MINI Cooper Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Moderator & Sponsor
Joined
·
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A colleague has had a problem for the last 3 weeks with a November build Cooper. Her boot light has decided to stay on permenantly and she has been told by the dealers that the problem lies with the car keys??

When they tried to replace the car keys, they then told her that the key had been delivered, but not the PIN number that comes with them so they couldn't replace it.

I've heard (probably from Mr. Bill) that there is a seperate locking mechanism ECU (which in turn links to the main ECU), but this is the 1st time I've heard of a PIN number to control the car keys.

Any thoughts anyone?..:confused:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
Just a guess, but I think it is more likely that the PIN number is actually for the ECU. The keys are probably all made with unique transponder codes, as to do anything otherwise would be a logistics nightmare. In which case it will be necessary to authorise each key in turn to be used with the car ECU - and no doubt this requires a PIN to be entered.

Ian
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Keys please.

I had a new 'radio' key made for (a bit stupid they only supply one with the car) me and my dealer used my 'radio' key to program the new one. (£10 for the service!)

I assume anything to do with PIN's is the unique transponder code for the remote and immobiliser signals.

However I don't see why the key has anything to do with the boot light - the ECU should do this.

On my car if you leave the door open for a while the lights go out.

Yet another example I think of a dealer who doesn't know making up an excuse to get rid of a customer more quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
Lots of new cars have this feature. The key has a magnetic strip that contains a bar code that is read when the key is inserted. If the code does not match up with the PIN in the ECU, the key won't work. This is to deter theft. But it also makes replacing a key very expensive. I read that there are so many cars being made that it is impossible to make an individual key to fit each one, hence the digital code. If you recall, some MINI owners had trouble when the dealer stuck the key to a magnet and wiped out the code. So be careful! (I wonder why the alien space ship in the MINI ad didn't wipe out the MINI's electrical system...)

My folks had a 1955 Chevy and our friends had a 1956 Buick. Our ignition key would open their driver's door, but not lock it. It worked in their ignition. Their key would open our passenger door, but not the driver's door, and it wouldn't work in the ignition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Magnetic doubts.

Don't think magnets feature widely in keys.

The transponder chip inside uses 'radio'.

When you put the key in the ignition this code is verified by the ECU.

There are enough codes for every car on the planet.

Even if you have the same key as someone with another mini (the chances of this happening are pretty small) the car won't start unless you have the correct transponder code in it (this will never be the same). You will still be able to operate the 'mechanical' bits though. Limited on a mini to the ignition (turn but no start) and drivers door lock.

I think the days of the Lucus key (they are all the same) in cars is well over and anyway if someone really wants to steal your car they can pick it up on a lorry and take it.

As far as I'm concerned keyless entry and ignition as on the Renault Laguna or Mercedes S class is the way forward.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,609 Posts
Unfortunately the keys do contain a magnet as some early customers found out. The dealers were placing the customers keys on top of the hand book ready for collection. Then the magnet that helps keep the handbook closed was messing with the key magnet and the keys were not working correctly. People turning up to pick up cars and the keys not working and no one knew why, good or what? Anyway dealers have now been told to keep the two separate and hopefully no more problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
There is NO magnet in the key.

There is a transponer chip (made by philips)of an industry
standard design. When
the key is inserted in the ignition, a coil built into the
key barrell generates EM raditaion. A corresponding coil
in the chip is exited by this radiation, inducing an
EMF (electromotive force). This energy is used to power
the chip. The chip then sends out is unique code, which
is picked up by the coil in the ignition barrell.
If this matches the code stored in the immobilisor then a
signal is sent to the engine control unit to allow
the engine to be started. I doubt a magnet can do any
harm to the chip and it sounds like an excuse to me.

Its possible to progam the chip with a pre-determined code
by modulating the em radiation sent to it with the correct
data sequence. This is what the dealer would do to program
the key, obtaining the code by "reading" the orignial.
You would have to do this in close proximity to the key to
have any chance of messing up the currently stored code.
The magnet in the handbook cover creates a static magnetic
field. You need an alternatinig magnetic field. You
would get this if you moved the key backwards and
forwards accross tha cover very (very) rapidly - something
that seems very unlikely to me

This is an entirely separate system to the central locking
remote.This uses a "rolling code" transponder system
to avoid the use of code grabbers. There should be a procedure involving the original key to get the car
to "learn" the new one. A battery is required to power
this circuit within the key, and is easily replacable yourself.

Incedently, the key design is identical apart from the logo
to that used on the rover 75.


So there you go, more eviedence of bullsh*t from dealers
:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Back up....

Space Cadet well said.

I searched the WWW and found no refs to magnets in car keys.

Lots of refs to transponders.

Come on people this is the 21st Century.

Dealers use endless silly stories to shut us up.
 

·
Moderator & Sponsor
Joined
·
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just to get things back on track here - I don't think the original reference to magnets mentioned there being one fitted inside the key - just that it contained components suceptible to magnetic interference.

Either way, it's now taken my friends dealer 3 weeks to find a replacement ECU, but by the sounds of it they'll need to replace or re-programe the key also? I'd bet money that the dealers don't know how to do this!..;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
577 Posts
I saw a magazine article a few months ago on auto theft deterrent systems. They said most automakers now use an ignition key that contains a small magnetic strip, similar to the strip on the back of a credit card. It is encoded with a unique PIN number that is read by a pickup in the ignition switch. They said that some companies charge $200 to replace a key, and if both keys are lost, it costs between $600 and $2,000 (OUCH!) to have the ignition module replaced. Toward the end of the article, they warned not to place the keys near a magnet or strong magnetic field or it could erase or corrupt the key code.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
99 Posts
mr.bill said:
I saw a magazine article a few months ago on auto theft deterrent systems. They said most automakers now use an ignition key that contains a small magnetic strip, similar to the strip on the back of a credit card. It is encoded with a unique PIN number that is read by a pickup in the ignition switch. They said that some companies charge $200 to replace a key, and if both keys are lost, it costs between $600 and $2,000 (OUCH!) to have the ignition module replaced. Toward the end of the article, they warned not to place the keys near a magnet or strong magnetic field or it could erase or corrupt the key code.
Sounds to me like a non-technical journalist getting completely the wrong idea and inventing what he didn't know based on experience of technology he could comprehend. Take a look at the following press release on the Texas Instruments site, which gives a nice clear and concise explanation of the technology involved here.

http://www.ti.com/tiris/docs/news/news_releases/rel15.htm

Ian
 

·
Moderator & Sponsor
Joined
·
358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just heard back from my friend - apparently the 'PIN' is a bar code stuck to the owners manual - I haven't checked to see if mine is there yet though..:rolleyes:

Sounds suspiciously simple after all the 'techie' replies above! ;);)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
My dealership was looking for this barcode yesterday, they couldn't find it on the manual (which I had left with the car) and I don't have it at home with my spares or other documents, so they're contacting the manufacturer.

I'm curious though - what is it used for? I would have assumed they needed it to reprogramme the key if they change the ECU, but my ECU has already been changed once and to the best of my knowledge my keys have not been reprogrammed. (I'm certain the spare and master haven't because they've not moved since day 1).
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top