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Author Topic: 32-bits is the new 8-bits  (Read 5896 times)
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Cape Town South Africa
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I did a temp repair to an old automatic yank tank I borrowed when my leg was in plaster many years back, when the throttle cable broke on the freeway.

Almost fly by wire, but this was fly by fishing line ( thats all I could find in the car ) tied on to the carbs throttle, hooked round the wing mirror, back into the drivers window.

It worked and got me home, but try and picture the acceleration pulling away as the line stretched until the throttle moved !

You couldnt do that on a new BMW !
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Grand Blanc, MI, USA
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yank tank

??  American land-barge?  LOL! smiley-lol
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nr Bundaberg, Australia
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Note to self, take fishing line on next trip.

______
Rob
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Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

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A large ve-hicle from Detroit with small tailfins :-)
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A large ve-hicle from Detroit with small tailfins :-)

Or maybe best called Detroit land sharks?

http://www.google.com/search?q=large+tail+fin+cars&hl=en&tbo=u&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=kGOBUPCUDITC9gS074CoBg&sqi=2&ved=0CEYQsAQ&biw=1024&bih=804

Lefty
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Cape Town South Africa
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Thats it, I loved those cars, though I could never have afforded to drive far in one.

My mate and I thought of cutting off the top of a station wagon yanktank, welding the doors closed to restore some integral strength, make some drain holes in the floor, and a surf board rack / sunshade on top.

Those plans have been shelved for a while....  ( that was in 1980 when were a bit younger )
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Peoples Republic of Cantabrigia
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...doesn't it seem like we do a lot of things just because we can these days? Cars seem to be a prime example.

Not sure I agree. Many of the important mileage and safety features these days in cars (traction control, direct fuel injection, hybrid tech, etc.) are only possible / beneficial through the use of very fast DSPs under the hood. I agree that there are other features in cars that have less to do with basic functionality and more to do with bling (watch movies on the dashboard?) but I have to say that given a choice between a car with traction control and one without, I'd pick the latter, every time. Saved my bacon several times, and CPUs make it possible.

I wouldn't be surprised if at some point we may see car-bus systems extend out to the periphery, i.e. turning light assemblies, etc. being powered by a common voltage bus but commanded via a CAN or similar RS485 communication system to save on wiring and weight.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 12:49:56 pm by Constantin » Logged

nr Bundaberg, Australia
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I think you see this through different eyes according to your experiences.

In 40 years of driving I've only had 2 bad(ish) accidents, neither of which would have been prevented by current technology. OTOH I've fixed vehicles maybe a 1000 times in the bush, side of the road, wherever. Many of those times I doubt I could have fixed the car if it was a new one and if it was an electronics problem the score would be 0%.

That said, If I'd been saved from injury or worse by ABS or other technology just once I'm sure I'd be a real convert smiley For example I don't live in the snow/ice so see little advantage in having traction control, it's one more thing to break, those who do live in such climates may have a different view about the feature.

Of all the electronics "stuff" in a car, how much is safety related? Does anyone know?

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I wouldn't be surprised if at some point we may see car-bus systems extend out to the periphery, i.e. turning light assemblies, etc. being powered by a common voltage bus but commanded via a CAN or similar RS485 communication system to save on wiring and weight.
Another thing we can't fix smiley

______
Rob
« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 04:36:57 am by Graynomad » Logged

Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

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Hi Rob,

I agree completely - experiences will shape desires in terms of features. Traction control with a rear wheel drive car in the NE of the USA is a huge plus. Even with winter tires, I could kick the rear out easily. That's not an accomplishment, just a reflection of the road conditions up here frequently being less than ideal. Similarly, my main battlecruiser has 4WD and electronics make that better too.

There are other features that fall into the 'nice to have' category, like Bluetooth integration for the phone so that you can call people if you're stuck in traffic. Not a huge benefit in the bush, but a frequent enough issue up here commuting through Boston and its suburbs.

Integrated navigation and traffic monitoring is a computationally-intensive application but a huge time saver, whether you're commuting or traveling long distances along potentially congested highways. 

Some people like to placate their kids with on-board videos, etc. All mine get is books-on-tape.

As I mentioned, getting good gas mileage is pretty much dependent on an array of sophisticated sensors, actuators, and so on. They do have the potential over time to make engines a whole lot less complicated, however. For example, I expect there will be a time when cam shafts and all the mechanicals associated with them will disappear, to be replaced by electronically-actuated valves instead. Analogous to the replacement of carburetors, I suppose.  Ditto for integration of starter / alternator into the engine block vs. add-on approach via belts today.

I see huge improvement potentials in engines that are currently not realized because the car industry is inherently afraid to make changes. Microprocessors would be a big part of that and they already help mechanics diagnose exactly what the issues are that they're going to be dealing with when they open the hood. Thus, for me, the issue is not one of micro vs. no micro, its whether politicians can force the car companies to open their kimono regarding proprietary protocols, error codes, and so on.

