Some say that there are only two types of motorcycle riders: Those who have crashed, and those that are going to crash. Others have a similar saying regarding motorcycle theft. Just mention on any forum that you park your motorcycle outside of a condo at night and wait for the comments to pour in on how you are uselessly reckless. I disagree, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t steps we can take to tilt the scale in our favor. To do so, here I’m going to show you how to make your own fake dummy alarm for motorcycles.
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Tool Requirements: 2 out of 5
Time: 2 hours
Cost: 10$ (Approx.)
Note: While this DIY was made based on the 2016 Kawasaki Ninja 650 ABS motorcycle, it still applies to most motorcycles, cars, or other vehicles with an alarm system.
*This DIY is a side-project for my guide “DIY: Motorcycle GPS Tracker Install With Remote Engine Disconnect“. If you didn’t arrive here through that project, you might wanna check it out.
Why a fake dummy alarm is a useful feature for a motorcycle
I’m pretty paranoid when it comes to anti-theft features on motorcycles. When the time came to install an alarm my new Ninja 650, I quickly decided I wanted the benefits of a GPS Tracker Alarm. I mean those models you can text from your phone, see what speed it’s at, arm or disarm the alarm, see where they are, etc.
However, my train of thought was “Hmm…how can I install it in such a way that I myself wouldn’t be able to simply remove it in a pinch if I stole it?”. The issue is that given enough time, there simply isn’t any way. If you know the bike has an alarm, you’ll find and remove it. And you’ll know it does because of the siren.
However, after thinking about it, I reached a conclusion. The only effective method to give the bike’s GPS Tracker alarm a fighting chance of not being found is installing a fake dummy alarm. And by that I don’t mean a blinking red light on the dash. Keep reading to see exactly what that entails.
First, install a GPS Tracker unit
For the fake dummy alarm to make any sense, the first step is to properly install a GPS Tracker Alarm.
To be truthful, there is another option. You can install on the bike both an alarm on one side, and a GPS tracker on the other. However, doing that you lose a lot of features like being able to use your phone as an alarm remote. Also, that means double the battery drain which is a huge issue for motorcycles. That’s why I greatly prefer GPS Trackers which are also alarm units (as in one that sounds a siren if the bike is moved).
It’s important to install the GPS tracker alarm properly. And by that I mean concealed in some place where it isn’t easily found (no small feat on a motorcycle). Good locations are inside the airbox (Perfect spot for the 2012-2016 Kawasaki Ninja 650), under the gas tank (2012-2016 Kawasaki Ninja 300) or similar spots. You will also have to wire it properly, which means no wires going directly to the battery from the motorcycle alarm.
Benefits of a fake dummy alarm on a car or motorcycle
You might wonder at this point that, if we go through all that hassle, what’s the point of a fake dummy alarm?
The issue is that if an alarm sounds when the thief steals your vehicle, the first thing they are going to do is rip out that alarm. Even if it’s just to make the alarm stop going off. If your alarm is both an alarm and a GPS Tracker, they will identify it as such and throw it far away from wherever your bike is. And consequently…your bike gets stolen…and stays stolen.
The benefit of a fake dummy alarm is that they will find the dummy alarm first and rip out that unit. Once they do, the siren will stop wailing, making them think that the alarm is removed, and leave it at that. Making that siren stop is instant gratification so they won’t bother to look further. What they won’t know is that they only made the siren stop, but that the actual GPS Tracker Alarm is still receiving power, and transmitting the (stolen) bike’s position. All you have to do now is track the bike and get it back. Hopefully, with the help of police.
What you’ll need
The only real “extra” component you’ll need for this fake dummy alarm project is the cheapest 12v motorcycle alarm you can find. Don’t bother looking for decoy alarms advertised as such. Either they are recognizable as decoys, or would cost more than a cheap real alarm would. Thank you economy of scale!
A true, first-price 12v motorcycle alarm will cost you under 10$ in most cases. It might even have a few useful internal components you can scavenge. All you really want is the enclosure with the wiring coming out of it. The ideal unit for this project is your typical Saturday-night Ebay special. So just take a look at the following search results below, and choose whatever size or format you like most. Just make sure it looks like an alarm, it’s compact, it has wires coming out of it, and the siren is separate from the control unit.
Good candidates for a fake dummy alarm
- If you just want a quick link to a suitable product on Amazon, here you go. This unit is my favorite, though you might be able to find it cheaper and unbranded on Ebay.
- If you want to peruse a reduced list of Amazon search results for other options, click here. Just make sure you search “From Low to High” with a max price of around 20$.
