A modern car has over 80 computers scattered throughout, controlling things as diverse as your automatic windows, brakes, and engine. In this article, you will learn about automotive computers and their effects on Automotive Repairs in Zionsville IN.
Car Computers Have Origins in Emissions Requirements
Automotive computers were introduced around the same times as electronic fuel injection and catalytic converters. Before the introduction of these systems, fuel/air mixture was carburetor-controlled, and mixtures were imprecise at best. To work well, a catalytic converter requires an exact fuel/air mixture-; and as emissions standards got stricter, greater engine control was needed.
To solve this issue, the first microprocessors were introduced. The earliest ones weren’t as powerful as those used in PCs, but they didn’t really need to be because they had to process less information. Microprocessors made it easier to monitor and precisely adjust air/fuel ratios, and as cars became more advanced, auto computers were used in more ways.
Controller Area Network
As computers were added to vehicles in higher numbers, something had to tie them together. Enter the CAN, or controller area network. The CAN connects all of a car’s computer systems, and modern CANs don’t have a router or hub. All individual control units are linked to the CAN, allowing for seamless interaction.
The CAN would be useless without ECUs. An ECU is the heart of a car computer system-; they look plain on the outside, but inside they contain circuit boards with components as described below.
• Analog/digital converters turn sensor data from analog to digital form, which is readable by the ECU.
• High-level digital outputs have digital data routed through on the way to components such as spark plugs and fuel injectors.
• Digital/analog converters change digital data back to analog form, which is used by the car’s mechanical parts.
• Signal conditioners make voltage changes as necessary, and form the last part of the ECU network.
Diagnostic ports are built into the CAN and ECUs, allowing repair professionals to access the system. A shop specializing in Automotive Repairs in Zionsville IN, such as R&R Auto And McKinney Transmission, can connect a computer to one of these ports to help find the source of a problem, and the ports make it easy to change part of the CAN, re-tune the software or swap out an ECU without excessive splicing.