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-   -   Remote range is horrible .... getting worse? (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=636858)

Coconutpete 08-02-2012 11:36 AM

Remote range is horrible .... getting worse?
 
I don't remember feeling this way the first year i owned the car, but recently I'm getting HORRIBLE range when I try to lock/unlock the car. Unless I jamb it against my chin I need to be within 20 feet!

I switched to the other rarely-used key and the result was the same.

Any ideas? "Remote" and "range" didn't return much in the search.... :bawling:

FrankAZ 08-02-2012 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Coconutpete (Post 6986880)
I don't remember feeling this way the first year i owned the car, but recently I'm getting HORRIBLE range when I try to lock/unlock the car. Unless I jamb it against my chin I need to be within 20 feet!

I switched to the other rarely-used key and the result was the same.

Any ideas? "Remote" and "range" didn't return much in the search.... :bawling:

I'm sure you thought of this already, but what did a new keyfob battery do for you? My Comfort Access range was shrinking to the point where I had to do a disturbing hip-thrust towards the car, and that upsets people way more than holding the key to the chin. A new battery worked wonders. Since your two keys are the same age it is possible that even the lesser-used key's battery is aging out so it may not be the car's receiver.

But, if a new battery doesn't change anything then I suppose that it is possible that the car's receiver circuitry is going bad. Hopefully just a loose connection to the antenna (wherever that is).

Frank.

CALWATERBOY 08-02-2012 12:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Coconutpete (Post 6986880)
I don't remember feeling this way the first year i owned the car, but recently I'm getting HORRIBLE range when I try to lock/unlock the car. Unless I jamb it against my chin I need to be within 20 feet!

I switched to the other rarely-used key and the result was the same.

Any ideas? "Remote" and "range" didn't return much in the search.... :bawling:

How often have you installed new batteries? Assume yours '06.

Or is the official range 20'?

Coconutpete 09-04-2012 11:36 AM

Sorry ... I completely forgot I had made this post.

I don't think it's the batteries, one key is 1.5 years old and the other one is original (2006).

Do you still change the batteries in these? I thought they charged in the ignition? (I don't have comfort access).

CT 09-04-2012 12:29 PM

Open your mouth slightly, face your vehicle, point the key fob at your skull from beneath your chin, click button, enjoy double / triple range.

ctuna 09-04-2012 12:34 PM

Did you apply tints?
 
Did you apply tints?
Some tints block radio signals.

beden1 09-04-2012 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Coconutpete (Post 7052376)
Sorry ... I completely forgot I had made this post.

I don't think it's the batteries, one key is 1.5 years old and the other one is original (2006).

Do you still change the batteries in these? I thought they charged in the ignition? (I don't have comfort access).

Change the battery.

Dork Knight 09-04-2012 05:26 PM

I have the same issue and I, too, don't have comfort access. Therefore, my batteries charge with driving and should both be charged by now. Range is awful...20-30 feet max.

I, too, had my windows tinted but I'm having a hard time buying into the claim of tint messing with it since I most often approach the car facing the antenna (or so I assume I am), and the range was never stellar prior to the tint. With the tint being on the inside of the window (i.e. antenna more outboard of the layers) I don't know why/how tint is a factor.

LycanNyc 09-04-2012 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dork Knight (Post 7053253)
I have the same issue and I, too, don't have comfort access. Therefore, my batteries charge with driving and should both be charged by now. Range is awful...20-30 feet max.

I, too, had my windows tinted but I'm having a hard time buying into the claim of tint messing with it since I most often approach the car facing the antenna (or so I assume I am), and the range was never stellar prior to the tint. With the tint being on the inside of the window (i.e. antenna more outboard of the layers) I don't know why/how tint is a factor.

I'm in your same boat

ajm8127 09-05-2012 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dork Knight (Post 7053253)
I have the same issue and I, too, don't have comfort access. Therefore, my batteries charge with driving and should both be charged by now. Range is awful...20-30 feet max.

I, too, had my windows tinted but I'm having a hard time buying into the claim of tint messing with it since I most often approach the car facing the antenna (or so I assume I am), and the range was never stellar prior to the tint. With the tint being on the inside of the window (i.e. antenna more outboard of the layers) I don't know why/how tint is a factor.

