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Old 04-03-2011, 12:49 PM   #1
azdamay
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Hella air horn install, need electrical help/advice

This is on my Transit Connect, but I figured I would post here since this is such an active forum and maybe I can get some help. I'm going to copy/paste what I put on the TC forum:

OK so I bought a Hella triple tone air horn kit, apparently without realizing I had purchased the one that can be switched between all horns sounding at once, or playing a "melody" of sorts. Problem is, after installing it, no matter what I do it only plays this melody (which sounds horrible, it essentially plays one note on each horn in succession -- "ba-da-duh, ba-da-duh, ba-duh-duh" and sounds like a taco truck).

The problem I have is the wiring diagram sucks and there are no more instructions than that! If anyone can help me figure out how to wire it so it will sound all the horns at once I would greatly appreciate it. Here is the Hella diagram:



Terminals 85 and 86 are the existing horn wires, which energize the relay. Terminals 30 and 87 are the input and output for straight power from the battery to the horn compressor. So I cut the funky European Ford connector off the horn wire harness, crimped on flat spade terminals, wired those wires to terminals 85 and 86. Then, I ran a wire from the battery negative (-) to the negative (-) terminal on the compressor. Then, a wire from the positive (+) terminal of the battery to terminal 30 on the relay. From there, a wire off terminal 87 to the positive (+) terminal on the compressor.

So wired like that, it works, but in the "melodic" mode. So you'll notice in the diagram, it shows two switches, a SPDT toggle, and at the compressor what appears to be a SPST toggle with a German-text note saying "this is not allowable in Germany." Which, after some research, I was able to find on the Hella website is because in certain countries I guess the melody option is not legal. In the kit, there was no SPDT toggle, but there was a SPST toggle (simple on/off). Since there are NO INSTRUCTIONS, I had assumed that was for if you wanted to keep your existing horn but have the option to turn on the air horn?? But then after looking at the wiring diagram some more, I thought maybe it is the switch they show on the compressor, so I rigged up some wiring and put a piggyback connector to the positive (+) terminal on the compressor, ran a wire to the switch, a wire off the switch to the terminal shown at the top of the compressor (which as far as i can tell is matching the wiring shown on their sheet). But with the switch set either way, it still plays melodically. AND the cheap switch broke and fell apart! I took an ohm meter and checked the compressor, there is no continuity between the negative (-) terminal and the terminals at the top of the compressor, nor continuity between the positive (+) terminal and the terminals at the top. But the terminals at the top have continuity to each other.

So what gives?! If I can't figure this out soon I'm just going to pay the $40 or so to buy the kit I meant to buy in the first place, and simply swap the compressors. I'm getting attention when I use the horn, but not for the reason I intended.


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Old 04-03-2011, 09:15 PM   #2
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The diagram shows 2 different grounds...one circuit is running a "motor" or rotary switch that causes the melody to play? I'd disable this one and try to get air to all horns at once?

Or the issue could be the routing of the air tubes to the horns? Run the compressor and find out from which outlets the air is coming from and route it so it reaches all the horns all the time?
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:48 PM   #3
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i know there is no help from my post..

but I like how you said it sounds like a taco truck...

but i would try what fred said
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:28 AM   #4
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What I am seeing in that diagram is this:

1. There are two ways to wire this up - keeping the factory horn or dumping the factory horn. If you keep the factory horn, you need a two position switch - one direction powers the factory horn, the other powers the air horn. If you don't want to keep the factory horn, you don't need this switch.

2. There is a second two position switch that makes or breaks a connection on the air horn compressor itself. I can't tell from the picture what it's connecting to, but it looks like it takes (+) up to some terminal on the top of the compressor itself. My bet is when powered it makes the taco truck song, and when unpowered it just honks. I imagine that switch would be illegal in Deutschland, and that connection must remain broken. If you just want normal horns, you don't need this switch either.
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:47 AM   #5
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2 different diagrams are because the horn in diagram A runs the positive connection through the horn button on the steering wheel. B runs the negative connection through the horn button. It works both ways. I don't know which way Ford did it on the TC. The difference is really evident on the relay coil pins 85 and 86. When those are energized, then 30 and 87 are closed: horn goes beep.

It seems to me that there are 2 circuit connections on the compressor. The SPST switch is used to switch between the 2 modes. When only one set of terminals is energized, then you (apparently) only get melodic mode. Flip the switch so both are energized, and you get both horns blasting.

