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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Original thread http://www.lotustalk.com/forums/f129/increase-range-your-remote-17002/

I recently replaced the factory alarm system in my Elise. One of the reasons was the ridiculous range of the stock remote. Even with a new battery, the range was about 1 foot from the driver’s window. Before removing the old cobra alarm system, I tried an experiment and found I could significantly increase the range with a simple modification. If you want to try it, here’s how:

Remove the blank panel from the passenger side dashboard area. Look towards the front and you will see the control unit for the Cobra sitting on a shelf. Using a screwdriver (or skinny fingers), pry the connector locking tabs inwards and lift up the connector. There should be enough wire to pull it out of the access hole.



Next, locate pin 13, which is the antenna wire. It is the black wire on the same end as the pink and green wire. Using a ‘splice & tap’ and a length of wire, splice into the black wire. After reading the next paragraph, put the wire back in the dash (keeping it as free from metal and as extended as possible), reconnect the connector and you’re done.

How long should the piece of wire be? I don’t know exactly, but 36” worked great in my test when I had it lying across the dash (range of about 30 feet!). There is an optimum length, but since I don’t know the frequency, or the characteristics of the factory “antenna”, it is trial and error. I would start with about 4 feet (or about the width of the dash) and cut it bit by bit until you get the best range. Any multi-strand wire will work…the factory wire is about 20 gauge. Also routing it along the windshield frame would probably give better reception. I didn’t try that or try to find the optimum wire length since I was replacing the whole system anyway.

In case you’re interested, I installed a Compustar with remote pager.

Tom
 

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The antenna is already the correct length. It's just needs to be freed from the rest of the cables coming from the Alarm box.

It turns out that there is even a way to feed it up to the windshield. After doing that, I was able to get over 30 feet (though it was parked in my garage which might have increased the range.) None the less, it is far better than having to be almost in the car to get it to work.

Steps to do this:
- Remove the panel cover (just two screws at the bottom that come out at an angle. Then you'll have to pull pretty hard on the bottom to get it to come out sometimes.)
- Remove the cable pull tie thing. (Black plastic thing that holds the clear plastic around the bundle of cables.)
- Pull the clear plastic far enough away so you can clearly see.
- Find the wire as described above. It was wrapped just outside the rest of the wires on my car.
- Pull the wire out of the taped up group, toward the box.
- Find a better way to mount it.

Extra steps to get it to the windshield:
- If you put your head really down and close to the openning, you should be able to see a light coming through from the windshield just to the right and in front of the speaker.
- I poked a hole in the side of the clear plastic so that it would have a shorter path to the front.
- Get something to grab the wire when it sticks out the top, like needle nose plyers.
- Take the wire and carefully thread it into the hole until you can see it come outside the other side.
- Grab it with the needle nose plyers
- Pull lightly on the cable to get it all the way through
- Then I taped it to my windshield mostly out of view. Once the cable gets set though, it's unlikely to move much, and I could probably have just let it dangle there.


I found this when, I went to try the previously mentioned solution, and I was having great trouble getting the wire harness unplugged from the alarm box. So, I was thinking of tapping into the wire a little further down the line. And I discovered it was wrapped just outside the other wires in the bundle. So, I traced the wire about 2 more inches to find that it ended. Then I performed the steps above.
 

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About 110' clear and 60' with structures

usofrob said:
The antenna is already the correct length. It's just needs to be freed from the rest of the cables coming from the Alarm box.

It turns out that there is even a way to feed it up to the windshield. After doing that, I was able to get over 30 feet (though it was parked in my garage which might have increased the range.) None the less, it is far better than having to be almost in the car to get it to work.

Steps to do this:
- Remove the panel cover (just two screws at the bottom that come out at an angle. Then you'll have to pull pretty hard on the bottom to get it to come out sometimes.)
- Remove the cable pull tie thing. (Black plastic thing that holds the clear plastic around the bundle of cables.)
- Pull the clear plastic far enough away so you can clearly see.
- Find the wire as described above. It was wrapped just outside the rest of the wires on my car.
- Pull the wire out of the taped up group, toward the box.
- Find a better way to mount it.

Extra steps to get it to the windshield:
- If you put your head really down and close to the openning, you should be able to see a light coming through from the windshield just to the right and in front of the speaker.
- I poked a hole in the side of the clear plastic so that it would have a shorter path to the front.
- Get something to grab the wire when it sticks out the top, like needle nose plyers.
- Take the wire and carefully thread it into the hole until you can see it come outside the other side.
- Grab it with the needle nose plyers
- Pull lightly on the cable to get it all the way through
- Then I taped it to my windshield mostly out of view. Once the cable gets set though, it's unlikely to move much, and I could probably have just let it dangle there.


