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My '13 DCSB TRD Off Road: The Amateur Radio and Emergency Lighting Extravaganza

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Builds (2005-2015)' started by kc1aei, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. Sep 6, 2017 at 4:50 AM
    #1
    kc1aei

    kc1aei [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2017
    Member:
    #218421
    Messages:
    123
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    Danvers, MA
    Vehicle:
    2013 DCSB 6 Speed
    Whelen CanTrol, Whelen Liberty, Lots of IONs, BackRack
    So, I've been taking lots of pictures and trying to prepare as much of a "build thread" as I can while I progress. Yesterday was very useful and I got a lot done.

    This is more of an installation thread because the truck is going to stay pretty close to stock. I'm going to be putting on some new rubber at some point, but until then my priorities are radios and lighting.

    Why all this stuff? Some of you may be able to tell from my username... For those that can't, I'm an amateur radio operator. I do a lot of volunteer work and staff running races, bike races, forest rallies, the Head of the Charles Regatta, the Boston Marathon, etc. More often than not, I'm a support and gear (SAG) vehicle, meaning that I'm following trip tics and course markings to support the participants. I take medical calls, I re-route events, I pick people up and find myself frequently at the side of the road. The radios are self explanatory... It's how we cover the course efficiently. The lights and noise-making devices will be for visibility and safety. When I'm stopping to provide aid to an event participant or trying to redirect people elsewhere, visibility is my top priority.

    Currently, I have a UWS tool box on the truck to hold event-specific equipment and my standard recovery kit (along with anything I can't fit in the cab so I can use all of my seats) and a Backrack for my antennas. I've run Larsen NMO mounts in the Backrack antenna mounts (barely fit) and have run the coax down the backrack inside some black wire loom and used black zip ties to secure it. It runs down between the cab and bed, runs along the frame and up through the cab grommets. One is on the driver's side and the other on the pass. side. Yesterday, I ran 10ga stranded wire from the battery into the cab and under the driver's seat through the firewall and routed underneath the trim panels and behind the kick panel. I brought the wires up in the hole for the vent under the seat and moved it off to one side. Pictured is the body for the Kenwood TM V71A. I'm running the DFK-3D separation kit and used my Leatherman Raptor to cut a longer opening in the carpet by the rear driver's seat bolt closest to the center console. That cable runs underneath the carpet and along the center console to the passenger's side where it feeds up the arm of a gooseneck mount secured to the passenger's side front seat bolt nearest the center console.IMG_3837.jpg

    After that run, I needed to run some power for the FT-891 (HF) that's living under the passenger's seat. I followed the same path that I used for the separation cable for the radio under the driver's seat. I ended up turning it around and velcro-ing it to the floor to take some strain off of the power line, but then the microphone cable was too short. I used a piece of Cat6 cable and one of the cable extenders (that came in the YSK-891 remote kit for the FT-891) and brought it up behind one of the panels on the pass. side of the center console.
    IMG_3850.jpg

    The FT-891, flipped and secured to the floor on the pass. side:
    IMG_3851.jpg

    (Not the best picture of) The Cat6 cable coming out from behind the panel nearest the center console on the pass. side:
    IMG_3852.jpg

    Once all was nearly said and done after six hours (off and on) of running cable, planning, and securing devices while terminating power connectors:
    IMG_3855.jpg

    Next will be:

    Running all of the cables up the gooseneck mount and securing them
    Fabricating the faceplate
    Securing the control heads to the faceplate
    Installing the Whelen PAP112 and momentary switch
    Installing the two Whelen Dashmasters with switch
     
  2. Oct 10, 2017 at 11:18 AM
    #2
    kc1aei

    kc1aei [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2017
    Member:
    #218421
    Messages:
    123
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    Danvers, MA
    Vehicle:
    2013 DCSB 6 Speed
    Whelen CanTrol, Whelen Liberty, Lots of IONs, BackRack
    So I've done a lot more since I've updated and I haven't been doing the best job at taking pictures of everything, but this is about as close to the timeline as I can be. When I start on this project, I don't normally stop if I don't make a plan to!

    Anyway, I got the gooseneck mount secured to the passenger's seat bolt closest to the center console (duh), got my faceplate fabricated and the control heads mounted. I still need to take the Dremel to the plate because I have a lot of extra overhang on the top that I just haven't done anything with yet. I got it installed and left it because, for now, it works fine.
    faceplate_installed.jpg
    faceplate_powered.jpg
    I also got the Whelen PAP112 unit installed under the seat and the momentary switch was installed in the change drawer to the left of the steering wheel (I have a 6 speed, so the other "change container" is my parking brake) and the microphone is just wedged in the driver's seat (there's a button hanger on the back that fits well behind the plastic piece along the side of the seat.

