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REMOTE STARTER & ALARM TROUBLESHOOTING BLOG
NOW w/NEW PRODUCT UPDATES & INFORMATION!

MotorCityRemotes Remote Starter Car Alarm Troubleshooting BLOG

REPORT YOUR REMOTE STARTER or ALARM PROBLEMS HERE!

Read about common and not so common problems found with car alarms, remote starters and keyless entry systems.

Having a problem with a remote starter installation? Purchased a vehicle with an existing system and having some problems with it? Need a little direction or advice? Report your situation to us and we will be happy to try to help! With over 25 years of installing car alarms and remote starter systems there's a good chance we have seen the same problem and can provide some recommendations and/or the fix your looking for.

Thursday, August 29 2019

Programming Older Code Alarm & Chapman Remotes

Many calls come in regarding problems with programming older Code Alarm and Chapman system remotes. It seems that the either they can get the system into remote programming mode but can't get the system to accept the new remote or can't get the system into remote programming mode at all. Here's a couple of tips that have helped hundreds of customers in the past get their remote programmed:

#1 in the step where it states that after the system responds with 3 pulses/flashes release the programming button and then press the LOCK/ARM button on the remote, instead don't release the programming button after the 3 pulses/flashes are heard and while stile holding the programming button in, press the LOCK/ARM button on the remote and the system will respond with one pulse/flash indicationg the remote has been programmed, then release the programming button and turn the ignition off...

#2 for systems that get no response at all, in the step where it states to press & hold the system's programming button in, instead close the vehicles doors and wait until the interior lights turn off then turn the ignition ON and turn the vehicle's dome light switch ON/OFF 3X (ON - OFF - ON - OFF - ON - OFF), if this is your type of system, your power door locks will cycle up and down 3X and/or flash the dash lights 3X indicationg that your in remote programming mode. Then quickly press the LOCK/ARM button on the new remote and the door locks and dash lights should cycle one more time, indicating that the remote was just programmed successfully. Turn ignition off and test remote.

Posted by: D. Weber AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, June 02 2019

Buyer Beware Before You Buy!: Not all remote starters offered online are DIY  (Do-It-Yourself) systems or can be taken to your local shop for installation

Almost on a daily basis we receive calls for help with several different brands and models of remote starters and alarm system's that were bought online where after they were received the system didn't provide any information other then the basic wiring of the system, no specific information regarding how it's installed in the vehicle they wanted to install the system in or what additional parts may be required.... and with no technical support to call!

Although we try to help these DIY individuals as best we can within a margin of time, this has motivated me to post some "before-you-buy" information insights. After reading and following this information, you will be much more prepared to purchase any system online without worry of any buyer's remorse. 

First things firstIf your not the car-savvy DIY type and you see a system on the internet that interest you, unless the same company that is offering the system to you will install it for you too, don't buy it! It's that simple.

There are several reasons for this, but I will sum it up for you this way; you don't want to be driving around town walking into automotive accessory shops with the system under your arm trying to find someone to install it. Most won't, and for good reason. And that's another long list why they won't, starting with that they are either just not familiar with the brand of system and don't want to cause any headaches for you or them in case of any technical difficulties during installation or after. Rule #1: Always purchase the same system and the installation from the same facility if your not going to install the system yourself!

Now, you may be the "DIY" type that's more than capable to install a remote car starter into your vehicle, but without the right information this can slow down your installation. Unless you absolutly sure you know you can get the system in without anything other thing than a general installation manual for the system, with nothing about the wiring your vehicle, then go for it!

But, even if are the car-savvy type...wouldn't you like a remote starter system that has all the parts and information that you need to install the system with no headaches?

For example take our Prestige 901Z-VSS, it's the "Vehicle Specific System" version of Prestige's popular APS-901Z. The Prestige APS901Z is their universal line of remote starters that require additional parts, vehicle wiring information and programming to be installed. It's the platform designed for the professional installer that is familiar not only with how the system's wired and programmed but also familiar with the wiring of the vehicle it's going to be installed into.

Additionally you have to consider this; the APS901Z version will have no warranty unless sold and installed by a authorized dealer, or the distributor that the system was originally purchased from, directly offers warranty replacement. Generally a manufacturer does not supply warranty directly to the consumer, the manufacturer supplies warranty service to the distributor of the system. So any defective parts are returned to the provider (a.k.a. "seller"), the distributor warranties the part to the customer, and the distributor returns the defective part to the factory for credit or replacement. This is how it's handled here at MotorCityRemotes...

