Ravelco — is a joke

Comprehensive overview of the «anti-theft» stuff

This article represents a subjective view of its author who is outraged by persuasive advertisement campaign of this imperfect device aimed at trusting car owners. Please, remember that while reading it. Comments are turned off since any reasoned discussion with Ravelco fans is simply impossible. They fail to provide solid arguments against the device’s most obvious disadvantages.

What is Ravelco?

Once the «base unit» (16 pin male plug) is installed in a car, its owner gets 2 removable «plugs» for it.

16 pin male plug (left), 2 removable plugs (right) 16 pin male plug (left), 2 removable plugs (right)

Every time you use your car, you first need to insert a removable plug into the male plug; otherwise, your vehicle will not start. If you pull the plug out while driving, your vehicle will immediately die. The plug easily connects to your keychain, which is very convenient for when you do not use your car.


Compared to average prices of such like circuit breaker devices (discussed below) Ravelco is rather expensive. Even though the installation is included, the price is obviously too high. $650 is the price of a reliable car alarm system offering a better level of security and service functions.

Interesting is that back in 2010 the price was a lot lower and amounted to $470. Even though the reasons for the price increase are not provided, the fact is that the device has not been upgraded since then.

Ravelco standard set

For some reason information about Ravelco standard set is kept a secret. The official information is nowhere to be found while there is not a single YouTube video showing the actual unpacking and overview of the set contents. Here is the only photo I have found on E-bay:

Standard Ravelco set: 2 removable plugs, 2 warning stickers, 16 pin male plug with armored steel cable, a set of wires and customer card. As a bonus, you may get a key fob. Standard Ravelco set: 2 removable plugs, 2 warning stickers, 16 pin male plug with armored steel cable, a set of wires and customer card. As a bonus, you may get a key fob.

The «electrical» contents include 5 black wires that run through the armored steel cable to the 16 pin male plug. Each removable plug has 2 pairs of interconnected pins. That is it! This immobilizer does not have any other electronic parts. Is there anything that justifies the dealers’ eager speeches about exceptional features related to preventing the theft of a client’s car? No manual, no warranty card and no fuse introduced in every such like device.

As for one-dollar key fob SH WAC 251, it leaves nothing but a smile on my face. It is available on AliExpress and if you want, you can check it for yourself.

You can deny everything by saying: «This is not original Ravelco!» Why are you so sure of it? The seller has 100% positive feedback (by the time this article is being published, the seller has sold the device 20 times). Besides, this is definitely not the «trilock» made in Brazil and I have not found any information about an existing «fake» that looks precisely as the «original». Finally, here is an advertisement photo published on Facebook by one of the official dealers:

A set of original boxes. The photo is taken from Facebook. A set of original boxes. The photo is taken from Facebook.

Are there any big differences? The rectangular, white cardboard box is the same. The printed logo on it is slightly different, however, the box itself is neither bigger, nor smaller. Therefore, the standard set of «original» Ravelco is unlikely to differ greatly from the set of the «fake» Ravelco.

Of course, you can keep to the thought of «original» Ravelco and a totally different standard set… Anyway, are there any existing reasons to believe so?

People who have an eye for such like things may notice that the «fake» on the photo taken from E-bay is different from the sample used in the warning message from the manufacturer:

Warning from the manufacturer Warning from the manufacturer

What is different? The «fake» doesn’t have 13 «bubbles» on its right side, the device is grey (while it should be sky blue) and there are letters «vr» in a small circle at the bottom. These differences are easy to explain. In 2015, after the redesign, Vincent Raviele Promotions Inc registered its new design. Vincent Raviele, as a private individual, stayed the owner of the logo used in 1978. Both the designs are used when producing the device and it is sold in grey and blue designs. For example, have a look at the advertisement published by the official dealer from Kazakhstan in Instagram:

Advertisement with the logo used in 1978. Advertisement with the logo used in 1978. Click here to see the archived copy.

By the way, the abovementioned proves that the first Ravelco device was released in 1978 (not in 1976 as stated in the advertisement).

How does Ravelco work?

It is all about interrupting 2 circuits that take part in the process of starting your vehicle. The person installing the device is free to choose the circuits that will be interrupted.

Internal wiring scheme Internal wiring scheme. (red is trap; green are interconnectors)

The device utilizes only 5 pins out of 16. One of them is ground fault and serves as the «trap» for a thief. The rest 4 pins are used for interrupting 2 circuits. Interconnectors allow a removable plug to restore the interrupted circuits. Once you insert a removable plug into the base unit, the circuits are restored and you can start your vehicle.

The contents of a removable plug The contents of a removable plug

Theory of Combinations VS Ravelco

«More than 100 000 possible combinations», - a bold statement published on the official website:

Unverified information about more than 100 000 combinations Unverified information about more than 100 000 combinations

The mentioned figure has not been verified since there are no supporting calculations. I suggest taking combination formula from the theory of combinations and check if the information is true.

