Nissan Warns Drivers: Don't Put Mobile Phones Near Our Keys

from the well-that's-one-way-to-stop-driving-while-yakking... dept

Nissan is going around warning a bunch of US drivers of either the Nissan Altima or the Infiniti G35 to be careful with their mobile phones. However, it's not, as you might expect, about driving while using those mobile phones. Nope. It's about keeping those mobile phones away from the car keys that open and start the cars. Like many newer cars, these cars use a wireless key system. Unfortunately, they're discovering that mobile phones receiving calls while in contact with the keys can scramble the electronic code on the keys... making them into useless paperweights. This would seem like a pretty big problem -- and simply telling drivers to keep their phones away from their keys isn't likely to work very well, considering phones and keys very often end up together in people's pockets or purses.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2007 @ 1:42am

    LOL. What nübs.

     

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  2.  
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    Kortuk, May 29th, 2007 @ 1:58am

    Hey Hope M.,

    i do not mean to make you unhappy, but these keys are very possibly something more related to RFID technology, i would be guessing they are pullin power from RF, and are somehow being overloaded by the extremly strong signal given off by being right next to a cell phone antenna.

    just an idea

     

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  3.  
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    Cixelsid, May 29th, 2007 @ 2:33am

    Re: Nissan Warns Drivers: Don't Put Mobile Phones

    Nissan says their remotes use Wi-Fi technology, not line-of-sight infra. Different technologies one is light spectrum the other is RF.

    Whether the Freqs of the Mobiles are in the same RF range might not have anything to do with it, most prob. its the induction field around the RF unit. On VHF its quite weak, but theoretically enough to cause damage to circuitry without shielding (HF is quite a different story as anyone with some HamRadio experience will tell you, a decent HF antenna has enough voltage to kill a grown man).

    The question we should be asking is... why isn't there any shielding around the circuitry of the remote? Surely the FCC specifies such shielding for these devices.

     

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  4.  
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    Avatar28, May 29th, 2007 @ 2:39am

    GSM phones?

    I haven't seen it mentioned specifically what type of phones cause it. My money, though, would be on GSM phones. I have had one for quite awhile and have noticed several odd effects, especially when my phone is active, sending/receiving data or a phone call. I often get a loud buzzing noise in nearby speakers. By nearby, I mean within several feet. I have even had it occur on a fairly high end home theater system, though only once. I have also seen interference on CRT monitors. The screen goes sort of flickery and crazy, with horizontal lines scrolling down the screen. I have NEVER seen or heard of this phenomenon with CDMA phones.

     

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  5.  
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    JBB, May 29th, 2007 @ 3:32am

    Can't you read, folks?

    Sheesh. "lets talk more about this issue, you can reach me at: http://forum.affiliatebot.com/register.php" is pretty obviously one of those sorts of trolls trying to make a buck by being stupid in hopes of driving traffic to their sites.

    Anyway, my Cingular phone (and at least two other models of cingular phones) throws enough RF to be audible on my car radio, on computer speakers, and audible and visible on televisions I'm standing near. It wouldn't surprise me to find something that could be scrambled by it.

    Clearly Nissan needs to shield their fobs a bit better. They're supposed to be able to 'accept' any interference other devices throw.

     

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  6.  
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    Cixelsid, May 29th, 2007 @ 3:48am

    Re: Can't you read, folks?

    Yeah, you're right. But I was willing to give Troll Boy the benefit of the doubt.

     

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  7.  
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    haywood, May 29th, 2007 @ 4:18am

    Re: Can't you read, folks?

    "Clearly Nissan needs to shield their fobs a bit better"
    Considering that those fobs are expected to essentially let the car know its master is in the area, I'd think any shielding would defeat the purpose & cut the range down to an unacceptable level.

     

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  8.  
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    Araemo, May 29th, 2007 @ 5:24am

    Re: Can't you read, folks?

    Cingular uses GSM(which uses TDMA, time division multiple access, IE, instead of a constant signal from your phone, every phone in the area is given a small time slice to broadcast on, which are the pulses you hear on your speakers), which, as Avatar28 pointed out, can cause audible interference on speakers, and visible interference on TVs/CRTs. However, contrary to popular belief, CDMA(IE, verizon, which stands for Carrier division multiple access, IE, different frequencies, so instead of short, high-data pulses, it uses a constant stream of less pulses, which is less noticeable on other equipment.) phones don't use significantly LESS power(though CDMA does allow finer-tuning of required power at every given moment, max power is a general FCC regulation, not protocol-specific.)

