Auckland To Wellington in a Electric Van!

The Challenge ahead

Following on from my the post about the new electric van here is my plan on how I intend to collect it from Auckland on Friday.

If I wanted a simple life then I’d have it transported down here, but that would be to easy and I always love a good challenge. Besides which I’ve collected every ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle I’ve purchased in the past so why should an electric one be any different?

The big challenge right now is the lack of charging stations outside of the main centres.

Charging Methods


e-NV200 has both a direct DC Rapid Charge Port and a 6.6KW built in charger for AC input

I’ll start off with a quick explanation of charging stations.

CHAdeMO: DC Fast charger which is also a Japanese pun translating to “How about some tea”  It will charge the van to 80% in about 25 minutes, so enough time to stop for tea or coffee. I’ve highlighted the ones I’ll be using with a red arrow on the route map below.

J1772: Feeds AC into the van which has a 6.6KW built in Charger that should give a 0% to 100% charge in 3 to 4 hours on a high current feed. I’ve highlighted where I can get a decent J1772 charge in Violet arrows on the map below. (Note the reason for getting the Acenta Rapid Plus over the Acenta or Acenta Plus which only have a 3.3KW charger so take longer to charge) Charging via a 10 Amp wall socket would take about 10 to 12 hours for a full charge. There is a good explanation here…

You’ll also notice that there are yellow stars on the map showing where other chargers are due to be open in 2016 are (I’ve been watching them closely for weeks but alas none have opened in time). Because Waiouru, Mangaweka and Otaki are not yet ready most of the normal SH1 route is simply not an option.

The Planned Route back to Wellington

My Planned route back to Wellington

The Planned Journey:

Friday: Fly up to Auckland and collect the van in the morning, catch up with a couple of friends in Auckland then drive down to Hamilton. I can get a charge in South Auckland if need be (124.7 KM). Stay in Hamilton at Brets and get a full slow charge over night. Hamilton also has a CHAdeMO.

Saturday: Leave Hamilton on 100% and go Rotorua (106.2 KM) as I’m not confident I’ll have the legs to make it the 151.7 KM to Taupo in one hit.

Use the Rototua CHAdeMO then onto Taupo (81.8 KM) where I’ll call into catch up with Steve Greenwood at Central Motor Group who has very kindly allowed be to use their J1772 32 Amp Juice Point charger.

The Challenging bit…

From Taupo things get a little tricky. I’ve decided that my best option is to head over to the east coast to Hastings which has a CHAdeMO. But that is 157.5 KM and pushing it! However there are a couple locations I can stop at on the way to get a slow charge:

  1. Tarawera Cafe (64.2 KM)
  2. Eskdale Holiday Park (59.6 KM from Tarawera Cafe) (123.8 from Taupo) (34.3 to Hastings)

From Hastings things get easier:

Hastings to Waipukarau CHAdeMO (49.3 KM)

Waipukarau to Palmerston North J1772 32 Amp  (108.2 KM)

Palmerston North to Featherston CHAdeMO (126.5 KM)

Featherston to Home (65.6 KM)

The following are super useful resources which I have been using and are worth checking out if you are interested:

Wish me luck 🙂

Posted in Electric Vehicles, Just for Fun!, Obsessive Van | 1 Comment

The New Obsessive Electric Van


Nissan Blog Posts

About 10 weeks ago I made the decision to purchase a Nissan e-NV200 panel van. It will be a direct replacement for the Nissan Wingroad that I currently work out of.

I first became aware of them back in April after my mate Simon insisted I should drive his one into Wellington. I believe his to be the first one in the Wellington region and I was very pleasantly surprised at just how nice it is to drive and how much sense it makes from both a practical a environmental point of view. I started doing some research on them as soon as I got home.

It’s basically a electric version of the NV200 van that uses the battery pack and electric motor out of the Nissan Leaf. It’s good for about 140KM on a full charge in real world driveing conditions (obviously this information is not from personal experience at this stage).

Zero Emissions and Zero Theft

Zero Emissions and Zero Theft

I decided that the Acenta Rapid Plus model would be the best option for what I required. The Tekna models have a built in GPS system and CAR-WINGS system that would be great, but do not work in New Zealand. A PDF with full specifications of all models can be found here…

Nissan NZ do not sell the e-NV200 (or the Nissan Leaf anymore for that matter) so the only option is to get an import model. I decided to contacted Lincoln and Sally Roberts of European Car Imports to find me one, they got back to me within an hour of my call with a price on a 2015 model from the UK with just 79 miles on the odometer.