- If you want the cheapest option, Ebay is your best bet. You want to look for a unit that looks like the unit in the first link. This link should give you the best options. Ideally you should be able to find something under 10$.
Other tools & supplies
I’ll just link to other things I used for this project. That way you know what’s needed and can make sure you have everything available before starting. Between parenthesis means useful, but not crucial.
- Multimeter – A staple in any automotive electrical project. I’m pretty satisfied with this one for quick work like this.
- Wire Stripper – For stripping wires. This automatic unit makes the job easier.
- (Soldering Iron) – I really like this unit because of the long cable (great for working on vehicles), adjustable temperature, and On-Off switch.
- Hobby Knife – For stripping fine wires that give the automatic wire stripper trouble.
- (Rosin Core Solder) – The rosin core helps solder dirty wiring.
- (Wire assortment) – High quality wire makes a huge difference reliability wise on motorcycles, where corrosion is a big issue.
- Electrical Tape – A staple in any DIY.
- (Liquid Electrical Tape) – Use it if you really want to help make the bare stripped wires corrosion and humidity resistant. It’s a great thing to have in your tool box.
- (Dielectric Grease) – For protecting electrical connections from humidity. Put a dab in all the exposed electrical connectors.
- Glue Gun – And glue sticks too, of course. It is used to add weight to the fake dummy alarm.
- (Alarm System Decal) – For what it costs, I like sticking an “Alarm System” decal on the decoy alarm, just to make it clearer. If you buy a decal, don’t buy one that says “GPS Tracker” or anything of the sort. The decoy alarm does not look like a GPS tracker. You don’t want the thief to even suspect you have a GPS tracker on the bike. The one I used is this one.
Step-by-Step Fake Dummy Alarm DIY Install
Step 1 – Install the GPS Tracker Alarm
First, you’ll simply want to install the GPS Tracker Alarm however you see suitable. Install the alarm’s siren, but don’t wire it to the real alarm. Just leave the siren’s wire disconnected.
If possible, try to install the alarm somewhere near wires you can discretely tap for power, ground and ACC (power on ignition). On this 2016 Kawasaki Ninja 650 ABS, I installed the GPS tracker inside the airbox. I then tapped the ignition wires directly for the power wires I needed.
Step 2 – Open up the fake dummy alarm
The next step is to open up the cheap alarm you intend to use as fake dummy alarm. Cut off the wires where they connect to the circuit board. Keep the circuit board for parts or another project, if you like.
Step 3 – Wire the fake dummy alarm
The main feature of this fake dummy alarm is that, if you disconnect the fake dummy alarm, the siren from the “real” alarm stops sirening – but the real alarm still works. That is, it keeps receiving power, as well as reporting the GPS coordinates of the (presumably) stolen motorcycles.
It would simply be sufficient for the thief to disconnect the quick release connector from the fake dummy alarm to trigger this. By the way, adding a connector would hopefully incentivize them to do that instead of damaging the bike ripping wiring out. In any case, whatever they do to the fake dummy wouldn’t damage the real tracker alarm.
You will need to wire the circuit as in the diagram attached. Simply solder the connections inside the fake dummy alarm as pictured. Then heat-shrink or otherwise insulate the connections however you feel best.
Regarding any connections made on the bike side, crimp or solder as appropriate. If soldering make sure you use the proper technique since soldering can lead to issues if done wrong.
Once you have made the connections inside the fake dummy alarm, super glue the rubber grommet through which the wires pass in place, so it doesn’t get pulled out too easily. You will also want to use hot glue to partially fill up the fake dummy alarm to give it some weight. That way an overly conscious thief won’t notice immediately that something is wrong. Otherwise, it would be easy to simply notice that the fake dummy alarm doesn’t weigh anything. Or you could simply leave the original circuit board inside.
Step 4 – Tuck everything away
You will want to hide the fake dummy alarm somewhere where it will take the thief effort and time to reach, but that won’t take permanent damage to the bike to access. They will find and remove it anyway, so just don’t make them destroy the bike in the process. Under the seat or near the battery is best.
You want them to have every reason to believe that the fake dummy alarm is the real alarm. In other words, don’t make it too easy to find. Furthermore, you’ll probably also want to wire the “red” and “black” wires directly to the battery posts. That way you make it look like it is receiving power.
Finally the project’s done! Now you can test it out. Hopefully someone finds this useful!
If you found this interesting, check out my homepage to see what other projects I’ve been up to — here are some you might like: