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Super Long Range 2-way T-2200 Alarm

Finsihed install T-2200 to my bike, with ~2Km (!) 2-way alert. It is going to be a looong read, grab a drink and enjoy.


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** This project may violate Canada Radio Frequency Interference Regulations, FCC, local laws, Homeland Security Advisory System, and classified as WMD **

Super Long Range 2-ways T-2200 Alarm System

Most of the 2-way alarm systems on the market use FM frequency to communicate between the transceiver units. My experiences told me that the range isn't great, especially inside a building. Metal building structure will block out most of the RF, and in most cases it will be out of range in downtown area, campus, and even my apartment. So I decided to build a long range 2-way alarm system using GMRS, and its range can be up to 8km in open area, or around 2km in downtown area. The range of the alarm system will never be a problem again, but for me getting to my bike when the siren sounds, it's something I need to work on later.

The easiest way to use a GMRS radio as 2-way alarm system is to buy one with VOX function, put it in the bike, done. When your siren sounds, it will TX the noise to your other radio, work just like a baby monitor, but at much longer range and you can carry the radio to Starbucks. 4 AAA should last you 24hr with battery-save mode, or buy one with 12V adapter available and rechargeable battery. (They draw ~5mA standby.)

Being a geek, I never follow the KISS principal. I modified the radio and used its wonderful Page/Call* function instead. My bike will only page me if the alarm is triggered, not with any other instances.
(*Page/Call function - when you pressed the Call key on the radio, it will transmit a Call Alert Tone to all other GMRS with the same channel.)

An alarm is all I need now. After many research, Talon T-2200 is the best option. It is well priced and has some cool options which I will discuss later. Best of all, Brad (the President of Talon) provides excellent service and support. I emailed him some questions before I order it, he replied me within hours, and it was the long weekend as well.

Now, for those of you who want to know more about this project to protect your bike, or stealing others, here is what I've done. Again, this may violate Canada Radio Frequency Interference Regulations and local laws. So, do it at your own risk!

--Parts:
Talon T-2200 remote control motorcycle alarm system (www.talonalarms.com/t2200/)
GMRS 2-ways radio (Uniden TR620, $15 @ London Drug )
Multi-use DC adapter ($11 @ Canadian Tire)
5A Relay (parts # 2750249, $4 @ thesourcecc.com)
Diode (parts # 2761144, $2 @ thesourcecc.com)
Chainsaw (the biggest one I can run 5k with)

--The Plan:
Using T-2200 White (+) Turn Signal Outputs to close the Page function circuit isolated by a N.O. Relay. A diode is added to prevent reverse feedback by signal light during riding.
(for those geek 100% understood the above statements, stop reading and start get your hands dirty.)

--Mini-Review:

Talon T-2200

(+) Well priced;
(+) Compact size, both module and keychain;
(+) Weatherproof design;
(+) High quality wires, no need for shielding;
(+) Super easy to install, incl all needed parts.
(+) Lots of features;
(+) Excellent customer support;

(-) Key must be in to adjust sensitivity;
(I am working on using trunk release w/ latching relay to solve this problem.)
(-) Grey LCD wire on the short side.

Talon T-2200 is a very well built unit. The module is protected by a durable plastic case, and the keychains are compact and cool looking. Both shock sensor and tilt sensor do their job perfectly. Great product.


Uniden TR620

(+) Cheapest GMRS I can find; separated Call button; small size.
(-) Draw 6mA even it turned OFF / 20mA ON; 2km range; no battery-save mode; no privacy code; no vibrate.

I am buying a new radio later, this cheap one is just a ginnie pig for the project.


--Step-by-Step:

Set up the T-2200, and test it out for a few minutes. Make sure you cover the siren with something, don't want you neighbors come knocking on you door.



Now with a good understanding how the alarm works, time to do the real work. First cut one of the White wire to desire length and solder the diode to it. The diode MUST be connected in the direction as shown, the stripe mark is on the Signal light side. Cover it with heat shrink tube.



Install the alarm to the bike. No, I am no telling you where I put it.

Time to open up the Radio. The radio for this project should have a separate Call button, some higher end model may use the Call button as Weather channel as well. When you press the Call button, it creates a shorts between the two “E” shaped circuits.