If the antenna for the key FOB is in the shark fin, the tint shouldn't matter. If it is built into the glass of the rear window, the tint can affect it. (maybe you guys know where the antenna is, but I don't)

Go to this page:

http://www.pulseelectronics.com/prod...reference/faqs

and search for "tint". Of course the above site is only relevant if the antenna is an on-glass type and is on a window containing tint.

The tint doesn't block the signals, it de-tunes the antenna. Ever try to tune an old TV or radio and when you get close to the device, the signal comes in great but when you move away, the signal fades out? Your body (mostly water and some salts) is changing the electrical properties of the antenna and receiver circuit, causing the device's receiver to be tuned to a different frequency when you are close, and once you move away, this frequency changes.

That being said, over time batteries degrade and eventually don't hold the charge they are designed for. Old cell phones are a good example. They get about a year of so old, and don't hold the same charge they used to. The same is true of the battery in the key FOB. Eventually the battery will degrade, and not as much energy can be delivered to the FOB circuity, causing a reduced output signal strength, limiting range. This is true only of rechargeable batteries, but...

I just popped the battery door off of my FOB and noticed the battery was a CR2025 size 3V watch battery. To the best of my knowledge, these are primary lithium cells which CANNOT be recharged. I was also told by the sales man that putting the FOB in the slot should recharge the battery. I really can't see how that is the case. There are some rechargeable batteries in a CR2025 case, but the one I have is definitely not one of those.

Bottom line: Pop the battery cover off your FOB. Check the battery. If it does not specifically say it can be recharged, or if it does not say "Lithium Ion", then get a new CR2025 battery and try that.

NoQuarter 09-05-2012 12:15 PM

The 5 series cars have a diversity antenna amplifier that is known to be the culprit with diminishing range on the remote AND FM radio reception.

See if you have one of these.

FrankAZ 09-05-2012 12:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ajm8127 (Post 7054922)
I just popped the battery door off of my FOB and noticed the battery was a CR2025 size 3V watch battery. To the best of my knowledge, these are primary lithium cells which CANNOT be recharged. I was also told by the sales man that putting the FOB in the slot should recharge the battery. I really can't see how that is the case. There are some rechargeable batteries in a CR2025 case, but the one I have is definitely not one of those.

Bottom line: Pop the battery cover off your FOB. Check the battery. If it does not specifically say it can be recharged, or if it does not say "Lithium Ion", then get a new CR2025 battery and try that.

If the battery is a CR2025 then it is NOT rechargeable. If it is a LIR2025 then it is rechargeable.

CR designates 'manganese dioxide lithium' chemistry which is not rechargeable. LIR designates a chemistry (variable types) which is Lithium Ion based and rechargeable. The first two digits ('20') indicate the diameter in mm, and the second pair of digits ('25') the thickness in tenths of mm.

I'd be curious if a BMW supplied from new non-Comfort Access fob had a basic 'CR' non-rechargeable battery since that contradicts in the most absolute sense with their manual's notification that the fob recharges while it is in the slot. Someone in BMW's tech pubs or more likely their fob supplier messed up.

Frank.

ajm8127 09-05-2012 12:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NoQuarter (Post 7055050)
The 5 series cars have a "diversity" antenna that is known to be the culprit with diminishing range on the remote AND FM radio reception.

See if you have one of these.

A diversity antenna is a term used to describe multi-antenna system arranged in such a way to improve reception. If it's two (or more) on-glass antennas in a window with tint, then the tint can still affect them.

I'm not saying anything you said is wrong, just elaborating.

Zeichen311 09-05-2012 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ajm8127 (Post 7054922)
If the antenna for the key FOB is in the shark fin, ... battery in the key FOB. ... FOB circuity, ....

I just popped the battery door off of my FOB ... putting the FOB in the slot should recharge the battery. ...

Bottom line: Pop the battery cover off your FOB. ...

The Comfort Access keys have non-rechargeable batteries and a little access panel to allow you to replace the battery when it dies.
Non-Comfort Access keys have rechargeable batteries that cannot be replaced without disassembling the fob.
OP stated in post #4 that he does not have CA therefore advice to inspect/replace the battery is unhelpful. (Also, the rechargeables in the keys easily last over a decade with normal/regular use.)

