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The DIY $10 Prepaid Cellphone Remote Car Starter

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the now-that's-a-hack dept.

Hardware Hacking 454

An anonymous reader writes "Wish you could start your car via your cell phone, but don't feel like ponying up the $40k for a Chevrolet Volt or $499 (plus $29 a year) for an aftermarket system from Viper? This hack relies on a cheap prepaid cellphone that has had its vibration motor surgically removed, replaced by a couple of leads triggering the car's starter. Whenever the phone receives a call it starts up the car — a somewhat dodgy proposition if a telemarketer ever gets hold of your number, but an interesting solution nonetheless. Total cost of the project: $71.03."

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454 comments

Telemarketer solution (3, Informative)

janek78 (861508) | more than 4 years ago | (#30889996)

On many phones you can group contacts and assign different ringing profiles. You could just program in allowed numbers and set all other calls to "silent".

I personally leave my car in gear (with the reverse locked in if I leave it for extended periods of time), so this would not be very practical. :)

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

mother_reincarnated (1099781) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890048)

Remote starters are generally limited to automatic style transmissions...

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890152)

Why would you want this?

I don't own a car, am I missing something obvious?

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890206)

Because in any place that has a winter, it's a lot nicer to get into a warm car that's ready to drive instead of waiting for the engine, and you, to warm up. And no, it doesn't contribute to global warming/wasteful, because the car is going to idle the same amount of time regardless of you being there or not.

Either you live where the sun shines all the time and it never gets below freezing, or you're a snow bunny.

--
BMO

Re: Idling is bad for the engine (3, Insightful)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890348)

According to Consumer Reports AND The Tappet Brothers (Tom and Ray Magliozzi) it's bad for the engine to "warm up" your car by letting it run idle in park. It's also a waste of time and gasoline.

Re: Foggy windshields are bad for the driver (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890610)

According to me it is bad to drive with near zero visibility due to condensation or frost on the interior of the windshield. My life trumps the life of the engine.

Anyways a bock heater or garage is the way to go, at least if parked at home.

Re: Idling is bad for the engine (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890618)

Ever start your car in temperatures below -40? And that's not counting wind chill. Your engine will not like it if you jump in, start and go with zero warm up time. That being said, 30 seconds to 2 minutes is all the time needed to get the juices flowing.

Re: Idling is bad for the engine (4, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890630)

I agree. I just scrape the ice off and drive off right away. Of course, then my windscreen fogs up on the inside due to chilling from the airflow over it, but fuck you or your kids if you happen to walk in front of me: better you die than I "waste time or gasoline", right?

Re: Idling is bad for the engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890702)

Then your car is a piece of shit.

I live in an area that people like you would curl up and die after seeing the snowfall we get overnight in a typical storm (3 feet overnight is not uncommon) I brush it off, get in and in the 2 minutes it takes me to get my ipod docked and playing what I want the windshield is clear (no hot air yet but warm enough to keep it fog free)

Why do you people buy shit-tastic cars in colder climates? buy a fricking car that can handle cold weather. like a Dodge caravan, Chevy Aveo, or other car with a real heater and defroster system. my wifes Outback clears it even faster.

Re: Idling is bad for the engine (2, Insightful)

aitikin (909209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890850)

See how your Aveo, Caravan, and Outback handle it when it's a 17 year old car. I know my heater doesn't warm up that quickly.

Re: Idling is bad for the engine (1)

Daley_G (1592515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890720)

...it's bad for the engine to "warm up" your car by letting it run idle in park. It's also a waste of time and gasoline.

Agreed, but it's the lesser of all evils. A *cold* car (and I'm referring to anything north of the Mason-Dixon) is better off getting a chance to circulate oil and "warm up" vs. getting in and putting the strain of moving the vehicle on cold, non-circulated oil. It's even worse if you get in and rev the engine to warm it up. Sure, there's an ecological argument here, but there again, studies have shown that the vehicle emits less pollution if allowed to gradually warm up before a load is applied vs. applying that same load to a cold (again, *cold*) engine. Do I have statistics, articles and data? Nope - I grew up where it gets above 90* for about three weeks out of the year

Re: Idling is bad for the engine (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890744)

It's definitely a waste to let it sit there for long periods of time. At -40 my experience is that it can be useful for the engine itself to give it a couple minutes...with many vehicles you can hear when it's ready to drive--the note of the engine changes slightly.

I then warm up the rest of the car by driving very sedately for quite a while until the transmission and suspension stop feeling so stiff.

Re: Idling is bad for the engine (4, Insightful)

EatHam (597465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890802)

According to Consumer Reports AND The Tappet Brothers (Tom and Ray Magliozzi) it's bad for the engine to "warm up" your car by letting it run idle in park. It's also a waste of time and gasoline.

Those guys can eat my ass if they think I'm driving around in a cold car I can't see out of. They are also welcome to scrape my windshield for me.

Re: Idling is bad for the engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890866)

Which is why, in cold climates, you connect the remote to your parking heater instead of your engine. That's even recommended by ADAC.

Re:Telemarketer solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890390)

I live in a cold climate and I use a block heater [wikipedia.org] that is connected to an interior heater. On a typical winter day of -20 degrees Celsius, it's good practice to put the block heater on at least an hour before the trip. I suppose a remote control could be useful, but for a typical morning commute all you need is a cheap timer for the electrical connection.

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890536)

I was going to do this but realized it solved exactly half my problem. What do you do about the evening commute back home?

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890750)

Generally block heaters are used on Diesel engines which aren't that popular in the US. I don't see a switch to Diesel happening here any time soon either as Diesel fuel here more than expensive enough here to offset it's efficiency gain over gasoline. Maybe block heaters could be used on Gasoline engines? I'm not sure if the blocks have the necessary holes for adding the heater. It's an interesting idea. House owners could do this before work. Most apartment complexes don't have power outlets near where the cars are parked though. Even if they do it's probably meant to be used for grounds maintenance tools, not for warming resident's cars. This still leaves the drive home. Where Diesel engines are more popular do employers provide power outlets in the parking lots for employees to warm their engine blocks? This is definitely not the norm here.

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890646)

I live where it gets plenty cold, and I have one thing to say:

People are just wussies.

No, it's NOT going to sit and idle the same amount of time. When I start my car up, it idles for about 10 seconds; that's how much time it takes to circulate the oil. By then I've scraped the car already on the outside. The inside won't fog up if you put the defroster on medium or high to keep moist air away from it, and crack the rear windows a bit.

I actually ride a bike to work most days (regardless of temp, I've ridden at -25*F so far) but when I drive, I scrape the ice and snow off, get in, start it up, and I'm rolling in 15 seconds.

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890226)

In colder climates you could start the car to warm it up before you venture outside or you could possibly have the AC running in hotter climates.

Re:Telemarketer solution (0, Offtopic)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890230)

Why would you want this?

I've never understood it, but it seems that the majority of North American car owners do seem to prefer automatic transmissions.

In fact many of them are willing to pay _extra_ for the joy of replacing the far more efficient manual transmission which the rest of the world enjoys.

Maybe they're just all nuts.

Re:Telemarketer solution (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890332)

There is this strange theory, widely accepted in certain circles, that using machines to handle mundane, tedious, or otherwise undesirable tasks is a good thing. Having a machine handle transmission shifting seems to fall into the same vein as having a machine handle most of my floating point math.

If you happen to enjoy twiddling a transmission, more power to you, we all need hobbies to fill the void between birth and death; but for those of us who don't care, labor saving devices are progress.

Re:Telemarketer solution (3, Informative)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890482)

There are some tasks that machines are bad at; gear selection in an automobile is one of them. Automatic transmissions cannot predict when you are approaching a curve, or a hill, or other vehicles. Gear selection needs to be based on what you are about to do, not what you just did.

Note that all race cars use manual transmissions, as does any decent sports car, for just these reasons.

Automatic transmissions are also mechanically inefficient. Cars with a manual gearbox generally get 1 or 2 more miles per gallon; it is strange how many people want an efficient car, yet they elect to pay extra for the automatic option.

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890578)

They want an efficient car, but they still don't want to waste their time shifting. They give up on efficiency so that they can skip on a boring task.

Re:Telemarketer solution (3, Informative)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890690)

I prefer manual transmissions myself, but automatic transmissions these days are not all that bad. You give up maybe 1 MPG usually, and even then it depends on if your A/C is on. With the A/C on a car with automatic may actually be a little more efficient, because it's programmed to cut the A/C off during heavy acceleration. This is especially helpful in city driving.

