One of the biggest problems that we encounter while judging at 24 Hours Of LeMons races is whiners!

We needed an audiovisual aid to warn a whiner when he or she had crossed the line!
So, I knocked together this World's Greatest Whiner Alarm and off it went to the races. Naturally, I insisted on using only the finest junkyard components! Since I'm off to the Maker Faire today, let's have a how-to; here's how it went together:

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

I scrounged this ancient klaxon, aka "Oogah Horn," many years ago, from a junked Econoline van. I love that submarine-movie "DIVE! DIVE! OOOGAH! OOOGAH!" sound, and this horn has lived in a few of my cars over the years. Still, I knew it was destined for something better. The Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox taught me that plywood + junkyard electrical parts = goodness.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

For the circuitry, I'd be using a modified version of the control circuit that operated the talking skulls on the Black Metal V8olvo at the Arse Freeze-A-Palooza LeMons race last December. For that, I needed a couple of relays. This BMW 325e relay panel was my first stop.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

A turn-signal flasher would provide the timing mechanism to flash the lights and honk the horn. I prefer Chrysler K Car flashers for this purpose, because they're exceptionally easy to find and remove from a junked car.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

The next item on my shopping list: taillight sockets and bulbs. I like 90s Nissan units for this sort of application, because they're easily removed from the car and come with handy mounting holes. This Infiniti had all I needed.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

So many modern cars have impossible-to-extract sockets, and the older ones tend to suffer from corrosion. Take a Murilee Junkyard Engineering Tip: head right for the Nissan products!

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

Back at home, I started knocking together a frame out of some scrap plywood and drywall screws. The whole mess was sized around a nice thick piece of obscure Plexiglas I'd scavenged from somewhere.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

The klaxon had no mounting bracket, so a few minutes sawing and drilling on a chunk of sheet aluminum (left over from the gauge panels I made for the Black Metal V8olvo) solved that problem.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

Once the case was built, I gave the inside a coat of white paint, in order to maximize brightness when the bulbs came on.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

I hit the outside with some green spray paint, then got to work on the innards. One light bulb is used to provide sufficient load to operate the Chrysler turn-signal flasher, which then actuates two Bosch relays. One relay powers the klaxon and the other powers the remaining three lights.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

Version 1.0 of the World's Greatest Whiner alarm was powered by a car lighter plug and a long cord, but this setup didn't work so well. Not only was the power supply insufficient for good klaxon volume, disaster struck when a LeMons Supreme Court justice drove the rental car away without disconnecting the alarm. Crash! Fortunately, the damage was easily fixed. Version 2.0 features a battery box on the back and a junkyard car battery connected via a pair of Camry battery terminals and cables.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

Because much high-temperature unpleasantness would result from a short circuit inside the box, I installed a 30-amp fuse- which I believe came from a Mitsubishi Diamante- on the positive battery cable.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

Some packaging tape and red plastic sheeting changes the clear Plexiglas into whiner-menacing red.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

A trip to the thrift store netted this resin "World's Greatest" sign, no doubt intended for use as part of a "World's Greatest Parole Officer" or "World's Greatest Bassoon Player" craft project. Total expenditure so far: $1.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

I had this little red spotlight in a box-o-crap™, so I installed it next to the klaxon.

All-Junkyard World's Greatest Whiner Alarm Deters Crybabies

The original switch was a pull-chain-style lamp switch, but it proved too fragile for LeMons Supreme Court use. This Frankensteinian knife switch is much more satisfying for the user; it allows a judge to place one hand on the switch and ask the miscreant "You sure you want to keep complaining?" Since the miscreant must eat a jar of super-nasty baby food once the World's Greatest Whiner Alarm is triggered, the hefty knife switch adds a useful air of menace. And there you have it- not much work, almost no money, and a battery that's about to be transferred to my Personal Hell Project.