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Transponder Keys and Remotes

Transponder Technology
First Question – Can you make a key for…. yes, at Affordable Locksmith, we have invested in the technology to generate transponder keys for most of the new vehicles.
Transponders have become common in many of today’s new vehicles. You might not even realize that your car or truck has one of these new thingamabobs in the head of the key until you need more keys or loose your keys completely.
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What is a Transponder?
Transponder is short for: transmitter + responder.
The word came into use around 1944. In basic terms, a transponder is a miniaturized electronic chip that has what is called non-volatile memory. Non-volatile memory is the type of memory that does not need constant energy for retention. Along with that electronic chip is a set of windings, very fine wire coiled around a tube. These windings look similar to the windings you would find in a electric motor.
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There are two basic types of transponders. The first are the Electric Coupled Transponder systems. Electric coupled transponder systems are not limited to small areas for transmission but can transmit messages or signals for different ranges of distance including several inches to miles, as used in Satellites and Airplanes. These systems require large amounts of constant electricity to operate.
The second type is what automobile manufacturer’s are using and they are called Magnetic Coupled Transponder systems. Magnetic Coupled Transponder systems are passive in nature. This means they do not require constant electricity and thus do not need a power source of their own. They operate in the frequency range area of 125KHz. Since Magnetic Coupled Transponders do not have their own power source they are very limited to range of communication and generally operate in the range of 1cm to 15cm. Since this is a radio frequency it can penetrate materials that would make the transponder not directly visible, such as the plastic or rubber in the bow of a key.
The process of key identification is similar in most automotive transponder systems. Once a key is inserted into the ignition lock and turned to one of the ‘on’ or ‘run’ positions, the induction coil that is mounted around the ignition lock sends out an electromagnet field of energy. The windings in the transponder chip absorb that energy and power the electronic chip to emit a signal. The signal is usually an alphanumeric set of digits which is considered the Identification Code. The induction coil reads the signal and sends it to some type of computer device to recognize the signal. If the signal is recognized as being already in the computer’s memory the signal is accepted and other electronic components in the vehicle are set into motion to allow the starting of the vehicle or the continuation of the engine running.
Transponders can be made into several different shapes and sizes and can be used in many different types of applications such as: warehouse pallets, retail clothing, animal management, and of course electronic automobile key identification.
Transponder keys can be called many names – computer chip keys, chip keys, transponder chip keys, electronic keys as well as a few others but their function is all the same. The keys prevent the vehicle from being driven if the car’s computer does not recognize the electronic value of the chip in the key itself.
The keys started showing up around 1989 on the Cadillac Deville and were called VAT keys which stands for “vehicle anti theft”.

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A VATS key has a resistor embedded within the key-blade. Each resistor has one of fifteen possible values. Sometimes the resistors are referred to as a “pellet” or “chip”. These keys require only a reader to determine the resistor value. They do ot require a cloning or programming tool unless the value is nnot known and all keys are lost.
After the use of the VATS keys by General Motors on many of their higher end models, other manufacturers started to incorporate similar technology into their key systems. In 1996 Ford introduced the PATS 1 System on their Ford Mustang. The PATS system stands for “Passive Anti Theft”. These keys were an advancement from GM’s system as they used a a tiny radio frequency transponder imbedded in the plastic head of the key.
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When you attempt to start the vehicle, the onboard computer sends out a RF signal that is picked up by the transponder in the key. The transponder then returns a unique RF signal to the vehicle’s computer, giving it the ok for the vehicle to start and continue to run. This all happens in less than a second, and is completely transparent to the vehicle operator. It is a very effective system that does its job without the vehicle owner having to think about it, or modify his / her usual routine.
As years passed, most other manufactures started to use some variation of a transponder based system on many of their vehicles. Acura, Honda, Infinity, Toyota, Lexus, Hundai, Subaru, Mazda, the list goes on.
While these manufacturers all use a transponder system, they are all different in regards to the key, the programming and the pricing.