Failed Key-Fob ended 7500km Trip short

Louballs

.060 Over
Joined
Mar 28, 2021
Messages
103
Ride
Rocket III
1 - Yes, I suppose you could. Just a preference to not fill up the key ring but to each his own.
2 - The tin foil (aluminum foil) is to prevent the sensor (at the rear left panel) from inadvertently reading the RFID of the spare (standard) key; which would not be secure and render the bike operable by anyone who turned it on. More out of caution than anything.
3 - I was disappointed more than anything. A trip that was postponed in 2020 and and highly anticipated in 2021 was ruined by bad electronics. I guess I could yell at the sky gods or something but really it was about getting running again. My time in the military taught me to solve first, whinge second.

I posted this so that others may avoid a similar fate. If I help one person avoid such an situation, I'll be good.

Of note: I won't disclose the details but Triumph America, upon submission of my related expenses did offer me something as compensation for my troubles. Not a total reimbursement but something which is more than they were obligated to do. So kudos to them.

Update: The key-fob is ordered and is due in 3 weeks, so a trip to the dealer for pairing of the fob to bike and then I should be back to normal (with tin-foiled key stowed under the seat).

Also of note: I said "F@ck it" and we're going to do the trip again next year, come hell or high-water! Only this year our return trip will be through the New England states!! Yay!!!
That's good to know! I often get a FOB warning when riding, but just assume its from its location (pocket). I hope that's not some early indicator of a failing FOB.
 

Tripps

Retired superhero
Joined
Oct 9, 2010
Messages
9,300
Location
Florida and NY
Ride
R3T,Sprintona,K1200GT, Blackbird,r/65 hack
50s through 70s appliances lasted 50 years, now that they sold people on digital and touchscreens as better, there's problems and breakdowns within a couple years. Technology isn't always better, just cheaper to manufacture than mechanical parts, I bought keyless ignition for my rocket, ended up uninstalling, I couldn't keep my key with the bike, killed bike and fob battery quickly.
 

Evil Mitch

LETS RIDE
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
4,102
Location
Brisbane Australia
Ride
2004 Triumph Daytona 600
Our annual bike trip was supposed to take us from Toronto to Newfoundland and back. A trip estimated to be 7500km over 25 days. We were going to see some great sights, some great roads, and spend some time with my son in Halifax.

On or about day 3 of the trip I get the ever popular "Key-Fob missing" error while riding. I also get a "Check the Key-Fob Battery" message some time later. All of which came and went without any issue whatsoever. Then it got uglier...

The bike wouldn't start. Push to engage the engine and nothing. The Display Panel blinks at you with its red light (more on that later) and nothing... Then, lo and behold, it starts. Yay, we're off to the hotel. At the hotel, I grad my tools, my spare battery and I change it out. Bike starts repeatedly. I sleep well.

Next day, some breakfast, some roads of Cape Breton Island, then off to the ferry terminal to board for our 17-hour ferry from Sydney to Argentia, Newfoundland. But wait, now the bike really won't start. And by now many of you have already guessed at the solution (like I did) and you too would be wrong. The following were done repeatedly in search of a starting motorcycle while the clocked ticked down to a ferry crossing that was $1000 (for me and my wife's bike).
  • Is the Key-Fob on? Check - Green light shows when pressed
  • Is the motorcycle battery good? Check - 14.6V when running, 12.8V when off
  • Is the Key-Fob battery in properly? Check - all good, no issues, even moved the little tongs for the battery for a better fit
  • Kick-stand down? Check
  • Bike in Neutral - Check
  • Clutch in - Check
  • Lather, rinse, repeat
    • NOTE: My bike is for the Canadian Market, we do not have a Master Ignition Switch like those in the US.
Called the dealership where I bought it from. They suggested the aforementioned steps above. Check. They also found a dealer closer to me. They were 1900km away, the closer dealer was only 415km away. Check. Called him. Repeat steps again. "Sorry mate, nothing we can do without getting connected to it" he said.

