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Old 10-27-2011, 09:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Subaru TPMS cloning - Orange Electronics sensors

Here is a little primer I put together about the Subaru TPMS system and how to clone TPMS sensors for a set of winter wheels without having to do TPMS resets each time the wheels are swapped.

I have two Subarus, my wife's 2007 Outback and my 2009 Forester. This past year I picked up sets of winter wheels for both cars and wanted to explore if I should get TPMS sensors put in them. Last winter I ran my winter wheels without TPMS and just ignored the warning light. I wasn't keen on telling my wife to just ignore the light on the dash, so I did some research on what was possible.

If you run a set of winter wheels, a few states require working TPMS sensors to pass inspection, but most do not. TireRack has a good summary: http://www.tirerack.com/wheels/tech/...jsp?techid=214

Subaru uses two different TPMS sensors, depending on the year of your car. Generally, for 2004-2007 vehicles they use OEM Part # 28103AG00A which operates on 315 mhz, and 2008+ vehicles use OEM Part # 28103AG01C which operates on 315 mhz. Each sensor has a unique ID that it transmits every few seconds when it is in motion, along with the tire pressure reading and battery life remaining.

The TPMS module in the car is programmed to receive this data from the four TPMS sensors IDs it is linked up to. The Subaru TPMS module is a simple one that only displays a warning light on the dash for a TPMS fault, but does not display tire location nor pressure like some other car manufacturers.

A TPMS fault is triggered either by a tire whose pressure has dropped under about 26 psi, a TPMS sensor that has a low battery warning of less than 10% life left, or the absence of data from a sensor, such as when one dies or all are missing, like if you were using a separate set of winter wheels without sensors.

If a TPMS sensor in a wheel is changed, the module would have to be reset to relearn the ID of all the sensors on the car. Until recently, the TPMS sensors have been fixed with their IDs, which made it difficult to swap between summer/winter sets of wheels without having to reset the TPMS module twice a year, often costing $20-50 each time to reset at the dealer.

Two manufacturers have been marketing TPMS sensors that are programmable, so you can duplicate the sensor IDs from one set of wheels to another set of wheels. This, in theory, would make it much easier to have a winter set with cloned IDs that can be swapped in without having to reset the TPMS module, or to replace a single bad TPMS sensor in a wheel.

Schrader makes the EZ-Sensor, part # 33000, which is marketed as a single sensor that can replace multiple OEM parts, and Orange Electronics, which makes OPSS Sensors that are programmable. I had made several inquiries to Schrader trying to find a local retailer that sold the EZ-Sensor, but did not have any luck getting them to respond with usable information other than their marketing materials or directing me to locations hundreds of miles away. Their EZ-Sensor is pretty new in the marketplace, so it may simply be a matter of lack of distribution. Orange Electronics, on the other hand, was very helpful.

Orange makes replacement TPMS sensors with both fixed IDs and programmable ID OPSS sensors (more on OPSS later). They also sell a programming tool at a reasonable price that is very simple to use and works with most cars currently on the market. There are two different Orange sensors for Subarus, SCG00A or SCG01A.

Orange SCG00A - Replaces OEM Part # 28103AG00A - SCG00A - http://www.orangetpmsusastore.com/pr...66&product=219

For use with:
2004 YEAR: Legacy, Outback

2005 YEAR: Legacy, Outback

2006 YEAR: B9 Tribeca, Legacy, Outback

2007 YEAR: B9 Tribeca, Legacy, Outback

OR

Orange SCG01A - Replaces OEM Part # 28103AG01C - SCG01A - http://www.orangetpmsusastore.com/TP...rs-SCG01A.html

For use with:
2008 YEAR: Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Tribeca

2009 YEAR: Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Tribeca

2010 YEAR: Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback, Tribeca

2011 YEAR: Legacy, Outback (what is posted on their site, I would presume all 2008+ cars take SCG01A)


Programming tool T30
http://www.orangetpmsusa.com/oe-products/t30-tool/

http://www.orangetpmsusastore.com/pr...ct=80&group=75

http://orangetpmsusa.com/2OPSS_2_Manual_V2-2011.pdf

Full TPMS sensor catalog listing all available sensors
http://www.orangetpmsusa.com/TPMS2011.pdf

Orange Electronic
3116 West Montgomery Rd
Suite C-239
Maineville, OH 45039
United States
Ph: 888-407-8767
http://www.orangetpmsusa.com

The T30 scan/trigger tool will scan the TPMS ID from your existing vehicle and then allow you to clone that ID to a new OPSS sensor. The tool will also allow you to manually enter an ID via the keypad in order to clone to a new sensor if you had a sensor that completely died and was not active to be scanned. They are running a special on the T30 tool right now for $150, which if you intend to do winter wheel swaps, pays for itself pretty quickly compared with doing the cost of doing TPMS module resets twice a year. If you purchased a newer Subaru down the road and kept your winter wheels, it is simple to reprogram those wheels to the new car.