Ravelco consists of two sets containing 8 pins. The scheme number is located between the sets of pins. In each of the sets, only 2 pins have a working load. The other 6 pins are connected either to the air or to «the trap». To «deactivate» Ravelco, you need to find these 2 pins with the working load (in each of the sets) and connect them. For this, you will need 2 interconnectors. Their location will help to define one of the possible combinations. The number of the locations of the upper and lower interconnectors is equal to a subset of 8 choose 2:


The total number of the combinations amounts to the square of this figure: 282 = 28×28 = 784 This is more than 100 times less than stated!

Now, I offer you the scenario when a thief gets rid of the plug thus getting access to the wires. In this scenario, the number of combinations will be a lot lower: a subset of 4 choose 2 and divided by two:


6 / 2 = 3

There are only 3 combinations! — We have 4 wires*, meaning we have the following pairs: 1–2 and 3–4, 1–3 and 2–4, 1–4 and 2–3. Checking them manually is rather easy, especially if you have time.

One of the photos above shows a code number consisting of 4 digits. Code number defines pins’ interconnection scheme number. The manufacturer will request this number if you need additional plugs. The code consists of 4 digits, which also proves that there are less than 100 000 combinations: using 4 digits one can at most get 10 000 combinations. Again, we see that this number is a lot lower than stated.

*Only 4 wires were taken into account since the «trap» (ground fault) can be easily detected using the cheapest tester possible.

Car compatibility

Doubtful. As I have already mentioned, in terms of «security» everything comes down to simply wiring/unwiring connectors. Therefore, locking of modern vehicles securely by issuing commands to the CAN bus is impossible. Besides, errors may accumulate in the ECU memory since the functioning of the electronics will be interrupted. Additionally, the breaking of lower amperage (signal) circuits followed by their handmade connection increases the number of disturbances.

Ravelco is completely incompatible with cars starting remotely. Forget about warming up or cooling your car down before going somewhere. Even though we are living in the 2024 year, the manufacturer thinks that remote starters deprive cars of any possible security… 🤦

Dull colors used for the device. Both the unit base and the plug are released either in sky blue or grey color. The device does not blend in with car interior and sticks out as a sore thumb.

The device has no fuse. You can check that by typing «site:ravelco.com fuse» in Google search engine. All the results you get lead only to the «TESTIMONIALS» page.

Ravelco’s fuses are mentioned only on testimonials pages. Ravelco’s fuses are mentioned only on testimonials pages.

What will happen if a thief chooses the «trap» and connects with the ground fault? The answer is: «short circuit»:

Short circuit case. Screenshot of ravelco.com.ua website page Short circuit case. Screenshot of ravelco.com.ua website page
Oleg, what your grandpa had was a kill switch. Car thieves can easily deactivate kill switches because of vulnerabilities in their design. It takes one or two tries at most to deactivate a kill switch.
Ravelco has more than 100 000 combinations. Thieves have only one try to guess the right combination, which is impossible. One mistake (which is inevitable) will result in a short circuit. The devices only seem to be similar. The photos show only the connecting plug of the original device.

As a result, not only the car’s fuse box, but also something Ravelco is connected to will burn down.

How much time does it take to install a Ravelco device? What do you think? Here is the information published in 2004 on one of the website’s pages:

The installation of a RAVELCO requires approximately 45 minutes for a trained technician using a drill and hand tools only. Although most installations can be completed in less time.

A small set of tools can really be enough for the installation of «up to date» Ravelco because no engineering modifications have been introduced in the device. To protect its reputation, the company later deleted the page. Yet, even the person, who does not understand anything about cars, knows that careful job involving a car’s electrical system obviously takes more than 45 minutes.

Adepts love to squeal that ravelco dismantling is possible only in service station conditions. This claim is easily refuted by an official dealer who practices on-site installation:

On-site installation On-site installation


Zero. It is necessary to insert in / pull out the device for the security system to work properly. It is better to disconnect the plug from keychain before getting in a car. (It is less difficult to do it outside than inside a car). After getting in a car, it is necessary to inset the plug in the base unit. (The device has a circle shape, which makes the process less easy). Before getting out of the car, all the actions need to be repeated but in a reversed order. We are living in the world where remote technologies are being implemented at a fast pace. Making car owners do useless actions looks almost like a humiliation.

If you forget to pull the plug out and leave your car like that, then the anti-theft device will not work. There are neither reminders nor auto-security mode.

Suppose you are leaving your car for several minutes pay for the petrol at a petrol station. Obviously, you are in a hurry. Are you sure that you will not forget to pull the plug out?

