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Discussion Starter #1

So far as i can tell this is an unusual problem with onStar. I'm posting here so that it's recorded for anyone in the future who needs the information.

On delivery, when pressing my Volt's onStar button to set up the account, the system said "OnStar has not been activated. Press the blue button to connect to onStar." On pressing the button again, "Dialing onStar. Beep...beep...beep...beep...beep. Unable to connect to onStar, try again later." The same symptoms recurred several times in different locations during the week. OnStar technical was unable to contact the car either and said to bring to dealer.

Dealer had the Volt for two days. The transcript of the service record is:

Customer states unable to activate onStar at time of purchase and now when attempting to contact system beeps only as if dialing then unable to connect. Customer has contacted OnStar technical support by phone and was advised to take vehicle to dealer. Check and advise.

Verified customer complaint. Perform base check on vehicle and found both emergency button and blue onStar button both get no connection to onStar errors. Pressing white button gets menu items and will receive commands. No codes I in VCIM. Called TAC case # xxx. Will wait for TAC to return call with OnStar specialist.

Instructed to continue with PIC4310F. Gathered information as per PIC. Also install EL-49903 into system. Still has same issues with system.

Disconnected VCIM and let sit 3 minutes. Reconnected system. Attempted to connect to onStar (blue button). Vehicle connects and location of vehicle is given.

Called TAC for further instructions. Power cycle telematics communication interface control module. Connect to onStar and give location w blue button. System did connect. Performed verification phone call with TAC. Case Closed. Customer will need to setup through blue button and perform digit dial.​

My Volt advisor says that there was a module in the onStar locked up and possibly with a power-related code. So I pick up the car and set up through the blue button. I buy 60 minutes of phone time and the download to my car of those minutes fails. Transfer to onStar tech support. About ten minutes of testing etc, then the minutes download. They were kind enough to give me a free 100 minutes by way of apology for the trouble, which was quite kind.

I get home, log in to myVolt.com (finally). The web site can't connect to the car. Neither can the iPhone application. I go to the car, can't phone out from the car with onStar.

Next day, drive to work. I can phone out form the car. I can connect to onStar advisor and tech support. They can't find any issues. iPhone app still not connecting. I delete the iPhone app, re-install it, can now get car info into the iPhone. Connecting at home with myVolt failed, but with iPhone succeeded. Later tonight, myVolt connects correctly.

So I can't call it quite closed yet, but it's likely that this has been fixed.
 

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I believe you get 100 free minutes included when you first activate OnStar. We did.
 

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Sorry for your problem but this type of stuff happens all the time with electronics. Who knows what the issue was. Seems like it got locked in some weird loop. My guess is you'll never see it again.

When I first got our car I connected my Nano. It worked great. Yesterday I tried and it wouldn't play. Who knows why. The Volt specialist suggested taking the car to the dealer but I just plugged in a USB drive, which works perfectly. I can have the dealer look at the Nano issue if it's still there when I take the car in to have the tires rotated or for some other reason.

To follow up on Mark's comment about the 100 minutes, I got the 300 minute package for the same price. As I understand it, the dealer pays for it but my guess is that GM ultimately credits them. IMO that's a good promotion by GM. OnStar is great but while it's on our current car we've never used it. Having used it I know think it's a "must have". As they know in grocery stores, getting people to sample your product can end up selling a lot of it for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
5 years of OnStar is in the price, the minutes are not in manufacturers package. Three month of xm and xm traffic in price too.
 

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Comments like "I got the 300 minute package for the same price as 100 minutes" makes me question the dealer's delivery process. How can you get "the 300 minute package for the same price" when it is just included in the MSRP of a Volt"
Well, when you call to set up the account -- which you have to do so that they have a password and the right phone contact number and so forth -- the OnStar representative asks you if you want either the 100 or 300 minute package of phone minutes. This is the number of mobile minutes you can use when calling using the OnStar system. These minutes are AFAIK NOT included in the OnStar package that comes with the Volt. They are an extra.
 

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For some reason, I thought I had received 100 free minutes with the delivery of my car, but I noticed a few weeks ago that the MyLink app on my iPhone was showing I had zero minutes. I called OnStar, the lady said that free minutes do not come with the Volt, so I gave her my CC and purchased 100 minutes.

I am not sure if I will ever need it, since I always travel with my cell phone, but who knows....

Ken

# 1228
 

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This is OnStar!

Sorry to hear you're having problems with OnStar. Want to send me a private message with more info? I work on the PR team here at OnStar.
 

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For some reason, I thought I had received 100 free minutes with the delivery of my car, but I noticed a few weeks ago that the MyLink app on my iPhone was showing I had zero minutes. I called OnStar, the lady said that free minutes do not come with the Volt, so I gave her my CC and purchased 100 minutes.

I am not sure if I will ever need it, since I always travel with my cell phone, but who knows....

