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September 2019


FINISH LINE! Multi-Top 12 Installer

Tim Baillie Finally Completes His Quest for Installer of the Year


KnowledgeFest Cements Its Place as the Industry’s Go-To Event

PLUS: The Floor: Gear to Stock for Fall – page 24 The Sale: Accessorize for Profit – page 50 Fantastic 15: Tools the Pros Use – page 56

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FEATURES 12// KnowledgeFest Dallas 2019: Celebrating 25 Years The industry continues to innovate year after year. Unique events this year included the keynote address by the Retail Doctor, Bob Phibbs, and an evening concert at the House of Blues celebrating the anniversary.

24// Exhibitor Showcase: Back to School On the tenth anniversary of KnowledgeFest Dallas, the industry showed no signs of slowing down. Manufacturers unveiled new products, networked with dealers and educated attendees through workshops and trainings.

42// Installer of the Year: Embracing Change For Installer of the Year Tim Baillie, moving forward meant choosing to make major changes. With a renewed sense of freedom and self-confidence in both work and personal life, he hopes to spread a message of health and wellness in the industry.

50// Strategy & Tactics: The Fine Art of Selling Accessories Just a few simple strategies will help you master the fine art of selling accessories. The first step? Get to know your customer.

56// Tech Today: 15 Treasured Tools A look at 15 tools used daily in the modern installation bay, why they’re reliable and where you can find them. On the Cover COVER DESIGN: Manny DeJesus In part by deciding to make drastic changes in his life, Tim Baillie rose to this year’s Installer of the Year. This month, we feature him on the cover. Baillie—who is a project manager and designer at F7LTHY Fabrications in Coquitlam, BC, Canada—hopes to teach and inspire others to overcome their own personal challenges.

4  Mobile Electronics September 2019

6 Editor’s Forum 8 Feedback 66 From The President

Ad Index Accele Electronics…........................p. 2 & 3 Alpine…........................….........................…p. 25 Arc Audio…........................….....................p. 11 AudioControl….......…...........................…p. 27 Audison…......….......................................…p. 29 Brandmotion…….........….........................p. 46 Car Keys Express……….........................p. 47 DD Audio…........…...................................…p. 40 DOW Electronics…........................….....p. 41 Firstech…........................….....................…p. 67 Ground Zero…..…..................................…p. 51 Harman: JBL…….....…...............................p. 19 HD Radio…........................…...................…p. 21 JL Audio…........................….....................…p. 9 Kenwood…........................…..................…p. 7 MECP…........................….....…p. 35 and p. 45 MSC America: Brax…........................…p. 31 Orca: Illusion…........................…...........…p. 15 Powerbass…........................…..............…p. 33 Race Sport…........................…..............…p. 41 SiriusXM…........................…..................…p. 28 Sony…........................…...........................…p. 5 SounDigital…........................................…p. 39 Uniden…......................….........................…p. 49 USA SPEC…........................…...............…p. 54 VOXX Electronics…...........................…p. 68 Waylens…........................…...................…p. 55 Wet Sounds…........................…...........…p. 53

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editor’s forum

Happy New Year! As far as our industry is concerned, post-KFest Dallas is the time to make new resolutions.

While a certain unnamed airline is not much better than sitting on crates with seatbelts, if you get one of the eight big comfy seats in the front, it’s not half bad. The flight from Dallas to L.A. was too short to sleep and too long for my latest iPad game addiction—Speed Buggy Racing 2—but it was just enough time to think about the show in its entirety. I say entirety because, when we first revived KnowledgeFest at the Gaylord Texan in 2009, our goal was just to get people there. And we accomplished that. Today, it’s a different landscape. KnowledgeFest is THE established destination for industry professionals who want to improve their skills or grow their business. It’s also THE established venue for vendors that want to talk to an audience of which 100 percent of attendees are either purchasers or purchasing influencers. And for the last few years, even reps and distributors have come in from the cold and become active participants in the industry outside their territories. In short, KnowledgeFest has brought us all together. MEA has responded to the industry with high-value education, larger venues, additional locations and the ability to let vendors do more to create and strengthen relations with attending industry pros. And through all this, the Dallas event has become the point at which we evaluate our progress over the last 12 months and see how we measure up with other professionals through networking. It’s also the beginning of a new cycle as we stock up on ideas, knowledge and expertise to keep progressing. If that doesn’t symbolize a new year for our industry, what does? Companies and even governments determine their fiscal year schedule based on industry or geography, starting in January, March, April or October. I daresay our industry year starts in August. So what does one do to ring in the new year? Step one is done: we take stock of our accomplishments and shortcomings. Step two is also checked off: we celebrate. The Industry Awards are our celebration recognizing the best of what we have to offer. Step three of the list of new-year activities is to plan for—and resolve to commit to—how we will improve ourselves for the next year. And while we are speaking of professional development in this context, for many of us, it also extends to home as they must maintain a certain balance (see my editorial from last month.)

6  Mobile Electronics September 2019

When you make a resolution, especially based on the information you’ve taken from KnowledgeFest, you have to make a list. Why is this important? Because the human tendency—and fallacy—is to trust that what we’ve learned will somehow magically be absorbed, improving our daily routines through osmosis and fairy dust. But an object in motion tends to stay in motion. If we don’t take specific measures to interrupt routines and insert new information, we are just going to keep going through the same unprofitable or inefficient motions, fairy dust or no. When we market KnowledgeFest, we call out three main components: education, networking and awareness. So start your list with these as the three areas. Education: What did you learn for yourself? What did you learn that could help others? Networking: What personal connections did you make? What group or support connections did you make, whether it’s with peers, reps or vendors? Awareness: What did you learn that affects your store? What did you learn that affects your industry? Now, make lists of what to improve. And while you’re doing it, take my 3 B’s into consideration: Be realistic, but not pessimistic. It doesn’t make sense to commit to a remodel or significant employee raises if the numbers don’t support it. At the same time, don’t let that reality stop you from taking some steps toward positive change. Start with smaller projects or incremental increases. Taking action builds positive energy and will do a lot for store morale. Break down big objectives into smaller goals. I wrote about the difference between goals and objectives in the April 2019 issue of Mobile Electronics. The latter is the big picture, and multiples of the former are the steps to help you reach your objective. Be sure that your resolutions are manageable enough to keep yourself and your staff motivated to achieve them. Be flexible with behavior-related resolutions. If you resolve to improve your productivity through better time management for example, there will be days when you slip back into your old ways. This is the point at which many resolutions fail. Instead, forgive yourself and get back on the horse. My resolution for our industry’s new year is to improve my skill with multimedia. I know a lot of you have the same objective. If so, let’s get together at the next “New Year” in Dallas and compare notes!


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 feedback

The Industry Speaks Attendees of this year’s KnowledgeFest Dallas share their thoughts on the importance of training, what they’d like to see from the future of KnowledgeFest and what they took back to their shops.

ADVERTISING SALES Kerry Moyer 978.645.6457 •

EDITORIAL Solomon Daniels Editor-in-Chief 978.645.6463 • Rosa Sophia Managing Editor 978.645.6466 • Creative Layout and Design: Manny DeJesus Contributing Editors: Jamie Sorcher, Joey Knapp and Laura Kemmerer

Published by TM

mobile electronics association

Chris Cook, President 978.645.6434 •

“I have been in 12-volt distribution for 41 years. I had 43 of my dealers attend this show, and as always, training is key. I learned every dealer got new ideas or learned how to solve a problem. We need to find a way to get more training time and still time for show floor.” “My employees get really excited about learning how to be a better company. The speakers taught them some incredible things. The vendors really blew their minds.” “An additional day in Dallas for education would be amazing. Also, a more thoughtful plan for each of the tracks, with more classes building on a previous class—like School of Sound, or Ken Ward’s class—offering a part two.” “Instead of a concert, maybe [we should do] something more interactive like bowling. Teams would be fun.” “I would like to have specific, in-depth classes. Similar to the two-part School of Sound. If there was a once a day class detailing the same thing in-depth for three days, that would be amazing. I find myself really getting into classes right before they end. Keep in mind, there are certain people like Andy [Wehmeyer] I could listen to forever....”

8  Mobile Electronics September 2019

Kerry Moyer, VP Strategic Partnerships 978.645.6457 • Solomon Daniels, Dir. Media and Communications 978.645.6463 • Richard Basler, Dir. Technology Solutions 978.645.6449 • Tony Frangiosa, Chairman of the Board, MEA 1) Title of publication: Mobile Electronics. 2) Publication No.: 957-170 6. (ISSN# 1523-763X) 3) Copyright © 2018 by the Mobile Electronics 4) Date of filing: Oct. 1, 2018. 5) Frequency of issue: Monthly. 6) No. of issues published annually: 12 7) Annual subscription price: $35.00. 8) Periodical postage paid at Lawrence MA and additional mailing offices. 9) Complete mailing address of known office of publication: 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 10) Complete mailing address of the headquarters or general business offices of the publisher: 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 11) Full names and complete mailing address of Publisher, Editor and Managing Editor: Publisher: Chris Cook, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845; Editor/Managing Editor: Solomon Daniels/Rosa Sophia, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845 12) Owner: MERA, Mobile Electronics Retailers Association, 85 Flagship Drive, Ste F, North Andover, MA 01845. 13) Known bondholders, mortgages, and other security holders owning or holding 1% or more of total amounts of bonds, mortgages or other securities: None. 14) Tax Status: Not applicable. 15) Name of Publication: Mobile Electronics. 16) Issue date for circulation data below: October 2018. 6. a) Total no. copies (net press run) Average: 10,237 Single Issue; 12,826. b) Paid/Requested mail subscriptions Average: 6039, Single Issue: 7346. c) Paid sales through dealers, etc.; Average: 0. Single issue; d) Requested distributed by other classes of mail: Average: 435, Single issue: 520. Total paid and/or requested circulation; Average 6039. Single issue: 7346. e) Non-requested distribution by mail; Average: 3593 Single issue: 4223. Free distribution through other classes of mail: Average: 0, Single issue: 0. f) Non-requested distribution outside the mail; Average: 267. Single issue: 750. g) Total non-requested distribution; Average 3860, Single issue: 4973. h) Total distribution; Average: 9,899. Single issue: 12,319. i) Copies not distributed; h1) Office use, leftovers; Average: 338. Single Issue; 507 j) Total; Average: 10,237. Single issue; 12.826 Percent paid and/or requested circulation; Average: 61.01%. Single issue 59.63%. 17) POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Mobile Electronics, 85 Flagship Drive Suite F, North Andover MA 01845-9998


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 stats

How Did We Do?

