Alarm Module: Description and Operation
SENTRY KEY IMMOBILIZER MODULE
The Sentry Key Immobilizer Module (SKIM) contains a Radio Frequency (RF) transceiver and a microprocessor. The SKIM retains in memory
the ID numbers of any Sentry Key that is programmed to it. The maximum number of keys that may be programmed to each module is eight (8).
The SKIM also communicates over the PCI bus with the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), the Body Control Module (BCM), and the DRB III
scan tool. The SKIM transmits and receives RF signals through a tuned antenna enclosed within a molded plastic ring formation that is integral to
the SKIM housing. When the SKIM is properly installed on the steering column, the antenna ring fits snugly around the circumference of the
ignition lock cylinder housing. If this ring is not mounted properly, communication problems may arise in the form of transponder-related faults.
For added system security, each SKIM is programmed with a unique "Secret Key" code. This code is stored in memory and is sent over the PCI
bus to the PCM and to each key that is programmed to work with the vehicle. The "Secret Key" code is therefore a common element found in all
components of the Sentry Key Immobilizer System (SKIS). In the event that a SKIM replacement is required, the "Secret Key" code can be
restored from the PCM by following the SKIM replacement procedure found in the DRB III scan tool. Proper completion of this task will allow
the existing ignition keys to be reprogrammed. Therefore, new keys will NOT be needed. In the event that the original "Secret Key" code can not
be recovered, new ignition keys will be required. The DRB III scan tool will alert the technician if key replacement is necessary. Another security
code, called a PIN, is used to gain secured access to the SKIM for service. The SKIM also stores in its memory the Vehicle Identification Number
(VIN), which it learns through a bus message from the assembly plant tester. The SKIS scrambles the information that is communicated between
its components in order to reduce the possibility of unauthorized SKIM access and/or disabling.
When the ignition switch is moved to the RUN position, the SKIM transmits an RF signal to the transponder in the ignition key. The SKIM then
waits for a response RF signal from the transponder in the key. If the response received identifies the key as valid, the SKIM sends a "valid key"
message to the PCM over the PCI bus. If the response received identifies the key as invalid or no response is received from the transponder in the
ignition key, the SKIM sends an "invalid key" message to the PCM. The PCM will enable or disable engine operation based upon the status of the
SKIM messages. It is important to note that the default condition in the PCM is "invalid key." Therefore, if no response is received by the PCM,
the engine will be immobilized after two (2) seconds of running.
The SKIM also sends indicator light status messages to the BCM to operate the light. This is the method used to turn the light ON solid or to flash
it after the indicator light test is complete to signify a fault in the SKIS. If the light comes ON and stays ON solid after the indicator light test, this
signifies that the SKIM has detected a system malfunction and/or that the SKIS has become inoperative. If the SKIM detects an invalid key OR a
key-related fault exists, the indicator light will flash following the indicator light test. The SKIM may also request an audible chime if the customer
key programming feature is available and the procedure is being utilized. Refer to Electrical, Vehicle Theft Security, Transponder Key, Standard
Procedure - Transponder Programming.