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GSM & GPS integration advances vehicle safety in two-way car alarms

Makers are adopting passive keyless entry and CAN bus, and enhancing aesthetics of two-way car alarms.

China suppliers of two-way car alarms are improving product performance and design, releasing more combination GSM and GPS versions and units with a user-friendly interface and simple installation requirements. Variants of the first type leverage GSM for long-distance communication and GPS for vehicle positioning. These support remote arm or disarm via a phone call or SMS. Messaging is optional for versions with realtime automobile positioning.

Two-way car alarm

Steelmate's 988W2 model is a multifunction, programmable two-way car alarm with remote engine start.

Besides enhancing positioning capability, combination GSM and GPS two-way car alarms improve vehicle management. For example, the TT-G110Q model from Topten Electronics Technology Ltd enables remote arm/disarm and engine start/stop. Its built-in GPS module can report in-time location, and the speed and direction of the vehicle via SMS. A software translates the GPS data to real address and attaches the link from Google Maps. Topten also provides a scheduling and management platform for multiple cars.

Meanwhile, GSM alarms extend the communication range of traditional wireless remote controls, enabling the owner to know vehicle status anytime, anywhere. The 118S model from Shenzhen Carsky Electronic Technology Co. Ltd allows remote arm/disarm, engine start/stop and vehicle status monitoring via a mobile phone. Users can place emergency calls with three groups of numbers.

In addition to these features, the Redbat 8028 model from Steelmate Co. Ltd offers optional motion and in-car ultrasonic detectors, intruder image capture and A-GPS.

Releases with passive keyless entry or PKE functionality is another key R&D trend. Such products disarm or arm the vehicle automatically upon detecting the remote transmitter. Current solutions are compatible with the standard remote keyless entry mode.

Models adopting CAN bus technology constitute an emerging trend, although the high technology threshold limits adoption to only a few suppliers. Variants in this category promise easy installation and do not require modifications on existing vehicle circuits. Such car alarms support auto arm/disarm, window roll-up or trunk release. Some new versions also have PKE function.

Besides all these innovations, companies incorporate dome light delay, automatic window roll-up, in-car temperature display, battery voltage monitoring and programmable keys. For aesthetic enhancements, makers are moving toward compact designs with large LCDs. Several upscale devices are adopting touchscreens instead of the traditional button.

Manufacturers in China are riding on the robust domestic automobile industry to spur growth in the line. In 2010, the global market increased about 10 percent YoY, while local output soared more than 20 percent. Suppliers expect another 15 to 20 percent upturn by year-end. Some see opportunities in India, South Africa and Brazil.

Companies export to the aftermarket in the US, the EU and the Asia-Pacific region. South America, Africa and South Asia are also priority distribution channels.

GSM car alarm

The 118S model from Shenzhen Carsky is a GSM car alarm.

Two-way car alarm selection

A typical system from China consists of a control host, horn, remote transmitters, antenna, wires and other accessories. Mainstream variants feature FSK wireless with an effective range of up to 5km, code hopping technology for anti-hijacking and built-in shock sensors. These have 315 or 433MHz working frequency, 12VDC operating voltage, less than 20mA static current and greater than 105dB SPL.

The basic functions include remote keyless entry, central lock and arm/disarm controls, car locator and trunk release. Companies also enable engine immobilization, remote engine and air conditioner start, turbo timer delay, voice prompt, multistage warning and microwave or ultrasonic motion sensors on request. Some can upgrade remote central locking systems to two-way car alarms.

Mainstream products are optimized for easy installation. Enterprises can integrate shock sensors in the control host and offer functional module interfaces for expansion later. Manufacturers are working on devices that do not need to break vehicle wires during setup. LFF Security Equipment Co. Ltd, for example, developed cut-free variants for Toyota, Honda and Buick.

Half of the car alarm makers in the midrange and high-end segments have released PKE versions such as the 838E and LA3 models from Steelmate and LFF, respectively. These boast a compact card-shaped transmitter and 2m effective range in PKE mode. They have 125kHz inquiry and 315 or 433MHz response operating frequencies, 12VDC voltage and less than 30mA current. Users can switch between PKE and RKE modes manually. Manufacturers can add one-button start, remote trunk release and turbo timer delay on request. Steelmate collaborates with other factories for the integration of PKE functions.

Microchip’s PIC16F639 chipset is one of the most popular PKE solutions adopted by China companies for its high integration ability and low cost. NXP’s PCF7952/7953 is also widely used because it is an integrated platform containing both PKE and engine immobilization. Some manufacturers employ chipsets from TI, NEC and Austriamicrosystems.

