Pros: Built in relays for many common features. Great customer service
Cons: Tech Support, manual
The CS2003DC is the top of the line in the Gargoyle series by CrimeStopper. It includes many standard features built in to the control module that are optional, external additions to other systems.
What I like about the CS2003DC
- Built in Relays - Relays are built in for flashing the parking lights, honking the horn, controlling door locks, disabling the starter and dome light monitoring. Many systems have the outputs, but not the relays. Having all the relays built into the control module makes installation easier and neater.
- User Programmable Options - There are 14 options that can be changed by following a simple programming procedure. The user can control things like automatically locking/unlocking the doors with the ignition and silent arm/disarm.
- The schematic on the back page of the manual - There is a drawing on the back of the manual that shows the control module and EVERY wire. It really helps during installation to have a picture.
- Modular Plug In Components - The shock sensor, valet switch, and led have their own plugs. That's a total of 8 wires that the installer doesn't have to splice together!
- Warranty - The warranty can be transferred to a new owner if you sell the vehicle. The fine print is that it transfers WITH the vehicle, it's void if you remove it and install it in a different vehicle. Also, the new owner has to pay Crimestopper a $30 registration fee to have the warranty transferred to their name. (That's a dislike, but most companies only offer the warranty for the original purchaser). Most manufacturers have strict requirements to qualify for the warranty. Usually they MUST be installed by an authorized dealer for you to have ANY warranty. Crimestopper warranties their alarms even if you install it yourself.
What I don't like about the CS2003DC
- The Installation and Operating Instruction book - I've got a couple of issues with the manual. First, it's tiny, the pages measure 4.5X5". Since there isn't much space, the fonts are small. Reading the instructions is tedious, I'd like to see the manual's pages about twice as tall and the fonts increased. Second, Crimestopper could have been more descriptive with some of the features. The short descriptions are adequate, but someone that isn't familiar with alarm systems may have trouble figuring out what they mean.
- No Theft Insurance - Many other brand name alarm manufacturers offer insurance against theft if their alarm is installed and armed when your car is hit. Crimestopper doesn't offer any sort of program, probably because they allow anyone to install their systems and they have no way of knowing if the alarm was installed properly.
I had planned on a whole Saturday to install the CS2003DC correctly, I was surprised that it only took me half the day (4hrs)! I did have the official Honda shop manual for my Civic so I had the wiring diagrams. Without schematics I'm sure it would have taken me much longer to locate the correct wires for my connections. All of the connecting hardware you need to make the splices is included with the system.
Since the 2003 is a full featured alarm, it has a lot of connections. There are 28 wires coming out of the module (20 that the user connects). You have to determine which ones you do and don't need. It isn't that difficult to install, but if you are intimidated by wiring I suggest you have it done by a pro.
The first thing I did was start walking down the street to see how well the remotes work. I was amazed at how far I got down the street, I was able to arm/disarm the alarm from 100 yards away! The range may have been farther, but I ran out of street. 300 feet is a lot farther than I ever plan to need it! The 4 buttons on the remotes are recessed to help prevent accidental pressing. The aren't overly hard to press and they feel solid. The remote itself is very lightweight, at first I thought they felt cheap, but lack of weight is a good thing for something that you'll be carrying in your pocket for extended periods. Conclusion: The remotes are outstanding!
The sensitivity was far too high for me. I left it at the factory setting for a couple of days, loud mufflers from passing cars would set it off! I finally got the system adjusted to a more realistic sensitivity and I'm happy to report that I haven't had a false alarm since. The shock sensor is dual stage, it can react differently to light and heavy impacts. If the "pre-warn" is triggered, the siren chirps rapidly 6 times without actually tripping the alarm. This is a warning to whoever touched the vehicle. Sharper impacts will trip the alarm. Both settings are adjusted by one screw on the shock sensor module.
The siren very loud. With the hood open and standing next to the car, it is painful. The sound is noticeably deadend by closing the hood, but anyone in range to do anything about the intrusion will be able to hear it easily. You can also connect the system to the car horn and have both audible alarms at the same time! This is one of the user programmable options, you can set the horn to only honk when the alarm is actually tripped.
Tech Support & Customer Service
I only had one problem with my alarm. The trunk pin sensor didn't seem to work. I emailed Crimestopper and received a nice response within 24 hours with a list of troubleshooting ideas. According to the tech, I had a bad control module and he wanted me to send it back. I contacted the returns department and they very nicely assigned me an RA number and told me where to send it. They said that the turn around was 1 week. Fast forward 2 weeks. I got a module back with a note that said "Tested good, replaced anyway..." now THAT is some service, they gave me a new one even though mine tested good! The note went on to say that my problem might not be the trunk pin circuit, but the shock sensor. The tech said to disconnect the shock sensor and try it, if it worked then the shock sensor was the problem and not the module... guess what, it worked.
I've got mixed feelings about Tech support, but all praise for customer service. The original technician was sure that the procedures that he had given me pointed to the control module, but he never had me try the shock sensor. I was out $3 for shipping on the wrong item (I'm cheap... I know). To their credit, customer sent me another shock sensor for free.
I like the CS2003DC, it has more features than my car has options. The remotes are very nice and have incredible range. I have no doubt that my car is in good hands. I'd like to see the owner's manual expanded and an insurance program offered, but for the money you'll do well to pick a Crimestopper.