Okay, Google. Start The Jeep!

When [wizardpc] bought his Jeep, it came with an Avital 3100L car alarm system; but after it started going on the fritz, he needed to replace it. So he opted for a new alarm system with the same harness type — and then he decided to hack it.

When installing the new alarm system, an Avital 5103L combo unit, he realized there was an extra wire that when grounded, starts the vehicle — Avital had included the hardware upgrade before the software came out on this specific model. Score.

From there it was a pretty easy hack. All he needed was a Raspberry Pi 2, a relay board, and a few dirt simple lines of code. On the mobile end of things is a collection of hacks; he’s using Tasker with his Android phone to add a special command to Google Now. He tells Google to ‘Start the Jeep’ and after a few seconds, she turns right on.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Google would expose some hooks so that we can all add our own functionality to Google Now without doing the app-juggling  [wizardpc] used for this? If you have your own set of Google Now hacks we’d love to hear about it. Send us a tip!

The last remote controlled jeep we saw was a wee bit smaller…

40 thoughts on “Okay, Google. Start The Jeep!

      1. That’s not really how remote start car alarms work,

        The remote start turns off when you press the brake. If your key is in the ignition and in the RUN position, this doesn’t matter. If you don’t have a key in, the car turns off.

        And in the meantime the alarm is blaring.

        BTW on these old jeeps, it’s pretty common that the ignition lock cylinders are just for show: Any key can start them. Hence the car alarm.

        1. Umm, have you looked at the prices of Jeeps? A 1997-2001 model Jeep XJ (the kind in the video) in decent shape can easily go for over $4000. Throw on some off road or overland equipment like the bumper/winch and you’ve got a $7000 Jeep.
          Wranglers are an entirely different ballgame. I can’t find a wrangler in my area (that runs) for less than $6000. My buddy just bought an 07 wrangler for $16,000. They are worth a lot of money and keep their value for a long time.

          You may not like Jeeps but a lot of other people do. As my grandfather once told me, “if it’s worth anything to anyone, someone will try to steal it.”

  1. Most cars feature a wire that, when 12v is applied, starts the car.

    However, like bluetooth controlled light-bulbs or internet-enabled central heating, I struggle to see why I would want or need to control these things from far away.

    There was almost a justification for this back in the early days of turbo cars where being able to start & warm the car before you got into it, and leave it idling to cool down before shutting off, was seen as desirable, but even then it felt like at least 50% just showing off.

    1. Nope, no cars have that wire.

      All cars have a wire that when voltage applied spins the starter motor, that will not start the car. You need another wire that is engaged with power and left powered up BEFORE you hit the second wire that will spin the starter to start the car. your car will not start if the Ignition system is powered up so the spark plugs fire, fuel injected needs power there as well, luckily instead of just powering the ignition that same second wire will power the ECM that fires the injectors.

      Older cars stop there. Most cars newer than 2000 need a box to fool the key system to believe a real key is in the ignition this electronic box can get tricky, or you can do what some others do, bury a spare key in the ignition column to fool the system as there really is a key “present”.

      1. The two vehicles I’ve owned that include the electronic key (Are those things like RFID or what?), would let you start the vehicle without the key present, but will not shift from park. In my wife’s Wrangle with remote start, you can start the engine remotely but you have to insert the key and perform the ‘start’ motion before you try to drive it. Also, the engine will refuse to start if any of the doors are ajar, or the hood is open. In our old Caravan, a non-official (cheap hardware store copy we made for lockout events) would start the car but not allow it to be driven.

        Also, any car that still takes a real key also has the steering column lock that engages if the key is in the off position, which only lets you drive in an almost straight line.

    2. If one lives in a temperate climate, that is.

      If it’s -25°or lower at 6:30 AM when you have to go to work, one of the great joys of life is a warm car. There’s probably an A/C equivalent for this in Tucson or Abu Dhabi as well.

  2. So he need to be sure not to leave gear in before he uses this, right? Did I miss it, or is he really not checking this with his RasPi and a “a few dirt simple lines of code”? Way to go … NOT.

        1. Most automatics won’t start unless they’re in park anyway. I doubt the alarm system install did anything to disable that safety feature. Most won’t let you remove the key if unless it’s in park either, so that prevents you from walking away from the vehicle (With the key) if it’s not in park.

  3. It would be way to slow for my liking. I get into the car and two seconds later ist running just with the regular key. To fifddle around with the smartwatch or even phone, have it open google now, misrecognize the first attempt, wait for the second aaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh

    1. If you’re waiting for this to happen then you’re doing it wrong. I could see this being quite useful in places where major frost is a problem. Start the car without going outside and when you get outside if you left the heater on full blast then the frost should sort itself out making scraping windows much easier.

      Also how are you using your damn gear that you have to fiddle, and that it misrecognizes? The whole point of the phrase “Ok Google” is that there’s no fiddling involved. It’s completely handsfree.

  4. So, does his Jeep/Raspberry have to be connected to WiFi, or is there a peer to peer connection between his phone and Jeep? Either way seems like a hassle. I think I would have just gone with one of DEI’s LC3 SST models.

  5. You know what, I like it. Half the people complaining about this don’t understand the basis of hackaday. “Why would you want this?” or “Why did he use a raspi?” He used a tool to do something that the alarm wasn’t originally designed to do. He hacked something together. I think that there should be a new HaD policy that says you can’t bitch about somebody’s project until you submit one of your own. The comment section would probably be a lot more useful.

    1. Well the main gripe is using a quad core computer to trigger a relay is extremely wasteful. If this project had more functionality that would explain the use of such a “overpowered” processor for such a trivial task.

      My pi is a wireless lights hub, torrent server, media center and climate control all in one and it’s just a Pi B model.

      Just saying he took the easy route and copied code from other sites.

  6. Would have leaved a tip, but didn’t know if this could be referenced to this article. You could build a voice recognition starter with rfo basic.
    For an example see this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sLB8Jgdvs8 (i didnt do this video nor the robot either, but tested the voice recognition by my own on my own android mobile phone and it works very well!)

    You eventually could replace the Raspberry with an µC (Arduino or the like) in conjunction with a WLAN- or Bluetooth-Module …

  7. I know I’m late to the party. But obviously I’m looking into it. I sold remote starts for years. We put mercury switches on hoods so they won’t start when the hood open. Tap onto the brake to kill the motor so it won’t go onto gear. So it can’t be stolen. Switches on the e brake for manuals and neutral safety switches. I can go buy a remote start for my car for 100.00 or so bucks. But isn’t that the point of pi and others like it? DIY. Learn how it works? Make it better and fits your desires.

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