Do It Yourself (DIY)
Keypad Keyless Entry System
Photo Essay of the Process
If you do not have a keypad entry system in your RV you do not know what you are missing. It is one of the most convenient upgrades that can be made to an RV because it is so nice not to carry keys when leaving the RV. The key pad entry system is far more convenient then a key fob keyless entry system which requires you to carry the key fob with you just like keys, and a key fob is even more susceptible to damage then a plain old key.
Many GMC owners followed the previous keyless entry project by Paul Bartz that was discussed on GMC Talk. I too followed this and put in a keyless entry system out of a 1988 Ford Taurus for a total cost of less then 40 dollars. It is one of the most useful upgrades that I have made to the GMC to date. and a huge plus is that my wife loves it. The only down side is that it is based on older technology and it looses the auxiliary entry code that has been programmed in every time it looses power which means every time I turn the battery isolation switch to off. It also has only a single secondary entry code. I would also like to have more then one secondary code. Another downside is that reprogramming the master code requires physically changing jumpers on a PC board. Also the Ford system that I installed does not have any tamper protection either. Many of these downfalls may be addressed in later versions of the ford system, but I found another solution.
When making one of my many trips to my favorite source of parts to upgrade my GMC "Northwest RV Supply in Eugene" http://www.nwrvsupply.com/ I found a stack of new technology keypad keyless entry systems that were take offs from high end motor homes due to some problems. In exchange for one of the units I agreed to test the remaining units to determine if they are good or bad, and also put together a wiring diagram to incorporate the appropriate relays to operate the door lock and interior light. Many of the units tested out just fine and at a cost of around $60 they are a real bargain. I found one of the boxes with a retail sticker on it showing $330. Read on to learn more about installing one of these units.
The systems at Northwest RV are takeoffs from a high end motor coach for some unknown reason, most likely because someone did not like the feel of the buttons. It has passed a functionality test so should work fine. After talking to the manufacturer of this keyless entry system it was found that it is designed to be mounted in a body panel with a skin thickness of 30 thousandths (auto body thickness). Most RVs have much thicker skins and if mounted to a thicker skin the buttons are much harder to operate which may explain why this was a takeoff from one of those high end coaches. Under the description for mounting in this guide suggestions are made to handle the thicker skin. The buttons on this unit do not provide any tactile feed back when pushed and therefore a sound (beep) provides feedback to indicate when a button is pushed. This may be somewhat disconcerting to the first time user but works well once you have used it for a while. The Ford system on the other hand provides nice tactile feedback when a button is pushed.
In addition to the ability to lock and unlock the door using the keypad several other functions can be implemented. The pad can be configured to turn on a light when the door is unlocked, the light stays on for about 5 seconds which allows time to find a light switch. One or more remote lock/unlock switches can be located elsewhere in the coach such as next to or on the doorl or at the drivers station. It can also be configured to unlock storage bays depending on how the bay locks are set up.
In installing the keyless entry system you need to consider where you want the keypad and what you want it to do for functionality. One of the major considerations is getting wires into the door. This can dictate where the unit is mounted.
Two options are typically available;
Run the wires directly from the door frame to the door which is the cheapest and most desirable if the door configuration allows. This is what you will find in most cars today. The problem with RVs is that there may not be space in the door jamb for the wire or a place for the wire to go when the door is closed. Some type of protection for the wire is desired and it must control the wires so they do no get caught when the door is closed. For some ideas check out A1Electric on the WEB at http://www.a1electric.com/catalog/cat_acc.htm in their Catalog accessories page and look at the stainless steel wire loop (LOOP-94201), the accessory rubber boots (small (BOOT-SM) and large (BOOT-LG). I am sure that a good DIYer can come up with a solution for many configurations. With this option multiple wires can easily be run so mounting the keypad in the door is a good option where getting the inside panel off is the easiest.
Where option 1 cant be implemented then you can probably use contacts that make up when the door is closed similar to what is used in sliding van doors. With this option it is not as practical to run numerous wires so if functions other then just locking and unlocking the door are desired then mounting the keypad next to the door and just taking the control wires to the door actuator with a the sliding door contacts makes sense, assuming that you can get relatively easy access to the back side of the wall where you would want to mount the keypad. If only locking and unlocking the door are desired without the doom light feature or remote lock and unlock, then the keypad can still be mounted in the door by taking the power through the sliding door contacts to the keypad. The only down side will be that every time the door is closed the keypad will power up and beep twice. The sliding door contacts can be found at A1Electric on the WEB at http://www.a1electric.com/catalog/cat_acc.htm which is their accessories page $7.95 plus shipping.