Service mode

Not introduced. If you have to give the keys from your car to any third parties (at carwash or car service station), you need to give them the plug. A tester is enough to check the wires and then get the pins’ wiring scheme.

To avoid this, the official dealer offers to seal the base unit. Sounds funny, to say the least.

Taken from Facebook. A screenshot of the official dealer in Ukraine page Taken from Facebook. A screenshot of the official dealer in Ukraine page

A set of seals that you have to carry with you and remember to affix… Is it that convenient? Besides, you will need to remember the number of the seal. Imagine someone breaks your seal… What is next? You cannot charge the service station / carwash staff for this damage.

Theft risk

If someone steals your car keys, they will also get the plug (connected to the keychain). Thieves can easily identify the device since the brand name «Ravelco» is imprinted on it. Even if this is the first time they see such a device, they can use Google. The activation process is obvious. Even the dumbest person will understand that it is necessary to insert the plug in the base unit.

Unlike modern car security systems, Ravelco does not have a two-step user verification. Stealing car keys is easier than you may think. They can «disappear» while you are swimming in a gym’s pool, working out etc.

Besides, a car’s perimeter stays unprotected, meaning that a thief can get under the hood and inside the car. In today’s world, it means the risk of losing a vehicle as well as all the expensive stuff and important documents inside it. Installing a device only to protect your car from being stolen is not enough.

Additionally, Ravelco is useless in case of armed assault.

Difficulties of obtaining additional plugs

Do you need an additional plug? — You are free to order it directly from the manufacturer. Dealers will not help you with this. According to Ravelco rules, additional plugs are sent directly to the devices’ owners. The price is $75 per one plug. Delivery expenses are not included. The process involves ridiculous requirements:

Payment. The manufacturer accepts only checks credited to Vincent Raviele. No SWIFT, IBAN, online payment or payment via services like PayPal. Nothing is said about the process of payment if a person is not in the USA. Can your local bank issue such a check?

Request. Apart from the check, you will also need to provide the following: first and last name, your current address (not P.O.B.), a copy of your driving license, your contact number and e-mail address. How do you like it? Not a word about who keeps and processes your personal data and how it is organized. I have not found any privacy policy on ravelco.com.

The only way to send your request is by postal service mail! Ordering (I am not saying anything about delivery) something by postal mail is simply funny. How long does it take if it is about sending something abroad? A week? Two weeks? A month? What if the request gets lost?

The request processing takes 1 or 2 weeks. If everything goes fine, you will get an additional plug. How long will it take the parcel to get from the USA to the destination? The answer is unknown. Even if postal services work super-fast and deliver parcels within 10 days, you will have to wait for one month at the very least. Very prompt. 😆

Actually, there is one more option of making an «express» order, but it is so expensive that I do not see any use in talking about it.

By the way, in 2006 one plug cost $25. Here is an interesting question: Why is its price now 3 times higher?

Car accident risk

While driving, the plug is not fixed in one position (in the base unit). If it gets disconnected, the vehicle will immediately die. For any car owner it means a high risk of car accident. Here is why the disconnection may happen:

  1. Environment and mechanical friction influence the pins’ connections. They get oxidized and damaged. At some point, the wear-out level becomes so high that the device is impossible to use. The manufacturer does not provide any information about the number of inserting in / pulling out cycles. I doubt this has ever been calculated.
  2. In some cases, a car owner can easily move the plug with his/her knee. This often happens if the plug is not inserted fully.
  3. A curious passenger may want to pull the plug out. There are no signs warning not to do it.

Up to date car alarm systems block the vehicle only if it starts driving at a safe speed (5-10 km/h). Before blocking, the driver gets audio warning.

Security matters

Suppose, you have bought a car with pre-installed Ravelco device. The seller gives you 2 keys and 2 plugs… You would like to make sure that only you have access to your car, wouldn’t you?

With car keys, everything is simple: you go to the service center where they use a special scanner to check how many keys are registered to the car. They even can deactivate old keys and register new ones. What about Ravelco? No one including the seller can prove to you that there are only 2 plugs for the base unit installed in your new car. Meanwhile, the previous owner could buy a couple of additional plugs for future use.

This previous owner could get additional plugs not for personal use. Using a tester, they can get the wiring scheme of the interconnectors. The pins cannot be rewired! The second scheme can be used for many years. The owner can sell or give it to someone who does not have the best intentions…

Can you be absolutely sure that nothing will happen with your car?

7 million installations and 0 vehicles stolen

The statement about 4 million installations was made in November 28, 2010. The statement about 5 million installations was made in April 24, 2016. In other words, the company got 1 million clients in 1974 days (~506 installations a day). All in all, it means that each official dealer had ~20 new clients a day for 5 years straight!

