All the information you need to build a vehicle anti-hijack alarm - using cheap off-the-shelf components.

Hijack Alarm No.3


Hijack Alarm No.3
Circuit Description
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Hijack Alarm No.3 - Construction Guide

Like the first two Hijack Alarms - this circuit was designed primarily for the situation where a hijacker forces the driver from the vehicle. If a door is opened while the ignition is switched on - the circuit will trip. After a few minutes delay - when the thief is at a safe distance - the Siren will sound.

Where it differs from the first two alarms - is in what happens next. I'm obliged to Victor Montanez from the USA who suggested that the engine cut-out should not operate - until the vehicle comes to a stop. That way - the engine will not fail suddenly or unexpectedly. And the hijacker will retain control.

I haven't been able to implement Victor's excellent suggestion completely - because I couldn't think of a simple, reliable and universally applicable way of sensing when the vehicle has come to a stop. But James McGee - also from the USA - has suggested that selecting the Park position of an automatic gearbox - or operating the Emergency Brake - might possibly be used to provide the necessary cue.

Schematic Diagram

Click Here For A Photograph Of The Prototype.

Circuit Diagram For 
Vehicle Hijack Alarm No.3

I've simply postponed engine failure until the ignition is switched off. Once the thief turns off the ignition - the engine will not re-start. Clearly - there is no certainty as to when this will occur. But I think it will occur sooner rather than later. Because there's a strong possibility that the hijacker will turn off the ignition - in an attempt to silence the siren.

As well as acting as a Hijack Alarm - this circuit offers some added protection. Like the Enhanced Hijack Alarm - it incorporates Jeff Chia's suggestion. That is - every time the ignition is switched on - the alarm will trip. So it will protect the vehicle whenever you leave it unattended with the ignition switched off - even overnight in your driveway.

Circuit Diagram Of A 
Vehicle Hijack Alarm
Before fitting this or any other engine cut-out to your vehicle - carefully consider both the safety implications of its possible failure - and the legal consequences of installing a device that could cause an accident. If you decide to proceed - you will need to use the highest standards of materials and workmanship.


You're going to trip this alarm unintentionally. When you do - the LED will light and the Buzzer will give a short beep. The length of the beep is determined by C4. Its purpose is to alert you to the need to push the reset button. When you push the button - the LED will switch-off. Its purpose is to reassure you that the alarm has in fact reset.

If the reset button is not pressed then - about 3 minutes later - both the Siren and the Buzzer will sound continuously. The length of the delay is set by R8 & C5. For extra effect - fit a second siren inside the vehicle. With enough noise going on - you may feel that it's unnecessary to fit the engine cut-out. In which case - you can leave out C7, D8, R12, R13, Ty1 & Ry2.

When the ignition is switched on - C3 & R4 are responsible for tripping the alarm. By taking pin 1 low momentarily - they simulate the opening of a door. If you don't want the alarm to trip every time you turn on the ignition - simply leave out C3 & R4.

Because the voltage on C3 may be reversed - the capacitor needs to be non-polarized. But connecting two regular 22uF capacitors back to back as shown - will work just as well. Because non-polarized capacitors are not widely available - the prototype was built using two polarized capacitors.

To reset the circuit you must - EITHER turn off the ignition - OR close all of the doors - before you press the reset button. While BOTH the ignition is on - AND a door remains open - the circuit will NOT reset.

The reset button carries virtually no current - so any small normally-open switch will do. Eric Vandel from Canada suggests using a reed-switch hidden behind (say) the dash - and operated by a magnet. I think this is an excellent idea. As Eric said in his email: - "... that should keep any thief guessing for a while."

The Flow Chart is another of Eric's suggestions. It will help you to visualize how the alarm is operated. It also explains the sequence of events that lead to siren activation - and the engine's subsequent failure to re-start.

Veroboard Layout

Click Here For A Photograph Of The Prototype.

Veroboard Layout For 
Hijack Alarm No.3

How you prevent the engine from starting is up to you. It should happen when Ry2 de-energizes. The contacts of Ry2 are too small to do the job themselves. So use them to switch the coil of a larger relay. Remember that the relay must be suitable for the current it's required to carry. Choose one specifically designed for automobiles - it will be protected against the elements - and will give the best long-term reliability. You don't want it to let you down on a cold wet night - or worse still - in fast moving traffic!!! Remember also that you must fit a 1N4001 diode across YOUR relay's coil - to prevent damage to the Cmos IC

YOUR relay should drop-out when Ry2 de-energizes. Wire YOUR relay so that when it drops-out the engine will not start. Because turning-off the ignition will cause both Ry2 and YOUR relay to de-energize - the standby current will be low - and the engine will be disabled while the vehicle is parked.

The circuit board must be protected from the elements. Dampness or condensation will cause malfunction. Fit a 1-amp in-line fuse AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE to your power source. This is VERY IMPORTANT. The fuse is there to protect the wiring - not the components on the circuit board. Please note that I am UNABLE to help any further with either the choice of a suitable relay - or with advice on installation.

Both the Siren and the Buzzer will go on sounding until the alarm is reset. The circuit is designed to use an electronic Siren drawing up to about 500mA. It's not usually a good idea to use the vehicle's own Horn because it can be easily located and disconnected. However, if you choose to use the Horn, remember that Ry1 is too small to carry the necessary current. Connect the coil of a suitably rated relay to the "Siren" output. This can then be used to sound the Horn.

Hijack Alarm No.3 - Construction Details

Hijack Alarm No.3
Circuit Description
The Rest of Ron's Circuits Write To Ron More Free-to-Use Circuits Circuit Exchange International

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