     

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  9.  
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    zinger, May 29th, 2007 @ 6:10am

    Nissan Warns Drivers: Don't Put Mobile Phones Near

    Not only cell phones...
    A few years ago, after coming back from a driving trip, my key wouldn't start my car. (I didn't have a cell phone at the time.) Still under warranty, I had my Nissan towed to the dealership, where the service department asked me "Oh, just back from a trip? Do you have an EZ Pass tag up on your windshield?" After they reprogrammed my keys, I was told to keep the EZ Pass in my glove compartment, in its protective bag. They said they didn't know why, but they'd had a few incidents like mine. I'm not surprised to hear about the cell phones!

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 29th, 2007 @ 7:12am

    This is nothing new. Any of these ranged key fobs can have the same problem. They are an active circuit and a cell phone can cause all kinds of problems. Most likely these specific fobs are not programmed with a firmware chip installed, but with a frequency flash from outside the fob. That means anything else that sends a relatively potent frequency in close proximity to the fob could reprogram it.

    Generally, the German car makers preprogram their fobs chip directly rather then just passing it through a field, that's why theirs don't have the same problem (usually). The down side of this is that you have to contact the parent facility in Germany every time you need a new one and it costs more for them to do it this way.

     

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  11.  
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    Overcast, May 29th, 2007 @ 7:12am

    Real intelligent design for a key - that's sheer genius, lol.

     

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  12.  
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    Sanguine Dream, May 29th, 2007 @ 7:16am

    Let's hope

    some other car maker does not pick up on this and market it as a "way to make sure your teen drivers aren't on their cell phones while driving" safety measure. Think of all the children that could be protected.

     

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  13.  
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    infinity, May 29th, 2007 @ 7:33am

    RTFA

    [quote]some other car maker does not pick up on this and market it as a "way to make sure your teen drivers aren't on their cell phones while driving" safety measure. Think of all the children that could be protected.[/Quote]

    this isnt from people using phones while driving and is probaly more likely to happen when a call in received while the Phone and the Keys are in a purse or in your Pocket and close to each other.

     

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  14.  
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    infinity, May 29th, 2007 @ 7:35am

    I hear Nissan is coming out with a solution

    Soon they will have Lead containers for you to store the keys in while not driving,who cares if they weigh a ton and might lead to lead poisoning?

     

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  15.  
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    Josh, May 29th, 2007 @ 7:44am

    @ Araemo

    CDMA is "Code Division", not "Carrier Division"

    It has very little to do with different frequency ranges... It has an awful lot to do with the dot product of the original signal and a chip vector...

    ~JW

     

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  16.  
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    Ryan Pasterfield, May 29th, 2007 @ 11:40am

    Happen to us

    This just sucks, we just bought a G35 and it wiped my wife's keys. The push button start still works, but she can not use the buttons on the remote to unlock, lock and pop the truck. We have to take the car in to get a new key that they said will do the same things. I hope they figure this out soon and get us new keys.

     

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  17.  
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    Daniel Barbalace, May 29th, 2007 @ 11:50am

    It's even worse than that!

    My car is now eating up all my anytime minutes and is text messaging a Mercedes all day! I'm going to have to ground it.

     

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  18.  
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    Chris Sims, May 29th, 2007 @ 3:57pm

    Honda Not Compatible With Cellphones

    We had a Civic where the SRS light on the dash would come on all the time. The dealer kept telling us that this was caused by leaving a cell phone on the seat. We tried using non-cellular phone for a while, but the cord kept pulling out when we drove.

     

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  19.  
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    Trey, May 29th, 2007 @ 4:41pm

    Re: GSM phones?

    ... you incorrectly posted GSM phones, it's actually TDMA phones (GSM is just the type of network, TDMA is the technology it uses)... so Nextel (who is NOT GSM) is also including in this category.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 30th, 2007 @ 12:18am

    Re:

    Real intelligent design for a key - that's sheer genius, lol.
    Maybe smarter than you think: Think of how much money Nissan and its dealers are going to make on selling new keys.

     

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  21.  
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    Ryan Pasterfield, May 30th, 2007 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re:

    we were told we would get new keys for free

     

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  22.  
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    Pjp, May 31st, 2007 @ 7:32am

    we were told we would get new keys for free

    Define Free.
    As in free after a complete inspection?

     

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  23.  
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    phantom21436587, Jul 6th, 2007 @ 6:19pm

    shure thats what they say

    nothing is totaly free no exceptions

     

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