You Duke boys are always getting into trouble. If you don't care about melodic mode, then wire both sets of terminals without a switch and go to town. If you don't care about the factory horn, then remove it's connector (IIRC Ford provides both hot and ground at the fans now), either rig wiring from the OEM connector, or search online for a female pigtail (Doorman makes them), then take those 2 wires to your coil pins (85,86) on the relay.

Now if there isn't another terminal set on the other side of the compressor as shown in the diagram, then IDK what to tell you. It is possible that there is only one connection, or 2 individual connections for the positive and the ground is provided through the compressor mount- look for that. The universal sign for ground is 3 lines in a triangular shape sometimes with a tail.

They don't show or provide a fuse either, but I certainly hope you have enough of a grasp on electrical to fuse your #30 hot.
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:56 AM   #6
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Oh, and next time, get the Dixie horn. Especially since you went ahead and cut the OEM horn connector off. Keep that up and I'm going to have to send you red spray paint for your neck.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by frednumber15 View Post
The diagram shows 2 different grounds...one circuit is running a "motor" or rotary switch that causes the melody to play? I'd disable this one and try to get air to all horns at once?

Or the issue could be the routing of the air tubes to the horns? Run the compressor and find out from which outlets the air is coming from and route it so it reaches all the horns all the time?
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What I am seeing in that diagram is this:

1. There are two ways to wire this up - keeping the factory horn or dumping the factory horn. If you keep the factory horn, you need a two position switch - one direction powers the factory horn, the other powers the air horn. If you don't want to keep the factory horn, you don't need this switch.

2. There is a second two position switch that makes or breaks a connection on the air horn compressor itself. I can't tell from the picture what it's connecting to, but it looks like it takes (+) up to some terminal on the top of the compressor itself. My bet is when powered it makes the taco truck song, and when unpowered it just honks. I imagine that switch would be illegal in Deutschland, and that connection must remain broken. If you just want normal horns, you don't need this switch either.
I did not keep the factory horn, so that switch is out of the picture. When I hit the horn button, I get the 12 volts from the car to the relay, which closes and sends the battery feed through the relay. Right now the compressor is wired such that there is nothing to the top terminal, just power to the compressor motor itself (on the positive and negative terminals at the bottom of the compressor). In this configuration it does the melody. I did try rotating the hoses for the horns and this didn't seem to make a difference. For the hell of it I tried switching the input wires to the relay and that also made no difference.

I agree that it seems like the top is basically a rotating disk with holes that directs or prevents air flowing to the horns and it is that rotation that is giving it the "melody"... so why is it rotating if there is no power to it? And I tried wiring it as shown in the diagram and it didn't make a difference. One thought though is the top half of the compressor is showing a ground, which must be formed by the attachment of the compressor to the car's chassis, and I attached it to the radiator brace which is painted and perhaps it is not grounded?

Maybe I'll just take the compressor off the van and take it apart to see what it looks like internally to get a better idea? I can't return the thing anyway.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:05 AM   #8
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I took an ohm meter and checked the compressor, there is no continuity between the negative (-) terminal and the terminals at the top of the compressor, nor continuity between the positive (+) terminal and the terminals at the top. But the terminals at the top have continuity to each other.
According to their diagrams- that means your horn is broken. Without continuity or resistance between the bottom + and -, you're not going to get anything but the melodic blast.

I missed that. It's totally late, and I just finished a Desert Punk marathon.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:07 AM   #9
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Oh, and next time, get the Dixie horn. Especially since you went ahead and cut the OEM horn connector off. Keep that up and I'm going to have to send you red spray paint for your neck.
LOL. I don't care about the crappy OEM horn, but I cut the Ford connector far enough back to be able to splice it back on if needed. There was no way to use it being as it is one of those proprietary connectors, and I didn't want to use tap splices.

About the fuse... well you got me there. I know it needs a fuse, and I knew that going into it, but no, I haven't done it yet. Shame on me and I plan to remedy that immediately. I'm not much of a horn-user anyway, but I want a loud one for when I do use it.

I will say that is one of the worst things about that "instruction" sheet, it leaves a hell of a lot of information off.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:08 AM   #10
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Yeah, after I wrote that (which took a long time because palm pressure on the laptop keeps selecting everything I write and erasing it so I have to keep going through levels of undo to get back to where I was) I realized you wired it like I would've.

You're correct, the SPDT switch is for people who want to switch from factory to the other horn. You could get a better SPST switch to mount somewhere so you could switch from Taco Truck mode to honking TC mode- when you get a working compressor.
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