Posted by: D. Weber AT 05:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 17 2019

Code Alarm and Chapman Remote Starter and/or Alarm Systems LED Flashing 2X:

A common occurance caused by accidently pressing a button on the remote while the ignition is on (or a combination of buttons), causing the system to be placed into "Valet" mode. On many older model Code Alarm and Chapman remote starter systems, specifically the Code Alarm CA530 and CA630 models also including the Chapman F50/55 & F60/65 models, if the lock button on the remote is pressed while the vehicle's ignition is on the system will be put in valet mode which will cause the dash mounted LED to begin flashing in a 2 flash/pause/2 flash pattern and at the same time turn off the remote start and/or alarm features of the system. The only functions that will remain is remote keyless entry.

Depending on the version of system, the same procedure that put the system into valet mode is the same procedure to take it out of valet mode to resume the full function and features of the system. There will be 1 of 3 ways that will put the system in and out of valet mode: With the ignition ON (don't start the vehicle) press both the LOCK and UNLOCK buttons on the remote at the same time. If this is the correct procedure for your specific system the LED will stop flashing in the 2 flash pattern. If not, try pressing just the lock button with the ignition on and if this doesn't change the status, simply try pressing just the unlock button on the remote. One of these 3 ways should do it.

 

Posted by: Derek AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 07 2019

Technically, a few situations could cause this problem but below is by far the most common causes:

Even if this situation occurs after the system has been installed in the vehicle for awhile and previously worked fine or if this is happening during a new install test, it is commonly caused by one of the remote starter's ignition activation output wires; On a new install it can be that either a 2nd ignition wire in the vehicle needs to be powered up at the same time as the vehicle's 1st (or main/true ignition) wire or if a 2nd ignition wire was connected to during installation, the output timing of the 2nd ignition wire may not be providing the needed output at the same time as the remote starter's 1st ignition wire. We have even found some vehicle's that required the 2nd ignition output to be turned off during crank/start (basically the same as an accessory output wire but a required connection to start. Most accessory output connections are not required to get the vehicle to remote start, they are only needed for HVAC activation).

Now on a existing installation that was previousely working fine, the output timing would not change, so the first thing to check is the systems ignition outputs, check both for faulty connections to the vehicle's wiring and test the remote starter system's ignition output wires during remote start activation to confirm that the outputs are working properly. Other than this being the cause, we would have to get a little deeper into the situation which will be another post. 

Please leave any comments or questions below.

Posted by: MCR AT 11:26 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 03 2019

Lots of times people have called in saying that their remote starter all the sudden quit working, that it was working just fine yesterday and now all of the sudden all it does is flash the parking lights a number of times when they try to activate the remote starter. The common cause of this is that somehow indirectly the system was put into what is called the "valet" or "service mode" which inhibits the remote starter from being activated from the remote.

Depending on the brand and model of system installed in the vehicle, there are several ways a system can be put into and out of valet mode. In our experience, the same procedure that puts the system into valet mode is exactly the way it is taken out of valet mode. Here is a few of the most common ways we know of: 

Version A: There's a small ON/OFF toggle switch mounted underneath the driver's side dash somewhere that if installed to close to the driver's left foot or above the knees it could be accidentally bumped into when exiting the vehicle and switched into the OFF position. This commonly happens during cleaning of the vehicle when panels are wiped down and the switch is accidentally flipped into the opposite position. Additionally, on some systems, this switch may not function without the ignition being ON, so you would have to turn the ignition ON first before flipping the switch.

Version B: On most newer remote starter systems theres an antenna mounted on the upper inside of the windshield, top center, on the glass behind the rear-view mirror, or may be mounted in the upper left corner. On most of these systems you will find a push-button built into it. Commonly a small black or gray round disc that softly clicks when you press it. Now this button only works with the ignition ON, and on many systems as soon as you turn the ignition ON (don't start the vehicle) theres also a LED light built into the antenna and when the system is in valet mode, the LED on the antenna will turn ON solid almost as soon as you turn the ignition ON indicating that the vehicle is in valet/service mode. To turn off valet mode, with the ignition ON, simply press & hold this button in until the LED turns OFF (takes no more then 15 seconds). Then turn OFF the ignition, remove keys and test remote starter activation (never try to activate the remote starter with a key in the ignition).

