Understanding Automotive Electronics

Understanding Automotive Electronics
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Fifth Edition
to Previous
William B. Ribbens, Ph.D.
Norman P. Mansour
Gerald Luecke
Charles W. Battle
Edward C. Jones
Leslie E. Mansir
Boston, Oxford, Johannesburg, Melbourne, New Delhi, Singapore
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To Katherine
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Preface........................................................................................ ix
Chapter 1 Automotive Fundamentals......................................................... 1
Quiz.......................................................................................... 27
Chapter 2 The Systems Approach to Control and Instrumentation............29
Quiz.......................................................................................... 69
Chapter 3 Electronics Fundamentals.......................................................... 71
Quiz.......................................................................................... 96
Chapter 4 Microcomputer Instrumentation and Control........................... 99
Quiz........................................................................................ 144
Chapter 5 The Basics of Electronic Engine Control................................. 147
Quiz........................................................................................ 183
Chapter 6 Sensors and Actuators.............................................................. 187
Quiz........................................................................................ 221
Chapter 7 Digital Engine Control System................................................ 223
Quiz........................................................................................ 258
Chapter 8 Vehicle Motion Control...........................................................261
Quiz........................................................................................ 294
Chapter 9 Automotive Instrumentation................................................... 297
Quiz........................................................................................ 332
Chapter 10 Diagnostics.............................................................................. 335
Quiz........................................................................................ 365
Chapter 11 Future Automotive Electronic Systems.................................... 367
Quiz........................................................................................ 406
Glossary.................................................................................... 409
Index....................................................................................... 415
Answers to Quizzes................................................................... 433
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Since the introduction of electronics for emission control on engines, the
evolution of electronics in automobiles has advanced rapidly. The pace of
development has inspired four revisions of this book in roughly ten years to
avoid obsolescence. Rarely in history have technical developments moved at
such a pace.
Electronics have recently been incorporated on new automotive
subsystems and have become standard implementation on many others. Such
features as antilock braking systems and airbags could only be achieved
practically through the use of electronics. These features are rapidly becoming
standard features owing to strong pressures in the highly competitive North
American automotive market.
The first edition of this book was devoted primarily to electronic engine
control because this was the chief application at that time. A number of
automotive systems which were discussed in the chapter on the future of
automotive electronics in the second, third, and fourth editions are now in
production. These systems are presented in the appropriate chapters of this
fifth edition. This latest edition covers most of the automotive subsystems
incorporating electronics except for entertainment systems. These systems
have been omitted partly due to space limitations and because automotive
entertainment systems are closely related to home entertainment systems,
which are discussed in many excellent publications.
In its revised form, this book explains automotive electronics as of the late
1990s. It should prepare the reader for an understanding of present as well as
future developments in this field into at least the early part of the next century.
William B. Ribbens
November 1997
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Automotive Fundamentals
Picture yourself in the not-too-distant future driving your new car
along a rural interstate highway on a business trip. The cruise control is
maintaining the speed at a steady 100 km/hr (62 mph) and there is relatively
little traffic. As you approach a slower car, the speed-control system slows
your car to match the speed of the slower car and maintain a safe distance of
about 53 m (165 ft) behind the slowe/r car. When oncoming traffic clears,
you enter the passing lane and your car automatically increases speed as you
pass the slower car.
You press a button on the steering column and an image of a road map
appears faintly visible (so as not to obscure the road ahead) on the windshield in
front of you. This map shows your present position and the position of the
destination city. The distance to your destination and the approximate arrival
time are displayed on the digital instrument cluster.
You are talking on your cellular phone to your office about some changes
in a contract that you hope to negotiate. After the instructions for the contract
changes are completed, a printer in your car generates a copy of the latest
contract version.
The onboard entertainment system is playing music for you at a
comfortable level relative to the low-level wind and road noise in the car. After
completing your phone conversation, you press another button on the steering
wheel and the music is replaced by a recorded lesson in French verb
conjugation, which you have been studying. Suddenly, the French lesson is
interrupted by a message delivered in natural-sounding synthesized speech.
“You have fuel remaining for another 50 miles at the present speed. Your
destination is 23 miles away. Recommend refueling after exiting the highway.
There is a station that accepts your electronic credit near the exit (you know, of
course, that the electronic credit is activated by inserting the fuel nozzle into the
car). Also, the left rear tire pressure is low and the engine control system reports
that the mass air flow sensor is intermittently malfunctioning and should be
serviced soon.’’ After this message has been delivered, the French lesson returns.
A short time later, the French lesson is again interrupted by the electronic
voice message system: “Replace the disk in the Navigation CD player with disk
number 37 for detailed map and instructions to your destination, please.’’ Then
the French lesson returns.
You insert the correct disk in the Navigation CD player as requested
and the map display on the windshield changes. The new display shows a
detailed map of your present position and the route to your destination. As
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you approach the city limits, the car speed is automatically reduced to the
legal limit of 55 mph. The voice message system speaks again: “Leave the
highway at exit 203, which is one-half mile away. Proceed along Austin Road
to the second intersection, which is Meyer Road. Turn right and proceed 0.1
mile. Your destination is on the right-hand side of the road. Don’t forget to
This scenario is not as farfetched as it sounds. All of the events
described are technically possible. Some have even been tested experimentally.
The electronic technology required to develop a car with the features
described exists today. The actual implementation of such electronic features
will depend on the cost of the equipment and the market acceptance of the
Microelectronics will
provide many exciting
new features for automobiles.
Environmental regulations and an increased
need for economy have
resulted in electronics
being used within a
number of automotive
Electronics have been relatively slow in coming to the automobile
primarily because of the relationship between the added cost and the benefits.
Historically, the first electronics (other than radio) were introduced into the
commercial automobile during the late 1950s and early 1960s. However, these
features were not well received by customers, so they were discontinued from
production automobiles.
Two major events occurred during the 1970s that started the trend
toward the use of modern electronics in the automobile: (1) the introduction of
government regulations for exhaust emissions and fuel economy, which
required better control of the engine than was possible with the methods being
used; and (2) the development of relatively low cost per function solid-state
digital electronics that could be used for engine control.
Electronics are being used now in the automobile and probably will be
used even more in the future. Some of the present and potential applications
for electronics are
1. Electronic engine control for minimizing exhaust emissions and maximizing fuel economy
2. Instrumentation for measuring vehicle performance parameters and for
diagnosis of on-board system malfunctions
3. Driveline control
4. Vehicle motion control
5. Safety and convenience
6. Entertainment/communication/navigation
Many of these applications of electronics will be discussed in this book.
This chapter will give the reader a general overview of the automobile
with emphasis on the basic operation of the engine, thus providing the reader
with the background to see how electronic controls have been and will be
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applied. The discussion is simplified to provide the reader with just enough
information to understand automotive mechanics. Readers who want to know
the mechanics of an automobile in more detail are referred to the many books
written for that purpose.
The earliest automobiles consisted of carriages (similar to those drawn by
horses) to which a primitive engine and drivetrain and steering controls were
added. Typically, such cars had a strong steel frame that supported the body of
the car. The wheels were attached to this frame by a set of springs and shock
absorbers that permitted the car to travel over the uneven road surfaces of the
day while isolating the car body from much of the road irregularities. This same
general configuration persisted in most passenger cars until some time after
World War II, although there was an evolution in car size, shape, and features as
technology permitted.
This early configuration is depicted in Figure 1.1, in which many of the
important automotive systems are illustrated. These systems include the
1. Engine
2. Drivetrain (transmission, differential, axle)
3. Suspension
4. Steering
5. Brakes
6. Instrumentation
7. Electrical/electronic
8. Motion control
9. Comfort/convenience
10. Entertainment/communication/navigation
In Figure 1.1 the frame or chassis on which the body is mounted is
supported by the suspension system. The wheels’ brakes are connected to the
opposite end of the suspension components. The steering and other major
mechanical systems are mounted on one of these components and attached as
necessary through mechanical components to other subsystems.
This basic vehicle configuration was used from the earliest cars through
the late 1960s or 1970s, with some notable exceptions. The increasing
importance of fuel efficiency and government-mandated safety regulations led
to major changes in vehicle design. The body and frame evolved into an
integrated structure to which the power train, suspension, wheels, etc., were
Once again with a few notable exceptions, most cars had an engine in front
configuration with the drive axle at the rear. While it is an advantage for several
reasons (e.g., crash protection, efficient engine cooling) to have the engine in front,
this location has a disadvantage from a traction standpoint. Because the engine is a
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Figure 1.1.
Systems of the
relatively heavy component, its location influences weight distribution (fore and
Ideally, the engine should be located near the drive wheels for optimal
drive traction. It is this fact that has led car makers to configure the front wheels
as drive wheels. This change has led to the engine being mounted transversely
(i.e., with the rotation axis orthogonal to the vehicle axis as opposed to along
the vehicle axis). In automotive parlance the traditional engine orientation is
referred to as North-South, and the transverse orientation as East-West. The
transmission is mounted adjacent to the engine and oriented with its axis
parallel to the engine axis. The differential and drive axle configuration is
normally mounted in the transmission; the combined unit is thus called the
For stability purposes the steering is still via the front wheels. The
combination of steering and drive mechanisms results in a somewhat more
complicated front-wheel system configuration than the traditional orientation.
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Evolution of Electronics in the Automobile
This book explores the application of modern solid-state electronics to
the various automotive subsystems described above. Apart from auto radios,
some turn signal models, and a few ignition systems, there was very little use
of electronics in the automobile until the early 1970s. Government-mandated
emission regulations, fuel economy, and safety requirements motivated the
initial use of electronics. The dramatic performance improvements and
relatively low cost of electronics have led to an explosive application of
electronics in virtually every automotive subsystem. We will be exploring these
electronic systems in great detail later in this book, but first it is helpful to
review the basic mechanical configurations for each component and
The engine in an automobile provides all the power for moving the
automobile, for the hydraulic and pneumatic systems, and for the electrical
system. A variety of engine types have been produced, but one class of engine is
used most: the internal combustion, piston-type, 4-stroke/cycle, gasolinefueled, spark-ignited, liquid-cooled engine. This engine will be referred to in
this book as the spark-ignited, or SI, engine.
Although rapid technological advances in the control of the SI engine
have been achieved through the use of electronics, the fundamental mechanical
configuration has remained unchanged since this type of power plant was first
invented. In addition, the introduction of modern materials has greatly
improved the packaging, size, and power output per unit weight or per unit
volume. In order that the reader may fully appreciate the performance
improvements that have been achieved through electronic controls, we illustrate
the engine fundamentals with an example engine configuration from the preelectronic era.
Figure 1.2 is a partial cutaway drawing of an SI engine configuration
commonly found in the period immediately following World War II. The
engine there illustrated is a 6-cylinder, overhead-valve, inline engine. An engine
of this configuration is rarely found in present-day cars. Rather, a more
common engine configuration today would be either a 4-cylinder inline or a Vtype engine with either 6 or 8 cylinders (although there are exceptions).
Moreover, the materials found in present-day engines permit greatly reduced
weight for a given engine power.
Nevertheless, modern electronically controlled engines have much in
common with this example configuration. For example, the vast majority of
modern engines are 4-stroke/cycle, gasoline fueled, spark ignited, and water
cooled. By illustrating the fundamentals of engine operation using the example
engine of Figure 1.2, we can thus explain the differences that have occurred
with modern electronic controls.
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Figure 1.2
Cutaway View of a 6Cylinder, OverheadValve, Inline Engine
(Source: Crouse)
The major components of the engine include the following:
1. Engine block
2. Cylinder
3. Crankshaft
4. Pistons
5. Connecting rods
6. Camshaft
7. Cylinder head
8. Valves
9. Fuel control system
10. Ignition system
11. Exhaust system
12. Cooling system
Electronics play a direct role in only the fuel control, ignition, and exhaust
systems. It will be shown in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 that in order to meet
government regulations for exhaust emissions and fuel economy, these systems
combine to optimize performance within regulatory constraints. In the earliest
days of government regulation, electronic controls were applied to existing
engine designs. However, as electronic technology evolved, the engine
mechanical configuration was influenced (at least indirectly) by the electronic
controls that were intended to be applied.
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Engine Block
Conventional internal
combustion engines
convert the movement
of pistons to the rotational energy used to
drive the wheels.
The cylinders are cast in the engine block and machined to a smooth
finish. The pistons fit tightly into the cylinder and have rings that provide a
tight sliding seal against the cylinder wall. The pistons are connected to the
crankshaft by connecting rods, as shown in Figure 1.3. The crankshaft converts
the up and down motion of the pistons to the rotary motion needed to drive
the wheels.
Figure 1.3
Piston Connection to
Crankshaft (Source:
Cylinder Head
The cylinder head contains an intake and exhaust valve for each cylinder.
When both valves are closed, the head seals the top of the cylinder while the
piston rings seal the bottom of the cylinder.
The valves are operated by off-center (eccentric) cams on the camshaft,
which is driven by the crankshaft as shown in Figure 1.4. The camshaft rotates
at exactly half the crankshaft speed because a complete cycle of any cylinder
involves two complete crankshaft rotations and only one sequence of opening
and closing of the associated intake and exhaust valves. The valves are normally
held closed by powerful springs. When the time comes for a valve to open, the
lobe on the cam forces the pushrod upward against one end of the rocker arm.
The other end of the rocker arm moves downward and forces the valve open.
(Note: Some engines have the camshaft above the head, eliminating the
pushrods. This is called an overhead cam engine.)
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Figure 1.4
Valve Operating
Mechanism (Source:
The 4-Stroke Cycle
Conventional SI engines
operate using four
“strokes,” with either an
up or down movement
of each piston. These
strokes are named
intake, compression,
power, and exhaust.