I solder a wire on each “E”, when these 2 wires connect to each other, the radio will start paging. The width of the “E” is ~0.5mm. Soldering the wires to the surface circuit is the toughest part of this project, take your time. I first used a solid core wire, but the vibration broke the joint.


I then used the tiny wires from the inside of a USB cable.


Use a multimeter to confirm the soldering job is clean, and tape it up to reduce stress on the solder joint. Time for a beer.


A Relay is used to close the Call button circuit, I could use the 30A relay included with the alarm. However, a 5A relay is a better choice, since it will react faster. A solid state relay is even better, but it is out of my budget. Solder the two tiny paging wires to the “Com” and “NO” pin. Afterwards, solder a Ground wire and a Signal wire to the “Coil” pins, one wire in each. When there is a current on the Signal wire, the relay will close the paging wires, thus the radio will start paging.

The Multi-use DC adapter will be the power supply for the radio. Just connect the input to the battery with a 2A fuse in between, and output (4.5v) to the radio.


**tiny green & white -- paging wires
**tiny red & black (right side) -- 4.5V & Ground
**Red, Black, and White (left side) -- 12V, Ground, Radio Signal input

After all these soldering jobs, put the radio, relay and power supply inside a small case as the housing. There are really only 3 wires to connect: 12V, Ground, and Radio Signal input. To complete the whole two-way system, connect the Radio Signal input wire in between the Diode and T-2200. Done.

Now, every time the Signal lights flash because of the alarm, the Radio will page me. I like this setup much more than just VOX, it's more effective and accurate. Some high end Radio models offer the vibration option, just like cellphones, can alert you without worrying the paging sound.

Most 2-ways alarm system on the market cost ~$400, mine is ONLY under $200 with 10x the range. Time for another beer.

---Cool Options---

For those of you that are still reading this, I am sure you want to protect your bike badly, let me share some ideas I have for my next project.

When I first order the T-2200, I thought actuator is included. I was going to use it to a trigger Bear Attack Deterrent Spray. Just in case in the event of a bear comes up to my bike, and don't back off by the siren, the spray will be useful to keep it away. A word of warning though, NEVER transport the bike w/ the spray inside a Cargo Van, if the spray accidentally fires while driving, it is very dangerous.

The Pink(-) trigger wire is also very useful. If you connect the Pink wire to the Ground (-), the alarm will trigger instantly. XScargo sell a 4 pc door alarm for $10. Rip it open and connect the Pink wire to one end of the magnetic switch, and another to Ground. Once magnetic tankbag is removed for the switch, it will trigger the alarm.

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I have this setup for a week now, works good, the bike battery can handle the load. If you guys have any question, just ask.
 

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John, this is really cool! Glad to see that it worked out for you. We snuck some new products into the site, so you can now purchase the actuator and magnetic switches that you mentioned in your write-up directly from us when ordering the alarms. You can see them here.

http://www.talonalarms.com/products/

I think it would be hilarious to connect a shocking dog collar to the 'trunk' output of the alarm and imbed the probes for it in the seat somehow. :devillook
 
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Discussion Starter #3
props!!! nice work man. thats really cool and doesnt seem hard at all to rig up. as long as it proves reliable.

how come they dont just make alarms using that frequency??

do you have to change the batteries all of the time on the unit in the bike, or can you hard wire it to the battery somehow?

is there any way to check whether you are in range or not?

cheers
 

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What kind of distance does a GMRS radio get if it's in an underground parking? I thought FM would have better distance than the GMRS?

;D
 
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Discussion Starter #5
dradonich, a Multi-use DC adapter (12V -> 4.5V ), $11 from Canadiantire, is used as a power supply for the radio, see the last pix. They draw <20mA standby together. If it is out of range, there is no way to get back to the bike in time anyway, so I am not too worry about it. Btw, Garmin offers a GMRS with GPS... but it is too expensive for now.

BigRed, I used a higher-end GMRS (1 watt output, but you can use 2w in Canada legally) inside a office building. Even talking from 5th floor to basement, no problem, so Paging should be fine.

