Fiat Ducato Upgrade Alarm

Fiat Blog Posts

The current Fiat Ducato is now in its 3rd generation and was released in 2006. It’s also re-branded and sold as a Peugeot Boxer and a Citroen Jumper.

All models come with keyless entry and a transponder immobiliser as standard but lack an alarm.

The Ducato received a face lift in 2014 which was mainly cosmetic. I highly recommend the Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS alarm for both the pre and post face-lift models as it works flawlessly.

I have also added a Cobra remote to one in the past which is a good option if you only have one remote key.

2014 Facelift Fiat Ducato

Bonnet Switch

It’s one of those vehicles where there is no obvious spot to fit a bonnet switch. When this happens I like to get the old bluetack out to see where the bonnet compresses down.

For the Ducato I ended up using a custom bracket which mounts on a factory bolt and used a waterproof switch. The result is tidy and will not rust like the shitty ones most alarms come with. As always I take notes and photos so the next one is easier.

Custom Bracket for bonnet switch locates on factory bolt

All you’ll see after the install are the Ultrasonic sensors and LED over-ride switch.

Here are some more photos of what you’ll see after the install:

Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors in the Fiat Ducato look the part and protect the internal cabin.

Cobra LED fits well on black dash plug next to the hazard switch

Fiat Ducato Camper Van

The camper van version of the Ducato can have reed switches fitted to protect the external hatch doors and a PIR sensor for the back when required.

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Courier Alarms

Courier alarms allow you to arm the alarm when the vehicle is still running with the key left in the ignition.

Here I offer some advice to save any mishaps, plus I look at some of the more popular courier alarms and the pros and cons of each one:

Recommendations for all courier drivers:

Emergency back up key

Courier alarms tend to get much more use than your average alarm and the remote controls tend to take a hammering.

This can lead to the remote failing for a number of reasons such as a flat battery, or a collapsed or disconnected tact switch or even water damage.

I recommend changing the remote batteries on a regular basis and testing your spare remote (you should have one). If the remote is damaged or showing signs of wear then get it repaired (new case) or replaced I carry spares for most decent brands.

I also recommend visiting your local auto locksmith to get a plain metal key cut to carry with you, this way you will have a way back into the van if the remote fails.

It only needs to be a plain metal key without a transponder chip, it will save your day should the worst happen. It’s wise to keep a record of the alarms over-ride pin number so that it can be disarmed without the remote too. Knowing how your alarm works will make your life much easier!

I’ve had a number of phone calls over the years where the driver has parked up in a busy spot, armed the alarm then came back to find that the alarm is no longer responding the the remote. There is never a good time for it to happen!

With that said here are some of the popular options:


Cyclops P375C (also known as a Dynatron D3600)

The Cyclops/Dynatron has been a popular courier alarm for many years now.

The only difference between the Courier version of the P375  and the regular alarm is that it is fitted with a courier chip which allows the alarm to arm whilst the ignition is on.

It’s worth noting that the glass break sensor on the P375 is not active whilst the engine is running so there is no internal protection during this time (this is not mentioned in the user manual). Note that a glass break sensor is not very effective in a large vehicle, especially one with window tints.

How the P375C immobiliser works:

Like the standard alarm the immobiliser kicks in 40 seconds after the ignition is turned off, this can be annoying and seems pointless and outdated these days given that most new vans already have a factory transponder immobiliser.

Whilst the engine is running:

If any of the doors are opened then the alarm will sound and the engine will stop. Whilst this is seen as a must have feature for some courier drivers it is not without risk which I’ll cover at the end of the post.

RRP: $500.00


Viper PKE/3606V Combo

This system allows hands free operation, simply walk away from the van and it locks and arms, then disarms when you return. There is no need to press the remote.

This set up uses the Viper 3606V alarm system in combination with their passive keyless entry system which kicks in when the engine is turned on.

It’s one of more expensive options but well worth it for the convenience.

Expect to pay about $900.00 for the combination.

