Finding lost key fob with detector?

Finding lost key fob with detector?

One of my key fobs has gone missing, and it is most probably inside my house. Since the fobs emit a signal, I am wondering if there is some kind of detector I could use and walk around the house looking for a signal to help me find it. Any suggestions?

I realize that in the future, I could attach Tile or a similar product to the key fob, but it is too late for that now.

WhisperingCJ | 1 March, 2014

I'm not sure that it does continuously emit a signal.
If it did, the batteries wouldn't last long.

AIUI, the only times it would be emitting a signal is if the buttons are being pressed (obviously), or if it was in range of the RFID signal sent by the car. i.e. the car emits a RFID signal and this signal actually powers circuitry in the fob which then replies (which it may use battery power for, or may do using purely power from the RFID signal)

As an aside, this latter technology is how store tags work - they do not have batteries, but instead are powered by the detector field

So to answer your question, the only way I believe you could find it electronically is if you can find a detector that will both power the fob, and understand it's "I am here" signal - which is no doubt different for each car. The only detector I know of therefore is that one in your drive :-\

So you need to look in the obvious places - if you have children, check their toy box, etc. If you have a wife like mine, check the freezer (I found an egg in there to her glasses)

Xerogas | 1 March, 2014

Found mine in the pocket of some pants that I had not worn for a month -- hanging upside down in the closet, but the fob had not fallen to the floor.

As for the fob emitting a signal, there's a *chance* it uses BlueTooth Low Energy, which can actively transmit for up to two years on a coin cell, but I don't know how to detect it.

SeattleSid | 1 March, 2014

If you find it, see if there's a wooden spatula there, too. We got it in France and my wife can't figure out what happened to it.

J.T. | 1 March, 2014

@SeattleSid Funny.

Xerogas | 1 March, 2014
NKYTA | 1 March, 2014

Got kids with matchbox cars? Check there first. ;-)

1LuckyGuy | 1 March, 2014

Dear someone way more capable than me,

Please invent a small stick on rfid tracker we can put on things like the fob and find it via an app. Thanks.

Sincerely, Everyone who owns stuff

DSurber | 1 March, 2014


Ask and ye shall receive.

dramingly | 1 March, 2014

The exact same thing happened to me with a Fitbit (exercise and activity monitor). Was hidden in the corner of that pants pocket. I checked those pants 10 times and was about to buy another one when I had to wear that suit and there it was.

1LuckyGuy | 1 March, 2014

Sweet! Thanks dsurber

wcalvin | 2 March, 2014

A pat down of pockets is faster than feeling around. And it can find things that have escaped into the lining.

PBEndo | 2 March, 2014

Simple. Using your other fob, move your Model S around the various rooms of your house. Remove other fob from area. When doors remain unlocked, you are getting warm.

jordanrichard | 2 March, 2014

I don't have my car yet, but how are people losing their FOBS. Presumably everyone has house keys that they set aside when they get home. So why aren't people putting the fob with their house keys. By our front door we have small key organizer that has a small compartment and hooks for hanging keys. When my wife and I come home, we hang our keys and place out cell phones in this organizer. So we plan on just dropping the FOB into the bin, with the phones.

LMB | 2 March, 2014

(LMB spouse)

@jordanrichard - Some posters have reported problems if the fob is stored too close to the car, e.g. just inside the house door with the car nearby.

jordanrichard | 2 March, 2014

Oh, I can see that.

Velo1 | 2 March, 2014

Seems like a great addition to the Tesla App on phone - Find Fob 1 and/or Fob 2.

murraypetera | 3 March, 2014

Well it is a cool idea but if it is $20 / year per thanks.

hammy16 | 3 March, 2014

I use no charges, works well. Good for about 30 feet.

DSurber | 3 March, 2014

Tile is $20 each. No subscription. The battery lasts for a year, so yes, $20/year. Stick'n Find is $50 and the battery lasts for a year, so $50/year.

I have no relationship with either.

Blick | 3 March, 2014

Try the chipolo. Bluetooth and range of 200 ft. No contract.

DSurber | 4 March, 2014

Chipolo is ~$25 but has a replaceable battery. Replace the battery twice a year for a couple of bucks. The down side is that twice a year you'll be trying to find your keys and the battery will be dead rather than once a year. Still looks like the most economical alternative.

As none of these devices have any sort of contract I don't understand why this keeps getting mentioned.

Mathew98 | 4 March, 2014

Do yo guys/gals carry house keys? Just get a USB holder with key ring and stick the fob in the USB sleeve. Attach the sleeve with your house keys and you'll never lose the key fob again. I've never scratched the key fob with the house keys.

Well, if you forget your house key, you wouldn't go very far either...

cfOH | 25 April, 2014

So, just to clarify, there is no way to use a smartphone or another piece of commonly available hardware to help locate Tesla fobs? One of ours has gone missing, most likely inside our house.

Xerogas | 25 April, 2014

@ cfOH

Correct, no such luck :(

Hope you find yours

NKYTA | 25 April, 2014

Craig, any kids with matchbox car collections? First place to check! ;-)

Don't forget the washer and dryer. :-/

Brian H | 25 April, 2014

Get the dog X-rayed.