Browsing Archive June, 2013

Dear Cody – I Hate Aftermarket Car Alarm Security Systems

Welcome to “Dear Cody” where I answer some questions from concerned and confused customers!

Today I’ll be answering a thought provoking letter I received from someone who does not understand why anyone would ever want to buy an aftermarket car alarm. Let’s help him out!

Dear Cody,

I hate aftermarket car alarm systems. What’s the point? I already have a factory alarm and most car manufacturers already include alarms on cars nowadays. So why would anyone buy an aftermarket one? It’s not like aftermarket ones are better. The car manufacturer is THE CAR MANUFACTURER. The manufacturer is going to know what’s best for the cars they make. Aftermarket products are just asking for trouble. All it takes is someone cutting or splicing the wrong wire, and the entire electrical system is gone! Poof! As a concerned consumer, I strongly urge you to stop selling aftermarket car alarm systems. I HATE THEM!!!!

Sincerely,

The Rollin’ Troller

Dear Rollin’ Troller, 

You bring up some great points. A lot of cars DO come with factory alarms so let me lay out some of the benefits:

Viper 5902v

2-Way Paging

2-Way Paging- Many aftermarket systems use 2-Way paging to alert you if your vehicle has been tampered with. This feedback can be audio, visual, a vibration or a combination of all 3. Some even allow you to sync up your system with your Smartphone and you can receive SMS or email alerts.

Extra range- Most aftermarket systems have a range between 1000 feet to 1 mile. The range isn’t a benefit for its lock and unlock abilities; it’s for the 2-way paging system I just mentioned (although if you want to unlock your car from that far away go for it, but it can be useful if you forget to lock your car). The longer the range, the more aware you’ll be of your vehicle’s status.

GPS Tracking- Oh yes, aftermarket alarm makers now offer GPS capabilities on their alarms. This feature allows you to track your vehicle’s location in real time – great for parents with teenage drivers. Not only that, you can set curfew and perimeter alerts. If your teen is out too late or goes outside the perimeter you’ll be notified straight away. And, if your vehicle is ever stolen, you can track its location so the authorities can find it faster.

Directed 513T

Owch

Expandability Options- Aftermarket alarms usually come with ports to connect additional sensors like tilt sensors or proximity sensors, backup batteries to keep your alarm going even if your battery is disabled, or even additional sirens like the piezo siren which emits an ear shattered 125dB tone. And that bad boy siren gets mounted inside the vehicle too, so it’ll absolutely destroy any would-be thief’s ears.

And as far as messing up your install, alarms nowadays come with detailed instructions and wiring diagrams. If you’re not the DIY person, just take it to your local installer, or if you’re in the area, bring it to our Valencia location and   our skilled installers can hook it up for you.

Buying an aftermarket alarm and the cost of an install is still going to be less than you pay from the car manufacturer AND it’s going to be better. So to answer your question: Why would anyone ever buy an aftermarket car alarm…

Because it makes sense! That’s why!

Sincerely,

Cody

Don’t let your stuff and your car get stolen, invest in a car alarm security system today!

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Choosing a Subwoofer Box – Sealed Enclosures

When improving your car stereo system, you’ll want to choose an enclosure to maximize the woofers performance. There are three main subwoofer enclosure types: Sealed, Ported/Vented and Bandpass. Each has advantages and disadvantages in efficiency, size, distortion, cost, and power handling. Sonic Electronix carries a wide variety of enclosures but specifically I am going to tell you a little bit about sealed enclosures.

While sealed enclosures are usually smaller than other types of sub boxes, they don’t allow any air to escape from the box. Woofers installed in sealed enclosures increase the power requirements and make it more difficult for the sub to bottom out. When the subs movement is restricted, it provides tighter bass and better sound accuracy,  giving you less boom and more punch.