KnowledgeFest attendees in Dallas love the education and networking, but want more. Number of KnowledgeFest Shows Attended: Dallas was my first event – 23% Two to five events – 38% More than five events – 39%

How would you rate the value for the money? Excellent – 33% Very good – 39% Good – 20% Fair – 5% Poor – 2%

In terms of career development, how valuable were the networking opportunities? Extremely Valuable – 46% Very valuable – 34% Somewhat valuable – 14% Not so valuable – 6%

Where We Could Do Better?

More lunch options on the exhibit floor - 52% More education workshops - 36% More networking - 24% More vendor training - 23% More interactive education - 21%

What was the single most valuable thing you learned? • After attending the Keynote address with Bob Phibbs, I feel I upped the salesmanship at our store by learning how to better approach and engage a potential client. Tweaking HOW and WHAT we say to control the sale. • The industry is a constantly growing and evolving field. Networking, and knowing the contacts within the industry, taking the knowledge they bestow upon you, and committing it to daily activities, both work and personal, will ultimately lead to an improvement. An improvement in closed sales, efficiency, and organization are my most improved areas after KnowledgeFest. And always ask questions. • As a vendor, learned more about what attendees are looking for and good feedback on our products. • Knowledge and sharing are critical to advancing the 12Volt industry 10  Mobile Electronics September 2019







ďƒŽ KnowlegeFest Dallas

KnowledgeFest Celebra Anniversary With Large

The industry continues to innovate year after year. Unique event Retail Doctor, Bob Phibbs, and an evening concert at the House o 12  Mobile Electronics September 2019

ates 25th est Show Ever

ts included the keynote address by the of Blues celebrating the anniversary.


KnowledgeFest Dallas began with packed classrooms—standing room only—with attendees listening in through open classroom doors. This year marked KnowledgeFest’s 10th anniversary in Dallas, and the 25th anniversary of KnowledgeFest overall. The show floor was sold out with manufacturers on-site to educate, answer questions and show off new products. At the awards banquet, when Marketing Pros was named Rep Firm of the Year, Pete Daley pointed out that fear of failure “is paralyzing to some of us.” He went on to say, “Looking around the room, [I know] most of us have all had doubt. We’re not immune to it. But what I see [here] is the strength you have to focus on the bullseye of success.” The struggles along the way, and learning from mistakes, he said, are all part of the process. “You must believe in yourself,” he added. With this year’s keynote speaker, the Retail Doctor Bob Phibbs, attendees were also challenged to look differently at their businesses.

The Retail Doctor is in the House Saturday morning began with the keynote address and included several exercises designed to demonstrate how people interact with one another, and to help them recognize how they manage their businesses and what they could do differently. “Fix the experience before you try to market yourself,” Phibbs advised. In one exercise, everyone in attendance made a paper airplane and wrote a price on the airplane before throwing them toward the stage. Phibbs read off a few of the numbers. “What’s the difference between these?” he said. “Did the price make a difference? No. Price does not make good value. We are stuck in the world of saying, ‘It’s a discount, it’s on sale,’ and we advertise that, and then we get upset when our customers complain about the price. Price doesn’t make something a good value,” he added. “People do.” Phibbs challenged the audience to look differently at how they approach   13

 KnowlegeFest Dallas

Last year’s Installer of the Year, David Cruz, helped introduce Tim Baillie as this year’s winner. customer service. “Products are just souvenirs of a great experience,” he continued. “We get in trouble when we think it’s all about the souvenirs. People buy people first.” The focus, he explained, is to appeal to a potential customer’s sense of wonder. “That takes skill. The goal is to connect with their heart, not just their head. Sales is something you do with someone, not something you do to someone.” Putting this into practice, he said, means training people to communicate. “It really comes down to three parts: engage the stranger, discover the shopper and make a customer. You already have the product knowledge. It’s the soft skills you need.”

Despite being unable to attend, Kimon Bellas was presented with the prestigious Career Achievement Award. Friends and colleagues accepted the award on his behalf. 14  Mobile Electronics September 2019

Industry Awards Presents a New Year of Talent and Possibilities This year’s Top Sales Professional, Jayson Cook, advised, “Start at the top and work your way down.” And most   15

 KnowlegeFest Dallas

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of KnowledgeFest, attendees gathered at the House of Blues and enjoyed a concert sponsored by DOW Electronics, Sony and MEA.

importantly, “Never judge a book by its cover. You never know [a person’s] story.” The awards event on Sunday evening began with introductions by Chris Cook, president of MEA, and Solomon Daniels, editor-in-chief of Mobile Electronics magazine. “Whatever you’ve done in your career, in your personal life, whether it’s good, whether it’s bad, it’s brought you here,” Daniels said. “It’s made you

16  Mobile Electronics September 2019

who you are today. So, there should be no regrets. Those things make you who you are and define how people think about you moving forward. Make good decisions.” Matt Schaeffer, who was named Installer of the Year in 2016, addressed the crowd when Sound FX was called up to accept the award for Retailer of the Year, Single Store: “No matter what, learn

a new skillset,” he said. “Go back and learn something new.” Last year’s Installer of the Year, David Cruz, helped present the award by encouraging attendees to apply themselves and continue to acquire new skills. Cruz echoed Schaeffer’s advice. “I appreciate the industry for everything it’s done for me. I think we can all agree that applying yourself is the most important thing you can do,” he said. “For me, it has been. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t [continue to] apply myself to doing something better and learning something new.” Although Installer of the Year Tim Baillie wasn’t present to accept his award, he later said, “I thought winning an IASCA World Title was the highlight of my 30-year career, but this is by far the coolest thing ever because I have been chasing is for 30 years.” Matt Vowell reflected on his being named Installer of the Year Runner-Up, and stated, “I knew that even though the quality of my work was good, there were many ways I could have improved. I started with improving my documentation and organization of all of the work that I did. I also learned a ton of new methods for my fabrication processes

The Retail Doctor got the audience moving with exercises designed to change the way attendees thought about their businesses. which in turn allowed my creativity to grow to a level higher than I ever had before.” Vowell didn’t expect to make it to the Top 12 at all, he said, adding, “This year I plan on expanding my knowledge base even further, and fine-tuning my installation methods. When the competition rolls around next year, I will be more prepared.” Vowell intends to continue pursuing Installer of the Year. “It’s a huge opportunity to improve yourself and the work you do,” he said. “These awards benefit not only the individual winners or the stores, but the entire industry.” Self-improvement and the overall growth of the industry remained the continued theme. Nick Frazier said being named this year’s Trusted Tech was the result of a lot of personal growth. “Getting there was done by being unselfish with the knowledge accumulated over the years in an industry that I’ve always loved and have a passion for,” he said. “Years ago [I realized] that sharing and trying to make other technicians better could have a positive impact in a more substantial way than just keeping it to myself. It took a lot of growing up to come to that realization. To be recognized by my peers

Orca Design and Manufacturing hosted a unique “listening event” in which participants could explore products such as Focal’s Grand Utopia speakers. for doing that is truly humbling and I am greatly appreciative for it.” In his keynote address, the Retail Doctor challenged everyone to take a look at the way they might greet a friend they’d known for 20 years, versus a customer they’d just met. The common response to greeting a friend was to give them a hug. “Would you agree,” Phibbs said, “there’s a lot better energy when

you just open your heart to someone? That’s what we’re talking about. How do we open our hearts to another human being?”

What’s New for KnowledgeFest Next year, KnowledgeFest will be coming to Orlando, Fla., making it a fully coast-to-coast event. Each event has something unique to offer, such as this   17

 KnowlegeFest Dallas

2019 Industry Awards Winners Installer of the Year Tim Baillie – F7LTHY Fabrications – Maple Ridge, BC Installer of the Year – Runner-Up Matt Vowell – Mobile Toys Inc. – College Station, TX Sales Pro Award Winner Jayson Cook – Columbus Car Audio and Accessories – Columbus, Ohio Trusted Tech Award Winner Nicholas Frazier – Innovative Concepts – West Springfield, Mass. Retailer of the Year – Single Store Sound FX – Lewes, Del. Retailer of the Year Runner-up – Single Store Handcrafted Auto, Marine and Off Road – Chandler, Ariz. Retailer of the Year – Chain Certified Autosound and Security – Maple Ridge, BC Retailer of the Year Runner-up – Chain SoundsGood Auto Services – Coquitlam, BC Rookie of the Year Christian King – Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security – Anchorage, Alaska

Best Customer Experience Titan Motoring – Nashville, Tenn. Best Store Culture Titan Motoring – Nashville, Tenn. Customer Choice Award Elevated Audio – Lakewood, Colo. Career Achievement Award Kimon Bellas Expeditor of the Year Titan Motoring – Nashville, Tenn. Distributor of the Year DOW Electronics Rep Firm of the Year Marketing Pros – Arlington, Texas Rep of the Year Jon Brothers, Metra Electronics Vendor of the Year Voxx Top Vendor: Autosound & Processing Sony Top Vendor: Security, Safety and Driver Assistance Firstech Top Vendor: Accessories and Materials AAMP Global

In the keynote address, Bob Phibbs underscored the importance of selling an experience—not just a product.

acoustically-treated listening room to showcase Focal’s flagship home audio speakers. Dubbed the “Million-Dollar” Audio System” listening event, it hosted 20 Best Online Presence Top Vendor: Powersports & Marine show attendees at a time in half-hour Absolute Electronix – Rockville, Md. JL Audio segments throughout the show’s three days. More than 200 retailers reserved Best Customer Retention Program seats to listen to the pair of Focal NVS Audio – Roselle, NJ Grand Utopia speakers and Naim Statement amplifiers, as well as Focal’s 40th year’s special listening room in the convention center, which anniversary edition Spectral 40s and the company’s full line of presented demonstrations of home theater products. In keephigh-end headphones. ing with extra-special attractions from years past—the most “We worked with Focal’s home audio reps to bring a special recent being the Atrend jet that took up significant show floor experience to KnowledgeFest,” said Nalaka Adikari, director of space in 2018—Orca Design and Manufacturing set up an sales at Orca, which is the U.S. distributor of Focal’s car audio line. “The great thing is, it wasn’t just for our dealers. Everyone

Most Improved Store or Chain Handcrafted Auto, Marine and Off Road – Chandler, Ariz.