The new e-NV200 Acenta Rapid Plus Panel Van
(Which I’ve not seen in person yet!) 

The new Obsessive work horse: Nissan e-NV200

The whole process so far has been super easy and the van arrived in Auckland last week, however there has been a small hiccup!

Faulty airbag sensor!!!

A faulty airbag sensor was detected when the van was going through compliance last week so it needs a replacement part before I can collect it.

Sally was onto it as soon as the news came in and has kept me in the loop. The Nissan dealer in Auckland (Schofields) quoted $511.81 for the part (I have a copy of the quote) and said it would take about 4 weeks to arrive! Fortunately Sally had a contact in the UK who managed to get one for £30.00 and can have it here in a couple of days via FedEx.

Here's a shot of my healing finger which lets Scofields part department what I thing of their pricing!

Here’s a shot of my healing finger which lets Schofields parts department know what I think of their rip off pricing!

So the plan is to collect the van from Auckland on Thursday (which could be pushing it depending on when the part arrives) and then driving it back to Wellington.

That’s going to be quite an adventure given the lack of chargers in the middle of the North Island! Fingers crossed it’s ready by then (not the left hand fingers of course as they still hurt).

Posted in Electric Vehicles, Nissan, Obsessive Van | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cobra AK4698

New Zealand Product Range

New Zealand Product Range

The Cobra AK4698 is the replacement for the soon to be discontinued AK4198 which set the bench mark for Remote Upgrade Alarms back in 2008. It’s an alarm that I would rate as being the best by a significant margin, both in terms of features and reliability. I have installed hundreds of them over the years. Given this the AK4698 has very high standards to meet.

Like it’s predecessor it comes with two remote controls and is designed for modern vehicles with an existing immobiliser.

The AK4698 is basically a remote version of the excellent AK4615 but without the CAN-BUS integration. It has the same waterproof wireless siren along with other siren options which I’ll explain later in the post, and can be programmed using the Cobra Andromeda software which allows the installer to custom program the alarm to suit the vehicle simply by plugging into a laptop.

Cobra AK4698 plugged into laptop for programming

Cobra AK4698 plugged into laptop for programming

Remote Control Options

Cobra two button padlock remote

2 button padlock remote $25.00 for case upgrade 

Standard issue remote with AK4698

AK4698 G series remote comes as standard

The AK4698 comes with the G Series remote as standard. Personally I’m not a big fan of this design and I’m aware that the dongle section that attaches to the key ring can break after a number of years.

I’ve decided to keep stock of the 2 Button Padlock remote case (the one that the AK4198 had) so I can offer it as an alternative. The internals are the same for both remote controls so the case can be changed if it is not to your taste.

The alarm with the padlock remote case is an extra $25.00 which covers my cost on the case (Only available upon installation and I retain the G Series case).

Advanced Remote Functions

The first press of the lock button arms the alarm, pressing the lock button a second time within 28 seconds will deselect the ultrasonic sensors, a third press disables the 3rd **optional sensor, and a 4th press disables all sensors other then the doors, boot and bonnet.

Simple arming (Press the arm button X number of times)

  1. Arm * (all sensors are active after 28 seconds)
  2. Disarm ultrasonic sensors for arm cycle
  3. Disarm optional sensor ** for arm cycle
  4. Disarm both ultrasonic sensors and optional sensor ** for arm cycle

* Keep lock button held down for controlled window closure where fitted and programmed (See window closure section)

** Optional sensor such as level sensor or PIR movement sensor

Selective Unlocking

The unlock button disarms the alarm and unlocks all the doors. For vehicles that feature selective unlocking the first press of the unlock button will unlock the drivers door and a second press will unlock the other doors.

Advanced Ultrasonic Sensor Control

Ultrasonic sensors explained

Ultrasonic sensors explained

Like the AK4615 the AK4698 allows the ultrasonic sensors to be adjusted for small cabins. It can also turn the sensors down to 70% sensitivity via an external input. This can be really useful on courier vans where the alarm is armed with the engine running with the fan heater left on. When the alarm detects that the fan is on it will turn the sensors down so the air movement generated by the fan does not cause a false alarm.

