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Thread: Problems with Meta 357T alarm/immobiliser

  1. #1
    apriliaforum expert SpitfireTriple's Avatar
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    Problems with Meta 357T alarm ... Except that it wasn't the alarm!

    Edit: this turns out to be nothing to do with my Meta alarm!

    Okay, there are a few people who have had problems with the Meta 357T. Especially when they have, or have had a low battery.

    Meta 357T alarm removal

    No Go - Anyone got a Meta 357T alarm fitted?

    emergency help - Meta 357T alarm wiring

    But I have a symptom, and consequent problem, which does not seem to be covered by those threads: Having installed a new battery and starter solenoid/relay, the little red alarm/immobiliser LED light is not lit; it flashes not. The engine won't start on the button of course, otherwise I wouldn't be here, it won't even try to spin. I believe this is down to the alarm/immobiliser. NB up until now, the little red LED light on the RH "dash" has always winked at me every time I opened the garage door. If I ever forgot to squeeze the remote, the engine would refuse even to spin let alone fire up. But now, the LED light is dead. And so too, it seems, is the bike.

    Background info

    Like many people, I use my bike less over the winter. Much less. It's stored in a cold garage, with no power, so no trickle-charger. It has a Meta 357T alarm/immobiliser fitted that presumably trickle-drains the battery, even though I have had it not on "alarm" but on "immobilise". The battery, a Varta YTX12-BS, is a few years old (don't know exactly, bought the bike 2 years ago with it already fitted). The starter money was no longer spinning the engine like it used to, and the RH instrument panel had been faint and unreliable for a while. You know where this is going...

    A couple of months ago the starter solenoid/relay under the seat started to make the occasional click when starting, then one day all it would do was make a rapid clicking/ticking sound, without even trying to spin the engine. I knew my starter relay was probably on its way out, but thought a stronger battery could keep me going in the short term. I removed the battery and charged it up. Then it snowed. A lot.

    I didn't refit the battery for over a week, and when I did... nothing at all. Well, lights were okay, but I couldn't even get the relay to click, let alone get the engine to spin. I am afraid I cannot be sure whether the LED light was flashing at this point. I believe I tried to press the remote as usual to remobilise(?) the immobiliser(!) but heard no sound (which rang warning bells, in the past it has always bleeped) and carried on. I'm now guessing the immobiliser had already gone to sleep or something, and did not wake up when I turned the key.

    I tried, for the first time ever, the short-the-relay-with-a-screwdriver trick. It worked. Sort-of. The engine spun, quite briskly too, but it did not even try to start. Not even a sputter. Which is most unusual. If the Futura has ever been slow to start in the past, it has always at least had the courtesy to cough and spit a little. I have fuel in the tank. It's a couple of months old, but it's still fuel. So, I'm thinking I have fuel and I have a starter, but something is almost certainly preventing the spark plugs from firing. Obvious candidate (in hindsight): the immobiliser. Edit: found this statement on a forum from someone who seemed to know what he was talking about: The immobiliser has two circuits - one interupts the ignition, the other interupts the starter motor relay circuit.

    Some people on the forum advise checking everything before spending money - and I can identify with that philosophy! - but by my reckoning, both the battery and the starter relay were well past their youth, and could usefully be replaced. Especially since improved versions of both were available - a 100Amp relay instead of the OE 50Amp, and a YTZ14S battery (230cca) instead of the OE YTX12-BS (180cca).

    So I ordered a new (100Amp) starter relay and a new battery - a Yuasa YTZ14S

    I have now slow-charged the new YTZ14S battery and installed both it and the new relay, making sure all connections are tight. Some of the threads I was able to find mentioned extra wires going to the solenoid from the alarm/immobiliser unit - wherever that is hidden - but I've never noticed any in two years of seat-lifting - not that I'd ever looked for any. And I didn't notice any extra wires when I first started playing with the old relay.

