The complexity and cost of top-of-the-line car alarm systems continue to grow. California firms make some of the most sophisticated--and even gaudy--devices available. Burlingame-based Pulsar Manufacturing, for example, just sold to a bank chairman a system with enough bells and whistles to satisfy a Pentagon purchasing officer.
Noise is the most talked about feature of car alarms--even if it is only the neighbors who are talking, and they're complaining. And the chairman's system was plenty loud when triggered. Not only did it include an electric siren and a mechanical siren, but also a $600 pair of three-foot-long air horns with special air compressor tanks, Pulsar President Paul F. Wilkinson said. "It's about the loudest system we've ever heard. . . . You'd jump back a foot."
Installed in a souped-up, four-wheel-drive GMC Suburban, the alarm system was also linked to a pair of strobe lights inside the cabin and a rack of halogen lights on the roof, which were programmed to flash in a repeating sequence.
The system is controlled by both a keypad on the dashboard and a remote FM transmitter with a 1,000-foot range. If repeated false alarms occur, the keypad can be used to check which oversensitive sensor set the sirens off on the five most recent occasions and which might need adjustment.