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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I decided to put my throw-away "emergency" phone to better use today. Under the driver's dash, I mounted my cheap tracfone to the firewall. I have a car charger permanently wired to supply power to recharge the phone whenever the key is in the accessory position. My original plan was to use a DTMF interpreter chip or custom binary signal ringtones to actuate different systems on my element. Being lazy, I decided that I would simply run the handsfree headphone lines to a 741 op-amp that was powered by an always-on circuit, and have the amp actuate a relay that grounded out the door unlock circuit. In short, I decided to go the uncomplicated route and set it up so when I call my "Ellie's phone number", she unlocks. Good for emergency situations, and I can easily unmount the cellphone if I need it (3m trim mounting tape)...

A fun project if you can do basic IC stuff... I completed it in just under an hour.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Follow-up

FYI:

I already had the tracfone, so I used that... But your bet deal if you're buying a throw-away prepaid phone is STi wireless, which is out of NY/Chicago, I believe... Their minutes don't expire, so you could theoretically buy the phone, a small minute card, and if you're only calling the Element (that doesn't pick up!), you have a system you don't have to renew or continually add minutes to... Food for thought.
 

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That sounds really cool. But could you sorta simplify it for those of us who don't have mechanical engineering PhDs?
 

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Agreed with PropCat. This sounds awesome but I have absolutely no idea how to begin this... Unfortunate.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
DIY Instructions

As per popular demand, I'm working on a set of DIY instructions that any of our members should be able to follow... Should be up in an hour or so.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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you know this could be used along with my DIY remote start that has a (-) input and you could start it from anywhere. audiovox has been making interfaces like this for any aftermarket alarm for years now. but cool to see you do it on your own.
 

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Your DyI

I just loved your DYI for the door locks!

I PM'd Larry about adding it to our Dyi section. I will forward you his response.

Your Thread needs to be added to this sight's knowledge base. It's a winner!

Please consider posting all of the Information on the EOC sight. It needs to be on our sight to be added to the data base. We are not allowed to copy the information and transfer it to our sight. Only the owner of the information can do that by law.

Thanks for your work on this mod, no matter what you decide.

Dom
 

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Very cool!!!

Just one question. Will the locks still auto relock after 30 seconds with this method of unlocking? Do prepaid phones get unsolicited calls? I would hate to leave for vacation and someone calls the E by mistake and the car is then left unlocked for a week.
 

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Cell phones are susceptible to erroneous calls, like any other phone.

I would suspect that even placing the number on the National do not call list is not an air tight solution. I know that my cell gets wrong number calls from time to time. I also get some ( not many, but some ) calls from automated advertising bots. They just dial sequential numbers. They do not dial a list as such.

However, My locks do reset after 30 seconds. Test it on your E for yourself. Just hit the unlock button. Then wait for 30 or 40 seconds. See if it re-locked itself. That will tell you if it will work on YOUR E.

Dom
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Accidental unlock with incoming call, timed re-lock...

To filter most accidental incoming calls:

Usually, you can set your phone up to assign ring profiles to different callers. Some phones actually can do this based on privacy settings (blocked, anonymous, or certain area code numbers) ... My recommendation is to set up the ring profile for your phone to not ring at all if an unfriendly call group number calls in. Otherwise, leave the "unlock ring" as the default incoming ring.

Also, you can do yourself a big favor by signing up ALL of your phones for the national "do not call" registry, which all telemarketers are required to update frequently and adhere to... http://www.donotcall.gov

As for the timed re-lock, I have a 2003 EX that does not have keyless. I'm not sure how the newer models or the ones with keyless entry respond. This mod is set up to work as if someone inside the vehicle pushed the unlock button. If an obvious solution doesn't present itself, a little more circuit ingenuity should be able to solve the problem. I'll see what I can come up with in that regard.
 

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While a bit more complex, I wonder if you could make a circuit that requires a pin. After entering the pin, maybe a voice says push 1 to unlock. You could then setup multiple relays to activate different circuits. Ex. 1 to unlock, 2 to roll down a window, 3 to start etc.

I knew I should have become an EE. Then I could at least attempt these ideas.
 

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check out the audiovox ascl100. this the part i was talking about. again, it is cool that he has dont this on his own, i will have to go get one of these and tinker this weekend. :)
 

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Most phones have a profile setup that allows you to do silence all incoming calls and only have certain numbers actually ring. Might be something to look into.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sorry this took so long...

I promised I'd post the whole thing here so we can sticky it or put it into the how-to's if necessary... I got a little caught up over the past few days, though- my little bro was in an accident and I've been playing the doctor/lawyer/mechanic game... Don't worry, he's fine, though...

Mods: Please feel free to reformat/cut/paste/etc at will.




The poor man's OnStar... For the Element!

[E-Star]


You will need:

1) A cellphone [contracted or prepaid, your choice]

2) A wired, earbud-style handsfree headset for the cellphone

3) A 12VDC car charger for the cellphone

4) A printed circuit board [Radioshack Catalog #: 276-150]

5) A 741-style operational amplifier chip [Radioshack Catalog #: 276-007]

6) 12VDC Miniature Relay [Radioshack Catalog #: 275-233]

7) One (1) 100k ohm 1/4 watt resistor

8) One (1) 1k ohm 1/4 watt resistor

9) Several feet of thin gauge hookup wire

10) Soldering iron and Rosin core solder

11) A Multi-meter

12) A small plastic project box




STEP 1: BUILD THE AMPLIFIER CIRCUIT

This is by far the most difficult step. If you are not able to complete

this step, this project may not be for you. All it really requires is a

little bit of patience, and some basic soldering ability.

