Ford Ranger Security 2006-2011

The second-generation Ford Ranger was made between 2006 and 2011.

With the exception of the early PJ (2006-2009) “poverty pack” XL model, most had central locking, keyless entry, and a transponder immobiliser as standard, yet lacked an alarm. The Facelift PK (2009-2011) XL model actually got central locking as standard!

Interestingly the early XL model does have the central locking relays and wiring loom, but Ford simply removed the door lock actuators!

2nd Generation Ford Ranger

You can tell if your Ford Ranger has an immobiliser by looking at the key. If the keyring hole is in the center as shown in the photo below it does not have one.

Ford Ranger XL Key with central keyring hole

If however the hole is offset to the side then there is a transponder chip in the head of the key.

Upgrading central locking in the XL

The locking is a cable system so adding aftermarket locking actuators is not an option. My suggestion is to get genuine Ford ones which will simply bolt into the factory doors, plug them into the existing wiring and the job is done.

Existing locking wire loom in the XL Ranger

I’m not suggesting taking a loan out and going to the Ford dealership (if anyone knows the pricing then let me know and I’ll post it here). There are enough old ones kicking around at the wreckers these days so grab some second-hand ones.

Ford Ranger Alarm options

If you have a Ranger that still has both remote controls you could opt for an OEM upgrade alarm that works with them. However, given that the Ford remote control is separate from the key I’d recommend an alarm that comes with two new remote controls.

The advantage of a remote alarm is that you have much more control over how it is programmed. If you don’t like the Ford Auto re-locking then you don’t have to have it.

I’d recommend an alarm with an immobiliser if you have the XL version.

If you have a canopy on the tray and keep tools in there then a PIR sensor is a good addition to any alarm.

Note: This post is also applicable to the Mazda BT-50 with the same production dates.

Details about 2012> Ford Ranger can be found here…

Ford Ranger upgrade alarm (Includes Mazda BT-50)

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Mercedes Benz C Class Upgrade Alarm

If you own a (W204) C Class Mercedes Benz without an alarm then the Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS upgrade alarm is as good as any factory-fitted option you could have.

It’s also a fraction of the price from what you’d pay at the dealership at the time of purchase.

Top Class Security

Other than a very subtle LED on the dash there is no visible sign that I’ve worked on the car.

C Class (W204) 2017-2014

Everything works with the factory smart key flawlessly.

Cobra LED on the C Class dash

Ultrasonic Installation Perfection

The C Class has factory holes in the light cluster that the Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors simply clip into.

C Class (W204) alarm movement sensors

There is no drilling required, they fit in the same as the factory option ones.

Fitting the sensors back into the roof lining

It’s then a case of running the cables and clipping the trim back in place with a sense of satisfaction.

Installation complete and nothing to see

It’s not just the visual side of things I love about the ultrasonic sensor in the Mercedes.

If you arm the alarm and leave a window open, then the alarm will disable the sensors and give you a warning chirp to let you know. This way you’ll never get a false alarm or leave your windows open by mistake.

It’s not a feature unique to the C Class, this is a common feature with most German vehicles.

Other simple (none standard) features

The alarm disarms when the boot is opened with the smart key, then re-arms when you shut the boot. The system is quite simply designed to work flawlessly with the car.

As for the rest of the install, well it’s all hidden and as tidy as the rest of the factory wiring as shown here:

C Class Upgrade Alarm

The Cobra AK4615 also works in the current C Class (W205) 2014>

Price from $750.00 installed.

Posted in CAN BUS Alarms, Car Alarms, Cobra, Mercedes Benz, Vodafone Automotive | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Toyota Hiace Courier Alarm

Last year I posted about the New Toyota Hiace. I can now add a new Courier alarm solution for the Hiace which I’m quite excited about.

It’s the first CAN-BUS courier alarm I have done and possibly a world-first too. I have not read about anyone else doing this before.

Historically this has not been possible as the alarm will not arm when the ignition is on. However Vodafone Automotive has been good enough to update the Hiace firmware to ignore the ignition CAN data.

Toyota Hiace Courier Alarm

It’s a sweet solution as the van can still use the one remote key that Toyota provides when it’s not being used as a Courier alarm. It can also work as a normal courier alarm with the Cobra remote.

Here it is in action:


More details about the AK4615 and the New Hiace can be found in my original blog post…

Toyota Hiace Courier Alarm

Toyota Hiace Alarm

New Toyoya Hiace Alarm

Pricing includes installation and GST

Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS courier alarm $815.00 (Comes with one Cobra Remote)

Additional Cobra Remote: $115.00 each


Optional Upgrade:

Tilt Sensor $150.00

Posted in CAN BUS Alarms, Car Alarms, Cobra, Courier alarms, Obsessive Installs, Toyota, Vodafone Automotive | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Car Alarms and Flat Batteries

Most of us will not have been using our vehicles much over the past 4 weeks, so it should not be a surprise if you find your battery has gone flat when you come to use it again.

Statistics show that about 40% of AA call-outs are normally due to battery issues. Since the Covid-19 lockdown, this figure has risen to 60%.

