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How to Add a Backup Alarm

by Mike Schoonveld

Beep, beep, beep. You've heard the sound as you approached a work site. The heavy equipment and big trucks sound an audible alarm each time they are driven in reverse gear. It makes sense to warn other workers, since the operator of the equipment doesn't have the same field of view as he would moving forward. If you have equipment that is required to have a back-up alarm or think it would be a good idea to equip your truck with one, even though not legally mandated, adding a reverse-gear alarm is a job you probably can handle yourself.

1

Set the emergency brake on your vehicle.

2

Turn the ignition key on your vehicle to run, but do not start the vehicle's engine.

3

Move the shift lever to reverse to turn-on your vehicle's back-up lights.

4

Connect the ground wire of the 12-volt test light to a bare metal part of the vehicle's frame, bumper or sheet metal.

5

Penetrate the insulation of the wires leading to the vehicle's rear tail light assembly, one at a time, until you locate the one that turns on the test light. This is the wire that feeds the back-up light.

6

Locate a position on the chassis of your vehicle to mount the back-up alarm. The exact location will depend on the model and size of the back-up alarm you choose and the model of your vehicle. The location should be toward the rear of the vehicle, shielded as much as possible from road hazards and in a spot you can access with the tools needed to attach the alarm to the chassis. Mount the alarm to your vehicle.

7

Connect the negative or ground wire of the alarm securely to one of the studs bolting the alarm to your vehicle.

8

Connect the positive wire of the alarm to the wire you identified as the back-up light feed using a Scotch-Lock solderless connector. If the positive wire of the alarm is too short to reach the back-up light wire, lengthen the positive wire with a length of 16-gauge, copper automotive wire, connected with a solderless butt connector.

9

Support the wires firmly against the frame or chassis of the vehicle with nylon wire ties.

Items you will need

About the Author

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.

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