A transponder chip key is the combination of the words “transmitter” and “responder.” The word first emerged around 1945. Transponder is a little electronic chip with a “non-volatile memory,” which doesn’t need constant electricity for data retention. A transponder also features a set of windings, or coil, which is made of fine wire wrapped around a tube. This is similar to the windings in an electric motor.
There are two kinds of transponders – electric-coupled systems and magnetic-coupled systems. Electric-coupled systems can transmit data anywhere from a few inches to many miles, such as those used in airplanes and satellites. They require considerable amounts of constant energy to function. Magnetic-coupled systems, in contrast, are passive. They don’t need constant energy or a power source. They transmit and receive data on the 125 kHz bandwidth. Because they are un-powered, they have a limited transmission range – anywhere from 1 to 15 centimeters. This radio transmission can penetrate certain materials such as the plastic surrounding the chip built into a car key.
A transponder key is a car key with an inbuilt chip that is needed to deactivate an engine immobilizer. Most cars manufactured after 1995 have these immobilizers.
How Does It Work?
Most car transponder chips have a similar process for key identification. There is an induction coil saddled around the ignition lock. This creates an electromagnetic field when a key is inserted into the ignition and turned. The windings in the key absorb that energy and use it to power the transponder chip, which emits the code signal to the Engine Control Unit (ECU). This signal is most often an alphanumeric code. This process allows the car’s electronic components to function, which in turn allows the engine to start or continue running.
How do I know if I have a transponder key?
Take a look at your car key. There is the metal piece that you place in the ignition (blade), and a larger flattened piece that you will use to turn the key once inserted (bow). If the bow of the key is covered in a plastic or rubber shell, then there is an increased likelihood that there is a transponder chip inside. To be certain that this is the case, you can remove the plastic covering and look for the chip.
You mustn’t scratch or damage the chip during this process because that will make the key unusable in the ignition. You could also copy the key using a key cutter and see if it will start the car. If you attempt to start the car with just a metal key, keep the working key out of the vehicle, as this may give you a false positive.
The most foolproof way is to call the automotive locksmith. Our automotive locksmiths at Los Angeles Car Keys can check to see if the key uses a transponder chip, and complete the transponder key programming if you’d like to make a new fully functional key.
How long does it take for transponder key programming?
Transponder key programming only takes a few minutes. Transponder keys can be cut and programmed using our special equipment here at Los Angeles Car Keys.
This can be done with just the keys or at the car itself. Additional time will be added if the key in question needs to be duplicated. If there is no key to duplicate, that is no problem, as our locksmiths can cut you a brand new key from code. This only requires us to take down your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), and then the new key can be cut.
All of these tasks do not take long, but they do add up. Los Angeles Car Keys automotive locksmiths always ensures that services will be delivered in a fast and efficient manner.
At Los Angeles Car Keys, Locksmithing and car security are our passions, and we’re here to help everyone find the security solutions they need. We service the Greater Los Angeles area. Connect (424-345-1437) with our locksmith team in Los Angeles Car Keys for any locksmith solutions!