More Siren Options

Optional 4310 siren

Optional 4310 siren

If the wireless siren is not enough (it will be for most people) then there is the option of adding both horn honk and the 4310 waterproof siren.

The outgoing AK4198 only allowed for either the horn or an additional siren to be added whereas the AK4698 allows for both on top of the standard wireless battery back-up siren.

The volume level of the siren can be adjusted if audible arm/disarming is selected. As with all Cobra systems you can be confident that the sirens battery pack will last for years.

Optional Window Closure

Automatic window closure (windows roll up automatically when armed) or controlled comfort closure (Windows roll up whilst the remote lock button is held down) are both an option with the AK4698.

For cars that close the windows when the key is held in the lock position of the drivers door (common with BMW, Audi, VW and Skoda) this can normally be included for no extra cost.

Built in Starter Immobiliser

The AK4698 will automatically immobilise the starter motor when armed. It also has the option of having the 8509 Immobiliser pack added for additional security.


AK4698 Remote Upgrade Alarm

Cobra AK4698

RRP: $650.00

$675.00 with padlock remote case 

Insurance Approved:

Thatcham Cat 2-1 Remote Upgrade alarm

Obsessive Rating:
Top of the line security that comes highly recommended

Other then the remote case (which is a taste thing and can be changed) the AK4698 is a significant improvement on the AK4198 which takes some beating!



Options: (not standard features so additional cost applies)

Additional Information:

PDF icon4698 User Manual

Posted in Car Alarms, Cobra, Reviews | Leave a comment

No installs this week!

Update: I’m healing up nicely but the finger is still painful. Stitches come out this Monday, but there is still the risk of it splitting open again so I need to rest the hand.

I’m planning on being back in action on the Tuesday 25th October.

On doctors orders I’m taking a week off (maybe two) to recover after falling off my bike at the weekend.

Mainly because my knuckle got cut open and needs time to heal after having the gravel removed and getting stitched back up.

Big up for Wellington Hospital for fixing me up

Big up to the staff at Wellington Hospital for fixing me up

I’ve also got bruised rips, a cut arm and leg and some impressive scratch marks down most of my body. Not that any of those would normally stop me from working! The bike however is fine and got me home after I got my composure back after nearly passing out!

The good news is I have not broken any bones 🙂 I’ll have time to catch up with some blog posts this week even though my typing is now rather clumsy!

Any of you waiting on an install, I’ll be back to the tools soon. Thanks for being patient until I recover.

Posted in Muppets | 2 Comments

Autowatch PIN codes

Autowatch Product range

Autowatch Product range

If you need a replacement Autowatch remote then you’ll need to know your alarms over-ride pin number as Autowatch systems use it to prevent unauthorised remote cloning.

The pin number will allow the car to start in the event of a remote failing or getting lost. It will also be required to access programming of a new remote.

Where do you find your PIN number?

Your installer will provide you with either a card or a tag as shown in the photos below. They should also explain how to uses the code as provide you with a user manual.

I recommend storing your pin number on your smart phone along with a PDF copy of the user manual as explained here.

I keep a record of all the systems I install on a secure database so you can always contact me if it is one I have fitted. I will require proof of ownership for obvious reasons.

PIN code card for the 446RiS

PIN code card for the 446RiS

PIN code tag for the 4 button Autowatch remote. The number is also printed on the user manual.

If you purchased the car with the alarm already installed and the previous owner failed to pass it on then the alarm will need to be accessed to find the pin number. This is a service I can do for you an I recommend doing it before your lose your only remote!

Posted in Alarm Remotes, Autowatch, Trouble Shooting! | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Hyundai i45 Upgrade Alarm

Hyundai Blog Posts

The 6th generation Hyundai Sonata is known as the i45 in New Zealand. It comes with a factory transponder immobiliser and key-less entry. If you want a decent alarm then a OEM upgrade is the obvious way to go.

Cobra AK4615 in PLIP Mode

If you are looking to improve on the factory alarm then I highly recommend the Cobra AK4615. Whilst the i45 is not listed for CAN-BUS software it is still possible to install it in PLIP mode. If I have PLIP in brackets next to the model on the CAN-BUS vehicle listing page it indicates that it can still be installed without any issues.