Re:Telemarketer solution (3, Informative)

karnal (22275) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890868)

Manuals will cut the AC off under heavy load as well. Had two Chevy vehicles that you could tell would kick the AC off under load or high RPMs and they were both stick.

Re:Telemarketer solution (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890842)

Um no, not unless you are looking at racing from 10 years ago or longer. Automatic transmissions DOMINATE drag racing right now. you get spooky consistant ET's running an Auto, plus you can get Auto transmission that handle far more HP than manuals.

Also some of the more recent rallies in europe are being won with automatics in the car.

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890334)

Manual transmissions are a pain in the rear -- or the ankle and foot, actually -- when you have to drive in bumper-to-bumper city traffic. Automatic transmission is much nicer in those cases.

Re:Telemarketer solution (4, Insightful)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890358)

CVTs (which are automatic) are more efficient than manual transmissions. I recently bought a 2010 Subaru Outback and the mileage numbers are a couple MPG better w/ the CVT than the 6-speed manual.

North American car owners prefer automatics because you can't eat a cheeseburger and talk on the phone while applying makeup & reading the newspaper if you're driving stick.

Re:Telemarketer solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890644)

yes you can. you're just uncoordinated.

Re:Telemarketer solution (2, Funny)

BattleApple (956701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890666)

North American car owners prefer automatics because you can't eat a cheeseburger and talk on the phone while applying makeup & reading the newspaper if you're driving stick.

pffff.. I'm doing all that *and* posting on slashdot while driving a stick

The joy of Los Angeles "driving" (4, Interesting)

spineboy (22918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890380)

You should come and experience the stop and go "driving", that constitutes Los Angeles. I dearly love manuals, and have often thought of switching to automatic. I have a performance type car, and replacing a worn clutch disc after 35k miles was not pleasant. And Yes I do know how to drive, and have taken two other manuals over 100k w/o wearing the clutch, until I came to LA. The dealer said I was doing averag in clutch wear for these cars, here in LA.
So an automatic would be cheaper in heavy stop and go commutes

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

andymadigan (792996) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890410)

Automatic transmissions (even the non-CVTs) have gotten a lot better recently. If you look at the numbers the difference in MPG is very small.

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890768)

Lots of the inefficient automatics are fairly good at efficiency. even my old th125 transmission in my 1986 Fiero will do a TCC lockup after 35mph to eliminate the losses in the transmission.

efficiency is low when it's not locked, but 90% of the time when the car is moving it is. newer 6 speed automatics are even more efficient. I saw one that was getting better fuel economy than a 5 speed stick. the car can decide shift points better than a person can.

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890258)

People who live in cold climates (especially those with a car with a few miles on it) who frequently park outside like them.

You really shouldn't drive away until your car has had some time to warm up and reach a stable idle. Your car is also really cold so you don't want to sit in it for a couple of minutes while the engine warms up when the heater core also has to warm up. Hit the remote start button while you are putting your coat on and your car is ready to go when you get there. Also a lot of people used to install remote start systems in cars because it went hand in hand with remote locks on cars that were too old to have them originally.

You can do it in a manual car as well, it just won't work if you park in gear...so you probably wouldn't want to use it on a hill. Some of the systems also have more advanced features like a turbo timer that works on shutoff--something to do with it being better for a high boost turbocharger to run at idle for a bit before stopping completely so the car runs for 60 seconds after you actually take the key out and leave.

CD tray opener (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890338)

It is as useful as the CD tray opener on your CD remote control. You still have to go to the device to put a CD in. In the car analogy, you will still have to go to the car to drive it.

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890512)

When it's 0 degrees outside and you want to get in a warm car, it comes in handy...

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890714)

I hate scraping cars off. If it's that cold out I ride my bike instead (yes, I'm serious).

Re:Telemarketer solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890066)

I've had telemarketer calls spoofed from same number (though if anything the telco should autoblock something as obviously false

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

zoloto (586738) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890070)

I did this with my first gen iPhone jailbroken and unlocked using t-mobile and using iBlacklist, essentially allowing only my number to dial in and make a noise/vibration. It's an amazing little hack.

Re:Telemarketer solution (1)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890144)

I grew up on a mountain, so parking in gear against the slope is 2nd nature.