The operation of the engine can be understood by considering the actions
in any one cylinder during a complete cycle of the engine. One complete cycle
in the 4-stroke/cycle SI engine requires two complete rotations of the
crankshaft. As the crankshaft rotates, the piston moves up and down in the
cylinder. In the two complete revolutions of the crankshaft that make up one
cycle, there are four separate strokes of the piston from the top of the cylinder
to the bottom or from the bottom to the top. Figure 1.5 illustrates the four
strokes for a 4-stroke/cycle SI engine, which are called:
1. Intake
2. Compression
3. Power
4. Exhaust
There are two valves for each cylinder. The left valve in the drawing is
called the intake valve and the right valve is called the exhaust valve. The intake
valve is normally larger than the exhaust valve. Note that the crankshaft is
assumed to be rotating in a clockwise direction. The action of the engine during
the four strokes is described in the following sections.
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Figure 1.5
The Four Strokes of a
Typical Modern
Spark-Ignition Engine
During the intake stroke (Figure 1.5a), the piston is moving from top to
bottom and the intake valve is open. As the piston moves down, a partial
vacuum is created, which draws a mixture of air and vaporized gasoline through
the intake valve into the cylinder.
It will be shown in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 that, in modern, electronically
controlled engines, fuel is injected into the intake port and is timed to coincide
with the intake stroke. The intake valve is closed after the piston reaches the
bottom. This position is normally called bottom dead center (BDC).
During the compression stroke (Figure 1.5b), the piston moves upward
and compresses the fuel and air mixture against the cylinder head. When the
piston is near the top of this stroke, the ignition system produces an electrical
spark at the tip of the spark plug. (The top of the stroke is normally called top
dead center—TDC). The spark ignites the air–fuel mixture and the mixture
burns quickly, causing a rapid rise in the pressure in the cylinder.
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During the power stroke (Figure 1.5c), the high pressure created by the
burning mixture forces the piston downward. It is only during this stroke that
actual usable power is generated by the engine.
Each piston on a
4-stroke SI engine produces actual power during just one out of four
During the exhaust stroke (Figure 1.5d), the piston is again moving
upward. The exhaust valve is open and the piston forces the burned gases from
the cylinder through the exhaust port into the exhaust system and out the
tailpipe into the atmosphere.
This 4-stroke cycle is repeated continuously as the crankshaft rotates. In a
single-cylinder engine, power is produced only during the power stroke, which
is only one-quarter of the cycle. In order to maintain crankshaft rotation during
the other three-quarters of the cycle, a flywheel is used. The flywheel has
traditionally been a relatively large, heavy, circular object that is connected to
the crankshaft, although in modern engines the mass of the flywheel has been
reduced relative to very early engines. The primary purpose of the flywheel is to
provide inertia to keep the crankshaft rotating during the three non-powerproducing strokes of the piston.
In a multicylinder engine, the power strokes are staggered so that power is
produced during a larger fraction of the cycle than for a single-cylinder engine.
In a 4-cylinder engine, for example, power is produced almost continually by
the separate power strokes of the four cylinders. The shaded regions of Figure
1.6 indicate which cylinder is producing power for each 180 degrees of
crankshaft rotation. (Remember that one complete engine cycle requires two
complete crankshaft rotations of 360 degrees each, for a total of 720 degrees.)
Figure 1.6
Power Pulses From a
4-Cylinder Engine
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Control of the engine in any car means regulating the power that it
produces at any time in accordance with driving needs. The driver controls
engine power via the accelerator pedal, which, in turn, determines the setting of
the throttle plate via a mechanical linkage system. The throttle plate is situated
in the air intake system (Figure 1.7). The intake system is an assembly of pipes or
passageways through which the air flows from outside into each cylinder. The air
flowing into the engine flows past the throttle plate, which, in fact, controls the
amount of air being drawn into the engine during each intake stroke.
As we will show in later chapters, the power produced by the engine is
proportional to the mass flow rate of air into the engine. The driver then controls
engine power directly by controlling this air mass flow rate with the throttle plate.
Of course, the power produced by the engine depends on fuel being
present in the correct proportions. Air combines with fuel in the fuel metering
device. This device automatically delivers fuel in the correct amount as
determined by the air flow.
The classic fuel metering device was the carburetor, which is now virtually
obsolete. In modern car engines, fuel injectors do the fuel metering. The
amount of fuel delivered by a fuel injector is determined electronically in
Figure 1.7
Intake Manifold and
Fuel Metering
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accordance with the air flow in such a way as to minimize pollutants in the
exhaust gas (see Chapter 5).
To produce power, the gasoline engine must not only have a correct
mixture of fuel and air, but also some means of initiating combustion of the
mixture. Essentially the only practical means is with an electric spark produced
across the gap between a pair of electrodes of a spark plug. The electric arc or
spark provides sufficient energy to cause combustion. This phenomenon is
called ignition.
Once a stable combustion has been initiated, there is no further need for
the spark. Typically, the spark must persist for a period of about a millisecond
(one thousandth of a second). This relatively short period makes spark ignition
possible using highly efficient pulse transformer circuits in which a circuit
having a relatively low average current can deliver a very high-voltage (high
peak power) pulse to the spark plug.
The ignition system itself consists of several components: the spark plug,
one or more pulse transformers (typically called coils), timing control circuitry,
and distribution apparatus that supplies the high-voltage pulse to the correct
Spark Plug
The spark is produced by applying a high-voltage pulse of from 20 kV to
40 kV (1 kV is 1,000 volts) between the center electrode and ground. The
actual voltage required to start the arc varies with the size of the gap, the
compression ratio, and the air–fuel ratio. Once the arc is started, the voltage
required to sustain it is much lower because the gas mixture near the gap
becomes highly ionized. (An ionized gas allows current to flow more freely.)
The arc is sustained long enough to ignite the air–fuel mixture.
A typical spark plug configuration is shown in Figure 1.8. The spark plug
consists of a pair of electrodes, called the center and ground electrodes, separated by
a gap. The gap size is important and is specified for each engine. The gap may be
0.025 inch (0.6 mm) for one engine and 0.040 inch (1 mm) for another engine.
The center electrode is insulated from the ground electrode and the metallic shell
assembly. The ground electrode is at electrical ground potential because one
terminal of the battery that supplies the current to generate the high-voltage pulse
for the ignition system is connected to the engine block and frame.
High-Voltage Circuit and Distribution
The ignition system provides the high-voltage pulse that initiates the arc.
Figure 1.9 is a schematic of the electrical circuit for the ignition system. The
high-voltage pulse is generated by inductive discharge of a special high-voltage
transformer commonly called an ignition coil. The high-voltage pulse is
delivered to the appropriate spark plug at the correct time for ignition by a
distribution circuit.
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Figure 1.8
Spark Plug
Figure 1.9
Schematic of the
Ignition Circuit
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Before the advent of modern electronic controls, the distribution of
high-voltage pulses was accomplished with a rotary switch called the
distributor. Figure 1.9 shows a schematic of a typical distributor; Figure 1.10
is a typical physical layout. The center electrode is mechanically driven by the
camshaft (via gears) and rotates synchronously at camshaft speed (i.e., onehalf of crankshaft speed). The distributor is an obsolete means for
distribution of the spark to the appropriate spark plug, and is being replaced
by multiple coils, typically one each for a pair of cylinders, as explained in
Chapter 7.
Once again, as in the case of fuel delivery, we explain spark distribution in
terms of the distributor and spark initiation in terms of breaker points in order
to provide a framework for the discussion of the modern distributorless ignition
systems. In this way the reader can see the benefits of the electronic controls.
Figure 1.10
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A set of electrical leads, commonly called spark plug wires, is connected
between the various spark plug center terminals and the individual terminals in
the distributor cap. The center terminal in the distribution cap is connected to
the ignition coil secondary.
Spark Pulse Generation
The distributor in a conventional ignition system uses a mechanically
activated switch called
breaker points. The interruption of ignition coil
current when the
breaker points open produces a high-voltage
pulse in the secondary.
The actual generation of the high-voltage pulse is accomplished by
switching the current through the primary circuit (see Figure 1.9). The
mechanism in the distributor of a traditional ignition system for switching the
primary circuit of the coil consists of opening and closing the breaker points (of
a switch) by a rotary cam in the distributor (explained later). During the
intervals between ignition pulses (i.e., when the rotor is between contacts), the
breaker points are closed (known as dwell ). Current flows through the primary
of the coil, and a magnetic field is created that links the primary and secondary
of the coil.
At the instant the spark pulse is required, the breaker points are opened.
This interrupts the flow of current in the primary of the coil and the magnetic
field collapses rapidly. The rapid collapse of the magnetic field induces the highvoltage pulse in the secondary of the coil. This pulse is routed through the
distributor rotor, the terminal in the distributor cap, and the spark plug wire to
the appropriate spark plug. The capacitor absorbs the primary current, which
continues to flow during the short interval in which the points are opening, and
limits arcing at the breaker points.
The waveform of the primary current is illustrated in Figure 1.11. The
primary current increases with time after the points close (point a on
waveform). At the instant the points open, this current begins to fall rapidly.
It is during this rapid drop in primary current that the secondary high-voltage
pulse occurs (point b). The primary current oscillates (the “wavy’’ portion;
Figure 1.11
Primary Current
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A multisurfaced cam,
mounted on the distributor shaft, is used to
open and close the
breaker points.
point c) because of the resonant circuit formed between the coil and
It will be shown in Chapter 7 that in electronic ignition systems the
breaker points are replaced by a solid-state switch (in the form of a transistor).
In Chapter 3 it will be shown that a transistor in saturation is equivalent to a
closed switch, and a cutoff transistor is equivalent to an open switch. It is
further explained in Chapter 7 that the transistor state (i.e., saturation or
cutoff ) is controlled electronically in order to set dwell and spark timing.
The mechanism for opening and closing the breaker points of a
conventional distributor is illustrated in Figure 1.12. A cam having a number
of lobes equal to the number of cylinders is mounted on the distributor shaft.
As this cam rotates, it alternately opens and closes the breaker points. The
movable arm of the breaker points has an insulated rubbing block that is
pressed against the cam by a spring. When the rubbing block is aligned with a
flat surface on the cam, the points are closed, as shown in Figure 1.12a. As the
cam rotates, the rubbing block is moved by the lobe (high point) on the cam
as shown in Figure 1.12b. At this time, the breaker points open and spark
Figure 1.12
Breaker Point
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The point at which ignition occurs, in relation to
the top dead center of
the piston’s compression
stroke, is known as ignition timing.
Ignition occurs some time before top dead center (BTDC) during the
compression stroke of the piston. This time is measured in degrees of
crankshaft rotation BTDC. For a modern SI engine, this timing is typically 8
to 10 degrees for the basic mechanical setting with the engine running at low
speed (low rpm). This basic timing is set by the design of the mechanical
coupling between the crankshaft and the distributor. The basic timing may be
adjusted slightly in many older cars by physically rotating the distributor
As the engine speed increases, the angle through which the crankshaft
rotates in the time required to burn the fuel and air mixture increases. For
this reason, the spark must occur at a larger angle BTDC for higher engine
speeds. This change in ignition timing is called spark advance. That is, spark
advance should increase with increasing engine rpm. In a conventional
ignition system, the mechanism for this is called a centrifugal spark advance. It
is shown in Figure 1.10. As engine speed increases, the distributor shaft
rotates faster, and the weights are thrown outward by centrifugal force. The
weights operate through a mechanical lever, so their movement causes a
change in the relative angular position between the rubbing block on the
breaker points and the distributor cam, and advances the time when the lobe
opens the points.
In addition to speed-dependent spark advance, the ignition timing
needs to be adjusted as a function of intake manifold pressure. Whenever the
throttle is nearly closed, the manifold pressure is low (i.e., nearly a vacuum).
The combustion time for the air–fuel mixture is longer for low manifold
pressure conditions than for high manifold pressure conditions (i.e., near
atmospheric pressure). As a result, the spark timing must be advanced for low
pressure conditions to maintain maximum power and fuel economy. The
mechanism to do this is a vacuum-operated spark advance, also shown in
Figure 1.10. The vacuum advance mechanism has a flexible diaphragm
connected through a rod to the plate on which the breaker points are
mounted. One side of the diaphragm is open to atmospheric pressure; the
other side is connected through a hose to manifold vacuum. As manifold
vacuum increases, the diaphragm is deflected (atmospheric pressure pushes it)
and moves the breaker point plate to advance the timing. Ignition timing
significantly affects engine performance and exhaust emissions; therefore, it is
one of the major factors that is electronically controlled in the modern SI
The performance of the ignition system and the spark advance
mechanism has been greatly improved by electronic control systems. Because
ignition timing is critical to engine performance, controlling it precisely
through all operating conditions has become a major application of digital
electronics, as explained in Chapter 7.
2735 | CH 1 Page 18 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
It will be shown in Chapter 7 that ignition timing is actually computed as
a function of engine operating conditions in a special-purpose digital computer
known as the electronic engine control system. This computation of spark
timing has much greater flexibility for optimizing engine performance than a
mechanical distributor and is one of the great benefits of electronic engine
The vast majority of automobile engines in North America are SI engines.
Alternative engines such as the diesel have simply not been able to compete
effectively with the SI engine in the United States. Diesel engines are used
mostly in heavy-duty vehicles such as large trucks, ships, railroad locomotives,
and earth-moving machinery. Because their use in North American passenger
cars is so low and because electronic diesel engine control is not widely used, it
will not be further discussed in this book.
Another alternative to the SI engine has been the Wankel, or rotary,
engine. As in the case of the diesel engine, the number of Wankel engines has
been very small compared to the SI engine. One limitation to its application
has been somewhat poorer exhaust emissions relative to the SI engine.