    After that is where plans changed. I was initially going to complete the mounting and wiring of my Whelen Dashmasters and my Whelen Dual Avenger https://youtu.be/szEy07nPzhQ

    However, I got a great deal on some Whelen M7 lightheads and a Lamphus Solarblast 29" amber traffic advisor, so I installed the TA on my backrack and installed M7's flush on the grille.

    Here they are during the test fit being off:
    lights_mockup_off.jpg

    And on:
    lights_mockup_on.jpg

    Then, I took the grille off and fit everything with fender washers, m5 bolts, wing nuts, and some silicon adhesive around the rubber gasket for the lights. I replaced the broken grille clips with zip ties, and if those don't continue to hold, I'll grab some clips online somewhere. The following day, I mounted the TA on the 3/8" bolts that I used to secure the antenna mounts to the vertical rails. I had to pop a few washers on each bolt because the TA itself was about an inch wider than the bolts would allow. The washers added a half inch on each side to fit the bar perfectly.
    ta_bar_mount.jpg
    The TA is completely weatherproof and I'm interested to see how it holds up to a New England winter.

    Here's a shot of the final mounting solution of those Whelen M7's I mentioned:
    whelen_m7_final_mount.jpg

    After that, I got to mount the switchbox by Speedtech Lights and the TA controller (just forward of the shifter and not impeding its throw).
    switchbox_mount_clean.jpg

    Below is the video of the final lighting installation, showing the actuation of the switches and the readout on the TA controller (which I really like).
     
    EdinCincinnati likes this.
  3. Feb 21, 2018 at 9:49 AM
    #3
    kc1aei

    kc1aei [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2017
    Member:
    #218421
    Messages:
    123
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    Danvers, MA
    Vehicle:
    2013 DCSB 6 Speed
    Whelen CanTrol, Whelen Liberty, Lots of IONs, BackRack
    Alright, now it's time for another installment of the Amateur Radio and Emergency Lighting Extravaganza!

    Over the last week, I've acquired some new equipment and have installed and tested it.

    Feniex Typhoon Full Function Siren
    Whelen ION single color light head (2*Red, 2*Amber, 2*White)


    20180210_160008.jpg

    I started by securing the ION mounts to my Backrack. I drilled two 11/16ths holes for each mount and put four mounts on the rack. The other two lights went on a license plate mount on my rear plate and act as scene lighting (the two white IONs... They've been set to steady burn). I tried to put them as close to equidistant from each other as I could, and drilling between the rack rails was difficult to do since I couldn't find a drill that would fit between them.

    20180213_112635.jpg

    After getting the mounts in, I took a couple days off from work when I noticed the temperature was going to be 50 or above. Of course, today it's forecast to be 70, so I guess I picked the wrong day... Anyway, I also had the Feniex Typhoon Full Function Siren to install. I really only bought this unit because it has the airhorn and because it has six 3.5A outputs controlled by rubberized push buttons that make an audible beep when their input is activated or deactivated. Also took the obligatory photo of all of my tools and things laid out before I started:

    20180214_104119.jpg


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdejpSAd0nw (I think I might like the airhorn tone a little better on this unit)

    After everything was tested, I started mounting and wiring. I undid the driver's seat bolts and used a ratchet strap to hold it back so I could get to the floor area. I installed a ground bus with jumpers between each terminal strip to give a solid ground to each one.

    20180214_131909.jpg


    I test fit the unit in the area where the Whelen PAP112 originally was. It ended up fitting quite well. The way this thing is wired is strange to me... I like how easy it is to loosen the set screw and just move a wire into the powered output. To the same effect, I don't like how easy it can be for a wire to come loose. I can tighten up the screws plenty, but I don't want to ruin the head of the screw either.

    I also removed ALL of the butt connectors that I had and replaced them with spade terminals... Gives a more protected connection and it much easier to hide a wire when there's not a huge connector on it that looks really unfinished.

    20180214_125737.jpg


    Then, of course, we got to the fun part: putting connectors on and wiring the new Whelen IONs on the rack. Before I got this far, I re-wired my front lighting and played with the flash pattern on the M7s so that they'd alternate. I put the two reds on the top rail and the two ambers on the bottom rail. I actually drove by someone who'd put their car in a ditch the other night in the snow storm up here, so I turned around and put my lights on while I helped the driver get out. They worked quite well! Anyway, I put those up, ran all of the wires through a wire loom (one for each light), used silicon adhesive to attach the loom to the backrack and used zip ties to hold the loom in place till the adhesive cured. (I used a few)

    20180215_123851.jpg

    20180219_103554.jpg


    Once I finished installing them all and wired them into the unit, I ran a test and saw that three of the lights were on the same phase of the same flash pattern. In short, to get these lights to alternate, they all needed to be set to the Whelen Signalert pattern. That pattern has two phases on these lights, and if two lights are set to phase 1, they'll flash together. If the two other lights are set to phase 2, they'll flash together, but alternately in relation to the other pair that are on phase 1. I had three lights set to phase 1, and one light on phase 2. Once I changed that (applied the White/Violet wire from the light head to a positive 12v when the light was flashing, and the patter moved from phase 1 to phase 2), they flashed alternately as they were intended.

