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Car Security Glossary

Glossary of terms for security systems
Please note: while some of these items are generic terms, some are specific to the Clifford family of car alarms.
2 Way Paging: The remote control is in communication with the alarm on the car. Every command given by the remote is confirmed by a “reply “ to the remote.  It allows the user to see what is happening to the vehicle when it is not in direct line of sight.
8 Event recall: A feature which allows the last 8 triggers of the system to be “played back” telling the user or installer which triggers have been setting the alarm off.
Auto bypass: A feature which can save problems being a nuisance.  Auto bypass will disable any sensor that is triggering upon arming.  This works inconjunction with FACT. False Alarm Control and Test.Which will shut down any sensor that triggers more than three times in one cycle of the system being armed. If the sensor doesn't try and trigger in a 60 minute period it is “allowed” back into the system.
Auxilaries, channel outs, spare outputs, channel outputs: Can be used for many purposes, boot pop, headlight activation, door pops etc etc. Almost anything that can be electrically controlled in the vehicle can be interfaced with by a channel output, allowing remote control capability.

Blackjacks: A system unique to Clifford. Available as a stand alone unit, or built in on some G4 an G5 alarms.  The system only allows only authorised user to drive the vehicle, by means of a pin number entered through the valet switch.  If the correct code is not entered in a set time, the vehicle will immobilise and sound the siren until the correct code is entered.

Boot release, trunk solenoids, boot pop: Where the vehicle does not already have electronic boot release, a solenoid or “pop” can be fitted to allow remote release.  Activated by a channel output or dash mounted button.
Cliffnet, ESP, ESP2: Different control systems for alarm security products.  They allow programming features of alarms, and simplify the installation process.  Only the Clifford range of products use wizard, everything else uses ESP or ESP2 other than the Avital Maxx series.

Cliffnet Wizard, Cliffnet Wizard pro: Both are names for the software that can be installed on a PC to allow programming of G4/5 products. The Cliffnet wizard is the  end user software which allows users to change features of their alarms, and the Wizard Pro, is installer software, which can do all of what the user wizard can do, but also will allow installation changes to be made.
Closed loop, Normally closed sensor:  This is used to protect external items on the alarmed vehicle, eg. Bicycles (on a rack), caravans, spare wheels on a 4x4, heated rear windows (to prevent their removal), car radios and can also be connected to some factory fitted bonnet switches.
CPU, ECU, Brain, Module: Names for the main control unit of the alarm.  This is the part of the alarm that customers should not see, it is literally the brains behind the system, it is where all the components of the alarm connect to.

DTM, Digital Tilt Motion, or Tilt sensor: These are names for the sensor that detect the vehicle either being towed, lifted or being jacked up.
EL Indicators: Electro Illuminescent Indicators, they are usually product branded and they light up/flash blue when the alarm is armed. They attach to windows using double sided tape.

FACT or NPC: Abbreviated name for False Alarm Control Test or Nuisance Prevention Circuitry. This looks for repeated false triggers and shuts them down for a period of time to see if they are defective or a genuine threat was being made. This helps alarms to “cure” alarms falsing.  However it will not rectify a fault, it will only stop it being an irritation to the user.

Glass Break, Audio sensors, Glass tamper: Names for a sensor that detects the vehicle glass being broken, it listens for the audio frequencies that shattering glass makes.
IS4, Autostart, Remote start, Intellistart: These are names for the unit that allows the vehicles engine to be started remotely, only the intellistart 4/ IS4 can be used on manual and auto vehicles. The Valet and Avital starters can only operate auto vehicles.

Keyfob, Remote, Handset, Blipper, Zapper Transmitter: All are names for the device that users use to control their alarm remotely.

