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Thread: Atom dead is it immobilizer issue?

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    Atom dead is it immobilizer issue?

    I went to take a ride this past weekend and my car wouldn't start. It was completely dead it did nothing when I hit the starter. I have never had an issue with starting my atom it always starts with the first press of the starter. I leave my car on a trickle charger whenever I am not driving it so I doubt the battery is bad. I checked for loose wires on main power switch, ignition switch and starter button--all good. I checked fuses all good. I swapped out relays still nothing. Before I have it towed to a shop to have the starter and solenoid checked out I wanted to check if anyone has experienced a similar situation with their car. I noticed today that when I turned the main power switch on the immobilizer light turns on and when I switch the ignition switch on the dashboard on the immobilizer light goes out and it doesn't blink like it used to. Has anyone ever run into this situation? Is this a sign that the immobilizer is bad?

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    When parked, the immobilizer lamp should flash about every 1.5 seconds. When you flip the ignition switch on, the lamp should flash frantically. When you introduce the key fob, the light should turn off and the fuel pump should be heard buzzing.

    Your trickle charger may be bad or lost it's connection. I'd get a charger with a high-amp "start" mode on there and see if it starts. I'd also charge the battery with a normal charger before having it towed. Many automatic battery chargers won't charge a battery that's lost all its charge and you need to use manual mode for a while first. This should be described in the charger manual.

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    Sector 4 thanks for the suggestions. I dont think my trickle charge is bad and I had just driven the car a week before so I dont think the battery had discharged completely. But it is very clear that the immobilizer light on my car is not behaving the way that it should--mine had behaved just like yours previously. I was also thinking like you that I should just try and jump the battery just in case I had a bad cell and the battery wasnt producing enough current. Fortunately, if the issue is the immobilizer Terry had a new one in the boxes of spares that came with the car. However, the original paperwork is missing and it appears that someone might have modified the wiring. Hopefully I wont have to replace it.

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    Electron sector: 4's Avatar
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    I recently went through a similar situation with my battery and trickle charger. The immobilizer CAN drain the tiny Atom battery completely in a week if the trickle charger isn't working for whatever reason and the battery wasn't fully charged when you parked it. My trickle charger indicator was lying about the state of charge. My voltmeter was indicating 12+ volts, yet the engine wasn't turning over. I wasn't sure if it was a dead battery, a short, a bad alternator or what. I was able to start the car with a charger in high-amp "engine start" mode though, and then charged the battery on a bench. It was just a discharged battery. The trickle charger connection was apparently just loose and I've learned not to trust the charge indicator on the trickle charger.

    You should try jump starting with cables and another car if you don't have a charger with "engine start" mode. If it starts, you can pretty much rule out the immobilizer as the problem. The first thing you want to do is get adequate electrical power to the Atom and see what happens. The LAST thing you want to do is replace the immobilizer. I'm pretty sure it's a huge PITA.
    Last edited by sector: 4; May 24, 2019 at 10:20 AM.

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    Latest update on my immobilizer mystery hopefully someone online here can shed some insight into what is causing this. As Sector 4 had noted earlier in this post the immobilizer should behave like this: When parked, the immobilizer lamp should flash about every 1.5 seconds. When you flip the ignition switch on, the lamp should flash frantically. When you introduce the key fob, the light should turn off and the fuel pump should be heard buzzing. What I am currently observing is that when I turn the main power on (red knob) the immobilizer is not arming and I can flip the ignition switch on the dash and hit the starter and it will start right up. If I then turn the ignition off and wait a bit the immobilizer will arm (begin flashing slowly) and then I can start the car with the fob and starter. If I wait until the immobilizer is flashing slowly before I turn the main power off then it will arm correctly when I turn the main power back on. Good news is I can start the car. Bad news is this is not how it is supposed to work. Anyone run into this before? any ideas welcome.

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    The immobilizer is meant for "normal" cars, which don't have a battery kill switch so most people will never have this issue.

    When you turn the engine off, the immobilizer goes into a countdown mode, allowing you to re-start the engine for a short period of time without having to te-introduce the key fob again. This is a convenience feature.

    It sounds to me that when you cut off power to the immobilizer with the battery kill switch while the immobilizer is still in countdown mode, it remembers where it left off and resumes the countdown the next time you want to start the car. I'm guessing that your problem will be solved by waiting for the immobilizer to arm itself after turning off the engine, before disconnecting the battery with the kill switch.
    Last edited by sector: 4; June 4, 2019 at 09:22 AM.

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    That would appear to be one way to get around this however, it bothers me that this isnt how it had performed previously. I was able to shut the main power down without waiting for it to arm itself. Frustrating and the lack of documentation from Sterling on their immobilizer just adds to the frustration. Thanks for the input.

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