A1Electric is also a source for a door lock actuator, look in their catalog under Door lock kits for the "Single MES power Door lock Actuator (2 wire premium actuator)" (W15F) $15.95 plus shipping.
Note: This is not an endorsement for A1Electric it is a source where parts have been successfully purchased. There are other sources on the WEB, even on e-bay and possibly at local auto parts houses. Prices shown here were valid Aug 04
After deciding where the keypad will be mounted get access to the backside of the wall or door and be sure nothing is in the way. After determining there is room to mount the keypad module and route wiring, drill holes for each of the buttons on the keypad and for the screws. The holes are on 3/4 centers, the two end holes for the screws are 11/64 diameter and the holes for the buttons are 9/16 diameter. The screw holes need to be countersunk for the screw heads. A stepped Unibit Drill (#3) or similar is a good option for drilling the button holes after a ¼ pilot hole has been drilled for each button If the skin on your RV is thicker then 30 thousandths (about the thickness of 3 business cards) then make appropriate adjustments or consider mounting on separate panel as described below.
Adjusting for thicker skin
At the ends of the keypad are mounting studs to mount the keypad to the skin. Normally there are 2 white plastic washers on these studs. Either remove one or more of these or grind down until the edge of the keys is flush with the outside of the skin or very slightly above when it is put in position. If too high the overlay will not glue down to the skin properly.
When the skin on the RV is thicker then the 30 thousandths, one solution is get a piece of stainless steel material that is about 30 thousandths thick and manufacturer a mounting plate for the key pad. Then cut a rectangular hole through the RV skin that is large enough for the keypad (about 5 1/8 x 1 1/16). The plate with the keypad already mounted is then glued and screwed to the outside of the RV over the hole.
Bring a power lead from a fused source to the location of the keypad module and also a ground wire from a good ground location. These wires should be a minimum of 14ga and the fuse should be appropriate, i.e. 15 amps or less.
Since the keypad module will only handle about 250 milliamps of current, relays will need to be added to drive the various options including the lock/unlock operator and the dome light.
Relays can be obtained from NW RV, $1 for Omeron , $5 dollars for Potter & Brumfield. Most standard automotive relays can be used. For these guidelines we have used the $1 Omron. But the $5 version will work also and is a little easier to mount since it has holes which can be used to mount them. The 1$ version has to be custom mounted with hot glue, wire ties or some other method. Since we did not have sockets for the relays so connection to the relays is done with crimp on spade connectors
The Wiring diagram with this DIY guide shows how to wire up the relays for the door actuator, dome light and remote lock/unlock switch.
Mount the programming switch in a location that is hidden but accessible. After pushing the programming switch you have about 2 minutes to start the programming process. Programming is described in the user guide.
I purchased a 2 wire actuator from A1Electric door lock actuator, look in their catalog under Door lock kits for the "Single MES power Door lock Actuator (2 wire premium actuator)" (W15F) $15.95 plus shipping. It comes with installation instructions and is relatively easy to mount. It fit almost perfectly between two of the cross members in the door and the rod was attached to the GMC lock button shaft with the provided fitting. The only real thing to keep in mind is that the actuator needs to be mounted parallel to the shaft that is being operated. The following picture shows the installation on my coach, unfortunately the operating rod is hidden behind the lock mechanism.
Be sure to mount keypad with the tag on the keypad that says this side up in the up position. This would be with the wires on the left as you look at the keypad from outside the RV.
If the unit puts out a continuous tone you have probably put in to many illegal digits and activated the no tamper feature. The tone will last 30 seconds and the keypad will blink at 1 second interval as well as the doom light if connected.
If buttons are hard to push be sure that you have not mounted keypad on to thick of wall/skin. If still hard to push then it may be a unit that was taken out for that reason
Default code when keypad is first installed is 1,3,5,7,9 be sure to reprogram after installation is complete.
When first testing be sure someone is in coach to unlock door if there is a problem.
Test before closing up panels.
¼ drill bit
Step drill bit that includes 9/16 holes
11/64 drill bit
Small Philips screw driver
Keypad (Northwest RV) $60
Programming switch/button (probably with keypad but available at radio shack)<$5.00
Crimp on wire splices #14 and smaller
Crimp on spade connectors that fit relay tabs.
Relays 2 or 3 with 12 volt coil SPST (Northwest RV or automotive supply) <$5.00ea
Rocker switch if remote lock/unlock is implemented (mom, off, mom) <$5.00ea
#14 wire, red and black at a minimum.
Connection from door to RV body, either contacts or protector for direct wires (A1Electric) $7.95
Door lock actuator (A1 Electric or Ebay)$15.95