Thursday, May 12, 2005

Car settings

So... My wife has a new car, and it has three buttons on the center console that you can program to open and close the garage door. These buttons are called "HomeLink". I would like to program them. So I dig around in the glove compartment and find the owner's manual [note to self -- paper owner's manuals are sad]. Here are the steps that you take to program one of these buttons, according to the manual:
  1. Press and hold the two outer HomeLink buttons, and release only when the indicator light begins to flash (after 20 seconds). Do not hold the buttons for longer than 30 seconds and do not repeat step one to program a second and/or third hand-held transmitter to the remaining two HomeLink buttons. [What, does the car explode if you hold them more than 30 seconds? Does it activate the driver side ejection seat? This little 10-second window is itself sad in many different ways.]

  2. Position the end of your hand-held transmitter 1-3 inches (3-8 cm) [note to self -- the fact that we STILL have two measurement scales is sad...] away from the HomeLink buttons while keeping the indicator light in view.

  3. Simultaneously press and hold both the HomeLink button that you want to train and the hand-held transmitter buttons. Do not release the buttons until step 4 has been completed. [Again, do I risk an explosion?]

    Note: Some gate operators and garage door openers may require you to replace this Programming Step 3 with procedures noted in the "Gate Opener/Canadian Programming" section. [What, gate openers in Canada have different DNA than those in America? It turns out that they do.]

  4. The HomeLink indicator light will flash slowly and then rapidly after HomeLink successfully receives the frequency signal from the hand-held transmitter. Release both buttons after the indicator light changes from slow to rapid flash.

  5. Press and hold the just trained HomeLink button and observe the indicator light. If the indicator light stays on constantly, programming is complete and your device should activate when the HomeLink button is pressed and released.
Now, isn't that intuitive??? There are actually four more steps in the manual that handle cases where these first five steps do not work.

Can it get any worse than this? Perhaps. Let's say that you do not like the car beeping loudly at you when you don't have your seatbelt on. You can actually turn it off. To do that you buckle your seatbelt and turn the ignition key on. Then, within 60 seconds, you turn the ignition switch off and unbuckle the seat belt. Then you turn the ignition switch back on and wait for the seatbelt warning light to turn off. Then, within 60 seconds, you buckle and unbuckle the seat belt at least 3 times, ending with the seat belt buckled. Then you turn the ignition key off, and a single chime sounds to indicate that you have accomplished your goal.

When you think about it, this is quite sad. There should be a way to change the settings on a $30,000 car that do not require you to turn the ignition key on and off, wait for a light to turn off, buckle and unbuckle a seat belt three times and so on. That is so primitive that it boggles the mind... it is just nuts.

I own a cell phone, which was free. I can program the ring tone, the background wallpaper and all sorts of other options using a nice menuing system displayed on a color LCD screen. I could make the argument that this LCD screen is itself crude from a SadTech perspective -- in 5 to 10 years I will simply have a conversation with the phone and tell it what I want it to do, rather than scrolling through menus. But a color LCD screen would be a huge improvement over the current steps required to program the garage door buttons or the seat belt chime.

I also have a little $75 firewall/router for my home network. I program it using a web interface. The router actually has an entire web server built in, and all the options for the router are changed with web pages coming from that server. In the absense of a verbal way to talk to the car to change settings (e.g. -- "Car, would you SHUT THE &*%$ UP about the seat belt already!"), wouldn't it be nice if the car had its own web server, and you simply pulled it up either on an in-car web browser or via the computer in your home? Then, the car could also comminicate with the garage door opener on the home network and make arrangements for the garage door to open whenever the right people are in the car.

The point is this -- the systems we are using today to program garage door openers and the seat belt chimes in our cars are ridiculous. They are incredibly sad given that we are living in the 21st century. As mentioned in the post on locks and keys, the house should simply recognize that you are pulling into the driveway (by talking to the car, which knows who the occupants are) and open the garage door for you.



At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Accord Man said...

yeah, nice instructions, very clear =)
generally, thanx for the nice blog, Marshall!

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous tom said...

Thank you, very interesting!

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

which year Accord do you have? I have an 06 with the same problem with the "seat belt" warning. I've tried to get it to stop but can't get the trick to work, any advice?

At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the disabling seat belt chime directions!! I knew how to do it with my first Jeep Grand Cherokee but now I have a new one and I couldn't for the life of me remember how to do it again! The dealer wouldn't tell me! I'm 42 years old and know that I need to wear my seat belt for heaven sake. I just wanted to turn the darn thing off! Thanks again!

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Matthew said...

We just got a new accord and these instructions were great. Thank you!!!

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous The Garage Guy said...

Thanks for informing the public on this, it really helps out.

At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Mr. Garage Door said...

I have a slightly older Accord, and your instructions worked great. Thank you.

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At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doesn't work on my 05 accord :-(

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