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Old 02-23-2013, 08:47 PM   #1
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Default what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

i was wondering what other people have for the best alarm to keep a campervan from being stolen ,
someday i hope to live in one after its all fixed up and don't want it to ever be stolen .
i know their are some that also have a pager system (alarms) letting you know someone is trying to steal it and cut off fuel sytem and some won't start etc.
Once a person gets money into a van and if you don't have full coverage because of lack of money a person needs to do all they can do to keep it from being stolen .
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

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Originally Posted by lightspeed
i was wondering what other people have for the best alarm to keep a campervan from being stolen ,
someday i hope to live in one after its all fixed up and don't want it to ever be stolen .
i know their are some that also have a pager system (alarms) letting you know someone is trying to steal it and cut off fuel sytem and some won't start etc.
Once a person gets money into a van and if you don't have full coverage because of lack of money a person needs to do all they can do to keep it from being stolen .
I will be interested in this one, too. We have looked at some units, Vipers are very nice! What I haven't had much success finding out is how much parasitic drain the have on the batteries, which could be a big issue, if you can't easily disconnect it when not in actual use. I have read folks complain about car batteries being drained in 3 days because an alarm installation.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

I am also interested in this subject. Went to Car Toys to talk to them about it, and it sounded like they could do what we wanted easily enough--but at the same time it sounded like they didn't know what they were doing.

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Old 02-25-2013, 01:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

maybe marcopolo will chime in on this , or maybe people haven't thought this was important enough ? But consider it , you have a motorhome that is worth something usually many thousands of dollars at least and some crook comes along and steals it , even if for nothing else but to get from point a to b no matter how far point b is , meanwhile damaging the vehicle to break in and start it and also any damage to it when on the road or in a police chase if one occurs .
If i ever get a stealth van fixed up i plan on living in it which makes an alarm (a very good one ) security all that much more valuable .
especially in a big city , living in a van doesn't mean being in it 24 hours a day , it can still be stolen and their are other people who may be doing and or planning on doing what i am talking about .
i would like a good alarm system that also pages me and cuts off the fuel system and electrical system .
A very good alarm system is more important then some think especially people who can not afford full coverage and even then they only pay blue book prices no matter what you have done to it .
Again , i hope to hear about some good alarm systems that are available .
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Old 02-25-2013, 04:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

3 years ago had the top end NuStart Remote Starter and Alarm (NUAS8000 model) installed by Best Buy Geek/Installation guys. All in, price was around $500 iirc.
They had some issues in my specific van, which required some consultation with the manufacturer, and an ensuing installation procedure update at same.
Here are the links to the relevant threads on here, describing the (lengthy/tedious) process I chose.....,

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1200&hilit=nustart

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1412&p=5872&hilit=nustart#p587 2

Bottom line. The remote starter function is fabulous, in that I can fire up the engine from inside the house, or as we're approaching the vehicle to warm up the inside, or to fire up the dash A/C in hot weather. The remote's range is quite impressive, although nowhere near the advertised range. Those claims are ideal conditions. I believe the furthest I've been able to communicate with the "brain" via the remotes has been perhaps a few hundred yards, at most.
The alarm portion has gone off several times over the years unexpectedly for various reasons, none relating to actual break ins or vandalism. Usually because I've accidentally enabled the "shock" alarm mode, which functions well, but can be set off by almost any vibration, including loud noises, like Harleys. It has a "panic" button feature that we have used to try to scare potential thieves, or just people who get too close for my comfort, away. That feature is also invaluable, IMO.
It comes with a cute little flashing blue LED alarm enabled light, that may present just enough of a visible deterrent to potential thieves, that they will pass on us, and move on to a less intimidating victim.
Be advised, there is no engine disable function, this is strictly an audible alarm system. Do not leave your keys in the ignition, or your valuables in the van, and set the alarm, and expect your van or valuables to be there when you get back. Some thieves wear ear plugs. One of the fobs has a remote vibrate/audible alert function, so if you are within communications range, that fob will alert you that the alarm has been tripped. You can purchase extra fobs with this functionality but they are over $100 each. Can't recall the exact price, but they're expensive.
I don't think the vampire draw is enough to kill a battery any faster than any other known battery drain. Your radio clock probably draws more power. My van sits for weeks at a time (the alarm is rarely disabled) between starts without issues.
Questions? Fire away.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