Just a couple cons about the sealed enclosure is the decrease in efficiency (loudness) and sound reproduction due to the airwaves being unable to escape as it would in ported or bandpass enclosures. Also, the tightly sealed design doesn’t allow the motor structure to cool down as quickly, causing possible damage to your subwoofer more quickly.

Keep in mind, if the enclosure you have is smaller than the recommended size, the sound will be tighter but more amplifier power will be required to push it. If the sub box is too large, the sound will be distorted and sound horrible.

When choosing the correct subwoofer enclosure you’ll want think about what design and size you want. The design you desire whether it be sealed, ported or a bandpass, should be based on your music styles choices. For more information and tips on choosing the correct subwoofer, see our Knowledge Base articles on Subwoofer Box Types, Car Specific Subwoofer Enclosures and Selecting a Subwoofer Enclosures.

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The Top 3 Backup Camera Solutions

You Need A Backup Camera System!

What’s That Behind You!?

I don’t know about you but one of the last things I want to do, when peeling out backing up out of my driveway, is to run over something or someone. That’s why I got myself a backup camera system. This way I can see everything behind me and I’m free to do reverse donuts in my Volkswagen anytime I want.* And if reverse donuts aren’t a good reason to get a backup camera system then these statistics are: Every week, 50 children are injured in accidents involving backing up and out of those 50, 2 of them are fatalities. That’s scary, which is why so many car manufacturers are including them on newer vehicles. There are even bills pending in Congress for backup cameras to be required. Which is why we bring you the Top 3 Backup Camera Solutions.

Backup CamerasThe Classic:

Some things are just classics. Coca-cola Classic, the Ford Mustang, Gone with the Wind (or so I’m told, not my cup of coffee) and finally, the backup camera and touchscreen head unit combo. It’s a staple of high end vehicle equipment and for good reason. It’s easy enough to install for the average DIY’er, reliable and has a nice OEM look to it. And, the touchscreen is conveniently located so you don’t have to crane your neck in some bizarre angle.

The Alternative:

Life is about choices. Pepsi or Coca-cola, the Mustang or the Camaro, Gone with the Wind or Saw… The lists go on. Instead of the Classic camera solution you can instead choose to use a camera with an independent monitor. If you don’t want to remove your factory head unit for whatever reason, you can instead use a dash mount monitor which works equally as well. This solution gives you some flexibility; you can mount the monitor in a convenient location instead of the head unit slot and you also get the added benefit of being able to use the head unit while the camera is on. Let’s say you’re driving down the freeway watching the trailer you have hooked up to your vehicle. You can watch the trailer on the monitor and can still control the head unit functions like changing songs or radio stations.

The High Tech:

Super cool….

If you’re the kind of person who signed up to Beta test Google Glass, or uses a Smartphone instead of a flip phone or just hate messy wires, then this might be the solution for you. That’s right, the wireless backup camera system. I know you’ve been waiting for this as long as I have and it’s finally here. We’ve got a couple different ones like the RVC1R and the ORQV110-SYS to give you all the awesomeness of a camera system without the lameness of wires. The ORQV110-SYS from Open Road uses a battery that can last up to 6 months to give you a true wireless experience while the RVC1R you still have to connect a power wire to it (easy enough). But with both solutions you won’t need to run a wire from the camera to the interior of your vehicle. Talk about convenient!

Reverse Donuts

So—if it’s reverse donuts, to watch your trailer on the road, to be safer in general or whatever other needs you have for a camera system—you have some options to choose from. You can get creative and install front facing cameras or side cameras; stick some cameras on your roof so you can watch things above you… Whatever it is you want to do, we’ve got tons of cameras to choose from. Seriously, have you seen how many there are? So get yours today let the donuts commence!

*Stunts performed by a professional driver on a closed course. Please obey all traffic laws and drive responsibly. We do not endorse or condone reckless driving, it’s just humor!

