Digital Guard Dawg's Keyless Security System

Steve Bohn
by Steve Bohn

There’s nothing like the feeling you get tossing your leg over your bike, thumbing the starter and blasting down the road. As you roll on the throttle the problems of everyday life slip away quickly. Before you know it your mind is clear and what seemed like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders. Your new attitude serves you well until you park your bike, lock the ignition and walk into a restaurant. Suddenly fears of your motorcycle being stolen while you’re inside begin to creep into your psyche.

Thanks to a new product known as Digital Guard Dawg’s Personal Recognition System, these fears are now a thing of the past. While nothing can stop a thief that is hell bent on stealing your bike, DGD’s RFID (radio frequency identification device) technology can go a long way in making sure your bike stays put once you park it. The best part is the product is designed to fit a wide variety of motorcycles, both American-made and metric, at a very affordable price.

Digital Guard Dawg’s Keyless Security System uses a wireless transmitter that allows you (and only you) to start your bike without a key. It consists of two main components: the Smart Relay on the right and the Dawg Tag on the left.
RFID is a technology that’s able to identify various items or individuals. Common uses in today’s high-tech world are associated with identification and security, including Mobil’s Speed Pass, Fast Trak and similar units, which allow vehicles to bypass the tollbooth or drive in a carpool lane. Certain types of employee ID badges also make use of RFID technology. Another perhaps more glamorous use of the technology is in the keyless ignition systems found in many of today’s high-end automobiles, the new Kawasaki Concours 14 and as an option on current Harley-Davidsons.

DGD’s CEO Bruce McKinley has been involved with RFID applications since the early 1990s. Over the years he has adapted the technology to security applications in a number of different industries. In his most recent effort prior to becoming involved with the motorcycle industry, he developed products designed to help automotive dealers keep tighter control of their vehicles while increasing security both on the lot and off. Now having surrounded himself with personnel who have spent many years in the motorcycle industry, McKinley set about helping riders increase the security of their motorcycles.

DGD’s Keyless Security System is based on a simple principal in which the Smart Relay and the Dawg Tag communicate when they are in close proximity of one another. If the Smart Relay does not sense the presence of the Dawg Tag, the starter motor will not energize when you (or someone else) hits the starter button. This makes the chance that someone will start your bike and ride off with it very slim. While the DGD can’t keep someone from tossing your bike in the back of a pickup truck, each step you take to makes the thieves’ job harder gives you that much better of a chance of keeping your bike.

The heart of the system is the interior of the Smart Relay. DGD utilizes miniature, high-quality relays complete with beryllium contacts to make room for all the additional parts occupying the same space as the original relay.
Not only is the system affordable (the DGD-1 we installed on a Harley costs $149), installation is simple and there are no wires to cut or harnesses to splice into for the DGD-1/DGD-2 models (for other applications, read on). All you need to do is swap your existing starter relay with the Smart Relay, connect one wire to the battery’s positive terminal, perform a simple activation sequence and you’re done. If the Dawg Tag is not within 10 feet of your bike, your starter will not spin the engine. If you think this sounds too simple to be true, you’re in good company. I was initially skeptical myself. Yet when I got my hands on the actual product, I was impressed not only with the quality feel of the parts themselves, but especially the clear and concise instruction booklet that was easy to follow.

If it weren’t for the fact that I needed to photograph the installation it would have been completed in less than 15 minutes. While I was shooting the photos, I had a friend who is quite mechanically inclined do the actual install on his motorcycle. I should point out, though, that anyone who can read the instructions, crimp one connector to the end of a wire and connect that wire to the battery is capable of installing the device.

Your motorcycle is now protected from unauthorized starting. There are no codes to remember, keys to turn, or buttons to press. This is truly a hands-free, automatic system. On Hondas, Yamahas, Kawasakis, Suzukis and BMWs, you will need to order the DGD-M1 ($169) designed to fit most applications from these manufacturers. The installation varies from that of the DGD-1/DGD-2 due to the design of the starting circuitry on these motorcycles.

The DGD Smart Relay is connected directly to the bike's wiring harness in place of the stock starter relay. The black pigtail has a long black wire to provide power to the relay, while the short wire under the heat-shrink tubing acts as an antenna.
Although there is more to the installation than with the DGD-1 or DGD-2, it really is quite simple. All you do is connect two wires from the Smart Relay to your battery, identify the wire coming from your handlebar start switch, cut it, then attach the two remaining Smart Relay wires to the wire you just cut – that’s it.

Once installed, either system works automatically: It arms itself 30 seconds after the Dawg Tag leaves the system’s 10-foot range. DGD’s system utilizes a technology known as KeyLock® encryption that it is designed in such a way as to have more than 6 billion unique codes, assuring you that someone else’s Dawg Tag will not communicate with your Smart Relay. Located inside of the Dawg Tag is a 3-volt lithium battery designed to operate the system for one to three years depending on use. Since the DGD is viewed as a passive starter-interrupt system, you may even be eligible for an insurance company rebate, depending on what state you live in.

Also inside is a motion-activated device – as you shake the Dawg Tag around, you will hear a slight rattle coming from within it, which is normal. It is designed in such a way that the Smart Relay knows when you are walking towards the bike. As a matter of fact, if you set the Dawg Tag Down within the system’s range and it remains motionless for more than two minutes the system will arm itself. Pretty trick!

For customers with multiple motorcycles, numerous relays can be set up to communicate with a single Dawg Tag, simplifying your life. I could definitely see myself outfitting all my bikes with this device. Due to its design, you don’t even have to think about it – it’s working all the time.

Activating the Dawg Tag is the final step of the installation process. You’ll never fumble with your keys again!
Since the DGD is just one layer of security, you’ll still want to have your rotor lock and ignition key with you anyway, so adding the Dawg Tag was a no brainer. Just grab your keys and you’re good to go. DGD even has a procedure they can walk you through on the phone to start your bike if you lose your Dawg Tag. You might want order an extra Dawg Tags to keep for a spare, just in case. They even have a recently introduced system that allows users to totally eliminate the stock ignition switch; once installed, you don’t even need your key to operate your motorcycle.

For more information and installation instructions, check out the photo gallery and each picture’s caption, or visit

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Steve Bohn
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