    Anyway, there is still no LED light, flashing or otherwise, and whilst the lights can be turned on (and are nicely bright), the bike won't even try to spin on the starter. No clicking from the relay either, but then I wouldn't have expected that. Note: since I installed the new battery and relay, I have not re-tried the short-the-relay-with-a-screwdriver trick. It shouldn't be necessary. I have not removed all the fairing pieces to see where all the wiring goes. I'm too lazy to do this if it's not likely to be helpful. I own a fancy circuit tester with all sorts of functions but don't really know what I'm doing. I don't know where the alarm/immobiliser joins the OE wiring.

    If all else fails, read the instructions (scroll down to the fifth post)...

    It seems the Meta 357T, like other alarms, does not like a weak battery. According to the Operating Instructions,
    Sleep mode
    *If the battery voltage is low, the bike enters sleep mode.
    *If the system is not armed, disarmed, or triggered for 10 days, the alarm enters sleep mode.
    All alarm features are disabled except the immobiliser.
    The current draw is now zero reducing battery consumption.


    Okay, the alarm/immobiliser, is almost certainly in sleep mode (I'm hoping it doesn't have a dead mode). So, consult the instructions

    Exiting sleep mode
    *To exit sleep mode turn the ignition on
    *Disarm using remote
    er, well, I've turned the key, and squeezed the remote, but no cheerful "blip!".
    In case it was a problem with the remote, I've also tried using my spare back-up remote, which had a new battery about a year ago. Still nothing. But then the LED has never been non-flashing before, so I am confident this is not a problem with the remote. I'm just trying to rule out as much as I can.
    *If the alarm entered sleep mode from a fully armed state, it gives a 5 second pre-alarm signal to allow disarming before sounding.
    Not relevant, the alarm was never in fully armed state, it was in immobiliser mode only. No beep/signal heard. No flashing LED either by the way.
    *If after the 5 second period, the system is not disarmed with the remote, the siren will sound.
    Again, not relevant.

    That seems to be it for the "exiting from sleep" section. The text follows on with "Disarming with secure PIN number" but it starts its instructions with...Turn the ignition on (the LED will be on). Except of course, as mentioned above, the LED is not on. Which means the subsequent instructions, all to do with squeezing the remote after counting a certain number of flashes is irrelevant - because there are no flashes to count.

    Any thoughts bossbob, RobC (357T owners the pair of 'em), anyone, please?

    PS I did not get the job I went for yesterday (got there in Sue's Panda!) but I have an interview with the same co for a better job on Tuesday. I can't keep borrowing Sue's car. Help!
    Last edited by SpitfireTriple; 01-28-2010 at 04:57 AM.

  2. #2
    apriliaforum prov-nov torr1co's Avatar
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    Hi, Spitfiretriple,
    I hope I am not telling you how to "suck eggs" but have you checked the the alarm unit supply fuse, these can be tempermental at best and if it has a bad contact or blown, the alarm will be using its internal battery to power up. which of course will have drained away while stood. that would be my first look.

    Hope to see you again in Bristol, april 24th.
    From Hull and back. 2002 stream silver, German import now with uk lights and speedo. Gixer coils, charger and brown connector mods, stainless fuel connector, panniers, H&B rack and top box, baglux tank cover & bag. Also in the Garage: 10 plate Benelli Tre1130 Tornado, and the wifes Ducati 696 & NSR125.

  3. #3
    apriliaforum Junkie IANGRAD's Avatar
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    I have the same alarm on a caponord , if the alarm goes into sleep mode the you have to turn the ign on and a few seconds later you can press the fob . This will fire up the bike electrics BUT if the bike battery is flat the you must sort that first . Before I had a house with a garage I trickle charged by battery with a solar panel on the shed roof . The battery lasted 7 years ! & I only changed it because I was going on Euro tour and wanted to eliminate any risk .
    Ian
    IANGRAD

  4. #4
    apriliaforum expert SpitfireTriple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by torr1co View Post
    Hi, Spitfiretriple,
    I hope I am not telling you how to "suck eggs" but..
    Hi Graham
    Not at all! I have sucked as hard as I know how and still the yolk is in the egg...err..not sure where I'm going with this!