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Shopping for an Amp Kit

When shopping to upgrade your factory radio system you’ll most likely start off with choosing a head unit. Then will come the time to look for some speakers, maybe a subwoofer or amplifier. For ANY stereo installation that involves an amplifier, you will need an amp kit. You may think, “I don’t know anything about this, how do I know what to get!” Worry not! Sonic Electronix not only has have several resources to help but this is why I am writing to you today.

So, let’s talk a bit about how to choose the proper kit for your setup, shall we?

Most commonly used sized wire for powering car amplifiers is 8 gauge or 4 gauge. Due to the high current demands, a car amplifier needs large power wires to get the energy it needs from the battery to operate correctly. Depending on the wattage of your amplifier (which you should know after buying it) you pick the gauge of wire that you need in the amplifier kit. To figure out the correct size wire you need for your application, visit our knowledge base to read our article on the gauges of wire you will need.

Complete 2-Channel Amplifier Install Kit

A complete amp kit has everything you need to install your amp to your aftermarket head unit such as speaker wire, power wire, RCA cables, remote turn-on wire, fuse holders, etc. These are usually the ones to go with for the easiest installation. If you already have speaker wire for example and you only need power wire and interconnects, the Power kit would be the one to choose.

The Power Kit or Multiple Amp Kit included accessories differ.

Amplifier Power Kits come with only the wiring for powering an amplifier and allow you to select the grade of RCA interconnects that you would want for the install.  Multiple amp kits are made for more than one amplifier to be set up to the stereo, hence the kit title. These can be complete kits or power kits and usually include a distribution block and additional wiring to install more than one amp. For the case of two amplifiers, rather than running 2 heavy gauge wires throughout your vehicle, you can run a single wire to the distribution block in the rear which will split it into two smaller gauge wires for each amplifier.

So there you have it. First and foremost check the wattage for your amplifier and choose the proper gauge wire. For additional information on installations, shopping for the proper equipment, etc., see our Sonic Knowledge Base, YouTube Channel or other Blogs.

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Air Horns… The Blurring Point Between Need and Want

So I was sitting here trying to think of why anyone would need an air horn and I was having trouble coming up with ideas until it hit me… You don’t need one. You want one. Because let’s face it, 99% of the time the horn on your car is going to work perfectly fine. No, it might not scare a person so bad that they’ll need to check their underwear, but it’ll get their attention right? So why then, even bother getting one? There isn’t a whole lot of practicality so why do I still want one so bad?

Mostly because I think it would be hilarious to install one on my little 4 door sedan so when I honk the horn and an ear splitting 153 dB tone erupts out of my car from my KLEINN-230PKG, people’s jaws will drop when they realize it came from my little Volkswagen.

I’d probably use my horn a lot more at people who cut me off in traffic. Actually i’d probably use my horn a lot more in general.

But I still don’t need one right?

But if I had one, I’d be able to see if I could break glass with it. It only takes about a 100 dB’s to shatter a glass and a 153 dB’s is waaaay more than that… That could be fun to try.

But I don’t need an air horn!

So then I started wondering what the difference is between need and want. A need is something that we physically and mentally need for survival. But if we want something badly enough, that can affect us mentally right?

Still with me?

So if we really want an air horn badly enough to the point where it affects us mentally, doesn’t that make it a need? In some twisted sort of way, don’t we need an air horn to be satisfied and start focusing on the other aspects of our lives once more?

I don’t think psychology books are going to be rewritten because of my theory but I know somewhere out there, someone has to agree with me on this one.

Maybe next time my neighbors annoy me with their obnoxious music I’ll pull up right outside their house at 4 in the morning and give them a little piece of my mind. All 153 dB’s of it.

And hey, if 153 dB’s is a little extreme, Sonic has plenty of other kits that are still going to make people jump out of their skin like the KLEINN-6127 which still puts out a headache inducing 131 dB’s.

In the end, the difference between need and want really doesn’t matter. Loud horns are cool and fun and so who cares if you don’t need one as long as it makes you happy right? And that’s what we try to do here at Sonic.

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