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Anatomy of a Bike Alarm

Have you ever wondered exactly how a Motorbike alarm actually works?

There are a great number of vehicle security installers in the UK; their skill sets and experience differs hugely. However, Thatcham (the Motor Industry Repair & Research Centre in Berkshire, responsible for testing vehicle security devices) and the MESF (Mobile Electronic Security Federation) have very clear thoughts and guidelines on how an installation actually takes place.

Some would argue that the standard of an installation of an alarm onto a Motorbike is more important that a Car due to the Motorbikes vulnerability. We would argue that regardless of what type of vehicle the security device is being fitted to, continuity of workmanship must be adhered to and the guidelines always followed.

Take the installation of the Thatcham Category 1 approved Datatool System 4 Red. To start with you need to find a suitable location for the actual alarm itself, which also incorporates the siren, so mustn’t be visible but at the same time, hidden too deep to be loud enough.

Just the immobilisation wires are complicated enough, with connections to two separate earth points, then you move onto the circuits that are going to be cut, such as the fuel pump, if electric, or live ignition feed to the ECU. The second cut can then be wired to the ignition kill circuit. These each have to be carefully soldered then insulated thoroughly. Next its time to wire-up the alarm itself.

Again, a series of live and earth connections are required, each soldered and insulated as before, but there is far more involved at this stage with connections made to the hazard lights so the alarm will provide a visual indication of being armed, disarmed or if activated. A reed switch is then fitted to the seat, to protect the alarm brain/ECU from attack.

The engineer then needs to consider the location of the LED, as it needs to be very visible, but the last thing the customer wants to see is it mounted in an unsightly place!

The Datatool S4 Red uses highly intelligent software which provides a programming mode that enables the engineer to alter various settings. For example, the siren tone can be changed, giving the customer the opportunity to select a tone that is more noticeable to them. This is particularly useful when the Motorbike is left in locations where there are a number of other bikes.

The Datatool S4 Red can also be set to arm passively, so the user can never forget to leave the bike protected. The tilt sensor and shock sensor can also be adjusted in using this software, so as to make it not too sensitive and at the same time, not sensitive enough.

The S4 Red also has the capability of recalling its last 5 events, such as arming, disarming or activating. This is an excellent piece of engineering as it gives both the customer and the engineer the information required to determine if the alarm was left armed in the event of an attack or not. It can also be used to enable the engineer and customer to make changes to the sensitivity if needed, by identifying why the alarm activated in the event of a false activation.

So, it’s “safe” to say that fitting an alarm to a Motorbike isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, in some cases what may appear to be a simple and straight forward installation, can actually take several hours.

To conclude, it’s a job best left to the professionals and anyone wishing to purchase a Datatool alarm or any other for that matter, should always ask for proof of either Thatcham or MESF accreditation as their guarantee of quality and effectiveness.

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