Version C: Same in/out valet procedure as described in version B, but the button is not built into the antenna but instead mounted separately by itself under the driver's side dash like the toggle switch described in version A.

Version D: Almost the same in/out valet procedure as described in version B except you don'y have to hold the button in, you just press & release it 1X. And the button is built into the system's flashing LED mounted on the front of the driver's side dashboard, facing you, commonly located to the left of the steering column. Some can be found mounted thru the steering column covers on the steering column. You will know if the valet button is built into the LED when you can easily push the LED in and it immediately springs back out when you release the button.

Posted by: D. Weber AT 12:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 22 2019

No matter what brand or model of aftermarket remote starter system you have installed in your vehicle there's a 50/50 chance that any service done to your vehicle that required disconnecting the vehicle's battery in doing so will knock the system out of it's pre-programmed state which will inhibit the vehicle from being remote started.

This is a very common occurence and is usually caused not by the remote starter module itself but by the additional component called a bypass interface kit. A bypass interface kit is used in addition to the remote starter's main control module to interface with the vehicle's factory anti-theft system. The bypass interface turns off the vehicle's factory anti-theft system to allow the remote starter's control module to start the vehicle.

When the system was originally installed, the installer programmed the bypass to the vehicle which during the programming procedure the component captures the vehicle's anti-theft code and store's it into it's memory so when the remote starter is activated, the remote starter turns on the bypass interface kit, the bypass interface kit momentarily sends this copy of the anti-theft code to the vehicle's anti-theft circuit and turns it off so the remote starter can crank/start the vehicle. Now when the vehicle's battery is disconnected it's commonplace that this interface will lose this stored code and will need to be reset and reprogrammed to the vehicle.

The main symptom of this problem is when you activate the remote starter, and if you were sitting in the driver's seat during activation, you would see the ignition turn on and the cluster light up but no crank at all (or on some vehicles may crank but not start). Many vehicle's may also show a flashing security light on the dash cluster.

When a remote starter is indicating that this may be the problem, the system's bypass interface kit must be located in the vehicle so that the brand and model of interface kit can be read off of the module in order to find out what that specific model's reset/reprogramming procedure is.

Posted by: MCR AT 07:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, April 20 2019

ANSWER: Must have to keys to the vehicle, cannot use the same key twice (cannot use a cloned key either).

Step 1: Unplug everything away from the Flashlogic module. Press & hold in the small black push button on the Flashlogic module, while still holding the programming button in, plug in just the black 4-pin plug. When the LED on the Flashlogic module begins quickly flashing rerelease the button:

Step 2: Plug in the remaining plugs into the Flashlogic module: The LED will begin slowly flashing green. While the LED is flashing green, press & hold the button in again and after the LED turns on solid green and turns off, release the button:

Step 3: Next, take one of the 2 keys and turn the ignition ON (DO NOT start the vehicle): Watch for the LED on the Flashlogic module to turn from red to green, then turn the ignition off and remove key: Within 5 seconds:

Step 4: Quickly place the 2nd key into the ignition and turn the ignition ON (DO NOT start the vehicle): Watch again for the LED on the Flashlogic module to turn from red to green then turn the ignition off: Within another 5 seconds:

Step 5: Press & release the button on the Flashlogic module: within 5 seconds, activate the remote starter system: when the above procedures were done promptly and correctly, the vehicle will remote start and stay running.

If the vehicle does not remote start, press & release the vehicle's brake pedal and start the vehicle with a key. Allow the vehicle to run for at least 10 seconds then turn the ignition OFF and remove keys. Try again from step one. If multiple attempts to reprogramming the Flashlogic module fails contact technical support.

Posted by: D. Weber AT 02:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 16 2019

Shopping for a Remote Starter, Keyless Entry or Alarm System for Your Vehicle

Knowing the industry standard cost (a.k.a. competitive price) of a remote starter, alarm, keyless entry or smartphone system installation (parts & labor) for your specific vehicle is a good thing to know before venturing out or making phone calls to the shops in your area. Pricing should vary depending on the brand of system and the year, make and model of vehicle (within our company anyway's). For example, a system with the exact same features being installed into let's say a 2014 Ford F-150 w/standard keys should not cost as much as the same system being installed in a 2019 Dodge RAM with push-to-start ignition. To be fair, if labor varies shouldn't price?