Surely this isn't a new hack. Someone must have done this a long time ago. When I can ring my car to come and pick me up from the front door, THEN I'll seriously be impressed...

Re:Telemarketer solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890696)

Telemarketers or not, I get on average at least one call per moth from somebody who dialed my number by mistake. It would be very annoying, to say the least, to come my car after work and discover that it has been idling for eight hours, and possibly ran out of fuel. Especially if it is parked in a small garage.

That is to say, just letting the car start on any call is stupid and dangerous, at the very least the silent profile trick should be used. Some more advanced phones, like my WM device, let you blacklist or whitelist the numbers as you choose, which is probably a good idea as well.

My (used) car came with a Webasto remote heater which is pretty neat as it means the engine doesn't have to idle pointlessly, but if were'e looking at some serious ghetto solutions, this isn't such a bad one.
-mobby_6kl

Doomed from the start (1)

Quietust (205670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890010)

a somewhat dodgy proposition if a telemarketer ever gets hold of your number

That alone is enough to doom this project from the start - telemarketers are relentless, and they will get your phone number even if you haven't given it to anyone. Hell, you could also get trouble from people dialing wrong numbers, or from people miswriting/mistyping their phone number when giving it to somebody else (I get a phone call in Spanish every so often, and at one point they confirmed that they had indeed dialed my number correctly).

Re:Doomed from the start (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890546)

telemarketers are relentless, and they will get your phone number

I've never seen a phone (at least since the analog cell phone era) that you coudn't program to ring differently with different numbers. Set it to "vibrate only" from your other cell phone and you're good to go; telemarketers can call all they want, and all that will happen is they waste their time. The call won't even cost you minutes, since it won't be answered.

Re:Doomed from the start (1)

Quietust (205670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890680)

Naturally, I realized that immediately after I posted my comment and saw janek78's comment right above my own.

Better not park it where I live... (1)

ResistanceIsIrritati (808817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890050)

...or you'll need a tow into a reception area to get going again.

Re:Better not park it where I live... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890228)

It's a REMOTE car starter, dufus. You can still start your car with a key.

But can it make me a sammich? (5, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890060)

Wish you could start your car via your cell phone

No, not even remotely.

Heh heh... remotely...

Simpler solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890062)

Presumably, you would only want to remote-start your car if you were near it. A microcontroller and a short-range control solution (say, the transmitter and receiver from a cheap mini RC car) would do the trick. For security, you could add a microcontroller on each side to send and receive a specific pulse sequence that changed in a pseudorandom manner. The total cost would be about the same, or less.

For true remote control using the phone, connect the phone's speaker to an ADC on the microcontroller, and have it listen for specific tones.

A thought occurrs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890080)

What if the car is running and someone calls?

Goodbye starter motor?

So long as it only turns the car on... (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890094)

I can just see the first time you bump the speed dial on your cellphone while going down the freeway if this thing turns the car off as well as on...

Phone cost (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890096)

Unfortunately, an AT&T Go Phone costs minimum $100/year. Net10 appears to cost $200/year. Virgin Mobile costs $80, and TracFone costs $100. So it isn't cheaper per year.

Re:Phone cost (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890302)

i don't think tmobile has a minimum

Re:Phone cost (2, Informative)

Pretzalzz (577309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890736)

T-mobile's minimum is $40 a year[$10 every 90 days], or $100 for the first year and then $10 for subsequent years.

Not true: T-mo is $10/year (1)

moosehooey (953907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890402)

With T-mobile, you have to put on $100 at the start, but as long as you add some time once per year (minimum of $10) you keep all your minutes.

Re:Phone cost (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890628)

Your numbers are WAY off for Net10 and TracFone. TracFone's minutes are three times what Net10's are; I've used both. Net10 would be a good bet; you would only need to buy minutes if your card ran out, which iirc is about once a year. So you're talking thirty bucks a year -- you don't spend minutes if the phone isn't answered, and it wouldn't need to answer to start the car.

Are Americans really this lazy? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890104)

I'm not trying to joke around here. Are Americans truly so lazy these days that they can't take a minute to start their car using a key?

Aside from Alaska, New England and some of the midwest states in the north, the winters are never bad enough to need to run your vehicle briefly before driving.

There's just no reason (aside from being a "patriotic" American and wasting huge amounts of Middle Eastern oil) for an American to start their car when they are not in it and ready to drive somewhere.

