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Stupid Usability #93 

Completely tangled in DIY car audio

Written By: High Monkey
Posted: 3/23/2015

From the mind of Chad Heinle, Senior Consultant at High Monkey:
For the second time in my life, I have taken on a DIY car audio installation. My first time out of the gate had provided some lessons learned for this installation (such as how to properly solder wires), so with my new-found confidence I went all out and ordered new speakers, an in-dash navigation unit and backup camera for my truck. I ordered everything from Crutchfield whose chat support was very helpful in answering a few questions and making sure I got everything I needed in order to install my stereo. Well… almost everything.
With all of their orders, Crutchfield includes a “MasterSheet” – instructions on how to remove the old and install the new. This is tailored specifically for your car, so it can be extremely helpful, but only to a point. After following the instructions on the sheet to install the speakers (including step-by-step instructions on how to remove the back door panels), I was ready to tackle the head unit. I had watched a few videos online as well to get an action-oriented version of what I was about to dig into. Step one: solder the wiring harness. The wiring harness came in two pieces: the half that plugs into the radio and the half that plugs into the car. The stereo manual has all of the colors mapped out, but the car half was missing a few wires. Here’s where the MasterSheet fell very, very short. Since this was a navigation unit, there were a few more wires than usual to find – the hardest of which was the reverse signal sensor. Absolutely no mention of where to find this or how to connect to it was found on this sheet that was supposed to be the “complete car audio installation instructions”. A week of scouring online forums and the best I could do was that it was supposed to be a black wire with a pink stripe somewhere under the driver side door sill. I soon came to recognize this as where every other wire of the car from the back is run as well, and it’s not a small number of wires.

After nearly an hour of sorting through densely-packed wires, I was finally able to find it and make the required connection.
I understand that tailoring instructions for about any make and model car you can think of is a tall order – particularly for something you get for free with your order. My only request is that either the “MasterSheet” does not tout itself as complete, or that they charge me some more and tell me exactly what I’m doing so I don’t need to hold my breath when I start up my truck to find out if I re-connected everything correctly.


Chad's Bio Coming Soon!

More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 3/23/2015 12:00:00 AM by Brian Haukos | with 0 comments