I found this when, I went to try the previously mentioned solution, and I was having great trouble getting the wire harness unplugged from the alarm box. So, I was thinking of tapping into the wire a little further down the line. And I discovered it was wrapped just outside the other wires in the bundle. So, I traced the wire about 2 more inches to find that it ended. Then I performed the steps above.
I just completed this mod. I had to add to my antenna as it was only about 6.5 inches. I fed the wire about 37 inches up to the top and center of the windshield frame. I can arm the car consistenly from 110' from the back of the car And from arround the corner of the garage at 60' or if other cars are in the way then 60' also. I now have the range of my wifes corolla. This is awesome. A real pain to get unburried from the grey foam and the plastic bag; but it works beautifully. And it functions from inside the house and on the widows walk that is about 135' but since it is elevated I think that accounts for the additional distance gain. Again a great mod if you take the time to feed the antenna along the windshield frame. Robert
 

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I added to my alarm antenna and now have an incredible range (somewhere in the 200' line of sight range). I extended the antenna wire length by soldering on a piece of 24AWG insulated solid core wire. I then put a small piece of heat shrink over the solder joint and trimed the over all length to about 27.2 inches. I would have like to have extended the antenna fully out, but instead opted for a more simple installation by affixing it to the back of the side dash shroud. I used small pieces of aluminum foil duct tape to secure the wire to the plastic. I have always had great success with this type of tape in automotive applications continuing to adhere over the long term.

By the way, I didn't unplug the connector from the alarm. I just carefully pulled the antenna from the wrap.
 

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Easy mod, but one word of caution. The aluminum panel that is along the bottom of the hole that you reach through to get to the alarm wire harness is guillotine sharp! Considering that you have to push a big chunck of foam out of the way and monkey with the harness, there's ample opportunity to cut oneself. I'd advise laying a cloth of some sort (wash cloth or folded t-shirt seems about right) along the aluminum edge at the bottom of the hole. On the plus side I now have a bandaid on the end of my middle finger to keep from bleeding all over pretty car. Gives me good reason to flip the bird! :coolnana:

Mike
 

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Okay... You all forced me into it...

My car is a very early '05 Base (as in no Touring) - serial number in the low 100s. I took off the "cubby" cover on the passenger side (hint don't be clever and use a stubby Phillips - it works better to use a regular longer length Phillips driver). The two screws are located on the bottom rear of the cover at approximately a 45 degree angle from vertical (which is why the stubby was not useful). Note: Upon re-assembly, I noticed that the screws are not Phillips, but number 2 Pozi (PZ-2) - that explains why it kept feeling like the screw driver was "slipping". I you don't have Pozi bits, you should probably get some - a lot of the screws on the Elise are Pozi and not Phillips.

There was no foam block - maybe it's a Touring thing, or a later car thing.

The edges of the aluminum are covered in "foam tape", and I had no danger of cutting myself.

The first photo below shows the "cubby" with the cover off. The alarm is apparently in the plastic bag, and the harness is located just below/behind the upper edge of the aluminum on the bottom with the foam tape on it.

The second photo shows the antenna wire pulled up a bit from the harness (it's the bundle of wire wrapped with tape - you can see a bit of the unwrapped wires where there is a gap in the tape). A small section or the black antenna wire is exposed, and the end is taped up in the harness to the left.

I pulled out the wire (stuck my finger between the wire and the rest of the harness, and pulled it to the right. It didn't want to come loose at first, and then popped out. I "bent" the wire to stick up in the cubby, and went into the house from the garage and about 6 feet laterally from the door. The alarm remote worked from there with no problem. As I backed farther from the opening, it didn't want to work anymore, but then again, it then had a tall roll around tool chest (stuffed with tools) and an air compressor between me and the car. I'll check again in the morning with the car parked in the parking lot at work. It used to only work when I was a couple of feet from the doors or the rear of the car (never tried it from the front).

The last photo shows the antenna wire sticking straight up (more or less). The ware is only about 3-4 inches long at that point. I'll put some tape on the end of the wire - you can see bare strands of wire, so it's probably good to prevent it from shorting to ground.
 

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Install Observations

Just finished antenna extention and it works great up to 100' approx. Here are my observations:
a) No need to remove dash panel that incudes air vent, only the rectangular panel.
b) Foam block needed to be wedged away for access.
c) No need to cut plastic wire tie.
d) Antenna wire is separate from other wires.
e) No need to cut plastic bag.
f) Pulled extended wire thru gap in dash to next to Windshield "A" piller.
g) Push wire into gap around windshield & used pieces of foam/rubber pushed in over the top to hold it in place on the vertical side.
h) Used couple of spots of glue to hold the remaining short length in place around the top of windshield.
g) Added about 30" of wire to the antenna.
h) I additionally turned on the audible alarm arm/disarm buzzer by disconnecting power to the alarm and then reconnecting and pressing the "A" button within 5 seconds. This was done by removing #11 fuse in the front fuse box.
 

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Ok I just finished this mod and didn't even add an extension wire. It works from at least 10-20 feet even thru the walls to my garage. That is far enough for me.
I took some pics to help others find the wire.
First pic shows the connector which you don't have to pull out.
Second pic shows the pink/green wire and the black antenna wire which I already pulled out. You can see it wrap up thru the tape right next to the pink/green wire.
Hope this helps others find it easier.
 

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