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890156)

So what you're saying is that aside from where about 40% of Americans live, winters are never bad enough to need to run your vehicle before driving. Sorry bud, for those of us stuck in the cold shite in the northeast, remote start is a nice feature.

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (1)

haderytn (1232484) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890176)

It is frugality stupid.

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890288)

The reason Americans like remote starters is to get the car's heating or air conditioning to start working before they actually get in the car, due to the fact that most "tough" Americans are actually f**king hothouse flowers with one-degree comfort zones.

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (3, Insightful)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890368)

Can't speak for other people, but I warm up my car so that the engine is running smoothly before I head out into the 10-degree winter weather up here in the northern U.S. It's for the engine's sake, not mine.

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (4, Informative)

rnelsonee (98732) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890526)

In modern cars, I keep hearing that warming up your car isn't needed, and can actually be bad for it [motherearthnews.com] . Note it still recommends 30-60s to let the fluids warm up, which makes sense.

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (1)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890594)

Thanks for the link. I had always heard five minutes (which is what I do).

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (1)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890654)

Yeah, I always wait just long enough for the RPMs to settle to normal during cold (less than 20 degress F) before I go. I figure that means everything is warmed up enough to circulate normally...

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (1)

marc_gerges (561641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890650)

It ain't really necessary unless you go to seriously deep temperature. If your usage profile includes -12 C (conversion for those of us having no clue about Fahrenheits), proper oil with the right viscosity will be 'there' within half a minute, tops. From then on, light load is way better to heat up the engine than letting it idle for an eternity. It's quite some air pollution, too.

Now, if you're going -30 or so on a semi-regular basis, I'd suggest a block heater or a propper fuel based heating system. Those will actually prewarm the engine.

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890556)

The only time I would have seen a use for it was when the temp got under -20 degrees F back home. It is nice to warm up the car when the wife is riding along. :-)

(That's roughly -28C or lower for the Celsius users out there...)

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (1)

navygeek (1044768) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890648)

Yeah it couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that it's better for the car itself to warm up before driving, right?

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890670)

I should also add that starting the car early helps to heat up the windshield and other windows, making it quite a bit easier to scrape the car after an ice storm by partially melting the ice on the windows.

In other words, there are sometimes practical occasions to prestart the car, not just reasons based on comfort.

Re:Are Americans really this lazy? (1)

newdsfornerds (899401) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890474)

Right on. Yes, they really are that lazy and ignorant.
http://action.publicbroadcasting.net/cartalk/posts/list/669811.page [publicbroadcasting.net] Also, you gunk up your catalytic converter while idling which creates back pressure on the exhaust system. Cat converters are not cheap to replace.

More than that... (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890158)

I'd prefer my phone to be able to open my garage door. It should be a cinch, as it's all radio signals (I know, different frequencies, but hey! what about the universal radio chips that were supposed to be controlled by software?), but nope, if I forget my remote, I cannot use my phone.

Re:More than that... (1)

laederkeps (976361) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890606)

You could perform this exact hack for your purposes by coupling your usual remote with a cheap cellphone and then leaving the bundle in the garage. Call the cell phone, it "pushes" your garage door opener's button and opens the door.
It can also be done with/to a computer, TV, bath tub, golf ball washer, etc.

Re:More than that... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890832)

How old is your car? Mine's an '02 and it has not one but three door openers built in. If yours doesn't it would be far easier to rig a phone to open your garage; just hook a relay to the button inside the garage and to the opening phone's vibrator (you'd probably need a diode or four too). It would be far cheaper than a remote car starter, maybe five bucks worth of parts, plus the phone and minutes.

As a starting point... (1)

berryjw (1071694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890182)

This could get far more interesting if you coupled the phone to, say, a laptop, or a headless mini, and integrated that into the auto systems. Then, you could call in, use a username/password, and have remarkable control over the vehicle - disable as well as start, for one. Interesting possibilities...

Re:As a starting point... (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890740)

This increases data channel costs, though. The original plan is for a binary system, while you're going digital.

"I just want my phone call..." (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890192)

In Dark Knight, The Joker made good use of some variants of this idea. I'm sure the DHS will be very excited about a bunch of people buying pre-pad phones just to 'wire up yer car.'&sarc;

Re:"I just want my phone call..." (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890366)

Given that cheap cell phones are already established as the IED remote control of choice, I suspect that they already are.

