All modern vehicles including cars, vans and motorbikes since 1995 have had an encoded transponder chip embedded within the key as an added security measure, these chips communicate with the immobiliser and allow the engine to start, but what are they and how do they work?
A transponder is short for: transmitter and responder, and was actually invented around 1944, basically a transponder is a minaturised electronic chip that has what is called ‘nonvolatile memory’. Nonvolatile memory does not need a constant energy source to retain the data in it.
Motor vehicles use what is called magnetic coupled transponder systems which are passive in nature, in other words don’t need a constant source of electricity to work. Because they don’t have their own power source these transponders have limited range, typically less than 15cm. These transponders operate at a radio frequency of approximately 125KHz and because of this, the radio signal can easily pass through the material where they are buried, for example the plastic head of a key.
When a key containing a transponder is inserted into the ignition lock and turned to one, the induction coil around the ignition lock sends out an electromagnetic field of energy. The transponder chip absorbs this energy and powers it to transmit a signal, this signal is the identification code of the chip. The induction coil reads the signal and sends it to a computer device to recognise it. If the computer recognises the signal as already being stored in its memory, it accepts it and allows the vehicle to start.
By taking all the data in one transponder chip and transferring it to another transponder chip we can ‘clone’ the original key, as the vehicle does not know the difference between the keys. This means there is no need to access the vehicles computer system to reprogramme it, which may require codes.
Fill in the form below to have a spare key cut and cloned to your vehicle.