That's a much bigger issue up here right now, with car companies arguing that it's perfectly OK to charge $20k+ for a OEM diagnostics tool that no independent shop can justify while dealerships get them virtually free. Similarly, I would like to be able to have a choice re: what OS my car entertainment system is running, as well as where it gets its data from.
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Very interesting readings here :-)
@Rob
Here in Belgium there is no way to be more than 800Km away from your personal dealer.
In Belgium we have MAX(Border distance) < 300km.
In Belgium we have MAX(city distance) < 40km.
I really had to do the calculation to believe it would take a week to drive 800Km at 20Km/h.

 smiley-eek What a difference  smiley-eek

Best regards
Jantje
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nr Bundaberg, Australia
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@Jantje
The bloke's car was limited to about 20kph in limp home mode, so yes it would take a week to get back to a large enough town (Cairns) to get the vehicle fixed. See this map to give you the context



The shorter black line is the trip in question, tip of Cape York to Cairns, roughly 800k.

The long line is the distance I drove after my bull incident mentioned in post #10. It's 3000k and in those days (mid 70s) a lot of it was gravel road and when there was bitumen it was rough as guts and single lane.

@Constantin
I got to thinking about things and realised that despite what I say we almost never fix anything these days, even in the old cars I rabbit on about. 99% of the time we replace things. I can no more carve a new crank shaft from a bent sapling than I can diagnose a CAN link with a piece of string.

100 or 200 years ago you did really fix things, in theory if an axle broke on your wagon you could chop down the nearest tree and make a new one. Look at how the sailors used to half rebuild a ship when they were stranded on some deserted coast.

We are already well past the point of being able to really fix things ourselves unless maybe you have your own machine shop. We can however diagnose problems, go get the parts and stick them in to "fix" the vehicle. But we didn't fix the part itself and normally have no chance of doing so.

So in that respect we are no worse off with modern technology as such. If we can diagnose that a black box ECU or even an ARM-based networked indicator light is busted we can get a new one and plug it in.

Which means we have to have the means to diagnose the problem and access to the parts to replace the faulty unit.

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with car companies arguing that it's perfectly OK to charge $20k+ for a OEM diagnostics tool that no independent shop can justify while dealerships get them virtually free.
So that does seem to be a large part of the problem then, you need cheap diagnostic tools and access to parts. If either are locked up by the car manufacturers then you are stuffed.

So if/when you can buy a cheap diagnostic device and cheap replacement black boxes I'd say I would be happy to have the modern tech in a car. I would be no worse off with regard to replacing broken parts and in fact better off because they almost never need replacing in the first place.

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like Bluetooth integration for the phone so that you can call people if you're stuck in traffic.
One man's nice to have is another man's total waste of time. It's really interesting to see the obvious differences in our lifestyles. I often turn my phone off to save the battery and realise a week later that to forgot to turn it back on smiley

Mind you I seldom go for 10 minutes without checking my email, I'm pretty hooked on the internet and it kills me when I'm out of range.

I do have a new car these days but here's my last car, pretty much like yours I suspect



Petrol consumption was diabolical (I carried 8 jerry cans in the back) but I bet you can't carry your firewood on the bull bar like that smiley

Damn that was a good car, I wish I never sold it and am seriously thinking of looking for another one.


______
Rob

« Last Edit: October 26, 2012, 10:13:28 am by Graynomad » Logged

Rob Gray aka the GRAYnomad www.robgray.com

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For driving around urban areas,  a modern hitech car that is under guarantee is fine.  

For those of us who drive hours in older cars between urban areas,  an easy fix car is much better.  Horses for courses.  We have the advantage of open sweeping roads to drive on :-)

What really bugs me though is that there seems so be a new car launch every week !  

And this in a world in recession !  ( and dont get me going about money spent on celphones and tablets etc ! )

Disposable capital in many families is spent mainly on a few gadgets that do not benifit their country ( apart from some local service providers )

There seem to be a few manufacturers sharing engines, but I think there should  a "standard" engine,  gearbox, and transmission on a subframe available, and let various companies tart it up with body shapes and gadgets to woo buyers.

OK I have put the soap box away now.

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Graynomad,

Land Cruiser FJ 40 ?

Mine is a lot smaller and has been waiting for me to install a two speed gear box for almost as many years -



It would look nicer with some more sensible tyres I know.

Duane B

rcarduino.blogspot.com
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Graynomad
Thanks for sharing the image that compares europe to australia.
I live in the red spot next to France and it not spain. I think that proves my point :-)

Best regards
Jantje
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...I do have a new car these days but here's my last car, pretty much like yours I suspect

... Petrol consumption was diabolical (I carried 8 jerry cans in the back) but I bet you can't carry your firewood on the bull bar like that smiley Damn that was a good car, I wish I never sold it and am seriously thinking of looking for another one.

And there is the difference. My heat source consists of dinosaur-era farts, while you're using renewables already. I get about 27-29 MPG @ 75MPH, which is pretty good. On the downside, the ground clearance is but 4.5", so its way too easy to either go kerplunk on something in the street, or to hit a door on a badly-installed kerb. But, lots of space inside, three kids across in the rear row, etc. so it's the perfect station wagon for me at this stage in my life. The convertible is loads of fun too but I may sell it because I get to drive it so rarely these days.

In Australia, I'd be operating differently too. Much more important to have all sorts of safety gear along for the ride that is not needed here. After all, our service stations / tow folk are usually less than 5 miles away, in the bush it could be 100+ miles.
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