Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system - EnclaveForum.net: Buick Enclave Online Community
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system

Thought I would share my experience with this. One thing I missed from other vehicles I've owned is the proximity key system - where you don't need to take the key out of your pocket to unlock or start the car. (If you've never had this, you may not appreciate the convenience.) I'd been looking for some kind of aftermarket solution for the Enclave and recently found one. As an added feature, the system includes a push-button start. I've had it for about a month now and it works nicely, with some minor quirks. I ended up doing most of the install myself (after a failed attempt by a local installer) and it is basically similar to installing an aftermarket remote start/alarm (which I had never done before). It does not disable the existing OEM remote start and lock/unlock, but I now leave my OEM remote and key at home. It does involve tapping into some of the vehicle's wires and using modules that interact with the CANBUS (GMLAN), so it may not be for everyone.

If there is any interest, I can provide all the details and a list of pros and cons on this system. The company I bought it from is called advancedkeys. They appear to be a small Canadian company and all my interactions were essentially by email, but they helped me get the system going and solved lots of problems for me. I am a complete amateur at this, but was able to figure it all out eventually. The model listed on their website is not the newest version (not sure why), as the remote I have includes buttons for lock, unlock/liftgate, and remote start (as well as being a proximity key).

Thanks.

----<br />2008 Enclave CXL FWD, Pioneer AVIC-Z120bt Nav
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 02:01 PM
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Re: Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system

I would love to hear more. I miss this feature. I'm a bit surprised it can be added aftermarket.

2008 SLT-2 AWD Red Jewel/Titianium, 7 passenger seating, Navigation, sunroof, HUD, HID, DVD, rear audio controls, engine block heater, trailering, 18" wheels
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 02:44 PM
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Re: Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system

I would love to have this on my Clave.

2014 Enclave Premium AWD Black w/ black leather
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system

Well, let me get started with the details. This info should work for all Lambda's, AFAIK. As I said the system comes from advancedkeys.com. The proximity key uses the same radio frequency ID (RFID) system used by OEM manufacturers or for garage access cards, corporate ID cards etc. It's also the same idea as the Passkey III system used in the Enclave. The "smartkey" in this case is a small, black fob about 2/3 the size of a credit card and about 3 times as thick. It has a battery to transmit the RFID (as opposed to a passive RFID system that uses a magnetic field to induce a current in the card for power.) On it are 3 buttons, one to unlock (or tailgate if held down), one to lock, and one to remote start. Of course, you don't need the buttons, as the doors will unlock when you get close to the vehicle and lock as you walk away. I found I still use the remote start (and tailgate), so it's nice to have. On the website, they only list the old model, called the AK-103B, which has no buttons on the smartkey. The new model, AK-104 has the buttons and should be requested when ordering.

The product is a series of modules and harnesses. There is a smartkey module which receives the RFID and unlocks the door, starts the car, and contains an alarm (which you don't have to use - more details to follow on this). There is a push-start module which connects to the push-start button and also to the smartkey module. You don't need to add the push start. You can also use a knob start, which contains a key-shaft and fits into the ignition cylinder. You would turn this as you would a key to start the car. I figured if I was going to all this trouble, I would go all the way with the push start. If you get the push start, make sure to request that the illuminated text be green (as opposed to orange) as it can not be changed once you receive it (learned this the hard way). I found it matched the dash lighting pretty well.

Besides this system, you need another module (you can find at Amazon) to bypass the Passkey III (PK3) system. The PK3 uses an RFID chip in the factory key (you can see it designated as a + on the key). There is an electromagnetic coil (copper) wrapped around the ignition barrel which creates a current in the RFID chip and allows it to transmit a vehicle specific code needed to start the car. Without the chip, the car won't start even with the correct key. The OEM remote start can get around this, but the aftermarket system needs a specific bypass. Fortunately, there are a lot of companies that have figured all this out. I used the DLPK (stands for door-lock, Passkey or something) module from Xpresskit. This turned out to be the trickiest part. I'll write a subsequent message with the details on the bypass. Note that the PK3 is still in place and the car cannot be started without either a factory key or the smartkey (even with the key shaft in the ignition, see below).