Probably the most serious competitor to current automotive engines is
the 2-stroke/cycle engine. This engine, which is similar in many respects to
the traditional engine, is a gasoline-fueled, spark-ignited, reciprocating
engine. It has achieved widespread use in lawnmowers, small motorcycles,
and some outboard marine engines. It had (at one time) even achieved
limited automotive use, though it suffered from poor exhaust emissions.
Just as in the case of the 4-stroke/cycle engine, electronic controls have
significantly improved 2-stroke/cycle engine performance relative to
mechanical controls. After considerable research and development, a version of
the 2-stroke/cycle engine is emerging that has great potential for displacing the
4-stroke/cycle engine in automotive applications. It remains to be seen what
inroads the 2-stroke/cycle engine will make.
The engine drivetrain system of the automobile consists of the engine,
transmission, drive shaft, differential, and driven wheels. We have already
discussed the SI engine and we know that it provides the motive power for the
automobile. Now let’s examine the transmission, drive shaft, and differential in
order to understand the roles of these devices.
The transmission is a gear system that adjusts the ratio of engine speed
to wheel speed. Essentially, the transmission enables the engine to operate
2735 | CH 1 Page 19 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
The transmission provides a match between
engine speed and vehicle speed.
within its optimal performance range regardless of the vehicle load or speed.
It provides a gear ratio between the engine speed and vehicle speed such that
the engine provides adequate power to drive the vehicle at any speed.
To accomplish this with a manual transmission, the driver selects the
correct gear ratio from a set of possible gear ratios (usually three to five for
passenger cars). An automatic transmission selects this gear ratio by means of an
automatic control system. Most automatic transmissions have three forward
gear ratios, although a few have two and some have four. A properly used
manual transmission normally has efficiency advantages over an automatic
transmission, but the automatic transmission is the most commonly used
transmission for passenger automobiles in the United States. In the past,
automatic transmissions have been controlled by a hydraulic and pneumatic
system, but the industry is moving toward electronic controls. The control
system must determine the correct gear ratio by sensing the driver-selected
command, accelerator pedal position, and engine load.
The proper gear ratio is actually computed in the electronic
transmission control system. Once again, as in the case of electronic engine
control, the electronic transmission control can optimize transmission
control. However, since the engine and transmission function together as a
power-producing unit, it is sensible to control both components in a single
electronic controller.
Drive Shaft
The drive shaft is used on front-engine, rear wheel drive vehicles to
couple the transmission output shaft to the differential input shaft. Flexible
couplings, called universal joints, allow the rear axle housing and wheels to
move up and down while the transmission remains stationary. In front
wheel drive automobiles, a pair of drive shafts couples the transmission to
the drive wheels through flexible joints known as constant velocity (CV)
The combination of
drive shaft and differential completes the transfer of power from the
engine to the rear
The differential serves three purposes (see Figure 1.13). The most
obvious is the right angle transfer of the rotary motion of the drive shaft to
the wheels. The second purpose is to allow each driven wheel to turn at a
different speed. This is necessary because the “outside” wheel must turn
faster than the “inside’’ wheel when the vehicle is turning a corner. The
third purpose is the torque increase provided by the gear ratio. This gear
ratio can be changed in a repair shop to allow different torque to be
delivered to the wheels while using the same engine and transmission. The
gear ratio also affects fuel economy. In front wheel drive cars, the
transmission differential and drive shafts are known collectively as the
transaxle assembly.
2735 | CH 1 Page 20 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
Figure 1.13
Schematic of a
Another major automotive subsystem is the suspension system, which is
the mechanical assembly that connects each wheel to the car body. The primary
purpose of the suspension system is to isolate the car body from the vertical
motion of the wheels as they travel over the rough road surface.
The suspension system can be understood with reference to Figure 1.14,
which illustrates the major components. Notice that the wheel assembly is
connected through a movable assembly to the body. The weight of the car is
supported by springs. In addition, there is a so-called shock absorber (sometimes
2735 | CH 1 Page 21 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
Figure 1.14
Major Components of
a Suspension System
a strut), which is in effect a viscous damping device. There is a similar assembly
at each wheel, although normally there are differences in the detailed
configuration between front and rear wheels.
The mass of the car body is called the sprung mass, that is, the mass that is
supported by springs. The mass of the wheel assemblies at the other end of the
springs is called unsprung mass.
All springs have the property that the deflection of the spring is
proportional to the applied axial force. The proportionality constant is known
as the spring rate. The springs are selected for each car such that the car body
height is as desired for the unloaded car. Typically, the weight on the front
wheels is greater than on the rear wheels, therefore, the front springs normally
have a higher spring rate than the rear.
Similar to the springs, the shock absorbers (struts) also produce a force
that acts to support the weight of the car. However, unlike the springs, the
shock absorbers produce a force in response to the motion of the wheel
assembly relative to the car body. Figure 1.15 is an illustration of a typical shock
2735 | CH 1 Page 22 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
Figure 1.15
Shock Absorber
The shock absorber consists of a cylinder and piston assembly. The
cylinder is filled with a viscous oil. There are small oil passages through the
piston through which the oil can flow. As the wheel assembly moves up and
down, the piston moves identically through the cylinder. The oil (which is
essentially incompressible) flows through the oil passages. A force is developed
in response to the piston motion that is proportional to the piston velocity
relative to the cylinder. This force acts in combination with the spring force to
provide a damping force. The magnitude of this force for any given piston
velocity varies inversely with the aperture of the oil passages. This aperture is
the primary shock absorber parameter determining the damping effect and
influencing the car’s ride and handling. In Chapter 2, the influence of the shock
absorber damping on wheel motion is explained. In Chapter 8, the mechanism
for varying the shock absorber characteristics under electronic control to
provide for variable ride and handling is explained.
2735 | CH 1 Page 23 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
Brakes are as basic to the automobile as the engine drivetrain system and
are responsible for slowing and stopping the vehicle. Most of the kinetic energy
of the car is dissipated by the brakes during deceleration and stopping (with the
other contributions coming from aerodynamic drag and tire rolling resistance).
There are two major types of automotive brakes: drum and disk brakes.
Drum brakes are an extension of the type of brakes used on early cars and
horsedrawn wagons. Increasingly, automobile manufacturers are using disk
brakes. Consequently, it is this type that we discuss here.
Disk brakes are illustrated in Figure 1.16. A flat disk is attached to each
wheel and rotates with it as the car moves. A wheel cylinder assembly (often
called a caliper) is connected to the axle assembly. A pair of pistons having
brakepad material are mounted in the caliper assembly and are close to the
Under normal driving conditions, the pads are not in contact with the
disk, and the disk is free to rotate. When the brake pedal is depressed, hydraulic
pressure is applied through the brake fluid to force the brake pads against the
disk. The braking force that decelerates the car results from friction between the
disk and the pads.
Figure 1.16
Disk Brake System
2735 | CH 1 Page 24 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
Electronic control of braking benefits safety by improving stopping
performance in poor or marginal braking conditions. Chapter 8 explains the
operation of the so-called antilock braking system (ABS).
A steering system is one of the major automotive subsystems required for
operation of the car (see Figure 1.17). It provides the driver control of the path
of the car over the ground. Steering functions by rotating the plane of the front
wheels in the desired direction of the turn. The angle between the front wheel
plane and the longitudinal axis of the car is known as the steering angle. This
angle is proportional to the rotation angle of the steering wheel.
Figure 1.17
One Type of Steering
Traditionally, automotive steering systems have consisted solely of
mechanical means for rotating the wheels about a nominally vertical axis in
response to rotation of the steering wheel. The inclination of this axis gives rise
to a restoring torque that tends to return the wheels to planes that are parallel to
the vehicle’s longitudinal axis so that the car will tend to travel straight ahead.
This restoring torque provides a steering stability for the car.
2735 | CH 1 Page 25 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
When steering the car, the driver must provide sufficient torque to
overcome the restoring torque. Because the restoring torque is proportional to
the vehicle weight for any given steering angle, considerable driver effort is
required for large cars, particularly at low speeds and when parking.
In order to overcome this effort in relatively large cars, a power steering
system is added. This system consists of an engine-driven hydraulic pump, a
hydraulic actuator, and control valve.Whenever the steering wheel is turned, a
proportioning valve opens, allowing hydraulic pressure to activate the
actuator. The high-pressure hydraulic fluid pushes on one side of the piston.
The piston, in turn, is connected to the steering linkage and provides
mechanical torque to assist the driver in turning. This hydraulic force is often
called steering boost. The desired boost varies with vehicle speed, as depicted
in Figure 1.18.
This graph shows that the available boost from the pump increases with
engine speed (or vehicle speed), whereas the desired boost decreases with
increasing speed. In Chapter 8, we discuss an electronic control system that can
adjust the available boost as a function of speed to desirable levels.
In addition to the automotive systems described above, electronics is
involved in the implementation of cruise control systems, heating and air
conditioning systems, as well as entertainment and some safety systems.
Moreover, electronics is responsible for introducing new systems that could, in
fact, not exist without electronics, such as navigation systems, communication
systems, and electronic diagnostic systems.
Figure 1.18
Desired Boost Versus
2735 | CH 1 Page 26 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
Once electronics had achieved successful application in engine control,
the ball was rolling, so to speak, for the introduction of electronics in a variety
of systems in the automobile. It will be seen that the very high cost-effectiveness
of electronics has strongly motivated their application to various other systems.
In this chapter, we have briefly reviewed the major systems of the
automobile and discussed basic engine operation. In addition, we have
indicated where electronic technology could be applied to improve
performance or reduce cost.
The next few chapters of this book are intended to develop a basic
understanding of electronic technology. Then we’ll use all this knowledge to
examine how electronics has been applied to the major systems. In the last
chapter, we’ll look at some ideas and methods that may be used in the future.
2735 | CH 1 Page 27 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
Quiz for Chapter 1
1. The term TDC refers to
a. the engine exhaust system
b. rolling resistance of tires
c. crankshaft position
corresponding to a piston at
the top of its stroke
d. the distance between
2. The distributor is
a. a rotary switch that connects
the ignition coil to the various
spark plugs
b. a system for smoothing tire
c. a system that generates the
spark in the cylinders
d. a section of the drivetrain
3. The air–fuel ratio is
a. the rate at which combustible
products enter the engine
b. the ratio of the mass of air to
the mass of fuel in a cylinder
before ignition
c. the ratio of gasoline to air in
the exhaust pipe
d. intake air and fuel velocity
4. Ignition normally occurs
a. at BDC
b. at TDC
c. just after TDC
d. just before TDC
5. Most automobile engines are
a. large and heavy
b. gasoline-fueled, spark-ignited,
liquid-cooled internal
combustion type
c. unable to run at elevations
that are below sea level
d. able to operate with any fuel
other than gasoline
6. An exhaust valve is
a. a hole in the cylinder head
b. a mechanism for releasing the
combustion products from
the cylinder
c. the pipe connecting the
engine to the muffler
d. a small opening at the bottom
of a piston
7. Power is produced during
a. intake stroke
b. compression stroke
c. power stroke
d. exhaust stroke
8. The transmission
a. converts rotary to linear
b. optimizes the transfer of
engine power to the drivetrain
c. has four forward speeds and
one reverse
d. automatically selects the
highest gear ratio
2735 | CH 1 Page 28 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:52 AM
9. The suspension system
a. partially isolates the body of a
car from road vibrations
b. holds the wheels on the axles
c. suspends the driver and
d. consists of four springs
10. The camshaft
a. operates the intake and
exhaust valves
b. rotates at the same speed as
the crankshaft
c. has connecting rods attached
to it
d. opens and closes the breaker
11. An SI engine is
a. a type of internal combustion
b. a Stirling engine
c. always fuel injected
d. none of the above
12. The intake system refers to
a. the carburetor
b. a set of tubes
c. a system of valves, pipes, and
throttle plates
d. the components of an engine
through which fuel and air are
supplied to the engine
2735 | CH 2 Page 29 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
The Systems Approach to
Control and Instrumentation
Generally speaking, electronic systems function to control, measure, or
communicate. Automotive electronic systems fall generally into these same
three application areas. The major categories of automotive electronic systems
1. Engine/power train control
2. Ride/handling control
3. Cruise control
4. Braking/traction control
5. Instrumentation (instrument panel)
6. Power steering control
7. Occupant protection
8. Entertainment
9. Comfort control
10. Cellular phones
Historically, automotive electronics was confined primarily to
communications, with the incorporation of AM radios and police-car two-way
radio systems. These remained the only significant electronics applications
throughout the 1930s and 1940s. This was an era in which vacuum tubes were
the only important active electronic devices.
The development of solid-state electronics, beginning with the transistor
in the late 1940s and evolving through high-performance integrated circuits,
provided a technology that was compatible with the evolution of other
automotive electronic systems such as ignition systems, turn signals,
instrumentation, and a variety of other automotive subsystems. Perhaps the
biggest evolutionary jump occurred in the 1970s with the advent of electronic
fuel control systems, a step motivated primarily by government regulations (as
we will show later). Since then the evolution of electronic systems in
automobiles has seen spectacular growth, such that automotive electronics is
now estimated to account for 10% to 25% of the cost of the vehicle, depending
on feature content.
This book will discuss the application of electronics in automobiles,
from the standpoint of electronic systems and subsystems. In a sense, the
systems approach to describing automotive electronics is a way of organizing
2735 | CH 2 Page 30 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
the subject into its component parts based on functional groups. This chapter
will lay the foundation for a discussion by explaining the concepts of a system
and a subsystem, and how such systems function. The means for
characterizing the performance of any system will be explained so that the
reader will understand some of the relative benefits and limitations of
automotive electronic systems. This chapter will explain generally what a
system is and, more precisely, what an electronic system is. In addition, basic
concepts of electronic systems that are applicable to all automotive electronic
systems, such as structure (architecture) and quantitative performance analysis
principles, will be discussed.