Batteries don’t get much of a chance to recharge with short journeys, so unless you’ve got a battery charger or have been running your vehicle periodically you’ll probably want to make sure it’s good before you need to drive it once more.

Now, this may sound obvious, but if your battery is flat, then your alarm will not work either!

Here are some of the most frequent questions I get asked:

Will my alarm still be armed when the battery is recharged?

Most alarms have a none volatile memory. This means that the alarm settings will still be the same after the battery has been disconnected and reconnected. So if your alarm was armed before the battery went flat it will still be armed when you come to recharge it.

There are some alarms (for example Viper 3100) that will default to the armed state when the battery is reconnected. The old myth that disconnecting the battery to re-set the alarm simply does not work!

If my battery is flat why does my siren still go off?

If you have a battery back-up battery siren which is in better health than the car battery then it’s simply doing its job! (You can read more about which battery back-up sirens have decent batteries here). Note that the siren battery only powers the siren and not the alarm. This explains why your remote will not disarm the alarm and stop the siren from sounding.

Once the car battery is good again, you can disarm your alarm with the remote.

Why does my over-ride pin number not disarm the alarm?

The battery needs a good 12 volt supply before it will work. If the alarm does not have power then the pin number over-ride will not work either!

Will the car alarm drain the car battery?

All alarms will drain a car battery over time. However, some alarms will flatten your battery much quicker than others.

AVS alarms will flatten your battery over 3 times faster than a Vodafone Automotive alarm. Some popular GPS Trackers will kill your car battery in under week too so be warned!

Tips for looking after your battery

If you are leaving your vehicle unused for more than 2 to 3 weeks (make that one week if you have an AVS alarm!) then I suggest doing one of the following:

  1. Get a battery maintainer and leave it connected when the vehicle is not in use.
  2. Disconnect the car battery negative terminal (disarm your alarm before doing this).
  3. Run your car for over 30 minutes once per week.
car alarms and flat batteries

Car Alarm Flat Battery Issue

Your battery is already flat and you can’t use your car!

Either call the AA, try jump-starting the vehicle or get a battery charger. If your battery is old then it may be time to replace it too.

Some “smart” battery chargers will not start charging the battery if the voltage is already super low. To get around this you can jump-start the process by hooking up a 2nd battery so that the smart charger sees a voltage which then kicks it into life. 😉

Jump starting?

Make sure that you follow the vehicle manufacture instructions if you are going to jump-start your car.

Please get the leads the right way around. If you are in any doubt then simply don’t do it as you can do expensive damage to some cars if you cock it up!

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve looked at a vehicle where some major fuses have been blown, yet the owner has denied that they got it wrong! 🙄

Posted in Trouble Shooting! | Tagged | 2 Comments

Callout Fees And Hourly Rate

car won't start

Trouble Shooting

Callout Pricing

(Includes GST)

Call out Fee: $120.00 (Includes 1st hour of Labour)

Hourly Rate: $80.00 per hour

What to expect?

You can expect a progress report after the 1st hour as I respect that you don’t want an unexpected bill.

Typically you’ll have 3 scenarios:

  1. It’s fixed.
  2. I know what the issue is, here is a fixed quote for the job.
  3. I don’t know, here are my recommendations…

Note: Please make sure your vehicle battery is fully charged before booking me in. Electrical troubleshooting is not possible when your battery is flat!

Posted in Trouble Shooting! | 1 Comment

Dynatron NZ is in Liquidation


Dynatron Product Range

I’ve just been informed that Dynatron NZ is in Liquidation. It’s not exactly breaking news as it happened on the 5th February! I’ve been a tad slack in posting about it.

Here’s the link to the Companies office…

The Dynatron NZ website is still up but the phone is not being answered.

Dynatron NZ is in Liquidation

So what does this mean if you have a Dynatron alarm?

Well if you have one of their (crap) Dynatron Digital alarms you’ll probably struggle to get spare parts or any support. I’ve never sold one personally as the product was too crap to be associated with! Dynatron Digital alarms were re-branding Kodinis Raktas alarms which they sold since 2013.

My suggestion is to either import your own parts directly or replace the alarm with a decent system.

Old Dynatron alarms are still supported

If you have a pre-2013 Dynatron alarm (see the logo at the start of the post) then relax. These were re-branded Dynamco alarms and are still available. I keep replacement remote controls for these.

Posted in Car Security News, Dynatron | Leave a comment

Viper 412V

The Viper 412V is the latest keyless entry system from Directed Electronics.

It replaces the Viper 211HV and comes with new remote controls and erm… Well, that’s about it!

It’s actually the same as the 211HV in all aspects apart from the new remote controls and a new box.

Inside the box, the user manual says 211HV which is a tad lazy but not really a problem.

Viper 412V

Viper 412V – With New Remote Controls

There are 3 buttons on the face of the remote. Lock and unlock don’t really need explaining, other than pressing both together activates the AUX 3 output.

Like the 211HV selective unlocking, double locking and unlocking are all supported.

