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Thread: Clifford Alarms

  1. #21
    Raw Wave
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    I remember as a computer engineer some years ago...my boss used to exagerate how complicated PC are. Even more exagerations was made with laptops...this was being said to put off potential "HAVE A GO" customers. They eventually get scared and ask us to install the part for them. How hard is it really to install a toner cartridge and we charge them like 45 per hour, what rip off

    Anyway if you guys can build PC, read manual, turn a screw, drill a hole and some common sense you sure be able to install even the most complicated alarms. So I dont know why some of these installer make them self so special...you dont even need no training, qualifications or whatever. Just read the manual...infact you dont even need to read most of the time you do things...do you?

    Most poeple fail because they never do things in stages and then expect everything to work once powered up. You bound to make mistake so check bit by bit in stages, double, triple check if you need to.

    Things only look complicated because poeple see it as a whole, look at it in sections youll find how simple it is...only theres lots of simple things to look at

  2. #22
    FLAC cproaudio's Avatar
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    DodgeCummins
    The simplest answer to who qualifies as a "pro" installer is anyone who is hired to work full time to do installations at a car stereo shop. Theres no certification or license required. If you can bull**** your way to get a job as a full time installer then you're a "pro" installer. Sad isn't it? However that does not mean that "pro" installers are dumb mother you know what and cant do installs. It depends on how dedicated s/he is about his/her work. Yes there are chick installers out there. There are nationally recongized certification programs for installers. MECP is one of them. There's a basic installer certification which is good for 2 years. That's the basic certification you need and most shops look for that. Then there's the first class installer certification which is good for 3 years. You can also get certified as a specialist for car audio, cellular or security. They're also good for 3 years. The ultimate certification is the master installer certification. It's also good for 3 years. Once you're a master installer, you can pretty much run the install department for a corproation like bestbuy or Circuit city. You can also give MECP tests to other candidates. Last time I checked, there are less than 100 certified master installers in the US. You can take a practice exam at http://www.ce.org/certifications/mec...asp?ID=1855388 Cain stores such as the good guys, circuit city, best buy also have their own certification program. I know that the good guys have level 1 and level 2 certifications. Level 1 is equvalent to MECP basic installer. and level 2 is equvalent to MECP first class.
    Dealer alarms are installed by subcontractors. There are companies out there that does dealer work. They install nothing but brand new Toyotas or Hondas or Nissans all day long. They can install a full bown alarm in 15 minutes because it's a repetitive work. Alot of those installers are not certified because they dont need to be. If you've install alarms in 2 Camrys, you already what the 3rd camry's going to be. how hard is it?
    A lot of alarm installers go by data sheets that tell you where to catch the wire and how to test the wires. Dealer alarm installers are more predictable. They want to get the job done quick so they can get paid. They'll catch ALL the wires under the driver dash. Alarms installed at a shop is not as predictable as dealer work because s/he can take the time to run the wires and hide the brain well.
    Almost all alarm installers private shops or dealers do starter kill and ignition kill at the ignition harness under the steering colum. That's the one thing that could possibly get you stranded. Any alarm shops should be able to check it for you for a fee if alarm is bad.


    MatrixPC
    96-98 Civics were a nightmare when they first came out. A lot of shops refuse to install stereo in it b/c they dont know how to relocate the factory radio. HX and EX have factory keyless at one point or another. LX and DX, CX, VX are optional. If you dont want to relocate the radio then connect the lt green/black and light green/red together and the dome light will work again.



    Confused
    Back to my understand the why and not the how. Though your dad may know how to install alarms and prep the wires all nice and neat, but does he know how to trouble shoot alarms, wiring, and the brain? If the alarm is't working right now long does it take him to pinpoint the problem? I installed a clifford alarm once where nothing worked. I triple checked all my wirings and as it turned out, Clifford had insert the wires in the wrong position on the harness. That was a nightmare. In your dad's case, If the doorlocks wasnt working, did he think to check the brain's output? I'm in no way saying bad things about your dad. All I'm saying is that if an installer knows what he's doing, he could trouble shoot the problem with in minutes.

    Jonjonr6
    The good guys work on commissions too accept that when theres a **** up, whoever fixes it doesnt get the labor dollor. We just talk **** to him for the rest of the week.
    MECP is a piece of paper. There are paper certs with no experience and there are real installers who are not MECP.
    I never used diodes for the domelight wire. it doesnt need it. You dont have to isolated it from another wire. I catch everything at the alarm plug behind the deck. You can get everything you need there accept starter kill unless you're doing remote start then you'd have to goto the ignition harness for the ignition, starter, acc. Tech is the blue wire next to the fender on an unused plug. Yeah That best buy installer must have bull****ed his way to get that job.
    I agree no eleborate starter kills. your chance of getting a broken down alarm is higher than your car being stolen.


    Ricky327
    It's not as simple to install alarms as you think. The manual is not going to tell you how do flashing lights in a 2003 Caravan or explain why your alarm goes off every 20 minutes in your 2000 mustang or why your door locks only unlocks with in the first 5 minutes of arming your 2002 Excursion. The manual only give you examples. Again back to you have to understand why it's done this and not how you install alarms according to the manual. I do agree that do it one section at a time though. There are A LOT of cars out there and each one requires a special trick. Finding an installer who knows all the tricks to all the cars is the hard part. BTW doing starter kill in the wrong spot will cause the check engine light to turn on on some cars. The manual doesnt explain that either. Best of luck.
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  3. #23
    Raw Wave
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    cproaudio,

    I agree that some cars do need special install. Finding an installer who knows the trick for ones cars maybe be hard. Does clifford have some kind of publications on what trick to use for cars? the best place to install the alarm, the best wire to tap into?

    I get an impression that most installer just work on whatever comes to their mind. I have noticed this because the person who installed my alarm cut 2 wires and then re join it back...he obviously wasnt too sure what to do. If clifford do have this guidelines for installer then things will be alot better for everyone.

    Installation only become difficult because clifford wont even publish a proper guide and a list tricks for each cars. What chance us guys fixing windows if MS support never exist?

    I guess clifford want to keep things to themselves. Dont get me wrong, it is a probably the best car alarm there is but it didnt have to be like this for us guys who want to install the best.

  4. #24
    Raw Wave Confused's Avatar
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    cproaudio,

    My post was really just a "what I could remember" from the converation i had with him when he was installing my alarm. I don't know how he troubleshooted it, but iirc, he did manage to pinpoint it down to the brain, and got the engineer out for confirmation.

    Don't pick me up on this too much...as i said, i don't know all the details


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  5. #25
    Raw Wave
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    Come on...theres clever poeple out there even though they have no experience in a product. A clever and technically experienced person already have an idea how things work and can work things out. When I bought the clifford-PC interface cable from the dealer, he tried to BS me by saying there some sofisticated microntroller inside this little interface cable. I looked and I though wow I can see RX/TX/GND on clifford socket...easy I thought. Opened it up and yup a MAX232 equivalent chip inside.

    Trouble shooting do come as a talent and not by experience. I have seen engineers who worked on an item for years and still cant trouble shoot when things goes wrong.

    For an inteligent and technicaly minded person even the most advanced alarms system can be broken into given enough info, interest, and time to hack it. Trouble shooting is nothing to these type of poeple.

    So "confused" yes your dad must be one of the clever guys and I can believe that.

  6. #26
    FLAC DodgeCummins's Avatar
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    cproaudio, thanks for the answers.

    Now how do I find a qualified guy?

    Obviously the determined car thief already knows how the factory alarm is installed and probably has some simple ways to disable it. An alarm well hid at random...only the installer will know...hope he is trustworthy.

    Installing a car stereo, or car computer are challenging but not difficult.

    Advanced wiring trickery in a car alarm...especially with power doorlocks and windows is not for a beginner.