I'd consider an alarm with a two-way remote. Some of the more advanced two-way systems can show if a door has been tampered with and other items. Plus, you can be assured your vehicle is locked when stepping away.
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

I haven't seen any that do that, tell you specifically where the entry breach has occurred? Nice feature in a large house maybe, but in a small camper van, or any sized motor home for that matter, that seems like overkill, particularly if it drives up the price. There are probably smart phone apps that do that sort of thing now, too.
My fobs are 2 way, but don't give that degree of detail, just "something has happened" notifications if they are in range.
Another thing, they take a standard AAA alkaline battery which lasts quite a while under normal use. I have noted however, the system can start to trigger false alarms, when the battery gets weak. Nice (undocumented) method of reminding you to change it.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

Thanks, Mike for your comments. When I went to Car Toys, the salesman showed me a unit that did everything yours did and additionally would phone you if it was near a cell phone tower (this required an additional "subscription fee" of ~$300/3 years). It also had someting in it so that its GPS location could be determined with the access to a computer with the right code. So, if it was stolen, you could tell the police exactly where it was. It also didn't have a kill switch feature. I think that Sprinters have some pretty good keying system, but I'm not sure.

Two questions:

(1) Does a normal Sprinter have some theft precautions?

(2) How reliable are the Car Toys folks? Has anyone done business with them. I use to have a buddy who I traded lawnmowers, motorbikes, sterios, and what not with. He ended up working at one of those installation places and I wouldn't have let him work on anything of mine. (The place he worked WASN'T Car Toys, though.)

............Rocky
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

Hmmm.........after looking at Yelp, I'll probably pass on Car Toys. Our local Car Toys has a 2 star (our of 5 star) rating. Not good.

We'll have to look for someplace else.

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Old 02-25-2013, 10:51 PM   #10
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok
Thanks, Mike for your comments. When I went to Car Toys, the salesman showed me a unit that did everything yours did and additionally would phone you if it was near a cell phone tower (this required an additional "subscription fee" of ~$300/3 years). It also had someting in it so that its GPS location could be determined with the access to a computer with the right code. So, if it was stolen, you could tell the police exactly where it was. It also didn't have a kill switch feature. I think that Sprinters have some pretty good keying system, but I'm not sure.

Two questions:

(1) Does a normal Sprinter have some theft precautions?

(2) How reliable are the Car Toys folks? Has anyone done business with them. I use to have a buddy who I traded lawnmowers, motorbikes, sterios, and what not with. He ended up working at one of those installation places and I wouldn't have let him work on anything of mine. (The place he worked WASN'T Car Toys, though.)

............Rocky
Sorry, never heard of them, so no idea, but I see you've already answered that one yourself.
All vehicles have "some" anti-theft stuff built in at the factory. How much is described in detail (or not) in the Owner's Manual. If it requires a special key to start the engine, for example, it will tell you. Most of the newer vehicles have something like that that make it harder to move the vehicle. That probably results in most car theft being "smash and grab" theft, so hide your stuff when you leave your vehicle, just like they tell you, don't leave any "bait" out in plain view, and thieves may move on to the next vehicle/victim.
As long as it's not mine.
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

A notification alarm for a smash and grab theft is probably just only going to get you back to your B sooner to find out.
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Old 02-26-2013, 03:55 PM   #12
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

The more I see here, the more I think a plain old hidden kill switch might be the best/most cost effective method. The big thing we need is to NOT lose the van. The stuff inside is not worth all that much. A laptop, tv, radio, etc is less than $1000 total, I think, and if you were on a trailhead no one would hear the alarm, while you would be too far away to do anything. If they couldn't get it running, at least you still have your van, and trip.

There was a discussion about thefts on the Yahoo board a couple of years ago, I think. There had been a rash of thefts of their Roadtreks. One in California, broad daylight, from a parking area. Another was in Canada IIRC. The results were devastating, compared to those that had been broken into.