The bottom button actives the panic alarm. The old remote on the 211HV did have a siren symbol, but I’m guessing this remote is borrowed from a remote start system as it uses the remote start logo?

The Aux button on the side of the remote activated the Aux 2 output. This is typically used for boot pop, but can be wired up for other functions.

Read the 211HV review for more details

Details here… It’ll save me repeating myself!

Viper 412V

Suggested Retail Price: $280 (may vary depending on vehicle and features)

Obsessive Rating:
A very versatile keyless entry system with a new number!

Read the 211HV review for more details as it’s exactly the same, just with different remote controls.



  • Two 4 Button remote controls
  • Blue LED
  • Hazard/Park-light output
  • Horn honk and panic options
  • Valet Mode
  • Courtesy Light output
  • Two Aux outputs


Additional information

PDF icon211HV User Manual

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Viper 515R Battery Back-up Siren

The 515R is a battery back-up siren from Viper.

It’s one of those sirens that I’m not a big fan of as it has an over-ride key.

That said it does have a decent internal battery and the keys are individually numbered. Unlike the Mongoose and AVS battery back-up sirens, the lock is not super easy to pick!

I have stock of these which I’m willing to sell without installation. This way you can service your old alarm and make sure it still works.

A great replacement for your Mongoose M60 siren as it actually works!

Here is the mongoose siren in action to compare:


Please let me know which alarm you have and I can let you know if it is compatible and provide fitting instructions.

It will be good for most Mongoose and Dynatron alarms, along with many others.

Clearance price whilst stocks last: $45.00 each plus shipping.

Posted in Sirens, Viper | Tagged | 2 Comments

“Ever since you fitted the alarm…”

Ever since you fitted the alarm…

I’ve lost count of how many times an alarm has been the accused of being…

(fill in your own random complaint here)

…the reason things stop working on a vehicle.

Yet it nearly always turns out to be something else.

Here is the most recent one which I’ve had to deal with:

Alarm Problem

Hi Julian,

Just wanted to get in contact with you in regards to an alarm you installed in our vehicle.

Please see below previous correspondence we’ve had regarding this.

I’ve attached an invoice from an auto electrician who has identified the issue with the draining of the battery with the alarm.

I look forward to hearing your response on how to go forward from here to resolve the issue.

Thanks (Name edited)

I’m always skeptical when it comes to the work of 3rd parties. I’ve lost count of how many Auto Electricians have pointed the finger at the alarm yet fail to back it up with any solid evidence.

Take the above invoice for example:

Pull alarm fuse and leave the vehicle for 5 days = Must be the alarm.

It’s not exactly what I’d call an efficient use of time, and it’s certainly not best practice.

Doing a current draw test

So the alarm draws about 8mA. This is a super quick test to do and it is proof that the alarm is not the reason the car battery is going flat!

So what is happening with the battery?

I put the multimeter on the battery and had a quick look:

It’s pretty obvious that something on the Clock/Room fuse that is causing the battery to go flat.

So much of my job is trying to keep an open mind and not jumping to false conclusions. It’s satisfying to get a result, but also super frustrating to have to deal with these complaints. Sadly it happens far too often! 

I’m now making an effort to put more of these stories on the Trouble Shooting section of the blog. Hopefully, some people will read it and learn!

It did not take me 5 days to get to this stage and unlike the Auto Electrician who is probably not an alarm specialist, (well they have AVS listed on their website) I actually have some evidence. ?

Posted in Car Alarms, Installers, Trouble Shooting! | Tagged | Leave a comment

Alarm Troubleshooting…

Troubleshooting is always interesting…

Especially when you’re looking at an issue someone else has caused!

I got approached by a client to have a look at their alarm system. It did work but since Auto Electrician had installed the new car stereo it does not work. In fact, the car is now immobilised and stuck in his garage!

The Auto sparky wanted to replace the alarm with another “5 Star system” and didn’t seem to think that his work had caused the issue.

So I arrived to look at the car (a 2006 Subaru Legacy) and found it has a factory transponder immobiliser and an AVS S5!

The AVS remote no longer works and both of the Subaru remote controls have stopped working too.

Testing the remotes

Remote Frequency Tester

First off I needed to know if the remote controls actually worked or not. As with all troubleshooting, it’s a process of elimination.

I got my remote frequency tester out and found that both the Subaru remote controls were transmitting as they should. The AVS one had failed.

Next, I looked to see if a door had been left open. Often a car will not respond to the remote when a door is open so it’s a simple check.

Upon doing this I noticed that all of the interior dome lamps were not working. I asked the customer and he confirmed that it used to work fine beforehand.

Check the Fuses

Blown Fuse

I then got out my trusty power probe and when to the vehicles fuse box:

I found this blown 20 amp fuse after 30 seconds, then replaced it.


The internal lamp now works, as does the keyless entry.

I unlock the car and the pointless AVS Immobiliser also disarms.

One happy customer who I advise not to get an AVS alarm in his next car because it will be killing his battery. Of course, he already knows this as he’s read my blog!

Posted in AVS, Trouble Shooting! | Tagged | Leave a comment