In addition, if you get the push button start, you need a small bracket and plunger switch which is used to detect when the brake pedal is being pressed. The car won't start (or turn off) unless the brake pedal is pressed. In many newer cars, including ours, when the key is off (or there is no accessory power), pressing the brake does not turn on the brake lights. There is a brake switch which the car uses to detect the pedal being depressed, but that is powered by accessory power and not battery power, so it is no good to tap into this. Fortunately, there is a solution. People who tow their car behind an RV (dingy towing) often need to use a supplemental braking system (a system which physically depresses their car's brake pedal when they press the brake on the RV) and need a switch to make sure the brake pedal in the car isn't incorrectly depressed while towing (which would wear down the brakes pretty fast, I suppose). A company called Roadmaster makes a stop-light brake switch for this purpose which also works perfectly for detecting the brake pedal even when the car is off. It is very easy to install and does not interfere with brake pedal movement. The model number is 751221.

You will also need to get your factory key duplicated. You don't need, or want, to get this done at the dealer, as you don't need the PK3 chip. You just need the shaft part of the key. I found that I couldn't get this done at Home Depot, but I drove by a small locksmith and he cut the key for $2.50. You will need to break off the handle part of the key as you only need the shaft part. If you use the knob start, this shaft is actually glued to the knob and used to start the car. If you use the push start, you leave the key shaft in the ignition at all times in the ACC position (you interrupt the ACC wire from the ignition cylinder so you don't drain the battery - more on this when I give installation details). You then cover the ignition cylinder with a patch so it looks like there is no place to insert a key. It turns out that the best cover I could find was an anti-skid furniture pad from Home Depot (Shepard 1-1/2 in Anti-skid pads, model #9970). They have a texture to them that matches the plastic of the steering column very well. All in all, it is a very clean, OEM look.

So, in summary, the items you need to install this are:

1. The Smartkey+Push start (or knob start) system model AK-104 from advancedkey.com
2. Immobilizer bypass module Xpresskit DLKP (or similar) from Amazon, Best Buy, etc. (I also needed the Xpresskit RFLCHGM RF loop bypass, but you may not.)
3. Roadmaster 751221 stop light brake switch
4. Shepard 1-1/2 in anti-skid pads from Home depot (#9970)
5. If you do this yourself, all sorts of wiring connectors, soldering iron, etc.
6. If you install the push start, you need to make a hole somewhere for it. I chose the center console to the right of gear selector, centered between, but to the left of the cup holders. The button has a chrome ring trim which matches the chrome ring of the cup holders well. To make this hole, you can use a drill (instructions are included with the system) or buy a hole saw of the correct size from advancedkeys. To be honest, this is the one thing the installer I attempted to use did for me. If I were doing it myself, I would probably buy the hole saw.

I'll list the pros and cons of the system in the next post, and install details after that.

----<br />2008 Enclave CXL FWD, Pioneer AVIC-Z120bt Nav
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 04:36 PM
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Re: Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system

Thanks for the info

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system - Pros/Cons

To summarize what I like and dislike about this system:

Pros:

1. It's nice not to have to take out a key. The smartkey is thin and fits flat in a front pocket.
2. The range of the remote functions (the lock/unlock/remote start buttons) is much better then the OEM.
3. The remote start is much more reliable (seems to work every time) then the OEM.
4. The push button is very nice, looks OEM and fully replicates the normal ignition cylinder functions. If you press it with the engine off and the brake not depressed, it will go to ACC mode, ON mode, and then off. Press with the brake depressed and it will start the car.
5. The system is very intelligently designed with thoughtful backups:

A. If you park the car for a long time (>7 days), the system will go into a battery saving mode since it takes a certain amount of energy to search/listen for a smartkey.
B. In this situation, or when the battery in your smartkey has died, you are provided with 2 credit-card sized cards than can function as passive smartkeys. Basically, you install a separate magnet antenna (very low and inside the windshield on the driver's side). Holding the passive smartkey against the windshield over this antenna will activate the sytsem. The passive smartkey is really the size of a credit card and just fits in your wallet.
C. The system includes 2 backup starter relays, so even if the the internal relay in the module fails, the backup relays will take over and start the car. I think this is more an issue for those whose starter wire is high-current (ours really just communicates with the BCM to start the car) and who keep their cars a very long time. I didn't bother with this, but it's still nice to include.

