Security systems, we have them on our cars, in our homes, and even in the offices we work in, but most people do not have them in their RV’s.   Of course with an RV, be it a trailer or motorized coach, we are talking about a security system far more complex than most automotive or most residential types.  Essentially a full blown security system for a large fifth wheel trailer or a motor coach is more like a residential alarm system and an auto system on steroids.  Some of the features you will find on the full deluxe systems include main door sensors, basement door sensors, interior inside motion detectors, vehicle vibration sensors, engine starter disabling devices, proprietary pager transmitter with point to point contact with supplied pager for both alarm functions and stand alone two channel pager advice, multi-function key fobs, remote door lock controls, selectable valet mode, on/off toggled interior motion sensors for “stay in” alarm mode, and more.

While this option is a good chunk of change, it should be noted that it can be used daily for both added security and convenience.  The alarm can of course be set during the owner’s absence.  It can also be set and armed while sleeping within the unit.  This is done by switching the motion detector disabling control and possibly locking out the vehicle vibration sensor also.  You can then have a peaceful nights sleep, even in a deserted location.   Oh yeh, if you use this feature overnight while sleeping in a quiet campground full of people enjoying a sound slumber sleep, make sure you disarm the system prior to stepping out the door.  It may very well attract a verbally colorful response from those neighbors that seemed so friendly just the night before.  Please, don’t ask me how I know.

The pager feature is kind of interesting.  It has a range of a couple of miles radius from the RV and therefore will probably cover about a normal campground area.  If the alarm is triggered, the pager will immediately inform the owner.  Also it can be used as a communication device within the same coverage area.  The communication is one way, RV to pager only.  But, with two separate channels, two different pre-determined messages can be sent out to the pager.  For example, say the kids or spouse is out playing in the area.  You have pre-determined that page #1 means “Lunch is ready” and page #2 is reserved for “Return to the RV immediately” or anything else that suits your lifestyle.

Having a security system on your RV can also serve as a deterrent.  Generally there is a red L.E.D. in the area near the entrance door.  This red indicator light flashes when the alarm system is in the arm mode or can be triggered to flash also in stand-by like mode.  A would be thief in all likelihood, will take a pass and select an easier target.

An additional tip,if your RV is equipped with one of these security guarding devices, and it also has the key fob option, keep it within reach from your bed, perhaps on the night table.  Should an event happen that may threaten your safety or that of your rig, the panic button can be activated without delay.  This will cause the lights to flash and a great deal of noise.  In most cases this will quickly frighten any people up to no good.  For those that do not have this feature on their rig, but are towing a vehicle with keyless fob entry, the same nighttime noisy deterrent can also work very well.

So, at $1,500 to $2,000, is it worth it? Providing they use it properly, I believe yes, for some people.  The value of it is dependant on an individual’s lifestyle and the type of camping involved.  For many however, it may be a waste.  Like many option choices, one must evaluate their personal application to determine the need and perceived value.

I happen to have the full system in my coach.  To be truthful, I doubt that I use or need it at the frequency equal to justifying the cost.  However, one break-in. would far exceed the cost.  In that manner, it’s kind of like insurance, but better.  You only have to pay it once.

Footnote: These systems are very functional and can guard your property and safety 24/7.  Given the recent surge and continuing fluxuation of the price of fuel, I would predict future offerings from the alarm company manufacturers that would include monitoring and sensors for the fuel door(s).  These, to my knowledge, are not offered to motor coach purchasers at this time.

So, do you have one?

With Some Alarming Thoughts   –   Lug_Nut    –     Peter Mercer

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  1. This looks absolutely perfect. All these tinny details are made with lot of background information and inspiration, both of which we all need, thanks for providing such helpful information here.

  2. Electronic security system can be used in banks, factories, commercial establishments, houses, etc. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I enjoyed reading and even took some notes!..;-) Thanks.

  4. Lug_Nut and Mark Skotek, my name is Matthew and I would be interested in talking to both of you about a security system I have that sends a video alert to your cell phone if there is an intrusion while you’re gone.

    This is a business level security system that installs in your RV, and there is no wiring at all – it is battery powered and uses an encrypted wireless channel (military grade AES encryption) to send video to the base unit. The base unit sends the video to our servers using cell phone technology. The video alerts work anywhere you get cell phone coverage, though the siren and motion sensing work anytime the system is armed.

    This system will install in any RV in less than 30 minutes, and arms and disarms with a key chain remote. To give you an idea of how portable it is, our developer takes on with him to hotel rooms when he travels, where he sets it up and arms it.

    Our company’s number is 901-922-9600. Our website is

  5. Deborah, Glad you enjoyed the blog. I hope you continue to visit often and comment frequently. Thank you for taking the time to comment and for your input.

  6. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  7. Thank you John, and all the best to you and yours for ’09 and on. Yes, the wireless offers some great benefits, one being ease of install. This may well be a thing to investigate if you are thinking about an aftermarket install. Thanks for your ongoing participation in our blogs and for your always valued input.

  8. John

    Hi Lug_Nut,
    I would like to first of all wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and warmest wishes for the New Year in 2009.

    I like the idea of a wireless system. It is much less intrusive compared to hardwired, which can be disappointing if installed poorly as witnessed above by one of your readers. Luckily, I have a shop in my neighbourhood that doesn’t settle for a second rate installation and always backs up their work no questions asked. I agree it’s best to pay only once instead of ongoing insurance premiums. The trick is to find a reputable installer.

    Was your system installed at the factory?
    Hooking up the alarm to your train horns should assist in deterring any thieves too! Keep the articles coming!


  9. Jim, There are many choices of security systems available for RV’s. These can be found by Googling “RV Sucurity Sysytems”. I can not recommend one over the other as my knowledge of most of these companies is limited. Best of luck finding something that suits your needs. Thanks Jim for your participation and input.

  10. Jim

    Lug-Nut – I would love to have a security system installed. Do you have any reference sites that I can go to for a quote? I would really appreciate it.
    Thanks, Jim

  11. Bill, Great to hear from an expert on this topic. Your system sounds very sophisticated. Thank you for sharing it with us and for your expert input.

  12. Bill

    There are many alternatives to systems and installation. As a licensed security company owner, and installer, we have a variety of systems that work for RVs. In my own situation, I have a wireless system on the doors and holding areas connected to a GPS transmitter/receiver. This setup enables me to arm/disarm the coach remotely as well as receive alarm notifications from where ever I am at.

  13. Lug_Nut

    Mark, The factory installed O.E.M. sercurity system is usually much cleaner than an aftermarket. It is a pricey option however, which may be the reason that so few order them. Thank you for your participation and input.

  14. Mark Skotek

    I feel rv”s should come equipped with alarms installed because it really does damage to the rv. I never had one installed but own an rv that allready installed by the previous owner. there is molding falling off , wires hanging and a nest of wires hanging from under the dash, it looks very discouraging. Had the manufacturer installed it, the wireing would have been in the walls.