  7. #27
    FLAC cproaudio's Avatar
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    Ricky327
    As I've said before, Clifford was bought by DEI. But it is still a Clifford alarm. Clifford's tech support is now handled by DEI. First generation of G4 is completely Clifford. After DEI took over Clifford, the first thing DEI did was redesign the Antenna receiver and replced the bulky siren to the slimmer DEI sirens. If your G4's antenna is an RCA jack that plugs in at the brain then its first generation G4. If the antenna cable looks like a phone cord that plugs into a receiver that double sticks to the windshield then it's the DEI revision generation. G5 is completely redesigned by DEI. There's still a sense of Clifford in it but for the most part, it's DEI. Clifford does have alarm color codes, tech tips and guidelines avaliable to authorized dealer. It's a part of the retailer agreement so that no unauthorized installers can install them. You gotta remember Clifford alarms must be installed at an authorized dealer and only authorized dealers have access to Clifford tech support. Unfortunately some shops dont have access to those types of tech support due to lack of communication between the store mangement and the DEI rep. Those installers for those shop are forced to find the wires themselfs. There are ways to find the correct wires without cutting them. I dont understand why the installers would cut the wires and then reconnect them. Sometimes they accidently cut the wires as they were trying to cut the loom open. I admit that I've done it once or twice. The only reason I can think of is they were trying to catch the right wires for a 5 wire door locks system and got the wrong wire.

    Confused
    I wasnt trying to pick on you or anything. I guess that having a tech come out to varify a bad brain was a little extreme. When we have problems with brand new alarms that we had just installed, we just swap it with a new one, done. In my case with the defective harness, I remove all the wires and the pins and matched wire positions up with a correct harness. It beats having the pull out the defective harness out and reinstall a correct harness.

    Ricky327
    Cliffnet cable is computer related. Most installers wont know anything about it. They know ohms law and 12volt stuff but not computer stuff with databus signals or serial data. I admit I dont know how the cliffnet works. All I know is I plug it into the alarm and ran Cliffnet Wizard Pro and it lets me program my door locks, windows and remote start.

    DodgeCummins
    You're welcome. "Now how do I find a qualified guy?" ask about his experiences, what he's specialize in, ask him if there's anything you should know about your car, any tricks or special wiring that needs to be done. or is it bacially like a 95 Toyota Camry where you can catch everything at the fuse panel.
    Actually factory alarms are harder to bypass than dealer installed alarm. A factory alarm is usually put in at the time of making of the car which means it's buried deep in the dash or behind the backseat somewhere really hard to get to. Dealer installed alarms are almost always under the driver dash panel. Rip that panel off and I gurrantee you can see starter kill wires. Dont rely on the installer knowing where he put your alarm brain and where he caught the starter kill wires. He'll probably forget by the time he pull it out of the parking lot. You gotta remember that an experienced installer install almost every car there is and each is different. "Advanced wiring trickery in a car alarm...especially with power doorlocks and windows is not for a beginner" well said
    NEW complete and updated My project with 100+ pics on 7-4-03
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  8. #28
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    cproaudio,

    I like your advice on finding a qualified guy.

    My question is, since I live in LA and I'm planning on getting a clifford alarm installed in the next six months, how do I find info on your shop?
    Like location, name and ballpark prices for a full alarm install kinda like you have.

    thanks

  9. #29
    Neither darque nor pervert DarquePervert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricky327
    Come on...theres clever poeple out there even though they have no experience in a product. A clever and technically experienced person already have an idea how things work and can work things out. When I bought the clifford-PC interface cable from the dealer, he tried to BS me by saying there some sofisticated microntroller inside this little interface cable. I looked and I though wow I can see RX/TX/GND on clifford socket...easy I thought. Opened it up and yup a MAX232 equivalent chip inside.

    Trouble shooting do come as a talent and not by experience. I have seen engineers who worked on an item for years and still cant trouble shoot when things goes wrong.

    For an inteligent and technicaly minded person even the most advanced alarms system can be broken into given enough info, interest, and time to hack it. Trouble shooting is nothing to these type of poeple.