18  Mobile Electronics September 2019

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 KnowlegeFest Dallas

Unique to this year was the first Mobile Electronics Women’s Luncheon, which had about 50 attendees and a panel discussion.

was welcome, and we even set aside special sessions for other vendors.” Also unique to this year’s event was the very first Mobile Electronics Women’s

20  Mobile Electronics September 2019

Luncheon, which had about 50 attendees. A panel discussion included Rachel Clark of K40, who underscored self-confidence as an important aspect of working

in a male-dominated industry. Panelists agreed gaining knowledge and self-confidence was key. “Without that confidence, I don’t think I would have ever stepped out,” she said. On Saturday evening, Sony, DOW Electronics and MEA sponsored a 25th anniversary concert, hosted by the House of Blues. More than 250 MEA members attended, and Chris Weaver of the Chris Weaver Band popped a cork on a champagne bottle to celebrate. A relaxing, fun evening was enjoyed by all in attendance. At the awards banquet, Daniels reminded attendees that reaching for the top awards in the industry need not be about creating a world-class video. “We’re in a creative business, and we just apply it to cars, but we can apply that to anything,” he said. “Get better because you should get better. This is what we do.”

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 Exhibitor Showcase

Back to School On the tenth anniversary of KnowledgeFest Dallas, the industry showed no signs of slowing down. Manufacturers unveiled new products, networked with dealers and educated attendees through workshops and trainings. Directed Viper Connect VCM550 4G LTE GPS Module The new Viper Connect offers GPS monitoring and tracking. Additionally, it can be paired with one of the DS4 remote starts and security systems, providing nearly unlimited range through cellular command. In the Classroom: Directed led a technical training regarding Viper Powersports, DS4, SmartStart Pro and more. Attendees learned about Directed’s most recent technical updates and products.

Linkswell Universal Units The Linkswell universal line of systems are quicker and not oriented to CAN-bus systems. Models available for Subaru Legacy, Nissan Rogue, Altima, Ford Focus, Fusion, Chevy Cruze, Highlander, and Toyota Camry. MSRP starts at $200 and up.

Automatic OBD Adapter from Sirius XM Automatic is an OBD adapter that plugs into the OBD port, providing safety, security and maintenance features including crash alert and check engine light diagnostics. If the check engine light appears on the dash, the check engine light diagnostics will display on the user’s phone, offering a code, description and possible ways to resolve the issue. Live vehicle tracking is offered in the app. The app also lists trips and tells the user where the car has gone, how far and the fuel miles per gallon. Additionally, smart home integration allows you to ask, “Alexa, where’s my car?” and it will tell you where it’s parked. The product comes out of the box with a free service, upgradeable to a premium service. The MSRP is $99 dollars, and it comes with crash alert and diagnostics. To upgrade to tracking and other app integrations, the service is five dollars per month after a six-month promo.

Race Sport Lighting LED Replacement Bulbs Race Sport Lighting now offers LED replacement bulbs that replicate the size of the halogen bulb, which means there are no fitment issues that might be found with other bulbs. The line covers a full spread of replacement headlights which offer about twice the light of a halogen bulb. They are shipping now and the MSRP is $79. In the Classroom: Training focused on teaching attendees how to maximize their opportunities in the lighting category, and was followed by more in-depth information on the latest lighting technologies and how to eliminate any issues in the installation bay.

22  Mobile Electronics September 2019

Rostra Trailer Connect Kits Rostra is a solution-based company which recently released trailer connect products made for cameras. The trailer connect kits are heavy duty and exceed DOT requirements for commercial vehicles. They can be purchased in a set as well as in individual pieces, and it helps retailers and installers keep costs lower and offer a solution that fits the price. The trailer connect kits are shipping now.

Massive Audio Trident Series for Marine and ATV For the marine and ATV category, Massive Audio offers the new Trident Series. This variety of marine speakers has a carbon fiber look on the outside, with RGB inputs. The MSRP range for the line is between $249 and $799. Marine grade amplifiers with epoxy coating are also offered, with an MSRP range of $299 to $619.

K40 Fully Integrated Custom Radar Defense System K40 offers completely integrated custom installed radar laser and defense systems. Specialty retailers have an opportunity to customize the system specific to their customer’s needs. Radar receivers are concealed behind the bumpers, and the client is able to choose how many laser diffusers make the most sense for their vehicle. K40 can add up to five laser diffuser optics transponders depending on the size of the vehicle. Instead of a display, there are two blue LEDs hidden somewhere in or around the instrument cluster. When the lights blink, they let the driver know a police car is present. In the Classroom: K40 shared installation tips during training, and discussed with attendees how best to custom tailor a radar and laser defense system for clients.

Mobile Solutions Quick Corners Quick Corners will save a technician’s time. They can be stacked and glued together, making a truck enclosure very quickly. Quick Corners are available in plastic template, or in consumable MDF product, depending on whether or not the technician would like to make them or save shop time. Purchase 20 of each. Use twosided tape to put them together, or use it as a pattern. MSRP is $65 for the template, and $49 for the MDF. In the Classroom: Bryan Schmitt of Mobile Solutions presented a class focused on moving business forward. Topics included trending categories, the importance of focusing on an expertise, and business strategies as well as vendor relationships.

SoundShield Sound Damping John Schwartz of Perfectionist Auto Sound and Bryan Schmitt of Mobile Solutions have teamed up to present SoundShield, a new venture in sound dampening material. The product is based out of Anchorage, Alaska. It will ship from its warehouse in Dallas, Texas. The focus is to increase installation quality by decreasing road noise. Schwartz and Schmitt presented the newly branded product on the show floor at KnowledgeFest.   23

 Exhibitor Showcase AudioControl DM-RTA New Carrying Case The DM-RTA is a measurement tool with a microphone. The technician can use it as an RTA, polarity tester, SPL meter, or oscilloscope. It offers both capability and flexibility. A new carrying case makes the tool more presentable, as well as easier to store. Those who already own a DM-RTA can purchase the case separately. The case comes with cabling, probes and test leads. It should be available by the end of September. The MSRP is between $250 and $300. In the Classroom: AudioControl discussed recent growth within the company, debuting new products and showing off amplifiers and integration tools. Chris Bennett led the trainings, and shared information about the DM-RTA and its benefits.

JVC KD-MR1BTS Marine Digital Media Receiver This digital media receiver features Bluetooth, USB and SiriusXM with a 2.7-inch color display. It is fully waterproof, IPX6. It is available now. In the Classroom: JVC presented a training class focused on expanding the motorsports category. They discussed the more rugged products JVC has to offer, as well as the latest wireless features including CarPlay, Android Auto and other technologies like Escort Radar compatibility.

Escort MAX Ci 360 Radar Detector The new Escort MAX Ci 360 is on a digital platform with a lot more performance than previous models. It is a complete solution with front and rear radar, including In-Vehicle Technology to eliminate any false alarms from other vehicles’ collision systems. Includes GPS antenna, front radar detector receiver, interface, shifter bridge box, rear radar detector receiver, Bluetooth and four ShifterMAX laser shifters. In the Classroom: Escort shared installation tips and tricks regarding their MAX Ci 360/iX Ci systems. Students also learned about product placement, customization and product maintenance.

Metra Axxess AX-DSP-X DSP with Full Tuning Control Axxess has upgraded from the AX-DSP. The user is able to keep the factory radio and upgrade it, allowing for 10-channel output. Offers flexibility for a customer who may wish to install just four speakers, or an entire system. Different options are available for different models. Up to four cameras can be added to the OEM screen. The MSRP is $422. In the Classroom: Metra presented on selling and installing Heise LED lighting solutions, providing attendees with information about Heise’s features and selling points. Another training covered the Axxess AX-DSP products and went over how to use applications in the line.

VOXX Electronics Gentex Frameless Rearview Mirror The Gentex frameless rearview mirror has built-in Homelink 5 technology. Homelink ordinarily connects to smart home devices, such as the garage door or gate. This product integrates Bluetooth and links it to the user’s phone, providing the ability to control all the intelligent devices in the home. In the car, voice commands may not work, but the user can press a Homelink button and turn off all the lights, lock the doors, adjust the thermostat and more. Everything can be controlled from the mirror. The MSRP of the product is $299. The app is free for a year, with a $1.99 renewal after that. In the Classroom: VOXX offered remote start training to help students earn the VOXX Remote Start Certification. Those to pass the test receive a certificate, and their shop receives priority listing on the VOXX Dealer Locater. The listing indicates a Factory Certified Remote Start Technician is available on staff.

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THE POWER DUO iLX-W650 Receiver and KTA-450 PowerPack Amplifier


 Exhibitor Showcase Kingpin University Offers New Courses, Products Kingpin University is now offering a laser class to teach participants how to use the laser to create parts for installs, and how to brand themselves. Students will focus on various topics including double and triple press grilles, inlays, production fab panels, proper billing of the job and more. Also coming soon: Sound Quality Summit, Las Vegas, November 14-17. Learn more at In the Classroom: Jason Kranitz of Kingpin University teamed up with Chris McNulty and John Brettle to present The Laser Focus course, to familiarize attendees with laser-cutting machinery and how adding a laser can increase a business’s profits.

Hifonics ALPHA Line of Speakers, Amplifiers and Subwoofers The best feature of the ALPHA line of speakers, amplifiers and subwoofers is high profitability for the dealer. It offers Hifonics’ smallest footprint, with an MSRP range of $249.99 to $499.99.

Compustar Drone Mobile Smartphone Interface Drone Mobile will now be included in all two-way RF kits by Compustar, to offer smartphone integration for every customer. Drone Mobile allows the user to control their vehicle using their smartphone, including remote start and keyless entry. MSRP starts at $199, and the product is shipping as of late August. In the Classroom: Nick Frazier presented a training on the Firstech and Drone Mobile upgrades for this year, including a new activation portal, troubleshooting, subscription plans, specials and more. The company also revealed its latest and greatest hardware—the Drone X1.

Alpine Electronics KTA-450 Power Pack Amplifier

This amplifier connects to the iLX-W650 mechless seven-inch audio and video system, which offers CarPlay, Android Auto and multi-touch swipe control with dual-camera input. The head unit and power pack are sold separately. The power pack offers a convenient way to upgrade the system. MSRP for the head unit is $500. MSRP for the power pack amplifier is $230.00. In the Classroom: Alpine Electronics presented its 2019 Alpine Product Lineup Review, led by Chris Teguh. Attendees took a look at this year’s newest models, including Halo 9, and the iLX-W650 and its accompanying power pack amplifier. Students learned techniques on presenting these products to clients, and had a chance to share their thoughts and feedback.

Audiomobile EVO-2412 Subwoofer This is a dual 4-ohm shallow mount subwoofer, a companion to the EVO-2410. It is not yet available, but should be out by November. MSRP is yet to be determined.