Rent a U-Haul in Sydney on July 28th before a long weekend in Nova Scotia. Buy some tie-down straps at the local Canadian Tire (think Sears or Pep Boys or an automotive based Walmart without the groceries). Load my R3GT and my wife's HD Heritage Classic into the back with the help of some very supportive bikers who noticed our troubles. Drove to Truro, Nova Scotia for the night's stay (because it's a long weekend and hotels are in short supply). Get up in the morning and make for APD Motorsports in Glen Haven, Nova Scotia just outside of Halifax.

So it's July 29th at this point; I get the phone call later in the day says "What's the problem? It started for me!"... He says "I updated the keyless ignition software and it's working!" to which I think great, see you in on Tuesday" But wait there's more. At or about 10am Tuesday August 3rd he calls as we're packing up our 6th night in the hotel "Seems that didn't do the trick, let me try a few other things but I likely won't get back to you until tomorrow." Okay, talk to you on tomorrow... He asks "Do you have the other key for it?" To which I reply "Yes but it's at my home in Toronto". He asks "Can you get it here?". "Sure" I said. I then call a friend who was checking the mail amongst other things for us as we were supposed to be gone almost a month, have her go into my safe and get the spare keys. She sends them priority overnight to the dealer and they arrive the next afternoon. Here's when the fun starts...

"You sent the wrong keys!" he states. "Do you have the other key-fob?". To which all the R3 owners know, you get ONE key-fob and two spare (standard) keys. He had the ONE key-fob and it wasn't doing the trick. I then asked if he had tried the "emergency method" for starting the bike with the spare key. "Not yet!" he said. An hour later, he calls back. "Bike is working with the spare key"

Great! Next day August 5th by now, we are packed up, leaving the hotel (for good this time) and off to get both bikes. He was gracious enough to store the Harley too while we were down on our luck. I started the bike with the spare key (more on it and the red light soon). We put on our rain gear, and were off home.

The RED LIGHT on the display when you click the Engine Start/Stop switch. It's doing something and I'm about to tell you what...

If you have a valid key-fob its looking for it and if it finds it, it turns on the display and you can start the bike. If it doesn't find the key-fob, it reads the sensor in the rear left panel to see if the spare is nearby. If it is detected, the display comes on, you can start the bike and all is good. It's NOT instant. There's a pause. The order of events is something like this...
  1. Push up or push down the Engine Start/Stop switch as you normally would to start the bike, the red light on the display blinks at you at this point
  2. Holding the metal end of the standard key (not the end with black end on it) shown below by the red circled X, wave it around the rear left fender
  3. In a second or two, the display comes on, and then you've got a minute (60 seconds) to start the bike or it shuts itself off.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat. All told, click the switch, position the spare (standard) key, and in a couple of seconds you're golden.
  5. NOTE: I did not have to hold it right up to the sensor or finely position it. I just needed to wave it about close the area. If you have saddle bags, it's literally between the mounting points of the saddlebags. Very easy to find once you do it a few times. Which if you haven't already, you should try.
So what was the problem, you ask. The KEY-FOB was the problem!!!
It seems that it is no longer capable of being paired with the ECU and as such it is as useless as brown-paper riding gloves on a rainy day. The key-fob is back-ordered like all things electronics these days; so in 6 - 8 weeks I should have a new one. I then have to take it to the dealer to have the replacement key-fob paired with the bike and hopefully that's it.

My recommendation is to wrap a spare (standard) key in some tinfoil. Put it under your seat and have it handy for when your key-fob dies (either outright or from a battery failure).

Hope this helps people in the future. If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

Page 63 of Owner's Manual
1628624806882.png

Page 64 of Owner's Manual
1628624978859.png


P.S. The trip was still 4100km, I still got to spend time with my son in Halifax, and I still have the rest of the season to enjoy the bike. Silver linings.
Fantastic information thanks for sharing 🙏
 

leatal

Turbocharged
Joined
Mar 11, 2015
Messages
747
Location
Dothan, Alabama
Ride
2014 Roadster, 2020 Rocket GT
Nice to know. When you take the bike back for the new fob programming, take all three keys and ensure the three keys you are leaving the dealership with will work before departing to return home. I read somewhere that you can only program three keys into the ECM. If you program the fourth key, one of the other keys will lose its ability to link to the ECM.
 

