The transponder based anti-theft (engine immobilizer) system was introduced into the North American market for the 1996 model year. Today in 2012, two manufacturers supply the majority of transponder technology for the North American market: Texas Instruments and Phillips. Texas Instruments fixed...
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Transponder-equipped keys are available in different configurations. The original equipment transponder-equipped keys have the transponder molded into the head of the key. The transponder is not “glued” to the molded head and can be removed. Depending upon the vehicle manufacturer and the design of the key blank, the transponder can be located in different positions: in the center or offset. See photos 2 and 20.
Aftermarket transponder-equipped key blanks are available in different configurations; they can be just like the O.E.M. transponder-equipped keys or have removable transponders or have a two-piece key.
Programmable and Clonable
Programming and cloning are the two methods of creating additional transponder-equipped keys. Programming occurs at the vehicle. Cloning occurs at the transponder-equipped key or fob. When programming, the vehicle’s on-board computer records the transponder’s value. Programming can be accomplished using a programming device or for some models, on-board programming can be used. For most of the newer models, on-board programming can be used if two already programmed transponder keys are available. Multi-vehicle programmer devices are available from Advanced Diagnostics, Kaba Ilco and Keyless Ride and other companies. The products include the Advanced Diagnostics T-Code Pro and MVP Pro, the Kaba Ilco TKO, the Keyless Ride Hotwire and Zed-BULL* programmers. In addition, manufacturer-specific programmers are available.
Once programmed, the transponder-equipped key/fob when in proximity to the ignition system antenna is read and compared to the values recorded in the on-board computer database. If the signal is comparable, the starter will engage, the engine will start and continue to operate.
Multi-vehicle programming devices are catching up to the newer vehicles. New software is being made available for vehicles including the Acura Prox, Chrysler Prox, Fiat 500, Smart Car and Toyota Prius. In addition, Advanced Diagnostics and other companies are introducing Vehicle Identification Number to key code and pin code calculator software. This type of software provides information necessary for programming Nissan vehicles requiring BCM conversions.
Programming is no longer limited to the key or fob. Many vehicle remotes can be programmed using multi-vehicle programmers. The Keyless Ride K2 Forge Universal Keyless Entry Remotes use rolling code technology and are compatible with many North American vehicle entry remotes. K2 Forge remotes are non-vehicle or manufacturer specific. The K2 Forge vehicle entry remote can be programmed to any of the compatible vehicles. K2 Forge eliminates the need to have an inventory of remote models. Choose the number of buttons and program the correct operating system onto the K2 Forge remote. Then the remote is programmed to the vehicle. Most automotive keyless entry remotes are either OBP (On-Board Programmed) or require a programming device (scan tool) to program them to a vehicle.
New cloning machines are available from Jet Hardware and JMA in addition to the cloning equipment from Advanced Diagnostics, Bianchi, Kaba Ilco, KeylessRide and other companies. These include Advanced Diagnostics AD900, Bianchi 884 Decryptor Ultegra, Jet Hardware iClone, JMA TRS-5000 Evo, Kaba Ilco RW4 Plus and the KeylessRide Zed-BULL* cloning devices.
The Jet Hardware iClone can clone clonable transponder chips, ampoules and many electronic keys. According to JMA, “the new TRS-5000 Evo can read most electronic keys and clonable transponders, cloning them onto JMA’s proprietary TPX1, TPX2, TPX3 and TPX4 glass tag transponders.”
When cloning, the transponder value is read and written onto the clonable transponder. Depending upon the transponder, information may be required from the vehicle’s on-board computer. The Philips Crypto transponder uses “challenge and response” functionality. When cloning the Philips Crypto transponder, access to the vehicle is required, as the necessary information is not contained just in the transponder.
Once all of the information has been gained and recorded onto the transponder chip, the new transponder-equipped key or fob can be used to operate the vehicle. Note: When reading a transponder or electronic key, if the value cannot be read with the key blade inserted into the cloning device, try repositioning the head, either on its side or upside down.
Ford, Lincoln and Mercury have introduced their 80 bit transponder technology for a number of their 2011 model vehicles. The 80 bit technology expands the operational capabilities while increasing the...
Transponder programming for late model vehicles is not always easy. Programming information has usually not been made available on some of the newer models. This problem is not specific to...