Eton RSX-80 3.2-Inch Point Source Coaxial System The Eton RSX was previewed at KnowledgeFest Dallas and should be available by November. It is a two-way component system with outboard crossovers, and comes with an adapter plate. It serves as a drop-in for Lexus, Ram and Jeeps. If the installer elevates it slightly, the product will also fit into the 2.7-inch hole on Toyota and GM vehicles. The MSRP is $499.

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 Exhibitor Showcase SQL Audio Soundwave XL Rubberized Speaker Surround Soundwave XL is now shipping from SQL Audio. Soundwave XL can be resized to fit speakers that are up to eight inches in diameter. Because of the demand for larger sizes, SQL Audio has released Soundwave XL. The strips are 10mm thicker and 210mm longer, with 3M adhesive tape. Additionally, new retail packs for Sound Mat and Soundwave offer options for dealers who want to showcase a smaller box in their stores.

NAV-TV Secure-a-Key Secure-a-Key provides a solution to protect against the theft of push-to-start vehicles. The device wraps around the battery of the remote and prevents theft. If the owner sets the remote down, it is unscannable by those who might have electronic devices used to scan these remotes for the purpose of car theft.

AAMP Global PAC Integrated Kits Soon to launch is a Ford option with 8-inch screens, which offers full park-assist and retains factory features. More will be launched toward the end of the year for Dodge Ram, Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Durango. Integrated kits for Stinger Elevate radio will be added as well. In the Classroom: AAMP Global showcased the latest products available from Stinger and Phoenix Gold in their manufacturer training session. The company also introduced the MX Series of sub compact amplifiers and subwoofers, which have been engineered to save space.


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JL Audio MVi Marine Amplifiers The MVi line of amplifiers is the marine version of the VXi product line. A preview was shown at KnowledgeFest Dallas. The 606/i DSP marine amplifier is intended for complex systems in a boat with multi-zone audio. It is intended to take multi-zone input signal and route it through not only the DSP in this, but also pre-amp it out to a second amplifier that you can have DSP on as well. The intention is to make complex audio on a boat easier. The product should be released by October. MSRP is as yet undetermined. In the Classroom: JL Audio led “School of Sound” trainings—one during the day and one in the evening. Additionally, the team presented a training session specific to marine audio, going over the basics as well as sharing insights regarding advanced system design, and more.

iDatalink Maestro MFT1 Replacement for MyFord Touch This new dash kit is a replacement for the 7-inch MyFord Touch device in upper-end Ford vehicles, which were missing features that customers wanted. This solution features two USB ports, 3.5mm A/V input and HDMI. It also includes the T-harness, steel radio brackets, radio panel and USB adapter. It is Maestro RR and iDatalink-compatible, and offers a very simple installation. All the knobs which controlled the old radio will work with the new radio. The MSRP is $169. In the Classroom: Matt Yerger of ADS demonstrated how businesses can increase radio sales by leveraging Maestro RR with compatible units and dash kits. Attendees also received a special preview of the Maestro RR2, a Bluetooth-programmable radio replacement interface, along with new dash kits for multiple vehicles.


The Sound Pack solutions dedicated to the Ford F-150 are the final audio upgrade for this iconic Pick-Up. You can create the Sound Pack that best suits your needs through the online configurator: *

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 Exhibitor Showcase SounDigital 400.4S EVO Motorcycle Amplifiers SounDigital already has available small amplifiers that people use for motorcycles, and the company has recently upgraded to the 400.4S EVO. It features a flexible variable crossover and high-level input. Now shipping. In the Classroom: The SounDigital training session covered the technology that goes into a SounDigital amplifier, and revealed new offerings for 2020.

Ground Zero Plug-and-Play Mercedes Kits, GZCS100MB and GZCS-200MB These kits are plug-and-play, with no fabrication necessary. The GZCS-100MB is a four-inch component set that handles the doors. Easy to install. Able to run with an aftermarket amplifier. One of the big advantages is a drop-in solution for the firewall mid-woofer location. We have a drop-in, plug and play solution for the left and righthand side so an installer can drop the driver in and have instantly better sound quality output. We put the technology into the driver, and the dealer maximizes its profitability. No vehicle modifications are necessary. The MSRP of the component kit is $550, and each woofer is $450. In the Classroom: Ground Zero presented new products for the coming year, and discussed with attendees how these products might increase profitability in their stores.

Car Keys Express Simple Key Replacements Simple Key offers a line of modern car keys for 40 to 70 percent less than they would cost at a dealership. A programmer is included in the box. The installer will handle it at the shop, but they may not have the right tool. To make it easier, Simple Key includes the programmer that will pair the key to the vehicle. If the customer purchases it through a shop, the shop will have everything they need to make it work. It comes with a threeyear warranty. The MSRP for the remote key is $149. A bladed key will cost $129.

Cerwin-Vega Ten-Speaker Waterproof Sound Bar System This ten-speaker soundbar is affordable and has a high output. It comes with all the necessary cords and a switch that allows you to easily turn the system on and off to prevent battery drain. The MSRP is $379.

Diamond Audio Horn Tweeters Diamond Audio’s horn tweeters, including the Diamond Audio M01SWT tweeter, allows for higher output to overcome road noise when riding a motorcycle. Customer feedback stated that the M1SRT was too deep, so Diamond Audio responded by manufacturing a shorter model based on the first. A swivel-mount model is also available. The MSRP range of the line is $179.99-$219.99. In the Classroom: Diamond Audio’s hands-on training demonstrated DSP setup, and taught attendees about some of the new products available for the motorcycle audio category.

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 Exhibitor Showcase Zapco HDSP-Z16V 16-Channel DSP This ZAPCO player and DSP is an all-in-one dual core processor and offers a high-end solution. This is a modular device available with all inputs both analog and digital. The player is controlled using a three-inch touch screen color display in an aluminum CNC case.

Hybrid Audio Technologies Mirus V Mirus V is new as of this year. All previous products have been made using paper cone with silk dome tweeter, but with Mirus V, efficiency was increased by 3db when upgrading to a carbon fiber cone and titanium tweeter. The result is much louder with more power. In the Classroom: Hybrid Audio presented attendees with an overview of their Aurigin product line.

DOW Electronics Presents New, Informative YouTube Series “What the FAQ? is Everyone Talking About” is an educational YouTube series presented by DOW Electronics. The show currently has about 700 subscribers, and aims to offer fun and education for the entire industry.

Kenwood Line of Dual Camera Systems Kenwood’s new wireless dash cameras offer connectivity to the user’s smartphone and come in three different styles, beginning with the DRVA301W, a front-facing only camera which is available now. The phone links directly to the camera without ever having to remove the SD card. Files can easily be accessed, edited and uploaded to social media. A suction cup and fixed mount offer multiple mounting options. The settings allow you to flip the screen 180 degrees. Additional cameras offer both a front-facing camera and a rear camera and can record in wide HD. These dual camera systems have greater recording functionality and higher resolution, and can hold much larger SD cards. The top of the line camera includes a 64GB SD card. The DRV-A301W is available now at an MSRP of $170. The DRV-A501WDP has an MSRP of $270, and the DRV-A601WDP has an MSRP of $330. In the Classroom: Kenwood introduced new products, and discussed with attendees the benefits to offering these products to clients.

Wet Sounds REVO 12 PSE 12-Inch Passive Subwoofer Enclosure This new 12-inch passive subwoofer enclosure from Wet Sounds is fully customizable. It is shipped to the dealer unassembled to lessen dealer cost, giving the shop the chance to increase profitability. It comes with the enclosure, subwoofer, passive radiator and grilles. Everything comes with quick disconnects on the inside, on the back and on the enclosure itself so it can easily be locked down in the boat. When it’s time to winterize the boat, the enclosure can be easily removed, keeping the products in good shape out of season. The enclosure is twice the thickness of most. The MSRP of the complete package, not installed and without assembly, is $999. In the Classroom: The team at Wet Sounds shared how the company’s marine products are designed specifically to both withstand the elements and exceed expectations.

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 Exhibitor Showcase Rockford Fosgate PMX HD9813 Source Unit for Harley-Davidson Motorcycles The PMX HD9813 is for Harley-Davidson motorcycles from 1998 to 2013. It replaces the factory radio and uses the same mounting points and factory connectors. The product is impervious to UV rays, water, and exposure to dirt and dust. It has large buttons for easy operation with motorcycle gloves. It offers Bluetooth connectivity, is Sirius XM-ready, and features Pandora. Rockford Fosgate has taken the software from PMX marine radios and made improvements for the motorcycle. The MSRP is $649.00. In the Classroom: Rockford Fosgate hosted a bike breakdown and audio installation, sharing in-depth information on topics such as fairing speaker installation, electrical wiring, system tuning and more.

Arc Audio PS8-50 DSP Arc Audio’s PS850 is an all-in-one amplifier with a DSP, and an efficient, small footprint. The PS8-50 has the PS8 Pro built into it, and it is Maestro compatible. It has the LR1 option, which is standalone volume control. It also works with the regular controller from the PS8, which has all the functions of the computer on the controller. Offers 8 x 50 at four ohms, and 8 x 100 at two ohms. The MSRP is $1,049. In the Classroom: Arc Audio hosted Tuning 101, focused on tuning steps using the PS8-Pro.

DS18 FRX4K4 Amplifier This new 4,000-watt amplifier will be available end of September. It is a full-range Class D amplifier, 1,000 x 4, one-ohm stable, two-ohm bridgeable. When tested, it made over 1,600 watts per channel. The MSRP has yet to be determined.

Morel Virtus Nano Integra 602 Ultrathin Point Source Speaker This speaker works in any application and uses a single motor structure for two different drivers. The subwoofer will use one portion, and the tweeter will use a different portion of the motor. The MSRP is $649.00.

CVD Audio BL6 Line of Audio Products The BL6 Line is limited production, made with aluminum baskets from the tweeter to the woofer and ten-speaker combination. It has a 4-ohm configuration for car operation. The line itself starts at $199, but the high-end retail cost for the entire kit is $25,000.

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The Mobile Electronics Certified Professional (MECP) program is the only nationally recognized program of its kind.



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Congratulations to the technicians selected as our 2019 MECP Technician of the Year Finalists: Adam Devine of Devine Concepts in Naples, FL Dave Evans of Adrenaline Autosound in Clayton, NC Brandon Green of The Car Audio Shop in High Ridge, MO Email for information about getting certified and seeing your name on this page!