6. Though clearly a small company, I found Brian at advancedkeys to be very helpful and knowledgable. He answered my questions quickly and helped me get the system working well.

Cons:

1. It can be hard to find an installer to do this for you. I found that most installers only deal with a specific brand (e.g. Viper) and don't know how to handle something like this. I went to 4 separate installers and the one that agreed to do it failed to do it correctly and I had to redo the whole thing.
2. The range of the smartkey is limited. I'm not talking about the remote functions, that use a separate antenna attached to the smartkey module which you hide in the dash and has great range. The proximity key (RFID) uses two antennas, one in the front windshield and one in the back. On a smaller car they create a range "bubble" of probably a few meters, but on our car, it's really a few feet. If I walk fast, I can almost get my hand to the door handle before the system unlocks it. Also, I installed the rear antenna on the tailgate, which is a mistake since you get out of range just by opening the tailgate. It would probably be better against the rear, driver's side window. The range bubble should favor the driver's side. The downside of all this is that the doors will lock and unlock a lot as you walk around (say unloading groceries). The antennas themselves are just small rings that aren't terribly obtrusive. Still, on OEM systems, the antennas are totally hidden.
3. If you remote start the vehicle, you cannot then use the remote to open the tailgate. You can still use the other buttons, some I'm not sure why this is.
4. As a remote start device, the system is really geared towards the proximity key concept and lacks some of the features found on other high-end remote starters (e.g. control via iPhone, 2-way reporting of vehicle status). It's all a matter of what you want, I suppose. Also, the more common remote starters interact more easily (via serial connections) with the bypass modules (something called D2D, or data-to-data), which this system cannot do. Still, many alarm installers appear to prefer to do things without these serial connections and prefer connecting all the wires (called W2W or wire-to-wire). W2W is mandatory on this system.

All in all, I am very pleased with this system and am happy to have it. I'll provide details on the Passkey 3 bypass in the next post.

----<br />2008 Enclave CXL FWD, Pioneer AVIC-Z120bt Nav
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system - Passkey 3 Bypass

It turns out there aren't a lot of people reporting a need to bypass the PK3 system in Lambdas. Probably because most have, or are capable of having, factory remote start. Though all the major bypass companies (Xpresskit aka DEI, iDatalink, and Fortran) offer modules compatible with the Enclave, I couldn't find a lot of examples of them being used.

The purpose of the bypass is to allow the car to be started without the factory PK3 chip (found in the handle of the factory key). To prevent theft when having a bypass installed, you are then relying on the smartkey system. As I said, I chose the DLPK module. It is a combo module in that it is supposed to handle both bypass and communication with the car's CANBUS (GMLAN) system to unlock/lock doors, open the tailgate, flash the blinkers, and detect if a door/hood is open. Besides the bypass function, this unit has functioned very well. With it, there is no need to connect wires from the smartkey system to the car's wiring to unlock/lock doors, etc. All of this is handled by the DLKP which receives the signal from the smartkey module and sends it to the CANBUS.

Unfortunately, I could never get the bypass function to program correctly. It makes use of the fact that you can program a new factory key on our vehicles by first putting the car in the ON position with an existing factory key, turning off and then quickly inserting a new factory key and starting the car (within 5 seconds). The instructions for adding a new factory key are in the Enclave owner's manual. The bypass module supports bypass in two ways. The bypass works by either (1) tricking the car into thinking it still has the factory key in or (2) programming a chip connected to a copper wire loop around the key cylinder to emulate a factory key. The first method requires that the transponder in the steering column remain energized (which uses about 30mA of battery power at all times) and, if the car looses power (i.e. you disconnect the battery), you must then start the car once with the factory key to re-initiate the "trick".