I called up Orange and spoke with Connor Duffy in sales/tech support who was very helpful answering a couple of my questions. A few days later I had a T30 tool and a set of four SCG01A sensors for my Forester at a healthy discount price since I was buying them all together. The tool is extremely easy to use, if you can look up wiper blades or air filters at the auto parts store, you can use it.

First, I scanned the IDs on all four of my wheels and recorded each ID so I had them as a record. To scan, you run through the menu on the T30, pick your make/model of vehicle and hit the scan button while holding the antenna near the valve stem on the tire. A few seconds later the T30 will vibrate and show you the ID it has stored, along with the current pressure and battery reading.

To clone these ID's to the new OPSS sensors, do the scan process again, then you press the Cancel key (the large capital C key, not the slightly smaller capital C key on the alphanumeric keypad, genius industrial design, doh!) which takes you up a menu level and choose Copy ID. Take one of the new sensors and hold it up to the antenna on the T30 while pressing the transmit key and a few seconds later the cloned ID will appear on the sensor. It is important to do this cloning 10 feet away from other sensors to avoid inadvertently overwriting them with another ID. Repeat this process for all four sensors, rescan all the new sensors to double check they all have the new cloned IDs and you are done, ready to have the sensors installed. Very simple, and I was able to do the scanning/programming on all four wheels and new sensors in about five minutes.

Now, a few cavets. One of the new OPSS SCG01A sensors gave me a low battery warning after I cloned it, right out of the box. These sensors are sealed with no replaceable battery, so I called up Orange, spoke with Lisa Adams in customer service and had a replacement sensor in two days.

I then tried to clone the SCG00A's for my wife's Outback. I had found four of these listed new on Amazon for a ridiculously low price of $11.50 each and ordered them before I had the T30 tool. Once they showed up I attempted the same cloning procedure without success. The T30 would read both the new and old sensors fine, but I could not get them to clone. I called up Connor Duffy at Orange again to find out what was wrong.

What happened, and this is not made very clear on Orange's website, nor on Amazon, is that even though Orange markets their sensors as programmable not all Orange sensors are actually programmable. Even though they share identical part numbers, the OPSS code is the key, sensors that are not marked OPSS are hard wired and can NOT be cloned. So the SCG00A's from Amazon were packed back up and I ordered some OPSS versions from Orange and had them in a few days. I got them installed on my wife's winter wheels last night, and they appear to work great, no light on the dash!

Update: I had the SCG01A's installed on my car this morning. They work perfect, no TPMS light on either car now.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Great post, thanks! For some reason their application search only shows the '04-07 outback, not the '11 that I need it for. Good to know they have a better selection. The unreplacable battery bothers me though. The only question I still need to answer is should I get them. OEM ones are $55 and Heuberger will reset the system for free. So really, these would be more expensive for me but a lot simpler. I'll be at SEMA next week, I'll talk to them and maybe pick up a set.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If all this is true, how do you suppose it is that I was able to mount the OEM wheels (with sensors) from my 2008 Legacy GTB onto my wife's 2007 Outback XT, take the XT to the dealer to get the sensors reprogrammed, and have them work ever since? HPH
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If all this is true, how do you suppose it is that I was able to mount the OEM wheels (with sensors) from my 2008 Legacy GTB onto my wife's 2007 Outback XT, take the XT to the dealer to get the sensors reprogrammed, and have them work ever since? HPH
Good question, perhaps the TPMS modules in the cars can read either sensor, but I do not know for sure. I was told that the sensors themselves are not interchangeable.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great post, thanks! For some reason their application search only shows the '04-07 outback, not the '11 that I need it for. Good to know they have a better selection. The unreplacable battery bothers me though. The only question I still need to answer is should I get them. OEM ones are $55 and Heuberger will reset the system for free. So really, these would be more expensive for me but a lot simpler. I'll be at SEMA next week, I'll talk to them and maybe pick up a set.
All TPMS sensors that I've seen have sealed, non-replaceable batteries. Buying sensors as a set of four from Orange was about half the price of what OEM sensors would be at the price you listed, and for me, doing two cars made the payoff of buying the T30 tool vs. twice yearly resets pretty short.