    20180219_102916.jpg

    20180219_102917.jpg

    I mounted the control head just behind the shifter. It's a little jerry-rigged now, but it's not moving (I've stress tested it to a point) and it works fine. I ran the control cable through the shift boot, down the side of the console in the driver's side footwell, and under the seat to the brain.

    20180219_111701.jpg

    It works well for my intended purpose. I've attached another video to show how everything looks all lit up.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJtfvmKnsYQ

    After I finished up, I re-organized and took some pictures. Also tried on my support vehicle magnets!

    20180219_111623.jpg 20180219_110559.jpg

    Next project (once I hear back about my back-ordered TRD Pro suspension) will be some Whelen ION tri colors in the grille. Probably going to take out the M7s. Either that, or I'll go for some dual color red/white. I'll have red if I need it and I can use the white as a scene light for the front. We'll see!

    73

    Matt

    20180212_162615.jpg
     
  4. Feb 21, 2018 at 10:10 AM
    #4
    Gunshot-6A

    Gunshot-6A Not a Fed

    Joined:
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    Conner
    Salt Lake City
    Vehicle:
    2015 TRD Offroad
    So many lights! Your setup looks well laid out for so many controllers, etc.

    I don't know MA laws, but does your "support vehicle" status allow for the red light use? The Utah staties shut that down pretty hard. They got me for my christmas lights I had on my Prinsu and bed rack because of the red and blue colored lights.
     
  5. Feb 21, 2018 at 10:59 AM
    #5
    kc1aei

    kc1aei [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2017
    Member:
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    Messages:
    123
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    Danvers, MA
    Vehicle:
    2013 DCSB 6 Speed
    Whelen CanTrol, Whelen Liberty, Lots of IONs, BackRack
    Here's the catch... I only use those lights when I'm supporting a running or cycling race. To that end, I only deal with local police, and they're more than happy that someone with a properly lighted vehicle is dealing with some of their bullshit details. Since they're to the rear, I have a little more leeway because I'm not using them to move traffic, and they're more for notification for when I'm stopped.
     
  6. Mar 29, 2018 at 11:39 AM
    #6
    kc1aei

    kc1aei [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Member:
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    Messages:
    123
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    Danvers, MA
    Vehicle:
    2013 DCSB 6 Speed
    Whelen CanTrol, Whelen Liberty, Lots of IONs, BackRack
    Alright, small addition...

    I've moved a few things around! My Whelen M7s are going to live on my toolbox because I don't have any side lighting. Up front, I've fit my Whelen ION Trios in the Red/Amber/White configuration. First, I had to rip the grille off again, which I'm getting good at...

    Snapchat-1528383530.jpg

    After that, I drilled my pilot holes and stuffed in the bracket and tightened up the hardware. Looks much better Now! While those m7s served a purpose, they were yuuuge!

    20180328_183856.jpg

    20180328_183906.jpg

    https://youtu.be/9L2XHLI9s3E

    They're really bright and very low-profile. Looking forward to the public service season! I'm trying to figure out a center console for some radios, but I also have my pro suspension that I need to install. Not sure what will be next, but it should be fun!
     
  7. Jun 14, 2018 at 1:00 PM
    #7
    kc1aei

    kc1aei [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2017
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    Messages:
    123
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    Danvers, MA
    Vehicle:
    2013 DCSB 6 Speed
    Whelen CanTrol, Whelen Liberty, Lots of IONs, BackRack
    Alright, a little more has happened... Primarily an equipment swap from the Feniex Typhoon to the Whelen CenCom Sapphire.

    20180518_161924.jpg

    It was a big undertaking, so I'll start at the beginning. I was looking for a mounting location, and I was thinking about somewhere behind the driver's side rear seat. I was considering the floor behind there, but it was a tight fit. When I was looking around, I found that the back panel came off of the seat, so I took it off, placed everything, traced it out, and started drilling holes through it.

    20180511_210107.jpg

    It's 100A service for that device, so I ran the two 8awg positive leads into the maxi fuse block and ran one 6awg wire out, under the vehicle, and into the engine bay at the battery.

    20180521_180648.jpg

    Of course, before this I took care of the vanity aspect and looked for a place to mount the control head. It's pretty big, and I was looking for a RAM mount for the cup holder (a similar installation in a 4Runner... Details on Instagram @808hendo), but instead I screwed the bail bracket to the center console just forward of the arm rest. It's in an optimal location because it's close and I don't have to reach to use it. I don't rub my arm on it when I shift, either, which I forgot to even think about... Guess I lucked out!

