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-   -   Ak90 DIY Code your own transponder and have your own BMW key (http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=949007)

NumbaOneNewb 10-06-2012 10:31 AM

Ak90 DIY Code your own transponder and have your own BMW key
This is my first diy so bare with me. I'm quite anal about typos, so I will do my best to proof read this before publishing. Yeah, if it doesn't make sense to you, it's probably a typo. I'm only going to cover EWS 3(EWS 2 is the same) since I don't have EWS 4 to show you guys. It requires a little bit of soldering but not that much harder.

Now I never liked working on cars. I'm a computer guy. I can fix anything that would be considered part of the electronics family. When it comes to cars, I'm clueless but I am picking things up as I go along. When you own a BMW, unless you're filthy rich or the job is something you yourself know would be an enormous task, you DIY and save money. If you have ever been robbed blind by the dealership for a key that looks like it costed less than $5 in materials to put together, don't worry, you're not alone.

I wouldn't say this DIY is for everybody. My total cost by the time I had a working key was $215 for a diamond shaped remote key. I'm pretty sure I could've gotten it down close to $175 or even less, but being my first time and not being sure if the AK90 worked or the blank key transponder thing works, I made sure whomever I bought it from had a refund policy. Now knowing that it does work, I won't care about that anymore. Also, I provide this service for people in the bay area, charging usually around $20-$30 to code a key, so the machine will eventually pay for itself. Anyways, let's get to work.

We need to remove the cover underneath the steering column to access EWS module. There are 3 phillips screws, and a plastic rivet.




After that there are 2 metal clips holding the front part of the cover up. They're on each side of the steering column cover where that gap occurs. I used a flat head to slide it in between the clip and it easily pops off.


Now you have a choice, you can unplug the gong, obd2 port, and floor light (which was what I did the first time) or leave them be and stick your head through whatever space you managed to open up and look up to the left at the EWS.




You'll need a 10mm socket to dismount EWS. What I did was loosen the nut furthest away from me, the one that holds the EWS up but is open ended. Unscrew the other nut all the way. Eventually you'll get that nut off and your EWS hangs there by its connector. Reach up there and feel around for the release tab on EWS. The release should be at the very end of the connector where it turns into wires. It comes off very easy.

Pull the EWS unit out. Now pop off the top of the case enclosing the circuitry itself. It flips open like a cigarette box, only its easier if you use both hands.




Pull the circuit board out of its casing by pushing in all 4 tabs on the connector side. I placed the open end on my chest at an angle, pushed in all 4 tabs and used my chest to help get the board out.



At first glance, it'll look like engine oil somehow got into the EWS. The coating on the board also looks wet, like it was going to be sticky or gooey when you touch it.

(This next step only applies to EWS2 and 3)
Next, have a razor blade, flat head, or something thin you can scrape with. That coating surrounds the metal contacts on the mcu chip that we need to connect to and will prevent electrical contacts. Take your tool and slowly scrape off the outside of the mcu chip, make sure you can see shiny metal on each pin. it doesn't have to be perfect, just as long as you expose metal. Once you're done, lets move to software.

Before you launch the software, plug the ak90 up to computer and place your key or transponder in the space allowed.


Launch the software. It'll beep then look for your transponder. Once done, push the "Test Key" button. It'll provide a little bit of info and ensures this is the key you want programmed.



Satisfied, click on the drop down menu on the right and select your mcu. Your mcu number is written on the mcu itself. Once you know your mcu type, pick it on menu.


Something similar to this should pop up


It's showing you how to connect the cables provided to your EWS. Mine was straightforward. Once connected, hit the read EWS button.


Once its done reading, save a copy of that file. Now after this point, if you forgot or needed info on the key and hit test key, it resets the info on read ews. instead of reading ews again, hit load that save file to save time.

Now select analyze EWS


Here you can add or delete keys, and modify VIN and mileage on EWS. If you feel you don't want to mess with anything, cancel out and lets go write you a new key.


Make sure your EWS data is loaded and present. Select write key.


Here you get to choose which slots to write the key to, and what type of transponder you have. My 2001 330ci had the 10030A EML. I believe the PCF 7930/35 belongs to previous generations prior to ews 3, I think. The first time I did this with virgin transponder, I selected a new slot. Ever since then I've experimented and have been successful in starting my car even after switching that same key to 2 different spots. Do what you feel most comfortable with. Then hit write.


Voila! You're done. Go ahead and try it out. With a virgin blank transponder, it didn't crank the 1st try. I was told you need to let it sit on ignition 2 for around 5 seconds for it to initialize or something then try and start. I got it on my 2nd try and was screaming for joy.

mtnbound 10-06-2012 11:55 AM

Great post. I've always wondered what the AK90 process actually looked like.

TKC 10-06-2012 12:47 PM


Originally Posted by NumbaOneNewb (Post 14792935)
I'm quite anal about typos, so I will do my best to proof read this before publishing. Yeah, if it doesn't make sure to you, it's probably a typo.


Nice write up! Rare to have the enthusiast that likes the electrical side. Most hate electrical. You should meet our local fanatic Cyberkaa. He's a computer engineer so he likes both mechanical and the electrical side of the cars too.

sellsellsell2000 10-07-2012 03:10 AM


Originally Posted by tkc (Post 14793142)

Nice write up! Rare to have the enthusiast that likes the electrical side. Most hate electrical. You should meet our local fanatic cyberkaa. He's a computer engineer so he likes both mechanical and the electrical side of the cars too.


benzovs 10-07-2012 10:59 PM

Very nice write up.:clap:

NumbaOneNewb 10-08-2012 02:39 AM


Originally Posted by TKC (Post 14793142)

Nice write up! Rare to have the enthusiast that likes the electrical side. Most hate electrical. You should meet our local fanatic Cyberkaa. He's a computer engineer so he likes both mechanical and the electrical side of the cars too.

