Automotive Key Tools & Equipment FAQ's

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Q. What is an ECM and/or BCM?

A. The BCM or ECM in a vehicle contains special software designed to work with an immobilizer system. ECM (Electronic Control Module) or BCM (Body Control Module) is a system within a vehicle that allows the operation only when it receives the correct code response from the key placed in the ignition and switched to the "on" position. Either of these may also be referred to as the vehicle's "on-board computer".

Q. What is Fixed, Rolling & Encrypted code?


  • Fixed Code (Non-Encrypted)

    1. Key transmits the same signal every time
    2. Vehicle compares key signal to vehicle database
    3. If match is found, vehicle is enabled
  • Rolling Code (Non-Encrypted)
    Currently no clonable solution - It is in limited use (i.e. BMW, Mercedes)

    1. Each time the vehicle is started, the key transmits one signal from an internal list of fixed code signals.
    2. Vehicle compares key signal to vehicle database
    3. If match is found, vehicle is enabled
  • Encrypted Code
    The BCM or ECM and the key both feature an encrypted code. These codes change with each start.

    1. Key transmits a unique identification signal
    2. Vehicle responds with a question or "challenge code"
    3. Vehicle & Key calculate the "answer"
    4. Key Transmits answer
    5. Vehicle compares two answers
    6. If match is found, vehicle is enabled

Q. Why do Security Professionals need a tool like the TKO?

A. A tool like the TKO allows the servicing of vehicles where all keys have been lost or cannot be cloned or when the manufacturer does not allow the programming of keys thru On Board Programming. The general trend in automotive transponders is from fixed code to encrypted code thus increasing the restrictions with On Board Programming procedures. This trend makes a machine like the TKO the only way to provide replacement keys for the newer automobiles.

Q. What does TKO stand for?

A. TKO stands for Transponder Key Originator.

Q. What tasks will the TKO perform?

A. The TKO will : 1) indicates port locations, key blanks and listings of On board programming instructions 2) add and delete keys 3) read the number of keys in memory, 4) reset key related error codes, 5) store customer information in an internal database, 6) program remotes for certain Chrysler, General Motors, Toyota and Lexus cars.

Q. What about TKO updates?

A. As vehicles change and new types of security systems are introduced, updates to the TKO will enable users to program additional key systems. Updates are developed and offered as needed.

Update announcements are sent to registered owners and to Kaba Ilco Distributors.

Q. I have an SDD. Will this unit continue to be supported with updates?

A. Yes, Ilco will continue to support the SDD units by providing updates.

Philips Cloning

Cloning Equipment for Philips Electronic Keys

Q. Can units prior to the RW4 be upgraded to clone Philips electronic keys?

A: No. The technology required to clone these keys has surpassed the capability of the RW2 and RW3.

Q. What equipment must I have to program the new EH3P keys?

A: You will need the new RW4 Plus and a SNOOP or the Ilco EZ®-Clone Plus and a SNOOP. Existing RW4 and Ilco EZ®-Clone units may be upgraded to clone EH3P Keys with the addition of a Plus-Box and a SNOOP.

Q. What is a Plus-Box?

A: It is a module that was developed to add the capacity needed to an existing RW4 or Ilco EZ®-Clone so it can program Philips encrypted transponders.

Q. How does the Plus-Box work?

A: It attaches to the bottom of an RW4 or Ilco EZ®-Clone and is connected electronically in the back of the units. The combination of the two pieces gives the existing tool the capacity to perform all the programming functions of an RW4 Plus or Ilco EZ®-Clone Plus.

Q. What is a SNOOP?

A: The SNOOP is a small device that collects the information from the vehicle and allows it to be transferred to the cloning machine and then onto the new key. The Philips systems have a “cross learn” function. This means that the vehicle learns from the key and the key learns from the vehicle. To complete this process, it will require a trip to the vehicle and the use of a SNOOP.

Q. How do I get a SNOOP?

A: The RW4 Plus, Ilco EZ®-Clone Plus and the Plus-Box each include a SNOOP.
A replacement SNOOP may be purchased separately (Ilco part number BM0134XXXX).

Q. Will I also need to connect to a PC and the Internet?

A: The Ilco equipment is a “stand-alone” design. No PC or internet connection is required for cloning keys.

Q. How many new applications will I be able to clone with new Ilco Philips Cloning System?

A: There are approximately 20 makes and 435 new models that are cloneable with this system. Many of them are very popular, including many General Motors, Chrysler family and Honda vehicles, plus much more. This will take your cloning capabilities from approximately 65% of the vehicles on the road to approximately 90%.