Just remember the old adage, "you get what you pay for" because it doesn't apply any stronger to when shopping for automotive aftermarket electronics. That $99.00 remote starter posted in the weekend paper most of the time is just to get you in the door (our company could not install any remote starter system we carry into any vehicle for $99.00!). And that $59.95 DIY system on Ebay isn't going to get you much closer to remote starting your vehicle either. Go luck.

Which brings me to the #1 advice we provide to call-ins and emails regarding our DIY remote starter systems; if your not going to install the system yourself, don't buy our system, always, always purchase the parts and installation from the same facility!! Otherwise, you'll probably end up driving around with our system under your arm (or that system you bought off of Ebay or Amazon) endlessly trying to find someone to install it! Not much of the car-savvy DIY'er? Then return that system you bought on the internet and go straight to your local automotive accessories shop and have the shop provide the parts and labor!

Anyway's, if you would like a solid foundation about the parts and the labor involved, know in advance if your getting a fair price before inquiring to any shop or some recommendations pertaining to warranty and the leading brands and models of systems you may want to keep in mind and look into, click HERE for more information.

Posted by: D. Weber AT 01:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 15 2019

ANSWER: If you have an existing remote (a.k.a. "transmitter" or "FOB") flip the remote over, there should be an FCC ID on the back. Using the FCC ID on the back of the remote and the amount of buttons on the front of the remote along with the brand of system, you should easily be able to locate the remote you need online by typing this information into any search engine. For example, "Code Alarm 2-Button Remote FCC ID: GOH-MM6-101890". Now if you don't have a remote to your system you'll have to search using the system's brand name and the model number of the system, for example, "Code Alarm CA-4054".

Now if you don't know the model number (don't have the owner's/operator's manual) someone is going to have to drop the dash panel down that's across from your knee's when your sitting in the driver's seat and locate the system's main control module. Most aftermarket systems will be easily found because it's usually held up with a few nylon zip-ties against some factory wiring (you'll be able to tell that it was not factory installed). One the module is located the model number is commonly located right on the top of the module.

Posted by: MCR Tech Support AT 08:52 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Sunday, April 14 2019

Buying a new replacement remote for your remote starter, alarm or keyless entry system that you have on your vehicle can seem like an easy task when all you have to do is Google the FCC ID on the back of your remote, there's plenty of "Joe's" out there ready to provide. But you have to be careful. We literally get call's everyday from people that purchased a replacement remote everywhere from Ebay to Amazon to even... Kmart? (with lot's of reputable and not so reputable website's in between) and they are looking for help with programming their remote or even need to know how it work's, because none of the places they bought the remote from supplied remote programming instructions or even a phone number where they can get some help!...and the ones that did supply a number, all they could do is provide or repeat the programming procedure you just read off the programming instructions! Most have no hands-on experience or knowledge of the system that's installed in your vehicle...

Shopping on Ebay, Amazon or any other online provider for general consumer products like books, movies, music, shoe's, appliances, TV's etc, etc. is great, but there are some things that just shouldn't be bought from anywhere they can be located. And some of those things are most products that require application procedures to work and could require technical support...

And replacement automotive remotes are a #1 prime example. The tips to keep in mind when shopping online for a new replacement remote are "who is offering the replacement?", "are they directly experienced with the product?", "are they directly associated with the factory (authorized dealer) or a 3rd party?" or do they sell everything under the sun?", "is there a tech support number provided I can call if I need help?", "can I call-in to place an order over the phone or ask some questions?".

Following and keeping the above 5 basic tips in mind will definitely point you in the right and confidant direction for shopping online for a replacement remote.

www.MotorCityRemotes.com has been providing technical support, replacement remotes, remote starter and vehicle security systems online for over 17 years and has been in the automotive aftermarket electronics industry for over 30 years. If you have any additional questions and/or need help locating the proper remote for your vehicle give us a call at 1-866-244-8004. Even if we don't provide the remote you need we will be more then happy to help you with finding the one you need.