    20180522_192328.jpg

    20180524_210041.jpg

    I did a lot of re-wiring for this one since I had to run all my wiring back to behind the rear seat.

    The difficult thing about the CenCom is that there isn't a power switch or a power button. There's a wire in one of the harnesses that, when it sees 12v, will turn on. To solve this, I utilized the constant 12v I have in the RigRunner fuse panel that I installed under my seat. I went to West Marine and got a heavy duty SPST toggle switch and tied one lead into the 12v power trigger for the CenCom (in addition to the backlight trigger wire) and the other end into a 5A output on the RigRunner. It also acts as a hideaway safety switch so the unit can't be used if I'm not in possession of the truck (since the switch is hidden under the driver's seat).

    I'm very please with the outcome and it's been infinitely useful at the last few events I've done for the different volunteer orgs I work with!

    In addition to the CenCom, I also swapped out my Whelen Dual Avenger that was on the pass. visor for a Feniex Fusion Dual Color Interior Light Bar (passenger only). It's very bright, and I had to modify the mount a bit, but it fits nicely and hasn't moved yet. (I'll upload a photo and video of that stuff later because my computer is losing its fucking mind and doesn't want to upload any more photos right now...

    Any questions, feel free to ask!
     
  8. Jun 15, 2018 at 11:13 AM
    #8
    kc1aei

    kc1aei [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2017
    Member:
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    Messages:
    123
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Matt
    Danvers, MA
    Vehicle:
    2013 DCSB 6 Speed
    Whelen CanTrol, Whelen Liberty, Lots of IONs, BackRack
    PineStateOverland likes this.
  9. Nov 4, 2019 at 8:59 AM
    #9
    kc1aei

    kc1aei [OP] Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    First Name:
    Matt
    Danvers, MA
    Vehicle:
    2013 DCSB 6 Speed
    Whelen CanTrol, Whelen Liberty, Lots of IONs, BackRack
    Ok, so it's been a while...

    20180916_163606.jpg

    I've done MANY things since the Sapphire. The Feniex bar came down and was promptly sold. The Whelen Liberty went up on the rack and had a few modules and a board swapped out. The backrack is still up, but the IONs got moved around.

    20190712_095224.jpg

    While the Liberty was up, I got creative with some ION DUOs and some cheap star signal shrouds from Galls. Used with the flashback gasket from the Feniex passenger bar.

    20190202_203747.jpg 20190204_154832(0).jpg 20190323_111252.jpg 20190323_122250.jpg 20190323_123623.jpg 20190504_133536.jpg

    The IONVs are in the center and have puddle lights in them, which will illuminate the box when they're on. They also have 3 LED takedowns built into the optic. With that, the ION TRIOs on the outer edges of the backrack, there are two T IONs below the tailgate, flush mounted.

    20190524_193746.jpg 20190525_134834.jpg 20190823_230707.jpg 20190823_230658.jpg

    There are new (old) taillights with Whelen Vertexes in the tail and reverse lights. I pulled low voltage triggers from the brake, tail, and reverse lights. Why? Because everything is being run by my Whelen Cantrol Gen2.

    20190812_175744.jpg

    Before this, I had a 16 output Gen1, and then a 32 output Gen1.

    20190525_122520.jpg

    Now, I have access to virtual timers and and logic inputs to change lighting patterns when I brake or when I out the truck in reverse.

    I've installed a few different radios. First, I threw together a terrible faux console out of ABS plastic. Then, I used heavier ABS for my two Motorola XPR4550s.

    20190620_214542.jpg
    20190327_203717.jpg
    20190327_171717.jpg

    Then, I got bored with those, and used some pieces of Havis console rail to reinstall my Cantrol head along with two Motorola XTL5000s. The factory cupholder insert came out, and the console piece got bolted to the center console supports.

    20190814_122212.jpg 20190919_084923.jpg

    Most recently, I installed 3 NMO mounts in my roof for my two XTL5000s and my Whistler WS1098 scanner. Now, I'm just trying to add to the code plugs in the radios, get the scanner to work properly, and find a signal from the parking brake to enable park kill on the light controller. This function allows me to change the patterns on the lights when the lights are activated and I set the parking brake.

    20191102_171011.jpg

    And, as always, some shameless vanity shots during an event that took me down to Bourne and out to Provincetown, up to Newry, Maine

    20190630_052044.jpg 20190630_054107.jpg 20190720_074552.jpg 20190906_104250.jpg 20190908_065744(0).jpg

    20181119_105658.jpg
    20181119_105708.jpg
    20190323_210626.jpg
    20190324_102720.jpg
    20190713_165048.jpg
    20190720_105021.jpg
    20190812_183623.jpg
     
    hi4x4 likes this.

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