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Viper 790XV Remote Start and Security System with Responder Technology
|Car Sound Magazine, Jan/Feb. 2003 by Rob Granger|
When the Viper 790XV system landed on my desk, I asked myself "What the heck do I need this for?" I already had an OEM security system on my ride (oh, the horror), and I live on Long Island – the summers get hot, but not Mojave Desert hot; and the winters get cold, but not Antarctica cold – wouldn't a system like this be a bit overkill? Would I really use it to its full extent? I'd really need some time with the system to make the most of it – or so I thought.
The first thing that caught my eye was the killer four-button Responder Technology remote control. The unit offers users an LCD interface for two-way communication of command confirmations, plus remote notification of trigger events.
The one thing that always turned me off to a remote start system was the fact that once you used it, you never knew if you actually started the car. Everyone I know who has a remote start (who all love them by the way) are always running to a window to make sure their car started once they hit their remote. Directed's Responder Technology promised to eliminate the guesswork. The user-friendly layout also offers users a look at a number of other system functions, including when signal is sent and received, when the system is armed and/or disarmed, and when the alarm, hood, trunk and shock sensors are triggered. The remote also features backlit illumination for better viewing at night and Beep/Vibrate mode which will offer users either an audible or physical cue when any functions, including the alarm being triggered, are performed. These promises alone had me looking at remote starts in a different light, but the question still remained: "Was it really for me?" Again, the only way to find out was to install it and live with it.
When it was time to actually install the Viper 790XV system, Directed Electronics suggested that it be done by a trained dealer (something they suggest with all their systems). With that, I visited Sound Advice in Seaford, NY (516-785-0400) where installer Jonathan Kampfer took over. Kampfer took the time to explain the system to me and to go over the list of options that I had on the installation end. Aside from making sure your vehicle and your system is in good hands, it's always good to go to a trained installer because he (or she) can walk you through your system's programming and installation options. In my case, Kampfer explained the benefits of actuated door locks in regards to the system (no, dang it, I didn't have factory power locks in my van.) We finalized all the programmable features (i.e. Passive/Active arming of the system when the vehicle is started and shut off, etc.) and I left the van with him for the afternoon.
When I returned to the shop, I got a full guided tour of the system by Kampfer. He showed me how to use the remote to arm and disarm the system and where all the new sensors were placed. With that, we remote started the car, I hit the high road, and the fun began...
Right off the bat, I was impressed with the system's two-way communication. When you start the car, the remote tells you it's started; when you arm the car, the remote tells you it's armed – no ifs, ands, or buts about it. There's no second guessing the technology. I was ready to give this remote start thing a chance...
Welcome To The Real World
My goal, in regards to testing this system, was to make this a real world evaluation. I wanted to live with the system, put it through the paces of my daily grind, and see just how much it affected my day-to-day life. Let me tell you, I was surprised by the results.
In all of their literature, Directed makes the claim that, under optimum conditions, the system could be started from up to a quarter-mile away. Honestly, I didn't care about that – I wanted to know if I could start my car from the frozen food aisle of my local King Kullen supermarket. I had some errands to run on my way home, and my first stop was the supermarket. After grabbing a pint of Ben & Jerry's I hit the appropriate combination of buttons to start the van – within a matter of seconds I watched the Transmit indicator light and the start indicator pop up on the screen – the van was started – no guessing required.
Now, you may be wondering "OK, you started the van, but what's to keep it from being stolen once it's started and you're not there?" In order to drive the vehicle once you've remote started it you need to put the key in the ignition, turn it to the ON position, and then put your foot on the brake. From there, you can drop out of park and be on your way. Honestly, this is the only thing that took some getting used to – if you hit the brake first (which I was doing out of habit) before you put the key in the ON position, the engine will shut down. After a few false starts, you'll get used to it! From there, I was a remote start fiend, attempting to start the car from anywhere and everywhere -- my bed, while walking the dog, from my wife's car, from my basement, from my seat inside a movie theater, from the middle of a crowded local mall, -- you name it, I tried it. Did it work each and every time? Heck no! Did I expect it to? Heck no! So what's the point? The point is Directed's Responder technology told me, from wherever I was, what was going on. Again, there was no guess work – either the van started or we weren't working with an "optimum condition" and it didn't. Now that's innovation.
Let me follow that up by saying this: I have never had a problem trying to start the car from the remote when I had to. When I'm in the house getting ready for work; when I'm walking out of a store with a cart full of packages; when I'm getting off the train at 7 PM on a freezing cold night – the Viper 790XV has always started the van so it's ready to roll by the time I get there. Take this one-time remote start cynic's word for it – you've got to live with the Viper 790XV to fully appreciate it. In the three months I've had the system installed, I've started my car manually maybe eight times (and that's including my blown remote starts from hitting the brake first.) It's a convenience that you won't fully appreciate until you've experienced it first hand.
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