    All suggestions will be gratefully received and acted upon. I'm off out for a couple of hours this morning then will settle down for a good tinker, trying all suggestions including yours. Edit: this next bit turns out to be a wire fitted by the previous owner to make it easier to connect the bike to an Optimate-type charger. I had never noticed the connector on my charger that fits perfectly with the one on the mystery wire. Doh!
    There is actually an obviously non-OE pair of wires that have always left the battery terminals, then disappeared under the tank. To the immobiliser? There was a fuse on one of these wires, I checked it it was okay. But the pair of wires ended in a corroded connector that appeared not to be connected to anything. Might I have inadvertently pulled this wire from anything it may once have been connected to? Quite possibly. Daresay lifting the tank will provide more info. Then again, it is possible that the wires have never been connected to anything all the time I've had the bike, and are perhaps a relic of something a previous owner did other than the alarm.


    Ian: Solar panel: Now there's a novel idea! It would not provide enough power to drive garage lights, tools, etc, but it would probably be enough to run a trickle-charger. Even though the time of year when you need it most - winter - is the time of year of least sunshine.

    I'll try again - turn key, wait a while before squeezing the remote. (The new battery is definitely not flat, I trickle-charged it for 12 hours till the green light came on - and I have the old battery fully-charged as a back-up). If it turns out to be as simple as waiting a few seconds I'll save myself possibly hours of fairing-removal and wire-tracing. Thanks for the suggestion.
    Last edited by SpitfireTriple; 01-28-2010 at 06:17 AM.

  5. #5
    apriliaforum prov-nov torr1co's Avatar
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    Hi again,
    Been having a look round other forums about your alarm problem, and found this:

    to get the alarm out of sleep mode you need the pin code on the red plastic card or written on your alarm receipt. Turn the ignition on and off counting the number of flashes of the led that correspond to the numbers in the pin code.....still awake?

    when the immobiliser disengages( a long beep) run the engine for as long as possible...this charges the meta back up battery..and then the key fobs will start to work

    hope this helps, well!!! it will if your led is flashing now with a full charged battery.

    Graham.
    From Hull and back. 2002 stream silver, German import now with uk lights and speedo. Gixer coils, charger and brown connector mods, stainless fuel connector, panniers, H&B rack and top box, baglux tank cover & bag. Also in the Garage: 10 plate Benelli Tre1130 Tornado, and the wifes Ducati 696 & NSR125.

  6. #6
    apriliaforum Junkie IANGRAD's Avatar
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    The solar panel gives an output of circa 13 volts and in daylight about 50 ma and when plugged into the 12v aux socket on the bike provides enough to keep the battery topped up but it can not charge a discharged battery . Ebay generally list loads .
    Ian

    PS if your kill switch is off then the alarm will not come out of sleep . I have left mine for about 8 weeks and it comes out of sleep just by turning the ign on & pressing the fob .
    IANGRAD

  7. #7
    apriliaforum expert SpitfireTriple's Avatar
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    Well, I've had an afternoon of tinkering, and the bike still won't try to start. I'm not done yet though so have not yet admitted defeat. But I'm close.

    Graham/
    I have the red code card, and was aware of the official instructions about "Disarming with secure PIN number" with the advice about pressing the remote after a certain number of LED flashes. The problem is, even with the new battery, my LED is still not flashing so I can't do this. Thanks anyway.