Use of cell jammers in combat situations is already commonplace.

Meh. This is basically an adaptation (3, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890208)

of your standard cell phone triggered terrorist bomb. Nothing new here.

Security? (1)

MacroSlopp (1662147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890214)

What happen's if someone finds out your phone number? Can they steal your car?

It still incorporates the remote start's safeties (4, Informative)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890568)

What happen's if someone finds out your phone number? Can they steal your car?

No.

This is just using a cell phone to trigger the auxiliary trigger input on a remote starter system installed in the car. Basically this input just simulates pressing the Start button on the remote starter's remote.

Installed correctly, most remote starter systems will stop the engine if the brake pedal is pressed. Additionally, since the ignition key is not in, the steering is locked. Also, if the engine speed goes over a certain limit, the remote starter will stop the engine. Most cars with automatic transmissions require you to press the brake pedal to shift out of Park these days, so there's no chance of stealing the car that way.

I suppose if the car had a manual transmission, it would be possible to make it move forwards or backwards in whatever direction the steering wheel is pointed, but only at slightly over idle speed. You might be able to drive it up onto a trailer.

The problem that might come up is that most of these systems come with a pin switch that disables the system if the car's hood is opened (so you don't get your hands torn off when the engine starts unexpectedly, while changing a belt for example). Many people do not bother to install the hood pin switch. You would want to make sure it is in place and working, because a telemarketer's call could be deadly.

If the phone rings while you're driving or the car is already running, nothing happens other than the remote start will keep the engine running after you remove the key (if you don't touch the brake pedal.

amateur hour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890234)

Wow. An old technique for IED detonation re-hashed for car starting. A hack in the worst way.

Too cheap of a hack (4, Interesting)

maxrate (886773) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890322)

In my opinion this is far too cheap of a hack. You need more control. I've personally built a very elaborate text message based system that incorporates anti-theft features/GPS/door lock/un-lock and other features. Costs $11/month in a prepaid sim card. Was great fun to construct using a microcontroller and various other parts. I was planning on building a website documenting it - but I'm horrible at putting webpages together. Other than the GPS, the cost wasn't that much more - but the unit does far more for me. Working out the bugs however took a long time, so if you're in a hurry to get remote cell based car warm-up, this project is a start.

DTMF (2, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890330)

A DTMF decoder, PIC microcontroller, and a couple dozen lines of assembly code and you could secure the system by requiring a code be entered on the calling phone.

Re:DTMF (1)

Wingsy (761354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890784)

I doubt that. Sending DTMF over CDMA or GSM distorts the living daylights out of it. You'd be lucky if your decoder can detect with 80% reliability. Been there, done that... or tried to.

Use a tone decoder (1)

argee (1327877) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890346)

I would have used a tone decoder. They run in the $30 - $40 range, and typically require 4 DTMF tones. Set the phone to auto-answer on ring, a typical mobile setup. Plug the decoder into the phone jack. Dial the phone, and it auto answers. When you see "connected" in your own cell, just press the 4-digit sequence. The decoder starts the car. No more worry about telemarketers. And no taking the cheap cell phone apart.

Wooo! (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890362)

The DIY $10 Prepaid Cellphone Remote Car Starter
The DIY $10 Prepaid Cellphone Remote Toaster
The DIY $10 Prepaid Cellphone Remote Coffee Machine
The DIY $10 Prepaid Cellphone Remote Front Door Lock
The DIY $10 Prepaid Cellphone Remote Laser-enhanced Shark Cage Opening Mechanism

The possibilities are endless!

Oh, joy! (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890446)

I bet that one day we'll even be able to communicate with each other through this new invention.

So many reasons NOT to do this (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890388)

OK, we've had the telemarketer accidentally starting the car. What about if you leave it in gear when someone accidentally starts it? I didn't see any safety interlocks or checks on this guy's lash-up. What about when the mobile phone company sends you a "helpful" (read: marketing) message to tell you about their wonderful new ways of getting your money .... on the day after you go on holiday for a couple of weeks? And that's leaving out ALL the reasons why you'd have to inform your insurance company so your policy wasn't invalidated for unapproved modifications, or to give them an excuse for not paying up if/when the car gets nicked.