Lol. Yeah I just caught that too before I even got to your post. Way to blow it huh? I probably ended up jinxing myself.

NumbaOneNewb 10-08-2012 03:03 AM

Thanks gys. Cyberkaa eh? Sounds like my kind of guy. He probably even has access to software and know how's that i would find invaluable. I'll keep on the lookout for him. Perhaps him and i could team up and make the next move and break into the pros and tackle CAS, allowing practically all bmws up to date to make their own keys. The funny thing is, I do hate working on cars, but for a bmw, i can always make an exception. I didn't even find any interest in working on my baby at all until 6 months ago when i had the infamous expansion tank go kaput. After googling it, it just sounded like theoretical physics to me. I didn't even know how to do an oil change. When I had it towed to a "buddy" of mine who owns his own shop, I felt in great hands, having been warned ahead of time by this forum not to take it to bmw. I come pick up my car, anxious, only to get royally slapped in the face with a $620 bill. I swear I saw that parts, including water pump and thermostat should run me around mid $200. Where is the rest of my money going.... Oh, right. You. From that day forward, while I was scrubbing the filth and dirty feeling off me in the shower, I promised myself never to allow myself to be raped again. I was on a mission. I would learn to defend myself and equip myself not with a taser or mace, but a socket and a ratchet. There were a few times (4 but i lost count) that i was again taken for a ride by bmw. The only reason why I even allowed such heinous crimes against humanity to occur was because it was a toss up between ordering it online, saving butt loads of money, and waiting god knows how long to receive the part and install it while my baby sits in the garage on life support, the injury she sustained leaving her garage ridden, or take one for the team and get her running that day. I had no choice. What bothers me more than being victimized by bmw is not being able to drive my car. I try and proactively do preventative maintenance but sometimes, it goes before you realize it happened. PO didn't take good care of it I don't think. Anywho, I've changed so many parts on her mostly preventative maintenance so that I could keep track of its maintenance records. In total of 2 years as an owner, the cel has only been off for maybe 3 months total. Still, it's so hard to divorce my crazy ol' lady. It's a love hate relationship, her and I.

cyberkaa 11-05-2012 05:57 PM

Nice write-up. :)
A friend actually ordered an ews programmer before I went off to vacation for the last month and I've been looking forward to playing around with it. Glad to see you were able to get this working. :thumbsup:

NumbaOneNewb 11-05-2012 06:02 PM

Do you know which one it was that he bought?

NumbaOneNewb 11-05-2012 06:03 PM

Oh yeah. Are you in Sunnyvale? Also, how much was that M3 swap?

cyberkaa 11-05-2012 07:24 PM

I don't recall which one he finally settled on, but I can let you know once I get my hands on it.

Yes, I'm in Sunnyvale. Not sure how much the swap cost, haha.

NumbaOneNewb 11-05-2012 07:27 PM

Oh so you bought it like that? Cool. I wish i had that. Lol. Not sure if it's worth it. People were saying that I might as well save up to buy an M3. Ah well, I can always dreamed about it

cyberkaa 11-05-2012 07:30 PM

Nah, I built it myself. Bought a lot of motors and other parts over time, so I'm not sure what the total is for the ones I kept and used.

Build thread here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=889867

NumbaOneNewb 11-05-2012 07:33 PM

Holy cow

cyberkaa 11-05-2012 07:50 PM


NumbaOneNewb 11-08-2012 02:06 AM

I'm still waiting on that tech to arrive. Geez. Why is it that all these hardware have to be made in china? Why can't someone else duplicate it for just as cheap. Plus what really goes into these things that make them so expensive? Anyways, just letting you guys know I haven't high tailed it out of here or nothing. Trust me, if BMW's EWS and key defeats me again, I'll throw in the towel permanently on this matter. If somehow I am able to topple this, only 1 area remains left untouched. An area considered very important and affects us all, from the guy who tracks his car to the grandma who only drives her bmw once a month. The ecu.... Although if any of you out there have any suggestions as to what I should attempt next more interesting than this, please feel free to chime in.

cyberkaa 12-27-2012 09:35 PM


Originally Posted by NumbaOneNewb (Post 14873981)
Do you know which one it was that he bought?

It's called EWS Editor Lite. The kit is pretty unreliable as I've found, though.
I managed to read/write EWS and eventually read/write keys after multiple attempts.

The experiment I tried today was to get a car to start with a key from another E46. First, I wrote an unused EWS slot with the serial number from the key. Then I wrote the VIN and mileage to the key. According to the BMW software, the EWS accepts the serial number, but the password and rolling code are incorrect, so I have to figure out if it's just a matter of synchronizing the "new" key or something else.
Anyway, learned a lot today messing around with it.

Passnu2 01-11-2013 07:39 PM

Thanks for the write up, going to tackle this myself hopefully this weekend. Did you disconnect your battery?

NumbaOneNewb 01-11-2013 08:42 PM


Originally Posted by Passnu2 (Post 15053204)
Thanks for the write up, going to tackle this myself hopefully this weekend. Did you disconnect your battery?

No. It's not necessary.

thecos 02-14-2013 07:37 PM

I keep getting "PIN no touch" when trying to read the EWS. I cleaned the pins so many times I basically polished them. Any idea what the problem could be?

EDIT: figured out my problem. Pay close attention to the chip markings (not the dot indentation!). The arrow/dot on the AK90 needs to be opposite of the dot / EWS3 label and "upside down" relative to the text on the chip.

My chip was "upside down" when compared to the chip in the picture in the software.

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