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07-23-2012, 11:19 PM #1
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:
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.
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. :(
Last edited by SurrealOne; 07-23-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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07-23-2012, 11:25 PM #2
Damn that sucks...i thought about getting a bar but now im not sure where to get it at ...i always hear issues with them,no matter what brand2009 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Z71 Crew Cab "All-Star Edition"
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07-23-2012, 11:28 PM #3
@aloxdaddy99 has a Recon tailgate bar that I believe has been trouble-free. I'd have bought a Recon if they'd had a model with RED scanning turn signals, as that's what I was after with the tailgate bar.
Hopefully they'll make one; right now Recon's only scanner has amber turn signals ... and I've worked hard to remove amber from my truck wherever I can.
Last edited by SurrealOne; 07-23-2012 at 11:31 PM.
07-23-2012, 11:32 PM #4
Im sure they will sometime...maybe ill have to check the Recon one out and she what people have to say about it
07-23-2012, 11:34 PM #5
Alox's isn't the scanner, but he can give you first-hand on what he's got...
07-23-2012, 11:37 PM #6
Ill have to check his out
07-24-2012, 05:54 AM #7
I have had my Recon one on for about a year and a half or so with no problems. I would recommend it to anyone looking for one.
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07-24-2012, 06:04 AM #8
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I've had the IPCW bar on my 08 Avalanche since 08 with no problems.. It has gone through Winter Snow and Summer 100 degree heat and a TON of Car wash's.. Still does all the same as new...... Link... http://www.inprocarwear.com/08 Z71 Avalanche Mods to date: K&N CAI,Hellwig Swaybars and End Links, Corsa Sport Exhaust, Superchips Programer,IPCW LOF & 3rd brake light and tails, AMI Gas door,Show Hooks and Door locks, Enkei Wheels, with Pirelli tires, StreetScene Bowties, Grant Steering wheel,Muth signal mirrors,SSBC Big Brake kit,Huskyliner Mug gards,Floor mats and Hood shield, McGard Lug nuts and locks,Bedrug, Cervini's Ram Air hood,35watt HID Fog lights, Sylvania bulbs all around ZXE's Highs and Lows, WhiteNight Back up lights,Sirius and HD Radio, SnugTop painted and on, PerryCraft Rack system with Kayak and Bike Holder, Tempress Boat Hatches.... New Bilstein shocks on the way... New Mods coming soon..... X
07-24-2012, 06:40 AM #9
Same happened to mine after 3 months. Was livid
07-24-2012, 11:28 PM #10
I "thought" about these light bars because if and when they work the look cool ( it really is a toy ). but after hearing all the issues that everyone is having and actually being behind some trucks that have them (not sure what brand) where they were not working or half working. I think you get what you pay for. I realize that these are not "tailgate light bars" but...
Why not just getting a police/tow light bar that goes inside the top of the rear windshield. I would just get one with 8 or 12 modules. from outside to the middle:
Have the Amber ones wired as turn signals that can strobe, have the Red ones wired as break lights and then have the White (Cargo/Spots) wired as solid white or with flash patterns available.
I would find that more useful and it can be installed inside the truck and will be more visible. I also know it will be between $800-$1200 instead of $89-$199 but hey, that bar will last and be bright.
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