The second method, which uses an RF loop (the one I used is called the RFLCHGM, also made by Xpresskit), actually programs a new key transponder. The transponder chip is attached to a loop of copper wire which you place around the cylinder just behind the steering wheel cover (so you don't see it). A relay (either external or within the DLPK) closes the loop when the car is started allowing the transponder chip to be energized by the electromagnet of the key cylinder. The result is that the car sees a factory key even when none is present. The loop uses no power, since it is a passive system just like the factory system. I used this method since it uses less power, and because I could never get the DLPK to program with the first method. Also, with the first method, I felt like I needed to carry a factory key just in case the car's battery died and I was jump started. In that case, with the first bypass method, you would need the key to start the car once before the DLPK would take over (until the next battery failure).

Now theoretically, the DLKP should close the RF loop using an internal relay just before the car is started (either remotely or with the push start). I could never get this to work. Both the push start module and the smartkey module have a ground-when-running (GWR) wire which is used to trigger the bypass. The push start module actually sends a ground signal on this wire to switch the relay 0.5 msec before starting. The smartkey module sends it as soon as it detects a valid smartkey in range. Either is fine, but for me, neither worked with the DLPK. Fortunately, a $6.50 relay from Radioshack was all it took to fix that problem.

It may be that I had a jumper set wrong on the smartkey module which prevented it from triggering the DLKP directly. To use the external relay, I cut off the plug on the RFLCHGM that goes into the DLPK, so even though I have the jumper in the correct position now, I can't test if I don't need the external relay. The GWR from the push start was always connected to ground for some reason (I think the original installer I used may have shorted it out), and using this wire would have meant that the PK3 system was bypassed at all times, even when no smartkey was in range. (This is bad for 2 reasons - first, it would be easy to steal the car, and second it would make it impossible to use the factory key when you wanted to since car would be confused by seeing 2 keys at once.)

So, in summary, for CANBUS interface (door lock/unlock, etc.), I used the DLKP. For bypass, I used the RFLCHGM RF loop connected to an external relay.

----<br />2008 Enclave CXL FWD, Pioneer AVIC-Z120bt Nav
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 06:07 PM
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Re: Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system

Sounds intriguing, Scully. I didn't see any mention of price range. Care to share that?

Thanks!

2008 Cocoa CXL AWD, Nav, Rear Ent - Owned 72 months, 135,900 miles. Traded 9 days short of 6 years of ownership for new Subaru Outback.<br /><br />If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would've put them on my knees.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system - Cost

When I started looking into this, I wondered how much this would be worth. This system adds a lot of functionality to the car. Comparing it to other high-end remote starter/alarms, I think it is fairly competitive and those don't include a proximity key or push start (though they do have other features lacking in this system). Here is a rough breakdown:

1. Advancedkey AK-104 system - $280
2. Xpresskit DLPK - $55 (Sonicelectronics or $80 at Bestbuy, among others)
3. Xpresskit RFLCHGM - $25 (Amazon or Bestbuy)
4. Roadmaster 751221 stop light brake switch - $35 (I got it from etrailer.com)
5. Anti-skid pads - $2.50 from Home depot
6. Butt-end connectors, t-taps, piezo buzzer (optional), wire, tape, switch etc - $20-$30 (Radioshack)
7. Your time - priceless

So about $430 for parts plus installation. If you have an installer you really trust and think they can do this, I would bet 3-5 hours of install time just because they aren't used to this system and they would be hesitant to quote less. That could range from $200-500. I doubt this is something BestBuy would do since they don't sell it. The funny thing is, it's not that hard if you have all the details for a particular vehicle. The big remote start companies provide this, but for advancedkeys, it's lacking. However, I think I could give anyone interested in doing this in a Lambda more then enough detail that they could get this done on a Saturday without too much hassle (and a lot of money saved). The wires you need to access are easy to get to.

I still need to write up the installation details and post some pictures. If there is interest, I'll try to do it tomorrow or the next day.

----<br />2008 Enclave CXL FWD, Pioneer AVIC-Z120bt Nav
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 02-15-2011, 08:10 PM
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Re: Proximity (RFID) key and push-button start system

Pardon me for misspelling your name! Sorry...

2008 Cocoa CXL AWD, Nav, Rear Ent - Owned 72 months, 135,900 miles. Traded 9 days short of 6 years of ownership for new Subaru Outback.<br /><br />If God wanted me to touch my toes, He would've put them on my knees.
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