Last week we caught wind of a piece from the Today Show that shows very technically minded thieves stealing cars with a small device.
You can easily light a neon lamp using an electrical field, otherwise neon lamps would not work. The energy flowing through the coil induces a voltage somewhere in the coin acceptor’s circuitry.
I’ll repeat here my theory (comment 230 on the original story) that they are not breaking in. I believe that when the owner takes the keys into the house they are still near enough to the car to make the alarm think the person trying the door handle is the keyholder and thus it opens for them. The reason why they don’t drive off with the car is because it will go out of range of the keyfob and stop,this is why they only go for the contents of the glovebox. The title is misleading, the criminals in the original piece never drove off with a stolen vehicle and I don’t remember anyone saying you could steal a car with their theory only that it may open the door.
If a current could be induced in the coil of a simple solenoid actuated lock, that could cause it to retract.
Perhaps someone has discovered a specific RF signal spread that can scramble some car alarms into NOT going off. Some friends of mine did this with a Renault (Megane I think), they managed to get the driver (a friend too) out of his running car, and drove the car a few blocks away. The solenoid, or whatever is used in cars would need to have a driver board, which has constant power running to it.
These type of devices have shown to send output that will travel through copper wires, traveling to circuit boards, and affecting the boards in a number of different ways, HOWEVER I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THIS CAN BE USED to activate a solenoid or its “driver” board whatever that may be.
I would place an inductor in series with the collector an the positive, this could prevent battery depletion. Think jeweller’s screwdriver versus sledgehammer, both work but the former does less collateral damage. The main problem with these devices is poor EMI control, i have had this problem with some homemade circuits where they pick up unexpected signals and trigger when they are not supposed to.
In the old days of coin-op arcade games, some people used piezo gas barbeque-lighters against the coin door to generate high voltage spikes that would make noise on the coin inputs to the board and gain credits.
He emailed us under a condition of anonymity, but he says it’s highly unlikely a mini EMP device would be able to activate the solenoid on a car door. I did that in the mid 70s putting a 6 watts neon tube pulled from a portable lamp near my CB rtx antenna. Car alarms are designed to go off when the lock is opened with the alarm armed, and the lock wasn’t opened using a key or the remote fob.
If the driver board had a mosfet to act as a switch, and someone was able to find a spot of entry that wasnt surrounded by ground… MAYBE, and thats a HUGE MAYBE this would work.
You’re not trying to activate a solenoid directly, just fudging a switch-press for a low-current signal.
Looking at the schematic, says that you would actually shortcircuit the battery with the transistor. Meaning some sort of barrier between the door handle and the actual door, or the lock and the door. And even if it were powerful enough it would probably stick to the door before it ever got to the coil. With extreme good luck, voltages leak all over the place, and some of the current ends up activating a transistor somewhere that would normally be triggered by a coin input.



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