Automatic Remote Start

April 2001

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Click on the thumbnails to get a better view.

Closed1.JPG (42092 bytes)  This is what it looks like on the outside. What it does is work in conjunction with my remote start that I installed on my 1992 Buick Regal. Using a visual basic program, the user can start the car by either clicking a button or by entering a time of day for the car to start. The car will then automatically start at that time of day.  The user can also activate or de-activate the alarm, and even cause the panic alarm to sound as a test.  The box is connected to the PC using a parallel cable to the parallel port. The box that was built also has a "MANUAL TEST" button on it that can be used to test if the box is within an acceptable range. 


Program1.jpg (42831 bytes) Here's a sample of what the program looked like.  This project was my idea for our group's EET 359 Final Project.  We were actually a group of 4, but really only two of us actually did any significant work (Sorry Rocky and Jon).  I did the hardware wiring, soldering and design work while David Lemaux did nearly all of the software in Visual Basic.  David and I got together for final testing on a laptop computer.  Jon did some touch-ups on the appearance of the final interface and Rocky started some soldering of the relays to the board.


Remote.JPG (34886 bytes) The RF signal to control the alarm and starting features were used from an existing remote controller.  As you can see from the picture, each button has some solder traces next to it. I found that by shorting these traces together, it was as if a button was pressed.  So, the relays shown below were connected to act as the "PUSH" to enable that feature.


Open2.JPG (81176 bytes)  On the inside, I have the actual remote for the alarm wired to the circuit board.  On the circuit board, I have 6 Reed Relays. Basically, the relays just "PUSH" the buttons to enable the remote to send the signal to the vehicle.  One relay for "ARM", one for "DISARM", one for "PANIC" and two were needed for "START" because it was the combination of pressing "ARM" and "DISARM" that started the car.  The last relay is explained below.


Open1.JPG (69855 bytes)  One problem that I encountered while constructing this was that the parallel port of the computer does not supply enough current to trip 2 reed relays.  While bench testing with my home built power supply, everything worked perfect! But, once connected to the PC, the "START" command would only trip 1 relay, causing only the alarm to arm.  So, the 6th relay was added and connected to a power supply of 4 AA batteries.  This supplied the needed 5 volts (6V actually) and plenty of current to trip both relays to start the car. If this were an actual marketed product, a simple DC power supply could have been made to plug into the box.

Pretty Nifty eh? We got an "A" on the project, and we displayed it working by using a laptop computer and bringing the whole EET 359 class outside where the car was located.


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