Security system pricing and VanBitz/OSTT questions for new Auto Trail Adventure van

Jun 12, 2020
5
3
Funster No
71,702
MH
PVC AutoTr Adventure
Exp
Since 2019
Hi,

First post alert and sorry it's a long one! might serve helpful for others as it's documenting some of my research :smiley:

I've just ordered an Auto Trail Adventure, an interesting van based on Ducato but with a pop-top as well for extra births and a "sleeping under canvas feel" I enjoy occasionally. It has the built in Auto-Trail Connect a tracker with subscription (£100pa) and a few other features like remote monitoring of some bits of the van. However that does not cover one of my first priorities which is remote monitoring and alerts if someone breaks into the van and sets the alarm off.

So I've been looking else where, the main 2 serious options are obviously the VanBitz and Out Smart the Thief (OSTT) Lockdown.

VanBitz unfortunately still seem closed so I couldn't speak to them yesterday or today on the phone but did get to speak OSTT for a good chat yesterday.

My goals are:
  • Being remotely alerted when the alarm is activated
  • Loud siren inside the camper van, but I don't think I need 5 sirens in a 6m panel van conversion
  • Try and avoid two yearly subscriptions so the Auto-Trail Connect subscription may have to be dropped
  • Keep Caravan Guard insurance happy, they are OK with OSTT Lockdown even though it's not Thatcham
  • Extra level immobilisation over factory, tracking, remote stop if possible
  • I don't need a locker alarming, but the back doors do need covering
  • Perhaps full window sensors (although it would need 6), maybe more for setting at night as I could be sleeping in the pop-top with no one downstairs and don't want a break in downstairs undetected while I sleep. Although I do have the habit of carrying all valuables wallet, laptop etc up with me into the pop-top so they would literally have to cosy up next to me to get to those :LOL: although I also worry about setting alarms at night and forgetting to upset it!
It seems OSTT can do all of this for £649 + £60 extra siren + (optional 6 x £39 windows) and subscription £99p/a

Now VanBitz, unfortunately as I said before I can't get through to them their phone lines just have a recorded message, I understand they are choosing to be closed until start of July but would have been nice to speak to someone to confirm some things. I will be emailing them my questions so hopefully get some more help soon from them or this community, as I'm in a hurry (van arrives on 25th) I'm posting this and emailing at the same time so apologies VanBitz don't get asked by email in advanced.

I've read the PDF VanBitz produce but still not entirely sure what you get for what, personally I prefer listed specs more to the point vs a long read PDF book. My current queries are:
  • The "Growler" alarm is that basically the same as their Strikeback but with 5 sirens and some extra LEDs? which is £999
  • Is getting their Strikeback at £599 + Devils Wail extra internal siren at £85 an in between? so basically same system just less sirens and LEDs?
  • VanBitz don't seem to mention window sensors? Are they not an option?
  • You'd still need something extra to cover the remote monitoring and tracking, that seems to need Shadow VTS which is either £299 or £199 depending on if you have Strikeback or Growler installed. Are they charging extra because Strikeback needs extra hardware or more difficult to install or is it just trying to give more discount to up-sell the Growler system? Then the subscription is £150p/a But then it says engine immobilisation is optional, so is that more again? and I can't conclusively tell if this monitoring will alert if the alarm goes off or just the tracker activated?
As you can see I'm getting a bit confused trying to compare the costs between the two, but so far for VanBitz to do something equivalent to what I sped'd above from OSTT it's something like this:

Strikeback £599 + Devils Wail £85 + £299 Shadow VTS + £200 M36T2 Immobiliser (Not sure if windows can be covered) - 10% if I join up and use a discount from this site.

So talking about £1050 for VanBitz vs £710 for OSTT? and £1200 vs £810 if we include 1 year of monitoring.

Now the money difference isn't a huge deal, and my post seems to be being negative for VanBitz which isn't my intention just I've got the OSTT info and answers quicker so have a better picture of what they can do.

