It's taxi time.....
I suppose this Satanic car wouldn't be a Lamborghini Diabolo....
I've already got my coat.
Taxi for Ted...
Stranded motorists in Kent were forced to turn to Ofcom after a rogue car's central locking system took possession of other vehicles in the same Gravesend car park. More than 12 cars at the Parrock Street car park in the comfortable yet earthy Medway town decided not to open or start on Tuesday, the Beeb reports. Apparently …
They are just lulling us in to a false sense of security. First its a "faulty" car transmitter, then its intermittent computer glitches.
Next thing we know its nukes in the air, and Skynet terminators everywhere rounding us up and putting us in to camps for our own security !!
An intermittent signal would, surely, be only of minor inconvenience because the owners of the 12 affected cars would surely try more than once, and statistically they are unlikely to clash with the rogue intermittent more than a couple of times.
I think somehow OfCom has a very strange definition of intermittent -- like transmitting for 19.8 seconds in every 20.
And what, precisely, was it transmitting? Was it deliberate or accidental? Don't we need to know whether there are particular devices that might inadvertantly repeat this in other car parks?
Shouldn't this article be flagged ROTM? It's clearly the next stage in the robot armies master plan to enslave the human race.
My car locked me in yesterday, luckily my key unlocked it this time, before I died. This is clearly a trial run one day we will all be locked into our cars and automatically driven into the sea.
You've been warned.
Interestingly there was no mention of the lizard army, despite this being a clear skirmish in the gathering storm.
Of course, as anyone who has been reading amanfromMars' posts carefully knows, El Register has already fallen to the invading forces, so it's no surprise they're blocking the awful truth.
Bah! Do they really expect us to believe that? I'll bet that Ofcom was called in to blame it all on some innocent family car, in an effort to cover up what's really going on. They were obviously testing out some new top-secret kit for getting cars to spy on their owners.
Unfortunately for them (very fortunate for us) there was some glitch that caused the wireless network they set up for the cars to report on their owners' activities, to interfere with the locking mechanisms.
Why were the owners stranded? My car has remote central locking and an electronic immobiliser, but I can still use the good old fashioned mechanical lock to gain entry and the immobiliser communicates using contact with the key.
If these people couldn't get into there cars and drive away because of some radio jamming then what are they going to do when the battery runs out on their fob? (or is it rf powered?)
Don't most modern car remotes work on a rolling frequency system? I'm a little doubtful that a small family car would have the ability to broadcast a jamming signal including the 12 randomly selected frequencies of the victims cars.
It also seems doubtful that the same little family car would be able to broadcast and disable the imobiliser signal from the victims car keys, preventing the cars from starting...
That said I'd love to hear from someone who actually knows something about the tech behind these things to explain if its fesable or not.
Probability that any of the vehicles affected were genuinely inaccessible - zero, or some really close approximation to it.
Probalility that the owners had failed to so much as take the user manual out of its wallet, let alone bother to read even a single page of it like, ooh, I dunno, perhaps the bit that explains exactly what to do when the remote fob stops working - absofragginlutely huge...
Maybe, just maybe, there's a manufacturer out there so supremely stupid that they'd build a car incapable of being unlocked by any other means if the remote fob stopped working, but I'd suggest it's far (and by far, I don't just mean down to the shops type far, I mean to the edge of the universe type far) more likely that the manufacturers of all the cars involved had in fact provided an emergency override specifically for scenarios such as this. However, given that some drivers are barely able to find the fuel filler cap (or the switch to turn off their fog lights), I have no difficulty in believing that a whole bunch of them were flummoxed by an unlocking procedure more complicated than pressing a button.
First someone called Austin is writing Lucy stories. Then someone called Joe is writing Lester pieces. And Lewis is doing Lester sometimes not always, and not yet Lucy, tho that might change tomorrow...? Have the Simon Legrees at Vulture Central conjured up Maxwell's Demon, stuck it in a little hot room (padded against synchrotron radiation) with a keyboard and sauce, and said "Go, Brother, Go"?
Or is someone lunching at the wrong watering hole?
[quote]If these people couldn't get into there cars and drive away because of some radio jamming then what are they going to do when the battery runs out on their fob?[/quote]
I heard of it happenning. A blonde had the battery go dead on her fob, and she was distraught. She thought she might find a replacement at the convenience store awaaaay over there, but it was a long walk. A kindly stranger helped her out - by unlocking her door with the key...
Quite apart from the possibility that the vehicle or key fob battery could go flat, the frequencies on which these devices operate are shared with many other users, so it's far from guaranteed that an RF keyfob will get you into your car.
My car keyfob operates on a frequency inside the 70cm amateur radio band, so it's perfectly feasible that a radio amateur could be sitting in the same car park talking legitimately on a mobile radio and inadvertently jamming every keyfob in the car park (incidentally, his license conditions would permit him to use up to 40,000 times as much transmit power as a keyfob).
