Instructables

RFID Car Lock/Unlock v1.0

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In this video you see me unlock the car using a RFID tag, wait 25sec and the car relocks.




Basic Overview
This project outlines a way to lock and unlock your car using Radio-frequency identification(RFID, For more info please check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio-frequency_identification). The main reason for me doing this is as you will see in the pictures i have an old car(300k+ miles old) and so it doesn't have any of these new key less entry options or a remote control dongle. While it would be simple enough to add a remote it would cost some money and i would rather do something myself. I had a friend who did something very similar to this but having his car only unlock so i thought it would be nice to also have it lock. As with all instructables this is a guide, its what worked best for me by no means is it the most efficient or the easiest hopefully it will give you ideas to go do your own project that's different and share in turn share that with us. This is my first instructable and so if you have any suggestions/questions please don't hesitate to let me know. 

This is a basic overview of the order of operations for my system.
  • Walk up to car and scan in RFID tag.
  • The RFID readers send the tags data serially to the micro-controller.
  • The micro-controller then verifies that the tag has the right code to unlock the car.
  • If the code is invalide the tag is ignored.
  • If the code is valid the micro-controller sends a signal to the switching circuit to unlock the car.
  • 25sec later the micro-controller locks the car
As you can see i currently have it setup to unlock and then re-lock the car after 25 seconds, This was not my original plan but after thinking about it i found it worked best for me doing it this way.


Difficulty Level
I would say that this project is not so much difficult as time consuming. For me the hardest part was the wiring the system into the car. Also something to note, if you have a security system it maybe significantly more complicated depending on the layout of your system. In my car the passenger side window does not go down there for giving me a lot of free space in the door, and the driver side rear door/window are not used giving me the ability to easily place a reader in its window.

Future versions of this project
In the future i plan to modify this project in several ways, I hope to replace RFID with bluetooth and also incorporate the ignition system to allow of keyless/remote start. The next change i will make is probably adding a 2nd RFID reader to the passenger side of the car.

Legal blah blah
RFID is by no means a secure system, no lock is. All that to say if you install this and someone steals your car i am in no way responsible. That said, your car is full of windows, glass is a lot easier to hack into then RFID ;) 
 
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gtkid20028 months ago
Just a heads up for anyone looking to use this on the latest revision of the Arduino software, converting NewSoftSerial to SoftwareSerial is easy. Just seriously replace anything that says "NewSoftSerial" with "SoftwareSerial". ONLY those parts.

Further info can be located here:
arduiniana.org/libraries/newsoftserial/
thematthewknot (author)  gtkid20028 months ago
hey thanks for the update, i knew NewSoftSerial was incorporated into the Arduino software so you no longer need the external library, i do appreciate the update for everyone. I may redo the code in the future. I have a new car now so need to redo this system to work on it.
I never was able to get this going in my bug. Now it's totalled, so that's probably never going to happen....

However I do have a motorcycle. Not sure how that would work though.
thematthewknot (author)  gtkid20028 months ago
I have a friend who has it working on his motorcycle, he used a different interface board but was able to do it, in fact his controls the ignition of his bike.
emmas4impact9 months ago
hello, whats the idea behind this if perhaps, I wanted to do similar thing for a FORKLIFT. to grant access to authorize user. will i still use the same device?
thematthewknot (author)  emmas4impact8 months ago
You could use this for a fork lift, you will have to change the section i have unlocking the doors to a different circuit possibly something in-line with the ignition and some slight changes in the code, however feel free to take and butcher whatever parts of this project software or hardware to fit your needs. Once you get it going please share with us all what you did :)
Jasdeep119 months ago
hey this is a cool project, but i have a raspberry pi and was wondering if you knew how it would work with that.
thematthewknot (author)  Jasdeep119 months ago
Well you could do it with a raspberry pi however i think that device is overkill for this application also you would need different code, and a slightly different hardware interface. Be sure to share if you get it going though. :)
gtkid20021 year ago
Just wondering, but what version of Arduino did you use to upload this code? I can't seem to get it to work for the life of me. I've tried 1.0.1 and 0021, and so far no luck.