The other thing is I do get the van on or around the 25th June so quite soon, OSTT (if I act fast on ordering) seem to be able to get that fitted in time either before I pick up at the dealer or straight after. Then on the other hand VanBitz is going to need around £100 for fuel etc to get down to them, and no idea when in July they'd be able to fit it, which is an issue when insurance requires either a tracker or decent alarm fitted to be valid, so I'd have to either risk it or activate the Auto-Trail Connect tracker subscription which would be another £100 on top for VanBitz. So that could bring it to £1400 vs £810.

As you can probably tell it seems like I'm swaying in one direction and will make a decision soon, but any advice would be helpful :)

Thanks, Carl

p.s. I will make sure my next post will be shorter:smiley:
 

funflair

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Dec 11, 2013
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Hi Carl

Quite a number of people on here have OSTT and speak highly of it likewise VB of course, I was going to get the OSTT but needed Thatcham tracker so eventually went Phantom.

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OP
M
Jun 12, 2020
5
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71,702
MH
PVC AutoTr Adventure
Exp
Since 2019
I have Strikeback with Meta Trak No Start in my PVC
No extra sirens but it's quite disorientating after a while
No window sensors because there's an interior movement sensor

VanBitz might be able to help on this as I've seen Non Starter mentioned around and in the contents (page 10 it says) of their big PDF, but it's not mentioned anywhere on that page or anywhere in that PDF so not sure if that is an option anymore?

I'm considering windows as I've got a pop-top so could be sleeping "upstairs" and if night mode is set they could basically get in very easily and wander round the van while I'm up top sleeping as the movement sensor would be deactivated.
 

Langtoftlad

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It's best to talk to them [when they open].
I've always found their site a bit hard to navigate... but as they have at least two links to "Key Theft", I'm pretty sure they'll offer some option.
I'm not convinced that would be thieves first point of access would be a window, nor that they would "wander around" in a 6m PVC with occupants inside [unless they gassed you first :pop:]

I think both Van Bitz & OSTT systems perform perfectly adequately.

Personally, I've never been overly enamoured about the effectiveness of any vehicle alarm - but I'm well impressed so far [three years] with the Non Starter*

*you should have seen the Citroen Service Department's faces when I enquired 'why did you need my van for three days, when it didn't move for two & half of them?

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DuxDeluxe

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You might like to have a good read of this thread and make your own judgements

 

Langtoftlad

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Just looking at the Autotrail Adventure specification - I'd be more concerned about the payload [lack of] rather than an alarm... :oops:
[especially if you use it as a 4 berth]
 
OP
M
Jun 12, 2020
5
3
Funster No
71,702
MH
PVC AutoTr Adventure
Exp
Since 2019
nor that they would "wander around" in a 6m PVC with occupants inside [unless they gassed you first :pop:]

Screenshot_526.png


This is the van, and a lot of the time I will be sleeping up in the pop-top alone, no one down stairs. That's my slight concern on getting in via windows while sleeping. Not worrying about the gassing as the pop-top gives so much ventilation it would be even more impossible (that's a myth right anyway). Some people put Milenco or tiiwee sensors on windows but if I can get it built into the main alarm I might do.

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OP
M
Jun 12, 2020
5
3
Funster No
71,702
MH
PVC AutoTr Adventure
Exp
Since 2019
Just looking at the Autotrail Adventure specification - I'd be more concerned about the payload [lack of] rather than an alarm... :oops:

Don't think that's a worry, it's not for a fully loaded x4 person family. A lot of the time on my own or with partner. I much preferred having the "lounge" config at the back vs raised bed and "garage", and I've already devised a way to fabricate a slide in tray with mountain bike fork mounts which locks everything down for the few occasions I take mountain bikes. It's also very easy to strap extra bags down to the seats in the back also if needed, or put some things in the shower room. I'm ok with that being secure enough for me.
 
Oct 1, 2007
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Don't think that's a worry, it's not for a fully loaded x4 person family. A lot of the time on my own or with partner. I much preferred having the "lounge" config at the back vs raised bed and "garage", and I've already devised a way to fabricate a slide in tray with mountain bike fork mounts which locks everything down for the few occasions I take mountain bikes. It's also very easy to strap extra bags down to the seats in the back also if needed, or put some things in the shower room. I'm ok with that being secure enough for me.
Dont wish to be rude but 5 free posts
Then choose member or not £15’oo to continue
 

DBK

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I've got an OSTT system and I've been very pleased with it but I think the VanBitz products are better, but they are more expensive. OSTT use wireless window switches. They work but the batteries will run down over a few years. The one under our big roof light gets cooked in the sun and the battery only lasts a couple of years.