    Ian/
    1. Thanks for the kill switch info - this sort of "obvious" thing can often make the difference - but not this time.
    2. Whilst Ian left his bike for two months and was able to bring it out of "sleep" and start it, the difference between his experience and mine will be that he left the battery in the bike. As the weeks went by, even without the solar panel, it would still have had enough power to prop up the alarm/immobiliser and its 5 volt (?) LED. I on the other hand removed my battery. And left it removed for well over a week. Whilst I understand there is a little battery somewhere in the a/i, it is logical that it will have nowhere near the endurance of the main battery. I am guessing that I left the main battery out for too long, and the a/i battery ran out of juice. And that something consequently "died" in the a/i. I suspect that the a/i is not "asleep" but dead. It may not be possible to resurrect it. I found this on a car alarm enthusiasts' forum(!):

    You will need the LED as a visual confirmation of the code you are inputting. I hasten to add sometimes on the M357T if yourve left it too long without charge & its backup battery is depleted, you may not be able to "rescue" the alarm.

    Conversely, however, I find this post, about a different a/i (though the logic could still be valid):
    Has it got an internal back-up battery? When my Spyball went berserk after the dealer disconnected the bike battery to do some wiring...they ended up leaving the battery disconnected for a couple of days (to flatten the back-up battery so that the alarm reset...and then 'reregistered' the plipper. It sounded like hocus pocus to me but it worked).
    This "reregistering" sounds like the Meta's "Disarming with secure PIN number".

    Nevertheless, I am no longer hopeful of rescuing the a/i. I fear I may have to rip it out. The trouble is, it appears to have been well fitted, not simply strapped alongside existing cabling. It could be quite a job to extract without upsetting the OE wiring.

    I suppose an electrical expert might have anticipated the problem, and would not have left the bike for so long (over a week) without its battery. I suppose if I had given it a deal of thought this might have occurred to me too. Maybe. So I am at least partially to blame for what has happened. At the same time, nowhere in the manufacturer's blurb is there anything about "Do not leave your vehicle for long without its battery". Besides, a good system should be able to cope with the vehicle's battery being removed for longish periods. So I am not pleased with Meta. My only consolation is that it was not me who laid out the 300 these things cost, it was a previous owner. Nevertheless, it is me who is now having to sort out the problem.

    I did wonder whether leaving the ignition on for a while might somehow magically recharge the Meta's internal battery. I even found a thread which indirectly suggested it might - the First-Poster's siren briefly sounded after he left his ignition on for 5 minutes. And there's the 13th post (by "Jonesy_2") on this thread. But I've left the ignition on for much longer than 5 minutes this afternoon with no joy. Maybe I just have to accept my main battery had been out for too long, and maybe my a/i unit is therefore past the point of no return.

    Despite the 300 they charged for this system, there is no way of contacting Meta direct on their website for advice. They do give phone numbers for regional dealers/fitters, so I'll try that next.

    Failing that, I'll try this chap, "bikealarmman", who posted on the VisorDown thread already linked
    Bloody hell! I feel like topping myself after reading all these Meta alarm problems. I always found them quite reliable! (having fitted maybe 1000 of them over the last ten years!!) Am mainly fitting Datatool and Acumen systems nowadays! If anyone wants some information, instructions or spares I should be able to help.... I'm aware of most faults and quirks!!!
    All the best,
    Pete
    07877 552759


    I know I've gone on about this, but maybe it will help someone else in the future. One last link says Meta gave the number of a very helpful chap...who said, the alarm is buggered, I'll fit you a new one for 300. Hmm, not so helpful in my book. Interesting though that Aprilia seem to recommend the M357T, or did at the time, almost as a factory fitment.

    The one good thing (?) about all this is that my failure happened in my garage, and not thousands of miles from home. But after experiencing the problem, and reading countless similar stories on the net, it has put me off alarms for good.
    Last edited by SpitfireTriple; 01-23-2010 at 12:13 PM.

  8. #8
    apriliaforum expert RobC's Avatar
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    sounds like you're in a nasty place there, the only time I've had a 'problem' was when the plug on the unit wasn't seated correctly because of the way it had been installed. Then it was making random cheeps and beeps, wouldn't de-immobilise or anything. I think I'd start at the unit and check all connections from there to the battery and ignition. Contact cleaner on the main plug and a good wiggle maybe. I'd disconnect mine, but I dare not touch the wiring as it's all black with no way to identify anything.
    When I say 'problems' I don't count going off at random if I arm it - I just use it as an immobiliser.

