I've got the typical minivan keyless entry keychain fob but it's got a
serious design problem.
The buttons depress too easily and often accidentally when the fob is pushed
into a pocket or a purse. It's happened more than once, so it's time to do
something about it.
The real estate inside the fob is very cramped. It runs off a CR2032 coin
cell battery, and the circuit traces are simple enough so that I could
scrape off the 3VDC+ line and bridge it with a small switch. That way, I
could just put in a tiny pushbutton that had to be depressed as well as the
desired command button each time a command was sent. That approach makes it
a two-handed operation, whereas a slide type ON/OFF switch could still be
worked with one hand.
The problem is that I don't see any space in the fob for the kinds of
switches I am used to. The ideal solution, of course, would be for the
manufacturer to put something that's found even on most throwaway $10 MP3
players - a hold button that locks out the buttons when so desired. You'd
think with what they charge for a replacement fob they'd include something
I *might* be able to work a small slide or lever switch inside the fob, but
it's tight. In the interim, I made a clamshell type case made of hard clear
plastic bubble packing material and one of those retracting string keychain
things so I can slide it out to activate it and then let the rewinding
mechanism withdraw it. So far, the hard plastic sheath has reduced the
accidental openings, but it's butt ugly, ungainly and not a very good
solution. Plus, it came unglued more than once. There's a lot of
interesting stresses in pockets and pocketbooks. Ideas, anyone?
Thanks in advance!
I don't wanna be a dead fob. Sounds awful. (0:
The problem is that it's a weird, rounded teardrop shaped thing and only a
hard case will keep the buttons from getting accidentally depressed. I
managed to find some of the very hard clear plastic bubble packaging that
had close to a similar shape, but it was still much larger than the keyfob
I have a good friend that's a soldering pro and who used to build custom
devices for NASA that I could ask to do the soldering. He's tackled worse
for me before, soldering tiny SMD devices and repairing tiny pushbuttons.
I'd really like a solution other than a case. I tried that for a while.
The biggest problem, other than the added bulk, is that a case requires two
hands to operate, and might be very hard to do with gloves on. I already
dropped the keys into deep snow fiddling with the case once this year.
That's just one of the many reasons I don't like the case approach.
I think there's enough room if I find the right switch. I've taken some
photos. The circuit board is very sparse, consisting of traces going to the
switch, a single IC, and the power source.
Thanks for your input, Tony.
And we have a winner! I got 1 huge ungainly combined key and fob with my
used 05 mopar van. Stopped at locksmith on way home, and got 2
chip-but-no-button keys to use instead. Only downside is, only doors
with keyholes are driver door and hatch.
If it was new, I might, but it's 8 years old and I believe that there's a
cheaper, easier, simpler way around the problem, even if it does come down
to putting it in a hard shell case of some sort. There seems to be enough
space to put a micro-pushbutton on the fob. I am just not sure that one
button will serve all 7 fob buttons.
I may also be able to rewire the panic button, which we never use, to serve
as the second pushbutton. My preliminary scan of the circuit board wasn't
very encouraging, though. There are a lot of tiny traces around the panic
You say its too old after only 8 years?
I put a remote door/ trunk opener with starter into a 15 year old
mustang. It was the best thing I ever added to it. Unfortunately last
year (at 19 years old) it was t-boned and written off (too bad for me it
did not have side air bags - my replacement does).
My new car will re-lock the doors if the unlock button is pressed but a
door (or the lift gate) is not opened within 30 seconds.
Are those power doors or manual ones? Both my side door and my hatch are
powered and open all the way by themselves when a button is pressed.
My van is a "conversion" done by a company that works with Chrylser and gets
the vehicles in a semi-stripped state so they don't have to remove stock
items to do the conversion:
Pressing the key fob slides open the right side door, lowers the van about
six inches and then deploys the ramp. You'd think you'd hear that racket
walking away from the van when you've accidentally activated the system, but
it's really very silent. The only exception is when the van has not been
used for a while and the suspension binds just enough to make a loud bang
when the van begins kneeling.
It's a great system, but it's got its flaws. Number one is that you need
almost a full car width worth of space to deploy it and maneuver the
powerchair off the ramp. I can't tell you the number of times I've come
back to find the side completely blocked off.
I'd love to hear suggestions about how to keep the space next to me
unoccupied. I used to keep a traffic cone in the van, but it got stolen the
third time out. The second time out, someone just moved it aside.
The other problem is manuevering out of the powerchair and into the driver's
seat. It would be a lot better if there was no driver's seat and you could
maneuver the chair directly in front of the steering wheel. I know such
conversions exist - maybe on the next van.
I've gotten into arguments with people that park in the striped off spaces
next to the handicap space. Some people refuse to believe that space is
striped off to keep you from parking there. "The wheelchair is painted on
the other space. This one isn't being used and I need it."
I often park at an angle, covering part of the striped off space (or
another adjacent space if there are no van accessible spaces available).
That way, there's still room for the ramp and the chair, but not for
There are advantages to having a driver seat since you're able to do the
transfer. The biggest one is that someone else can drive, if needed. While
it may be your vehicle and no one else needs to drive most of the time,
there are emergency situations where just having that ability to
accommodate another driver is nice.
That said, I'm actually very interested in driver side power chair lock
down systems right now. The problem we've run into is that the ones I know
of (EZ Lock and Permalock) require a special chair and/or a modification to
the chair. In the case of the EZ Lock, the mod is a non-retractable pin
that reduces ground clearance. A lot of people talk about getting hung up
on threshholds, stones, broken sidewalks, etc. The Permalock is only
available for Permobil chairs. I'm open to suggestions on this one. (I'm
also open to a more appropriate place to ask this. I'm not looking to
hijack a thread. But the OP brought up the topic.)
Larry Moss, http://www.airigami.com
PO Box 23523, Rochester, NY 14692, (585) 359-8695
When that happens to me I think back to a very old, original Outer Limits
where scientists fake a creature from space (the recently departed Robert
Culp). I remember, as a kid, being very impressed by the special effects.
He points his ray gun at a station wagon and a moment later, there's nothing
but a burning outline of the car left on the ground. One time, I blocked an
illegal HC parker (a doctor's Mercedes, no less!) until the police arrived
and the result was they let HIM go and tried to give me a ticket until I
told them my sister was the county ADA. That shut them down *quick.* As an
aside, I believe the cops where I live have learned that harassing people
who call them lowers their workload because they know they'll never call
them again. But I digress.
That's a good idea. Angle parking would allow more maneuvering room with
the ramp, too, even if no one parked in the shaded zones. II'm a little
fearful of doing that because some parking lot vigilante might take
exception to the disorderly look of a diagonally parked car and key me.
Most of the times, (ironically) I just go to the far end of the parking lot
and look for a space where I won't be easily blocked off. Since I'm in the
powerchair, being parked far away is not so much of an issue except for the
way some people zoom around in parking lots to get the closest space. The
more distance you have to cover in a parking lot means the more you have to
worry about some yahoo slamming into you. They hardly see the huge van, let
alone me in the tiny powerchair. Still, it's better than having to pull the
van out into the open lanes to effect the transfer, which I've been forced
to do when some bozo parks in the lined space between the HC spots.
This thread has reminded me to install the two xenon flashers I got from
Allelectronics on long fiberglass rods so that the powerchair is easily
visible to motorists as I scoot through the parking lot. If I had the room,
I'd install some truck-sized air horns, too. Especially for the families in
the mall who walk 6 abreast at about 2 mph, stopping suddenly whenever
something shiny catches their eyes forcing me to stop precipitously while
they stand there like statues in the middle of the walkway.
Sadly, I am all too well-aware of the tradeoffs. But now that both knees
have totally "blown out" the transfer problem has become a real issue.
Moving from powerchair to driver's chair requires contortions that I am less
and less able to accomplish. I may have to pull the driver's seat and have
the EZ-lock moved from the van center to the driver's slot.
I have, but do not use, the EZ-lock for that reason as well as others. The
last thing I need is more problems. Just recently, the chair has locked its
brakes when going over something that has a different surface. I was coming
out of the hospital, and the flying bridge to the parking lot has a metal
expansion joint about six inches wide. When the chair's wheels come off the
concrete walk and onto the smoother metal, the brakes apply. It nearly
threw me out of the chair when it first happened. It's really a problem
when it's rainy and some surfaces become exceptionally slick.
As for a proper group to post this is, I only found one wheelchair support
group on Usenet, but it has very few posts. I'll crosspost there just in
case it's just slow and not abandoned.
(I re-activated the cross-post to AHR because a) the people there have a
very wide range of experience on a lot of matters and b) are mostly adults
that don't go ballistic when a thread is not directly on topic, especially
if they can contribute something to the thread that's useful. Since most
ISP's have dropped Usenet, the volume of posts have lowered enough that
people don't seem to mind OT as much as they used to. In fact, CHA has gone
so moribund that I often wonder who's left to post!)
Crossposted: comp.home.automation,alt.home.repair, alt.support.wheelchairs
Robert, I think I have just the solution for you. Motorcycle shops
sell an extremely loud air horn that's about the size of a big man's
closed fist. If you're interested, I'll call the local shop and get you
the make and model. They cost about $50. I put one on my Suzuki
and it's *very* loud and very effective.
For me it's usually two calls. One to the cops and one to the press. At
least, I always suggest on my first call that I'll make the second. I've
had wonderful luck with the media supporting me when we've had problems. I
also do better when I get the managers of stores, hotels and restaurants to
call the cops. A local business complaining about a disruption frequently
gets further than an individual with a complaint. If nothing else, it lets
the cops know that there are multiple people involved and that makes it
more significant to them.
Thankfully, that hasn't happened to me yet.
I do that all the time. I also have the luxury of being able to drop off my
wife and then park since I'm not the one in the chair. This gets us around
the people parking us in most of the time too since I can move the van. But
we're hoping that she'll start driving soon. She's in a driver training
program now and we're experimenting with equipment. We treat it like it's
her driving all the time in order to work out all of this stuff for when
link? I can't find it. I've put reflective tape all over the chair.
Flashers might come in handy some time. She just got a new chair and I
haven't taped up the new one.
It doesn't take a lot of searching to find people complaining about EZ
Lock, so why isn't there something better out there yet? The Permalock
doesn't seem like the ideal solution either (even if you have a Permobil
chair) from what I've read. I'm not suggesting it's an easy problem to
solve. And I don't have a solution. It's just frustrating.
One thing we've talked about is putting the EZ lock on the old chair. Then
she can use the better chair most of the time and only worry about the old
one when she needs to drive. She'd do the transfer in the house where it
would be much easier.
Larry Moss, http://www.airigami.com
PO Box 23523, Rochester, NY 14692, (585) 359-8695
In some rich suburb, maybe. Anyplace else, no matter what they say on
the phone, it is not likely to be treated as a high-priority call. OP
may wait hours, if they respond at all. About the only suggestion I can
offer is to ask someone else to hop in and move the van, but that
requires a whole lot of trust and dependence on the kindness of strangers.
Some places, they are putting the ramp-van slots in places where another
vehicle can't block the ramp landing zone, or walling the landing zone
off with those yellow post thingies, and zebra-striping the area.
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