Ken

# 1228
I wasn't offered any free minutes either. They did offer me 60 minutes for $4.99, which I took. I never use more than that in my other car. Would have been nice if they offered 100min free.
 

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I too was never offered any free minutes. Granted, back in December when I picked up my Volt, my dealer wasn't 100% up on the OnStar process... I've always been 0 minutes.
 

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I was offered free minutes, AFTER I purchased 60 minutes. It was hard to tell if we would have gotten the free minutes if we hadn't purchased the additional minutes, but I certainly rolled my eyes after they tacked on the free minutes as I'll certainly never use all of them by the time they expire in December.
 

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I too was never offered any free minutes. Granted, back in December when I picked up my Volt, my dealer wasn't 100% up on the OnStar process... I've always been 0 minutes.
Same here, I had 1 minute when I bought my car. Some random person accidentally calling into my Onstar phone number quickly turned that to 0 minutes.
 

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As with others we were offered 60 minutes for $4.99 or 300 minutes for $9.99. I took the 300 minutes thinking that $5 is really change compared to what I was spending that day and I wouldn't feel constrained. My thought is only to use minutes to call when one of us is in the car and forgets their regular cell phone. That person can call or be called by the other one. My wife is the one who more often forgets her phone, but so have I on occasion.

The interesting thing about the minutes is that they expire at the end of 12 months (from when you purchased them). Whereas the OnStar subscription is set up for five years, the minutes run out after one. I asked the OnStar Advisor about that yesterday, and she said that was indeed the case, but if you buy more minutes just before the the residual minutes expire, the residual minutes will then roll over. Can anyone here confirm that information?
 

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I think that is correct. And with the Bluetooth in use it is darn hard to use any minutes at all.
I know. Like I said, probably only when forgetting our cell phone(s). I thought there is also a possiblilty that there may be OnStar cell coverage some places where Sprint was too week. Is that possible or if one works does any provider work?
 

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I know. Like I said, probably only when forgetting our cell phone(s). I thought there is also a possiblilty that there may be OnStar cell coverage some places where Sprint was too week. Is that possible or if one works does any provider work?
I believe that Onstar uses the Verizon network, plus your car will have a much more powerful transmitter & a better receiver than a tiny handheld cell phone. So it is possible to get a better signal using the car's built in cell phone.
 

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your car will have a much more powerful transmitter & a better receiver than a tiny handheld cell phone.
No, it won't.

It *might* have a better antenna setup than a typical handheld phone (though I don't think it does), but it certainly won't have a more powerful transmitter. The maximum transmit power of a CDMA mobile station (or other derivative 3G or 4G standard MS) is around 200 milliwatts (I say around, 'cause asking around the office we can't remember whether it's +23 or +24 dBm, and I don't feel like looking it up in the standards 'cause doing that kills brain cells).

The whole point of how CDMA works is to limit everyone's transmit power to as little as possible.

That said, all the carrier's coverages vary. Some are better in some areas and worse in others.
 

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So, the built in "car phone" may work better than my hand-held phone someplace sometime. Bottom line, it could help, won't hurt (Chicken Soup) and $5-10 isn't enough to worry about having wasted my money. ;) Thanks for the discussion.
 

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No, it won't.

It *might* have a better antenna setup than a typical handheld phone (though I don't think it does), but it certainly won't have a more powerful transmitter. The maximum transmit power of a CDMA mobile station (or other derivative 3G or 4G standard MS) is around 200 milliwatts (I say around, 'cause asking around the office we can't remember whether it's +23 or +24 dBm, and I don't feel like looking it up in the standards 'cause doing that kills brain cells).

The whole point of how CDMA works is to limit everyone's transmit power to as little as possible.

That said, all the carrier's coverages vary. Some are better in some areas and worse in others.
This is what I was going by: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/onstar2.htm Onstar's cell phone should be a 3 watt transmitter where as the handheld unit is only 0.6 watts.
 

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From what I have read, the OnStar system has two advantages over a handheld phone....

As stated in the previous post, the transmitter can power up to 3 watts when needed. Handheld phones are typically in the 0.25 watt area. 3 watts can be up to 10 times more power, when needed.

The roof mounted ground plane antenna has a 3 db advantage over the non-ground plane antennas in a hand set. Besides increasing effective radiated power, it also increases receiving sensitivity.

In the CDMA network system, your mobile transmitting power is controlled by the cell tower network. They regulate your output power so you won't be connected to too many towers at once, which also lengthens your battery life charge remaining.

If you are in a reception area where your handset works normally, the OnStar system provides no advantage over the handset. If you are in very remote areas, the greater power and increased sensitivity can make the difference between being able to communicate, or not.
 

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By the way, yesterday when I was making a hands free call under voice command, after I said "Dial TAGNAME", the car said "Connecting Via Onstar", which I have never heard it say before. I then realized I had left my cell phone at home, hence no bluetooth connection was active. So, it does happen.... Wonder what it would have said or done if I had not purchased those 100 minutes.
 
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