I would think that folks with 08 and newer Chevies have a chipped key, which would help a lot, although that is why (I have heard), they kill the starting battery pretty quickly while sitting.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

I checked around by searching for GPS tracking system and found that there is a Radio Shack unit that you can hide in your rig (hooks up to 12V) and you subscribe to a service. Then you can go online and see exactly where your rig is at anytime, as well as where it's been since installation. Found one used on our local craigslist that someone had used to catch a cheating spouse. The price difference wasn't good enough to buy it, though. I guess they are $129 at RS. Just went back to CL and found the listing was gone. They must have sold it. Anyway, I looked it up and the unit is called an eZoom by Zoombak.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:19 AM   #14
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

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The more I see here, the more I think a plain old hidden kill switch might be the best/most cost effective method. The big thing we need is to NOT lose the van. The stuff inside is not worth all that much. A laptop, tv, radio, etc is less than $1000 total, I think, and if you were on a trailhead no one would hear the alarm, while you would be too far away to do anything. If they couldn't get it running, at least you still have your van, and trip.

There was a discussion about thefts on the Yahoo board a couple of years ago, I think. There had been a rash of thefts of their Roadtreks. One in California, broad daylight, from a parking area. Another was in Canada IIRC. The results were devastating, compared to those that had been broken into.

I would think that folks with 08 and newer Chevies have a chipped key, which would help a lot, although that is why (I have heard), they kill the starting battery pretty quickly while sitting.
If a thief really wants the entire vehicle intact, a tow truck wins out over a kill switch almost every time. If anyone bothered to ask, the driver could tell the curious onlookers he's from AAA or Good Sam and is picking it up because of a damaged battery, or they could flatten a tire, or that the owner has lost the ignition keys, or whatever other reason he can think of to explain why he's towing it to "the shop" for repairs.
If they really want to steal your van, there's not much you can do except draw as much attention to it as possible when you're not there. I still think an audible alarm (and maybe a kill switch?) is the better option. Might be harder to explain if someone actually did call the police, or they happened to be nearby.
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Old 02-27-2013, 04:03 AM   #15
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok
I checked around by searching for GPS tracking system and found that there is a Radio Shack unit that you can hide in your rig (hooks up to 12V) and you subscribe to a service. Then you can go online and see exactly where your rig is at anytime, as well as where it's been since installation. Found one used on our local craigslist that someone had used to catch a cheating spouse. The price difference wasn't good enough to buy it, though. I guess they are $129 at RS. Just went back to CL and found the listing was gone. They must have sold it. Anyway, I looked it up and the unit is called an eZoom by Zoombak.
Edmunds article about this stuff. Interesting.
http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/e ... stems.html
Boomerang is a car location/tracking service that's owned by Lo-Jack and has been around for a while, too.
http://www.lojack.ca/antitheft/vehicle- ... ction.html
Here's a DIY GPS tracking system article. Some of the links are dead ends, but maybe it's possible to DIY something like this using some of the ideas in the article, with different websites today...
http://gizmodo.com/5691724/how-to-track ... -the-cheap
And finally, here's a simple GPS vehicle tracking system that should work (I think) according to ehow, and it sort of relates to the previous article. If you can buy a cheap prepaid cell phone that's GPS capable and enable the function, and then buy a 12V phone charger for your prepaid GPS phone, and tap a 12V power source in your van somewhere inconspicuous, and leave the phone with GPS enabled on all the time so that it will be able to be located by it's GPS signal, you should be able to find your van if the thieves don't park it somewhere that disrupts the GPS signal, or find the phone and disable or remove it.
http://www.ehow.com/list_7646091_vehicl ... tools.html
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:07 PM   #16
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rok
I checked around by searching for GPS tracking system and found that there is a Radio Shack unit that you can hide in your rig (hooks up to 12V) and you subscribe to a service. Then you can go online and see exactly where your rig is at anytime, as well as where it's been since installation. Found one used on our local craigslist that someone had used to catch a cheating spouse. The price difference wasn't good enough to buy it, though. I guess they are $129 at RS. Just went back to CL and found the listing was gone. They must have sold it. Anyway, I looked it up and the unit is called an eZoom by Zoombak.
Edmunds article about this stuff. Interesting.
http://www.edmunds.com/car-technology/e ... stems.html
Boomerang is a car location/tracking service that's owned by Lo-Jack and has been around for a while, too.
http://www.lojack.ca/antitheft/vehicle- ... ction.html
Here's a DIY GPS tracking system article. Some of the links are dead ends, but maybe it's possible to DIY something like this using some of the ideas in the article, with different websites today...
http://gizmodo.com/5691724/how-to-track ... -the-cheap
And finally, here's a simple GPS vehicle tracking system that should work (I think) according to ehow, and it sort of relates to the previous article. If you can buy a cheap prepaid cell phone that's GPS capable and enable the function, and then buy a 12V phone charger for your prepaid GPS phone, and tap a 12V power source in your van somewhere inconspicuous, and leave the phone with GPS enabled on all the time so that it will be able to be located by it's GPS signal, you should be able to find your van if the thieves don't park it somewhere that disrupts the GPS signal, or find the phone and disable or remove it.
http://www.ehow.com/list_7646091_vehicl ... tools.html
The Lo-jack idea is interesting, but to me only if it were tied to a notification system alarm. If a vehicle with Lo-jack is stolen, it can be disabled, and found if you know about it (from what I have read). Thieves also know this and if they think/know there is a Lo-jack they quickly take the vehicle inside, and/or find the device. As long as you were within range with your notification alarm, you could notify Lo-jack and hopefully save the vehicle. By the time you do all this stuff, you would spend a bunch of $. High end alarm system, Lo-jack purchase and subscription, probably a better data/connection plan for the phone, etc.