Aregg

.020 Over
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
22
Ride
Collecting my Rocket 3 GT next week, also a Honda
Our annual bike trip was supposed to take us from Toronto to Newfoundland and back. A trip estimated to be 7500km over 25 days. We were going to see some great sights, some great roads, and spend some time with my son in Halifax.

On or about day 3 of the trip I get the ever popular "Key-Fob missing" error while riding. I also get a "Check the Key-Fob Battery" message some time later. All of which came and went without any issue whatsoever. Then it got uglier...

The bike wouldn't start. Push to engage the engine and nothing. The Display Panel blinks at you with its red light (more on that later) and nothing... Then, lo and behold, it starts. Yay, we're off to the hotel. At the hotel, I grad my tools, my spare battery and I change it out. Bike starts repeatedly. I sleep well.

Next day, some breakfast, some roads of Cape Breton Island, then off to the ferry terminal to board for our 17-hour ferry from Sydney to Argentia, Newfoundland. But wait, now the bike really won't start. And by now many of you have already guessed at the solution (like I did) and you too would be wrong. The following were done repeatedly in search of a starting motorcycle while the clocked ticked down to a ferry crossing that was $1000 (for me and my wife's bike).
  • Is the Key-Fob on? Check - Green light shows when pressed
  • Is the motorcycle battery good? Check - 14.6V when running, 12.8V when off
  • Is the Key-Fob battery in properly? Check - all good, no issues, even moved the little tongs for the battery for a better fit
  • Kick-stand down? Check
  • Bike in Neutral - Check
  • Clutch in - Check
  • Lather, rinse, repeat
    • NOTE: My bike is for the Canadian Market, we do not have a Master Ignition Switch like those in the US.
Called the dealership where I bought it from. They suggested the aforementioned steps above. Check. They also found a dealer closer to me. They were 1900km away, the closer dealer was only 415km away. Check. Called him. Repeat steps again. "Sorry mate, nothing we can do without getting connected to it" he said.

Rent a U-Haul in Sydney on July 28th before a long weekend in Nova Scotia. Buy some tie-down straps at the local Canadian Tire (think Sears or Pep Boys or an automotive based Walmart without the groceries). Load my R3GT and my wife's HD Heritage Classic into the back with the help of some very supportive bikers who noticed our troubles. Drove to Truro, Nova Scotia for the night's stay (because it's a long weekend and hotels are in short supply). Get up in the morning and make for APD Motorsports in Glen Haven, Nova Scotia just outside of Halifax.

So it's July 29th at this point; I get the phone call later in the day says "What's the problem? It started for me!"... He says "I updated the keyless ignition software and it's working!" to which I think great, see you in on Tuesday" But wait there's more. At or about 10am Tuesday August 3rd he calls as we're packing up our 6th night in the hotel "Seems that didn't do the trick, let me try a few other things but I likely won't get back to you until tomorrow." Okay, talk to you on tomorrow... He asks "Do you have the other key for it?" To which I reply "Yes but it's at my home in Toronto". He asks "Can you get it here?". "Sure" I said. I then call a friend who was checking the mail amongst other things for us as we were supposed to be gone almost a month, have her go into my safe and get the spare keys. She sends them priority overnight to the dealer and they arrive the next afternoon. Here's when the fun starts...

"You sent the wrong keys!" he states. "Do you have the other key-fob?". To which all the R3 owners know, you get ONE key-fob and two spare (standard) keys. He had the ONE key-fob and it wasn't doing the trick. I then asked if he had tried the "emergency method" for starting the bike with the spare key. "Not yet!" he said. An hour later, he calls back. "Bike is working with the spare key"

Great! Next day August 5th by now, we are packed up, leaving the hotel (for good this time) and off to get both bikes. He was gracious enough to store the Harley too while we were down on our luck. I started the bike with the spare key (more on it and the red light soon). We put on our rain gear, and were off home.

The RED LIGHT on the display when you click the Engine Start/Stop switch. It's doing something and I'm about to tell you what...

