I have an iPass which has been on an even keel for ages.

Recently I've noticed a couple of apparent failures in using it. I went through one "pay by coin" lane and stayed, with the lights stuck on "STOP" and never changing to "GO", until there were cars building up behind me. I went through, and subsequent tolls gave me the blue (i.e. "You're clear") light. But I think I've seen at least one case whether neither yellow nor blue light lit. My iPass is wedged between the front of the dashboard and the front of the windshield, which should register as being in plain sight to the machines that read them.

The first time, when things were stuck on "STOP", I went to the website http://illinoistollway.gov to pay late tolls. Incidentally, the website is a good example of the notorious bad usability of government-run websites; their form expects you to pinpoint the exact intersection where you have failed to pay a toll; I tried and failed to find what they had in the system matching my license plate, and wrote a contact asking for help identifying any tolls not paid.

Is there a battery or transponder problem? How should I be trying to troubleshoot this? Can I exchange my transponder at a Secretary of State office or other location? My best thought now is to try battery replacement, and if I notice another failure to get a blue light or equivalent, look into replacing the transponder.


I went to replace the batteries in my transponder. While it looks like it might be able to hold 2 AA or AAA batteries, it does not seem to have a usual compartment to open to replace batteries, or for that matter any parts that look like they are intended to be opened by the general public.

Also, to my knowledge the transponder has not encountered any particularly rough service; it has of course been exposed to a usual amount of road vibrations, but I would be quite surprised to find out that transponders aren't made adequately to stand up to road vibrations.

  • 4
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it has nothing to do with travel
    – Giorgio
    Feb 28, 2017 at 20:50
  • @Dorothy Huh? It looks perfectly on topic to me. See Is commuting on topic? for discussion. Feb 28, 2017 at 21:19
  • 3
    @MichaelHampton Isn't it about a faulty electronic device?
    – Giorgio
    Feb 28, 2017 at 21:25
  • 4
    @Dorothy It's about paying road tolls (with a possibly faulty electronic device). Feb 28, 2017 at 21:26
  • I would split the pay outstanding fee part of the question into a separate one, provided it is on-topic on Travel.
    – JoErNanO
    Mar 1, 2017 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


Illinois Tollway explains it all:

How can I tell if my I-PASS transponder is working? When driving through a ramp or mainline toll plaza, I-PASS users can look for the yellow and blue lights at the end of the lane on the left side. This light indicates the account status.

A blue light = successful I-PASS transaction

A blue and a yellow light = successful transaction, low balance - update your account

A yellow light = unsuccessful transaction, no balance - contact the Illinois Tollway

To update your account:

Review online or Call 800-UC-IPASS (800-824-7277) You also should review your account regularly, online, in person or by phone to update information.

Another way to make sure there are funds in your account is to go through a manual or automatic lane and see if the gate goes up automatically.

How do I know if my transponder is working?
Drive through a toll plaza cash lane and the toll collector can verify whether or not your transponder is working. You should also check your account regularly, online or by phone to review toll transactions.

What if my transponder is not working?
You will need to exchange your transponder for a new unit. This exchange can be done in person or by mail. Please refer to the Customer Service section for locations and hours. To exchange your transponder by certified mail, wrap it in foil, and send it with a letter requesting an exchange to the address below. A replacement unit will be shipped upon receipt of your old transponder.

Send the transponder to:
Illinois Tollway
I-PASS Fulfillment Center
P.O. Box 806518
Chicago, IL 60680

How can I tell if I paid the toll? ...

If you are unsure if payment was made

Another way to make sure there are funds in your account is to go through a manual or automatic lane and see if the gate goes up automatically.

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