Your Vespa, Piaggio scooter keys. Transponder Technical Information Vespa transponder keys started to appear in 1995. Being introduced into the high end Scooter market first then across all makes and models. The reason Vespa transponder keys are used is reliability. Most types of transponders don't require batteries and there are no moving parts, in fact most people dont even realize that there is a small electronic transponder chip in the plastic head of the key. Many different types of transponder key systems exist. Although the end result is the same, the way each manufacturer goes about this varies. There are four main components with in the system that must communicate with each other. Key - containing the transponder and its secret code. Arial around the ignition. Transponder receiver / transmitter. Electronic Control Unit - The scooter computer. When a transponder key is inserted into the ignition the arial sends out a small amount of power, this powers up the transponder inside the key which then sends a secret code to the Arial. The code is passed onto the receiver, if the code is correct another code is transmitted to the scooter ECU to allow it to start.
Often the Transponder arial, receiver / transmitter and ECU all share a secret code meaning another box can not be substituted. This all happens as you push your car key into the ignition and is complete by the time you turn it to start. Pretty amazing really.
So it all sounds great, less theft, cheaper insurance etc. The problems start when you lose one or all of your scooter keys. Gone are the days of having a car key cut for $10 down at the local Locksmith or Key cutter. Specialized equipment and knowledge are required to complete even seemingly simple tasks such as duplicating a Vespa key. If for instance you lose all your scooter keys then the dealers can only replace all the linked parts such as ECU, arial & keys, costing several thousand dollars. We on the other hand have worked out ways to reprogram and reflash most scooters which is much more cost effective.