If you have a valid key-fob its looking for it and if it finds it, it turns on the display and you can start the bike. If it doesn't find the key-fob, it reads the sensor in the rear left panel to see if the spare is nearby. If it is detected, the display comes on, you can start the bike and all is good. It's NOT instant. There's a pause. The order of events is something like this...
  1. Push up or push down the Engine Start/Stop switch as you normally would to start the bike, the red light on the display blinks at you at this point
  2. Holding the metal end of the standard key (not the end with black end on it) shown below by the red circled X, wave it around the rear left fender
  3. In a second or two, the display comes on, and then you've got a minute (60 seconds) to start the bike or it shuts itself off.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat. All told, click the switch, position the spare (standard) key, and in a couple of seconds you're golden.
  5. NOTE: I did not have to hold it right up to the sensor or finely position it. I just needed to wave it about close the area. If you have saddle bags, it's literally between the mounting points of the saddlebags. Very easy to find once you do it a few times. Which if you haven't already, you should try.
So what was the problem, you ask. The KEY-FOB was the problem!!!
It seems that it is no longer capable of being paired with the ECU and as such it is as useless as brown-paper riding gloves on a rainy day. The key-fob is back-ordered like all things electronics these days; so in 6 - 8 weeks I should have a new one. I then have to take it to the dealer to have the replacement key-fob paired with the bike and hopefully that's it.

My recommendation is to wrap a spare (standard) key in some tinfoil. Put it under your seat and have it handy for when your key-fob dies (either outright or from a battery failure).

Hope this helps people in the future. If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

Page 63 of Owner's Manual
1628624806882.png

Page 64 of Owner's Manual
1628624978859.png


P.S. The trip was still 4100km, I still got to spend time with my son in Halifax, and I still have the rest of the season to enjoy the bike. Silver linings.
Thank you very much useful thread, however with my 2021 US GT the standard key only works reliably in the QUICK START position.
 

sonnie

.060 Over
Joined
Jul 20, 2020
Messages
148
Location
Blue Ridge Georgia
Ride
rocket 3 GT,
Our annual bike trip was supposed to take us from Toronto to Newfoundland and back. A trip estimated to be 7500km over 25 days. We were going to see some great sights, some great roads, and spend some time with my son in Halifax.

On or about day 3 of the trip I get the ever popular "Key-Fob missing" error while riding. I also get a "Check the Key-Fob Battery" message some time later. All of which came and went without any issue whatsoever. Then it got uglier...

The bike wouldn't start. Push to engage the engine and nothing. The Display Panel blinks at you with its red light (more on that later) and nothing... Then, lo and behold, it starts. Yay, we're off to the hotel. At the hotel, I grad my tools, my spare battery and I change it out. Bike starts repeatedly. I sleep well.

Next day, some breakfast, some roads of Cape Breton Island, then off to the ferry terminal to board for our 17-hour ferry from Sydney to Argentia, Newfoundland. But wait, now the bike really won't start. And by now many of you have already guessed at the solution (like I did) and you too would be wrong. The following were done repeatedly in search of a starting motorcycle while the clocked ticked down to a ferry crossing that was $1000 (for me and my wife's bike).
  • Is the Key-Fob on? Check - Green light shows when pressed
  • Is the motorcycle battery good? Check - 14.6V when running, 12.8V when off
  • Is the Key-Fob battery in properly? Check - all good, no issues, even moved the little tongs for the battery for a better fit
  • Kick-stand down? Check
  • Bike in Neutral - Check
  • Clutch in - Check
  • Lather, rinse, repeat
    • NOTE: My bike is for the Canadian Market, we do not have a Master Ignition Switch like those in the US.
Called the dealership where I bought it from. They suggested the aforementioned steps above. Check. They also found a dealer closer to me. They were 1900km away, the closer dealer was only 415km away. Check. Called him. Repeat steps again. "Sorry mate, nothing we can do without getting connected to it" he said.

Rent a U-Haul in Sydney on July 28th before a long weekend in Nova Scotia. Buy some tie-down straps at the local Canadian Tire (think Sears or Pep Boys or an automotive based Walmart without the groceries). Load my R3GT and my wife's HD Heritage Classic into the back with the help of some very supportive bikers who noticed our troubles. Drove to Truro, Nova Scotia for the night's stay (because it's a long weekend and hotels are in short supply). Get up in the morning and make for APD Motorsports in Glen Haven, Nova Scotia just outside of Halifax.

