How to Extend the Range of Your Car Remote

key-fob

If you’ve ever walked around a parking lot trying to remember where you parked, clicking the alarm button on your key fob is a great way of playing Marco Polo to find your vehicle. But what if your vehicle is parked beyond the range of your remote? Or maybe you simply forgot to lock your vehicle and don’t want to walk back within range to lock it? Here’s an easy trick to extend the range of your remote.

Simply hold the remote (transmitter) against your head and click the button. I’ve seen this done by touching it to your noggin – as the guy in the Top Gear show demonstrates below – and also by placing the remote under your chin. Either way it seems to increase your car’s remote distance by 2 to 3 times. (Your mileage may vary.)

The New York Times asked a Silicon Valley radio engineer, Tim Pozar, for his take on how the trick turns your head into a DIY antenna.

Mr. Pozar explains, “You are capacitively coupling the fob to your head. With all the fluids in your head it ends up being a nice conductor. Not a great one, but it works.

I wasn’t familiar with the phrase “capacitively coupling”, but a quick Google turned up this definition from Princeton.edu: In electronics, capacitive coupling is the transfer of energy within an electrical network by means of the capacitance between circuit nodes.

Alrighty then.

My next thought was, what’s all this “capacitively coupling” going to be doing to my brain? Am I going to have to start wearing an aluminum-foil hat the rest of the day to offset the effects? Then I thought about all of the wireless waves beaming through my cranium as they deliver my GPS directions, radio music, and oh yeah, that cell phone I keep pressing to my ear. I decided a few extra pulses probably weren’t going to make much of a difference. Especially went it is broiling out and my car is lost in a huge parking lot.

 

Emergency Items You Need In Your Car

emerg-b

Checklist: The top 10 Emergency Items You Need in Your Car

“Today is the day I’m going to get stranded on the road,” said no one, ever. Be prepared with this quick list of items that can make a bad situation a little easier.

1.) Jumper cables along with info on how to use them

2.) A fully charged cell phone. Even if you don’t think you have reception in your area, the phone company may be able to locate you by triangulating your position with cell towers.

3.) A first-aid kit. Check occasionally to make sure items such as ointments aren’t expired.

4.) A map for the area you will be traveling in. This may seem archaic, but when your cell phone dies, an old-fashioned map may come in handy.

5.) A flashlight with extra batteries. Don’t depend on your phone’s flashlight as that feature can really drain your battery.

6.) Duct tape. Duct tape is used for everything from prom dresses to saving the lives of astronauts in space, and it is also handy for some emergency roadside fixes such as holding up a bumper or keeping a hood closed.

7.) Bottled water and protein bars. Most people can only go two to three days without water. You can survive a lot longer without food than you can without water, but I hate to even skip lunch, so keeping a few protein bars in your car is a good idea.

8.) Emergency blanket or towel. You can buy survival blankets for about $1. They are a compact, lightweight, waterproof blanket that can be used for heat deflection, as a wind and rain barrier, for body heat insulation, or as a rescue signal.

9.) A handy, all-purpose tool set. Nothing too elaborate. You’ll need the basics. If you toss in a tire pressure gauge and spare fuses, you’ll be even better off.

10.) A small fire extinguisher. It’s not often that you need one, but it could make the difference between having one burnt hose or a charbroiled car.

And a bonus item…

11.) Roadside flares