Two major categories of electronic systems—analog or continuous time
and digital or discrete time—will be explained. In most cases, it is theoretically
possible to implement a given electronic system as either an analog or digital
system. The relatively low cost of digital electronics coupled with the high
performance achievable relative to analog electronics has led modern
automotive electronic system designers to choose digital rather than analog
realizations for new systems.
Systems can often be
broken down into subsystems. The subsystems
also consist of a number
of individual parts.
A system is a collection of components that function together to perform a
specific task. Various systems are encountered in everyday life. It is common
practice to refer to the bones of the human body as the skeletal system. The
collection of highways linking the country’s population centers is known as the
interstate freeway system.
Electronic systems are similar in the sense that they consist of collections of
electronic and electrical parts interconnected in such a way as to perform a specific
function. The components of an electronic system include transistors, diodes,
resistors, and capacitors, as well as standard electrical parts such as switches and
connectors among others. All of these components are interconnected with
individual wires or with printed circuit boards. In addition, many automotive
electronic systems incorporate specialized components known as sensors or
actuators that enable the electronic system to interface with the appropriate
automotive mechanical systems.
Any electronic system can be described at various levels of abstraction,
from a pictorial description or a schematic drawing at the lowest level to a
block diagram at the highest level. For the purposes of the present discussion,
this higher-level abstraction is preferable. At this level, each functional
subsystem is characterized by inputs, outputs, and the relationship between
input and output. Normally only the system designer or maintenance
technician would be concerned with detailed schematics and the internal
workings of the system. Furthermore, the only practical way to cover the vast
range of automotive electronic systems is to limit our discussion to this socalled system level of abstraction. It is important for the reader to realize that
there are typically many different circuit configurations capable of performing
a given function.
2735 | CH 2 Page 31 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
The designer of a system
often begins with a
block diagram, in which
major components are
represented as blocks.
At the level of abstraction appropriate for the present discussion, an
electronic system will be represented by a block diagram. Depending on
whether a given electronic system application is to (a) control, (b) measure or
(c) communicate, it will have one of the three block diagram configurations
shown Figure 2.1.
In block diagram architecture, each functional component or subsystem is
represented by an appropriately labeled block. The inputs and outputs for each
Figure 2.1
Block Diagrams for Various System Applications
2735 | CH 2 Page 32 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
block are identified. In electronic systems, these input and output variables are
electrical signals, except for the system input and system output. One benefit of
this approach is that the subsystem operation can be described by functional
relationships between input and output. There is no need to describe the
operation of individual transistors and components within the blocks.
Figure 2.1a depicts the architecture or configuration for a control
application electronic system. In such a system, control of a physical subsystem
(called the plant) occurs by regulating some physical variable (or variables)
through an actuator. An actuator has an electrical input and an output that
may be mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, chemical, or so forth. The plant
being controlled varies in response to changes in the actuator output. The
control is determined by electronic signal processing based on measurement of
some variable (or variables) by a sensor in relationship to a command input by
the operator of the system (i.e., by the driver in an automotive application).
In an electronic control system, the output of the sensor is always an
electrical signal (denoted e1 in Figure 2.1). The input is a physical variable in
the plant being controlled. The electronic signal processing generates an output
electrical signal (denoted e2 in Figure 2.1) that operates the actuator. The signal
processing is designed to achieve the desired control of the plant in relation to
the variable being measured by the sensor. The operation of such a control
system is described later in this chapter. At this point, we are interested only in
describing the control system architecture. A detailed explanation of electronic
control is presented later in this chapter.
The architecture for electronic measurement (also known as
instrumentation) is similar to that for a control system in the sense that both
structures incorporate a sensor and electronic signal processing. However, instead
of an actuator, the measurement architecture incorporates a display device. A
display is an electromechanical or electro-optical device capable of presenting
numerical values to the user (driver). In automotive electronic measurement, the
display is sometimes simply a warning light with a fixed message rather than a
numeric display. Nevertheless, the architecture is as shown in Figure 2.1b. It
should be noted that both control and instrumentation electronic systems use one
or more sensors as well as electronic signal processing.
Figure 2.1c depicts a block diagram for a communication system. In
such a system, data or messages are sent from a source to a receiver over a
communication channel. This particular architecture is sufficiently general
that it can accommodate all communication systems, from ordinary car
radios to digital data buses between multiple electronic systems on cars.
Communication systems are described in greater detail later in this chapter.
Although digital electronic systems are rapidly replacing analog systems in
automotive electronics, it is simpler to describe analog systems first since they
can generally be understood more intuitively than digital systems. Considering
control and instrumentation applications, the sensor converts the input variable
2735 | CH 2 Page 33 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
to a proportional electrical signal continuously. That is, as the input quantity
varies, the sensor output voltage varies proportionately. In mathematical terms,
letting x be the amplitude of the input quantity (e.g., pressure, displacement, or
temperature), the output voltage of an ideal sensor (denoted v) is continuously
proportional to x :
v = ksx
In this expression, ks represents the so-called transducer gain of the sensor.
Figure 2.2 illustrates the operation of an ideal pressure sensor, in which x
is the pressure of a fluid and v is the sensor output voltage. The graph seen in
Figure 2.2a shows this pressure as it varies with time; Figure 2.2b shows the
corresponding ideal sensor output voltage. In this example, at every instant of
Figure 2.2
Ideal Pressure Sensor
2735 | CH 2 Page 34 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
time the sensor output voltage is a multiple of the input pressure; the
transducer gain is .02 volts/kPa.
In a control system using this sensor, the signal processing component
should perform an operation on this voltage and generate an output e2 to drive
the actuator. The signal processing is designed to create the correct actuator
voltage at each instant to achieve the desired control. There are many examples of
such a system in automotive electronic systems. One of the most important
points of this analog system is that the system functions continuously with time.
An Example Analog System
Perhaps the most familiar example of an analog electronic system is the
home audio entertainment system. Figure 2.3 depicts such a system that
includes a phonograph record. This example system incorporates a sensor, an
electronic signal process, and an actuator. Although the phonograph has been
replaced by other recording means, it is common enough to be familiar to most
readers. Moreover, it is, perhaps, more easily understood than other recording
media such as magnetic tape or compact discs.
Figure 2.3
Example of an
Electronic System
2735 | CH 2 Page 35 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
In this system, the input is the mechanical vibration of the phonograph
needle as it tracks along the groove in the record. The sensor is the phonograph
cartridge that converts these mechanical vibrations to an analog electrical
signal. This electrical signal, which is too weak to drive the loudspeakers (the
actuators in the present example) at an acceptable audio level, is amplified in
the stereo amplifier. The amplifier increases the power level to a point at which
it can drive the loudspeakers. In mathematical terms, if the power level input to
the amplifier is Pi, then the power output to the speakers (denoted Po) is an
amplified version of the input:
Po = GPi
where G is the power gain of the amplifier. That is, the input power is
continuously amplified by the amplifier by a factor of G.
In contrast to an analog electronic system that operates in continuous
time, a digital system operates in discrete instants of time. This process of
representing a continuous-time quantity at specific discrete times is called
sampling and is illustrated in Figure 2.4.
Figure 2.4a illustrates a continuously varying quantity that is denoted x
(which might, for example, be intake manifold pressure). This continuous-time
quantity is sampled electronically at times that are multiples of a basic sample
period. Figure 2.4a depicts the sample points of the continuous pressure as asterisks.
Each sample is the value of the continuous variable at a specific (discrete) time. A
sequence of samples is presented to the signal processor at the corresponding sample
times. The sequence of samples is shown in Figure 2.4b. In a digital electronic
system, the signal processing is performed by some form of digital computer. This
computer requires time to perform its computations. The time between samples
provides an interval in which the necessary computations are performed.
The time between any successive samples is normally a constant known as
sample time. Sample time is a critically important parameter for any digital
system and is chosen with great care by the system designer. It must be
sufficiently long to enable the computer to perform its computations on any
given sample before the next sample is taken, or the computer cannot keep up
with the data stream in real time. On the other hand, if the sample time is too
long, then the input might change too much for the sampled data to adequately
represent the continuous quantity being sampled. The time required for
computation on each sample is influenced in part by the processor speed and by
the efficiency of the program being used to perform the computations. This
aspect of performance is discussed in greater detail in Chapter 4.
The sampled data illustrated in Figure 2.4b are in a sampled analog
format. This format is not compatible with a digital system. One more step,
called quantization, is required to convert the sampled analog data into data
that can be read by the computer. In a digital electronic system, each sample is
represented numerically by its magnitude. For example, a sequence of samples
2735 | CH 2 Page 36 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
Figure 2.4
Sampling of a Continuous Variable
of a continuous quantity might be {0.9, 1.1, 1.6, 2.3, 1.5, 1.2, . . .}. However,
computers don’t use decimal number systems since there is no practical way to
represent decimal digits. Rather, computers use a binary number system that is
based on 2 rather than 10. In a binary number system, each numerical value is
represented by a combination of ones or zeros. For example, the decimal
number 11 is represented by 1011. This system will be described in greater
detail in Chapter 3, but for the present, it is sufficient to understand that each
sample is converted to a binary number in the form of combinations of one or
zero. Chapter 3 will explain that this binary system is appropriate for a
computer, in which ones and zeros correspond to transistors that are either “on”
or “off,” respectively. By having a sufficient number of transistors, it is possible
to represent any possible numerical value.
2735 | CH 2 Page 37 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
The circuit that converts sampled analog data to binary values is called an
analog-to-digital converter (ADC). It is also sometimes called a quantizer. When
the computer has finished calculations on a given sample, it outputs a
numerical value to an external device in the form of a binary number. If that
device is analog, as in the case of an actuator for a control system, the output
binary number must be reconverted to analog format. This conversion is done
in a device known as a digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The two types of
converters are explained in detail in Chapter 4. Not all digital electronic
systems require converters, because some sensors and actuators are digital
already. Except for these cases, a digital electronic system for either control or
instrumentation has a block diagram as depicted in Figure 2.5.
Figure 2.5
Digital Control (a) or Measurement (b) System Configuration
The performance of an electronic system is evaluated by quantitative
descriptions of how well it performs its intended task and inherently uses
numerical representation (e.g., parameters and graphs). The home audio
system, which has been mentioned previously as a familiar example of an
electronic system, will serve as an example for performance analysis.
The performance of a high-fidelity home audio system is described by
such characteristics as frequency response, maximum power level, harmonic
distortion, and linearity (as well as other characterizations that are specific to an
audio system). The “fidelity” of an audio system, which expresses how well it
reproduces the sounds from the source, is best given by its frequency response.
Unwanted distortion of the sound is characterized by harmonic distortion and
linearity. Similar measures are also appropriate and useful for characterizing an
electronic system.
2735 | CH 2 Page 38 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
The performance of any electronic system (analog or digital) is determined
by its various components—transistors, resistors, capacitors, sensors, actuators,
displays, and so forth—as well as by the system architecture or interconnections
of its components. For a digital electronic system, performance is further
determined by the computer program (software) that is running in the associated
computer. The system designer makes careful choices for the system structure as
well as for the parameter values (e.g., resistance or capacitance) to tailor the
specific system performance to the specifications of a given task.
Just as in the case of a hi-fi audio system, the fidelity of an automotive
electronic system to dynamically changing inputs is given by its frequency
response. Specifically, this is the response of the system to a standard input
called a sinusoid. The standard input is a smoothly varying periodic quantity as
illustrated by the graph in Figure 2.6.
Figure 2.6
Sinusoidal Signal
2735 | CH 2 Page 39 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
The input fluctuates through a complete cycle beginning at zero, increasing
positively to a maximum, then moving symmetrically negatively back to zero in T
seconds. It then repeats periodically in intervals of T seconds. The frequency f of
the input is the number of cycles in one second, or
f = 1/T
In mathematical terms, a sinusoidal input x (t ) is given by the following equation:
x (t ) = X sin(2πft )
X = amplitude of the input
f = frequency
t = time
The output of an electronic system from a sinusoidal input is also
sinusoidal at the same frequency, as depicted by the graphs in Figure 2.7, in
which the solid curve is the input and the dashed curve the output.
The frequency response of an electronic system is defined as the ratio of the
peak amplitude of the output (denoted Y) to the peak amplitude of the input
(denoted X ). Notice that there is a time delay in the response of the system
relative to the input, corresponding to the difference in zero crossing of the
input and output.
In formal mathematical terms, the output y(t) is given by
y (t) = Ysin[2πf (t – d )]
Y = amplitude of the output
d = time delay
The system frequency response, denoted H, is formally defined as follows:
H = Y /X
The delay is expressed as a fraction of the period, called the phase, and is usually
denoted by the Greek letter phi (φ):
φ = 2π d/T
= 2πfd
For an electronic system that is ideal with respect to its dynamic
performance, the frequency response is a constant for all frequencies. In
practice, the frequency response varies with frequency. A graph of the
frequency response of a typical electronic system is shown in Figure 2.8.
In this example, the frequency response is close to ideal (i.e., constant) over
a range of frequencies from frequency f1 to f2. For frequencies below f1 or above f2,
the response drops off. In the example of a hi-fi amplifier, f1 might be about 20
Hz and f2 might be about 20 kHz. The range of frequencies over which the
frequency response is nearly constant is called the system bandwidth. The
2735 | CH 2 Page 40 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
Figure 2.7
Illustration of Steady-State Input and Output of a System
frequency response is said to be “flat” over this bandwidth. For example, in Figure
2.8 the frequency response is nearly constant from 102 (100) Hz to about 104
(10,000) Hz. In automotive electronic systems, this range of frequencies is
determined by the system designer to be compatible with the corresponding
range of input frequencies in normal systems operation. There are numerous
references to the bandwidth of automotive electronic systems in later chapters.