As to how a vehicle could transmit the jamming signal, I smell a rat here. Why would a transmitting device be built into the car itself? It only has to receive from the keyfob.
Whilst these devices do have rolling codes to prevent the identity of any individual keyfob being "sniffed" from the airwaves they do not, as far as I am aware, change frequencies, so if the frequency on which the keyfob operates is being interfered with or in use by a legitimate user, you'd better have an old-fashioned key as a backup!
The problem is, with lack of use, "old-fashioned" locks tend to be found siezed when you most need them! Give them a dab of grease ASAP!
... in this case doesn't necessarily mean that the signal itself came and went frequently. I took it to mean that sometimes a continuous jamming signal would be emitted, while at other times it wouldn't. A fault can be intermittent without necessarily having no persistent symptoms.
For example, my car has two problems that I would describe as intermittent; sometimes, after turning on the ignition, the solenoid is not enabled and the starter motor just spins freely. Until you switch the ignition off and then back on, it will continue to do so (as far as I know) indefinitely. Secondly, about one time in ten, just after the engine is started there is a whine from the electric fuel pump. This whine will continue until the engine is stopped. Most of the time, the pump will operate normally and with no unusual noise, but the noise doesn't come and go on those occasions when it decides to show itself.
I think this is a kind of sweet RoTM example - my car is old enough to have too few automated systems to do more than moan, or be civilly disobedient, once in a while.
Landrovers are well known for being spontaneously dead in the morning if you park near certain radio sources (TV Transmitters, Radar, Door OPeners and Wi-Fi are among known colprits).
Some alarms can 'talk back' to the fob to page the owner. Now given a LOT of the cheaper versions of these alarms come from China and bear no CE marks or indeed, any form of QA and you should have an answer.
My gecko friend just told me that all it takes is one Radio Ham, a 70cm transceiver and a nice fat juicy power amplifier
with collinear antenna and all the keys in the car park are useless.
Apparently the Radio Frequency filtering in these keys is not up to lizard standards (if there is any filtering at all!).
Gerry gecko also somewhat reluctantly then admitted that a gecko high power fart occurs precisely on this key 70cm frequency and this is probably what really stuffed them.
..Gerrys gone to get his coat...but this strange smell still lingers...aaaargh no.. my key! I'm stranded!
You don't need to go that far - a small 1W hand-held 70cm's radio will wipe out the whole car park of a motorway service area.
You don't even have to transmit on the frequency that these things use (433.920MHz) I've just conducted a quick test and if I transmit 100mW at 434.600 close to my car, the remote won't work. Basically it's down to crap design of the receivers (selectivity) and a lack of legislation.
434.600MHz is the input frequency for at least 15 Amateur repeaters in the UK. Repeaters take a signal broadcast on one frequency and rebroadcast on a different frequency to increase range.
Apologies to other readers while we sort out Anonymous Coward's car problem...
The two problems you describe are more likely due to a single mechanical issue with the starter. My recollection of simple car mechanics is that the starter motor spins a gear into the starter ring causing the starter motor to turn the engine over. Said device is known as Bendix Gear - try Googling it. If the Bendix gear fails to engage in the starter ring then then starter motor keeps spinning as it has nothing to work against. The converse effect is that the Bendix may not disengage after the engine has fired up - producing a whining noise from the starter motor (not the fuel pump) until the engine is turned off - best done quickly. If the Bendix does not disengage at all, there is a time honoured way to persuade it to return home.
I've seen this behavior in some GM vehicles here in the States: while fueling my MGA one day at the local petrol station I saw a Suburban jam a Chevrolet sedan until the Suburban drove away. Same thing happened briefly with my Saturn VUE at the grocers once, but I thought nothing of it and used the key to enter the vehicle and drive off.
This *MIGHT* have something to do with the OnStar emergency system installed in many GM vehicles. I doubt that it's the OnStar transmitter itself, but it is possible that the interface to other systems - like remote door unlock and engine start - are operated by the remote fob wireless system, rather than by wired control. This would make sense, as it simplifies the installation and integration of the systems, and, as part of OnStar emergency over-rides, could operate on a "master" code that would affect all similar vehicles near by.
On the other hand, the MGA has NO RF electronics...and possibly the positive earth Lucas electrical system is anti-matter to the Lizard Army? And the MGA still incorporates the little slot in the front engine pulley to allow using the jack handle to crank the engine by hand...
Now if I can just mount me a Boeing Death Ray on the dash of the MG...
The radio receiver in the car was a super-regenerative design. Cheap as chips but prone to go into oscillation. When the detector stage started to oscillate itis blanked out the receivers in the other cars as they all operate on the same frequency 434.018Mhz. It was a constant oscillation, in short it was a fuaulty receiver that turned into quite an effective transmitter.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019