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Author Topic: Help finding wireless remote keyfob thingie ?  (Read 15533 times)
K0OD
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Posts: 2578




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« on: July 02, 2012, 10:56:35 AM »

Son (a ham and BSEE student) lost the keyfob for his 2010 Nissan Altima somewhere in or around our house. Auto Club got us in the car but can not start it without the fob (lord knows what happened to the duplicate that came with the car).

We've looked everywhere and even dragged out trashbags to put next to car. No luck. Is there a way to increase the range of the device in the car to perhaps cover our whole house which is about 20' away?  I have a 43' ham vertical about 30' from the car.

Where is the car's pickup antenna located? Some web info suggests the car's regular radio antenna is used for that purpose too.

We called a locksmith who wants about $350 and he needs to order in a replacement fob which would take several days. With a dealer (which has the fob in stock) the car would have to be towed to them.  Going with the dealer/tow would be about $300.  None of this is fun when the air temp is about 105!

Ideas?  What frequency do these work on? How do these systems work?
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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2012, 11:22:44 AM »

My understanding of it is:

1) You have to have the equipment to read the pin number from the vehicle unit. A local mobile locksmith may have this equipment.

2) You have to go to a Nissan dealer with the pin number and your vehicle's VIN number. The dealer can access a Nissan process that generates a key fob code for your specific vehicle from the pin plus the VIN number. He then programs the generated key fob code into a new key fob. The local locksmith will have to go to the dealer to get the key fob programmed.

This is intentially a "short range" system. Otherwise someone could start your car if the key fob was in the house.

Best bet is probably to tow the vehicle to the dealer. If you deal with a locksmith, make sure he is going to guarentee success for what you paid - regardless of how many trips he has to make to the dealership. The advantage of having the car at the dealership is that they can just try again if it fails the first time.
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K0OD
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 11:38:35 AM »

Your understanding is correct, Bob. And I understand why the range is normally short.

How about wrapping a wire around the car (not sure where the antenna in the car is) and moving the other end of that very long wire around the house and perhaps even around the basement?

The Nissan is now parked outside. This evening we're going to push it into the garage to see if the remote is there or perhaps the laundry room a few feet inside the house.

The Nissan's hood can be opened but I can't spot anything that looks like the radio unit. I presume we'll get a bit more range with the hood open. 
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K5LXP
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 12:22:49 PM »

The RF module on my car (different make/model) is in the drivers door so maybe open the doors too.  No telling where the antenna is so open up everything.

Probably not a bad idea to get a replacement fob.  This will not only solve the immediate problem but will reinforce the lesson not to lose track of it.  In the event it's found, he'll have the spare he should've had in the first place.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KE3WD
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 03:40:39 PM »

Don't know the scheme of this Nissan, but all the cars I've owned or worked on, the key itself, and not the fob, contains the RF stuff inside the black plastic key handle and the RF detector is inside the steering column right next to the ignition.  It is very short range and I doubt if any sort of antenna scheme would work here.  The key side of the system is also passive. 

A friend of mine in the rental car business turned me on to all that, for rental purposes, they would have a locksmith cut simple and cheap keys without the RF stuff and give those to customers.  To get the system to work, they would open up the steering column and glue the original and expensive radiokey inside the column very near to the ignition and thus defeat the system. 


73
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 03:43:54 PM by KE3WD » Logged
K0OD
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 11:01:30 PM »

With the 2010 Nissan system the "key" is apparently a passive RFID device. Car automatically unlocks as you approach within about 6'.  You start the car by putting foot on brake and pushing a button on dashboard. My wife's Nissan Murano works the same way and she never takes the fob out of her purse. Very convenient... usually.

Big problem is that son's missing key ring also held another important key. 
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W0NFU
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 11:27:04 PM »

I just found a website which claims to be able to provide exotic (new) keys. The URL is:

www.ikeyless.com/vehicles/

73 - Larry W├śNFU
Lake Forest Park, WA
larry_w@comcast.net
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K2YO
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2012, 05:03:13 AM »

Jeff,
I think this is probably going to be an expensive lession in learning responsiblity. The dealer is probably your best bet. Try to cut a deal to get two of them so you have a spare key. This time put the spare key in a safe place.

I drive a BMW and the keys are smart, they contain data about the car. I had one go bad on me, the car was effectively bricked! Fortunately I had the spare at home and used it to get to the dealer to have them replace the bad one.

Good luck.

Bernie
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KG4LMZ
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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2012, 06:06:04 AM »

Check the manual and see if you should get three fobs.  On a car I owned a few years ago, you could program a new fob yourself if you possessed two programmed fobs.  I got a third key cut and a blank fob to go with it and programmed it myself.  Later I lost one, but still had two so I could program a new one myself and save the dealer charge.
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AA4PB
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« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2012, 06:07:06 AM »

Something like this may be helpful:

http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Finder-Locator-Tracker-Control/dp/B001BK54RM?gclid=COzRr8vI_bACFQff4AodSxZVhA
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K0OD
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2012, 06:39:44 AM »

Quote
I drive a BMW and the keys are smart, they contain data about the car.

I appreciate everyone's help. Was reading that some high end car keys can store additional data such as seat adjustments.

It is very difficult to steal modern cars. Car thefts in the U.S. have plummeted in recent years despite the recession. The serious downside is that thieves are now increasingly mugging drivers or breaking into home to grab keys.

--
Keyfinder things have drawbacks. About 10 years ago my wife gave me a Sharper Image gizmo where you clap to find your keys. It worked OK within clapping range but other noises could set it off its alarm especially when you're on the road. 

I have many, many keys and normally have duplicates in a specially made key cabinet.
http://www.uline.com/BL_3887/Key-Cabinets?pricode=WL57&gclid=CMqguafO_bACFQWxnQodfwnfTg 
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WX7G
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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2012, 06:45:42 AM »

The FOB is under the driver's seat.
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K0OD
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2012, 07:29:32 AM »

Quote
The FOB is under the driver's seat.

But with the new RFID systems the car should be start-able if the fob were in or just outside the car. We had several bags of trash to be thrown out and we tested each by placing it on the passenger seat. Neighbors must have thought we were crazy.

Besides, the under-the-seat area in son's car is usually filled with lost cell phones.
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WX7G
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« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2012, 09:43:32 AM »

If FOB, or more correctly Intelligent Key, periodically emits an RF signal you can look for that signal. This might be at 314.85 MHz. You could use a portable receiver or spectrum analyzer with an 18" dipole antenna to search for the FOB.

If the Key does not periodically emit a signal but waits until it is interogated by the car there is nothing to look for.

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