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 Exhibitor Showcase Rydeen BSS M1 Blind Spot Mirror This 4.3-inch screen is set in a frameless mirror with LEDs for blind spot indicators built in. The blind spot indicator alerts the driver by illuminating LEDs on the mirror. Easy installation. The MSRP is $220, and should be available by the beginning of January 2020. In the Classroom: Rydeen focused on how businesses can capitalize on the growing safety category by emphasizing blind spot detection.

Brandmotion RDBS 1520 Radar System The new RDBS 1520 from Brandmotion tailors radar systems to customers’ vehicles. It comes with backup sensors, parking sensors, forward collision warning, lane departure and pedestrian warning. Added features include safe follow distance, motorcycle detection and virtual bumper, which tells you when you’re getting too close. All these features are customizable and the user can adjust sensitivity. MSRP is $750. In the Classroom: Brandmotion presented a class on how businesses can increase profitability by featuring towing safety products in their stores.

Accele Electronics 360-Degree DVR Camera The RVM 360 IR responds to the needs of fleet drivers as well as ride-share drivers. The 360-degree camera offers a view of the inside of the car, driver and passenger. If something happens, the frames will lock—otherwise, the camera records over itself into an SD card slot. The user can touch the mirror and slide it sideways, left to right, to get the desired view. It is integrated with a backup camera as well. If the vehicle already has a backup camera, it can be customized to provide a backseat view instead. The MSRP is $399 before installation.

Waylens 360-Degree Camera At KnowledgeFest Dallas, Waylens presented its 360-degree view camera and encouraged dealers to talk with them about their needs. The company is developing a new camera specifically for fleet customers, along with desktop computer management. It should be available by the end of the year. In the Classroom: Waylens discussed the Secure360 4G Automotive Security Camera with attendees, focusing on the updates to the product and how it will help increase fleet opportunities for businesses.

Sony XAV-AX8000 Head Unit This is Sony’s first large-screen head unit at 8.95 inches, using a single-DIN chassis so it can be installed in many different vehicles. The unit is adjustable to accommodate any kind of mounting style. The head unit supports both CarPlay and Android Auto, and it is Sirius XM capable. Additionally, the screen is anti-glare. In the Classroom: National Trainer Kris Bulla presented a training session on increasing profits by selling Sony Car Audio products.

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mobile electronics association

Welcome New MEA Members Absolute Electronix - Derwood, MD Addictive Audio - Hot Spring,s AR Audio Anarchy - Shreveport, LA Audio Electronics - Indianapolis, IN Audiomax - Walpole, MA Auto Obsessions - Osceola, IN Bonnie and Clyde Car Stereo - Dallas, TX Car-Tunes, Inc - Greenville, MS Cincy Security and Sound - Cincinnati, OH DC Car Audio - Sarnia, Ontario Devine Concepts - Naples, FL Direct Signs & Sound - Robertsdale, AL Driven Mobile Electronics - Chantilly, VA Fortress Audio Video & Surveillance - Searcy, AR Jeff’s Audio - Center, TX Leipply Custom Audio - Willis Point, TX Lunsford Elite Audio - Henderson, NC Platinum Car Audio - Auburn, WA Posey’s Pro Filming - Trout, LA Rehab Rod Shop - Oklahoma City, OK Santa Rosa Cartunes - Santa Rosa, CA Sounds-iN-Motion - Alexander, AR Stitchin Stitches Upholstery LLC - Broken Arrow, OK

Learn more about MEA member benefits. Visit   37

 Exhibitor Showcase Power Bass Direct Fit Plug-and-Play OE Power Bass offers a direct fit plug and play OE replacement for Toyota, Ford and some Nissan vehicles—no wires to cut, no holes to drill. There are different options for the tweeters that go in the pillars, and the connections are plug-and-play as well. Power Bass is currently working on GM models.

VAIS Technology GSR-UV01 Sirius XM Satellite Radio Add-On This unit is compatible with over 200 vehicles. Control Sirius XM stations without ever having to replace the factory radio. VAIS Technology will be supporting Harley-Davidson, as well, with the new GSR-HM01. The MSRP of the new model has yet to be determined. In the Classroom: VAIS technology focused on SiriusXM integration for OEM radios, showing students the simplicity of adding SiriusXM using VAIS Technology GSR adapters. Attendees also learned how best to tell clients about these product offerings.

Smart Start Ignition Interlock Devices As a manufacturer of ignition interlock devices for court-mandated installation, Smart Start is looking to partner with more businesses to help grow its network. Besides manufacturing these devices, the company also services and repairs them. A camera and modem can also be installed.

Aquatic AV Bluetooth and USB Stereo Subwoofer SWA6+ Most of the time, the subwoofer and head unit are separate, but the Aquatic AV system offers an all-in-one solution with a 288-watt amplifier with electronic crossover for connection of up to four full-range speakers. Connect to the unit and set up speakers to use for UTV, pontoon boat and more. The Bluetooth technology allows for a range of 60 to 70 feet and offers a better connection. The MSRP is $399.

Full Throttle AGM Batteries New battery sizes have been added to the Full Throttle lineup and should be available by mid-September. The 94R and the 27F introduces new sizes for popular vehicles. In the Classroom: Full River Battery and Full Throttle presented a review of its product lineup and other related technologies.

Eurostart Remote Engine Starter Kits for BMW and Mini Cooper Seven remote starter kits are available from Eurostart to cover BMW from 2013 to 2020, and Mini Cooper from 2014 to 2019. The user is able to remotely start the engine using a supported remote RF kit or smartphone interface. Eurostart’s retrofit harness uses OEM compatible wiring methods, without the need for cutting or soldering to factory wiring. Eurostart is based out of Edmonton, AB, Canada. The MSRP is CAD $950.

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 Exhibitor Showcase Design Engineering Sound Mat Sound Deadening Material Boom Mat offers a line of sound deadening material designed to reduce vibration and road noise. Boom Mat Vibration Damping Material performs in extreme temperatures and requires minimal preparation and installation time.

Focal Utopia M Speaker Drivers The new M-profile cone combines rigidity, lightness and damping to make an ideal speaker driver. The line is offered with an a la carte concept, so the user can choose speaker drivers based on their own vehicle needs. In the Classroom: Orca Design and Focal presented attendees with information and training on Focal’s new M Profile speakers.

Cobra iRAD Radar and Laser Detector The iRAD functions as a 12-volt switch generator and is easy to program. The product features voice alerts, anti-falsing circuitry and updateable in-vehicle technology that reduces false alerts and other interruptions.

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JBL Harman Infinity KAPPA-PRV515 Source Unit This marine radio is a high-end flagship piece in a compact waterproof design. It is Sirius XM-ready and offers on-board lighting control. KAPPA offers a full line of marine products. In the Classroom: Harman presented on their marine products, introducing the lineup to dealers.

Memphis VIV1422 Flagship 14-Inch Subwoofer This 14-inch subwoofer features a 7.5-inch dual layer voice coil. The subwoofer plays very flat, and features direct vent voice coil cooling technology to rapidly dissipate heat, so the woofer can play longer. The MSRP of the subwoofer is $1,299. In the Classroom: The training discussed the VIV1422 subwoofer, as well as other products Memphis offers. Attendees also learned strategies on how to revitalize the powersports and marine categories in their businesses.

Crux RFM Camera Safety Integration Line Newer cars offer camera safety, but Crux offers upgrades from those OEM systems. All integrated into one harness. The price point is about a tenth of what is offered at the dealership, providing huge savings. Shipping now.


 Installer of the Year



For Installer of the Year Tim Baillie, moving forward meant choosing to make major changes. With a renewed sense of freedom and self-confidence in both work and personal life, he hopes to spread a message of health and wellness in the industry. WORDS BY ROSA SOPHIA

Tim Baillie was led into the 12-volt industry after growing up around his father, who was a mechanic. “I had my first car when I was 14,” he said. “I wanted to follow [in my dad’s footsteps]

42  Mobile Electronics September 2019

and be a mechanic.” Baillie took automotive courses in high school and went into the industry, but was led toward car audio in the early 90s. “There was a car audio school in Orlando called CMA. I think it was only around four or five years—before Mobile Dynamics and

Installer Institute. My parents said, ‘If this is something you want to do, we’ll send you to school.’” In the course of his studies, Baillie learned the fundamentals of sound and electrical. In 1992, he got involved in IASCA, eventually winning over 150 first

Embracing Change

F7LTHY Fabrications, where Baillie works as a project manager, specializes in full custom builds. Baillie uses Fusion 360 for design work, and the shop utilizes a 3D printer and CNC router. world [for me] as far as building cars and getting better at it.” Having a strong work ethic helped Baillie move forward with his career goals. “My dad, being a mechanic, always taught me if you put in a hard day’s work and take pride in everything you do—if you sweep the floor, make sure you do a damn good job—and if you can work with your hands and you have passion for it, you’ll never have a problem finding a job,” he said. “That always stuck with me.”

Custom Focus

place awards, and several eastern and western regional events. “I placed in the top five every year from 1992 to 1999 at the IASCA World Finals, and in 1997 I won an IASCA World Championship in

the Expert SC+ Class. I met Mark Fukuda there,” he said, adding, “He was doing things with routers and vinyl then—ten, fifteen years ahead of everyone else. Talking to him [opened up] a whole new

Through strategies he started learning at IASCA, Baillie changed the way he approached projects. “[I changed] my mindset. When I first started, I was just jumping in, wasting a lot of time going back and forth because I wasn’t thinking things through,” he said. “You have to think of the whole project before you start. You have to see the end result and be able to figure out the steps so you’re not going backward.” From 2005 to 2012, Baillie owned his own company, focusing on hot rods, restoration, interior and electrical systems.



 Installer of the Year

Moving forward in his career meant making changes. After losing over 200 pounds, Baillie said he was able to do things he’d never been able to do before, and it completely changed the way he approached his work. He also branched out into emergency lighting, which he said saved the business during the recession. “Custom work really excites me,” he added. “Almost every car I have ever owned has been customized in some way, whether it’s audio or performance.” Baillie is currently a fabricator and project manager at F7LTHY Fabrications, formerly Trick Factory, in Coquitlam, British Columbia. He also oversees the shop’s SEMA builds. “We specialize in full builds. A lot of our builds are in high-priced cars with body kits and audio.” Along with car audio and electrical, Baillie added that he designs builds using Fusion 360, a 3D printer and CNC. “We have [someone doing] paint and body work, fabricators and upholsterers. I do a lot of detail work. Details matter. If you don’t take care of the details, the job is going to look like crap no matter what.” This year at KnowledgeFest Dallas, Baillie was named Installer of the Year. “None of this could have happened without the support of my wife Sue Baillie, my parents Jim and Nora Baillie, as well as Tim, Rob and the whole F7LTHY Fabrications family. This year is also my thirtieth year in the industry,” he added.

