One for the car alarm experts

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 12:57
ThreadID: 69498 Views:1888 Replies:8 FollowUps:5
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Hello

Over the years my alarm’s remote has lost its range capabilities I have always thought it’s just the battery’s inside the remote but I have changed that more than once and again today. I can’t be more than say 3 meters away from the car otherwise it won’t work sometimes I have to be right next to the car for it to work. I have been trying to work out the brand of the alarm but everything is just black so that doesn’t help. I assume there must be some sort of aerial somewhere and my guess it’s something is wrong there?

I have been to a couple of car alarm places to get a spare remote since I only have one but none of them can help me but they are very happy to install a new system for me. I am pretty sure my alarm uses code hopping so I can't use one of those generic remotes.

Does anyone know how to work out the brand of the alarm and
How I could fix the range issue
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Reply By: gottabjoaken - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 13:54

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 13:54
Apparently Clarkson did this on Top Gear

- try pointing the metal part of the key at your head - in contact with your head - while pressing the key. He said it increases the range.

fwiw
Ken
AnswerID: 368383

Follow Up By: Member - Oldplodder (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 16:03

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 16:03
Yes, I was a bit skeptical at first, but talking to my son who is doing a Phd in physics, he said it does double or triple the range of wireless remotes.

Evidently the head and skull is just the right size for the frequency being used to act as a focus for the beam, or something like that.

Put the remote under your chin pointing into it, or to show off pointing into your ear and look at the car, then press the button. We got about 30 metres max range out of it, while normally it is only about 10m.

Of course we had to "prove the theory", much to the amusement of SWMBO. :o)
Spent about 30 mins walking around the front yard at different distances from the car locking and unlocking it with the remote in an ear. :o0 Ear or chin doesn't make much difference.
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FollowupID: 635957

Reply By: tim_c - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 15:08

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 15:08
Don't know how to determine the brand (other than opening the remote and looking for a label, or comparing the remote with those for other available systems, try to locate the head unit in the vehicle, etc.)

The range can depend on a fwe things:
* as you say, the location of the aerial and whether you are approaching the vehicle from that side, or the far side - a bit of trial and error may give you some idea (I often found there was a bit of a 'dead spot' directly behind my car but if I apporached from the side or front it would work fine).
It may also very depending if you are pointing the remote directly at the vehicle or elsewhere.
Perhaps most significantly is the effect of other electromagnetic radiation/interference - you may find that near a communications tower, you will have to be virtually inside the car for the remote to work! This has been noted in places such as Black Mtn ACT and Mt Wellington TAS which both have high power transmitting towers at their summits - the roadside assistance are often called to these locations because the engine immobiliser won't switch off! You may also find similar interference in certain carparks (I found my remote would hardly work in the main carpark at Batemans Bay but after they introduced pay parking, I used the free parking across the road and the remote worked fine there!)

I've heard that your skeleton can also act as an "antenna" to improve the effectiveness of your remote (perhaps what TopGear was trying to do by touching the key on the head ie. close to the skull) and I've heard you can increase the range by pressing the button with the 'elbow' of your thumb (perhaps it won't look quite as conspicuous or silly as if you point the key at your head!)
AnswerID: 368392

Follow Up By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 15:15

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 15:15
I have done so many trial and error scenarios now I am over it :) I used to be able to press the remote from about 10m away.

I am going to have to dig around to find that aerial knowing my luck I saw it in the engine bay one time and went aaaah I don't need that........ snip snip
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FollowupID: 635946

Follow Up By: tim_c - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:33

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 20:33
LOL :) I'd be surprised if it's in the engine bay - usually behind the dash or one of the kickpanels (the trim below the dash between the front doors and the firewall).

Try activating the remote and/or central locking and listen for a relay - if you can locate the sound of the relay, it should point you in the right direction.
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FollowupID: 636010

Reply By: Member - Donks1 (NSW) - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 16:03

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 16:03
G'day Troll

It's been a while but from memory the Arial is in the L/H 1/4 glass, and the

receiver is behind the 1/4 trim.

