Browsing Archive July, 2009

Installing the Viper 5901 Car Alarm into a Ford Ranger

Viper 5702V

By Albert Cowan – SonicElectronix Install Technician

Vehicle owners with manual locks always ask me how much it would cost for them to add a remote entry system to their vehicle. For many used car owners, the most practical way to add automatic locks is to install a pair of universal actuators along with an entry level car alarm. This past Friday my customer had a 2000 Ford Ranger with a nice aftermarket system, so he was looking for a high end alarm to protect his car audio equipment. Besides vehicle security, he also wanted a remote entry system so that he could lock and unlock his doors with the press of a button. As an added bonus, once you lock the doors, the car alarm is armed and it will sound once your sensors are triggered by a disturbance. I recommended the Viper 5901 (p/n 5702V) alarm because it was one of the best alarms considering the Viper reputation. It also has remote start, which my customer wasn’t planning on getting until I explained to him that remote start car alarms allow you to set the temperature in your vehicle from your keychain. Besides, it is good to for your vehicle’s engine to warm up while you are still getting ready to leave. Plus, the Viper 5901 comes with two remotes, and in my experience, you never appreciate how valuable a spare remote is until you lose or break the first one.

In order to access the steering column, I removed four torque screws so that I could pull out the dash cover. Then I removed four more screws to pull out the steering column’s metallic frame. I had to access the brain of the old car alarm that had been installed previously. I found a bird’s nest of wire, which made me realize the install was going to be a bit more complicated than I anticipated. Anytime you have to clean up someone’s mess, you are in for a bit of an adventure. While I was inside the brain, I wanted to test the old actuators that had been installed in the door panels. As the vehicle in question was a 2000 Ford Ranger, I was able to scrape the door trigger wires against the metal chassis to test the door locks. The actuators were not functioning so I had to remove and replace the door lock actuators in order to add automatic locks to this vehicle.

I used my window crank removal tool to remove the window crank handles, and then I removed all of the screws holding in the door panels. I carefully snapped off the plastic door handle piece from each door. Then I peeled away the door skins to access the actuators. One screw held the wiring at the top of the door, so I removed this screw and then unplugged the two wire terminals that had connected the actuator to the vehicle’s electrical system. I mounted the new actuators in the same place and connected the wiring. Keeping the door panels off, I tested the door trigger wiring against the metal chassis to see if the actuators responded properly. Bingo. The locks were all ready to go. Now it was time to install the Viper 5901 alarm to enable the remote lock/unlock feature.

When it comes to installs, my motto is that you always have to treat each car like it’s your own. That’s what I strive to do and is probably why I have been fortunate enough to develop many repeat customers as a professional installer. So even when I saw an absolute bird’s nest of wires inside this Ford Ranger, I took the time to clean up someone else’s mess. After I removed the tape and untangled the wires, I disconnected the old alarm and pulled it out of the kick panel. Now I was trying to decide where I should mount the brain of the Viper 5901 alarm. I tried various areas before deciding to mount it in the cubby hole behind the AC vents on the right side of the kick panel. I used a drill and some screws to ensure a secure mounting position, although taping the alarm to the chassis would be an acceptable alternative.

Now that I had the Viper 5901 mounted, I used some of my catalogs to help me figure out which wire responded to each command in the 2000 Ford Ranger. When installing alarms, it is also helpful to know what each wire color corresponds to on car alarms. Types of car alarm wires include the ignition wire (yellow), siren wire (brown wire), parking lights wire (usually white), door sensor wires, the “negative when armed” wire (usually an orange wire, this wire sends a negative impedance to trigger additional sensors such as window modules), and the door trigger wiring. After matching the wires from the car alarm to the vehicle, I used a solder gun to seal the connections. Finally, to install the remote start, I disconnected the vehicle battery and connected the remote start wires to the vehicle electrical system. I re-connected the vehicle battery and prepared to test the alarm’s functionality.

With everything in place, I left all of the panels off while testing the remote functions. With the doors closed, the locks responded to the button on the keychain remote. Perfect. Now it was time to test the sensitivity sensors. With the doors locked and the alarm armed, I gave the door a wack near the door handle, and sure enough the alarm sounded. I disarmed the alarm using the unlock button, moved on to the remote start button, and the engine started humming! With everything functioning properly, I replaced the panels, and let the customer know his vehicle was good to go!


Square Subwoofers vs. Round Subwoofers

If you have ever shopped for car subwoofers, you might have noticed that most are round while some are designed with a square shape. What is the difference between round car subwoofers and square car subwoofers? To start with, square subwoofers have more cone surface area than comparably sized round subwoofers. A 12” square subwoofer will sound louder than a 12” round subwoofer because the square provides four corners of extra cone area. The extra surface area allows the subwoofer to generate a higher frequency response. In fact, the average square subwoofer has about 25% more cone area than a similarly sized round subwoofer. With that said, then why buy a round subwoofer? For one thing, most subwoofers are designed with round cone diameters. By limiting your subwoofer choice to a square design, you limit the number of brands you can choose from. Furthermore, square subwoofers are more prone to distortion and are less efficient considering both the shape of sound waves and the way in which they travel (outward from the center of the sub). This is why many believe that round subwoofers provide better sound quality while square subwoofers provide louder sound.