Posted by: D. Weber AT 11:10 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Friday, April 12 2019

Programming a new remote to a Prestige brand remote starter and/or alarm system is basically a DIY situation. You normally don't have to take the vehicle in to have someone do it for you. As long as you know where the system's valet/programming/override button is, your good to go. Now, on Prestige systems with a remote start feature the programming button is commonly built into the system's antenna that's mounted on the windshield either behind the rear-view mirror or in the upper left corner. On systems without remote start, this button will be mounted under the driver's dash somewhere (it's the installer's preference where exactly he puts it);

Once you locate your system's programming button simply turn ON the vehicle's ignition (do not start the vehicle), and press & release the button 3X: Almost immediately the system will sound indicating that the system is now in remote programming mode: Now just press the lock button on the remote (or the one button on one button remotes) and the system will immediately sound again in response indicating that you successfully programmed the remote. Within 10 seconds, press the same button on any additional remotes. When finished simple turn off the ignition and remove keys and test your remote.

Posted by: MotorCityRemotes AT 12:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, April 11 2019

ANSWER: Not the only cause, but a common problem resulting after any service performed to the vehicle that required the battery to be disconnected. Your mechanic is not to blame! Any aftermarket remote starter system can lose its programming due to a low or complete power loss. Unless the system was placed in "Valet Mode" the system is flashing a troubleshooting code through the vehicle's parking lights to indicate the cause of the no-start problem. To pin-point where the problem is you'll need the system's installation/programming manual (or in most system owners/operators manuals it will at least indicate why it's flashing the number of times but not how to fix it). 

On Code Alarm, Prestige and Pursuit systems, if the parking lights are flashing 7X when you try to acivate the remote starter it means that the system lost it's tachometer programming signal and it needs to be reprogrammed (See Tech Tip #5). 4 flashes can mean it's in Valet Mode (no reprogramming required. See owners/operators manual) and 3 flashes can mean a safety input is activated or defective. Parking lights flash troubleshooting codes will vary from brand model to brand model, but you can either try to take care of the problem yourself if so inclined by obtaining the system's installation manual or loacting a service facility in your area. To locate a service facility in your area; for a Code Alarm system call: 1-800-421-3209 and for either a Pursuit or Prestige system call: 1-800-225-6074. For any system's purchased through AutoAlarmPro.com, CodeAlarmRemotes.com and MotorCityRemotes.com call: 1-866-244-8004.

Posted by: MCR AT 11:10 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Tuesday, April 09 2019

Question: I either lost my keys with my with my remote on it or they were stolen, can I somehow erase the one I lost and still use the spare one I have?

Answer: Yes! All you need to do is find out how your specific system's remotes program. If the system you have is an aftermarket system (not installed at the factory) you will be able to do this yourself, but you'll need to know at least the brand name of the system that's installed in your vehicle to find out this information. For example, if you have a Code Alarm brand system just Google "Code Alarm replacement remotes" and call the company that provides replacement remotes (or call us) and ask what the procedure is for programming your specific remote. Then, after you have this information, program the one remote you have 4X in a row. This will erase all the remotes that were lost or stolen. If you have 2 remotes, program each remote 2X.

Now if you have factory remotes you may have to go to either a locksmith or Dealership to have this done. It depends. You'll have to find out if your specific year, make & model of vehicle's remotes can be programmed simply with performing a procedure like Aftermarket system's or if it requires programming through the vehicle's OBDII diagnostic connector. Again, for example, just Google "2014 Ford Explorer factory remote programming". There are many locksmiths that have websites that provide this information for free right on their site (or call us!).

Posted by: D. Weber AT 09:07 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 08 2019

Reported Problem: Car will not Start. Is it my Car Alarm causing the problem?

Tech Tip: Another very common call we get in is when someone's vehicle won't start either because their remote is defective and they can't disarm/unlock their vehicle remotely or they bought a used car (and don't have a remote) and after having to replace the vehicle's vehicle's battery (or any service that required disconnecting the vehicle's battery) all the sudden they discover the vehicle is equipped with an aftermarket alarm and now it's triggering and/or preventing the vehicle from being started normally with the key after the vehicle's battery is re-connected.

But first, as a side note, many times even when someone has a system that triggers an alarm when the vehicle's battery is connected and the vehicle won't start, as long as the vehicle's starter motor is cranking over or at least "clicking" at the starter motor, it's more than likely not the alarm system causing the problem. Why? Because aftermarket alarm systems with an anti-theft (a. k. a. Kill-Switch) feature completely stops the power from reaching the starter motor. So, it's only possible that it's the system causing the no start issue is when as soon as you turn the ignition on, everything on the dash would light up as normal (including all accessories, chimes etc.) but when you go to crank the vehicle, no power at all would reach the starter motor. If it cranks, it's not the system.