    Good luck with the interviews, I finally started at Tata in a permanent role last weekend, I'd forgotten what it's like to be a new boy learning new systems. It's worth the hassle for the peace of mind, knowing I don't have to worry where the next pay check will come from - as long as I get through probation of course!

  9. #9
    apriliaforum Junkie IANGRAD's Avatar
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    Here's a thought -- run a wire from the 12v+ve to the starter solenoid trigger ( not the actual starter feed ! ) and if it tries to start but will not fire because the fuel pump circuit will also be interrupted by alarm . Next if that is successful run a 2nd 12v+ve to the fuel pump relay -- bike should now fire up and run .

    Process of elimination . if this gets the bike running work back from there via starter button etc .
    Ian

    Edit -- is the dash still lit up IE oil pressure light
    is the green neutral light on ?
    Last edited by IANGRAD; 01-24-2010 at 03:17 AM.
    IANGRAD

  10. #10
    apriliaforum newb
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    may be able to help you with this, will need to know which meta 357T it is, will also need to know some other details, contact me 'off list'

  11. #11
    apriliaforum expert SpitfireTriple's Avatar
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    RobC/
    I have checked connections, they look/feel okay. It makes sense to double-check things like this, but I am fairly sure now the problem is something to do with having removed the battery for over a week. I too am wary of digging into the wiring, especially if it's all black.
    Tata seem to be taking a long-term view of things, though I understand they are quite hot on budget control.

    Ian/
    Green neutral light and other warning lights working as normal.

    didly/
    pm sent

    Edit: I have just phoned Pete (mentioned in a post above) on 07877 552759 and he is coming over from Warwickshire tomorrow to rip the thing out. His web-site. Despite the distance, he's charging 120 which is a chunk cheaper than my nearest bike shop, who would need to trailer the bike to their workshop rather than working on it at my house.

    Shame on me for paying someone else to work on my bike, but I am too nervous of cutting into the electrics myself.
    Last edited by SpitfireTriple; 01-28-2010 at 07:22 AM.

  12. #12
    apriliaforum newb
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    Just had a look Pete's website, looks like he is the man who will sort your Bike out.

  13. #13
    apriliaforum expert SpitfireTriple's Avatar
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    Funny you should say that...

    Pete Mouncer had been surprisingly (to me) helpful over the phone. After first going through the symptoms, he suggested I check the 15Amp fuse, described its likely location and appearance etc. Graham - torr1co - had already suggested this, but I found the advice easier to understand when it was over the phone. I went and checked it, it was fine, so I rang him back and he agreed to come to my house and remove the alarm/immobiliser. I asked him to bring a replacement a/i too, in case I decided to trade up, but to be honest was thinking of getting rid of the whole business.

    Before Pete removed the a/i however, he started checking a few things. He found that there was no power to the a/i - sod it, I'm going to refer to it as an alarm, even if it's an immobiliser too. Which meant that the alarm couldn't do its work, and since like most alarms it is "failsafe", that meant the alarm would not allow the bike to start. Irrespective of any other issues.

    Okay, arguably I should have checked this myself, but whilst I can do some jobs on the bike I am rather frightened of electrics. Especially modern electrics - I was okay with my BSA Bantam 35 years ago!

    An electrically-fearless person would have followed Ian's advice:
    Quote Originally Posted by IANGRAD View Post
    ...
    Process of elimination . if this gets the bike running work back from there via starter button etc .
    Ian
    Pete went methodically round the bike trying to find the faulty wire or component. He consulted the wiring diagram in the owners manual, and I looked up a few Futura-specific things on the net for him that the manual didn't cover. I already had the RH fairing off for him, I ended up removing the windscreen etc and the LH fairing. Everything was fine...until he got to the Fuel Pump Relay. This made a noise when the ignition was switched on, but did not properly complete a circuit. Or something, I got a bit lost at this point. He swapped the apparently faulty relay with an adjacent same-spec relay, which confirmed that the problem was with the Fuel Pump Relay.