Here’s a post about one which I installed in a Ford Transit a couple of years ago…

Ford Transit courier alarm

This system can work with most vehicles.

RRP: 900.00 (may vary depending on vehicle)


The Toyota Hiace has dominated the courier van market for years in New Zealand. With Cobra being the approved alarm brand for Toyota New Zealand they have had a number of Courier alarms which were dealership fitted.

I’ll write another post covering the historic options soon as there is too much to go into here.

Cobra AK4698C

The AK4698 is the latest offering from Cobra and it’s got some great features that make it an excellent option as a courier alarm.

First off the Ultrasonic Sensors can be programmed so that the sensitivity is automatically reduced to about 70% whilst the alarm is armed with the engine running. This means that the air-conditioning/heater fan can be left on with the alarm armed without any issues. The Ultrasonic sensors can also be turned off by pressing the remote button a second time when arming the alarm.

Cobra Warning!

Starter Immobiliser

Cobra NZ only recommend that the starter motor is immobilised for safety reasons, this means that once the engine it stopped it can’t be started again without disarming the alarm.

Internal Siren

Cobra NZ are happy for the siren to be installed inside the cabin which should be enough to scare most people off should they break in.

The alarm also has horn honk so it is still audible from outside when needed.

The other great thing with any Cobra system is how easy the PIN code over-ride is to use.

RRP: $650.00


Other Courier Alarms

AVS and Mongoose also offer courier alarms, neither of which I’m going to cover here as that would be like recommending gonorrhoea for your wheels!


Courier alarms of the future

The end of internal combustion engine is coming.

Electric cars/vans don’t need to have the engine left running pumping fumes into the air, plus most come with proximity locking as standard which is a big win.

I’ve already spotted a couple of Nissan e-NV200 courier vans in Wellington and the Cobra AK4615 is the perfect choice for those that need an alarm. It’s the same as what I’m running in the Obsessive Van.


Engine kill risks!

The engine kill feature is not offered by many alarm manufactures as there is the potential for things to go wrong. Most of the risks are covered in my “Immobilising a Moving Vehicle” post.

Note: The only system covered here that offers to kill the engine if the alarm sounds is the Cyclops P375C

As an owner/operator of this system it is important to understand the potential risks. Having well maintained door switches and remote controls are vital.

Immobilising a Moving Vehicle. Not Cool!

The risk is arming the alarm whilst driving is not to be overlooked. It could easily happen if the remote got nudged or had a faulty switch due to wear and tear, this combined with a faulty door switch has the potential to cause the car/van to immobilise the engine whilst in motion.

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Isuzu D-Max Upgrade Alarm

The Isuzu D-Max is another popular Ute which I’ve worked on recently.

It comes with factory keyless entry and immobiliser as standard but lacks an alarm which is a must have if you are are a tradesman and keep tools in it.

Both the Cobra AB3868 and the Cobra AK4615 are excellent options for the D-Max and work flawlessly with the factory remote. Ultrasonic movement sensors come as standard with either system to cover the front cabin.

A PIR sensor is recommended if you have a canopy with contents that need protecting.

D-Max

 

Here are some shots of how the Cobra looks in the D-Max

Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors look good in the D-Max

Cobra LED Over-ride switch in the D-Max

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Immobilising a Moving Vehicle. Not Cool!

I often get asked if it is possible to wire a GPS Tracker up to immobilise a vehicle whilst it is running.

The answer is always a very firm No. The only safe thing to immobilise is the starter motor.

Let me explain why having the option to stop a moving vehicle is a bad idea as well as what the legal implications of doing so would be.

Here’s the scenario in your head:

A scumbag has taken your car, but you have a tracker which can kill the engine with. You send a text and the car comes to a halt and you can recover it quickly.

I totally understand the desire to do this and the deep down I love the idea of catching a thieving tosser and dishing out some justice.

The Reality:

The reality is that the driver no longer has control of the car and there is a risk of the vehicle becoming involved an accident.

It’s not just the thief who could be hurt, there is also the risk that an innocent third party may get caught up and seriously hurt or even killed.

