Key FOBS  (or RFID stuff)

Many newer vehicles, including Harley-Davidson Motorcycles, come equipped with keyless ignition systems.    Instead of an ignition key, one carries around their key FOB.  So long as the FOB is close to the bike the computer will let the bike start.  Or that's the way it's a supposed to work......

But what if it doesn't? 


When your bike doesn't sense your key FOB RFID (radio frequency identification) signal, it goes into a security lock down mode.  So long as you have the override code, life is back to good!  If you didn't write the code down  it gets ugly.  The bike won't start at all. 

So what went wrong?  It worked this morning, and again in the afternoon.  Why not NOW?  


How it works

Basically a keyless system has 2 parts.   The bike's computer and the FOB.  And they "talk" to each other via radio signals.

If you could listen in on the conversation, the bike sends out a ping or a shoutout to find it's very own FOB.  The bike yells out  "hey FOB! Are you out there?"

A FOB might answer, "Hey yeah it's me!"   The bike asks the FOB, "What's our secret handshake".   If FOB knows the handshake, the bike starts.  If FOB does NOT know the handshake, the system shrugs it's shoulders and starts yelling for a different FOB.   "Hey FOB !  Are you out there?"    This repeats over and over again until you shut off the ignition OR the bike gets tired and quits.  The bike may yell out many many times before it gives up.    if you're riding in a group, EVERYONE'S bike is yelling for their FOB.  

The FOB on the other hand MUST answer ALL of it's call outs. Unlike your bike, the FOB has a limited amount of power to speak (watch battery).  Once FOB has spoken out enough times, the battery gets weaker.  The weaker the battery, the weaker the signal.   Of course when the battery completely dies the FOB goes to sleep and acts like a teenager sleeping in on a sunny weekend (pretty much just isn't going to respond).

Simply installing a NEW FRESH battery many times solves this problem.


Below are some things you can do to extend battery life and help the FOB work better.

1. Keep the FOB away from ANY vehicle which has a keyless ignition system  (including cars, trucks and other bikes)

2. If you store your FOB within range of other vehicles in your garage, put the FOB in a tin or if stored over the winter months, take the battery out.

3. Keep the FOB inside your jacket or chaps or anything that you KNOW will be with you when you go on a ride. 

4.  If you keep your FOB in your bike, make sure it has a good path for radio signals.   A FOB placed in tin foil or metallic  containers will severely limit the range of the radio signal.   

5. Placing the FOB in pockets that contain magnets will sometimes interrupt the radio signal.

6. Placing the FOB directly beside an EZ Pass with mess with radio signals. (they use the same technology)  

5. Know YOUR SECURITY CODE and test it.  In the event your FOB completely stops working, you can get back on the road again by having this code.

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