Why I'll never buy Plasmaglow products, again...
Early in 2012 I ordered a Plasmaglow Firestorm (model 10596) scanning tailgate bar. This unit is 60" in total length consisting of twin 30" bars ... and it scans red when the turn signals are activated. The unit appears solid and Plasmaglow has a one year warranty for it as long as you register it (something I checked before buying it).
I received the unit in early January of 2012 and installed it. Everything tested well. However, in early April of 2012 (a mere ~4 months later) the unit had condensation inside of the bar and it was causing a short that kept the reverse lights of the bar on at all times. I dutifully checked the +12v power, common ground, and reverse wires and found no issues. A few days of this and the right portion of the bar simply stopped working.
Since a picture is worth 1000 words here's a photo:
Now this thing wasn't easy to wire up, as I couldn't just tap into the 7-pin trailer connector. The instructions tell you not to, but I tried (using some test leads) just to see if Plasmaglow was blowing smoke/mirrors in order to sell adapters ... and they weren't. If tapped into the trailer wiring the unit behaves oddly when doing combinations such as left turn+reverse+brake (the right turn scanning would activate instead of the left!), so I methodically wired the unit per its instructions and even soldered all connections, protected the wiring in loom, and wrapped the loom in electrical tape just like the factory does.
Given the issues I ran into, I contacted Plasmaglow, sent them the photo, above, described the issues, and requested that a new unit be sent to me so that I could unwire the old one and wire in the new one at the same time (given the annoyance of doing so) ... and then send the defective unit back. Rather than putting my time and effort first, I was told that photos are not accepted as evidence and that I would have to remove the defective unit, send it back at my expense, allow them to inspect it to determine if there was, indeed, an issue, and if so they'd send me a new one.
I was ticked off, but I removed the old unit as instructed. I was traveling for business between removal and shipment, so when I got around to shipping the unit it had MOLD growing inside of it (indisputable proof of condesnation in the unit). This gave me a chuckle, so I taped some painters tape onto it (pointing to it) and indicated what it was ... and sent it on its way at my expense.
10 days after shipment I received email notification that a replacement unit was on its way to me. Upon arrival I inspected it and all looked good. Not one to be bitten twice in terms of wiring pain, I sealed the ends of this unit with silicon sealant and made sure all wiring entry points into the bars were also covered in sealant. I also added an 8-point electrical distribution block and wired the truck to the block ... and the Plasmaglow to the block ... in case I ever had to remove the tailgate bar, again. All's well, right?
Wrong. After the first heavy rain less than one month later this happened to the new unit -- despite the extra precautions I'd taken:
Attachment 42186Attachment 42187
I have since removed this garbage from my truck (as well as the distribution block Iinstalled) ... and will not be buying Plasmaglow products, again. The best I can figure is that the wiring leading into the unit absorbed moisture ... and then the summer heat caused the moisture to evaporate inside the bar. Having carefully sealed both ends of each bar after inspecting for cracks/defects, it's the best I can come up with for an explanation. :neutral:
I've got quite a few hours into this, as I'm very picky about my wiring and insist on it being soldered, protected by wire loom, and then wrapped in electrical tape just like the OEM loom is. I put it all into place twice and then removed it twice ... for a total of four times handling things. If only Recon had a red scanning bar... it'd have been my first choice. But they don't. :(