Then comes all the legal stuff about who is liable should a crash result from your actions. You could argue that you the owner or sender of the text message are responsible, maybe it’s karma if the thief gets hurt!

The hard truth of it is that it falls on the product manufacturer, re-seller and installer. Most trackers come with a disclaimer stating that the immobiliser function is only designed to be wired up to the starer motor for this very reason.

Doing things within the law

When I was installing RAC Trackstar in the UK back in 2004 it was possible to wire up the fuel pump to bring the vehicle to a halt. This worked by slowly pulsing the fuel off gradually stopping the vehicle, but it would only ever be done when the police had a visual on the vehicle, and were in communication with the RAC Trackstar control centre so it could be done under controlled conditions.

Here in New Zealand we do not yet have such as system available.

Until such a time that we catch up it is simply not an option. Besides which if you have a effective immobiliser which is well installed then you’ll dramatically reduce the risk of your car being driven off in the first place!

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TX-90 & TX-90T remote controls

DYNATRON PRODUCT RANGE

Dynatron Product Range

Cyclops Product Range

Cyclops Product Range

The original TX-90T remote was easy to identify due to it’s LED colour which was blue.

It worked well but for some reason Australian alarm manufactures Dynamco (Cyclops) have decided to dabble and change the LED to green.

To make things even more interesting the remote now comes as both a transponder remote (TX-90T) and a none transponder version (TX-90), both with a green LED.

The intention of this post is to help clarify which remote is which!

The TX-90T is the transponder remote (Note the T at the end).

Dynamco/Cyclops/Dynatron remote range

The new Green LED version of the TX-90T flickers when the button is held down whereas the Green LED on the TX-90 will come on solid.

The TX-90 is the none transponder version of the remote which replaces the TX-111 and the TX-11 Green LED remote


How does the Dynatron (TX90T) Transponder Remote work?

The 7 Series has a coil which is installed around the ignition barrel behind the plastic steering wheel cowl trim.

Old TX-11 remote with Blue LED (replacement cases are still available)

When the door of the vehicle is opened the transponder coil will energise for 30 seconds. If a coded transponder remote is placed in proximity of the coil then the immobiliser will disarm.

If more than 30 seconds has passed since the door was opened then the coil will turn off to preserve the vehicles battery. The coil will also energize whenever the ignition is turned on.

TX-90T replaces the TX-11 Blue remote found on older models of the 7 series which would often end up with a broken case or the rubber buttons would perish. Note: replacement cases are still available for the TX-11.

Trouble Shooting

Having two TX-9oT  remotes (or TX-11 blue remotes for that matter) side by side will cause the transponder to stop working, it will also cause the remote batteries to drain quickly. In other words it is not a good idea to have 2 sets of transponder remotes on the same key ring.


Changing Batteries

Both the TX-90 and TX-90T remote controls use two CR2016 batteries that typically last for 3 years, but this will vary on usage.

TX-90T remote takes 2 CR2016 batteries.
Note: Transponder coil in the remote which is missing in the TX90

Take care not to remove the half crescent plastic that prevents the batteries shorting out and make sure that the + tab holds the batteries down firmly.


TX-90 Remote and TX-90T (Transponder Remote)

TX-90T and TX90 Remote

TX-90T (Transponder Remote) Compatible Alarms:

TX-90T RRP: $95.00

Historic 7 Series Remote Controls

  • TX-11 Blue LED 1997-2007
  • TX-90T Blue LED 2007-2016
  • TX90T Green LED 2017 >

TX-90 Compatible Alarms:

TX-90 RRP: $85.00

Historic 3 Series Remote Controls

  • TX-11 Green LED 1997-2007
  • TX-111 2007-2016
  • TX-90 2017-

Replacement Case (fits all TX-90 and TX90T remote controls)

Replacement Case fits all

RRP: $25.00

TX-111 case also available


What to do if your Dynaton/Cyclops remote stops working?

