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Old 11-18-2008, 11:29 AM   #1
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Default Car Security Systems - A Review

Objective:
1. To review the features and capability of car security systems available for the aftermarket segment
2. To allow owners/companies to post their comments on their existing security systems
3. To enable car owners to discover and understand the car security choices available to them


Background:
Car theft has become exceedingly common. The ever popular Honda Civic EG6 and the Lexus/Toyota Harrier are at the top of the list of most stolen cars - as listed by Insurance companies who levy high insurance premiums on these models. But that list is long.

For proud car owners, the lost of one's beloved car is nearly equivalent to having a loved one kidnapped. It does not matter if a car is 20 years old or a year old, car theft strikes everywhere and very often. And car enthusiasts who spend significant amounts of time and money upgrading, maintaining and detailing their rides will feel the sting a lot more than the regular car owner.

This thread will attempt to detail those car security system options available in the market - both OEM and aftermarket.


Feel free to add in your own thoughts and comments on what you use to secure your car.
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Old 11-18-2008, 12:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

First up: Cobra Connex
Website: http://www.cobra.com.my/s-cc-main.html

Pricing:
Standard (TQ) - RM 2,980 (+300 for Vocal/Web App)
Premium (TS) - RM 3,980 (includes Vocal/Web App)

Key Features:
Intelligent Communication Device (ICD) TQ:YES TS:YES
ICD Control Unit
- Integral GPS & GSM Receivers TQ:YES TS:YES
- Integral Backup Battery TQ:YES TS:YES
- Integral Automatic Driver Recognition TQ:NO TS:YES
+ Card Receiver

External GPS & GSM Antennas TQ:YES TS:YES
Automatic Driver Recognition Cards for driver ID (Unauthorised driving) x 2 TQ:NO TS:YES
Cobra Connex Interactive Vocal/Web features TQ:OPTIONAL TS:YES


Notes: One of the more recommended security systems available. This product is most resistant to tampering when it is installed without putting up any stickers. Additionally, speak to the Authorised Installer on locating the unit in hard to reach places of the car interior.


My neighbour has 4 Toyotas, each equiped with this security system as standard. It enabled him to monitor his daughter's recent travel to Penang on a website (kinda like a wikimapia with a moving dot - updates every 5 seconds) and scold her for driving at 160KPH...
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Old 11-18-2008, 12:46 PM   #3
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

No immobilizer ?

Last edited by FVel; 11-18-2008 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 11-18-2008, 01:09 PM   #4
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

Immobilizer:
http://www.cobra.com.my/antitheft.htm

Sold separately. The item I listed above is for "stolen vehicle recovery". Thanks for the tip, I should also include immobilisers as part of the security write-up.
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Old 11-18-2008, 03:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

One thing I have an issue with is GPS tracking that rely on an external antenna for line-of-sight (LOS) satellite reception. When I asked about the Clifford GPS system, the people I spoke with at the Clifford dealership in KL were quite honest with me on this. No doubt the system cost a lot, has all the nice techie stuff...personal remote real-time monitoring, remote user activated command etc, etc. But all the thief has to do is drive your car into a location that is covered, e.g. underground carpark, shipping container and your GPS is effectively blinded. They can also disable your external antenna if the the antenna is obvious. Once blinded they can take their time finding your hidden transmitter unit and the backup battery.

Is the Cobra GSM similar to Captor-RF ? Captor-RF does not rely on LOS. They can track the vehicle through obstructions provided your car remain within the area of RF coverage (Malaysia) The only downside is there is no real-time tracking through internet and such.

They need to send out tracking teams to triangulate on the signal and that could take a couple hours at best....more than enough time for the bastards to strip the damn car judging by how quickly some of these cases ended.

Which is why you really need a security layer that is more immediate, such as an immobilizer to complement the tracking. Perhaps security tint, and a good alarm system that has both impact sensor and also able to detect change in air-pressure. Ideally it should also send an alert straight to your handphone once the car compartment is invaded. At least even you don't stop them, the more layers of security you add the more you slow them down...buy some time...hopefully.

One more thing, Captor comes with immobilizer but unlike Clifford Blackjax or Cobra immobilizer, the Captor immobilizer is only activated by the Captor control centre. Here's the problem. They won't activate it unless they have a visual on your car. That means they will first have to track your car down. Their policy is they won't activate the immobilizer if it has the potential of causing a traffic accident and the only way to know when it is safe to immobilize is when they have a visual on your car. Again, it goes back to the issue of needing time to track the vehicle, time in which the thieves could strip the car.

I wouldn't exactly agree with Captor's policy there, but it's understandable from their perspective in terms of liability issues. Obviously, some f*cking lawyer is involved in drawing up plans for their security services and you know how lawyers are....always having a get-out clause stuck up their collective arses.

It's tough shopping for a car security system. I still have not decided on what I'll be getting.