The performance of any system can be evaluated from the response of the
output to a sinusoidal input. Important properties of the system can be
determined from this response, such as resonance, bandwidth, and response to
rapid input changes.
2735 | CH 2 Page 41 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
Figure 2.8
Frequency Response of an Example System
To illustrate this performance analysis method, consider the suspension
system, which is an important automotive system. Figure 2.9 is a simplified
representation of the suspension system at one wheel on a car. The car body
(sprung mass Ms) is supported by a spring (depicted as K in Figure 2.9) and
shock absorber (denoted as D in Figure 2.9). The unsprung mass (wheel and
axle assembly) is displaced by force f, which is transmitted by the tire in
response to a rough road. The response of this system is the displacement x of
the unsprung mass relative to its rest position. The input to this system is a
force that in mathematical terms we denote F (t ).
Perhaps the most important input for characterizing system performance
is the sinusoid. In our example, we consider a sinusoidal force such as might
2735 | CH 2 Page 42 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
Figure 2.9
Suspension System
occur on a so-called washboard gravel road. The force transmitted by the tire to
the unsprung mass, depicted by the solid curve in Figure 2.10, is represented by
F(t ) = F0 sinωt
F0 = amplitude of the force
ω = 2πf
f = frequency or (1/T)
T = period
The displacement of the unsprung mass is represented by x (relative to the rest
position) and is depicted by the dashed curve in Figure 2.10. This displacement
is given mathematically by
x = X sin(ωt – φ)
where φ equals phase, or 2πd/T.
The performance of the example suspension system is given by the
sinusoidal frequency response. For any system, the sinusoidal frequency response
is the ratio of the amplitude of the response to the amplitude of the input. In our
example, the response amplitude is X and the input amplitude is F, yielding
H = X
The sinusoidal frequency response of any system is a function of (i.e., depends
on) frequency. In our example, the frequency of the rough road force due to the
washboard road is proportional to the speed at which the car travels over the
road. For the example suspension system, frequency response is depicted in
2735 | CH 2 Page 43 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
Figure 2.10
Graph of Force Transmitted by the Tire
Figure 2.11. In this illustration, four separate responses are shown for four
different shock absorber damping constants. For very low damping coefficient
D (weak damping or defective shock absorber), the response becomes very large
for frequencies near the resonant frequency (i.e., fo):
fo =
This situation is depicted by the uppermost dotted curve in Figure 2.11.
For a somewhat larger damping, the response is large enough near resonance
to absorb the road force, transmitting relatively little of this force to the car body.
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Figure 2.11
Frequency Response for Four Different Shock Absorber Damping Constants
A car with a so-called soft suspension yields relatively good ride characteristics.
Unfortunately, a soft suspension tends to have relatively poor handling. The
situation is depicted by the next highest dotted curve in Figure 2.11.
On the other hand, for very high damping coefficient, the response
decreases sharply for frequencies greater than fo. This circumstance corresponds to
a very stiff suspension in which much of the road force is transmitted by the
shock absorber to the car body, making for a rather rough ride. This situation is
depicted by the lowest dotted curve in Figure 2.11.
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The response that is often optimum for many applications is called critical
damping Dc:
Dc =
M uK
Critical damping gives the most uniform response for the greatest range of
frequencies. This situation (which is normally the most desirable) is depicted by
the solid curve in Figure 2.11.
Step Response
The step response characterizes the performance of a system.
The performance of a system is also represented by its time response which
is closely related to its frequency response. Perhaps the most meaningful method
of assessing the time response of a system is to examine its response to an input
step. Figure 2.12 is a graph of a step input to the example system as well as the
Figure 2.12
Step Response of a
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system response. The step input is an abrupt change occurring at time to.
However, the output change is gradual relative to the input. The output
asymptotically approaches a steady value HX.
The rate at which the output approaches the final value varies inversely
with bandwidth, as illustrated in Figure 2.12 (where bandwidth is denoted fo).
Although the actual response of the system depends on the characteristics of the
system, the response time of any system generally varies inversely with its
Instrumentation systems, whether electrical,
mechanical, or a combination of both, measure
a physical quantity and
provide a report of that
An instrument (or instrumentation system) is a device for measuring
some specific quantity. Automotive instruments have traditionally been
mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, electrical, or combinations of these.
However, modern automotive instrumentation is largely electronic. These
electronic instruments or instrumentation systems are used to measure a
variety of physical quantities, including
Vehicle speed
Total distance traveled
Engine angular speed (rpm)
Fuel quantity and/or flow rate
Oil pressure
Engine coolant temperature
Alternator charging current
For an understanding of measurement instrumentation, it is helpful to review a
definition of measurement.
A measurement is defined as a numerical comparison of an unknown
magnitude of a given physical quantity to a standard magnitude of the same
physical quantity. In this sense, the result of a measurement is normally a
numerical value expressing the indicated value of the measurement as a
multiple of the appropriate standard. However, other display devices are
possible in which simple messages are given. Automotive instrumentation
does not always display measured quantities. Rather, a warning lamp (or
buzzer) is activated whenever a given quantity falls outside of allowed
limits. For example, it is common practice not to provide a display of
measured values for engine oil pressure or coolant temperature. Warning
lamps are activated by the electronic instrumentation system whenever oil
pressure is too low or coolant temperature is too high.
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In any measurement made with any instrument there are several
important issues, including
Systematic errors in the
accuracy of instruments
are due to known imperfections in an instrument; random errors are
caused by outside disturbances.
Each of these issues has an important impact on the performance of the
The standard magnitudes of the physical variables measured by any
instrument are maintained by the National Institute of Standards &
Technology in the United States. These standard magnitudes and the
fundamental relationships between physical variables determine the units for
each physical quantity.
The precision of any instrument is related to the number of significant figures
that is readable from the display device. The greater the number of significant
figures displayed, the greater the precision of the instrument.
Calibration is the act of setting the parameters of an instrument such that
the indicated value conforms to the true value of the quantity being measured.
The accuracy of any measurement is the conformity of the indicated value
to the true value of the quantity being measured. Error is defined as the
difference between true and indicated values. Hence, accuracy and error vary
inversely. The required accuracy for automotive electronic systems varies with
application, as will be shown in later chapters. In general, those instruments
used solely for driver information (e.g., fuel quantity) have lower accuracy
requirements than those used for such applications as engine control or
The errors in any measurement are generally classified as either systematic
or random. Systematic errors result from known variations in instrument
performance, for which corrections can be made if desired. There are many
sources of systematic error, including temperature variations in calibration,
loading, and dynamic response. Since virtually any component in an
instrument is potentially susceptible to temperature variations, great care must
be exercised in instrument design to minimize temperature variations in
calibration. As will be seen later in this book, most automotive instruments
have relatively low precision requirements, so that temperature variations in
calibration are negligible. Random errors are essentially random fluctuations in
indicated value for the measurement. Most random measurement errors result
from noise.
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Systematic loading errors are due to the energy extracted by an instrument
when making a measurement. Whenever the energy extracted from a system
under measurement is not negligible, the extracted energy causes a change in
the quantity being measured. Wherever possible, an instrument is designed to
minimize such loading effects. The idea of loading error can be illustrated by
the simple example of an electrical measurement, as illustrated in Figure 2.13.
A voltmeter M having resistance R m measures the voltage across resistance R.
The correct voltage (vc) is given by
v c = V  ---------------
 R + R 1
However, the measured voltage vm is given by
Rp 
v m = V  ---------------- R p + R 1
where R p is the parallel combination of R and R m:
RR m
R p = --------------R + Rm
Loading is minimized by increasing the meter resistance Rm to the largest
possible value. For conditions where Rm approaches infinite resistance, Rp
approaches resistance R, and vm approaches the correct voltage. Loading is
similarly minimized in measurement of any quantity by minimizing extracted
energy. Normally, loading is negligible in modern instrumentation.
Another significant systematic error source is the dynamic response of the
instrument. Any instrument has a limited response rate to very rapidly
changing input, as illustrated in Figure 2.14. In this illustration, an input
quantity to the instrument changes abruptly at some time. The instrument
Figure 2.13
Illustration of
Loading Error
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Figure 2.14
Instrument Dynamic
begins responding, but cannot instantaneously change and produce the new
value. After a time, the indicated value approaches the correct reading
(presuming correct instrument calibration). The greater the bandwidth of an
instrument or instrumentation system, the more quickly it can follow rapid
changes in the quantity being measured.
In many automotive instrumentation applications the bandwidth is
purposely reduced to avoid rapid fluctuations in readings. For example, the type
of sensor used for fuel quantity measurements actually measures the height of fuel
in the tank with a small float. As the car moves, the fuel sloshes in the tank,
causing the sensor reading to fluctuate randomly about its mean value. The signal
processing associated with this sensor has an extremely low bandwidth so that
only the average reading of the fuel quantity is displayed, thereby eliminating the
undesirable fluctuations in fuel quantity measurements that would occur if the
bandwidth were not restricted.
The reliability of an instrumentation system refers to its ability to perform
its designed function accurately and continuously whenever required, under
unfavorable conditions, and for a reasonable amount of time. Reliability must
be designed into the system by using adequate design margins and quality
components that operate both over the desired temperature range and under
the applicable environmental conditions.
The basic block diagram for an electronic instrumentation system has
been given in Figure 2.1b. That is, each system has three basic components:
sensor, signal processing, and display. Essentially, all electronic measurement
systems incorporated in automobiles have this basic structure regardless of the
physical variable being measured, the type of display being used, or whether the
signal processing is digital or analog.
Understanding automotive electronic instrumentation systems is facilitated
by consideration of some fundamental characteristics of the three functional
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components. Again it should be noted that the trend in automotive electronic
systems is toward digital rather than analog realization. However, because both
realizations are used, both types of components are discussed below.
Sensors convert one
form of energy, such as
thermal energy, into
electrical energy.
A sensor is a device that converts energy from the form of the measurement
variable to an electrical signal. An ideal analog sensor generates an output voltage
that is proportional to the quantity q being measured:
vs = K s q
where K s is the sensor calibration constant.
By way of illustration, consider a typical automotive sensor—the throttleposition sensor. The quantity being measured is the angle (theta) of the throttle
plate relative to closed throttle. Assuming for the sake of illustration that the
throttle angle varies from 0 to 90 degrees and the voltage varies from 0 to 5
volts, the sensor calibration constant K s is
K s = -------- = .056 volt/degree
Alternatively, a sensor can have a digital output, making it directly
compatible with digital signal processing. For such sensors, the output is an
electrical equivalent of a numerical value, using a binary number system as
described earlier in this chapter. Figure 2.15 illustrates the output for such a
sensor. There are N output leads, each of which can have one of two possible
voltages, representing a 0 or 1. In such an arrangement, 2N possible numerical
values can be represented. For automotive applications, N ranges from 8 to 16,
corresponding to a range of from 64 (28) to 256 (216) numerical values.
Of course, a sensor is susceptible to error just as is any system or system
component. Potential error sources include loading, finite dynamic response,
calibration shift, and nonlinear behavior. Often it is possible to compensate for
these and other types of errors in the electronic signal processing unit of the
instrument. If a sensor has limited bandwidth, it will introduce errors when
Figure 2.15
Digital Sensor
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Signal processing can be
used to compensate for
systematic errors of sensors.
measuring rapidly changing input quantities. Figure 2.16 illustrates such
dynamic errors for an analog sensor measuring an input that abruptly changes
between two values (this type of input is said to have a square wave waveform).
Figure 2.16a depicts a square wave input to the sensor. Figure 2.16b illustrates
the response that the sensor will have if its bandwidth is too small. Note that
the output doesn’t respond to the instantaneous input changes. Rather, its
output changes gradually, slowly approaching the correct value.
An ideal sensor has a linear transfer characteristic (or transfer function), as
shown in Figure 2.17a. Thus, some signal processing is required to linearize the
output signal so that it will appear as if the sensor has a straight line (linear)
transfer characteristic, as shown in the dashed curve of Figure 2.17b.
Figure 2.16
Sensor Error Caused by Limited Dynamic Response of Sensor
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Figure 2.17
Sensor Transfer
Sensors are subject to
random errors such as
heat, electrical noise,
and vibrations.
Sometimes a nonlinear sensor may provide satisfactory operation without
linearization if it is operated in a particular “nearly” linear region of its transfer
characteristic (Figure 2.17b).
Random errors in electronic sensors are caused primarily by internal
electrical noise. Internal electrical noise can be caused by molecular vibrations
due to heat (thermal noise) or random electron movement in semiconductors
(shot noise). In certain cases, a sensor may respond to quantities other than the
quantity being measured. For example, the output of a sensor that is measuring
pressure may also change as a result of temperature changes. An ideal sensor
responds only to one physical quantity or stimulus. However, real sensors are
rarely, perfect and will generally respond in some way to outside stimuli. Signal
processing can potentially correct for such defects.
Displays and Actuators
Automotive display
devices, typically analog
or digital meters, provide
a visual indication of the
measurements made by
the sensors.
Actuators convert electrical inputs to an action
such as a mechanical
To be useful for measurement purposes, an electronic instrumentation
system must somehow make the results of measurement available to the user. This
is done through the display, which yields numerical values to the user. As in other
aspects of electronic systems, the display can be analog or digital. Both types of
display are described in detail in Chapter 9.
Displays, like sensors, are energy conversion devices. They have bandwidth,
dynamic range, and calibration characteristics, and, therefore, have the same types
of errors as do sensors. As with sensors, many of the shortcomings of display devices
can be reduced or eliminated through the imaginative use of signal processing.
An actuator is an energy conversion device having an electrical input
signal and an output signal that is mechanical (e.g., force or displacement).