    Pete had patiently spent a lot more time on all this than he would have needed for a simple (?!) a/i removal. He suggested 160 as a revised rate for the job, which I was very happy to pay. Maybe he gave me a discount for supplying him with toast and cups of tea. He told me I needed to obtain a new FP relay then scooted off to his already-booked next job. No problem. I searched the net for a replacement Mitsuba RC-2208 relay. It was harder to track one down than I had thought. I found MartDude's post which looked promising, but then the phone rang and I had an offer of a second interview (actually, a third -sort-of) so I decided I didn't want to wait for delivery. I drove into town and bought a Honda-boxed relay (Honda part number 38501-GN2-014)for 30. Ouch. Plugged it in...and the bike started straight up!

    Furthermore, I still have a fully-functioning alarm (there was never anything wrong with it!)

    Pete thought that whilst the wiring that had been done on the alarm looked professional, the fitter had chosen an odd place to join the alarm wiring to the main wiring. It meant that any fault in any component in the same wiring loop (in my case, the fuel Pump Relay), made it look as if there was a fault with the alarm . NB, Pete stressed that he's an alarm specialist, not an Aprilia specialist, so he can't be absolutely sure about the existing wiring. But it's not how he'd design an a/i system. And he has designed alarms, and been out to the far east to get factories to build alarms for the likes of Oxford Products.

    I think he's quite a find, particularly for anyone here in the (UK) Midlands (he's based in Nuneaton).

    One last thing, I fitted my brand-new fully-charged YTZ14S battery a day or two before Pete did his stuff. Yet it was down to 7.5V when he checked it. Either I have a duff (fake?) Yuasa or ....
    From Battery Thread
    Quote Originally Posted by torr1co View Post
    Hi, as with the thread link from deefred. Mine was the same. found it to be a sticking fuel pump relay, which kept the pump powered up. new relay, sorted!!!!

    to check, when you switch on the ignition can you hear the pump start up, if not is already powered up from the sticking relay.
    Maybe my Fuel Pump Relay was faulty (we know it was!) and in addition to preventing starting, was rapidly draining charge from my battery?

    I'll know a bit more once it's all back together and I've run it a few days.
    Last edited by SpitfireTriple; 04-13-2010 at 04:07 AM.

  14. #14
    apriliaforum Junkie Clarkey_UK's Avatar
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    Just for information for the future, I just phoned up Pete, and although he knew he wasn't going to get any work from me (we are based in different parts of the country) he spent quite a decent amount of time on the phone with me giving me advice.

    Top bloke and seemed to really really know what he was talking about
    Live forever or die trying

  15. #15
    apriliaforum expert RobC's Avatar
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    oh what fun! This afternoon I was replacing the instrument cluster and adding a satnav power connector but when I came to put the rhs dash cover back I noticed a twin lead hanging loose - the LED lead for the Meta 357T had come away from the LED. Never mind, switch on the ignition to check the clocks - the alarm made a strange croak and only the ignition light came on dimly. The battery had died. Not to worry, I was half expecting this and I'd got a new battery on charge. Now the bike had only been off the Optimate 3 days so I was a little surprised.
    Anyway, put the new battery on, switch on and the warning lights come ok. Except that the alarm will not disable with the remote. I tried swapping relays as per ST's posts, no joy. At this point I can't use the pin as I haven't got an LED, so I solder on a new 5mm LED - very dim and intermittent, so I try a 3mm one and it now flashes visibly (after trying it connected different ways round).
    Next, find the PIN. Eventually I found the alarm bits that came with the bike, like instructions, spare fob, the orange card and, strangely, the inlet restrictor.
    I can now disable the alarm, but the fobs still won't work so I'm off to try to find some batteries, tomorrow I'll see if I can register the fobs. The fob worked two days ago!
    What a lovely day in sub zero temperatures, and that's inside the garage!

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