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Discussion Starter #1
While doing my research, a post by doctorman on Toyotanation was a big help for me, so I thought I'd try to contribute by making a detailed guide further to their post.

You can find much of this information in other threads and throughout the web, however, my experience was very difficult because I found some of the information confusing and at times in conflict with other information, so I thought I'd summarize all my learnings here for other people to benefit.


What I will walkthrough is how to add a Smart Key (a used one) to a car with a Smart Key System (aka SKS), which is a car that doesn't have a traditional ignition key (you push a "Start" button instead)

My total cost was under $100 CDN to have my Smart Key ($50 for the key, $20 for the software/cable, and $15 for the SEED code).

Background Information: (skip if you're already familiar with the components)

Briefly speaking, the evolution of the ignition component of a car went from a physical key alone, to a physical key with a security chip (the rubber head keys) to completely keyless ignitions (referred to as a "Smart Key").

While the intention was to increase security and decrease car theft, the natural consequence is that it makes it more difficult for owners to get duplicate keys. At first you could simply get your key cut as that's all there was to it with a straight physical key (this is how it is in my 1998 Mazda Protege, duplicate key cost $3 total). However, things started to get complicated with the security chips. You could sometimes buy a key and pair it to your car if you happened to know a set of "special/secret" steps to follow that would put the car into "programming mode" (this is what most internet searches will yield). You do not want to confuse that procedure with what needs to be for done Smart Keys, which is completely different. While the keys themselves are a similar concept, the steps are still referring to a physical key. In order to add a "Smart Key", you have to use specialized software connected to the car and depending on its status (new or used), different steps need to be followed.

I am not an expert when it comes to the security components, but I will do my best to detail them here:

About Smart Keys
(source link, requires free registration for full article, I've attached it as well under this post)

" of the things a Smart Key broadcasts its unique Key ID code, which is burned into its memory at the factory. The other is the Vehicle ID code, which is obtained from the car and burned to the Smart Key during the registration process. Just as a key blank is cut to work with a particular vehicle, the key registration process also alters the Smart Key to “fit” the “lock”."

A new Smart Key will come with the Vehicle ID blank. A used Smart Key will already have a Vehicle ID, which complicates the registration process as the Techstream procedure is expecting new keys only (and does not provide an option to erase an existing Vehicle ID). There is a way around this, but it requires a "Smart Code Reset" and a special, one-time use passcode (I will walkthrough this later).

About the ECUs
There are a number of Engine Control Units (ECUs) inside your car. One or more of them will deal with the security and "Smart Key" component. Your car's ECU must be programmed to accept the Smart Key's ID.


-Mini VCI Cable (USB on one end, OBD2 on the other - can be found on eBay; search for Techstream, Mini VCI, or MVCI)
-Techstream software (I used 9.30.002, as of this writing, 10.10.018 appears to be the latest)
-PC/laptop with Windows XP 32-bit (Windows 7 64-bit can be used but I did not resort to this, here is a post on how to get it working)
-Java (can't recall if there was a specific version)
-Smart Key with matching Circuit Board # (new or used, Circuit Board # is NOT the same thing as the FCC ID#)
-SEED Code (only required for used Smart Keys, to be obtained while performing programming, its a variable code)
There are online services that can provide you with such a code, at a price. The cheapest I found was @ (was $15 USD, now shows as $11) or (25EUR for 5 codes).

About the Circuit Board# IMPORTANT!
In order to determine whether a Smart Key will be compatible with your car or not, you must match the Circuit Board # (e.g. 271451-0140) which is listed INSIDE the Smart Key.

Sellers that know what they're selling will mention it in their ad. However, my experience was that most people listed the FCC# (e.g. HYQ14AAB) (which is listed on the outside of the Smart Key). The FCC#, while useful, is not an absolute way of knowing whether the Smart Key will be fully compatible or not. There are cases where the FCC# matches yet the Smart Key still won't pair with the car. You can read more about the labelling standards in my post here and a picture of what I'm talking about here.

The good news is that you could find a compatible Smart Key with your circuit board #, that doesn't look like your existing Smart Key or belong to your (Toyota-family) manufacturer (meaning a bigger pool of potential candidates). The bad news is that finding it can be very difficult. Generally speaking, the last digits of the circuit board # (after the dash) need to match and doing searches with multiple mixtures of "keyfob", "smart key", "0140" (the board# I needed, yours may be different), "HYQ14AAB" or "14AAB" (while the FCC ID# is not an absolute indication of compatibility, it helps narrow the can always ask sellers for the board# inside as a follow-up question, assuming its not listed), "prox", "key", "remote", "keyless", "fob". I typically did 2 terms at a time and reviewed the results. It was a long process.