Now, let's say it's the system causing the no crank issue; all aftermarket systems have a way to emergency-override the system. The procedure commonly involves a push-button or with some systems a small ON/OFF toggle switch. Most manufacturers describe these switches as either an e-override button, valet or programming switch/button. Depending on the brand and model of system these switches are commonly installed by the installer in several different places in the vehicle:

They can be found mounted under the driver's dash either through an existing hole on a factory dash bracket, on a right-angle bracket the installer provided or they drilled a small 1/4" hole in the driver's side left kick panel (this is the panel that curves up to the left from the driver's side door sill-plate to the left of your left ankle when your sitting in the driver's seat. On most vehicles, the panel to the left of the emergency brake lever). I have even found a lot mounted on the bottom of the steering column. And finally, most systems with a remote starter feature, this button is found built into the system's antenna found mounted in the top center of the windshield behind the rear-view mirror or in the upper left corner.

OK! Now that you found what you think is the override button, what now? Well, that too depends on the brand and model of system, but here are the most common procedure possibilities that could emergency override your system:

Enter the vehicle (while the alarm is going off) and turn the ignition ON with the key. Either press and release the button (or flip the toggle switch in the opposite direction) OR press & release the button 3X. If it works, the alarm will shut off almost immediately. Now, quickly try to start the vehicle. If it starts your done, if not, turn the ignition back off, go back to the push-button and press & hold it in and while still holding it in, try to start the vehicle. If it still won't work (maybe the system is defective), the next thing I would do is permanently bypass the system's anti-theft circuit, but that procedure is for another post!

Hope this helped! If it did, please leave a comment, if it didn't, send us your questions!

Posted by: D. Weber AT 01:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, April 05 2019

Reported Problem: Do I Have to Reprogram my Remote FOB after Replacing the Battery in it?

Answer: We get this call almost every day. A properly working remote will not lose it's programming from just changing the battery in it. The number one indication that your remote just needed a fresh battery is when you had to get closer and closer to the vehicle to unlock the doors or activate any other features controlled by the remote. 

But if your remote suddenly stopped working or worked intermittently from any distance and then stopped working, odds are you have a worn-out or damaged remote and need a new replacement. With the exception of some "cloning" type remotes, no factory installed or aftermarket remotes lose their programming.

They are designed with what is sometimes called a non-volatile memory which retains the remote's operating frequency and does not require it's memory data to be periodically refreshed or reprogrammed due to low or complete power loss.

Posted by: NCR AT 09:12 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 02 2019

Answer: Several calls to our tech support line are questions regarding the location of their remote starter system's remote programming button. Most systems with a remote starter feature have an antenna mounted on the inside of the windshield. This antenna is commonly mounted in the top dead center of the windshield behind the rear-view mirror or in the upper left corner. And the remote programming button is built into this antenna.

When this is the case, you will see a small round button on the top surface of the antenna. On many older systems, this button is found mounted under the driver's dash area or on some system's the button is built into the dash-mounted LED. On many system's with separate buttons (not built-in) the button has also been found mounted on the bottom of the steering column or in the left kick-panel.

Posted by: MCR AT 02:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, March 31 2019

Reported Problem: Remote Starter Cranks Car but won't Remote Start when Cold

This problem is regularly reported on a weekly basis soon as the mid-west and east coast receives it's first frost towards the beginning of the winter. 

Most Common Cause: The remote starter system may have been installed using a "tachless" mode; This setting can range from voltage level detection or a pre-set crank/start output setting. This is where the system is programmed to either monitor the standing voltage of the vehicle and then compares that voltage reading to the voltage level after it cranks/starts and the alternator kicks in or the system is pre-set to crank/start at a predetermined time, respectively. So, when the vehicle is cold (usually at or below 32°F or 0°C) the system either doesn't detect a significant raise in voltage levels (usually >0.5V) or the pre-set output isn't long enough to get the vehicle to start. While these two settings work fine in warmer environments that rarely see frost (or none at all), it's possible these settings won't provide a dependable start in or during a colder climate.

Possible Fix: Connect and program the system's tachometer input. All remote starters have what is called a tachometer detection input wire. This is a hard-wired connection made directly to either the vehicle's tachometer wire, odd-colored fuel injector wire or a specific coil wire commonly found at the vehicle coil-pack on the engine. This is by far the best way to install any remote starter system regardless of the climate.