The Orange website leaves a bit to be desired for doing parts lookups. The PDF I linked to is more current and show models through 2011. Here is the link again - http://www.orangetpmsusa.com/TPMS2011.pdf
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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All TPMS sensors that I've seen have sealed, non-replaceable batteries. Buying sensors as a set of four from Orange was about half the price of what OEM sensors would be at the price you listed.
Even OEM? How long are they supposed to last, quite a while, right? How much did you get them for? The links you posted show $56 each, basically the same as OEM.
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Old 10-27-2011, 12:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Bravo! Well done. Thanks for taking the time to research and write this article.

How much were your sensors discounted when you ordered them with the scan tool?

Does the tool have the ability to tell you the condition of the battery, other than the "below 10%" warning?

Does Orange give you an expected life?

If you knew the life expectancy, you could toss then out when they are nearly gone, rather than installing new tires and then finding them dead six months later. If not, I guess you might be better off buying new sensors after, say, four years? Five?

I like the price of the tool, I just think it looks too much like "My First Calculator" or something out of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"...





Why is it so huge and clunky? I bet it is 90% air space inside the case. (Oh yeah, I get it - so the tire store drones wont steal them.)

The ONLY downside for this approach that I can see is that if you take your sensors to a tire store for tire installation, and they bust a sensor on the machine, which is not at all uncommon, you might have to work them hard to get them to replace it for free, and there would be considerable down time while the new part is in transit (since you can bet they wouldn't have one on the shelf). If they break a sensor that they are selling you, obviously they would replace it free with only five minutes lost.

Can we make this a sticky?

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Old 10-27-2011, 12:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Even OEM? How long are they supposed to last, quite a while, right? How much did you get them for? The links you posted show $56 each, basically the same as OEM.
I don't know the life expectancy, exactly, but if yours are over six years old they probably are close to dead.

Comparing these sensors to OEM ones on purchase price alone is irrelevant, since you can't clone OEM, so you can't have two sets running simultaneously for the same car (summer and winter rubber). Nor can you program OEM ones in your garage

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Old 10-27-2011, 01:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by John E Davies View Post
How much were your sensors discounted when you ordered them with the scan tool?
Each set of four sensors was $120 when buying as a set.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John E Davies View Post
Does the tool have the ability to tell you the condition of the battery, other than the "below 10%" warning?

Does Orange give you an expected life?
Every sensor I read other than the one bad one out of the box read BAT:>50%, and the bad one read LOW BAT:<10%. I don't know if there is a BAT:<50% reading also, the T30 manual doesn't show that.

I suspect given they are powered by lithium batteries that the the battery readings over time would be above 50% until close to the end of life of the sensor. The output of lithium batteries in general is very constant until they are almost exhausted and then they drop rapidly, unlike alkaline and other types that have a more linear output with gradual degradation over time.

Most of the TPMS sensors, regardless of manufacturer, quote a 5-7 year life. The sensors go into an idle/sleep mode when they are not moving and would only be transmitting when the wheels are moving. Given the 5-7 year quote and average yearly mileage of drivers, it's probably safe to assume a 75,000-100,000 mile lifespan. But my wife's Outback has almost 80,000 miles and is close to five years old and all her OEM sensors read as over 50% battery left.

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I like the price of the tool, I just think it looks too much like "My First Calculator" or something out of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"...
It does bear a striking resemblance to a Ti Speak & Spell, and is only slightly smaller.
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Old 10-27-2011, 03:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Comparing these sensors to OEM ones on purchase price alone is irrelevant, since you can't clone OEM, so you can't have two sets running simultaneously for the same car (summer and winter rubber). Nor can you program OEM ones in your garage
It may be comparing apples to oranges (more like oranges to tangerines) but if all I want is a piece of fruit for lunch, it's a worthwhile comparison. Plus, I already have the other data, so a better price on one or the other changes the comparison.
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