Automotive actuators include electric motors and solenoid-controlled valves
and switches. These are used, for example, in throttle positioners for cruise
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Signal Processing
Any changes performed
on the signals between
the sensor and the display is considered to be
signal processing.
Signal processing can use
either analog circuitry or
digital circuitry, depending on the application.
Signal processing, as defined earlier, is any operation that is performed on
signals traveling between the sensor and the display. Signal processing converts
the sensor signal to an electrical signal that is suitable to drive the display. In
addition, it can increase the accuracy, reliability, or readability of the
measurement. Signal processing can make a nonlinear sensor appear linear, or it
can smooth a sensor’s frequency response. Signal processing can be used to
perform unit conversions such as converting from miles per hour to kilometers
per hour. It can perform display formatting (such as scaling and shifting a
temperature sensor’s output so that it can be displayed on the engine temperature
gauge either in centigrade or in Fahrenheit), or process signals in a way that
reduces the effects of random system errors.
Signal processing can be accomplished with either a digital or an analog
subsystem. The trend in automotive electronic systems toward fully digital
instrumentation means that the majority of automotive electronic signal
processing is accomplished with a digital computer.
The block diagram of a digital instrumentation system is shown in Figure
2.5. In this figure the sensor is assumed to be analog and is measuring a physical
variable (which we call x in this figure). This continuously varying quantity is
sampled (as described earlier) and quantized, yielding a sequence of binaryvalued numbers (which we call xn when n = 1, 2, 3, . . . ). In more formal
mathematical terms, this sequence is given by
xn = x(nT)
n = 1, 2, 3, . . .
where T is the sample period. That is, each xn is the value of the input at discrete
time nT. This sequence is the input to a digital computer that performs the
digital signal processing (DSP). The output from the computer (which we call
yn) is a sequence of digital data that is input to the display. The display is
assumed to be digital since such display devices are commonplace in automotive
electronic instrumentation systems. It should be noted that in the event the
sensor is digital, the sample and quantizer (ADC) are not required because the
digital sensor output is in a form that can be read directly by the computer.
The actual signal processing computation is specific to a given
application. Perhaps the most general statement that can be made concerning
the DSP operation is that each output from the computer is made by a series of
computations performed by the computer on one or more input samples. The
mathematical formula or rule for these computations is called an algorithm. The
number of inputs used to compute each output is specific to a given algorithm,
which, in turn, is specific to a given application.
The DSP operates on the samples xn under program control to perform
arithmetic and logical operations (as explained in Chapter 4) and generate an
output yn for each input xn. The set of steps performed on xn to yield yn is
2735 | CH 2 Page 54 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
determined by the desired processing algorithm. Although there are a great
many algorithms used in automotive electronics, it is possible to illustrate an
important class of DSP algorithms with the following recursive digital filter
yn =
∑ ak x n – k – ∑ bj yn – j
In this algorithm, the coefficients ak and bj are constants. The variables xn–k are
previous inputs, beginning with the most recent (xn) and ending with the oldest
input used to find yn(that is, xn–k). Similarly yn–j are previously computed
outputs, beginning with yn–1 (the most recent) and ending with yn–j. The
microcomputer calculates each product (that is, ak xn–k and bj yn–j) and sums the
products for each k from 0 to K and for each j from 1 to J.
As an example of DSP application, consider a low pass filter. The digital
equivalent of such a filter has a very simple algorithm,
y n = ax n – by n – 1
where a and b are constants that determine the dynamic response of the digital
Throughout the remainder of this book, there will be specific examples
given of DSP systems in which the signal processing operations are performed by
computation in a microcomputer. The trend for virtually the entire spectrum of
automotive electronics is for digital implementation of signal processing.
The operational amplifier is the predominant
analog signal processing
building block.
Although signal processing is mostly digital today, it is worthwhile to
explain certain aspects of analog signal processing, as it is still the preferred
method for low-cost signal processing involving simple functional operations.
The primary building block of analog signal processing is the operational
amplifier, which is depicted symbolically in Figure 2.18. An operational
amplifier is a very high gain differential amplifier; that is, it amplifies the
difference between the two input voltages. These voltages (relative to ground)
are denoted v1 and v2. The input labeled + in Figure 2.18 is known as the
noninverting input, and the one labeled – is called the inverting input. The
output voltage vo, relative to ground, is given by the following equation:
vo = A(v1 – v2)
where A is the open-loop gain. For an ideal operational amplifier, the open-loop
gain should be infinite. In practice it is finite, though very large (e.g., more than
100,000, typically).
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Figure 2.18
Operational Amplifier
As an example of the signal processing application of the operational
amplifier, consider an instrument using a sensor that has an imperfect response.
For the purpose of illustration, assume that the frequency response H for the
sensor is as shown in Figure 2.19. The output voltage for a fixed-amplitude
input increases linearly with frequency, as shown in the graph. An example of
this type of frequency response is a magnetic angular speed sensor, described in
Chapter 6.
A signal processing circuit that can compensate for the undesirable frequency
response is shown in Figure 2.20. In this circuit, a parallel resistance–capacitance
(R f C ) combination is connected in a so-called feedback path from the output to
the inverting input. The frequency response for this circuit (H sp = vo/vs ) is shown
graphically in Figure 2.21. Also shown in this illustration is the frequency
response for the combination sensor and signal processor. For frequencies
above about 2 Hz, the frequency response (H = vo/x ) for the combination is
flat, as is desired. The characteristics and applications of operational
amplifiers are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 3.
Figure 2.19
Example Sensor
Frequency Response
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Figure 2.20
Operational Amplifier
Circuit Used to
Compensate for the
Poor Frequency
Response of a
Control systems, which
are used to control the
operation of other systems, are measured in
terms of accuracy, speed
of response, stability,
and immunity from
external noise.
Control systems are systems that are used to regulate the operation of
other systems. For this discussion, the system being controlled is known as
the system plant. The controlling system is called an electronic controller.
In preparation for discussing the many electronic control systems in
automobiles it is worthwhile to explain in detail what a control system is. A
control system is described by its fundamental elements, which are the objectives
of control, system components, and results or outputs. The objectives of a control
system are the quantitative measures of the tasks to be performed by the system.
These describe the desired values of a variable or of multiple variables and are
normally specified by the user. The results are called outputs (or controlled
variables). Typically, the objective of a control system is to regulate the values of
the outputs in a prescribed manner by the (operator-determined) inputs through
the elements (or components) of the control system.
A control system should
1. Perform its function accurately.
2. Respond quickly.
3. Be stable.
4. Respond only to valid inputs (noise immunity).
A control system’s accuracy determines how close the system’s output will come
to the desired output, with a constant-value input command. Quick response
determines how closely the output of the system will track or follow a changing
input command. A system’s stability describes how a system behaves when a
change, particularly a sudden change, is made by the input signal. Some unstable
systems will oscillate wildly if uncontrolled. Others that are normally controlled
may go out of control. Either case is undesirable, and a good controller design
will minimize the chance of unstable operation. A system should maintain its
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Figure 2.21
Frequency Response for Operational Amplifier Circuit
accuracy by responding only to valid inputs. When noise or other disturbances
threaten to change the system plant’s output, good design will eliminate them
from system performance as much as possible. The more this invalid response is
eliminated, the more noise immunity the control system has. Accuracy, quick
response, stability, and noise immunity are all determined by the control system
configuration and parameters chosen for a particular plant.
The purpose of a control system is to determine the output of the system
(plant) being controlled in relation to the input and in accordance with the
operating characteristics of the controller. The relationship between the
2735 | CH 2 Page 58 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
controller input and the desired plant output is called the control law for the
system. The desired value for the plant output is often called the set point.
The behavior of the plant is influenced electronically by means of an
electromechanical device called an actuator. Looking ahead to our discussion of
automotive electronics, a specific actuator will be introduced, namely, an
electrically activated fuel injector. Generally speaking, an actuator has input
electrical terminals that receive electrical power from the control electronics. By
a process of internal electromechanical energy conversion, a mechanical output
is obtained that operates to control the plant. In the case of the fuel injector, the
air–fuel mixture is controlled, which, in turn, controls the engine output.
Although electronic controllers can, in principle, be implemented with
either analog or digital electronics, the trend in automotive control is digital. Since
the purpose of this chapter is to discuss fundamentals of electronic systems, both
continuous-time (analog) and discrete-time (digital) control systems are presented.
There are two major categories of control systems: open-loop (or
feedforward) and closed-loop (or feedback) systems. There are many
automotive examples of each, as we will show in later chapters. The architecture
of an open-loop system is given in the block diagram of Figure 2.22.
Open-Loop Control
An open-loop control
system never compares
actual output with the
desired value.
The components of an open-loop controller include the electronic
controller, which has an output to an actuator. The actuator, in turn, regulates
the plant being controlled in accordance with the desired relationship between
the reference input and the value of the controlled variable in the plant. Many
examples of open-loop control are encountered in automotive electronic
systems, such as fuel control in certain operating modes.
In the open-loop control system of Figure 2.22, the command input is
sent to a system block, which performs a control operation on the input to
generate an intermediate signal that drives the plant. This type of control is
called open-loop control because the output of the system is never compared
with the command input to see if they match.
Figure 2.22
Open-Loop Control System Block Diagram
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The control electronics generates the electrical signal for the actuator in
response to the control input and in accordance with the desired relationship
between the control input and the system output. The operation of the plant is
directly regulated by the actuator (which might simply be an electric motor).
The system output may also be affected by external disturbances that are not an
inherent part of the plant but are the result of the operating environment.
One of the principal drawbacks to the open-loop controller is its inability
to compensate for changes that might occur in the controller or the plant or for
any disturbances. This defect is eliminated in a closed-loop control system, in
which the actual system output is compared to the desired output value in
accordance with the input. Of course, a measurement must be made of the
plant output in such a system, and this requires measurement instrumentation.
Closed-Loop Control
It is the potential for change in an open-loop system that led to feedback,
or closed-loop, control. In a closed-loop control system a measurement of the
output variable being controlled is obtained via a sensor and fed back to the
controller, as illustrated in Figure 2.23.
The measured value of the controlled variable is compared with the
desired value for that variable based on the reference input. An error signal
based on the difference between desired and actual values of the output signal
is created, and the controller generates an actuating signal that tends to
reduce the error to zero. In addition to reducing this error to zero, feedback
has other potential benefits in a control system. It can affect control system
performance by improving system stability and suppressing the effects of
disturbances in the system. Later chapters will include numerous examples of
closed-loop control, such as idle speed control.
The generic closed-loop control system illustrated in Figure 2.23 has
some of the components found in an open-loop control system, including the
Figure 2.23
Closed -Loop Control
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plant to be controlled, actuator(s), and control electronics. In addition,
however, this system includes one or more sensors and some signalconditioning electronics. The signal conditioning used in a closed-loop control
system plays a role similar to that played by signal processing in measurement
instrumentation. That is, it transforms the sensor output as required to achieve
the desired measurement of the plant output. Compensation for certain sensor
defects (e.g., limited bandwidth) is possible, and in some cases necessary, to
allow for the comparison of the plant output with the desired value. Electronic
control systems are classified by the way in which the error signal is processed to
generate the control signal. The major control systems include proportional,
proportional integral, and proportional integral differential controllers.
The component at the left of the block diagram of Figure 2.23, is the
element in which the output is actually compared to the input. An error signal
is obtained by electrically subtracting the feedback signal from the command
input. The error signal is the input to the control electronics system, which, in
turn, generates an output called a control signal. The control signal is applied to
the actuator, and the actuator moves in such a direction as to reduce the error
between the actual and desired output to zero.
In Figure 2.23, the sensor provides a measurement xo of the plant output.
The error signal e is obtained by subtracting xo from the desired value x:
e = x - xo
In a proportional control system, the error signal is amplified by an amplifier to
yield an output vc, which is the control signal:
vc = Ge
where G is the amplifier gain.
The actuator causes the plant output y to increase in proportion to vc. The
operation of this control system is as follows. Assume arbitrarily that the plant
output (xo) is larger than its desired value. In this case the error signal e is
negative. The amplified error signal is applied to the actuator, causing the plant
output to decrease. Thus, xo will decrease until xo = x, at which point e is zero
and the output remains fixed at the desired value. A controller that generates a
control signal proportional to the error signal is called a proportional controller.
Disturbance Response
Any purely proportional control system has poor response to a
disturbance. Typically, a disturbance is caused by factors that are outside of the
plant or the control system. For example, in Chapter 8 in a discussion of cruise
control, we introduce an example of a disturbance in which cruise control is
activated on a level road. When the car encounters a hill, the change in load on
the engine is a disturbance.
2735 | CH 2 Page 61 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
The dotted curve in Figure 2.24 shows the response of a proportional
control system to a disturbance d at time t = 1 sec. Instead of remaining at the
set point xo following disturbance d, the system response changes to a steady
error e, which is given by
e = ---G
In principle, the error for any given disturbance can be made as small as
desired by raising the feedback gain. Unfortunately, the control system
Figure 2.24
Response of a Proportional Control System to a Disturbance
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dynamic response is also affected by G. Raising the gain too far will cause the
system response to become oscillatory. Often if the gain is too large, the system
becomes unstable. This property of having a steady error in response to a
steady disturbance is fundamental to all control systems incorporating a
proportional controller, but can be eliminated by use of a proportional-integral
Concept of Integration
Before beginning the discussion of proportional integral (PI) control, it is
worthwhile to discuss the concept of integration briefly. Of course those readers
having a background in and familiarity with integral calculus can skip this
discussion. The concept of an integrator can perhaps best be understood with
reference to the block diagram of Figure 2.25a. In mathematical terms this
system is denoted:
y =
∫ x dt
and the output y is said to be the integral of the input x with respect to time. In
more practical terms the integrator can be thought of as a device that
continuously “adds” or accumulates the input such that the input is the rate of
change of the output.
