Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
February 1, 2013

When we talk to car owners about what parts of a project they enjoyed tackling, and which ones they hope to never touch again, it always seems that wiring comes out on the top of the "never touch again" list. While some owners cringe at the thought of doing something more basic like wiring in new gauges, it's the complete re-wire of a project that gets most of them shaking from bad memories. Blown fuses, hunting down problems, and generally just getting everything looking neat and safe can often be a hair-pulling experience. Wiring doesn't have to be this black art that many think it is. Even a couple of hours with some basic wiring books, or looking over the shoulder of a more experienced friend, will do wonders in helping you to understand things like how basic circuits work, load capacity of a specific wire size, properly protecting circuits, wire routing/covering, and more.

Over the years, we've done it all; from a single add-on circuit to rewiring a complete car from scratch. Wiring a whole car is still a chore, even for experienced builders. And even with an aftermarket chassis harness, you'll easily spend a couple of weeks routing, connecting, and terminating the wires. Since these harnesses are universal in nature, you may not have every circuit needed in the harness and you'll still have to add on wiring. Lastly, wiring from a central fuse box/location out to your loads (switches, lights, and so on) usually means there is a large quantity of wire running the length of your vehicle. However, due to modern wiring technology found in most new cars today, you can minimize the bulk of this wiring while adding flexibility to your electrical system. This is exactly what the ISIS multiplex wiring system can do for your project.

The ISIS system uses modules called cells to break the vehicle up into powered zones. The Mastercell is the brains of the outfit, and all inputs (headlight switch, ignition switch, turn signals, and more) are wired to the Mastercell. The ingenious thing here is the Mastercell is ground switched, so all switches in your dash, console, and so forth that are wired to the Mastercell have no power going through them. This allows the switches to last longer (how many of us have replaced a Mustang headlight switch or ignition switch that failed due to excessive current draw over time?), and also creates a safer vehicle with no battery voltage coursing through all of your dash switches.

The Mastercell connects to one or more Powercells situated throughout the vehicle. Your typical build will usually use two Powercells; one at the front and one at the rear of the vehicle. The Powercells are controlled by the Mastercell via a multiplex CAN Bus system. This is a simple four-wire harness that connects the cells together so they can communicate. The Powercells are powered directly from the battery through proper circuit protection (included) that gives each Powercell the power for that zone's outputs. For example, the front Powercell will often power headlights, front turn signals, horn, cooling fan, ignition, and wipers, while the rear Powercell will power taillights, fuel pump, trunk release, brake and turn signals, and so forth. A default program is included in the system to control common systems like those just mentioned, however, custom programming is available to control just about anything you can think of.

With standard features like push-button ignition start, built-in LED taillight control, and more, the ISIS system is perfect for a classic Ford restomod build like Generation Gap. Since we're still finalizing some aspects of the interior (gauges, audio, A/C, and more), we'll not be able to wire every circuit in our fastback just yet. However, our plan of attack here is to get our ISIS cells mounted and the majority of the wiring roughed in. We'll be tackling a few odds and ends as we get to those portions of the build (wipers, audio, gauges, and so on), so you'll be seeing more of ISIS in the coming months.

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Got the Motion?
We don't have our power windows or door locks installed yet, so we couldn't get too far with one of ISIS's newest options—inMotion. With the inMotion motor controller add-on cell, you can easily control any reverse polarity motor or actuator, simplifying wiring to your doors for power windows, power locks, door poppers, sunroofs, and even power tops. The inMotion controller allows easy integration with the ISIS system's inputs (And even the optional inLink remote controls) to allow you to raise and lower your power top or windows, or lock/unlock your doors all from a keychain remote. Once we begin working on our interior and are installing things like power window switches and door lock actuators, we'll be wiring up this inMotion controller. Look for more on this later in the project.