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Old 11-27-2020, 09:40 AM   #1
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Using Onstar for data wifi in your campground - cheap!

Update to using ONstar for a wifi data signal - A simple range extender can boost the signal from the truck and improve performance. I'm going to try a couple of options but it looks like $39-69 will do it - requires 110V and is best near the truck. This will boost the wifi signal so distance to the truck or interferences like the RV exterior won't reduce speeds. Biggest issue is having to have the car on or in the case of newer truck, keeping the system from shutting down when you lock the vehicle - push to start system on accessory. That one is simple, push the start button for more than =5 seconds and the vehicle goes into diagnostic mode and and you can open/close and lock the doors. Last issue is the battery in the truck will drain - going to try a 10 AMP battery charger though some people say the trailer's battery maintainer will keep the trucks battery charged if the trailer wiring is connected and the trailer is on shore power - not sure. Have tor remember to dim the displays and put the lights on off, not auto as well as turning off everything you can like the radio, fan, etc. At $20 a month unlimited from ATT it's cheap and uses the better and more powerful cell transmitter and better antenna than a phone - typically onstar can get a better data signal and speeds than a cellphone hotspot. I've read of people using it this way for home internet due to no or poor internet access from lack of cable, satellite etc. Last but not least, most cell phones can operate on wifi without a cell signal if the wifi offers a decent ul/dl speed. So even your cell phone will benefit when needed.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:19 AM   #2
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Don’t forget to start the truck every 15-20 minutes and drive it around the block. If the system senses no movement for that amount of time it will shut down.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:03 PM   #3
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Are you referring to the accessory function shutting off after 15 minutes when you shut the truck off?
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:42 PM   #4
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Are you referring to the accessory function shutting off after 15 minutes when you shut the truck off?
No...the actual WiFi transmitter will shut down when no movement detected for a certain period of time.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:44 PM   #5
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You will want to test the 12V lead at the plug on the truck, on some older trucks the 12V is there all the time, some of them it is there when the accessories are on and others the engine needs to be running.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:47 PM   #6
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That's a new one! I've seen people state they using it in their driveway or at a campground for extended periods. Obviously, that may be dated and they have changed tracking and monitoring. Is this personal experience? I've seen no other reports of this? Does anyone else have anything to offer on this?
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:50 PM   #7
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Doug, the power can kept on by using the diagnostic mode. You push the start button (without pressing the brake) and hold for more than 5 seconds and the truck will not shut off or power down until you press the button again. Everything stays powered.
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Old 11-27-2020, 01:43 PM   #8
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Me too...

Quote:
Originally Posted by dedobias View Post
Update to using ONstar for a wifi data signal - A simple range extender can boost the signal from the truck and improve performance. I'm going to try a couple of options but it looks like $39-69 will do it - requires 110V and is best near the truck. This will boost the wifi signal so distance to the truck or interferences like the RV exterior won't reduce speeds. Biggest issue is having to have the car on or in the case of newer truck, keeping the system from shutting down when you lock the vehicle - push to start system on accessory. That one is simple, push the start button for more than =5 seconds and the vehicle goes into diagnostic mode and and you can open/close and lock the doors. Last issue is the battery in the truck will drain - going to try a 10 AMP battery charger though some people say the trailer's battery maintainer will keep the trucks battery charged if the trailer wiring is connected and the trailer is on shore power - not sure. Have tor remember to dim the displays and put the lights on off, not auto as well as turning off everything you can like the radio, fan, etc. At $20 a month unlimited from ATT it's cheap and uses the better and more powerful cell transmitter and better antenna than a phone - typically onstar can get a better data signal and speeds than a cellphone hotspot. I've read of people using it this way for home internet due to no or poor internet access from lack of cable, satellite etc. Last but not least, most cell phones can operate on wifi without a cell signal if the wifi offers a decent ul/dl speed. So even your cell phone will benefit when needed.

I do the same thing with my truck, but it has two batteries and I have left the key on (on accessory) for as much as three hours (I do make sure I shut the lights off) and haven't noticed any real drain on the battery(ies). I have often wondered why I can have a hotspot in my truck (2018 Sierra 2500hd) but not in our trailer. And I agree, twenty bucks a month is very reasonable for internet access at the CG.
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Old 11-27-2020, 01:44 PM   #9
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Question

Hi, I was wondering what truck you have.
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Old 11-27-2020, 01:50 PM   #10
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I got the ATT unlimited plan in Oct 2019 on their $15/mo special. On my Chevy Sonic, if I turn off the key and exit the driver's door, it will kill the OnStar connection. However, if I reach in the passenger door, turn on the key, and make the connection, I can then turn the key off and close the passenger door and the connection remains alive.
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dedobias View Post
That's a new one! I've seen people state they using it in their driveway or at a campground for extended periods. Obviously, that may be dated and they have changed tracking and monitoring. Is this personal experience? I've seen no other reports of this? Does anyone else have anything to offer on this?
Tried it with my neighbor’s 2020 F150 and it definitely shut down after 17 minutes. Did it while on acc only and while the engine was running the entire time. Shutting everything down then restoring power started everything over.