LED: Optical device (light) for showing the status of the alarm at any given point. Also used for diagnostic purposes.
Looms, Wiring:  These are what's used to join the “brain” to the car.  They connect into the circuits on the car and allow the alarm to interface with the vehicle. 
MUX, Multiplex: A new form of sensor connection to alarms. It allows different signals to be sent down a single wire as oppose to a series of wires carrying individual signals.  Some vehicle manufacturers are now using multiplex in newer vehicles to control systems in the vehicle. They are different systems, only the MUX sensors apply to directed product, but essentially the concept is the same.
Nightvision: Available as a stand alone unit, or on some flagship older models (AG4). Incorporating a sensor on the dash, it will automatically turn the vehicles lights on when it gets dark. It also allows the user to turn his headlights on remotely.
Omnisensor: A remotely adjustable digital shock sensor gives off different tones than a standard shock.
Over ride code, Valet Code ( also see valet switch): Input by the valet switch, this code is a “if all else fails” for the customer (should his remote fail), and a means of programming for the installer.  Unless the code has been changed it is usually set to a default of 2, apart from on thatcham units where it will be the first for numeric digits in the serial number.
Prox, Proximity, Microwave, Radar, Volumetric sensors: Various names for the sensor that detects an intrusion inside the vehicle.  It emits a “bubble” that when breached triggers the alarm.  Available in dual zone, meaning that there are two bubbles, one just outside the vehicle and one inside. The outer bubble will issue a warning “bark” or series of bleeps (model dependant) and the inner bubble will full trigger the alarm.
Remote panic: A feature to allow the siren to sound at the request of the user.  Can be used in several contexts. The user could sound the siren before a potential threat actually attacks the vehicle, or the user is under attack whilst in the vehicle and wishes to draw attention to themselves.
Shock, Impact sensor: A sensor to detect impacts to the protected vehicle. Normally available in dual zone, meaning it gives a warn away tone for light impacts and full triggers the alarm for heavy impacts
Siren, Battery Back up siren: The device, usually found under the bonnet, which makes the arm and disarm chirps, warn away tones or bleeps and also the full trigger noise.  Battery back up versions are the same, but are able to keep making noise even if they are cut off from the alarm.
Smart power up: When a system is first powered up, it will power up in the disarmed state. Also whenever power is removed from the unit, when restored, the system will return to the state it was in.  So if it was armed, and a thief cut the power, when it was reconnected, it will still be armed. It prevents thieves disarming systems by removing and reinstating power.

Thatcham Category 1 or 2, Cat 1, Cat 2, Insurance approved: These are names for a testing criteria on certain alarms.  If the product meets the criteria it becomes Thatcham approved, making it more desirable, and saleable.  If a passed unit is an ALARM+IMMOBILISER it is Thatcham Catergory 1, if it is only an IMMOBILSER it is Thatcham Category 2, if it is only an ALARM it is a Thatcham 2-1 upgrade.  Insurance discounts can be given to consumers by insurance companies if a passed unit is fitted. A tracking and tracing system is CAT 5.
Total closure, window roll up, comfort closing: All are names for when the windows (and in some circumstances the sunroof) close upon the arming of the alarm.  Some vehicles are capable of closing the windows, in which case the alarm can operate them. In other instances window closure or “roll up” modules will need to be fitted to accommodate this.
Transponder: A form of disarming for an immobiliser.. With very few exceptions all manufacturers immobilisers use transponders to disarm their systems.  It works by a “chip” in the key transmitting a unique code to a reader coil near the ignition barrel. If the code is recognised by the reader, it will disarm.
Triggers: Are either an entry point to the vehicle or a sensor. When an alarm goes off, it has “triggered”.  Sensors, doors, boot, bonnet and ignition are all triggers.
Valet switch: A device to enter codes into alarms.  There are now 4 types.  The G4/5 plain view, small rectangular switch, it has a plain/unmarked side and a star/marked side. The G3 plain view is a similar shape, but has a sprung (momentary) side, and latched side. The other G3 products and older used a silver toggle switch, this would usually be hidden in the glove box or somewhere discreet.  The last type is a push switch, usually black, these are used on the entry level avitals and matrix alarms.
Voice module, Vocalarm 2,  516L, intellivoice, sense n tell: These are names of modules which allow the alarm to vocally confirm commands given to it, and warn away potential threats vocally.  Eg “armed” “disarmed” “please stand back”. The 516L is even capable of telling you the engine is about to start! 

VSIB: This is the abbreviated name of the Vehicle Systems Installation Board.  This is a “governing” body of the installation trade.  It is not compulsory to be approved by them, but it can make the installer more appealing to a potential consumer. The VSIB appears on all certificates issued with Thatcham approved products.
Ultrasonics: A sensor that detects air movement inside a vehicle. Works by emitting a “pulse” from the transmitting part of the sensor, and the receiver picks up the signal. If the receiver fails to see the signal (the signal has been interrupted by a thief) the sensor will trigger.