A good practical example of an integrator is depicted in Figure 2.25b. In
this figure the integrator is a storage tank into which fluid is flowing. The
output for this example is the total volume of fluid that has accumulated at any
time (until the tank is full). The input to this integrator is the volume flow rate
x of fluid flowing into the tank. For example, if the volume flow rate into a tank
were 10 gal/min then every minute the volume of fluid in the tank (y) would
increase by 10 gallons, that is to say, the volume of fluid in the tank would be
10 multiplied by the time (from empty) that the fluid flows into the tank. This
is a rather straightforward concept when the input is constant. However, if the
input volume flow rate changes continuously, then the volume of fluid is given
by the integral (with respect to time) of the input flow rate.
Another device that acts as an integrator is a capacitor into which a
current is flowing, as depicted in Figure 2.25c. The charge stored in the
capacitor Q is the integral with respect to time of the current:
Q =
∫ i dt
This property of a capacitor is used to implement the integral part of an
analog proportional integral control system. (See the discussion in Chapter 3 of
operational amplifiers.)
2735 | CH 2 Page 63 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
Figure 2.25
Concept of Integration
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One way of avoiding the steady disturbance response error of a
proportional (P) controller is to use a controller that is called a proportional
integral (PI) controller. The proportional integral control corrects for a serious
defect in a purely proportional controller. In the latter type, any steady
disturbance leads to a steady error in the output regulation. The configuration
for a PI controller is shown in Figure 2.26. This controller combines a term
proportional to the error with the integral of the error.
The error signal for a PI controller is generated the same way as for the P
controller. That is, the error e is the difference between the desired and actual values:
e = x – xo
The controller then generates the integral of the error,
∫ e dt
electronically. The control signal that is applied to the plant includes a part that
is proportional to the error as well as a part that is proportional to the integral
of the error. The resulting control signal is the sum of these two parts:
v c = Ge + k e dt
where G is the proportional gain and k is the integral gain. The proportional
part of the control signal acts the same as in a P controller, that is, it drives the
plant so as to reduce the error to zero.
However, consider the case of a disturbance to the system that tends
to produce a steady error in a P controller. In a PI controller, the integral
part continues to increase (since the integral of a steady error continuously
increases until the error itself is zero). This integral part of the control
signal drives the plant in a direction to reduce the error due to disturbance
to zero.
The disturbance rejection of a PI and P controller are illustrated in Figure
2.24. Here a steady disturbance occurs at time t = 0. The P controller response
is shown in the dotted curve, which depicts the steady error. The PI controller
response is shown by the solid curve, for which the error eventually is reduced
to zero. This ability to reduce errors due to disturbance to zero is a fundamental
property of PI controllers.
In principle a PI controller could be implemented in a purely mechanical
control system. However, in practice the only feasible implementation of an
integral is electronic (where integration can be implemented by means of a
capacitor in a simple electronic circuit). Integrals can also be implemented with
2735 | CH 2 Page 65 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
Figure 2.26
Block Diagram for Proportional Integral Controller
digital controllers. The relative ease and low cost of implementing PI
controllers is part of the motivation for the trend toward electronic control in
automotive systems.
A good example of the performance of a PI controller is given in Chapter
8. The accuracy of speed regulation for a PI controller in the presence of
disturbance (hills) is superior to that of a P controller. It is worthwhile to
summarize that a PI controller will, in general, reduce the error in response to
disturbances to exactly zero, whereas the P controller will always have a residual
output error.
Digital PI Controller
A PI control can also be implemented via a digital control system in
which the control signal is generated with a special-purpose digital computer.
Such a system operates in discrete time by representing the variables at sample
In a digital PI controller, the control electronics samples the error signal at
multiples of the sample period. The control signal includes two parts: a
proportional part and an integral part. The proportional part is proportional to
the most recent sample of the error. The integral part includes a sum of several
previous samples. If there is no disturbance to the system, the sum is zero (or at
least very small). If there is a disturbance, the sum of previous errors can
become very large. The sum of previous errors in the control signal is applied to
the actuator in such a way as to force the controlled system to reduce the error
caused by disturbance toward zero.
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In mathematical terms, the control signal at sample time tk, which we
denote vk, is given by
v k = – Ge k – K
∑ ek – m
ek is the most recent sample
ek – m is the mth oldest sample (m = 1, 2, . . . , M)
G is proportional gain
K is integral gain
The dynamic properties of a PI controller with the above control law are
determined by the sizes of the proportional (G ) and integral (K ) gains as well
as the number (M ) of error samples included in the sum (Σ).
Still another control type that finds wide application in practice is the
proportional integral differential (PID) controller. In a PID controller, the
control signal is given by
v k = – Ge k – K
∑ ek – m – D [ ( ek – ek – 1 )/T ]
The final term in this expression for the control signal involves the difference
between the two most recent samples of the error. This term represents the rate
of change of the error, and its inclusion in the control law often improves
dynamic response greatly. For the corresponding analog (continuous-time)
controller, the control signal is given by
v c = Ge + k e dt + D ----dt
In a proportional control
system the control signal
is proportional to the
error between desired and
actual output.
The control electronics in the previous example provided what is called
proportional control because the control signal is proportional to the error
signal. Other combinations of control electronics are possible, and it is a
challenge to the system designer to develop imaginative types of control
electronics to improve the performance of a given plant.
Another type of control that is used in automotive applications is limitcycle control. Limit-cycle control is a type of feedback control that monitors
the system’s output and responds only when the output goes beyond preset
2735 | CH 2 Page 67 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
Limit-cycle control
responds only when the
error is outside a pair of
limits. Limit-cycle controllers often are used to control plants with nonlinear or
complicated transfer functions.
An example of a limit-cycle controller is the temperature-controlled oven
depicted in Figure 2.27. The temperature inside the oven is controlled by the
length of time the heating coil is energized. The temperature of the oven is
measured with a temperature probe, and the corresponding electrical signal is
fed back to the command to obtain an error signal. The control electronics
checks the error signal against the temperature control dial to determine if one
of the following two conditions exists:
1. Oven temperature is below minimum setting of command input.
2. Oven temperature is above maximum setting of command input.
The control electronics responds to error condition 1 by closing the relay
contacts to energize the heating element. This causes the temperature in the
oven to increase until the temperature rises above a maximum limit, producing
error condition 2. In this case, the control electronics opens the relay contacts
and the heat is turned off. The oven gradually cools until condition 1 again
occurs and the cycle repeats. The oven temperature varies between the upper
Figure 2.27
Controller to Control
Oven Temperature
2735 | CH 2 Page 68 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
and lower limit, and the variations can be graphed as a function of time, as
shown in Figure 2.28.
The amplitude of the temperature variations, called the differential, can be
decreased by reducing the difference between the maximum and minimum
temperature limits. As the limits get closer together, the temperature cycles
more rapidly (frequency increases) to hold the actual temperature much closer
to the desired constant temperature. Thus, the limit-cycle controller controls
the system to maintain an average value close to the command input. This type
of controller has gained popularity due to its simplicity, low cost, and ease of
application. Fuel control, one of the most important automotive electronic
control systems is, at least partially, a limit-cycle control system (see Chapter 5).
Figure 2.28
Oven Temperature
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Quiz for Chapter 2
1. Which of the following are
examples of systems?
a. clock
b. electric dishwasher
c. communication network
d. society
e. all of the above
2. Block diagrams are developed in
what type of analysis?
a. physical
b. quantitative
c. qualitative
3. Specific system parameters are de-
termined in what type of analysis?
a. physical
b. quantitative
c. qualitative
4. What is a sensor used for?
a. to convert a nonelectrical
input to an electrical output
b. to convert an electrical input
to a mechanical output
c. to reduce the effects of noise
and other disturbances on the
measured quantity
d. all of the above
5. What does an actuator do?
a. converts a nonelectrical input
to an electrical output
b. converts an electrical input to
an action
c. reduces the effects of noise
and other disturbances on the
measured quantity
d. all of the above
6. What does signal processing do?
a. converts a mechanical input
to an electrical output
b. converts an electrical input to
a mechanical output
c. reduces the effects of noise
and other disturbances on the
measured quantity
d. all of the above
7. An error amplifier is used to
compare which of the following
two signals?
a. the output of a sensor and the
input to a signal processor
b. the output of a system and the
command input of a system
c. the output of a signal
processor and the output of a
d. none of the above
8. A basic instrumentation system
consists of which of the following
a. sensor
b. actuator
c. signal processor
d. all of the above
9. A control system may contain
which of the following
a. error amplifier
b. control logic
c. plant
d. all of the above
2735 | CH 2 Page 70 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 10:55 AM
10. Which of the following are
examples of a plant?
a. automotive drivetrain
b. high-temperature oven
c. an airplane navigation system
d. all of the above
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Electronics Fundamentals
This chapter is for the reader who has little knowledge of electronics. It is
intended to provide an overview of the subject so that discussions in later
chapters about the operation and use of automotive electronics control systems
will be easier to understand.
The chapter discusses electronic devices and circuits having applications
in electronic automotive instrumentation and control systems. Topics include
semiconductor devices, analog circuits, digital circuits, and fundamentals of
integrated circuits.
Semiconductor devices
are made from silicon or
germanium that is purposely contaminated
with impurities that
change the conductivity
of the material. Transistors are semiconductor
devices that are used as
active devices in electronic circuits.
Semiconductor (or solid-state) devices are basic building blocks for
electronic circuits. Semiconductor devices are commonly called solid-state
devices because they are made from a solid material. This material in pure form
is neither a good conductor nor a good insulator. Therefore, this material (also
called semiconductor material) and devices made from it are solid-state
semiconductor devices.
There are many types of semiconductor devices, but transistors and
diodes are two of the most important in automotive electronics. Furthermore,
these devices are the fundamental elements used to construct nearly all modern
integrated circuits. Therefore, the discussion of semiconductor devices will be
centered on these two.
The earliest transistors were made from germanium, but today silicon is
by far the most commonly used semiconductor material for making diodes,
transistors, and other semiconductor devices. Semiconductor material is made
to conduct better by diffusing an impurity into it. Boron and phosphorus often
are used as impurity source materials to alter the conductivity of silicon. When
boron is used, the semiconductor material becomes a so-called p-type
semiconductor. When phosphorus is used, the semiconductor material
becomes an n-type semiconductor. It is not necessary for the purposes of this
book to understand the differences between p-type and n-type semiconductors.
However, the interested reader can consult any of the standard introductory
references on the theory of semiconductor devices for further information.
Semiconductor devices such as diodes and transistors are quite different
from common linear components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, and
transformers. The following discussion presents an explanation of the operation
of these devices.
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A diode acts much like a
one-way valve, allowing
current to flow in only
one direction.
A diode is a two-terminal electrical device having one electrode that is
called the anode (a p-type semiconductor) and another that is called the cathode
(an n-type semiconductor). A solid-state diode is formed by the junction
between the anode and the cathode. Diodes can be thought of as one-way
resistors or current check valves because they allow current to flow through
them in only one direction, depending on the polarity of voltage (bias) across
the anode and cathode. When current flows in the forward (conducting)
direction with a plus voltage on the anode, diodes have low resistance (typically
a few ohms). This is called the forward biased condition. (The conventional
current flow direction of positive to negative is used in this book.) When the
current flows in the reverse (nonconducting) direction with a plus voltage on
the cathode, diodes have a very high resistance (typically a few million ohms).
This is called the reverse biased condition.
Figure 3.1a shows the schematic symbol for a diode, and Figure 3.1b is a
graph of the actual and ideal voltage and current transfer characteristics for a
typical diode. Notice on the ideal curve that the diode doesn’t start conducting
until the voltage across it exceeds Vd volts; then, for small increases in voltage,
the current increases very rapidly. For silicon diodes, Vd is about 0.7 volt. For
germanium diodes, Vd is about 0.3 volt. Even for the actual curve, the change
in current is quite steep for 0.1 volt changes in the voltage across the diode after
Vd has been exceeded.
When designing or analyzing circuits, Vd is often ignored in relatively
high-voltage circuits in which Vd is a very small percentage of the total voltage;
however, in low-voltage and low-level signal circuits, Vd may be a significant
Rectifier Circuit
A diode has low resistance when forward
biased and high resistance when reverse
The circuit in Figure 3.1c, a very common diode circuit, is called a halfwave rectifier circuit because it effectively cuts the ac (alternating current)
waveform in half. Consider the circuit first without the dotted-in capacitor.
The alternating current voltage source is a sine wave with a peak-to-peak
amplitude of 100 volts (50 volt positive swing and 50 volt negative swing).
Waveforms of the input voltage and output voltage plotted against time are
shown as the solid lines in Figure 3.1d. Notice that the output never drops
below 0 volts. The diode is reverse biased and blocks current flow when the
input voltage is negative, but when the input voltage is positive, the diode is
forward biased and permits current flow. If the diode direction is reversed in
the circuit, current flow will be permitted when the input voltage is negative
and blocked when the input voltage is positive.
The half-wave rectifier is used to convert an ac voltage into a dc (direct
current) voltage that stays either above 0 volts or below 0 volts, depending on
which way the diode is installed. Rectifier circuits are commonly used to
2735 | CH 3 Page 73 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
Figure 3.1
The use of a capacitor to
store charge and resist
voltage changes smooths
the rippling or pulsating
output of a half-wave
convert the ac voltage into a dc voltage for use with automotive alternators to
provide dc current for battery charging.