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Embracing Change

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 Installer of the Year Getting Healthy for a Better Future Recent changes have greatly impacted Baillie’s career in a positive way. “Two years ago, I weighed 454 pounds.” Deciding to lose the weight, he added, involved a simple choice. “You either do it or you don’t. At that point, [it was a matter of ] life or death. That was a pretty big motivating factor for me.” Being overweight all of his adult life, he said, meant that he was very shy and didn’t put himself out there. “Even though it was affecting my job, I didn’t change.” When he went to a new doctor and had blood tests done, he said, “The doctor told me I was very healthy for a very overweight man. He said I had to do something about it, and he asked if I’d ever considered weight loss surgery. I did some research and got myself into a program. They said they needed me to lose 30 pounds in the next five or six months, so I took that challenge and lost over 76 pounds.”

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46  Mobile Electronics September 2019

By the time the surgery was over, Baillie had lost about 230 pounds. “This changed everything for me,” he said. “I used to wiggle my way under dashes years ago, but now I’m right under the dash, climbing into engine compartments, into trunks. I always found a way to do something. I’ve been really lucky, too. At a lot of shops I was always the fabricator, and we would trade off. If I needed something done in a trunk, they would do it and I would do something for them. I worked with a lot of great guys who unfortunately enabled me because they helped me do stuff I should have figured out a way to do myself.” The weight loss opened new doors for Baillie, who said he’s learning to do a lot of new things he couldn’t do before. “It’s given me a completely new lease on life as far as my job goes, because now I can do anything I put my mind to and I can physically fit wherever I need to fit.” Losing the weight has made him feel differently about himself. “You gain a lot more confidence in yourself making these kinds of changes,” he said. “I let things go a lot quicker

Embracing Change

of the Year, he said. “It’s something I always wanted. I picked up Installation News back in the early 90s. Half the magazine was a build log [of Mark Fukuda’s]. You had to submit your build log [to be considered]. I thought it was the coolest thing.” In 2014, Baillie made Top 12. “Then I made the Top 50 in 2015, Top 12 in 2017, Top 50 last year. Every year I push myself to do better work. I’m always thinking in the back of my mind, ‘This is the kind of stuff I can use for my submission,’” he said. “Watching people like Matt Schaeffer, pushing himself to learn how to do video editing and film, how to take better pictures—that was a huge part of the learning curve for me, too. Not being the size I was, [I became] a lot more comfortable in front of the camera.” Baillie lives by a quote he read about a year ago: “There are choices, chances and change. You have to choose to take a chance to make a change. To make a change, you need to accept in your head that you’re going to do it,” he said. “Your now. I don’t have time for the drama I used to get myself wrapped up in. I have too many good things going on in my life.” Everyone remembers things they wish they hadn’t said or done, he added, “and I have my share of that kind of baggage I have to live with. But all I can do is move forward.”

Choosing to Take a Chance and Make a Change Baillie’s journey has made him want to spread the word, especially within the industry, and help others find a path toward better health. “People I’ve never even met message me online. They ask for advice on how to work on their weight or health. That’s one of the coolest things about this whole journey, because I never thought of myself as someone who might inspire others.” He’s now finding it easier to approach people and talk to them. “I’ve never done that. I always let them come to me,” he added. “[I make an effort now] to put myself out there.” Losing weight and getting healthier helped him pursue Installer

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 Installer of the Year

2008 BMW M5, with hand fabricated PVC, acrylic and fiberglass trunk panels held in with magnets. The grille trim is painted the body color, and the other three layers are the M-Series colors used for each “M” painted on the Mosconi amps.

1956 Chevy Belair, with hand fabricated PVC, acrylic trunk held in with magnets—not one screw. The build can be completely disassembled in 45 seconds down to the box and amp rack. 48  Mobile Electronics September 2019

Embracing Change

heart can say, ‘I want to lose weight, or do this or that,’ but until your head says, ‘Okay, let’s do it,’ you’re not going to change long-term. Thirty years overweight, I would get up in the morning and say, ‘I wish I was thin,’ and then I would eat a big breakfast. I would watch the Biggest Loser and say, ‘I wish that was me,’ and then I would eat a huge bowl of pasta while watching it.’” Until his mind was ready, he added, “None of that was ever going to happen. [These factors] come into play with anything in life.”

Prioritizing Health and Wellness in the Industry Baillie said the industry should be more health-conscious, and this is something he hopes to talk about more in the future at events such as KnowledgeFest. “I want to work on my public speaking abilities this year so I can get up in front of a group of people and talk,” he said. “I would like to talk about health within the industry. I’m glad to see a lot of my friends in the industry are starting to get serious about their health. I went to KnowledgeFest in 2015 and realized I wasn’t the only overweight person there.” In customer-focused businesses, Baillie said, there’s a tendency to disregard personal health in favor of getting the job done. “I always put the customers first, and I know a lot of friends do the same,” he said, adding that it leads to cutting corners at meal times, such as, “‘I’ve got to get the car done, so I’m going to run to McDonald’s,’ and ‘I’m not going to eat in a regular fashion, so I’m going to freak my body out and have a huge breakfast and then wait until four o’clock and have a huge lunch, then go home at eight or nine at night, have a massive dinner and flop on the couch and watch TV.’ Thirty years of that contributes to putting on a lot of weight.” Baillie hopes his story will inspire others to find their own path to better health, and he feels shop owners and managers should take note. “It’s important for shops to be aware of this and plan for their staff to have proper

lunches at proper times,” he said. “There’s so much going on. People need to slow down, take a breath, take a moment, have lunch, not always feel rushed to get cars out. We need to look after our bodies. That’s a passion for me. I want to put myself out there, learn to speak better and be able to talk about these things.” In the future, Baillie said he wants to share everything he’s learned in the course of his career. “This industry isn’t growing enough as far as installers and salespeople. Unless we teach people more, and make it exciting for more individuals to come into the industry, I don’t know where we’ll be,” he added. When it comes to personal change, he said it just involves a decision. “You need to decide what you want more. Are you willing to take on the challenge and make a sacrifice? I don’t think it’s any different than putting a video out for the Top 50. You either do it or you don’t,” he said. “If someone like me can take on the challenge and lose that kind of weight—make those kind of changes, put the effort in— then anybody can.

Next Step: MECP Certification While working toward overcoming personal challenges, Baillie learned techniques through networking and hands-on experimentation. Studying has always been difficult for him. “One of the biggest things I’ve had to overcome is learning [from books]. I’m a hands-on learner. I’m not good at reading something and retaining it.” For this reason, Baillie said, he’s had difficulty pursuing MECP certification. His goal for the coming year is to study and earn his MECP. “I’m stubborn when it comes to going after something,” he added. The last two years have been full of physical and mental transformations which have changed both his work life and personal life for the better. “I’ve been pushing myself to learn a lot of new things, and take on new challenges. I want to learn how to retain information and formulas,” he explained. “Then I want to go out there for my MECP.” He compared it to competing for 10 years in IASCA. “I just focused. That was all I did.”


 strategy & tactics

The Fine Art of Selling Accessories Just a few simple strategies will help you master the fine art of selling accessories. The first step? Get to know your customer. WORDS BY VINCENT DE STEFANO

A long time ago I started to think about moving out of my folk’s home and getting an apartment of my own. It was really my parents’ idea—as in, “Vinnie, it’s time for you to go.” So, I started putting together a list of what I had and what I needed to set up my new digs. It occurred to me there was a huge gaping hole in my provisions. No stereo system! I love music and had almost blown my parents old combo console TV, turntable and radio many times listening to my tunes. That was part of the reason it was suggested that I find other accommodations—not just the blowing up part but mostly the tunes. The chances of me sneaking that beast out of the house without getting killed by my parents was slim to none. The only thing I had that even came close was a clock radio my mother had given me on my tenth birthday and it was not exactly “High Fidelity.”

50  Mobile Electronics September 2019

I started to think very hard about my lack of stereo problem and two other pressing issues entered my mind. First, I had no money to purchase a stereo. Second, I had no job. I’m certain you can see that long-term planning was not my strong suit at the time. So, I started looking for gainful employment. Rogersound Labs, the premier stereo establishment in Southern California at the time, was hiring! Voilà, all my problems solved in one shot. So, I donned my suit and tie went down to RSL and filled out an application. Lo and behold they actually hired me.

Embarking On a Career in Sales Suddenly, I found myself with a job I loved. I was working with a great bunch of people who, even though they appeared to know lots more about what we were selling than I did, welcomed me with open arms. However, the real icing on this employment cake is that on my

last interview my new boss told me that I could make as much as $25,000.00 a year! “You’re kidding!” I exclaimed. (Yes, it was a long time ago.) I loved my new job, so I really applied myself. I was the first to arrive every day and the last to leave. In my first week, I practically ran up to people when they walked in our door. I’d greet them, find out what they wanted, show them the item and then write it up as quickly as possible and move on to the next available customer. At the end of my first week, I realized I had been moving faster and writing more invoices than all those guys who knew more than me. I saw a very bright future ahead of me. When I showed up at the start of my second week, my boss approached me and asked to speak with me in his office. Of course, my first thought was he’d noticed my brilliance as his number one sales generating machine. My mind raced. Was it a promotion already? Was it some

The Fine Art of Selling Accessories   51

 strategy & tactics

parents found out I lost my job in less than two weeks, I would be sleeping in our garage for the rest of my life.