In summary, both companies make a good product but OSTT will fit it on your drive. VanBitz needs an overnight stay but they do other stuff so you could have an inverter or solar added at the same time making the trip to Taunton more useful.

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lorger

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Jul 11, 2008
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If your main concern is the windows then buy a few personal panic alarms from the £ shop, you attach the string handle to the window handle and secure the alarm to the van using various methods. Once the thief opens the window it will pull out the string setting off the alarm, simple but effective.
 

eddievanbitz

Trader - Funster
Oct 4, 2007
6,909
28,226
Taunton Somerset
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540
MH
RV
Exp
since 1989
Hi,

First post alert and sorry it's a long one! might serve helpful for others as it's documenting some of my research :smiley:

I've just ordered an Auto Trail Adventure, an interesting van based on Ducato but with a pop-top as well for extra births and a "sleeping under canvas feel" I enjoy occasionally. It has the built in Auto-Trail Connect a tracker with subscription (£100pa) and a few other features like remote monitoring of some bits of the van. However that does not cover one of my first priorities which is remote monitoring and alerts if someone breaks into the van and sets the alarm off.

So I've been looking else where, the main 2 serious options are obviously the VanBitz and Out Smart the Thief (OSTT) Lockdown.

VanBitz unfortunately still seem closed so I couldn't speak to them yesterday or today on the phone but did get to speak OSTT for a good chat yesterday.

My goals are:
  • Being remotely alerted when the alarm is activated
  • Loud siren inside the camper van, but I don't think I need 5 sirens in a 6m panel van conversion
  • Try and avoid two yearly subscriptions so the Auto-Trail Connect subscription may have to be dropped
  • Keep Caravan Guard insurance happy, they are OK with OSTT Lockdown even though it's not Thatcham
  • Extra level immobilisation over factory, tracking, remote stop if possible
  • I don't need a locker alarming, but the back doors do need covering
  • Perhaps full window sensors (although it would need 6), maybe more for setting at night as I could be sleeping in the pop-top with no one downstairs and don't want a break in downstairs undetected while I sleep. Although I do have the habit of carrying all valuables wallet, laptop etc up with me into the pop-top so they would literally have to cosy up next to me to get to those :LOL: although I also worry about setting alarms at night and forgetting to upset it!
It seems OSTT can do all of this for £649 + £60 extra siren + (optional 6 x £39 windows) and subscription £99p/a

Now VanBitz, unfortunately as I said before I can't get through to them their phone lines just have a recorded message, I understand they are choosing to be closed until start of July but would have been nice to speak to someone to confirm some things. I will be emailing them my questions so hopefully get some more help soon from them or this community, as I'm in a hurry (van arrives on 25th) I'm posting this and emailing at the same time so apologies VanBitz don't get asked by email in advanced.

I've read the PDF VanBitz produce but still not entirely sure what you get for what, personally I prefer listed specs more to the point vs a long read PDF book. My current queries are:
  • The "Growler" alarm is that basically the same as their Strikeback but with 5 sirens and some extra LEDs? which is £999
  • Is getting their Strikeback at £599 + Devils Wail extra internal siren at £85 an in between? so basically same system just less sirens and LEDs?
  • VanBitz don't seem to mention window sensors? Are they not an option?
  • You'd still need something extra to cover the remote monitoring and tracking, that seems to need Shadow VTS which is either £299 or £199 depending on if you have Strikeback or Growler installed. Are they charging extra because Strikeback needs extra hardware or more difficult to install or is it just trying to give more discount to up-sell the Growler system? Then the subscription is £150p/a But then it says engine immobilisation is optional, so is that more again? and I can't conclusively tell if this monitoring will alert if the alarm goes off or just the tracker activated?
As you can see I'm getting a bit confused trying to compare the costs between the two, but so far for VanBitz to do something equivalent to what I sped'd above from OSTT it's something like this:

Strikeback £599 + Devils Wail £85 + £299 Shadow VTS + £200 M36T2 Immobiliser (Not sure if windows can be covered) - 10% if I join up and use a discount from this site.

