Hello again and welcome back to the Sarge's Blog.
So today I'll show you the blank canvas and talk a little bit about wiring.
My car did see service in Texas so fitting the equipment on should not be an issue. I would however need to establish if the equipment I proposed to fit was the same as used by the previous department. To establish compatibility I would look at existing holes in the roof, trunk and interior of the car. Where existing holes are I would endeavour to reuse them rather than cut new holes and where I could replace trim I would. Fortunately for me most of the holes drilled would be reused.
Now you may recall I suggested you should plan your installation: I decided I would look to make my installation 'Plug n Play'. In other words, any equipment fitted should be easy to remove and replace without significant disruption to other systems. This would require my making wiring looms with multiblock connectors allowing equipment to be removed for repair, replacement or inspection without having to strip wires back to the battery.
Now what systems will I be fitting?
Here's the list to the best of my recollection:
Pushbar LED array front & side, LED Grille Lamps, 100 Watt Speaker, Power Cut-off Switch, Prosecutor Video System, Motorola UHF Radio, Whelen Siren, Federal Signal Message System, Whelen Switchbox, Whelen Traffic Advisor, CB Radio, Motorola HT Convertacom UHF, Decatur Moving Radar Front & Rear, Panasonic Toughbook, Docking Station, Touchscreen Display, Brother Thermal Ticket Printer, K-9 Hot n Pop System, K-9 Containment System with Lights, Extractor Fan, Cooling System and Environmental Monitoring Systems, DVR, Deck Lamps, Trunk Lamps, Shotgun Rack & Lock, Hideaway Strobes, Air Suspension, Police Shift Anti-Theft Device, Whelen LED Lightbar and 6 Antennas for Radios and Data Systems. Hardware brackets and mountings Oh, and with all of this there will need to be a back-up battery and charging system!
Given the above, where would one start? How can all these systems come together? Well I started by stripping the seats out, removing the trim and gaining access to the existing channels used to route wires. From here I would lay my foundation of power and system cables. It's important to over spec your cables; I found using a minimum of 16amp Thinwall wires would not only meet but exceed my minimum requirements resulting in less chance of an overload. I also built in 'Redundancy', this is where you lay cables which will not initially be used but can be used at a later date if additional equipment is acquired or upgrades are needed. I recently ordered a Federal Signal 'Rumbler' which will require one wire from the front of the vehicle to the console inside the cab, with my Redundancy built in I did not need to run additional cables as one was available to me from the initial installation. The thought of having to run just one additional cable from the consol through the firewall to the grille would have been a very big undertaken.
A single power cable is run from the battery through a Mega Fuse to a Isolator Switch, this cuts all power to most of the emergency equipment and removes temptation when on the highways to play with the lights and siren! From the switch I ran three power feeds; the first to the console, the second to the base of the 'B' pillar and the third into the trunk. Now believe it or not, but I've seen installations where everything is on one feed and the wire used is from a household appliance!
Along with the power cables I would lay additional cables for switching and antenna cables which of course all run through Copex for additional protection. With all the foundation cables laid I can now turn my attention to the console, the equipment it will house and how this will work as a 'Plug n Play' system in the vehicle.
Well that's enough for today, next I'll talk you through some of the console installation. Here is a preview picture of the initial setup of the console.
Love The Sarge