Last edited by FVel; 11-18-2008 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

DIY make a simple hidden cut off switch will perform better than any alarm. Those thief are trained with all alarm system and they knows how to break into. If self made switch, they may need to strip down the whole car before they finally find out why the car cannot start. If they use tow truck or rob you, then can't do anything except place a remote bomb in your car.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

CSL,

yeah, FC owners tend to have a power cut-off switch because for one reason or another, the battery will bleed dry while the car is standing stil. That is quite a useful immobiliser.

FVel,

I havent had any first hand experience with the captor system. Could you give us some of the important bits?

And the point of a GPS unit is that you will know roughly the last place they stopped. This hopefully reduces the time to locate the car. I do acknowledge the weakness of driving into tunnels to remove the antennae. The Cobra system uses a discrete antennae.
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Old 11-19-2008, 09:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

Go for cobra connex. It includes backup reinforcement. They'll do everything to locate your car with the police rather than you'll have to do everything by yourself. Cobra Connex even comes with insurance coverage if your car was broken in. Browse through their website for more info.
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Old 11-19-2008, 10:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by savahn View Post
CSL,

yeah, FC owners tend to have a power cut-off switch because for one reason or another, the battery will bleed dry while the car is standing stil. That is quite a useful immobiliser.

FVel,

I havent had any first hand experience with the captor system. Could you give us some of the important bits?

And the point of a GPS unit is that you will know roughly the last place they stopped. This hopefully reduces the time to locate the car. I do acknowledge the weakness of driving into tunnels to remove the antennae. The Cobra system uses a discrete antennae.


What I did was pulled and cut some specific wires then make a joint to a switch. I need the battery for the alarm (more on the remote center locking function ). So, I chopped other wires and made switches. Example, fuel pump, starter, or etc (cannot review too much ). For better security, take out all seats and gearbox console, then make a proper wiring and hide the connections and switches out of easy reachable place or standard shop installation point. Example, make a switch and put it inside the gearbox console, drill a tiny hole somewhere in the console, and need a needle or long slim metal to push the switch in order to trigger some function. Or hide inside the chair cushion also can (at the side), use finger to push for on/off. The more time you spend to do it, the better result. Those acc shop which done within an hour, normally will be able to be undone within few minutes. My friend's acc shop spent 7 hours for my alarm installation (3 men working on my car) and I still not trust the alarm very much.
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Old 11-19-2008, 12:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by savahn View Post
CSL,

FVel,

I havent had any first hand experience with the captor system. Could you give us some of the important bits?

And the point of a GPS unit is that you will know roughly the last place they stopped. This hopefully reduces the time to locate the car. I do acknowledge the weakness of driving into tunnels to remove the antennae. The Cobra system uses a discrete antennae.
Bro,

I don't have first hand experience on Captor. I'm shopping around for a car security system and had been doing a lot of inquiries, which included asking some direct questions with the ppl who sells the products.

Captor is one of the few tracking systems approved by insurers, so that's a selling point for them if you believe all their PR.

You can get their standard package which is Captor-RF (radio frequency tracking) and for a small fee you can also update to Captor RF/GPS which gives you the added advantage of GPS monitoring.

My opinion is that tracking should still be seen as a second line of security, only to be used when your first line of defence has failed. I consider things such as immobilizers, cut-off switches, security tint, engine locks, clutch/steering/gear locks as first line security. Ideally, you want to stop the thief right there and then, not go chasing after him with tracking software after he drove off with the car.

And this is why I have an issue with Captor. Their package comes with an immobilizer but it's only activated by their control centre and they won't do it until they track down your car and confirm it visually. That sort of defeats the whole idea of having an immobilizer to stop a thief early. It's like the tail wagging the dog, instead of the other way round and it makes me question whether they are more keen to sell their tracking subscription services rather than nipping the problem early with a more aggressive immobilizer policy.

Cobra's services looks similar to Captor, but at least they appear to offer a proper use of the immobilizer. My question here is whether their GSM is similar to Captor's RF (able to track through obtacles) because you really cannot rely on GPS alone. GPS systems looks good but have very serious weaknesses which I already mentioned.

Both Cobra and Captor have 'backup reinforcement' (so that's not really an extra selling point for any one of them). Tracking teams are not in a position to apprehend directly. They are not law enforcers. The is the job of the police.

CSL is correct that one of the best investments you can make is to custom fabricate your own security device, such as that cut-off switch. I suspect most car theft syndicates would have made a proper study of all the branded systems out there, so a custom fabricated third party system is always a good idea. It does not need to be sophisticated as long as it makes it difficult and time-consuming for someone to steal the car. Car thieves are always operating under time-constraint so the longer they are delayed the less likely they want to steal your vehicle.
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:41 AM   #11
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Default Re: Car Security Systems - A Review

But don't forget where you had put the switch
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