Yep, towing would easily defeat the kill switch, but if you were at a trail head, noise from the alarm wouldn't matter in many cases. They would have time to break in, disconnect the batteries until they could disable the alarm without a problem, if you were too far away.

I don't think any of these ideas is perfect, or even vastly superior to others, as all can be worked around. I saw an article the other day where a guy booted his own car to keep it from being stolen.

As a point of reference, I think all the class b thefts that were discussed on the Yahoo board were break in, hotwire, drive away thefts of vehicles without chipped keys, like ours is.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:35 PM   #17
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

From what I read (the articles I posted links to) only On-Star has the ability to disable the vehicle, but it was late, and I was bordering on double vision. But it's not easy or quick to get them to do it. They can't do a thing until there's a police report and case number. And then, they have to be requested by the police to locate, and then turn on the 4-ways and disable the vehicle. I think Lo-Jack is just a locator, that uses some FBI technology, created and started back in the late '70s.

If thieves want either your vehicle, or your panels, they'll get it/them, by whatever happens to be the easiest and quickest and lowest profile way to do it. Seriously, (in my opinion) the best remedy for car theft is a good auto/RV insurance policy, which can be updated to reflect the true replacement value of your vehicles. I believe most RV insurance policies are based on the (replacement) cost of the vehicle when you bought it. That may not get you enough money to actually replace it a few years later, if you were victimized. Talk to your insurance company about it, before it happens?

Is "booting" placing one of those clawed clamps around the tire? Like they do for parking violations in some places? I would think a wheel lift tow truck could get around even that? Might work better on a longer, heavier, vehicle.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:02 AM   #18
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

What about the good old steering wheel club?
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:52 AM   #19
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

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What about the good old steering wheel club?
Liquid nitrogen (or those wart removers?) spray to chill the club at the thinnest point in the bar to make it brittle, and then a few whacks with a hammer is supposed to "unlock" them. Not sure if it's just an internet myth, though.
Or, you could probably cut through them at the thinnest point with a portable Dremel tool and a hard enough blade.
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:21 AM   #20
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Default Re: what is the best alarm for a campervan etc.

It may be possible to wreck the club, but it is more awkward than most crooks want to deal with, I think. On the other hand, vehicle alarms go off on our street or in parking lots all the time, ad very few people pay attention.
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