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Old 05-27-2011, 02:24 PM   #1
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Default Definitive solution for a remote starter on a manual Miata

Here is the bullet proof solution for installing a remote starter on a manual transmission Miata...

The most common threat to installing a remote starter on a manual car is accidental starting in gear, and the consequent liabilities associated with the situation.
I used to have a r/s system on my previous NB, and had to build a cumbersome circuit which involved drilling the gear shifter column.
It was absolutely safe, but was a nightmare to fabricate, install and adjust.

I have been meaning to install a remote starter on my current NB, and had been putting it off for that very reason.

Well, after a bit of brainstorming I came up with an even better method, and wanted to share.

PLEASE do not attempt to install a remote starter system if you are not familiar with auto electrical systems, or if you do not possess the necessary skills/experience/know-how/will power/patience/resources/tools, etc to tackle a job of this magnitude and variety.

Here is how you do it:

* Buy the remote starter/alarm combo of your choice. Any brand, anything you like.

* Install the system as per the manufacturer's specs, (except for one wire - see two steps below) Solder all connections, run separate grounds to the chassis where needed. (Do not ever tap into existing ground circuits). You need to bypass the clutch switch, as well, takes a minute at most.

* (Here is the good part) Identify your car as an AUTOMATIC. This way, you will not have to go through the ridiculous song and dance "protocol" every time you exit the car.

* There is one wire that comes off the starter unit. It is usually labeled as "Hand Brake", or "Neutral switch" or "Park position". This wire has to be grounded in order for the remote starter to operate. If it is not grounded, the car will not start remotely.

* Get a simple relay. Could have four or five terminals, it makes no difference.
Four wires need to be hooked up to this relay.
1 The wire from the start module mentioned above,
2 A wire from the neutral switch (will be explained in detail below)
3 A wire from the ignition (will be explained in detail below)
4 A wire from the Hand Brake signal circuit.

Wiring explanation:

Wire 2:
There is a neutral switch on the transmission. This switch tells the ECU if the car is in neutral so Cruise Control can be deactivated. This wire terminates at the ECU, at Terminal 1V, and is Violet. Tap into this wire and run it to the start module location.

Wire 3:
You will have to tap into the ignition wire when you are installing the main unit anyway. This is the wire you will see 12V on when the key is turned to the ON position. Tap into it, and again, run the wire to the start module location.

Wire 4:
There is a thin (I wanna say 16 gauge) wire that runs from the Hand Brake switch which is located on the brake lever, all the way to the dash panel to illuminate the brake warning light when the E-Brake is pulled up. You can follow that wire, and tap it wherever is convenient for you. Again, run this wire to the start module location, as well.

Solder terminals on all four wires.
The wire from the start module goes on terminal 30 on the relay.
Wire 2, from the neutral switch goes on terminal 87.
Wire 3, from the ignition goes on terminal 86.
Wire 4, from the E-Brake goes to terminal 85.

Here is what we have done:
This is and "AND" circuit.
In order for the relay to open and provide ground for the starter unit, The E-Brake needs to be pulled up, AND the transmission needs to be in neutral.
If either of these conditions are not met, the starter unit does not receive the ground signal it needs. Period.

The reason behind using the IGN wire to feed the relay is to a) keep the relay from overheating when the car is parked, and, b) to avoid any sort of an additional drain on the battery. (I know a relay drains only about 125 mA, but, a drain is a drain, so why not eliminate it..) The relay is only activated when you hit the start button on your remote, and the starter unit powers up the ignition circuit. Otherwise, it is effectively dead.

There is also a good reason for hooking up the wires as described:
When you are driving, the E-Brake is down. So, the relay is not active when you are driving. If it was the other way around, it would click every time you shifted. Annoying. Shortens the relay's life, as well.

Please test everything before you button it up.

Oh, another important thing:
If you need to test the system by leaving the car in gear (to see if it really works) and pushing in the clutch (You sit in the car, key off, leave it in gear and push the clutch in to keep the car from moving in case it starts) YOU HAVE TO unplug the clutch switch in order to do this test (not the bypass switch, there is another one, which looks just like the brake light switch at the top of the pedal assembly). This switch is connected to the neutral switch circuit, and grounds the circuit when the clutch is depressed. Do not worry, no one will be in the car to push the clutch when you are remote starting it.

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Old 05-27-2011, 05:51 PM   #2
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Will I have the neutral switch if I don't have cruise control?

Awesome write up.
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Old 05-27-2011, 06:15 PM   #3
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Yes. All miatas have it. My car does not have cc.
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