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Old 03-17-2015, 10:05 AM   #1
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Airstream Sprinter Van Alarm

I have a 2011 Airstream International Sprinter Van and am looking into a security alarm system. I have noticed their are quite a few on the market and was looking for some references from other Sprinter Van owners!
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:31 AM   #2
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I put an alarm in mine. I went with a Viper modular system with most of the modules— except:
- the remote start module, which I figured never to need;
- the remote door lock module because I keep my alarm remote on the same ring as the van key anyway and so I already have a remote door lock; and
- the proximity sensor, because I loathe those systems that tell you "step away from the vehicle" when you're just parked alongside it.

Oh, I also did not get the smartphone interface because at the time I had a dumbphone. Now that I do have a smartphone, I'm thinking of adding that module as well, so that I can ditch the remote. The smartphone module will tell me if someone sets off the alarm as long as both the van and the phone have coverage, even if I'm in another city at the time! Much better than the 2000-foot range of the remote.

But there is a drawback to a high-end alarm system. You can never disconnect the chassis battery on the Sprinter by using the plug down by the accelerator pedal. If you do, the alarm system senses that the power is cut, and sets off the alarm using its built-in backup battery. It is no fun being deafened by a 130dB alarm while trying to reconnect the power so you can shut off the alarm!

And since you can never disconnect the chassis battery, you've got a parasitic draw on the chassis battery even while the van is parked. As long as the battery is in good shape, you can go about three weeks without driving somewhere to recharge it from the engine alternator. Maybe longer, but I've never been able to let my van sit for more than three weeks without getting the urge to use it anyway, even when I was working for a living and had less time to go camping.
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Old 03-17-2015, 11:20 AM   #3
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A search of this forum will likely show posts about this, but I put in a DroneMobile Alarm and remote start system. See:

DroneMobile | Your Car, Connected.

DroneMobile requires an annual fee of $40 minimum for a three year plan, or $50 per year annually, but gives you key-less entry and remote start, and most importantly, remote alerts using your smartphone. You can also check the temperature of the inside of the van (if you keep pets inside). You can put the app on multiple smartphones since it uses a log-in and password. In our case, both my wife and I use a smartphone to disarm, open, and monitor the van if need be.

It's nice to know that no matter where you are, if someone messes with the van, you will get instantly get an alert. It also can be used to locate the van.

But what it really does is just give you some piece of mind. If someone wants to steal it, or what's inside bad enough, they will.

At the time I installed the Drone system Viper was not available. They have what appear to a similar system, at a bit more annual cost. Without using a smartphone, they both state 1 mile range, but that's line of sight. It appears you can access certain features such as remote start and unlock the doors, for a bit more annual cost than the Drone system, and for a lot more, some additional features. I could be and may be wrong, but there is no mention of break-in alerts over your smartphone on their website (Viper - Car Alarms | Remote Starters | SmartStart | Wireless Home Security and Automation | Window Film and Tint). It does mention status monitoring so that may be what they use. You think though alerts would be mentioned somewhere if that feature was available. If you want remote alerts on your smartphone, which give the alarm unlimited range, you should confirm that it is available as in my opinion that is an important feature to have for the amount it costs to install these systems ($1000-1500 range).

These two are basically the only choices you have that I am aware of. I am very happy with the DroneMobile system and highly recommend it.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:09 PM   #4
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Mine does not exhibit this behavior. I disconnect the main battery positive connection by the floor and nothing happens.

I don't have the backup battery option though. I opted to not include that feature. I keep my van plugged in when not in use (I also replaced the inverter/charger with a Magnum smart inverter/charger) so it is always fully charged.



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But there is a drawback to a high-end alarm system. You can never disconnect the chassis battery on the Sprinter by using the plug down by the accelerator pedal. If you do, the alarm system senses that the power is cut, and sets off the alarm using its built-in backup battery. It is no fun being deafened by a 130dB alarm while trying to reconnect the power so you can shut off the alarm!

And since you can never disconnect the chassis battery, you've got a parasitic draw on the chassis battery even while the van is parked. As long as the battery is in good shape, you can go about three weeks without driving somewhere to recharge it from the engine alternator. Maybe longer, but I've never been able to let my van sit for more than three weeks without getting the urge to use it anyway, even when I was working for a living and had less time to go camping.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:20 PM   #5
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Mine does not exhibit this behavior. I disconnect the main battery positive connection by the floor and nothing happens.
But since there is no backup battery, will the alarm still work while you have the battery disconnected? Or does disconnecting the battery also disable the alarm?

On mine, disconnecting the battery does not disable the alarm, which is the whole point. Instead it sounds an alarm to tell you that someone is disconnecting your battery in an attempt to bypass the alarm.
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:55 PM   #6
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I am not sure but guess it may not work with the DC not connected (got to try it to see).

They would have to be quick. As soon as the glass breaks or shock goes off, it calls out. I imagine they have about 10 seconds. Then it's up to the server which would deliver it to me regardless whether the dc power cable is connected or not.

Still, I see your point.




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But since there is no backup battery, will the alarm still work while you have the battery disconnected? Or does disconnecting the battery also disable the alarm?

On mine, disconnecting the battery does not disable the alarm, which is the whole point. Instead it sounds an alarm to tell you that someone is disconnecting your battery in an attempt to bypass the alarm.
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:21 PM   #7
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I am not sure but guess it may not work with the DC not connected (got to try it to see).

They would have to be quick. As soon as the glass breaks or shock goes off, it calls out. I imagine they have about 10 seconds. Then it's up to the server which would deliver it to me regardless whether the dc power cable is connected or not.
So you're saying that the sensors and transmitter have their own backup power even though the alarm siren doesn't?

If that's the case, then disconnecting the chassis battery just turns it into a silent alarm, I guess. That's not so bad. In some cases, that may even be preferable.

By the way, for anyone thinking of installing a new alarm system in their Interstates— if you have the under-hood auxiliary battery, hook up the alarm to that, not the starting battery. Then you can disconnect the starting battery using the plug by the accelerator pedal, and the alarm system remains fully powered, since the two batteries are isolated when the engine is not running. Mine didn't have the under-hood auxiliary battery so I didn't have that option.
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Old 03-17-2015, 05:53 PM   #8
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I'm not sure but will find out. What I'm saying is, that instantly when the alarm is tripped, it will call out and send me a text, probably before anyone could disconnect the power, even if the battery disconnect kills it. It's a cellular phone modem. Always connected if powered, and instantly transmitted over cellular when tripped. No different than a text. I'd say the time between trip and text to my phone is a few seconds at most. It's almost instantaneous.
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