All of the alarms that these systems work with will immobilise the engine 40 seconds after turning the ignition off. If your remote fails and you don’t have a spare one and have already replaced the remote batteries then you’ll need the alarms over-ride pin number.

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Mitsubishi Triton Upgrade Alarm

The Mitsubishi Triton as it is known here in New Zealand is also know as the L200 in other lands.

The current version which was released in 2015 comes with factory keyless entry and immobiliser but lacks an alarm.

Last week I installed a Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS upgrade alarm to one so I’ve put this post up to show how it looks when installed in the vehicle.

The siren is hidden and it nice and loud when combined with the horn.

Mitsubishi Triton 2015-

Photos of the Triton alarm installed:

Tidy Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors fitted in the Mitsubishi Triton

Cobra Alarm LED Located in centre console of the Triton

L200 alarm system

Triton remote key operates the alarm

2006-2015 Mitsubishi Triton

Previous Generation Mitsubishi Triton 2006-2015

The old version also came with a factory transponder immobiliser and remote keyless entry so the AK4615 will work on PLIP mode.

Any OEM upgrade alarm should work if installed well, a remote upgrade alarm is also an option.

Options:

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Mazda 3 Upgrade alarm

The Mazda 3 (Or Axela as it is called in Japan) was first released in 2003. All New Zealand models have a factory immobiliser but some of the early Generation 1 Japanese Axela (BK Shape) imports did not have any form of security.

With all Mazda 3 models adding an alarm to the work with the factory remote controls is possible.

I’ll start off with the GEN 2 (BL) model which is full CAN-BUS and really does need a decent CAN-BUS alarm if it is to be effective.


Generation 2 Mazda 3/Axela (BL)

Mazda 3 alarm

Mazda Axela BL 2008-2013

The CAN-BUS system is similar to most Nissan models in that a manual lock/unlock with the hazard lights active produces the same signal as a remote lock/unlock. Therefor most aftermarket CAN-BUS alarms can be tricked into arming and disarming which is clearly not ideal.

The only CAN-BUS alarm I am currently aware of that protects against this is the Cobra AK4615. It is the only system I recommend for the BL Mazda 3/Axela if you wish to continue using the factory remote or smart key. The Cobra has that factory look and feel too so it’s simply the best choice. There is also the option to add a Cobra remote control which is far better value then the $300+ that Mazda normally ask for a single remote.

For those of you that don’t have any factory remote controls a Remote Upgrade Alarm or keyless entry system is recommended.

Here are some shots of how the Cobra AK4615 looks in the car:

Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors installed (Mazda 3 BL 2008-2013)

Hooking the horn up along with the Siren up is easy with the AK4615 on the Mazda 3. Everything other then the Ultrasonic sensors and the LED are hidden.

Cobra LED Over-ride installed in a Mazda 3 (BL)


Generation 1 Mazda 3/Axela (BK)

Mazda 3 2003 alarm

Mazda Axela BK 2003-2008

The Cobra AK4615 also works with the original Gen 1 Mazda 3, but it is in PLIP mode rather then CAN-BUS. From a user point of view it still functions the same.

As the BK Model does not need a CAN-BUS alarm any OEM upgrade alarm can be made to work, as can a Remote Upgrade Alarm if you need an alarm with it’s own remote controls.

Below are some photos of a Gen 1 Mazda 3 installed with a Cobra:

Gen 1 Mazda 3 with Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors

Mazda 3 (BK) LED installed

I’ll cover the third Generation Mazda 3 in details once I get some photos…

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Ford Falcon BA/BF Compatible Remote Control

Ford Blog Posts

If you have a Ford Falcon BA or BF Model and need a replacement remote control then I now have them in stock.

They are super easy to code and will work if your Falcon was manufactured between 2002-2010.

BA Falcon 2002-2005

BF Falcon 2005-2010


Ford Falcon Compatible Remote

  • Note: This is not a genuine Ford remote, it is an affordable alternative that works
  • Price: $65.00 each
  • Frequency: 434 MHz
  • Battery: CR2032

Alternatively I can supply and install a Remote Upgrade Alarm that comes with two new remote controls.