So talking about £1050 for VanBitz vs £710 for OSTT? and £1200 vs £810 if we include 1 year of monitoring.

Now the money difference isn't a huge deal, and my post seems to be being negative for VanBitz which isn't my intention just I've got the OSTT info and answers quicker so have a better picture of what they can do.

The other thing is I do get the van on or around the 25th June so quite soon, OSTT (if I act fast on ordering) seem to be able to get that fitted in time either before I pick up at the dealer or straight after. Then on the other hand VanBitz is going to need around £100 for fuel etc to get down to them, and no idea when in July they'd be able to fit it, which is an issue when insurance requires either a tracker or decent alarm fitted to be valid, so I'd have to either risk it or activate the Auto-Trail Connect tracker subscription which would be another £100 on top for VanBitz. So that could bring it to £1400 vs £810.

As you can probably tell it seems like I'm swaying in one direction and will make a decision soon, but any advice would be helpful :)

Thanks, Carl

p.s. I will make sure my next post will be shorter:smiley:
Gosh! Where to start? Well I guess at the beginning. Just so you know we haven't (as of 13:30) received an email from you, and yes we are closed, but we are monitoring emails to continue as good a customer service as we can.

A couple of general points first, I have never been a fan of tracking systems, and have always advocated staying well away from wireless systems and sensors.

In my opinion unless you "have" to have a tracking system as a condition of insurance, I wouldn't bother.

Jamming equipment is now at a point where is is readily available and very cheap. I am sat writing in my home office looking at this :-
1592310556028.png

One of many similar toys, this one bought from the internet for under £60 that will turn off (block) pretty much anything

It certainly makes GSM GPS devices "disappear" in a couple of seconds, and will block wireless sensors, should I turn it on, which of course I wouldn't

We were having meetings with Insurers and in discussion with Thatcham about their idiotic blind reliance on Tracking systems in February when of Covid came along and rain stopped play

So, do I need a tracker? Any thing that has a SIM card? Ours? Any ones? This box with make it disappear

So as I started with, if it isn't a condition of insurance save your money!

My goals are:
  • Being remotely alerted when the alarm is activated

Easy our Non Starter option will do that: https://www.vanbitz.com/worried-key-theft/

  • Loud siren inside the camper van, but I don't think I need 5 sirens in a 6m panel van conversion

No, your right, but two up under the floor at the rear of the motorhome, one under the bonnet and two hidden inside under the dash does make people think. Of course the two inside are now automatically disabled when you want to sleep in the motorhome and have the alarm on.
  • Try and avoid two yearly subscriptions so the Auto-Trail Connect subscription may have to be dropped

Avoid anything that is factory fitted IE always in exactly the same place.
  • Keep Caravan Guard insurance happy, they are OK with OSTT Lockdown even though it's not Thatcham

So what heppens when they hike your price next year and your stuck with them? Having a Thatcham system means you can use any insurer. When we started specialising installing motorhome alarms in 1990 Thatcham didn't even have lists, but once they were credible and the insurers started supporting it, we realised that being "tied" to one insurer wasn't in our customers best interests.
  • Extra level immobilisation over factory, tracking, remote stop if possible

As Above, our Non Starter is great for that. Unlike tracking systems that stop the vehicle if it is stolen, with our Non Starter, is't where you left it. Same technology but reversed. I think the difference with us (Van Bitz) is that we are motorhome owners and users ourselves. We don't say we specialists and then do cars and caravans, just motorhomes, and I am not that keen on anyone driving my motorhome, so I really REALLY want to do everything that I can to ensure that when I park it, and "Tapp the App" its not stolen before the remote stop can be brought into play. I believe the expression in "Shutting the stable door, once the Horse has bolted"

Use a jammer to "jam" a motorhome "immobilsed" by a Non Starter on a campsite, drive or house and you make it more secure ironically. Steal a motorhome and make it dissapear using one of the new versions of jammer's and if the signal can't get through, that engine just keeps driving!
  • I don't need a locker alarming, but the back doors do need covering

