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 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!
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.
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.
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.
Replacement Case (fits all TX-90 and TX90T remote controls)
Replacement Case fits all
TX-11 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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.
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.
I suggest checking the NZ Police stolen vehicle page where you can download the number of stolen vehicles for each area if you want some solid numbers.
Police warning on Facebook
Anyway now seems a good time to point out what security the Demio comes with and what options there are to protect them.
First off do not assume that your Mazda Demio (or any Japanese car for that matter) has an immobiliser, even if you have a remote key.
I’ve worked on models as late as 2011 that have keyless entry but no factory immobiliser or alarm.
Mazda Demio (DE) 2007-2014
How can you tell if your Demio has an Immobiliser?
Immobiliser Warning Light
Have a look at your instrument cluster and see if it has an immobiliser warning light that flashes when the key is not in the ignition.
All of the generation 3 models (DE) 2007-2014 will have a spot for the immobiliser light. Even cars without an immobiliser have the symbol there but it does not flash! If you look closely you can normally spot it but note that it is not lit up.
A Cobra Remote can also be added to the AK4615 so if you only have one remote key and an none remote key this could be a more cost effective option then getting another remote key from the dealer ship.
Ultrasonic sensors come as standard with the Cobra which protect the cabin along with door, boot and bonnet protection. The Wireless siren can be hidden, plus is loud with horn wired up too so it’ll get noticed if someone does break in.
Here are some photos of what the Cobra AK4615 alarm looks like installed: