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Key Fob Issues

Discussion in 'Model S: User Interface' started by wilheldp, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. wilheldp

    wilheldp Member

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    I have had my Tesla for about a month now, and for at least the last 2 weeks, I have had detection issues with the key fob. When I first got the car, the door handles would extend when I got within about 10 feet of the car. Now, I have to be within a foot of the driver door, and sometimes still have to take the fob out of my pocket. Also, I have had the "Key fob not detected. You will not be able to re-start the car" message pop up on the dash display randomly about 7 or 8 times over the last couple weeks.

    I thought that the issue might have been caused by interference between the Blackvue WiFi signal and my phone trying to sync up when I got within connection distance of the car, so I disabled the WiFi on the Blackvue. This didn't solve the issue. I also don't keep the fob and my phone in the same pocket, so it shouldn't be a proximity to phone issue either. I have seen the "fob not detected" message after I turned off Blackvue WiFi (in fact, it was the drive immediately after I disabled WiFi).

    I thought it might be a weak battery signal, although that would be odd with it only being a month old. But I though maybe working on the dash cam and replacement lighting, and washing the car twice could have caused the fob to communicate more than it normally would. But I went to a store today and bought a brand new CR2032 battery, installed it while still in the store, and had the same issue when I walked up to the car in the parking lot.

    Is there anything else I am missing? Could the Blackvue still be sending some sort of signal that would interfere with the fob? Is Bluetooth connecting between my phone and car causing some kind of interference? Has anybody else had this experience? With a refreshed 2016 S? Did you fix it? How?

    It's not a deal-breaker problem since the car eventually recognizes the fob, but it is annoying and sometimes embarrassing when you tell somebody about the door handles extending when you walk up to the car...then it not happening until you fiddle with the fob for a while.
     
  2. Lex

    Lex Member

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    Ahh the "demo gods" love to rear their heads at the wrong time.

    My Model S behaves in a similar manner as you described, and I have learned to get ready to wiggle my pocket contents when the car doesn't detect me. And of course it seems to work great when I don't want it to eg. when washing the car :D causing door handle service anxiety.
     
  3. ElectricSpeed

    ElectricSpeed Member

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    Do you have anything else in the same pocket as the key fob? I use a moneyclip/wallet made of aluminum that is in the same pocket and seems to limit the range of the key fob somewhat.
     
  4. Don85D

    Don85D Member

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    I would suspect the 12V battery in the car to be weak. If it's only one fob that is failing then forget this idea.

    With our BMW we were told to hold the fob under our nose when pushing the door unlock button. It was their way of saying that height was important for the signal to be detected. It may be the same for a Tesla.

    For our Model S when I pass in front of the car each morning on the way to the charging cable port it always detects my key fob in my pocket. The antenna for the locking system is in the side mirrors according to a Service Centre rep and if the fob is not being detected in the car place it in a cupholder. All of this points to a weak 12V battery in my opinion.
     
  5. Shuasha

    Shuasha Member

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    New product idea.. key fob hat/hair clips!
     
  6. wilheldp

    wilheldp Member

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    The only thing in the same pocket as the fob are my keys (3 standard keys on the ring that came with the fob). My phone is in the opposite pocket, and my wallet is in the opposite rear pocket. There shouldn't be any interference with what I am carrying. I don't have the other fob (gave it to my parents in case I ever need them to move my car for me), but I can get it from them and try it. I guess that would tell me if it a fob issue or a car/sensor issue.

    Would it be common to have a 12V battery issue on a refreshed Model S after only a month? If so, that would be disheartening.
     
  7. Mknac

    Mknac Member

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    Had my Model S and have the same issue.
     
  8. Mknac

    Mknac Member

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    Had my MS for a week and have the same issue.
     
  9. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    I find my work proximity card interferes the most with the fob. If they're on the same side of me the walkup present feature is a no-go, every time.

    And also gives me a key not detected message sometimes if fob is in left pocket when prox card is in right pocket. Fob likes right pocket, closer to antenna in center armrest.
     
  10. rfmurphy81

    rfmurphy81 Member

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    Ditto. Watch out for any RFID/proxy cards as they seem to prevent the key fob from being recognized consistently.
     
  11. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    RFID proximity cards literally suck power from the fob when they are close to one another.
     
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  12. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    Is that also true of the RFID in your phone?
     
  13. scottm

    scottm Active Member

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    #13 scottm, Aug 30, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2016
    Not so much for phones, because they power the RF from the phone battery and the RF is switched on / off under control of apps or OS.

    Any "tap to pay" cards also have a large loop antenna in them that collect power over the air for the chip in the card to function. All these proximity and credit cards are "always on" looking to collect power from any source they can find nearby.

    Bottom line: keep fob in a pocket to itself, and it should be your right pocket (for LHD cars).

    ..see other posts about keeping keys away from the vicinity of the car when not in use.

    With these two basic habits all your walk-up-to-present-handle tries should be good.
     
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  14. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    So that means all of your credit and debit cards, at least for those of us outside of the US that have had tap functionality for many years.
     
  15. wilheldp

    wilheldp Member

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    These are good tips, but they still don't explain my issues. I don't have an RFID card or any tap-type credit cards in my wallet. Even if I did, my wallet is in my right rear pocket with my key fob in the front left pocket. The only thing I can think of interfering would be Bluetooth, WiFi or LTE on my phone (in the front right pocket) somehow interfering with the key fob signal. I still haven't made it to my parent's house to try out the other fob yet. It may just be a weak/defective fob.
     
  16. ediot

    ediot Member

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    actually this hasn't as much to do with height as signal strength. by putting the remote under your nose, you're effectively using the inside of your skull as a 'satelite dish' to amplify the signal, and focusing it towards the car. The same technique can be used with remote garage doors etc.

    very easy way to test this if you have a garage/ car. stand on an empty street facing your garage door/ car, and press the remote. if it works, it's receiving enough signal strength. now keep facing your car and walking backwards and keep pressing on your remote, until you're far enough away that the car/garage stops responding. now take ANOTHER five steps backwards, and try the remote under your nose.

    i've done this (must've looked like an idiot but that's me everyday anyway) to get garage doors etc to open earlier. and no, there is no known adverse effect on your brain/ body, unlike wifi and microwave signals.
     
  17. wilheldp

    wilheldp Member

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    I just saw this article on Electrek... Tesla starts shipping new key fob with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

    Apparently the new key fob uses Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate with the car. Since my phone is using also Bluetooth to communicate with the car, perhaps there is some cross-talk or interference that is preventing the fob from working properly. I have noticed that when I go into my garage to put something in the car without my phone on me, there doesn't seem to be any problem with the car recognizing the fob from across the room. When I leave for work in the morning with my phone in my pocket, I have to get really close to the car before I can remove the charging cable.

    If this is the case, it seems like a real problem since the design of the Infotainment system encourages you to pair your phone with the car (for use of the phone, calendar, and parts of the music apps in the car). If the phone-car communications is interfering with the key fob-car communication, something needs to be done to fix it.
     
  18. 335eye

    335eye Member

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    KF Radio frequency on remote obstructs with you phone, keep them apart... said Tesla Tech Support to me today.
     
  19. wilheldp

    wilheldp Member

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    Any word on how far apart? They are already in opposite pockets in my pants, and I'm a fairly wide person.
     
  20. 335eye

    335eye Member

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    Hmm, don't know.
     

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