Hyundai i45 2009-2014

Here is a quick video of the AK4615 in action in the i45.

The AK4615 uses the factory bonnet switch. The Cobra digital battery back-up wireless siren is hidden and horn honk is included.

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

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

Ultrasonic Sensors in the i45

LED over-ride switch

NF Sonata 2004-2009

NF Sonata 2004-2009

The AK4615 also works with the previous generation Sonata NF (2004-2009) which also comes with factory keyless entry.

Posted in Hyundai, Obsessive Installs, Upgrade Alarms | Leave a comment

Bicycle Rack Alarmed!

Cycle rack alarm

0THEFT plate really is designed for zero theft!

Obsessive Twitter Page

Obsessive Twitter Page

I was recently asked if I’d used a n/c loop to protect my bike after posting the above photo on my Twitter feed,

To explain the jargon a N/C loop is a (normally closed) wire that wraps around whatever it is you are trying to protect. If it gets cut then the alarm would trigger.

That’s quite a primitive and clumsy way to do things these days so I thought I’d share how I protect the bike when it is left on the back of the car.

I simply use a Tool Guard TG-6000 wireless angle sensor which is attached to the back of the supplementary number plate.

It looks like a normal number plate but as soon as you move it it triggers the alarm. Lets face it, technically I don’t need a supplementary plate as I’m not obstructing the plate on the car but it is still there for a reason.

Posted in Alarm Accessories, Tool Guard | Tagged | Leave a comment

Technical Support

By me a beer!

Buy me a local beer!

I get a huge number of emails from people asking for technical help and advice. If you’re local then this is great as I wouldn’t be here without you and I’ll do everything I can to help.

Even if you are not local (but still in NZ) then I can often help with replacement remote controls and programming of them.

But I do have to draw the line on how much help I can offer some of you out there.

Let me explain why:

  • I’m running a business. Like most people I do need to get paid for my time or I simply would not be here!
  • You should be contacting the alarm manufacture or supplier for technical assistance if you have not purchased it from me. After all, they are the ones who made a profit out of the sale. Note that I do not sell alarms without installation as it results in poor quality work and annoying alarm issues.
  • Installation manuals are confidential.

I’ve explained why I can’t make recommendation if you live outside Wellington.

A huge amount of time has already spent creating the Obsessive Website which is free for you to view and learn from!

If you have just been sent this link as a response please respect my time and appreciate that the following resources are all available to you for free on my website:

  • Obsessive Reviews:  You can read them all for free and comment if you wish to do so.
  • Free Advice Page: A guide to help you make a good decision.
  • Remote Photos: Designed to make it easy for you to identify which system you have.

Of course if you are still stuck and you want to show some appreciation, or even bribe me for time then you can send be a beer from my local supplier (they have an on-line shop) and we can talk whilst I have some down time 😉

Cheers Julian

Posted in Just for Fun! | Leave a comment

Cobra AB3868

New Zealand Product Range

New Zealand Product Range

Update August 2016:. The Cobra AB3868 is to be discontinued in New Zealand and has been superseded by the AK4615.

Stock Clearance

I have purchased the remaining stock at a discounted price so can pass the saving on to you.

Now $500.00 whilst stock lasts subject to vehicle and suitability.

The Cobra AB3868 set a new bench mark for upgrade alarms when it was released and despite being an old model it it still far better then most of the alternatives in New Zealand, even in 2016! It’s a very versatile alarm that works with your factory remote control. The AB3868 is intelligent in that it learns the timing of the vehicles arm and disarm commands.

Ultrasonic Sensors come as standard

Paper clip system Ultrasonic Sensors that tuck in between the "A pillar" trim and the roof lining.

Paper clip style Ultrasonic Sensors that tuck in between the “A pillar” trim and the roof lining.

Like all Cobra alarms Ultrasonic Sensors come as standard, but the design is no as elegant as the current range found with it replacement the AK4615.

That said they can be swapped over for the new style without any issues for a small amount extra.

The AB3868 is rated as a Thatcham CAT 2 to 1 upgrade. In other words it is designed for vehicles with an existing transponder immobiliser and uses the existing  factory remote to arm/ disarm.

