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.
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.
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.
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.
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.