    So "confused" yes your dad must be one of the clever guys and I can believe that.
    Troubleshooting is a skill, yes. I can apply the troubleshooting experience I have (9 years troubleshooting PCs to networks to servers and everything in between... as a professional!) to anything I own. It's a step-by-step process to determine a root cause of a problem.
    I can build PCs blindfolded (literally!).
    I can walk a 80 year old man through running a volume repair on a Netware server via telephone while looking for a problem in someone else's data.
    But I didn't install an alarm in my new truck. Why?
    Because despite my ability to figure **** out and understand wiring diagrams and understand electrical connections, I don't know enough about how my truck is wired to want to risk ******* it up.
    So I have a 'pro' do it. Actually my future ex-wife had someone do it. I have no idea whether it's a good install or not. All I know is that the sensor on the sliding window fell off & the range for the remote is ****.
    The window I can fix. (cpro: What should I use to re-attach that?)

    The point is, that if you're willing to risk screwing up your ride installing it yourself, be my guest. If I take it to an installer and they **** up my ride, I have legal recourse. You have none when you 'dumbass yourself', as one Georgetown cop put it when I drove a moving truck under a too-low overhang....
    Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
    How about the Wiki?



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  10. #30
    Raw Wave
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    I agree...a person shouldnt try if hes not confident enough.

    Sure you didnt wanna touch your car but thats only because you didnt know enough about it as you admited it. I know alot of people are afraid to touch something new in fear of ******* it up...true thats fair enough. Heck Ill open up a brand new latop if I have to...whats the difference if that laptop is old or new? Do I have a chance of ******* it up more on the new one than the old one? of course not.

    Given a simple alarms theres something like :

    Ground wire
    Permanent +12V
    2 Ignition wire (used to cut ignition and sense if ignition is on)
    2 Starter wire (used to cut starter motor)
    2 Signal indicator wire (used to flash the left/right indicators when alarm is on/off)
    Door/bonnet/boot pin switch wire

    There isnt exactly much to wire up there. The rest are block connectors for sensors, siren, valet switches that even monkey cant go wrong. Of course some alarm may have more wires but theres no different between a 1 wire and 100 wires alarms...the only different is the other one will take much longer to wire up.

    Dont get me wrong Im not encouraging someone to install a sophisticated alarm if he doesnt even know whats a different between a + and a - wire. A person can only go ahead if all the infos are there, tools, skills and the knowledge. I wont just attempt to install if I dont have the wiring diagram of the car. It can be worked out with a multimeter only of course if you know what you are doing...Im sure thats what most installer would do anyway.

    Anyway its not as if alarms are built so its hard to install that only rocket scientist can do it. The cables are colour coded or labelled, power cables are thick, signal cables are thin, sensors/siren/switches are on multi cables, the sensors/siren/switches are terminated on a multiway connectors, theres an install diagram to follow, theres even a guide where to tap into the wires.

    The rest comes down to the installer mechanical skills...those so called pro cant even drill a hole straight or get it on the centre. I can even see scratches left behind that show proper tools was never used...they do that day in day out and still hasnt bothered to invest on proper tools. They still use a pair of pliers to turn a nut/bolt when a socket/spanner is supposed to be used. They use a pliers to crimp wires when theres a proper crimper, wrong sized screw driver being used showing a ****ed up head screw...yup I notice these things The main control unit weighing 1Kg or so was double sided tape next to the ECU under the footwell. That came off and took a chip plugged in the ECU. The siren was installed next to the radiator hose pressing hard on it. The siren plastic casing has melted and part of it had cracked. The radiator hose got so deformed that it has a potential to leak.

    Of course I didnt noticed all this until my car kept stalling and wont start. I thought well Im not gonna go back there and get another monkey to bodge it all up again...I rather fix it myself since its only wiring/ mechanical install problems and not the alarm itself.

    Believe me I have seen/heard friends and family being stranded because the alarm wasnt installed properly by the so called pro.

    Im not saying all installers are bad, I know theres some good one but having so much bad experience with them you can see why im abit annoyed...talking about getting a car service by mechanics? again same old crap.

    I dont think theres good mechanic that will trust a garage to get his car serviced.

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