nuts and bolts to secure it.
- Route the siren wires away from a thief's reach and back toward the vehicle's firewall. Most vehicles have a predrilled hole in the firewall that you can use, but if not locate a good place to drill one. Once through, run the siren wires into the driving compartment.
Mount the LED
Your security system comes with a flashing red LED that you can mount on your dash as a visual deterrent against thieves. Its purpose is to warn would-be thieves that a security system is in place and ready to wail if they attempt to break in.
- Choose a spot in your dash or center console to mount the flashing LED warning light. It should be a highly visible area that can be seen from both sides of the vehicle.
- Drill a hole for the LED, mount the assembly, and run the connection wire back to the alarm brain.
|A bright, blinking LED will go a long way to discourage would-be thieves.|
- The valet switch lets you shut down the system when you leave your vehicle for service or valet parking so you won't have to leave your remote control with a stranger.
- The switch is usually nothing more than a simple momentary button that connects to the brain via a single wire. Mount the switch out of sight under the dash so that it won't be obvious to a thief, but convenient enough that you can reach it when you need it.
- Most alarms require that the valet switch be activated only with the alarm disarmed and the key on. Not following the procedure called for in the owner's manual may result in a malfunction.
- Be sure to test the valet switch connection before finishing up the installation. You'll need to use it later when programming the system.
While the brain acts as the command center of your alarm system, the sensors are the troops on the front line. Without them, or with them improperly installed, your system just isn't going to be effective. And remember, when positioning sensors in your car, make sure to test their coverage fully before screwing them down permanently.
Mount the sensors
- Position the shock sensor near the center of your vehicle so it will detect shocks from the front and back, and attach it securely to a metal surface (it's a good idea to use existing body screws when you can, but it's also OK to drill holes and add new hardware as needed). As an alternative, you can strap the shock sensor down with nylon wire ties. Do not use Velcro or double-sided tape as they will absorb too much of the shock that your sensor is trying to detect.
- Adjust your shock sensor's sensitivity to fit your needs, applying impact from all sides of the vehicle to test it. Keep in mind that an extremely sensitive setting yields the most false alarms.
- Locate your motion sensor down low near the center of your vehicle. Do not mount your motion sensor until you have thoroughly tested its coverage area. You may have to try a few different spots before you find the one that gives you the best results.
- If your system includes additional glass-break, sound, or other sensors, install them according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- The pin (plunger-type) switches that come with most alarms are optional. In most cases, you can tie into the pin switches that are already in your car. The wiring sheet we provide for your vehicle will tell you where to look for them.
- Pin switches can have either a negative (-) trigger or a positive (+) trigger. The vehicle wire color sheet supplied with this guide tells you which kind your vehicle uses.
- Once you've accessed the switches, simply tap into the existing connection wire and attach it to the alarm brain. That way, for example, you can program the system to respond when the switch is moved (door opened) while the alarm is active.
Connecting the brain to your parking lights
- The vehicle wire color sheet will tell you where to find your vehicle's parking light wire, although the easiest place to find the right wire is at the parking light switch. If you'd rather locate the wire under the dash, make sure you don't use one that's tied into a dimmer circuit. Test the wire with your multimeter, and see if the voltage drops when you dim your dash lights.
- Tap into the proper wire and make the necessary connection at the brain. This will ensure that your parking lights flash when the alarm is activated.
The starter disable feature is perhaps one of the most important parts of any security system. It ensures that, if a thief does manage to force their way into your vehicle, they won't be able to drive it away. And, now that car alarms are so common that they've nearly become unnoticeable (I mean really, when was the last time that you actually turned to investigate when you heard an alarm going off?), that's the key to some real peace of mind.
|To connect the starter disable feature, you'll need to tap into your ignition system. Some cars allow you to do this by plugging into a central relay box, but others require you to splice into the wire.|
- The starter interrupt is a relay, built into most systems we offer, which ties in between the ignition switch and the starter solenoid. The starter solenoid main power feed draws a huge amount of current, so the solenoid feed wire going to the starter cannot be spliced into. The wire that you tie into is the small wire going to the starter solenoid that tells the solenoid to energize when you turn your key to the "start" position. The vehicle wire color sheet supplied with this guide tells you where to find this "starter" wire (not to be confused with the ignition wire).
- Test the wires at the steering column to find the one that reads 12 volts only when the starter is cranking (not while the engine is running). Following the instructions supplied with the alarm, splice the starter disable wire (or outboard relay) into this wire.
|Properly spliced starter disable wire.|