The first statement about 6 million installations was made in November 2, 2021. One more million in 1988 days, which is equal to the previous figure. Yet, the number of dealers has become a lot less since 2016. Considering the competition level and lack of any upgrades, is it even possible to daily release 506 units of the device for 11 years?

The intensity of production grew and after ~830 days – in early February 2024 – a new record was broken: 7 (seven) million installations! If you do the math, in 2022–2023, 50 ravelcos were installed HOURLY! 😂

Judging by the numbers, the installation of Ravelco is a rather profitable business. The only question is where all these people are? Why dealers that have accounts in Instagram make only ~6 publications of new installations in a month? Why did the dealers that existed in 2016 disappear? Where are ravelcosg.com, ravelcopuertorico.com, ravelco.com.ph, nationalcapitalravelco.com, ravelcocanadawest.ca, myravelco.com and others?

On one of the website’s pages it is stated that: Each Ravelco unit is hand made... What resources should there be to manually produce and release 1200 units a day? If you search the address 6920 Oak Knoll Drive Richmond, Texas 77406-8660 in Google Maps, you will see it is a residence. No plants or anything. Where do all those people producing more than thousand units a day work?

The address of Ravelco company. The building is a residence. Ignore the positive feedback. It all can be bought.

The figure is unlikely to be based on real statistics. Who keeps count of the sold and installed Ravelco devices? How is it organized? We have reasons to believe that the so-called meticulous counting of the installation is nothing more than just dreams of some dealers. If the manufacturer had counted them, they would have been requesting a car’s VIN. For some reason, they do not request that. Looks like there is no information to compare it to.

Since they are so careless about the installations statistics, how can they say that no car has ever been stolen? Yes, sometimes dealers publish photos showing unsuccessful car theft «cases». So what? Here we are dealing with the survivorship bias. Any questions?

Overview by auto security professionals

Despite existing for so many years, Ravelco has no positive feedback from auto security experts. All links either lead to paid in advance articles (speaking about the benefits of the device) or to advertisements published in magazines that have nothing to do with cars and security. Ravelco.com does not provide any information about patents, certificates or rewards. Not a single document showing that this device is worth the money. Nothing.

In 2020, 3 professional auto security services in Ukraine published videos talking about vulnerabilities of the device:

Did the manufacturer try to provide arguments against the mentioned vulnerabilities? Did they prove that the shown scenario would not work? In both cases, the answer is no. However, one of the dealers did try to protect the manufacturer’s reputation:

This is how Ravelco representatives usually react to criticism. This is how Ravelco representatives usually react to criticism.
The only possible scenario involves checking the RAVELCO key-plug.
To do it, thief should first steal it and make a copy.
All your scenarios involving checking the Ravelco base unit do not work. All this is very «helpful». The manufacturer is not a fool. Anyone will first check the base unit. You are not the first people who tried to dismount and check it with a tester. Anyway, the fact is that no one has used this method in practice. Why? Because this scenario will not work if the device is installed properly. It may be impossible to check everything. Sometimes the vehicle should be started or additional 12V are needed to identify something.
Why did not you shoot the process of using interconnectors in one take? Because something went wrong :) Cheap tricks. It is very low.

At the end of 2021, puzzle pro company showed Ravelco’s vulnerabilities in one more video, pointing out the place under the hood the device is connected to. Do you remember how much time it takes to install Ravelco? 45 minutes?

In September 2023 a revealing video appears showing what ravelco looks like under the hood:

In february 2024 diatribal videos for English-speakers finally appeared:

30000$ challenge

In April 2024 dude from the video above offered challenge: he would pay 30000$ if he could not bypass ravelco. Representatives and all dealers refused to partake 😂.

A vivid example of incompetence

We explain to them that there is nothing you can do to protect what's inside your vehicle. We explain to them that there is nothing you can do to protect what's inside your vehicle. — Link to the post

The post includes a video showing how a repeater works. People in the USA did not know anything about repeaters up until 2020! Can you imagine that? It seems like they do not know anything about hood locks and door locks. RFID tags used in modern car security systems are protected from any repeater. Is not it a vivid example of incompetence?


It is better to describe Ravelco without using superlative and comparative adjectives like: «the best», «the most reliable», and «better than many». Maybe, Ravelco could be successful at the times of USSR when the «autoguard» made in Kazakhstan was the most popular car security device. Today, we have far more advanced car security systems, with Ravelco being an option for the Flintstones’ clunker.

Proud owners of Ravelco: no one can steal their car now. Proud owners of Ravelco: no one can steal their car now.


This article would have been perfect if I had added «Dismounting Ravelco» subheading and shown you what is hidden inside the device: the insides of the plug and how well everything is soldered in the base unit. However, I have no desire to order it from E-bay and no intention of buying it from the dealer and then installing it in my car. I think this lack of possible ways to get original Ravelco lays the groundwork for future opportunities.