Standard of course with both our Strikeback and our Growler systems, as is of course the Accessory Protection Loop (ACP) A plug-able security loop that can be used to protect bikes on a rack, or paddleboards anything really as it allows you to "export" the alarm system out from the motorhome. Of course it can also be used to connect the motorhome to a pipe or fixing so should anyone attempt to push / tow the motorhome away the alarm will sound
  • Perhaps full window sensors (although it would need 6), maybe more for setting at night as I could be sleeping in the pop-top with no one downstairs and don't want a break in downstairs undetected while I sleep. Although I do have the habit of carrying all valuables wallet, laptop etc up with me into the pop-top so they would literally have to cosy up next to me to get to those :LOL: although I also worry about setting alarms at night and forgetting to upset it!

Window sensors can be added, but be aware that they can simply be disabled a flick of a switch and as already discussed, being tiny and battery operated can be a nuiscance so very regular testing require to ensure that they are working

I've got an OSTT system and I've been very pleased with it but I think the VanBitz products are better, but they are more expensive. OSTT use wireless window switches. They work but the batteries will run down over a few years. The one under our big roof light gets cooked in the sun and the battery only lasts a couple of years.

Interior protection is something that you may need to consider with your new van having a raising roof which will no doubt have some movement, especially on a windy day. The Hyper Frequency unit that we have manufactured is ignores heat or air movement. Conventional systems that either use a PIR react to heat (and tend to be battery and wireless so a double "fail" and ultrasonic sensors, detect air movement, so it could be that you would be forced to disable the interior protection if you wanted to go out and leave the roof up and the alarm on, which would be a bit daft

Strikeback is £599 installed and as a MHF Subscriber you get 10% discount so save £60 making it £540 for a tilt sensor on the bonnet, two cab doors, slicing side door, rear doors, Accessory Protection Circuit, 100% Covert Hyper frequency interior protection, panic, two remote alarm key fobs, internal LED and external waterproof LED so you maintain a deterrent at night when the blinds are closed, international warning stickers in five languages and warning decals for the locks

Happy to answer any other questions, its not like I am going away in my motorhome for a while :happy:
 
Last edited:

Geo

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Jul 29, 2007
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I'm wondering, have you bought a Motor Home or Cash in transit bullion van?
Buy it, insure it, enjoy it.
You will be paying insurance big time, then spending £££££ making sure they dont have to pay out.
Then you will pay again in excesses for the damaged caused in a failed theft attept

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OP
M
Jun 12, 2020
5
3
Funster No
71,702
MH
PVC AutoTr Adventure
Exp
Since 2019
Gosh! Where to start? Well I guess at the beginning. Just so you know we haven't (as of 13:30) received an email from you, and yes we are closed, but we are monitoring emails to continue as good a customer service as we can.

Great reply, thanks! just going through it all now in more detail. I did send an email but think I may have got an email address from the Strikeback/Growler PDF @cornishfarm.com which might be wrong which might explain you not seeing it yet. Forwarded it now to the @vanbits email address from the website.

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2020 at 11:32
Subject: New campervan security system advice
 

lorger

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[B][B]eddievanbitz[/B][/B] thanks for that clear explanation answered a few questions I had ,mind made up will be contacting you when the new van arrives (end of July hopefully)to book strikeback fitting.
If you know the collect date or as soon as you do you'd be better booking as they can get busy and will no doubt have a back log.

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Sep 13, 2018
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Getting the hang of it
Unfortunately can't be any more precise still waiting for a collection date,van (sunlight T67S)
was due to be built as german lockdown started
so hopefully not to long now july is the date dealer has quoted.
 
Jan 22, 2019
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I'm wondering, have you bought a Motor Home or Cash in transit bullion van?
Buy it, insure it, enjoy it.
You will be paying insurance big time, then spending £££££ making sure they dont have to pay out.
Then you will pay again in excesses for the damaged caused in a failed theft attept
Insurance is there for the total loss, the bad accident, being sued by a third party. ..plus the legal requirement. The alarm Is there to discourage a petty thief/vandal from ruining a holiday/trip away and attempting a break in

The whole point of the alarm is that they will (hopefully) be discouraged from attacking the alarmed van ... and regrettably, they will possibly target yours if it’s next door, if yours isnt alarmed
 
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