GMRS may be illegally for Alarm maker to use, but MUBS isn't.
http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/pod/horizontal-pod.jsp?rid=&indexId=cat20790&navAction=push&navCount=12&cmCat=MainCatcat20712&parentType=index&parentId=cat20790&id=0022196
 

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Ballji, have you tried to put the relay and power supply into a plastic enclosure for good measure? They are really cheap, around $5 and it makes a home job look 'professional' as well as offer protection to the electrical components.
 

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Hi BallJi,

That is really great! Have you done any tests to decide which radios have the best RF output/range? Me love electronics too! Is FRS the same as GMRS?
 
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Discussion Starter #8
Brad, no nice casing yet. They are all inside a CD Spindle case, for now. I put some foam around the radio, and cut some small vent for the Powersupply. Well, I may put a sticker on it this evening and it will add a few pony to my bike. :laughing
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Dan, FRS radios are limited to 500 milliwatts, GMRS radios up to 2 watts in Canada. The more the better.

I built a FM Stereo transmitter some time ago, IIRC, it is 1 W. The range isn't good. I built it so I can listen to MP3 in the swimming pool, from my computer 7th floor above. Speedo has a underwater FM radio. At the end, I used parabolic mesh dishes ($5 Chinese cookware scoop) as a gain dish. Put it outside the window and pointing at glass roof of the swimming pool. It worked much better.

Having a cookware scoop on my SV will look a bit stupid. :laughing
 
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Discussion Starter #10
BallJi said:
dradonich, ...If it is out of range, there is no way to get back to the bike in time anyway, so I am not too worry about it.
yeah, i was wondering just so you could "test" to confirm that the system is working, or to make sure nothing is interfering with the signal. but it sounds like those things arent disrupted easily.

imagine being 2km away, and sprinting all the way back to your ride.

i wonder who makes the smallest ones, so they wouldnt be too bulky in your pocket when you carry it around. (i think they make some pretty compact units)
 
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dradonich, testing is easy, just press the Arm button on the keychain. If it is still within T-2200 range, my bike will flash the light thus the radio will page me once.

If it is needed for the whole GMRS range, ie 2km+, building a seprate 555 timer delay w/ VOX circuit, ~$50 for parts, should do the job. Too bad I spent too much already, or else I will make one. It would be super cool to page your bike 20km away!!

Cobra LI6000 is about the same size of a cell phone, w/ 27(!)km range, Privacy Codes, VibrAlert, Illuminated LCD...
http://www.avs.ca/detail.php?b=8&c=20&p=1859
too bad it costs $120US a pair.
 

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Perhaps the most surprising discovery - both in theory and in testing - is that the power of the transmitting radio has very little impact on its effective range.
A radio that is four times more powerful than another one may in fact offer no greater working range!

And then I read an advertisement for an 'up to seven miles' GMRS radio. Wow. It had four times the power of the FRS radio, was newer technology, and seemed very promising. Care to guess what its actual tested range was? Hint : Very much less. But manufacturers can promote these almost impossible range claims due to the complexity of what determines the working range of a radio.

Many times the old low powered FRS radio outperformed one of the new high powered GMRS radios and sometimes it even outperformed both of them. This shows that radio design is more important than power.

http://www.thetravelinsider.info/2003/0627.htm
 
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Chumly, very true. One of the reason I still use CB on my truck. VHF on water. I use GMRS mainly for fun and ski trip.

Even the actual range of GMRS is "only" 1/3 of the claim. ~2km is long enough for this project, remember mine is only $15 a pair. Those good old FRS (ie kenwood) are too big and expensive. I just need a paging alert, don't care for voice clarity and noise.

If I am really going out to buy a better Radio for update project. I will use mini actuator to push the button instead. That way I can still use the radio for other purpose.
 

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Sure you could use a small solenoid, but personally I like the VOX idea better because anytime you have to fiddle with a mechanic interface, you have a larger failure node.

In fact, given the bike's vibration and all weather conditions, I would not trust a dissected and/or solenoid actuated radio to have long term reliability. Hence if you can’t rely on the radio 100% of the time, then you are better off with the stock alarm.
 
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