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

Spark Core activates a Remote Car Starter over WiFi
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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

Spark Core activates a Remote Car Starter over WiFi

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

Spark Core activates a Remote Car Starter over WiFi

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

Spark Core activates a Remote Car Starter over WiFi
Spark Core activates a Remote Car Starter over WiFi
Spark Core activates a Remote Car Starter over WiFi

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

Spark Core activates a Remote Car Starter over WiFi
Spark Core activates a Remote Car Starter over WiFi

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.

 
 

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