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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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Comments

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    it sounds like there is enough evidence now that the location is causing the problem.

    Yea, and it's getting to be more of a common occurrance.

    Here is one that was figured out a few years ago.

    http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/article/20100527/NEWS03/305279999

    So you have 2 ways to go about diagnosing. 1 is try to get the car to tell you (though I would not be surprised if there was nothing to tell, since the car would think the fob was not there).

    Actually the car knows the fob is there, but the signal from the automatic doors keeps being detected and the car goes into "anti-scan" to prevent some theif from being able to trick the car into unlocking. To most owners who have a key as well as a key fob, they simply have to open the door with their key, and then the can start their car. They would only report that the key fob doesn't work at random times. Keep in mind the proximity to the door sensor will change with each visit to the store for most people so they may not associate the failure events with one specific location.

    Now to "prove" it. Connecting a fully functional scan tool, which means the top of the line Snap-On's, Bosch MDS or the actual O.E. equipment where the tech has full access to the immobilizer and the remote keyless entry (RKE) functions would be required. In a lot of cases only the O.E. tool will give the tech access. Drive the car to the reported problem location, "open a window" :) and see what the car will report to the tool as different functions are observed. If the car goes into anti-scan you will see that reported in data and of course the fob will be inoperative.

    To get a car started that keeps tripping, the store just needs to turn off their doors for a little bit, some cars as little as 30 seconds, others as much as two minutes.

    The shopping cart anti theft systems are a bit like a hidden fence for your dog, except they don't shock the person who is taking the stores cart, they just lock up the wheels. ;) These systems operate a 9K hz, way too low to be of any concern for RKE, and even TPMS systems.

    http://www.gatekeepersystems.com/sol_cc_cc_how_it_works.php
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,012
    Ah, the motion detectors on automatic doors - didn't think of those.

    And if you complain, the stores will hide behind the FCC and will refuse to pay towing charges.

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,049
    This is very interesting about the interference problems and the locking and starting systems while the car is parked. Could some of the car's systems be interfered with while the car is being driven as the car passes some electrical/radio rich locations along a highway?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,012
    Gee, all those sudden unintended acceleration cases where people are driving through store fronts - guess those are really caused by stray electrical currents or radio waves. That's an even better theory than my tin whisker one. :shades:

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    And if you complain, the stores will hide behind the FCC and will refuse to pay towing charges

    The people in the store would likely have no idea this really is occurring, to them the person would look like they are trying to scam the store. If you thought someone was trying to scam you, how would you react?

    To them, they see hundreds of cars go in and out successfully, and occasionally see someone who has a broken car. Having someone off the wall blame them for a car having a problem would simply not make any sense to them.

    Then we have the other problem, "the who's going to pay for this" dance you expose. Most people have towing on their insurance policies, and then many others have AAA etc. So the towing price is mute. For the tow companies, some consumers will turn around and blame them for the service, as if the tow truck drivers are supposed to know everything there is to know about vehicle electronics. Heck, it may take a month or two of calls for one company to even begin to realize that a pattern is even occurring, let alone get to the point that something near a given store is to blame at all.

    The biggest problem is now that this is here, someone could simply google and find this thread. The reaction will be to blame a store first without any proof or confirmation if the reason they couldn't get into their car is this particular problem or not. To confirm it, simply go get your car after hours when the doors are turned off, or ask the store again if they could briefly turn the sensors off. Once confirmed, just simply park far enough away from the door sensors and everything will be fine.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    The key FOB operates on ~400 MHz. The automatic door opener for a store operates on a significantly higher frequency, maybe 16 GHz or higher (higher frequencies provide a narrower detection beam so that the doors only open when someone is in close proximity). If the anti-scan system thinks that a 16 GHz signal is really someone trying to unlock the car, then that seems to be a major shortcoming.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    This is very interesting about the interference problems and the locking and starting systems while the car is parked. Could some of the car's systems be interfered with while the car is being driven as the car passes some electrical/radio rich locations along a highway

    No. The electronics are well shielded and with the use of bias voltage carriers, and twisted pair communication busses external normal EMI wont shut down a car.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    You do realize that someone will stop reading the moment they see what you wrote and use that as an excuse instead of admitting that they hit the gas instead of the brake pedal?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,012
    edited January 2013
    simply park far enough away from the door sensors and everything will be fine.

    Good - solve the no start and the obesity problem in one fell swoop. :D

    (When I crash into storefronts, I always use the bee in the car excuse myself).

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Unless of course the door sensor is broadcasting incorrectly and is infringing on the fobs frequency.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,049
    edited January 2013
    >That's an even better theory than my tin whisker one.

    I'm planning ahead in case my Buick decides to act up on me some day with unintended acceleration! :blush: Excuse: it was the radar for the door openers or the infrared sensor for same and its decoding circuitry. :sick:

    With the drive-by-wire setups in cars and the increased electronics, side incursion sensors, lane departure sensors, frontal spacing sensors for the cruise control, sensor for the automatic this-n-that..., etc., I want to know what to look for as I shop for a car. :cry: I want to know that a key will still work in the door and a key will still work in the ignition for starting. :surprise: But what about my question if systems can be disrupted while driving. :blush:
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    But what about my question if systems can be disrupted while driving.

    What about it? Until the day comes when we have verifiable proof of an event, the expectation at this time is that it's not going to happen. Can you turn your car off with your fob? (No) What happens if you throw the fob out the window while your driving down the road, does the car stop? (No)

    If you insist on a car with a conventional key, then make sure you get one in your hand and use it when you go for a road test. If you don't like or want to trust a Smart Key, then your going to have to choose a different car in some cases. The smart key technology is making cars more secure, but like everything in there is world there is always going to be a learning curve associated with new technologies.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lshd7WR-a6I

    Eric means well, he dosen't know how things have changed.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,416
    "90% of the synthetic oil out there is not fully synthetic"-----wrong

    "If you use synthetic in your older engine, you'll notice that your engine will get noisier?" ---say WHAT?!

    "you will develop oil leaks because synthetic oil can slip through smaller spaces"---say WHAT?!

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Just being nit-picky, but he should have washed his hands before doing the video... Would it have been that much more effort?
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Many years ago I stopped in a fast food joint in Macon, GA for lunch. Immediately next door, there was a construction site and active blasting was going on. There were signs to turn CB radios and cellphones "off", as one would expect.

    When I started to leave, I noticed my fob wouldn't unlock the car door until I was about 6" from the door handle.

    My question is, if anyone knows the answer... Is there some sort of jamming device used at locations where blasting is done, to prevent stray signals from prematurely detonating the explosives? If so, is it FCC approved?

    I'm just curious...
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,511
    "When I started to leave, I noticed my fob wouldn't unlock the car door until I was about 6" from the door handle."

    Click BOOM "What's wrong..." Click BOOM "...with this..." Click BOOM "...darned fob??" Click BOOM
    :P
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    Probably not a very common carry-around item for most car owners :P , but tow truck drivers and dealerships could come out with a piece of lead blanket. Hold the blanket between the suspected interference source, and then position the fob on the 'protected' side and get in that way?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,012
    edited February 2013
    Maybe just a mylar space blanket? They are as cheap as a buck.

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  • ray80ray80 Posts: 1,233
    Well that brings to mind an interesting mental picture. Walking around the vehicle with while holding space blanket extended in front of you and clicking the fob as you go, might as well be wearing the tin foil hat also. ;)
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