Monthly Maintenance and Tech Tips – Alarm Systems

Vehicles in a Summit Bodyworks facility

We get a steady stream of calls on the alarm systems. It is a fairly complex system and when things go wrong its not always a straightforward cure. I’ll run through the major pieces and how they work together and give you a few options at the end !

 The alarm system we use is made by Directed Electronics and is a Model 3100L (if you want to look at Google.) The alarm “brain” is located in the main electrical box in your truck. It is a small black/dark brown box, about 4”x5”, above your converter (battery charger), with about 25 small gauge wires coming out of it. The alarm gets its signal from magnetic switches (4-6 depending on options) and a motion detector (usually mounted at rear of truck).

 Here are the most common issues we hear of and a quick check for each:

  • Alarm will not arm or disarm.

Usually caused by a blown fuse in the main electrical box. (yellow 20A)

Check/replace batteries in key fob.

Check inline fuse above alarm brain (blue 15A)

  • Lights flash, no chirps, but the alarm arm/disarms

This usually means the alarm is in “valet” mode.

Your owner’s manual explains how to change this

  • Alarm chirps more than 2 times when disarming.

This means that one, or more, of the magnetic sensors is not working correctly, or the wiring to them has an issue….or;

The alarm has a fault stuck in its memory. You need to do an alarm reset (reboot). Call us for the instructions.

  • Alarm chirps 2 times when disarming…and then once more about 5 seconds later.

This means that one of the zones (out of 4) has been triggered. This is usually is the motion detector picking up motion. If you’ve had a bad windstorm, thunderstorm, or maybe some obnoxious neighborhood kids rocking the truck to try and trip the alarm, the motion detector may have triggered. Items that are hanging from your ceiling that may swing if the truck rocks a bit will also trip that detector. 99.9% of the time an alarm reset will cure this issue. The other 0.1% is typically a bad sensor.

  • Alarm is super sensitive

Usually caused by swinging tags, t-shirts, bags, etc., in front of the motion detector. Even a gentle breeze will cause things to swing inside and those motion detectors are sensitive. Four fixes for this;

Remove anything that swing from in front of the motion detector.

  • Dial the sensitivity on the alarm brain to lowest setting (small black knob on bottom side of brain box. Turn CCW).

Reduce the sensitivity on the Motion detector (call us for procedure), or;

Worst case scenario is to tape a piece of cardboard over the “eye” of the motion detector, thereby blinding it. Your alarm system will still function as normal (doors), but the motion detector won’t trigger anymore. 

That’s it for March and as always…if you need help or have a question just dial up 303-301-7550 and one of us will get you taken care of!