When the system is installed utilizing the system's tachometer input, the system directly monitors and detects the small amount of AC voltage that this wire in the vehicle shows while the vehicle is running. Then after this AC voltage level is programmed into the system, when the remote starter is activated and if this level isn't detected right away, the system will automatically crank the vehicle a little longer until this level is detected or it will shut down and automatically try to re-start the vehicle again (on some systems up to 3 times). This connection is strongly recommended on all Diesel engines and will provide a dependable remote start on any vehicle.

Posted by: MCR AT 10:10 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 29 2019

Reported Problem: No Horn Honk when Keyelss Entry is used or when Remote Starter is activated

System Status: New Install on some older models of 2001-2003 Dodge RAM's and Caravans

Possible Fix: On some older model's of RAM & Chrysler/Dodge Mini Vans (not limited to these models) the default horn pulse output time setting (that's commonly between 16ms-18ms) on most brands of remote car starters, keyless entry and alarm systems, does not provide a negative pulse long enough to beep the vehicle's horn properly. The results can cause confusion during system programming changes and during normal operation.

When this is the situation, the system must be programmed for a longer horn output duration between 30ms-40ms. Most current systems have this option setting available in their installation manual and as long as you have this information the change is a step-by-step procedure commonly requiring a working remote to the system, an ignition key to the vehicle, and knowing the location of the system's programming button.

If your installing any of the Prestige E, Z and APSRS or APSSECRS series systems, this is how you would turn up the output (and just a example for other brand systems):

TECH NOTE: Each step needs to be performed within 10 seconds of each step:

1: Turn ignition ON (DO NOT start the vehicle: Press button on antenna 3X: System will sound 1X (or dash lights will flash 1X): Cycle ignition from OFF to ON again: System will sound 2X (or dash lights 2X): Leaving ignition ON:

2: Press and release the button on the system’s antenna slowly 3X: the system will respond by flashing the LED on the antenna in a 3 flash/pause/3 flash pattern. Slowly keep press & releasing the button on the antenna until the LED flashes in a 8 flash/pause/8 flash pattern:

3: While the 8 flash/pause/8 flash pattern is seen: keep press and releasing the lock button on the system’s remote (or just the button on the 1 button remotes) until the system beeps the number of times corresponding to the desired horn pulse output time setting (the second setting is usually adequate): 

Response: 1 Beep = 16ms. (Default setting)   2X = 30ms.   3X = 40ms.   4X = 50ms    5X = 10ms.

3:  After the desired setting change has been made turn the ignition OFF and remove keys: Response: wait, the system will sound: The system has now been set to the desired horn pulse output time setting.

Posted by: MCR AT 07:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, March 28 2019

Reported Problem: Aftermarket Car Alarm Keeps Going Off!

Probably thee #1 reported problem in the history of car alarms is the complaint of the car alarm going off at all hours of the day and night. This would clearly be the most annoying problem you could have with a car alarm and for your neighbours!

Technically, the problem can be from a small list of causes, but fortunately most of the time, it's only due to a sensor being set to sensitive during installation or it just needs a slight adjustment after being in the vehicle after several years. And commonly the #1 culprit is known as a "shock-sensor" or "impact-sensor". These types of sensors as you can guess, detect specific levels of vibrations caused through the vehicle.

When these sensors are set to sensitive (like when an alarm installer tries to use a shock sensor as a glass break detector, which it's not meant to be used for, there are specific sensors for that) the alarm can false trigger with just the wind blowing against the vehicle, when a loud vehicle or motorcycle drives by it or even if a cat walks across the hood!

Shock/impact sensors are only meant to detect larger vibrations or impacts made to the vehicle. Examples would be vibrations caused by another vehicle backing into the vehicle, jacking-up or towing, or if someone literally took a baseball bat or a brick against the glass. Detection for any lighter vibrations made to the vehicle would require a different type of sensor.

The fix: A system's shock sensor is commonly found mounted under the driver's dash area (a.k.a. foot-well area). Usually they are mounted snugly against some factory wiring using a nylon zip-tie. The sensors can range in size from a 2" by 2" small plastic box to almost the size of a pack of cigarettes. They will also have a small 3 or 4 wire plug plugged into it. And, most of these sensors have color LED's built into them that will light up when you tap your finger on them.

