Frequently Asked Questions
How can you enter passwords on devices that dont have any screen and keyboard?
There are a variety of methods that are easy to apply.
- If the anti-theft system in integrated into the device (eg. like a TV) most already have infra-red remote control. A simple software addition would allow that remote control to supply the password. It would become another part of the system setup for the device.
If the anti-theft power cord is supplied for a system which does not have a remote
control (eg. a computer printer) then a receiver for a remote control can be easily
built in. Two common types are simple to implement:
- infra red transmission like a remote control for the TV
- radio transmission key like a garage door opener
Since the anti-theft power cord already contains a microcontroller adding the hardware and software for this well understood engineering. Cost is also low: simple optical detector or RF receivers capability is even built into some microcontrollers.
- How will people know that the device wont work if it is stolen?
Several possibilities to clearly identify the products equipped with the anti-theft system
- First the alarm ringing when the product is unplugged will alter the thief that this is a protected device.
- There will be a card on the plug that warns it will be in an alarm state when the alarm is activated.
- Special shape of the plug and colour of the plug
- Light emitting diode on the plug to make it easily seen in the dark.
- The trademarked logo and tradename on the product front, as well as unique cable shapes and markers will warn the thief that the device will not work
- Public awareness of the security system will be an early focus for Parvonis.
- Possibly even change the alarm to a voice announcement that the product will not work without the password being entered.
- In devices with displays (eg. TV, VCR) then a warning message appears when it is replugged in.
- Can a thief defeat the system by making the plug think it is still in a socket?
A clever thief might think of inserting cards in the space between the plug and socket as they removing it thinking this will fool the senor on the ground prong to think it is still within the socket. However the sensor measures information on the inside of the socket and that information changes as the plug is withdrawn. Thus the alarm is activated while the sensor is still within the socket, so adding items outside the socket have no effect.
- What if the power fails?
The anti theft power cord has battery backup which allows it to detect the plug removal and activate the alarm even when there is no power at the socket. The alarm state is retained by the controller via battery backup. Battery lifetime time in the non-alarm state is about 3-7 days long enough for a any common power failure. If the battery dies after that then the product reverts to the alarm state when it is powered back up, just as it would for a new installation.
- What if the anti theft power cord is cut?
The plug sensor end master controller and the device end controller communicate through the power cord. If the communications is broken then the power cord goes into the alarm state and the alarm rings. There is a battery and alarm at the product end that will be activated into the alarm state, and the product will be not operate.
What happens if the item is plugged into a multiple outlet power bar and the thief steals the bar?
First a special power bar that is a version of the anti-theft power cable will be created. When it is in the alarm state it also activates the alarms of all the anti-theft cables plugged into it.
Second even if an ordinary power bar is employed the alarm state is activated whenever the item is unplugged from that particular bar. If several anti-theft cords are likely to be plugged into the same power bar they would all need to be used together in the same bar. In addition this means that any thief must sell the item or items as usable only with that power bar and never to be unplugged not very likely.
- What if the thief removes the power socket from the wall with the plug in it?
The plug is shaped so that the front plate of a wall socket cannot be removed with the plug inserted. That then means to remove the wall socket itself. That entails breaking open the wall, unhooking the power wires from the socket, and removing the socket box from the wall. Since the plug can never be removed from this socket without activating the alarm state (deactivating the product).as with the power bar it becomes very difficult to sell the item if it must be kept with the socket which must be installed in some way to make it work.
- What happens when you trip over the anti theft cable in the wall and it comes out?
If the device is in alarm state it will sound until the device is plugged in again and the correct password is entered.
- What about battery lifetime during shipping?
The items are shipped with the battery inactivated. Battery is activated by a simple insulator string that is pulled out of the system (one time activation) on installation. Shelf life of an inactivated battery is typically 3 years. If the battery is not activated then the system acts as with a dead battery (see FAQ 4).
- What if the thief replaces the anti-theft cord with a similar anti-theft cord?
Each cord has a unique identification number which the device on which it is installed looks for. Hence changing cords will not remove the alarm state.