Car Keypad Revisited

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Car Keypad Revisited

Postby neonpolaris » January 30th, 2011, 9:25 pm

Hey all. I've got a project that I'd like to do, and I was looking for some input.

Some time ago I installed a Ford keypad into my Dodge's door, as seen here:
http://hackaday.com/2009/06/30/custom-car-door-keypad/

Well, that car just got totaled (rear-ended by a driver not paying attention), and now I have to do it all over again. I'm now driving a Hyundai Elantra, another car with no keypad option. I could go the same route as before and with very minor differences in wiring, install the same keypad onto my new car. But rather than replaying my last mod, I was thinking of doing something different, perhaps better.

Ford has a keypad that you can stick on to any Ford car. This keypad operates wirelessly just like any other key fob. This pad would not work with my Hyundai directly (different wireless control than Ford), but it would provide a perfect enclosure for my own board. I was thinking of using Sparkfun's Nordic Fob for reference (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8602), and fabbing my own board like that but shaped to fit into the Ford keypad and match up with the button/battery placement. Battery life should be acceptable for my task. I wouldn't even have to alter the fob's firmware at all (except maybe to add some security against replay attacks). I would then just have to wire in an appropriate receiver in the car to do the locking/unlocking/trunk pop. This way, there's no hole cutting on the new car.

For extra style points, instead of wiring into the car, I could look into unlocking the doors via the OBD-II port (is this possible?). It would have the added bonus of having a ready power source there also.

Unfortunately, the Nordic Fob is unavailable as of the moment. I'd like to use one of those before I build my own for testing purposes.

Any thoughts, suggestions?
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Re: Car Keypad Revisited

Postby neonpolaris » January 31st, 2011, 11:02 am

I don't want this thread to turn into a long debate of the usefulness of a keypad, I know it's not for everyone. Sometimes I just want to get into my car without keys. I frequently run to my car to get something from it (a tool, camera, piece of paper, whatever) and I often have my keys hanging up inside (at my house) or in my desk (at work) and have to turn around and grab them. I could be sure to carry my keys on me 100% of the time, even when just working in my own yard, or I could instead have the keypad. Other people mention being able to lock their keys in the car at a beach, river, etc. I've never purposefully locked my keys in, even with the keypad, but to each his own. The keypad would certainly come in handy if I did *accidentally* do so, though.

The question for me is not why, but rather how. I cut a hole in the door the first time, and it came out very well, in my opinion. I could redo it this way, but it wouldn't be very interesting to me this time around. Besides, being able to stick it on makes it easily removable, leaving the car's original appearance intact.

My first concern with a wireless option was, of course, battery life. The Nordic Fob by Sparkfun is already exactly what I need for the transmitter half. I'd need a different form factor, but it's open source hardware and firmware, so that's perfect. It really takes all the hard part out for me (making something energy efficient enough to last 1+ year on a coin cell battery). I just wish they were in stock so that I could start experimenting! I've never worked with this radio before. I suppose I could start on the other half in the mean time...
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Re: Car Keypad Revisited

Postby nickpunxxx » January 31st, 2011, 1:07 pm

yeah keypad entry sounds pretty gd, you get cars with keypad ignition dont see why not
going down the wireless fob route.. i saw this the other day, you could merge some sort of keyless entry with it.
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Re: Car Keypad Revisited

Postby bluewraith » January 31st, 2011, 3:50 pm

My old Ford Explorer had a keypad on it and I loved it. It was very handy to be able to punch in a number if you didn't have your keys, or to give the number to a friend if they needed to get something out of it on their way out. I'd say its the thing I miss most about that truck, aside from the 4 wheel drive.
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Re: Car Keypad Revisited

Postby neonpolaris » January 31st, 2011, 7:39 pm

This new wireless project may be over before it's started. I went down to my local Ford dealer to look at the stick-on key pad and here is what I saw:

Image

Personally, I find that ugly. For comparison, here's the my old keypad:

Image

I liked the idea of a wireless pad, but I'm not giving up that much aesthetics (subjective, I know) just to keep me from cutting another hole in a car door.
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