Basic Installation Procedures
You have a car or van, a new taximeter, a toplight, maybe a little box with four wire sticking out.
You probably have ordered installation instructions from TaxicabElectronics.com.
You have arranged insurance and spoken with regulators to clear the paper path.
Goal: To have an attractive, efficient taxicab and lots of happy clients... and make money!
How do we begin? I thought you'd never ask...
1. Mount and wire your Toplight.
2. Mount and route the wires for your Taximeter.
3. Connect the Pulse Divider if required in your vehicle.
4. Check and correct any programming jumpers in your system.
5. Program your meter rates if not preprogrammed for you.
6. Calibrate your meter.
7. Take your taxi to required inspection for certification.
1. We have to run power wires to any permanently attached rooflight sign. Many vans and some sedans have a ceiling console which can easily be moved aside. The hole for the toplight cables can be drilled up instead of downward. Much easier! If you have to drill downward, you need to protect the roof liner un the car. We have developed a simple solution to provide a protection AND get the wires out from between the roof liner and the tin. We slide a metal strip about 2=1/2 inches wide between the liner and the roof, then drill down. Then we align a hole in one end of the strip with the hole in the roof. Then it's easy to draw the wires out to the top of the driver's door and run them down to the left end of the dash. Many toplights are basic signs that say TAXI. They require one wire and a ground through the screws that hold it on the roof. Some toplights, on ther other hand, can have up to five circuits, with marker lights, vacant panels, all sorts of lights. Each requires a different wire so it can be lighted when we want it on. See the "toplight relay" part of your instructions for wiring details. Most lights we sell have a lightbar which is secured to the car, then the cover is put over it. Some few just screw down with two screws through both the cover and the lightbar. Some toplights are magnetically attached to the roof, and most magnetics are powered through a cable which is pulled over the rubber seal of the driver's door, then plugged into the cigarette lighter jack.
2. Most vehicles have traditionally had enough room at the center of the dashboard to mount your meter. The wires from the back of the mount hardware can be routed several ways down to the under-side of the dash. That's where all the connections are made. Some few dashboards don't have enough room to mount the meter at all without impeding the SRS airbags or blocking the view of instruments. Late model vehicles have so much equipment built-in, there is no room for your meter. GPS screens and message panels and environmental status indicators... Jiminy Cricket! The solution is often a "flex mount" device, which allows you to place the meter in mid-air where no mounting existed before. If you CAN mount it on the dash, the wires can go through a hole you drill down behind the meter (least desirable), they can run up to the base of the windscreen glass, then left to the edge of the dash and down (might have to extend the wire length to do that), or just pop them under the frame of the vent-and-radio-panel and down to the work area. Most vehicles, this last works the best. We keep an extensive collection of information, so we can get you the information you need to do it right. Our installation Instruction packages are available on our website at http://www.taxicabelectronics.com/InstallationInfo.htm.
3. In order to tell the meter how far the car has gone accurately, we have to make a connection to the pulse system (or some other source of correct data). Most cars make a signal which is already sent to the speedometer, cruise control, transmission shifting computer, sometimes even the music radio wants to know ifn you have stopped at the signal so it can turn itself down a little. We tap into that. No two cars are identical, and no two vehicles have exactly the same pulse count. We compansate for that when we calibrate (See #6 below.) Sometimes that pulse has such a high count (frequency) that it is out of the range the meter likes. We have a pulse divider to cut that down to size. Pulsar meters are shipped with that device in the box. Centrodyne is not but they are available.. If you bought your meter used, it may not have come with it from the old car. In any event, we have those for sale if you need one. They have 4 wires, two for power, one is the pulse line in, and the last is the output to the meter. It gets inserted into the pulse circuit.
4. Some meters and all pulse dividers have jumper fields in them. These are rows of pins that look like a line of colons; : : : : : . We place a jumper on the pins (top of the jumper looks like a letter "B") so that two adjacent pins are shorted together. The higher the number (printed on the circuit board), the more division of the count. D=direct (no division), 1 = 1/2, 2=1/4, 3=1/8 etc. usually up to 1/32 on pair 5 of the pins. This brings the count down to the required level of a happy little meter. (Nothin' worse than a ticked taximeter.) Some dividers (not all) have a second field of perhaps 3 sets of additional pins : : : which are used for setting amplification, sensitivity or pulse type. Refer to your manufacturer's enclosed sheet or our instructions for this information. Popular models include the Pulsar Pulse Tracker, the Centrodyne Maestro, and more.
5 & 6. Like the system on your computer that enables you to browse the internet or whatever, your meter has been manufactured to federal and industry standards and capabilities. So it works. Like the programs you put into it to type, calculate, whatever, your meter needs to know your rates and charge schedules. We call that "programming". If you bought your meter from TaxiCabElectronics.com and told us your rates, your meter came programmed. If not, you will find programming instructions for your exact meter at the latter section of our instruction packages. If you don't have a proper instruction, your professional installer can do it. When that's done, your meter knows how to calculate the fares. All that's left is to calibrate the meter - that is, tell it exactly how many pulses to expect from your exact car in one mile (or Km) to use as a standard. The meter can count the pulses to make it easy. Our instruction packages tell you precisely how to do that, and then lock in the figures. Now your meter is accurate!
7. Federal regulations set the way a taxi meter must operate in the U.S.A.. The legal ones have been assigned a "CoC" number (Certificate of Compliance) which tells you it was correctly made. When you program it and calibrate, you set the parameters for accurate fares and fairness to both you and your customers. All meter we sell at Fred Stock Electronics (www.TaxiCabElectronics.com) are properly certified. Most states also have a Department of Weights and Measures (or similar agency with a different name perhaps) whose responsibilities include inspection of your finished meter outfitting, calibration and sealing by a licensed official. Some areas do not enforce these regulations, but most do, and you should carefully check to see what is needed locally. Often, the enforcement duties fall to county, local city or area agency personnel. Some police departments or regulatory agencies have inspectors assigned. You must inquire in your area to be sure of the hierarchy. Don't operate illegally. Fines and penalties can be stiff!
We also suggest you read the articles on our website marked "Making Money' and "Starting a Taxi Business" at the top of the last column on our website www.TaxiCabElectronics.com. OK, Captain, ready to launch and get underway!
-Fred Stock 6/25/12