When it comes to square subwoofers, Kicker car audio is the leading manufacturer of square subs, and their Kicker Solo-Baric L7 is one of the best selling subwoofers in the industry. MTX Audio is another major manufacturer of square subwoofers. However, many brands don’t design square subs. If you’re not a fan of brands like Kicker and MTX Audio, then you will likely decide to purchase a circular subwoofer. Regardless of brand, some folks simply prefer the round look. The important thing to remember is that you also have to pick an enclosure with a cutout hole that matches the shape that you choose (round or square).

In the video below, I talk about square subwoofers. More info/video after the jump:

If you are intrigued with the Kicker Solo-Baric L7, I actually did an in-depth video about this model in our latest episode of SonicElectronixTV. You can watch this video below or by looking us up on YouTube by searching SonicElectronixTV. Some of the highlights include this subwoofer’s aluminum basket, which provides superior heat dissipation, and the uniquely designed “Spiralead” tinsel leads. This unique Kicker technology protects the subwoofer’s tinsel leads from cracking during long periods of use. I also mention the rubber santoprene corners, which prevent the subwoofer’s cone from ripping away from the basket during prolonged usage.

Check out the Kicker Solo-Baric L7 video below to learn more about square subwoofers:


Boston Acoustics Home Speakers / Subwoofers


By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

In this post we will continue to delve into what makes Boston Acoustics audio equipment unique. In part 1 of the Boston Acoustics home audio series we mentioned that the Boston Acoustics brand has been around since 1979. Not only have they stuck around for 30 years and counting, but during that time they have produced top notch home audio/video sound systems. In part 2 of our two-part series on Boston Acoustics home audio products, we will discuss home theater systems, home subwoofers, loudspeakers, and computer speakers.

To truly have a top performing home theater system, you need realistic sound quality. The Boston Acoustics TVee Model Two soundbar speaker and wireless subwoofer is the perfect setup. This soundbar and subwoofer combo will provide an all around balanced sound to enhance your entertainment experience. The TVee improves sound quality to the extent that it will make watching your favorite television program or movie that much more enjoyable. This setup works perfectly with monitors 32” and larger. Altogether it packs 100 watts of room-filling sound.

If you really want to complement your home theater sound system, check out the Boston Acoustics Horizon MCS 100 3” satellite speaker. This speaker is ideal for 5.1 channel home theater or music stereo systems. As a high quality satellite speaker, the sound emitted is smooth and clear. Using the built-in wall mount brackets, these speakers can be mounted as in wall speakers. If you are looking for a slightly bigger pair of satellite speakers, you might consider purchasing the Boston Acoustics MCS 130 3.5” surround speakers. Besides having a bigger midbass speaker, it also has a bigger tweeter than the MCS 100. As a result it produces even louder musical playback and provides a surround sound experience.

One of the best ways to recreate the movie theater experience in your home is to add a home audio subwoofer. The deep bass brings a realism to the entertainment experience, especially during fight scenes and on-screen explosions. The Boston Acoustics Horizon HPS 10HO is a 10” powered subwoofer that can handle 250 watts of continuous power. This home audio subwoofer has speaker level outputs and volume control built onto the unit for easy usability. Distortion is not an issue, even in the most intense movie scenes and musical breakdowns. The Boston Acoustics Horizon HPS 10SE 10” home audio subwoofer is another option for those looking for a sub with about 150 watts of continuous power. It is a great way to add more bass to your home theater sound system.

Home theater sound systems can also be integrated with loudspeakers such as the Boston Acoustics Horizon HS460. This 2-way floor standing loudspeaker does not need any mounting or installation work, just set it where you want it, make the connections, and enjoy the high quality audio. It provides 200 watts of continuous power and has a full complement of tweeters and midbass drivers to provide a balanced acoustic sound.

A discussion of home audio products would not be complete without mentioning computer speakers. If you would like to enjoy high quality sound while at your desk, the Boston Acoustics MM220 powered stereo system is a great addition. This pair of speakers will reproduce detailed sound while connected to any compatible media source such as an iPod or laptop computer. The BassTrac technology provides the low notes and the built-in ½” tweeters dish out the clean highs. They also include a front aux input for connecting a pair of headphones. The MM220 is an all around great speaker setup for your desktop computer or external media player.

That wraps up part 2 of our two-part series on Boston Acoustics home audio equipment. If you would like to get your hands on some of this equipment, order today and take the first step towards creating the home audio system of your dreams.


MTX Audio JackHammer JHP212D Powered Subwoofer Enclosure


By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

The MTX Audio JHP212D combo provides so much bass that it will make your vehicle sound like a jackhammer on wheels. This incredibly loud combo will have your ear drums begging for mercy as the two 12” MTX JH4512-04 subwoofers pound with the beat. These subwoofers are built-in and pre-loaded into the MTX Audio Bass Slammer BS212S subwoofer enclosure. This preloaded design makes it easier for you to install and provides the subwoofer with optimal air space to ensure peak performance. At the heart of this system is the 600 watt MTX JH300 amplifier, a Jack Hammer series Class D monoblock amplifier that keeps the subwoofers “juiced” and ready to go.