Also, FWIW: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...6&postcount=18.

NoQuarter 09-05-2012 02:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ajm8127 (Post 7055114)
A diversity antenna is a term used to describe multi-antenna system arranged in such a way to improve reception. If it's two (or more) on-glass antennas in a window with tint, then the tint can still affect them.

I'm not saying anything you said is wrong, just elaborating.

you are right. I corrected my original post. I should have said diversity antenna amplifier module.

ajm8127 09-05-2012 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zeichen311 (Post 7055186)
The Comfort Access keys have non-rechargeable batteries and a little access panel to allow you to replace the battery when it dies.
Non-Comfort Access keys have rechargeable batteries that cannot be replaced without disassembling the fob.
OP stated in post #4 that he does not have CA therefore advice to inspect/replace the battery is unhelpful. (Also, the rechargeables in the keys easily last over a decade with normal/regular use.)

Also, FWIW: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...6&postcount=18.

Thanks for the clarification, on both accounts.

Coconutpete 09-06-2012 08:02 AM

Which window is the antenna in? The windows are tinted, but obviously the windshield is not and the range is still crappy when I approach the vehicle from the front.

Glad to see we cleared up the fact that the batteries recharge during driving. One remote is less than 2 yrs old so that shouldn't be the problem either.

Quote:

Originally Posted by CT (Post 7052513)
Open your mouth slightly, face your vehicle, point the key fob at your skull from beneath your chin, click button, enjoy double / triple range.

Did you read my original post? It still sucks even when I do that.

ajm8127 09-06-2012 08:52 AM

If the antenna is in a window, it will be printed on like the defroster traces in the rear window. You may actually mistake the antenna traces for the defroster traces. Look for similar traces in the other windows.

Zeichen311 09-06-2012 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Coconutpete (Post 7057013)
Which window is the antenna in? The windows are tinted, but obviously the windshield is not and the range is still crappy when I approach the vehicle from the front.

AFAIK it's on the backlight. I never inquired specifically but given that (1) useful range is dramatically greater approaching from the rear of the vehicle and (2) there are at least two or three separate sets of antenna traces on the glass, it seems likely.

I think the most probable culprits have been identified: The tint and/or a weak antenna amplifier. Are you still under warranty? The nuisance risk here is they may blame the tint and refuse to diagnose or replace the car's receiver until the tint is removed. :tsk:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Coconutpete
Quote:

Originally Posted by CT
Open your mouth slightly, face your vehicle, point the key fob at your skull from beneath your chin, click button, enjoy double / triple range.

Did you read my original post? It still sucks even when I do that.

Incidentally, it's not necessary to approach your car looking like a dork and pretending your head is a cavity resonator (which, at the frequencies involved, it ain't). What matters is simply elevating the transmitter, sending to the antenna a clear, line-of-sight signal free of ground reflections. Your skull doesn't need to get involved; raising the fob shoulder- to head-high does the trick.

ajm8127 09-06-2012 09:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Zeichen311 (Post 7057184)
Incidentally, it's not necessary to approach your car looking like a dork and pretending your head is a cavity resonator (which, at the frequencies involved, it ain't). What matters is simply elevating the transmitter, sending to the antenna a clear, line-of-sight signal free of ground reflections. Your skull doesn't need to get involved; raising the fob shoulder- to head-high does the trick.

That is good advice. I might add that not wrapping your hand around the transmitter could also help range. Maybe use just two fingers, one to press on the back side of the transmitter, and the other to press the button.

Some time when your car is parked in an open lot with not many other cars around, you could experiment a little to figure out how to get the best range.

Coconutpete 09-07-2012 01:48 PM

Nope, no warranty, the car is a 2006.

Since both remotes have horrible range I think we have indeed identified the culprit as the tint or the antenna amplifier.

It's not a dealbreaker ...... I may not even pursue it any further, after all the remotes do still work - I just found it odd that the range was that much worse than my previous 2 cars, both E46's - one of those with tinted windows as well.


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