I live in Canada (Toronto). A New Smart Key at the dealership was ~$360. New Smart Keys online were ~$150. Used Smart Keys on eBay were ~$85 (after shipping and import fees). I ended up finding my key on Kijiji for $50 a few towns over (had it shipped). It belonged to a 2008 Lexus IS250 while my car was a 2010 Toyota RAV4.

Best of luck!


Smart Key: The circuit board # inside the to-be-programmed Smart Key matches your existing key(s).
Techstream: You should be able to run the program without an error appearing. There is typically a manual step to have the program launch properly (modify IT3System.ini, "TISFunction = 1" to "TISFunction = 0")
MVCI Cable: When you plug it into your PC, you should hear the iconic "ding" sound. If you don't, it would suggest a lose connection (I experienced this and had to open up my cable to get it working). You should also launch the "XHorse Firmware Update Tool" (it comes with the cable's drivers) and click "Device Info", which will confirm whether it can communicate with the cable or not (for this check, it does not need to be plugged into the car, only to your PC)


Once you have everything ready to go, start your car and launch Techstream. Leave the driver's door OPEN for the entire duration.

Click "Connect to Vehicle"
Note: As the procedure I'm running through takes about 20 minutes total, its recommended to have the car running to ensure the battery doesn't drain out. If you can't start the car, its mentioned in other bulletins to have the car hooked up to a backup battery

Techstream should automatically detect your car (mine was a 2010 RAV4, ignore the details in the image, its just for reference), except for an option or two (I had to indicate "/w Smart Key" functionality and that my car was "2WD")

After a while, you will arrive at the System Select page. I suggest you copy-paste your VIN# to Windows notepad so that you have it handy later (applicable for used Smart Key registration only)

All of the ECUs will be yellow. You can click "Health Check" to have Techstream go through each of the ECUs and determine its status, which takes a few minutes and will change their colour. If you decide to skip the "Health Check", you can still click on the individual ECU you're looking for and it will read only that specific ECU (you'll be waiting a few seconds instead of minutes, its basically the same as the "Health Check", but only for that ECU).

The ECU I needed was labelled "Smart Key" (2010 RAV4, if your vehicle differs, so may your options)

Once in there, select "Utility" on the left-hand side and you will arrive at this screen.

Now, if you had a NEW Smart Key, the process is relatively straight forward. You can simply click on the "Smart Code Registration" option, which there are 2 of. Both options work, the Classic is older and has less explanations, while the new one has more text and is more user-friendly.

The steps basically consist of; 1.) only have 1 Smart Key in the car at a time, 2.) first start with the Master Key (existing key) and tap it on the ignition button, 3.) remove the key (more than 1 meter from the car) and bring the NEW Smart Key inside, tap it on the ignition button. 4.) Place the NEW Smart Key on the passenger seat until prompted otherwise. 5.) Done.

All of the steps need to be done within 30 seconds of each other, as indicated on the screen (there will be a counter counting down).

The only option that appears to work is the "Smart Code Reset" function. I tried a number of different things (see my earlier post) but I couldn't get the used Smart Key to register under any of them except this one (which requires a SEED code, $)

Within the "Smart Code Reset" function, you will arrive at this screen.

You can click on the "Get Pass-Code" button, which will take you to another screen that allows you to copy the 96-digit SEED code (the first one doesn't seem to let you copy, despite being able to click on it).
IMPORTANT! Do not close the Techstream window that has the SEED code displayed (the first one). Techstream generates a new SEED code every time you enter the function, so if you close out of it, you lose that session. If you re-enter it, a new SEED code will be supplied and any SEED passcode you received from a calculator will be useless (you can't re-open a previous session).

NOTE: While you may read in Techstream that its recommended to avoid having wireless devices such are cell phones or your PC's WiFi on when registering Smart Keys, I had my laptop with WiFi turned on for the entire process and didn't encounter any issues or interference. With respect to supplying a calculator with your VIN# and SEED code, I would highly recommended that you do all of it through copy-paste instead of manually typing. This would help you avoid any unintentional typos (as that would end up costing you money for a new SEED passcode).

You now need to go to one of those "calculator" websites I mentioned ( (was $15 USD) or (25EUR for 5 codes) and paste your VIN# and SEED number. When I used, the 6-digit passcode was generated instantly.
Reminder #1: Do not close the Techstream window that has the SEED code displayed (the first one).

