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On Electronics: Oct. 2013

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Stop-Start. Millions of Times 

Three years and more than 2.4-million stops and starts later, the engine restarted each time. 

Controlled Power Technologies (cpowert.com) hooked up a SpeedStart stop-start system to an engine in October, 2010. They ran it 24-hours-per day until September, 2011, when it reached 1.2-million restarts. That’s a restart on average of every 12 seconds, 300 restarts per hour, 7,200 restarts per day for 350 days. OEMs, says CPT, require systems to be capable of 150,000 to 300,000 restarts. They initiated a test on a second unit SpeedStart in June, 2011. At last report, it was still running. It passed its 1.2-million start/stop sequence in February, 2013. This test will continue until it fails to help determine the likely maximum service life. CPT’s goal is to make systems that do not fail over a 15-year, 250,000-mile vehicle lifespan.

The rigorous testing helps prove the reliability of stop-start systems, which are useful in the quest to meet more stringent fuel economy standards, CPT says. In addition to SpeedStart, the company also produces products including an electronically charged supercharger and an exhaust energy recovery system.

“Fuel economy targets require reduced stop-inhibits, not just stopping the engine when the driver places the transmission in neutral,” said Peter Scanes, CPT’s hybrid product group manager. “Latest implementations allow frequent stop-start events in crawling traffic and future coast-down strategies. Switching off the engine, but preparing for immediate restarts if the driver demands acceleration, will further increase the frequency of stop-starts. 

“We needed therefore to demonstrate as convincingly as possible the near-zero probability of failure during the lifespan of a vehicle as well as the ability to achieve the maximum number of re-starts, because one of the most cost effective solutions for low fuel consumption is simply stopping the engine at every single opportunity—even if it’s only for a few seconds every second counts,” Scanes explained.

SpeedStart is said to be the first liquid-cooled, switched-reluctance motor-generator developed for automotive stop-start. The system is designed for 12-V, 24-V and 48-V applications. CPT said its durability stems in part from sealing off the integrated control and power electronics so dirt and other debris do not enter the device, as well as thermal management provided by plumbing the liquid-cooled unit into the engine’s coolant system. 

At 12 V, the company said SpeedStart can generate up to 3 kW of power at 90% efficiency and that the stop-start technology provides a CO₂ reduction and fuel savings of up to 20%. 

The technology is production ready and is expected to appear on a new generation of micro hybrids appearing in showrooms by 2015. 

The CPT SpeedStart unit is a liquid-cooled, switched-reluctance motor-generator for stop-start.

CPT apprentice Eden Conroy and the SpeedStart test rig.

 

The Electronics Boom … Even Without Infotainment  

With advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) serving as a catalyst, the global automotive electronics market will explode to $240-billion by 2020. That’s the conclusion of The World Market for Automotive OEM Electronic Systems—2013 Edition by IMS, part of IHS Inc. (ihs.com). The report anticipates a 50% increase in the international demand for auto electronics between 2010 and 2020—a tally that does not include infotainment systems. The ADAS electronics market sector is estimated to almost triple from 2010 through 2020. Whether mandated by government regulations or as an OEM selling feature (or both), ADAS systems 
also are driving growth for core functions like electronic stability control and tire pressure monitoring systems, as well the litany of electronic components to manage them. “ADAS features are finding their way into more and more vehicles,” said Ben Scott, automotive analyst for IHS. “The integration of ADAS into the instrument cluster and head up display is expected to be commonplace in the future.”

 

Toshiba’s New Hard Drive: Storage … At 18K Feet 

Toshiba America Electronic Components (toshiba.com/taec) says its MQ01AAD032C SATA hard disk drive, which weighs in at 320GB, is the largest hard drive of its kind that’s ready for automotive rigor. 

Specifically, that means each drive can withstand temperature swings of -22 to +185° F during operation and -40 to +203° F during non-operating times. It also can hang at altitudes of to 18,500 feet and has up to 3G of vibration tolerance. With 320GB(1) of storage, the drive’s 4,200 rpm speed includes internal transfer rates of up to 976 Mbit/s using an average seek time of 12 milliseconds.

“Consumers demand excellence in their technology, and in-vehicle computing systems are not different,” said Joel Hagberg, vice president marketing, Toshiba Storage Products Business Unit. “We continue to partner with the automotive industry to develop the most innovative and effective storage solutions possible to meet the needs of the automotive customer.”

 

New Antenna Offers Multiple-Band Connectivity

A new vehicle-mounted antenna—the Pulse Electronics (pulseelectronics.com) GPSDM700/5800SSS—aims to ensure smart phones connect inside cars regardless of the frequency needed to make a call, send a text, get directions, or browse the web. “Not only does it have full 3G capability, but it supports 4G LTE combined with WLAN and GPS in a very small package,” said Paul Fadlovich, director of the wireless division at Pulse Electronics. 

The antenna is 3.5 in. tall and 4.16 in. in diameter at its base. With 5-GHz bands for wireless applications, the antenna handles voice communications, mobile video data, fixed broadband, navigation, asset tracking, and fleet management. There is a 700-MHz capability for public safety use, as well.

 

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