So it's July 29th at this point; I get the phone call later in the day says "What's the problem? It started for me!"... He says "I updated the keyless ignition software and it's working!" to which I think great, see you in on Tuesday" But wait there's more. At or about 10am Tuesday August 3rd he calls as we're packing up our 6th night in the hotel "Seems that didn't do the trick, let me try a few other things but I likely won't get back to you until tomorrow." Okay, talk to you on tomorrow... He asks "Do you have the other key for it?" To which I reply "Yes but it's at my home in Toronto". He asks "Can you get it here?". "Sure" I said. I then call a friend who was checking the mail amongst other things for us as we were supposed to be gone almost a month, have her go into my safe and get the spare keys. She sends them priority overnight to the dealer and they arrive the next afternoon. Here's when the fun starts...

"You sent the wrong keys!" he states. "Do you have the other key-fob?". To which all the R3 owners know, you get ONE key-fob and two spare (standard) keys. He had the ONE key-fob and it wasn't doing the trick. I then asked if he had tried the "emergency method" for starting the bike with the spare key. "Not yet!" he said. An hour later, he calls back. "Bike is working with the spare key"

Great! Next day August 5th by now, we are packed up, leaving the hotel (for good this time) and off to get both bikes. He was gracious enough to store the Harley too while we were down on our luck. I started the bike with the spare key (more on it and the red light soon). We put on our rain gear, and were off home.

The RED LIGHT on the display when you click the Engine Start/Stop switch. It's doing something and I'm about to tell you what...

If you have a valid key-fob its looking for it and if it finds it, it turns on the display and you can start the bike. If it doesn't find the key-fob, it reads the sensor in the rear left panel to see if the spare is nearby. If it is detected, the display comes on, you can start the bike and all is good. It's NOT instant. There's a pause. The order of events is something like this...
  1. Push up or push down the Engine Start/Stop switch as you normally would to start the bike, the red light on the display blinks at you at this point
  2. Holding the metal end of the standard key (not the end with black end on it) shown below by the red circled X, wave it around the rear left fender
  3. In a second or two, the display comes on, and then you've got a minute (60 seconds) to start the bike or it shuts itself off.
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat. All told, click the switch, position the spare (standard) key, and in a couple of seconds you're golden.
  5. NOTE: I did not have to hold it right up to the sensor or finely position it. I just needed to wave it about close the area. If you have saddle bags, it's literally between the mounting points of the saddlebags. Very easy to find once you do it a few times. Which if you haven't already, you should try.
So what was the problem, you ask. The KEY-FOB was the problem!!!
It seems that it is no longer capable of being paired with the ECU and as such it is as useless as brown-paper riding gloves on a rainy day. The key-fob is back-ordered like all things electronics these days; so in 6 - 8 weeks I should have a new one. I then have to take it to the dealer to have the replacement key-fob paired with the bike and hopefully that's it.

My recommendation is to wrap a spare (standard) key in some tinfoil. Put it under your seat and have it handy for when your key-fob dies (either outright or from a battery failure).

Hope this helps people in the future. If you have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

Page 63 of Owner's Manual
1628624806882.png

Page 64 of Owner's Manual
1628624978859.png


P.S. The trip was still 4100km, I still got to spend time with my son in Halifax, and I still have the rest of the season to enjoy the bike. Silver linings.
 

sonnie

.060 Over
Joined
Jul 20, 2020
Messages
148
Location
Blue Ridge Georgia
Ride
rocket 3 GT,
There are two little dimples where the actual key should be placed under the seat fender area.
Sometimes if the key isnt in that exact position between the dimples it wont activate. You can feel both
dimples with your fingers.
 

technoguppy

Supercharged
Thread starter
Joined
Aug 7, 2010
Messages
320
Location
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Ride
2020 Rocket 3 GT
There are two little dimples where the actual key should be placed under the seat fender area.
Sometimes if the key isnt in that exact position between the dimples it wont activate. You can feel both
dimples with your fingers.
In my experience, your statement is not accurate. I have taken and shared a video of how I start my bike using the standard (spare) key. I don't think it is as much trouble or as finicky as you suggest. I hope this shows how I successfully start my bike (and have done so for the past month or so) since my key-fob died.

 
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