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LDV V80 Alarm

LDV blog posts

The LDV V80 van is becoming quite a common sight on the NZ roads which is quite remarkable give that they have only been on sale here since 2014.

It comes with an engine immobiliser and keyless entry as standard so decent  OEM Upgrade Alarm would be the obvious way to go if you wish to protect the van and its contents.

Having said that the model I worked on only came with one factory remote key which left me unimpressed. It does come with a second key, but it has no remote buttons built in. The good news is that the Cobra AK4615 can work with both the factory remote and a Cobra remote, or you could hit LDV up for a second remote key.

LDV V80 Maxus Van 2011 >

If they start coming with two remote keys as standard then please let me know and I’ll update this space.

Cobra AK4615 in PLIP Mode or AK4698 with two Cobra Remote Controls

Both the Cobra AK4615 and AK4698 are good options for the V80. Horn honk along with the Cobra siren make the alarm nice and loud as it should be and ultrasonic sensors cover the internal space.

Only comes with one factory remote key!

Here are some photos of what you’ll see after the install:

Ultrasonic Sensors protect the inside of the LDV

Ultrasonic Sensors protect the inside of the LDV

Cobra Remote

Fully Electric Van Coming soon…

LDV have a full Electric Version of the van coming soon. I’ll attempt to get my hands on one once they get released here.

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What is door peeling and how do you protect against it?

Door Peeling, or “Peel and Steal” is a big issue in the UK right now. It’s a very destructive way to break into a van without triggering the factory alarm (if there even is one).

Peeling is the simple act of folding the top of a door open with brute force to see if there are any valuable contents.

It has come to my attention via some of my Twitter feeds, Check out Vans Under Attack twitter page which is a big eye opener!

Here’s a link to a Daily Mail post which has some horrid images and a video showing how the peeling is being done… **

Ford Transit Door Peeled

I’m not aware of it being a problem in New Zealand as yet, partly because we don’t have many panel vans as most of our vans have glass windows! Arguably this makes them even easier to look and break into, I’ve never understood why so many are sold here, most dealerships don’t seem overly concerned about content security. On the bright side glass is cheaper to fix!

It’s easy to look on the NZ police website to find out which vehicles are stolen but I’m sure that content theft is a far bigger issue, sadly there is no public data that I know of.


Securing the Obsessive Van from Door Peeling

With the Van having factory deadlocks and a partition from the main cab the only way into the back without the remote is by brute force.

The ultimate goal was to minimise the potential for damage being done in an attempted break in. It’s also an attempt to stay ahead of the game and learn new tricks. In my opinion there’s no better way to learn then to keep an eye on what others in the industry are up to, along with experimenting on your own vehicle and living with the results.

PIR Sensor with internal sirens

It’s all very well having a PIR Sensor or a Microwave Sensor to detect and scare off an intruder, but that’s not really much comfort if your door has been folded in half! It’s much better if the scumbags get warned away before any damage is actually done, or better still catch them in the act.

Keeping things Clean

First off I did not want to drill any holes if possible. I wanted to mount a switch and get a cable into the vehicle without it looking crude. The obvious location was by the rubber door stopper which is held in place with two M6 bolts.

Existing door stopper and M6 fixing bolts

I did some homework and found that I could source some hollow M6 bolts which I could run a cable through.

Waterproof Micro Switch with wires run through hollow M6 Bolt

Next came the micro switch which I made a bracket up for. The hole in the bracket is the mount point which is secured by the other existing M6 bolt.

Micro switch mounted on custom made Stainless bracket

Having the bracket on the top bolt allows for minor adjustment as it can be tilted when fitting. The cable then runs down inside the panel to the factory door switch.

Installed Micro Switch with not new holes drilled

Here’s a video of it in action:

More details on the Obsessive Van security system can be found here…

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Foot Note: ** I accept that the Daily Mail is gutter journalism of which 50% of linked content is Cleavage Click bait rather then actual news,  but it’s the best I could find today!

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