Super Loud Siren

As with all Cobra alarms the AB3868 has a siren which is shrill, loud and attention grabbing when set off,  exactly the way any good car alarm should be. It can also be programmed for what ever volume you desire for the arm and dis-arm chirps, or set to silent.

The down side of the alarm is that it is not modular, which means it contains all the electronics in the siren housing. This makes it bigger then the current 4310 siren and more of a challenge to install then the new generation wireless siren found with the AK4615. As the wire loom is quite bulky it can place limitations on the installation. On some vehicles it can be a pain getting the cables into the cabin so it’s simply not practical to install.

Missing Features Compared to the AK4615

The AB3868 does not have a pager output so if you want an alarm that can be wired up to a pager, or GPS tracker then the New AK4615 would be my recommendation.

It also lacks the following:

  • Horn Honk
  • Second Siren option
  • Drivers Card Option (but sill has an anti hi-jack mode)
  • CAN-BUS capability

Cobra AB3868 PLIP Upgrade Alarm

Cobra AB3868 PLIP Upgrade Alarm

RRP: $650.00 * Now $500.00 whilst stock last (Subject to vehicle an suitability)

Insurance Approved:

Thatcham Cat 2-1 Upgrade

Obsessive Rating:
Getting old now but still better than most

A great alarm for the price




Additional Information:

PDF icon3868 User Manual (English pages only)

Posted in Car Alarms, Cobra, Reviews, Upgrade Alarms | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Toyota Hiace Upgrade Alarm


Toyota Blog Posts

The Toyota Hiace is beyond doubt the most popular van in New Zealand. It also claims top spot for the vehicle that I have installed the most alarms into. Last time I counted I was comfortably above 250 Hiace alarm installs.

The current Hiace came out in 2005, it had a major face lift in 2014 but on the whole has not changed much electrically since it’s release.

All New Zealand new models come with remote keyless entry and a factory transponder immobiliser, yet do not come with an alarm.

As of 2015 I have installed over 200 alarms to the post 2005 Hiace

Which Alarm is Best of the Hiace?

Toyota Car Alarm

AK4218 Toyota Upgrade Alarm

The Cobra AK4218 Toyota Upgrade Alarm is my alarm of choice for any Hiace manufactured after 2005.

It works perfectly with the Toyota remote key which makes it very user friendly as well a effective.

The alarm comes with the Cobra 4310 siren and supports horn honk so is super loud should someone have a crack.

Ultrasonic Internal Protection

As the Hiace is a popular trade vehicle they are often a target for break-ins so having good internal protection is vital. Glass break sensors are simply not effective in large vehicles and a PIR sensor looks crude in a van.

Ultrasonic Sensors protect the interior space in the Toyota Hiace

The Ultrasonic Sensors look like they were installed at the factory and are a perfect colour match. They protect the internal cabin space of the van and can be turned off upon arming simply by pressing the lock button on the Toyota remote a second time when arming the alarm. Great for those times when you wish to leave a window open or leave a dog in the van.

LED over-ride and optional extra LED

The Alarm comes with a red 3mm LED which is mounted with the over-ride switch, if you want a brighter visual deterrent then an extra LED can be added for no extra cost. Please ask in advance if you want this.

2014 Facelift Hiace dash with LED options

Easy Emergency Over-ride 

The PIN code over-ride can be customised to any 4 digit number so the alarm can be disarmed if the remote battery fails. The Video below shows how it works.

Cobra AK4128 Toyota Upgrade: $650.00 (Price includes installation and GST)

Toyota Hiace

2015 Hiace

2014 face-lift Hiace

In 2014 the Hiace had a major face-lift with new dashboard, revised grill and headlamps and new rounded side windows as well as some electrical updates.

As far as the alarm goes, all options remain the same even though the wiring is slightly different.

2005-2014 Pre face-lift Hiace

2005-2014 Pre face-lift Hiace

If you don’t have working Toyota remote then the Cobra AK4698 whould be my recommendation. It comes with Two Cobra Remotes that will give you full key-less entry. There is even the option to have remote controls with the Toyota Logo,

The AK4698 can also be used as a Courier alarm which allows the driver to alarm the van with the engine still running.

Other alarms possible

Of course I know the vans well enough to fit most other systems with ease, if you have a specific requirement then simply ask and I’ll see what I can do.

Posted in Car Alarms, Toyota, Upgrade Alarms | Tagged , , | Leave a comment