Awesome setup by the way, I've been trying to figure out how to get this setup in my '69 bug after I install a lock actuator.
thematthewknot (author)  gtkid20021 year ago
Well back then it would have been pre 0021, but that really shouldn't matter, i just quickly skimmed over the code and didn't see anything that would have been arduino version specific. Are you copying the code from the file i uploaded and pasted into a .ino? if not try that. What errors are you getting when you try to compile it?
Well turns out with the new Arduino 1.0 they dropped NewSoftSerial , now it's just SoftwareSerial. I replaced the two instances with that and it works just fine. I'm slowly learning about coding, so sorry about that. It was giving me some funky error earlier, but it seems to be working now. Just have to get something other than my Seeeduino mega to try it on and I should be in business.
thematthewknot (author)  gtkid20021 year ago
Oh yeah i forgot i used newsoftserial there, that's cool you got the code working. I have sense given away my car so i have not yet improved upon this setup but once i get back in country and buy a new car ill be doing it again. Looking forward to seeing the results of your project with the bug.
lloydrmc2 years ago
The RadioShack RFID reader circuitry was discontinued some time ago, and sold at increasingly reduced prices thereafter. I seriously doubt that you could still find one in a store.
thematthewknot (author)  lloydrmc2 years ago
That is correct RadioShack did phase them out when that happened i bought a handful, however they are still very easy to find online by searching for "parallax rfid reader" and there are other alternative readers out there both in 125kHz and other frequencies.
Foxtrot702 years ago
Great Instructable! No Key entry.
In a simular 'structable, an other author had set up RFID for his college dorm room. His transmitter was the same chip as used in canine id service. He had this injected in the fleshy area of his hand between thumb and index finger. To use he merely waved his had at the door, "abra-cadabra" the door unlocks.
thematthewknot (author)  Foxtrot702 years ago
yeah i have a friend who did that with a chip in his hand, i guess im just not that hardcore lol
kool1zero2 years ago
Did you try mounting the reader somewhere a little less noticeable? i was thinking behind the door panel near the handle or something would be nice
thematthewknot (author)  kool1zero2 years ago
It would be possible to obscure it somewhat, I wanted it to be pretty obvious. The issue with going behind the door panel is rfid has a very limited range and a metal door panel might block the signal completely. Its fairly simple to remove the LED on the reader which would also make it alot less noticeable.
well, i was just thinking that it might would lessen the value to some people's mind if you were reselling down the line. thinking hey this guy screwed with his cars wiring
thematthewknot (author)  kool1zero2 years ago
Thats defiantly something to consider before doing this, i know for me i plan on removing it from the car to transfer it to my next car when the time comes. That said almost all the people i show this system to think its really cool, so it might even increase the value of the car to some people kinda just depends on who it is i suppose.
ginger200372 years ago
That would be so awesome for my truck, but I'd have to get automatic locks for it instead of the manual ones it has :(
thematthewknot (author)  ginger200372 years ago
Might be worth pulling off a door panel and having a look, often cars will be wired for all the options(electric locks, extra door lights etc) and then those options may/maynot be installed so you might well have the wiring there even if you don't have the switches
thegeeke2 years ago
Intresting. I considered doing this on my old car because I kept locking my keys in my car, but that car died, so now I have a remote for my new one. I'm not sure how much that rfid reader is on the website, but I think retail is $99. I picked one up at radioshack for $10.
thematthewknot (author)  thegeeke2 years ago
$99? I own 3 of them and didn't pay more than 20 for each so that seems kinda high, but maybe you are right. Radioshack used to have them im not sure if they still do, however I know they have gotten alot of new parallax stuff recently so maybe they do.
I agree that it's over-priced, but according to radio shack that was retail... like I said, they marked them down to 10.
ac1D2 years ago
Who use screws, anyway? We have tape! Lmao :)
thematthewknot (author)  ac1D2 years ago
My thoughts exactly ;)
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