Prices in the line are largely determined by features and functions. A two-way car alarm transmitter lists at about $10. A basic device with central lock control, locator and trunk release
is from $30 to $40. Midrange units supporting auto window roll-up, remote engine start and PKE are between $40 and $80.

Engine start capability requires an extra $15 to $20, while PKE $6 to $8. CAN bus-based varieties are $10 more expensive than traditional models. GSM and GPS car alarms are high-end variants, with the first available for $150 to $200 and GPS versions entailing an additional $40 to $60.

Despite rising production costs, some makers see a slight increase in prices in coming months. Others do not plan to implement markups.

Car alarm

The CA-709 model from Gobiz has a 4-step signal sensitivity antenna, and features central lock automation.

Hong Kong: SMS, GSM alert functions define upscale releases

Top-of-the-line two-way car alarms from Hong Kong feature telecom function integration with SMS and GSM alert. Models with tilt sensors to warn against towing or hijacking, and dual-zone microphone sensors against break-ins are also available.

Keyless entry is enabled in most versions. Some releases allow engine start based on a preset time or temperature. Other advanced options include silent arming, remote engine start and arm/disarm, trunk release, valet mode, turbo timer, code learning, and vibrate/flash settings and button lock on the remote. Several security aspects, including siren output and relay inactivation, can be programmed. Manufacturers ensure that basic electronic safety checks are implemented by integrating short-circuit and overvoltage protection in the main unit.

Some makers provide customized two-way alarm systems for cargo trucks. These have padlocks with heavyduty shackles and built-in sensors.

As the majority of products from the territory are offered in kits, suppliers give buyers the option of selecting the components and specifying functions. They have entry-level releases with basic alarm and few sensors or larger kits with different sensors, multifunction remote controls, a siren and a full-featured main unit. Most security features can be activated or deactivated through the remote, which has an LCD screen with icons for better user interface. Some remote controls incorporate flashlight, timer and alarm clock.

About half of Hong Kong’s 30 suppliers of vehicle safety and security products offer two-way car alarms. The majority of companies concentrate on parking sensors, rearview systems, lighting and signaling devices, inverters and battery chargers.

Loyal K.C. Ltd combines telecom technologies with time-tested mechanical padlocks in its two-way commercial protection systems for vehicles, cargos and other properties. Its model VPS-2000 GSM Padlock Alarm boasts nationwide coverage and features interactive padlock with realtime monitoring and instant SMS notifi cation when opened by key or force.

Gobiz Electronics Ltd specializes in automotive safety-related products such as tire pressure and parking monitors, and two-way alarms for cars and motorcycles.

Car alarm

Product gallery

Gobiz Electronics Ltd
(Hong Kong)

Model: CA-709
Description: 4-step signal sensitivity antenna; 2-way remote control with LCD; central lock automation; anti-hijack; auto arming, re-arming, arm/rearm; silent arming; remote engine start; remote transmitter up to 1km

Padlock alarm system

Loyal K.C. Ltd
(Hong Kong)

Model: VPS-2000
Description: Padlock alarm system; for trucks, trailers and construction sites with logging capability; handheld remote arm/disarm at close proximity; GSM transmission and interactive padlock with realtime monitoring

GSM car phone carrier

Shenzhen Carsky Electronic Technology Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: 118S
Description: GSM car phone carrier; automatic central lock; anti-hijack; arm/disarm and remote engine start by phone or transmitters; search car by transmitter; code hopping; alarm alert with short messages

Car alarm

Shenzhen Carsky Electronic Technology Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: 118V-S
Description: GSM cell phone carrier; anti-hijacking; arm/disarm by phone and remote control; calls three alarm phone numbers; checks system status by phone; trigger, shock and power-off alarm; parking reminder; remote sound monitoring; power window output

Central locking system

Steelmate Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: 888X1
Description: Central locking system; FSK technology; 20:9 widescreen rechargeable transmitters; dome light delay; anti-hijack; out-of-range warning, comfort closure; shock sensor with built-in control unit; lithium battery; USB charger; matte silver metal frame

Multifunction car alarm

Steelmate Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: 988W2
Description: Multifunction car alarm; for manual, automatic, diesel, gasoline vehicles; central locking system; built-in engine relay start; 23 programmable functions; manual, time, countdown, temperature to start engine; LCD transmitters with AAA battery; 23 programmable functions; realtime in-car temperature

Note: This article "GSM & GPS integration advances vehicle safety in two-way car alarms" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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