Learning to Listen to the Customer

“Nice-to Accessories” deliver greater satisfaction. When you add these accessories to a sale, it should make whatever your customer is buying shine a little bit brighter.

kind of raise? Hell, at that point I was so stoked that even a pat on the back with a hearty, “Job well done, Vinnie!” would have been great. However, it wasn’t any of those things. He closed the door and leaned against it and said rather sadly, “Vinnie, we have grave doubts about your future with Rogersound Labs.” To say I was stunned would be a gross understatement. This is not what I was expecting or wanted at all. Before I could even gather my thoughts, I blurted out, “But why? I’ve been busting my ass, man!” He told me he recognized that I was working hard, but he went on to say

52  Mobile Electronics September 2019

something that I now see as the best information anyone has ever given me in this business: “Vinnie, we really sell only two things at RSL and unfortunately, you are only selling one of them.” I did not have the faintest idea of what he was talking about. I knew there were a lot more than just two products on our showroom floor. He could see that I was confused. He told me that he liked me and wanted me to have at least another shot at making it as an RSL salesperson. However, he told me that I needed to learn very fast to sell that other thing or I would not last beyond my second week. Man, what a drag! No job, no money for a stereo or apartment and when my

My boss explained what he meant by, “We only sell two things.” He said the first thing we sell is what the customer came into the store looking to buy. He told me I actually did a bang-up job on that. This made me feel better for the moment. However, he went on to say that if the product was all they wanted to sell at RSL, they could replace the salespeople with vending machines because a machine could sell just as much as any of us could and vending machines were cheaper and never needed bathroom breaks or paid vacations. Then he told me about that mysterious second thing. “Vinnie, the second thing we sell at RSL is everything else customers need but do not know they need until a salesperson shows it to them. That is something vending machines are incapable of doing.” He went on: “Most customers know very little about the things we sell or what they really need. There is no way on God’s green earth that customers can buy things, even things they need, if they do not know that they exist. That’s your job. Educating customers about what they really need.” It seems so simple now.

The Fine Art of Selling Accessories



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 strategy & tactics

Take your time and really get to know your customers.

that, they will give you everything you need to sell them that second thing.”

Accessories Are the Bedrock of Successful Retail Sales

He told me I needed to slow down and spend more time with each customer. He told me not worry too much about what they tell you they want, but instead to try to find what they really need. Ask lots of

questions and then shut up so you can listen carefully. Not only that, but really look at them so you see who they are. “Take your time and really get to know your customers,” he told me. “If you do

That lesson was one of the most important I have ever received and it changed my retail life from that day forward. Since then I’ve come to understand that the ability to sell that second thing— what we call accessories—is the bedrock of successful retail selling. The plain truth is that accessories are the most profitable items in any store regardless of whatever they may actually be. They are profitable for the customer because the right accessories should make whatever they are buying better for their ultimate satisfaction in very tangible ways. Better for the salesperson because happy satisfied customers are always better for salespeople and retail businesses. More importantly, these are generally impulse purchases of things that are entirely new to most customers. Therefore, they seldom need to be discounted. So how do you sell accessories successfully? You start by remembering that customers cannot buy something if they do not know it exists. Therefore, you need to present accessories each and every time you determine that your customers’ purchases would be better with them than without them. However, not all accessories are exactly alike and there different and better ways to sell and present each successfully.

Three Types of Accessories There are three kinds of accessories. Let’s call the very first kind “Need-to Accessories,” items a customer absolutely has to have to make something work. For example, nearly every flashlight comes with a message that says “batteries not included.” This should be the easiest accessory to sell. Simply put the batteries in your customer’s hand. That act alone will increase your chances of a sale by

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The Fine Art of Selling Accessories

more than 70 percent. Tell them, “Here, you will need these, too.” If they ask why, tell them politely, “Because without these batteries, that flashlight will not emit one photon of light.” It does not get any easier than that, my friends. The next category is “Ought-to Accessories.” With this accessory, you know the customer will get more out of their purchase. Again, put it in their hands and say, “Here, you really ought to buy this.” When they ask why, tell them how the accessory will improve their purchase. Do this in plain English and only one or two sentences. “Hey, I know that the 5¼ Co Axials you want are a great bargain, but you told me that sound quality was very important to you. I suggest these components instead because they will sound much better and will allow that excellent amplifier you are buying to produce higher highs and lower lows.” The last category is “Nice-to Accessories.” These are designed to add a sense of luxury. Think leather seats in a new car. That car will drive just fine without them, but then you would miss out on the look, feel and smell that only leather seats can deliver. When you add these accessories to a sale, it should make whatever your customer is buying shine a little bit brighter.

How to Sell Accessories As you get to know your customer, take time to notice what’s important to them. What are they wearing? What are they driving? If, for example, your customer is wearing a Rolex watch and driving a Porsche, that tells you something. With a customer like this, you once again put the accessory in their hands and say, “Here, this will go nicely with what you’re buying and add to your enjoyment. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s the very best we have to offer.” Not every customer wears a Rolex or drives a Porsche, but I have never met a customer who wanted less than the best they could afford. What you need to do for “Ought-to Accessories” is use your ears, eyes and common sense to determine what will make what any customer is buying shine brighter to them and everybody else. Then offer it to them with confidence. Selling accessories is necessary for any retail business

to survive and be profitable. However, selling accessories is not just loading customers up with things they don’t need just to fill your cash drawer. The art of selling accessories is predicated on your customers’ needs and desires. Vincent De Stefano invites readers to reach out to him with It requires a salesquestions. His email address can be found at the end of this person get to know article. the customer. It is simply offering your customers the things they need, and is in their best interest, you are denyought to have, or might like to have to ing them the opportunity to fully enjoy make what they are buying work better their purchase. for them. You must also recognize that Vincent De Stefano is the President customers cannot buy things they don’t of De Stefano & Associates LLC, Sales & know exist. If you do not offer it to them, Marketing Consultants. He encourages you are saying no for the customer and readers to reach out to him via email with that’s something the customer can do on WAY-3-032-Secure-Jun2019-1.0 any questions or concerns: their own. If you choose not to offer your customer something you know they need

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 tech today


A look at 15 tools used daily in the modern installation bay, why they’re reliable and where you can find them. Years ago my good friend Bing wrote an article about uncommon tools used in car audio installation. One of the items he touched on was chopsticks. He suggested using chopsticks to run wires through rubber boots. Every now and then, when I am out working with him in California, I will joke with him about it. While I might not be sold on using chopsticks for running wires, I did use the tool concept as the idea for this month’s article. We are going to be looking at some of the most commonly used installation tools that I work with on a routine basis. This article’s focus is installation. Next month we will look at some of my most valued fabrication tools. This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of tools, but rather an overview of some of my go-to selections. Part numbers are included for most tools, in case anyone wants to add them to their collection.

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15 Treasured Tools

Snap-on Seal Remover I first learned about this tool while working with my buddy, Doug Gibson. This is one of my go-to pry tools. The edges are round, and the corners are not sharp. The flattened head has an angle to it which allows for additional prying by twisting the handle. While it isn’t appropriate for all prying, it is my favorite for most things. The set I used is sold by Snap-on and is called a seal removal set, the part number is SGSR104AR.

This is probably my favorite pry tool of all time.

Fluke 77 DVM

An oldie, but a goodie!

I have a number of different digital volt meters. I have a barely used Fluke 88V that stays in its protective case, just waiting for some active duty time. I also have a Fluke 123 Oscilloscope, which stays packaged on my toolbox shelf, patiently biding its time until the next job. But the meter I use the most is an old Fluke 87 that I bought years ago from an installer leaving the industry. I didn’t pay much for it, but it was my first Fluke meter. Back then I thought I had finally made it by owning a Fluke meter!

Milwaukee FUEL 12v Impact Driver When I moved my shop two years ago, I used the Pinnacle Autosound brand colors of red and black in the install bay, wherever possible. It happens that the popular tool company Milwaukee was also using my brand colors. My first Milwaukee purchase was five of their workbench top tool boxes to line one side of my bay area. Many Milwaukee purchases have happened since then. One of my most used Milwaukee tools is the Fuel 12v impact driver. The head and body are very compact and this driver also offers adjustable speed and torque. The trigger has a nice feel, and I have yet to run across anything it hasn’t be able to power through.

The FUEL version of this tool has a smaller head for tight spaces.   57

 tech today Pittsburgh Stainless Steel Scissors While I normally pick on people that use Harbor Freight tools (just ask Bing!), they do offer a few diamonds in the rough. The Pittsburgh 7-inch Stainless Steel Scissors are one such item. They are called scissors, but these aren’t your mom’s fabric scissors. I first learned about them from Jesse at Simplicity in Sound. He and Bing had a heated discussion about which tool cut grille mesh better—Bing’s aviation shears, or Jesse’s HF scissors. I thought the scissors would require too much force to cut and might end up being uncomfortable. I was surprised to find they cut through 20-gauge mesh with ease. This led me to purchase a few pairs for myself (and at less than $7 each, it won’t break the bank to have spares). I have found numerous uses for them, and the low price has me reaching for them to fulfill roles in which their demise is possible.

Sometimes good things CAN come from Harbor Freight.

12v Tools Ultimate Pry Tool

For a small fee, you can have your Ultimate Pry Tool laser etched with your name.

If I need to pry on something that requires any bit of leverage, I reach for my 12v Tools Ultimate Pry Tool. While I don’t find myself prying on too many dash pieces with it, it does very well for things that need maximum force in concentrated area. This is what I use to separate templates that have been stuck with template tape. I like these so much that I had some laser engraved by 12v Tools for Christmas gifts last year!

Milwaukee 10 Compartment Red Deep Pro Small Parts Organizer I live in a town called Lake City. In addition to a lot of lakes, we have numerous rivers. Naturally, we have a lot of boats. At Pinnacle Autosound we are fortunate to have a good bit of marine business. One challenging aspect of marine work is dealing with the specialized hardware. We use only stainless steel hardware on our marine (and powersports) projects. Our usual hardware is stored in vertical bins located on the wall of our install bay. To save time when we work on boats, we started using a modular, portable storage system for our marine hardware. Once again we called on the Milwaukee company to provide a solution for us. The 10 Compartment Red Deep Pro Small Parts Organizer turned out to be just what we needed. The organizers have two different sized removable bins, two larger and eight smaller. We have a total of five of these organizers. The removable bins make it easy to load or remove hardware. The bin system also allows for arranging the hardware needed for a specific job in a single container, for easy access when working. The part number for these is 225046 and they are available at Home Depot.

58  Mobile Electronics September 2019

These cases have enhanced our marine hardware storage.

15 Treasured Tools

Red Dot Knife Some use and Olfa knife, and some use a Red Dot. I have both, but I always look for the Red Dot first. I’ve had some Olfa knives with sliding mechanisms that have broken, but I haven’t had a single Red Dot failure. These are great knives that serve a variety of cutting purposes. And, according to Doug Dobson, they are airline friendly—although I haven’t tried to go through TSA with one, nor will I, but apparently if you forget you have one, you might be fine.

The ability to snap off a section of the blade at a time means you can always have a fresh point.

Milwaukee 12v LED Stick Light

I like the battery indicator on the Milwaukee light.

Back to Milwaukee we go, this time for their light offerings. When I jumped into the 12v Milwaukee light game, I went with both feet and bought every light they offer for 12v batteries. My favorite is the 220 Lumen LED Stick Light, model number 2351-20. While the 1,000 Lumen Rover light has more mounting options, I like the small size and the perfect amount of light the 220 offers. It easily fits under a dash or in a tight spot, and if you accidentally shine it in your eyes, you don’t have to wait hours before you can see again.