Donks1
AnswerID: 368404

Reply By: techo2oz - Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:28

Thursday, Jun 04, 2009 at 19:28
Some remotes have a trimming capacitor in them. It will look like a small unit no more than about 5mm round. It will have a slot or a hole which into which either a small (tiny) flat or phillips head screw driver will fit into.

If it has very accurately mark where the slots are, then adjust very slightly one way or the other. Try half mm movements then see if range improves or decreases.

Warning, this may also render the remote unserviceable. But if it stops working, try returning the adjustment back to the original marks.

Good luck.

Cheers

Peter
AnswerID: 368431

Follow Up By: Member - Johny boy (NSW) - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 08:12

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 08:12
Hi Troll,
As Peter said there is a small pot which does effect the frequency ,I sometimes am able to revive a dead or close to dead remote for my customers, as they say they have nothing to lose and about 30 to 40 % of the time it works its just that they can drift off frequency a bit and like Peter said by turning it VERY slow But with the button pressed at the same time ,so as soon as you hear the alarm bleep stop ,I do this on domestic alarms but I would think it will still work, also finding that wire may help ,also if you post a pic of your remote someone on here might recognise it and let you know the brand IE: Rhino,Magnum, Redback ETC get on some sites and look at the different brands and you might spot yours ? Good luck mate .
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FollowupID: 636070

Reply By: peteC - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 16:32

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 16:32
Typically you would look at the remote as your first option. As you dont have that luxury bare in mind that some radio receivers can and do gradually fail. The first symptom is range. Considering you could spend the money on a new remote that may or may not work, perhaps think about replacing the whole thing for a new one. Also the alarm you have may only be a cheap system. If the wires coming out of the box are all different colours - it will be a cheap one that does not meet the standards. I suspect this is your case as dealers cannot tell what brand it is. If the wires are all the same colour this should be a repatable brand.
AnswerID: 368564

Reply By: peteC - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 16:32

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 16:32
Typically you would look at the remote as your first option. As you dont have that luxury bare in mind that some radio receivers can and do gradually fail. The first symptom is range. Considering you could spend the money on a new remote that may or may not work, perhaps think about replacing the whole thing for a new one. Also the alarm you have may only be a cheap system. If the wires coming out of the box are all different colours - it will be a cheap one that does not meet the standards. I suspect this is your case as dealers cannot tell what brand it is. If the wires are all the same colour this should be a repatable brand.
AnswerID: 368565

Reply By: peteC - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 16:32

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 16:32
Typically you would look at the remote as your first option. As you dont have that luxury bare in mind that some radio receivers can and do gradually fail. The first symptom is range. Considering you could spend the money on a new remote that may or may not work, perhaps think about replacing the whole thing for a new one. Also the alarm you have may only be a cheap system. If the wires coming out of the box are all different colours - it will be a cheap one that does not meet the standards. I suspect this is your case as dealers cannot tell what brand it is. If the wires are all the same colour this should be a repatable brand.
AnswerID: 368566

Reply By: PradOz - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 23:39

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 23:39
HI - I had to go to the Mr Minute key place here yesterday and they had a new sign up on the counter ssaying they will replace just about any type remote including garage doors, car alarms etc. It caught my eye because our remotes for the garage doors are knackered and unable to be bought now so we try persist with them rather than replace the whole auto opening units. when i asked the guy there he said they use the code hopping to get them replaced, but they are replaced with a different style of remote unit to the original. not sure on price for you, but for me its $90 a remote for the garage doors. my door openers are around size of smoke packet, the new ones if i got them hang on your key ring. may be worth trying???
AnswerID: 368659

Follow Up By: PradOz - Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 23:42

Friday, Jun 05, 2009 at 23:42
and meant to mention the point the remote at your chin thing does work, been doing it for years with the car remote as the distance was way too short for normal use
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FollowupID: 636187

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