And what actual benefits do you get? The knowledge that occasionally your vehicle will have burned a bit of fuel just so you can get intoa nice warm car. Why not just put on a coat?

Re:So many reasons NOT to do this (1)

emerrill (110518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890492)

You safety concerns make no sense. It uses the standard remote starter. And even so, any modern automatic won't start in gear (most won't even let you take the key out of the ignition if it is in gear).

Spend the extra money and do it right (1)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890408)

Seriously, this is a hack and a half. That's one of the worst soldering and assembly jobs I've ever seen (cat5 for hookup wire?) I don't even see enough parts to make it work at all. You'd need one relay to provide ignition power, then a second to hit the starter. Plus there are no other features here like a neutral/park detect (so the vehicle doesn't start moving), an auto shutdown so the vehicle won't run for days if you accidentally start it and forget, etc.

A cheap remote start kit like the Bulldog Security Deluxe 500 is $105 anyway.

How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890470)

All of the cars I've seen in the past five years have anti-theft mechanisms like chipped keys. These prevent the engine from starting by disabling the starter or ignition or fuel pump unless the properly chipped key is within range of its reader, in the car.

How would such a remote starter work on such cars? How old is this guy's car?

None the less, this is an old technique for remote activation that has been used for other purposes, both good and evil.

Title? (3, Interesting)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890522)

Ok, so they did this for $71, not $10. Why even put that $10 price tag in the title? Because one component costs $10?
That makes about as much sense as quoting the price of a whole car that can remote start out of the box.

Vaguely related annecdote... (1)

piemcfly (1232770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890538)

My grandmother, who was going slightly deaf, recently had a very loud radio triggered beeper installed that went off everytime somebody rang the doorbell.
Turned out it worked on the same frequency as the neighbors DIY garage door system:

If he opened his garage, her alarm started ringing.
If somebody rang her doorbell, the neighbors garage door opened.

I changed the frequency for her, but I think I should have explored the pranking possibilities of that set up a bit more.

I had thought of doing this some time back (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890562)

I had thought of doing this some time back, what stopped me and apparently the author
as well is the price of maintaining minutes on the phone just to run a remote starter.

The decline of slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890590)

back in the day this would have been up here first. Now it shows up weeks after appearances on other 'tech blogs/sites. Do the editors not read any other blogs to have a clue which 'stories' are kinda old news?

More like (2, Funny)

kaizendojo (956951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890596)

the do it yourself Homeland Security visit kit.

Why? (1)

radish (98371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890616)

I've only been in the US a few years and I see people with these remote start setups quite a bit. The only thing is I have no idea why they're useful? I've never had any real desire to start my car when I'm walking towards it (which is what most people seem to do with them) and in fact it would be illegal in my home country. If anyone could explain what they're for I'd appreciate it :)

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890790)

Outside temperature 20 below zero, think about it. Some areas of the US have very harsh winters, remotely starting
a car 10 minutes early remotely allows time to warm the interior to something more comfortable say 40 deg. Not
to mention it is better for the engine to be at least slightly warmed up before placing it under a load.

Prepaid phone = recycled phone numbers (1)

waveformwafflehouse (1221950) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890642)

You should be able to set a custom ring/vibrate for numbers in your address book, eliminating the false starts from everyone calling the last person who had your phone's number.

Is it legal to leave an unattended car running? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890704)

According to an article in the Longmont Times (Colorado?) Jan 12 2010

On cold mornings, it may be tempting to start the car and wait inside the house while the engine warms up, but police warn that the practice is against the law and attracts thieves.

In fact, the practice is such a problem that law enforcement has dubbed it “puffing.” Colorado Auto Theft Investigators, an association of law enforcement and insurance company investigators, designated this week as “Puffer Week.”

NB this is applicable to cars on public property or highways, not in your driveway or garage!

Why? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30890756)

Why would you want to do this? I still don't get it. Unless you're James Bond, and can also remotely drive the car, I don't see a need for this.
The whole hot/cold climate thing, can't you just wait a minute for it to cool/warm?
Sure you can brag about turning your car with your cellphone, but what next? Waste of gas, time and money, I just don't get it.

Re:Why? (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 4 years ago | (#30890852)

Obviously you have never gotten in a car at -20 outside temp or you would very much understand.

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