Introduction: Spark Core Activates a Remote Car Starter Over WiFi

Remote Starters on cars are awesome! They warm your car during the winter and cool during the summer. It's nice to have a remote, but what if you want it to work further away?

In my office, my remote can't reach all the way to the parking deck, but our WiFi signal does.

Let's add Wi-Fi to my existing remote start without needing to know any code!

This took 20 minutes to install.

You can pick up a simple system for $40-50 on Amazon (Avital 4103LX Remote Start System with Two 4-Button Remote )

On almost every aftermarket remote starter there are two wires which can integrate with a Spark I.O: Remote Start Activation (-) input and Remote Start Status (-) output.

We are going to show you how to use one of the GPIO pins to send ground to the activation wire and remote start your car over WiFi or the web.

THANK YOU so much to my family at Geekspace Gwinnett and Ben who wrote the code for version 2! PLEASE take a moment to make a small donation to this amazing makerspace that drives innovation, inspiration and education of our future tinkerers.

Step 1: Tools and Supplies

TOOLS:

Soldering Iron if you want the wires soldered. I used heat-shrink crimps.

Wire Cutters/Strippers/Crimpers You can use all-in-one units

Super 33 Electrical tape (Stop buying the cheap stuff and get the real deal. I have this in places that has held for 15 years)

Lighter if you don't have a heat gun for shrink tubing and crimps

Smart Phone for Spark Core Tinker App.

SUPPLIES

Spark Core.

Installed and functioning Directed Electronics (Viper, Clifford, Avital, Stinger, Rattler, DEI, etc) or compatible aftermarket remote start unit. Remote Start System

1 amp Diode for Spark Core 3.3v output during rest periods.

12v to 5v adapter or ###ohm resistor. or cellphone car charger or 12v to 4.5v step-down regulator.

Zipties, wire loom, holder for the Spark Core, female jumper wire.

Step 2: Connections and How the Remote Start Works

Normally when you turn your car on with a key, you are connecting a +12v wire from the battery to an ignition wire, accessory wire, and finally temporarily connecting the starter wire to turn the engine over. The remote start system (Avital) is interfacing with that to activate a set of 12v/30 amp relays and mimic your action with the key cylinder.

Essentially a RS unit is an automated hotwire of your car.

In the main remote start harness there is a sequence activation wire (White with Blue on mine, but check your manual to verify)

Tie this wire to GPIO D1 pin on the Core

Add a diode with the white line facing towards the Spark Core. When the Core is in standby, it will rest on HIGH which is putting a 3.3v(+) output on this wire. This is acceptable, but to avoid any short circuit, this needs to be diode-isolated.

In the secondary Remote Starter plug there is a status wire (green, but still verify)

Tie this wire to the GPIO D2 pin on the Core.

That is all you need for version one which activates your RS unit with the Tinker app.

Step 3: Spark Io Code and Control

Remote Start with Tinker App

Open the Tinker app and tap the GPIO D1 pin to low which grounds the connection, then turn it to rest on HIGH after 1 second.

When the Remote Starter unit sees a ground (-) on the input wire, it will activate the remote start sequence and run for 12, 24, or 60 minutes depending on programming.

In Version two, we will add code where you can use a sequence with your factory remote (lock, unlock, lock) to activate the RS sequence.

Step 4: Wrapping and Packing It Up. Plus Updates for V2

Hide the Spark Core by wrapping everything in non-conductive black tape and zip-tie it to the factory bundle under your dash to make everything look factory so that people can't steal your car.

I will add photos of mine as soon as the rain stops here, but it looks stock because... you know, it's hidden.

Comments

author
john4178 made it! (author)2015-11-25

Has anyone ordered the Electron from Particle. I want to use it to make a remote starter. I was wondering if the wifi remote car starter would work about the same. If you have any idea's about this drop me a line.
Thanks John

author
john4178 made it! (author)john41782016-03-02

Well I got in the Electron and now I am going to give it a try. It took me 6hrs to install the remote start, but it works.

author
naveenae made it! (author)2015-07-17

Hello, I really wanted to start and stop my car (warm ups) which is stored in my garage in India. I live in US and wanted to warm up my car. I am not a technical guy. I have wifi over there in India. Before I buy Avital, I wanted to double check with the author of this indestructible, that this will work or not? Can you please email me a complete instruction so I can seek a mechanic's help too. Please email me your valuable suggestions. naveenae@yahoo.com

author
codyet made it! (author)2015-01-30

Would there be a way to set this up to use a factory installed remote start using an existing key fob wired to the Spark Core? There's an instructable over at: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-start-your-car-from-a-cell-phone-via-GSM-re/?ALLSTEPS that uses a cell connection, but I'd like to use wifi as you used here. I'd just need to have the Spark Core activate two switches on the key fob remote to start the car.

author
roger.roger.18488169 made it! (author)2015-01-15

Same here you can control your DSLR camera using your smart phone

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/969220052/camsformer-high-speed-triggeringwireless-camera-co

author
Crucio made it! (author)2015-01-11

Thanks for posting this. I wasn't aware of the activation input on remote starters! This is really going to simplify my project. I'm going to add a micro controller with wifi and a real time clock. I park about 1.25 miles from work and then take a shuttle. This is going to let me schedule to start the car 15 minutes before I arrive with the shuttle at the end of the work day. Since my schedule is fixed 9am-5pm, there's no need for a long distance link. Thanks again.

author
ImakeTV made it! (author)ImakeTV2015-01-13

that is a Great idea! What's great about the Directed units is that they will cut off after 12, 24 or 60 minutes and even if you accidentally leave the program going and it starts for no reason, it will cut off and not waste too much gas.

author
Sasando_Rote made it! (author)2015-01-12

mantap om..

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Bio: I love to shoot video, and capture creative photos. To get away from a screen I teach welding, sandblaster art, 3D printing and more at ... More »
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