When connected it was showing download speeds from 12-15 mbps, which is very good for this area. The Mobley AT&T device plugged into the OBDI was 7-10 mbps.
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At some point during every day you suddenly realize nothing else productive is going to happen the rest of that day. For me, it usually occurs around 9 am.
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:34 PM   #12
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emm-dee - thanks for the answer. I have a 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Mine does not shut down and from the responses here and other places, GMs don't. I'm surprised Ford 150 does. I wonder if there is a diagnostic function like the Chevy you could use? Just a suggestion!
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:42 PM   #13
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I do the same thing with my truck, but it has two batteries and I have left the key on (on accessory) for as much as three hours (I do make sure I shut the lights off) and haven't noticed any real drain on the battery(ies). I have often wondered why I can have a hotspot in my truck (2018 Sierra 2500hd) but not in our trailer. And I agree, twenty bucks a month is very reasonable for internet access at the CG.
The wifi strength issue is solvable by using a range extender relatively close to the truck. The the strength should reach in the RV without a major loss in performance. I have one extender someone told me about that worked with GM, just needed a laptop to do the initial setup. Need 110V power and it may take playing with the location. I haven't reactivated mine yet on my truck. When I do, I'll play with it some more. On a moving vehicle like one being towed, it may be harder.
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Old 11-27-2020, 04:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by AudiDudi View Post
I got the ATT unlimited plan in Oct 2019 on their $15/mo special. On my Chevy Sonic, if I turn off the key and exit the driver's door, it will kill the OnStar connection. However, if I reach in the passenger door, turn on the key, and make the connection, I can then turn the key off and close the passenger door and the connection remains alive.

Thanks for the info! I'm going to try this.
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Old 11-27-2020, 05:41 PM   #15
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The campsites I frequent do not have Onstar service. Seems they use mobile phone system and it is not available in the boonies. Trust me, they were not available when I needed them.

I try to leave the electronics home except the wife's satellite dish. She won't give that up.
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Old 11-27-2020, 06:23 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by dedobias View Post
The wifi strength issue is solvable by using a range extender relatively close to the truck. The the strength should reach in the RV without a major loss in performance. I have one extender someone told me about that worked with GM, just needed a laptop to do the initial setup. Need 110V power and it may take playing with the location. I haven't reactivated mine yet on my truck. When I do, I'll play with it some more. On a moving vehicle like one being towed, it may be harder.
You probably won’t need 110v power. I have an Alpha CampPro WiFi extender/repeater that uses a 110 volt power supply that converts 110ac to 12dc. I just cut the connector cord and wired it direct to the RV 12 volt system. Same procedure used for the Netgear router and the security camera used as a rear view observation cam.

The On Star system should be easily seen within a 50 or more foot radius. If you’re just using it inside your RV it may not need a repeater. If you need me the Alpha mini system is well under $100 and works very well.
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At some point during every day you suddenly realize nothing else productive is going to happen the rest of that day. For me, it usually occurs around 9 am.
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Old 11-27-2020, 06:54 PM   #17
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The campsites I frequent do not have Onstar service. Seems they use mobile phone system and it is not available in the boonies. Trust me, they were not available when I needed them.

I try to leave the electronics home except the wife's satellite dish. She won't give that up.
Onstar is through a mobile network, I just happen to use AT&T because they have a $20 unlimited plan that CAN be throttled though no one has detected it being throttled that I have found. Onstar uses a better antenna and higher wattage than a cell phone to transmit and receive. This translates to reception where a cell phone won't work. Not always though!
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:24 PM   #18
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Doug, the power can kept on by using the diagnostic mode. You push the start button (without pressing the brake) and hold for more than 5 seconds and the truck will not shut off or power down until you press the button again. Everything stays powered.
THANK YOU! The 10 minute shut down of the radio on our truck and Buick has been so annoying. This is the best tip!
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:30 PM   #19
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I have installed this for myself. $19 WiFi extender/repeater. Runs at 5G or 2.4G (depending upon which WiFi signal you connect it to). You can program from a laptop or your cell phone. Then use WiFi calling and your cell will work where there is no cell signal. Simple set up. Uses 110.



https://www.ebay.com/itm/1200Mbps-Wi...53.m2749.l2649
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Old 11-27-2020, 08:35 PM   #20
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Doug, the power can kept on by using the diagnostic mode. You push the start button (without pressing the brake) and hold for more than 5 seconds and the truck will not shut off or power down until you press the button again. Everything stays powered.
I was referring to the OP wanting to keep the battery charged by having the truck plugged in to the trailer. For the 12Vt flow to the truck will need the 12V pin in the trailer plug on the truck to be active and that plug may or may not work with the key position depending on the truck.
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