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The power control module

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If your car has ever broken down you'll know it can be both a humiliating and humbling experience, especially if a little prior warning could have rescued the situation or at least minimised its impact and allowed you to get back to a place of refuge for the problem to be fixed. Or worse still, if you're stuck beside the side of the track or special stage knowing that a minor issue could be cured and you could be on your way, and in with a chance of a good placing but for a want of...

Crying foul

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It doesn't seem that long ago when all that was needed to fire up your racer was to change one set of spark plugs for some 'hotter' ones, once the engine was warmed up and ready to go. The procedure used to be commonplace, and while the one set was rather less than cherished, the racing plugs were treated with respect, cleaned carefully and replaced in their little box ready for the next event. The evolution of the spark plug may have moved on, and many exotic (and some not so...

One sensor, many uses

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"So how much information can you get from one sensor" is a question that many will ask at some time or other. A temperature sensor for instance can provide data to the engine ECU to determine the degree of fuelling required. That same information can be used to set the engine idle speed as well as any cold/hot-start strategy, and at the same time be relayed to the driver by some kind of temperature gauge. A 'bigger bang for your buck' is one way of looking at it, much...

Rotary sense

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I'm sure you'll agree when I say the environment alongside a race engine isn't the most electronics-friendly of places. Heat and high levels of vibration are traditionally the enemies of anything electronic, and consequently the technology of producing robust sensors for engine management systems must be a particular challenge. Because of its critical function therefore, a prime example here is the engine speed/timing sensor. Designed to provide the engine control ECU with...

Flexray - science fiction or fact?

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I have never been a great lover of science fiction. The daring antics of comic book heroes such as Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon, or any of their later brethren, have never gripped me. Dashing around slaying the baddies using some form of ray gun was, I thought, rather too fanciful, and even from a tender age sounded too far-fetched and wholly impractical to me. So when I first heard about Flexray it sounded more akin to my comic book past than any serious technology in the modern world. But...
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