Matco Wide Remover We have already discussed some of my non-plastic tools that can be used for prying, but any discussion on vehicle interior prying tools should certainly include a plastic variant. I prefer the wide Matco pry tool. Anytime I can fit this tool, I use it. The wide surface helps displace the force of the pry over a wider area and helps reduce imprinting or damage to the surface of the part. The curved end can also be used for door card removal. The part number for the Matco Wide Remover is FMR5-01.

The wide surface of this pry tool helps prevent marring the plastic.

Irwin Cobalt Drill Bits

If the chuck end of the drill bit gets burrs on it, I flip them around in the drill bit case so they still fit.

I have used a lot of bad drill bits in my life. All that changed a few years ago when I bought my first Irwin M-35 Cobalt Drill Bit set. These bits do a wonderful job of drilling through anything I have tried to put a hole in. If I am drilling in metal thicker than 1/8-inch, though, I always make a point to use some cutting fluid. The fluid helps drilling in metal in a number of ways, one of which is preserving the life of the drill bit.   59

 tech today Klein Crimpers “These are my crimpers. There are many like them, but these are mine. My crimpers are my best friend. They are my life. I must master my crimpers as I master my life.” Okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit too far, but I do love my Klein crimpers! I have had this pair for about 15 years. I had to plasti-dip the handles about 10 years ago because the factory sleeves kept sliding off. They have been great over all these years. The custom tiger stripes were to differentiate mine from others when I worked in a multi-installer facility.

I ground stripes into these when I first got them so they weren’t mistaken for anyone else’s.

Cordless Soldering Irons

In-car soldering is much easier with cordless soldering irons.

I grouped these cordless soldering irons together because I use both of them. My first cordless soldering iron was from Aussie Irons. It was great to have an iron that would immediately heat up and didn’t require cords or separate bases. When I started adding the Milwaukee M12 tools to my collection, I purchased one of the M12 soldering irons. It has a number of features that I prefer over the Aussie Iron. One is the self-regulating temperature. You turn the switch on and then leave it on. I didn’t care for the momentary switch of the Aussie Iron. Another thing I like is the battery indicator. No more guessing if this is the last thing you can solder before the battery dies. While the iron is great, it has a few drawbacks. Even with a fully charged, high capacity battery, the battery life isn’t great. The other drawback is that the iron is pretty big. The head of it angles so it can help with maneuvering in tight spaces, but it’s still large for our kind of work.

Matco E-Z Solder Clamp I am sure everyone knows all too well the game of “hold the wire you just soldered long enough for it to cool, while keeping your skin from melting.” This lovely little tool helps keep your skin from melting! John Brettle recently introduced me to it. Until I owned this tool, I never knew how much I needed one! I would have saved myself years of burned fingers had I learned about this sooner. The two arms have sliding clamps to position the wires, each oriented so they overlap each other. The design of the tool also has a rotating gear designed to feed solder into the wires. I have yet to use the self-feeding aspect of the tool, though. Just holding the wires together has been a life-saver for me. The downside of this little wonder is that you’re limited to about a 10-gauge wire (or two 14-gauge) in the width of the clamp opening. If you are interested in it, the part number is EZSOLD.

60  Mobile Electronics September 2019

In addition to holding the wires, the device can also feed in solder with the simple twist of the wheel.

15 Treasured Tools

Apple iPhoneX This might have been an easy tool to overlook, because it’s such an integral part of my life, but I have to include my smartphone on this list. I am old enough to remember a time without the Internet. Having a resource as powerful as the modern smartphone is a huge benefit. I can be right in the middle of working on a car and need to see what a panel might look like removed, or double-check wiring info, or take a photo of an assembly so I can remember how it goes back together. The smartphone is the answer to on-the-spot tech resourcing. In addition to the online resources available, the phone also gives me contact with technicians far smarter than me who are only a call or text away.

The large screen I added for the DM-RTA display makes tuning easier.

AudioControl DM-RTA

I owned or used an AudioControl 3055 for what seems like forever. When I heard about the new AudioControl DM-RTA, I was pretty excited about it. I recognized how multiple functions in one tool could benefit my facility. After getting the details from Chris Bennett, I had one on the way. The timing of the DM-RTA was perfect because I had been planning a mobile monitor for my Shapeoko CNC. Since I would never be running the CNC while tuning, it made perfect sense to use the same computer for both. I have the DM-RTA mounted in a mobile tool cart with an extension pipe and a 32-inch monitor and Intel NUC attached to it. It’s nice to keep all my tuning and analysis gear in one spot. The DM-RTA cart can be rolled up to a vehicle for RTA duties, signal analysis or checking voltage/waveforms.   61

 installs

Passat Perfection


Erick Markland—Mobile Electronics Magazine’s Installer of the Year Runner-up for 2018—sent us this Passat build. Erick did a great job integrating a complete Hybrid Audio Technologies gear into this Volkswagen Passat. Through careful designing, Erick created a system that still leaves most of the trunk space open, and full access to the spare tire and tools. Some of the highlights of the trunk components were laser-cut and engraved trim rings for the subwoofer and amplifier grilles. Pressed grilles were used to protect the gear as well as enhance the cosmetics of the parts. As with all Markland Designs installations, special attention was given to the wiring. All the wiring is neatly spiral wrapped and secured with wire ties. This Passat is surely as much a treat to listen to as it is to view.

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 installs


The owner of this 2019 Harley Davidson Street Glide trike called on the team at Rockin’ Ronny’s Superstore to provide him with an over-the-top audio system. Lead technician Travis Shafer, along with Peter Taylor, installed some serious tunes on this Harley. The signal starts at the Kenwood KDC-303 radio. A JL Audio XD800/8v2 amplifier bumps up the signal as it heads to a host of speakers. The front of the bike got front pods with custom acrylic adapters for a pair of JL Audio M6 6.5-inch coaxial speakers. Also in the front, the fairing speakers were upgraded with Hertz Mille Pro Coaxials. Rounding out the system is a pair of 7.7-inch JL Audio M6 marine coaxials installed in the rear fairing. All the hard work paid off: This trike could be heard nice and clear from blocks away.

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from the President

Time to Grow Up

It’s your business, so own it! Evolving from hobbyist to true business professional is more than just a business plan. It is a commitment to gaining the knowledge and wisdom necessary to transform your business from your original mission—or lack thereof—to something awesome. There may also be a temptation to use others as you claw your way to the top. If your mission is to raise your business to a higher level of professionalism, you will need to take a hard look at how you do business, with whom you do business, and with whom you align yourself and your business. This matters. Remember your reputation is always at stake. Regardless of your actions, perception is often the reality others believe. If you’re not sure what type of business you’re running, take a look at what Jeff Cantrell of JC Audio said during his presentation at KnowledgeFest Dallas: “You may be in charge of [your business], but [all] you have [is] a job if all you’re getting is a paycheck. If there is nothing left at the end of the day, you don’t have a business.” Many factors help establish a business. For now we’ll focus on a few key areas that will make a difference.

Competition Versus Copycats The competitive landscape is a great place to start. First look around and find out who is doing what you do. How well are they doing it? There are a couple of types of legitimate business types to review. Competitors are in business to win customers and grow the market. You can measure your business against them to see how you stack up. There are also copycats who recognize an opportunity you have capitalized upon and find a way to do the same, or at times better, by offering a competitive product or service like yours. Some will even go as far as to source things from vendors you may have thought were your partners. Regardless, both competition and copycats are legitimate competitors. Both are part of any marketplace and both provide a healthy view to their respective customers of an opportunity to buy a product or service that is in demand.

Respecting Your Competition Now, a less exciting topic: your competition and how best to differentiate your business from them. What should your message be when a current or potential customer asks you about your competitors? Should you: A. Tell them all the derogatory information you have (true or untrue) to make them appear weak. B. Tell them why your competitors are not as good as you.

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C. Tell them there are many great companies that represent the industry, explain why yours is better, and provide great examples of what you do best. The answer should need no explanation. You do the right thing and make the entire industry look good. Your customers will be able to differentiate who is the best if you simply set the bar higher than that of your competition. Tell your customer what standards you apply to your business. Let them know how others view you. Use past reviews, as well as certifications and awards. Simply pointing these things out will reveal the type of business you have. So, how do you let everyone know what you’re about before they step inside your store? Let’s explore.

Market Smarts To say marketing is easy would be disingenuous to marketing professionals. It is an artform that takes a lot of savvy to make it effective. There are many methods to use when marketing your business. Many of them can be effective. It’s important to be specific and focus on something that brings a defined benefit to the intended target. Focus on what you want everyone to know about your business. For example, your business might be highly capable of integrating and upgrading safety systems in late model vehicles. Make sure the focus in on the problem (e.g. situational awareness for changing lanes to avoid an accident). Then offer the best solution with a compelling message that leaves a potential customer with a question that only you can answer with a great solution you’re ready to install. Make sure you stay ahead of the pack. When you view the competitive landscape, look for what sets you apart from others. Measuring up to the status quo only shows a potential customer that you’re just like the rest. When developing your message, think about what sets you apart from the others.

Growing to the Next Level What does it take to turn your hobby into a thriving and professional business? Professionalism in every category. Think through everything first before you make your message public. Do this in everything you do. Your reputation is paramount to success. Don’t do anything that may tarnish it, because it’s what you’ll rely upon and refer to as you build your hobby to a long-lasting and professional business you can be proud of for years to come.



VOXX takes BLIND SPOT DETECTION across to the rear, into reverse adding another level of Driver Safety and Awareness!


senses approaching vehicles when in reverse

both systems equipped with front interior LED indicator audio/visual alerts

sensors are installed professionally inside the rear of the bumper

sensors are built into the frame that is mounted around the license plate

In-Vehicle Entertainment has been reborn with the ďŹ rst system to deliver what today’s consumers demand - TRUE UNLIMITED CONTENT CAPABILITIES. Download your favorite apps, connect your favorite devices, enjoy your DVD collection, but best of all, this system offers full control of the system without having to see the actual monitors. Apps developed for Android and Apple allow Mom and Dad in the front seat BLINDthe SPOT LICENSE PLATE BLIND to access and fully control system. No more pulling the car over or reaching around the seats. Innovation at its best!



For more information or to become a dealer visit (ACABSDLP) us at:


Š2018 VOXX Electronics Corporation A VOXX International Company

Profile for Mobile Electronics

Mobile Electronics September 2019