When you think you found the sensor, look on the sides of the sensor and you will find either a small adjustment screw in a small hole or on some older systems a protruding adjustment knob sticking out the side of it (a.k.a. thumb pot adjuster that you can turn just using your fingers. The type found through a hole in the sensor is a small eye-glass phillips screw). No matter which type of adjustment you have they all adjust exactly like a volume knob. Turning it clockwise makes the sensor more sensitive (volume up) and counter-clockwise makes it less sensitive (volumn down).

The best way to begin the adjustment of a shock sensor is to turn the sensor all the way down (counter-clockwise) and then slightly turn it up 1/4 of the way. Now, to test the sensor's sensitivity; roll the driver's side window down, close all the doors and arm the system. Wait a minute, then reach in through the open window and bounce the side of your fist off the steering wheel (not excessively hard). Some sensors that are known as a "2-stage" sensor will just pulse the vehicle's horn or the system's siren. This is known as the "warn-away" response. If the sensor either sounds the warn-away signal or does not sound at all (sensors with single-stage sensing) this will probably be a good setting to leave it at and no further adjustment will be neccassary. Now if the system still false triggers, you'll want to try a lower setting or isolate the sensor from the system completely which is done simply by unplugging the plug from the sensor. 

If the system still triggers after you unplug the sensor you know its not the shock sensor causing the false triggering. But if it only falses with the sensor plugged in and after several attempts of making adjustments, you have a bad sensor that needs replacing.

Posted by: MCR AT 11:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, March 27 2019

Reported Problem: Aftermarket Kill-Switch. No Power Reaches Starter Motor when trying to Crank/Start (all other functions on the vehicle work fine):

We get this call periodically, especially when after someone has purchased a used vehicle with no knowledge of an alarm system even being on it and no remotes came with the vehicle:

Commonly known to happen on aftermarket alarm systems when a remote transmitter (a.k.a. FOB) is lost or broken. Normally before the vehicle is entered the unlock or disarm button on the remote is pressed which unlocks the vehicle's doors while at the same time disengages the system's internal or external anti-theft starter-kill circuit (a.k.a. kill-switch).

This can cause a problem after the remotes are lost or broken if the system was last locked/armed with the remote before the remote was lost or broken and you are now entering the vehicle using a key. Or the vehicle was serviced and the service required disconnecting the vehicle's battery and upon reconnecting the vehicle's battery, the alarm triggered (main reason why to always have a spare remote).

Without a working remote the only way to fix the problem will be to get to the wiring from the system that's stopping power from reaching the vehicle's starter motor. This almost always requires dropping down the vehicle's knee-bolster panel (the panel that's directly across from your knees when your sitting in the driver's seat) and locating the aftermarket system's main control module. 

After the system's main control module is found you will want to look on the module for the brand and model numbers on it. Most system module's will have this information on it, but not all. Knowing the brand and model of system will make it easier to find out what type of anti-theft circuit the system has. If your module doesn't't have any descriptions as to what the brand and/or model it is, not all is lost. There's commonly only 2 types of aftermarket anti-theft circuit designs, internal and external.

If you have a system with an internal (or built-in) starter-defeat circuit (usually found on older systems) you will find 2 wires of the same gauge (size or thickness) and color (one of the two wires may have a color trace or stripe on it). Commonly these wires will be found running into a separate plug on the module or at least side-by-side when found mixed in with other wiring running into the module. But again, they are going to be the same color and gauge no matter how they are found. When you think you found these wires, one way to test to see if you found the correct wires is using an appropriate 12V test probe connected to chassis ground, only one of the two wires will show momentary +12V power only when you try to start the vehicle, the other will show no changes.

After confirmation simple apply a jumper across these two wires so the power from the one wire will reach the other wire during starting of the vehicle. Finally, if the alarm also keeps sounding, just look for some inline fuses on some of the system's wiring and pull them out. Now you can leave the system like this until you get a new remote without having any further starting problems or the alarm triggering.

Now on system's with external starter defeat circuits you will commonly find an external automotive relay with just one wire running from the system to the relay harness. This one wire from the system is the output that is triggering the starter-defeat relay when the alarm is triggered and preventing the vehicle from starting. Commonly found on most systems as a thin gauge Solid ORANGE wire, all that is required is to cut this wire in half then, as with the internal relay types, locate any fuses to the system and pull them out to prevent the system from sounding/triggering.

Posted by: D. Weber AT 11:33 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
 

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