Complete the circuit as shown on the diagram. This circuit will be built

on the printed circuit board. Start your build on one end or the other so

that there will be room for adding the relay to the board.

SEE BELOW- IMAGE ATTACHED (1st image)



STEP 2: ADD THE RELAY CIRCUIT

Next, we add the relay to some of the spare room on the PC board. New

connections on the diagram are shown in gray.

SEE BELOW- IMAGE ATTACHED (2nd image)


STEP 3: INTERFACING WITH THE CELLPHONE

Cut and strip the wires of the headset as close as possible to one of the

earbuds. If you have a mono headset, this should be easy as there is only

one choice! Use your multimeter to find which of the two wires leading to

the earbud is (+), and which is (-). You can do this by plugging the

handset in to the cellphone and checking for voltage readings as you press

keys, etc, which causes a sound signal (voltage) to be sent to the earbud

lines. If you exposed a single wire (+) surrounded by an insulating line

(-) when you cut the headset, you don't need to plug it in and test to

know the difference. Unplug the headset again and splice the (+) headset

wire you just exposed to the (+input) wire on the printed circuit. Splice

the (-) wire to the (-input) wire.



STEP 4: SPLICING THE CIRCUIT INTO YOUR ELEMENT

Carefully connect the (+power) wire on the printed circuit to a source of

constant 12V power. Connect the (-ground) wire to ground. Splice the

(-actuator) wire to the door unlock wire. This wire is located above the

left kickpanel on the driver's side, under the dash. This wire is white

with a green stripe.




STEP 5: TEST AND MOUNT

At this point, you can plug the cellphone into the headset and call the

phone. This should cause the ringtone, otherwise heard through the

earbud, to cause the amplifier to send a much higher voltage through the

relay, thereby causing the unlock wire to connect with ground and thus

unlock the door. If you have issues here, check all of your connections.

It also doesn't hurt to have your cell headset volume at maximum and a

loud but simple ringtone selected. (I use a single DING text message

tone)... If all is well, mount the bare circuit neatly into the plastic

project box and use double-sided tape to secure it under the dash or on

the firewall. Plug your phone charger in to an auxiliary outlet (that's

only on when the key is on) or go ahead and carefully disassemble (smash)

the 12VDC plug on your phone charger and wire the charger in directly.

Secure the phone under the dash or against the firewall. (I use velcro to

attach it under the dash. If you keep the phone in an area away from the

firewall or body, it will have less signal blocked by steel and get better

reception.)


Some additional notes:

A few members have asked about the thirty second re-lock... My 2003 EX does not have a re-lock, but your experience may vary. A simple test is to sit in your element with the key off and hit the unlock switch. If your element re-locks: hey, good for you! If not, and you really really really wanna implement this mod with a relock, I'm sure I could come up with an additional circuit that would re-lock the doors after a set time.

Also, there's the issue of unwanted incoming calls unlocking your doors randomly... Make sure you're on the "do not call" registry to combat telemarketing, and I have set up my call lists on the phone to only ring if a "friendly" area code or a number on my contact list calls... I figure if I manage to lock myself out of my Element, and also don't have my cellphone or a friend/family member/business associate close by to help me, well damn, I just totally struck out on luck that day.
 

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new iPhone app

New iPhone app unlocks and starts car

From USA Today:

A California company Tuesday will announce an iPhone application and car receiver that will enable users to lock, unlock and remotely start their car with the phone rather than the car's key fob.
The Viper SmartStart is the latest example of automotive electronics functions migrating into Apple iPhone and other smartphones, including turn-by-turn directions or locating the closest gas station.

Such ideas are a challenge for automakers and aftermarket suppliers for whom advanced auto electronics have been highly profitable.

"The days of these dedicated products we could put in our cars are rapidly coming to an end unless those products evolve into something more integrated," says William Matthies, an auto electronics veteran who now heads market research firm Coyote Insight.

Some automakers are embracing such integration rather than fighting it. Ford's latest version of Sync, an in-car communications system developed with Microsoft, works with a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone to offer turn-by-turn directions. And Ford just announced partnerships with the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit Mercy to encourage students to devise new mobile applications.

"We recognized the trend," Ford spokesman Alan Hall says. "Sync will be able to leverage the power of your mobile device."

Other automakers rolled out new iPhone apps, as well. Some are practical, such as BMW Mini's free app letting owners call a tow truck with the push of a button. The Mini Road Assist was developed by Allstate Roadside Services to let Mini owners summon services such as a battery boost or tire change. Others are just fun, such as an app from Toyota Scion that lets would-be DJs time the precise speed of a song by tapping the phone to the beat.

Aftermarket suppliers are getting involved, too. Pioneer Electronics just unveiled its first iPhone app for owners of its in-dash navigation and media units. Drivers can enter addresses on the phone, then transfer the information to the nav system for voice and on-screen guidance.

The SmartStart remote-start and lock app lets the owner be really remote. Mike Simmons, executive vice president of Directed Electronics, the parent of the maker, has demonstrated starting his car in California using an iPhone in Kansas City.

The system — which works on any car with electric windows and locks, but does not require an existing remote start feature — includes a receiver that is installed in the car. It's going on sale at Best Buy stores for $499.
 

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two thumbs up!

I have to admit, this is a good idea. :)

Simple, and yet very functional.

By setting the phone to ring only with a call from a 'trusted' source, that should eliminate any possibility of an 'unintended' unlock.

As for the thirty second re-lock, heck, is that such a bad thing? :confused: I would leave that just as is. If I wasn't able to open the door within that time - after already locking the keys in it - maybe it's just not the best time to actually be driving. :rolleyes:

Cool mod, get's the bh241 nod of approval. :)


EDIT
as for the iphone mod - I knew that I had seen that idea before.
 
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