You can then go back into Techstream and paste the code in.
Reminder #2: Remember to leave the driver's side door OPEN. Do not close it as it will interrupt the reset procedure. If the function fails for whatever reason, DO NOT CLOSE THE DRIVER'S DOOR. You may still be able to try again or carry through with the remaining steps successfully (other post's have reported so).

You will then arrive at this screen, where you simply wait for 16 minutes.

I suggest you stay nearby (I was playing a game on my phone) and set an alarm a minute before you expect the timer to end and avoid touching or moving anything (I left the laptop on the car seat and sat on the ground outside, most specifically because my particular cable was defective and had a loose connection, so I wanted to avoid any movement that may risk losing the connection).

Once the timer ends, it will tell you the procedure is complete (successfully)... but you're not done yet!

In order to register your keys, you now need to select one of the other options (I chose "Smart Code Registration (Classic)").
Note #1: Previously, if you used this function, you'd choose the first option ("I am just registering keys") but it would fail if you were trying to register a used Smart Key. Now you will select the third option instead.
Note #2: In case you're curious, choosing the third option before performing the "Smart Code Reset" will simply result in an error before you even get to load the function. It will produce a message to the effect of "Cannot initialize, reset function not detected".

(ignore the locksmith bit, I couldn't find a better picture but will try to upload another one, with the correct option selected)

Here, you will select the third and longest option "I am Registering keys and have replaced the ID Code Box and Smart ECU or have performed Smart Code Reset"

When you hit next, you will be asked to eventually tap the key on the ignition button. It has been recommended by other users that the USED key be tapped first and any existing (previously linked) keys to be tapped last.

After this is done, you can click "Register" to finalize the session.

Ending Comments:

The end of the process was somewhat lacking in celebration. I wasn't expecting the program to serve me champagne, but I expected there to be something more or another way to test the Smart Keys were accepted (before turning off the car or closing the driver's side door and being surprised later) but I didn't encounter anything.

What you can do as a brief check is to use the "Communication Check (Key Diag Mode)" option. I checked with the rear oscillator to see that the key is communicating properly (it will beep if so). Before the sync, the used Smart Key did not produce a beep from the car at all when in proximity of the selected oscillator. Once it was paired, it DID produce a beep when you took the key near the rear oscillator. You could select any oscillator but the rear one is the furthest one away from the driver, so I used that one to avoid any confusion with my existing key.

I hope this was helpful.

My (various) sources:

-Post from doctorman, brief walkthrough of my edited OP
-Toyota Technical Services Bulletin regarding Smart Code Reset function.
-Performance Technician article on Smart Keys, Part 1
(requires free registration for full article, or get from my post on Smart Keys as its attached to that post as well)
-Performance Technician article on Smart Keys, Part 2
(requires free registration for full article, or get from my post on Smart Keys as its attached to that post as well)
-My post in this thread about Smart Keys
-Toyota's TIS "Known Bugs" page regarding Techstream and Java.
-Memo regarding FCC and IC Labelling Standards
-My post in this thread summarizing the relevant information from the memo regarding FCC and IC labelling standards.
-My post in another thread about Techstream options that failed with respect to pairing a used Smart Key.
-eBay listing regarding calculator (where I found
-Another post similar to doctorman's, walking through process briefly
-jmkinny's post on importance of matching circuit board #s

...I'm sure there is more links, but I cannot recall them as I didn't track them while I did my research. The above should be the bulk of them. My thanks to all the brave pioneers who did this before me.

I wanted to also add an attachment to this post but I don't think that's an option (at least I don't see one). Its a guide that pretty much walks you through the entire process, except it was intended for a "Passcode Generator" you can buy from eBay (its too expensive for one-time use). Anywho, the guide actually seemed really great so I thought I'd add it to this post for extra reference, in case my own instructions below are not clear or not enough. Link here.

Highlander 2014
74 Posts
The info about the USED smart key was right on. It's kind of tricky to pay and get the pass code and use TIS at the same time. The difference in price for an new and used fob is almost $100. Even with the extra expense for seed code, the savings are well worth it. Some Toyota dealers charge $18-$20 for shipping the fob.

3 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Glad its found useful.

I found the whole subject a bit of a scavenger hunt when I started so I figured it would be nice to have everything in one spot. I have to thank doctorman again since their post was a big help in connecting a lot of other posts together.

If anyone finds anything left vague or that needs to be edited. Please let me know and I can update the OP as necessary.

3 Posts
Does it really matter if I setup different region (eg. North America, Japan, Europe) in Techstream to do a Smart Key Reset? Any opinion please?

3 Posts
Can anyone help me? Can I setup Techstream to North America region for Australia to be able to use Smart Reset key function? Other region doesn't have Smart reset function.
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