I just got back from picking up my car from the electronic integrator guy.

Now I’ve got a stylin’ CD player (it plays MP3s, too) in place of the cassette deck that was in it before (as far as I can tell, the only feature lacking in my new ride as it was when I picked it up).

I had the guy direct-wire my front strobes to a switch on the dashboard. The other day, I cut up the wire that attached the strobes to the cigarette lighter (of course, they don’t call it a ‘cigarette lighter’ any more) and made a pair of harnesses; one with the lighter plug on the end and the other with stripped wires. I put a plug on the wires and the end of the wire coming out of the strobe unit. Now I can run the strobes off of the switch or I can put the strobes in a different vehicle by unplugging the direct wire and plugging in the lighter plug. Cool. I picked up a pair of switches from Subaru that fit the cutouts on the dash where switches for foglamps and something else would go, so now the strobes, as I said, run off a pushbutton on the dash, plus, they are independent of the ignition.

I also had the guy install a wig-wag controller for the rear, also run off a switch on the dash. Wig-wags flash the brake lights and the reverse lights sequentially several times a second. These are also independent of the ignition, so I can show up at a call, turn off the car, and still have the various lights flashing; a very handy feature for guiding in the ambulance or other responders or alerting motorists to something unusual going on.

The guy also installed my siren, or as they say in Vermont, syreen. I didn’t play with it too much since I was driving home at ten ’til midnight, but now if you press the horn (assuming the siren head is switched on), rather than a wimpy ‘beep’, you get a heavy-duty ‘whonk!’. And that’s just on the air-horn setting. The siren also has wail, yelp, and piercer sounds. The horn on the steering wheel is now a potent traffic moving tool. Whoop-whoop-whoop-whonk!-blap-blap-blap-whoooooooooooooo-whonk!

I’ll put up an MPEG video one of these days.

I have to have a special permit for the lights and siren, a so-called ‘red-light’ permit. According to the law, when I am responding to a call, my car is an emergency vehicle. I have the same rights and responsibilities as a police car, ambulance, or fire truck. I can pretty much ignore most traffic laws (with the absolute exception that I must stop for school buses). Everyone else must stop and give way. Woe betide the responder who causes an accident through reckless driving, though.

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