Taking even the most basic of systems on offer, System 1 from Toad, the installer has to contend with a mass of wires and connections comparable to looking down on a tin of spaghetti!
The manufacturers of vehicle security devices have very clear guidelines on exactly how their products must be fitted and failure to comply can often render the products warranty void. This is not in place to reduce the number of warranty claims the manufacturer has to honour, but more importantly, to ensure that their product performs correctly and gives the end-user the best chance of preventing their vehicle, in this case their Motorhome, from being stolen.
In addition to the products manufacturer, various organisations exist to ensure that very rigorous guidelines are adhered to, purely to protect you! Thatcham for example, is not just a body put in place to test the actual alarm, but more recently, following the collapse of the VSIB, has set about to ensure that they are fitted correctly too.
The MESF (Mobile Electronic Security Federation) is another organisation with the task of improving quality workmanship and have campaigned for manufacturers to support them for a number of years.
It is fair to say that any installer with a penchant for quality will be a member of either one or both of these organisations, as a clear demonstration to their customers that they are concerned not just about what system they fit, but how it is fitted.
System 1 from Toad is a Thatcham Category 1 device, incorporating an alarm and a dual-circuit engine immobiliser and as such, is a great deal more complicated than fitting a simple remote control upgrade (System 7 and 8). The siren is mounted under the bonnet, along with a switch to detect the bonnet being opened. Both have to be carefully positioned to increase their effectiveness but at the same time preventing them from being unsightly or located somewhere where they can get caught or snagged.
The fittings need to be waxoiled to prevent corrosion, then soldered and insulated before being run into the cab and linked to the alarm itself.
It isn’t unusual for switches to also be fitted to the cab doors, and then while working on the doors, if the Motorhome has central locking, this needs to be connected and configured too. Therefore allowing the doors to lock and unlock when the alarm is armed and disarmed accordingly.
The immobilisers are then linked into two vital circuits, such as the electronic fuel pump or starter motor, to prevent the Motorhome from hot-wiring. System 1 is also connected to the indicators thus providing a visual indication that the alarm has been either armed or disarmed and also in the event that the alarm is triggered.
Inside the cab ultrasonic sensors are mounted either side of the windscreen, designed to detect a window being broken. Additional sensors can be fitted to protect the habitation area and also any external lockers.
The mounting and location of the alarms LED is also a tricky subject as it needs to be visible and obvious yet at the same time, not just stuck in the middle of the dashboard. Most favour using a blank switch to mount it, so if the alarm is removed to be fitted onto another vehicle at a later stage, the switch can simply be replaced.
All in all, a great deal of thought needs to be taken before and during the alarms installation and when you consider that there are as many as 30 different wires to connect, solder and insulate, its not a job for the avid DIYer, nor the garage up the road, but only the professional.