A jackhammer does not go about its business quietly. The JackHammer JH4512-04 12” subwoofer is no exception. And with this special combo you get not just one, but TWO of these JackHammer subwoofers. In total this pair can handle up to 1,000 watts of power! To keep up with such vivacious thumping, this subwoofer has been fashioned with innovative features to prevent it from breaking down. The stitched cone and rubber surround enhances this subwoofer’s flexibility, especially during peak excursion. The special Spider Plateau Venting cooling system keeps the sub voice coils cool even during the most intense beat breakdowns. Altogether, the end result is a long-lasting subwoofer that will sound great.

The MTX Bass Slammer BS212S subwoofer enclosures houses two 12” subwoofers. You can purchase it separately and unloaded, but as I mentioned, this particular combo includes one BS212S dual 12” subwoofer enclosure loaded with two JH4512-04 subwoofers. Its sealed hatchback style is perfect for the JH4512-04 subwoofers and it provides an optimal amount of box volume. The result is tight, accurate bass that an ordinary sub box would fall short of matching. To top it off, it is fully carpeted with durable gray carpet covering for added protection.

This total bass package allows you to bring the power of a jackhammer to your car audio system. The MTX Audio JHP212D is far from a starter-system. This system will blow you away with its sheer power and sound quality. This bass combo will satisfy car audio beginners and enthusiasts alike.


Boston Acoustics Bookshelf Speakers / Ceiling Speakers


By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

Since 1979, the Boston Acoustics brand has been known for producing top of the line audio equipment. The Boston Acoustics line includes some of the best home audio/video speaker systems on the market. Boston Acoustics has made a commitment to use only the finest materials in their products. We carry a variety of their fantastic home audio/video products including home theater surround sound systems, home audio speakers, and more. In part 1 of our series on Boston Acoustics home audio products, we will discuss bookshelf speakers, in-ceiling speakers, and in-wall speakers.

If you are looking to build a great home audio system, the Boston Acoustics E series speakers are a great place to look first. E series speakers are specifically designed for bookshelves, cabinets, and counter tops. These speakers sit inside of a walnut enclosure and they are designed to fit alongside the smooth edges and corners commonly found on bookshelves and cabinets. These speakers are available in both 4-1/2” and 5-1/4” sizes. Despite their diminutive dimensions, these speakers fill the room with extremely clear sound.

You can choose between the black and cherry versions to match these speakers with your living room décor. To really create an ultimate setup, check out the custom speaker stand designed for the E series speakers, the Boston Acoustics EFL stand. These aluminum stands are compatible with E40, E50, E60 and E70 speakers. These floor stands also neatly hide the speaker wiring so that you can keep your bookshelf and countertop free from clutter. It creates a tidy look that blends in with the rest of your furniture. To further integrate these speakers with your home’s interior design, you can paint the GroovLock side panels with the color of your choice.

In terms of performance, these speakers pack plenty of punch for their size. The 4-1/2” Boston Acoustics E40 (Cherry) can handle 200 watts of continuous power. In comparison, the 5-1/4” Boston Acoustics E60 can handle up to 250 watts of RMS power. If you want even more power, the E70 is a dual 5-1/4” bookshelf speaker that carries 300 watts of continuous power. Besides handling lows and bass, these models will also provide accurate highs through their built-in 1” tweeters.

Besides the E series, we also carry a few other types of Boston Acoustics bookshelf speakers. The HS60 is a 6-1/2” bookshelf speaker rated at 60 watts of RMS power. This 2-way 6.5” speaker includes a silver grille and, like the speakers in the E series, they also feature MagnaGuard technology to prevent the speaker from distorting the television screen. Another option is the Boston Acoustics MCS130 LCR 2-way bookshelf speakers, which features dual 3-1/2” mid-bass drivers. Rated at 150 watts of power, this speaker also has a 1” soft dome tweeter for handling all of the high notes.

Boston Acoustics in-wall / in-ceiling speakers are a great option for those who want great home speakers but do want to use shelf space. Once mounted these ceiling / in-wall speakers are practically invisible but they provide enough sound to fill up the entire room. The Boston Acoustics DSi280 8” in-wall / ceiling speakers add dynamic sound to the room without wasting space. These rectangular speakers can be installed in any of your walls or ceilings. If you plan to install speakers into the ceiling, another great option is the Boston Acoustics DSi285 8” ceiling speakers. These in-ceiling speakers add great sound to the room without clashing with the room’s décor. These round in-ceiling speakers work great with home theater systems and help create a movie theater atmosphere when watching movies.

That wraps up part 1 of the Boston Acoustics home audio series. In our next post we will discuss some of the hottest Boston Acoustics home theater systems, home subwoofers, loudspeakers, and computer speakers.