The input voltage Vin of Figure 3.1c is ac; the output voltage Vout has a dc
component and a time-varying component, as shown in Figure 3.1d. The
output voltage of the half-wave rectifier can be smoothed by adding a capacitor,
which is represented by the dotted lines in Figure 3.1c. Since the capacitor
stores a charge and opposes voltage changes, it discharges (supplies current) to
the load resistance R when Vin is going negative from its peak voltage. The
capacitor is recharged when Vin comes back to its positive peak and current is
supplied to the load by the Vin. The result is Vout that is more nearly a smooth,
steady dc voltage, as shown by the dotted lines between the peaks of Figure
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Transistors are useful as
amplifying devices.
Diodes are static circuit elements; that is, they do not have gain or store
energy. Transistors are active elements because they can amplify or transform a
signal level. Transistors are three-terminal circuit elements that act like current
valves. There are two common bipolar (i.e., consisting of n-type and p-type
semiconductors) types. Figure 3.2a shows the schematic symbol for an NPN
transistor, and Figure 3.2b shows the schematic symbol for a PNP transistor. P
represents p-type semiconductor material; N represents n-type material. The
area where the p-type and n-type materials join is called a PN junction (or
simply a junction). Current flows into the base and collector of an NPN
transistor and out of the emitter. The currents in a PNP transistor flow exactly
opposite to those in the NPN transistor; that is, current flows into the emitter
and out of the base and collector. In fact, this is the only difference between the
Figure 3.2
Schematic Symbols
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During normal operation, current flows from
the base to the emitter in
an NPN transistor. The
collector-base junction is
reverse biased, so that
only a very small
amount of current flows
between the collector
and the base when there
is no base current flow.
PNP transistor and NPN transistor. Their functions as amplifiers and switches
are the same.
The base-emitter junction of a transistor acts like a diode. Under normal
operation for an NPN transistor, current flows forward into the base and out
the emitter, but does not flow in the reverse direction from emitter to base. The
arrow on the emitter of the transistor schematic symbol indicates the forward
direction of current flow. The collector-base junction also acts as a diode, but
supply voltage is always applied to it in the reverse direction. This junction does
have some reverse current flow, but it is so small (1 × 10–6 to 1 × 10–12 amperes)
that it is ignored except when operated under extreme conditions, particularly
temperature extremes. In some automotive applications, the extreme
temperatures may significantly affect transistor operation. For such applications,
the circuit may include components that automatically compensate for changes
in transistor operation.
Under normal linear (analog) circuit operation, the collector-base junction
is reverse biased as mentioned previously; however, when used as a switch in the
on condition, the collector-base junction can become forward biased. In normal
operation, the current that flows through the collector-emitter terminals is
controlled by the current flowing through the base terminal. Relatively small
base currents control relatively large collector currents through a complicated
physical process that is beyond the scope of this book. However, for the purposes
of the present discussion, it is correct to think of the transistor as a currentamplifying device in which the base current controls the collector current. The
current amplification of a typical transistor is on the order of 100. That is, a base
current controls a collector current that is about 100 times larger.
Transistor Model
To aid in circuit analysis, Figure 3.2c shows the diagram of a commonly
used transistor model for an NPN transistor. The base-emitter diode is shown
in solid lines in the circuit, while the collector-base diode is shown in dotted
lines because generally it can be ignored.
The base-emitter diode does not conduct (there is no transistor base
current) until the voltage across it exceeds Vd volts in the forward direction. If
the transistor is a silicon transistor, Vd equals 0.7 volt just as with the silicon
diode. The collector current Ic is zero until the base-emitter voltage VBE exceeds
0.7 volt. This is called the cutoff condition, or the off condition when the
transistor is used as a switch.
When VBE rises above 0.7 volt, the diode conducts and allows some base
current Ib to flow. The collector current Ic is equal to the base current Ib times
the transistor current gain hfe. The current gain (hfe) can range from 10 to 200
depending on the transistor type. It is represented by a current generator in the
collector circuit of the model. This condition is called the active region because
the transistor is on and amplifying. It also is called the linear region because
collector current is (approximately) linearly proportional to base current. The
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A transistor is saturated
when a large increase in
the base-to-emitter current results in only a
small increase in the collector current.
dotted resistance in parallel with the collector-base diode represents the leakage
of the reverse biased junction, which is normally neglected, as discussed
A third condition known as the saturation condition exists under certain
conditions of collector-emitter voltage and collector current. In the saturation
condition, large increases in the transistor base current produce little increase in
collector current. When saturated, the voltage drop across the collector-emitter
is very small, usually less than 0.5 volt. This is the on condition for a transistor
switching circuit. This condition occurs in a switching circuit when the
collector of the transistor is tied through a resistor RL to a supply voltage Vc as
shown in Figure 3.2c. Enough base current is supplied to the transistor to drive
the transistor into the saturated condition, in which the output voltage (voltage
drop from collector to emitter) is very small and the collector-base diode may
become forward biased. Having briefly described the behavior of transistors, it
is now possible to discuss circuit applications for them.
In a transistor amplifier,
a small change in base
current results in a corresponding larger change
in collector current.
Figure 3.3 shows a transistor amplifier. The ac voltage source, Vin, supplies
a signal current to the base-emitter circuit. The transistor is biased to operate in
the linear region at some steady state Ib and Ic. The voltage source, Vcc, supplies
the steady-state dc currents Ib and Ic and any signal current change ic to the
collector-emitter circuit. The small signal voltage Vin varies the base current
around the steady dc operating point. This small current change is ib, and it
causes a corresponding but larger change in collector current ic around the
steady-state operating current Ic. The small signal current change causes a Vout
change across the load resistor Rc. The small signal voltage gain of the circuit is
as shown in Figure 3.3:
V out
A = ------- = h fe -----c
V in
Figure 3.3
Transistor Amplifier
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Transistor amplifiers are
commonly used in analog circuits, including
those in automotive systems.
An op amp is a very high
gain differential amplifier.
This is found by using the model and the equations Vout = icRc, ic = hfeib, and
ib = Vin/Rb, where hfe is the small signal current gain.
Circuits such as those depicted in Figure 3.3 are combined to make many
types of amplifiers that are used in a variety of applications. Such circuits,
especially when made in one package with integrated circuit technology (to be
discussed later), are called linear circuits or analog circuits.
An operational amplifier (op amp) is another standard building block of
integrated circuits and has many applications in analog electronic systems. It is
normally connected in a circuit with external circuit elements (e.g., resistors
and capacitors) that determine its operation. An op amp typically has a very
high voltage gain of 10,000 or more and has two inputs and one output (with
respect to ground), as shown in Figure 3.4a. A signal applied to the inverting
input (–) is amplified and inverted at the output. A signal applied to the
noninverting input (+) is amplified but is not inverted at the output.
Figure 3.4
Amplifier Circuit
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Use of Feedback in Op Amps
The op amp is normally not operated at maximum gain, but feedback
techniques can be used to adjust the gain to the value desired, as shown in Figure
3.4b. Some of the output is connected to the input through circuit elements
(resistors, capacitors, etc.) to oppose the input changes. In the example of Figure
3.4b, the feedback path consists of resistor Rf. The gain is adjusted by the ratio of
the two resistors and is calculated by the following equation:
R V out
A v = – ----f = ------R i V in
As indicated by applying the signal to the (–) terminal, the minus sign in the
equation means signal inversion from input to output; that is, if the input goes
positive, the output goes negative.
Since the op amp amplifies the voltage difference between its two inputs,
it can be used as a differential amplifier as well as a single-input amplifier.
It is interesting to consider the inputs to the op amp in the inverting
mode configuration (Figure 3.4b). The output voltage vo is given by
vo = A (v1 – v2)
v1 is the noninverting input voltage
v2 is the inverting input voltage
v 1 – v 2 = ----o
For an ideal op amp, the open-loop gain should approach infinity. In this case,
the input voltages should become equal. That is, v1 – v2 = 0 for the ideal case, or
v1 = v2.
The inverting amplifier of Figure 3.4b has the noninverting input at
ground potential, that is, v1 = 0. Consequently, the inverting input is (ideally)
also at ground potential. In fact, the feedback path provides a current that holds
the inverting input at so-called virtual ground. Furthermore, as the inverting
input is held at ground potential, the input impedance of the op amp circuit of
Figure 3.4b presented to input voltage Vin is the resistance of R i :
V in
------ = R i
i in
By contrast, the input impedance presented to the input voltage Vin by the
noninverting op amp configuration (Figure 3.4c) is ideally infinite. This very
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high input impedance is one of the primary features of the noninverting op
amp configuration.
A noninverting amplifier is also possible, as shown in Figure 3.4c. The
input signal is connected to the noninverting (+) terminal, and the output is
connected through a series connection of resistors to the inverting (–) input
terminal. The gain, Av , in this case is
V out
- = 1 + ----f
A v = ------V in
Besides adjusting gain, negative feedback also can help to correct for the
amplifier’s nonlinear operation and distortion.
Summing Mode Amplifier
One of the important op amp applications is summing of voltages. Figure
3.5 is a schematic drawing of a summing mode op amp circuit. In this circuit, a
pair of voltages va and vb (relative to ground) are connected through resistances
R to the inverting input. The output voltage vo is proportional to the sum of
the input voltages:
–Rf ( Va + Vb )
v o = ----------------------------R
For example, a compatible stereo broadcast system incorporating a right
channel and a left channel characterized by voltages vR and vL, respectively,
transmits the sum vS of the channel voltages:
vS = vR + vL
Figure 3.5
2735 | CH 3 Page 80 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
At the same time, the difference voltage vD is transmitted on a subcarrier:
vD = vR – vL
The right-channel voltage can be separated from the sum and difference
voltages using the circuit of Figure 3.5. Replacing voltages Va and Vb by vS and
VD, respectively, yields an output:
v o = -------f ( v R + v L + v R – v L )
– 2R
=  -----------f v R
 R 
A simple extension of this circuit permits similar separation of the left-channel
Analog Computers
Analog computers, like
those used to simulate
the performance of automotive systems, are constructed with
operational amplifiers.
The op amp is the basic building block for analog computers. Analog
computers are used to simulate the behavior of other systems. Virtually any
system that can be described in a block diagram using standard building blocks
can be duplicated on an analog computer. If a control system designer is
building an automotive speed controller and does not want to waste a lot of
time and money testing prototypes on a real car, he or she can program the
analog computer to simulate the car’s speed electronically. By varying amplifier
gains, frequency responses, and resistor, capacitor, and inductor values, system
parameters can be varied to study their effect on system performance. Such
system studies help to determine the parts needed for a system before any
hardware is built.
The main problem with analog circuits and analog computers is that their
performance changes with changes in temperature, supply voltage, signal levels,
and noise levels. While most of these problems are eliminated when digital
circuits are used, analog computers are much more cost effective when dealing
with relatively simple systems. However, analog computers have effectively been
replaced in all practical applications by a corresponding digital computer.
Binary circuits can operate in only one of two
states (on or off ).
Digital circuits, including digital computers, are formed from binary
circuits. Binary digital circuits are circuits whose output can be only one of two
different states. Each state is indicated by a particular voltage or current level.
An example of a simple binary digital system is a door-open indicator on a car.
When a car door is opened, a light comes on. When it is closed, the light goes
2735 | CH 3 Page 81 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
Digital circuits also can
use transistors. In a digital circuit, a transistor is
in either one of two
modes of operation: on,
conducting at saturation; or off, in the cutoff
out. The system’s output (the light from the bulb) is either on or off. The on
state means the door is open; the off state means it is shut.
In electronic digital systems, a transistor is used as a switch. Remember
that the transistor has three operating regions: cutoff, active, and saturation. If
only the saturation or cutoff regions are used, the transistor acts like a switch.
When in saturation, the transistor is on and has very low resistance; when in
cutoff, it is off and has very high resistance. In digital circuits, the control input
to the transistor switch must be capable of either saturating the transistor or
turning it off without allowing operation in the active region. In Figure 3.2c,
the on condition is indicated by a very low collector-to-emitter voltage and the
off condition by a collector-to-emitter voltage equal to the supply voltage.
Binary Number System
Combinations of digital
circuits are capable of
representing numbers in
a binary number system.
Digital circuits function by representing various quantities numerically
using a binary number system. In a binary number system, all numbers are
represented using only the symbols 1 (one) and 0 (zero) arranged in the form of
a place position number system. Electronically, these symbols can be
represented by transistors in either saturation or cutoff. Before proceeding with
a discussion of digital circuits, it is instructive to review the binary number
system briefly.
The binary number system uses only two digits, 0 or 1, and is called a
base 2 system. The decimal system uses 10 digits, 0 through 9, and is called a
base 10 system. In the decimal system, numbers are grouped from right to left
with the first digit representing the ones’ place (100), the second digit the tens’
place (101), the third digit the hundreds’ place (102), and so on. Each place
increases in value by a power of 10.
In the binary system, numbers are also grouped from right to left. The
rightmost digit is in the ones’ place (20) and, because only the numbers 0 and 1
can be represented, the second digit must be the twos’ place (21), the third digit
the fours’ place (22), the fourth digit the eights’ place (23), and so on. Each
place increases in value by a power of 2. Table 3.1 shows a comparison of place
Table 3.1
Comparison of
Place values
Decimal (Base 10)
Place (also called digit position)
Power of base
Binary (Base 2)
2735 | CH 3 Page 82 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
values. Table 3.2 shows the binary equivalent for some decimal numbers. For
example, the binary number 0010 is read as “zero, zero, one, zero’’—not “ten.”
To convert from binary to decimal, just multiply each binary digit by its
place value and add the products. For instance, the decimal equivalent of the
binary number 1010 is given by
( 1010 ) 2 = ( 1 × 8 ) + ( 0 × 4 ) + ( 1 × 2 ) + ( 0 × 1 )
= 8+2
= 10 10
10102 means that the number is a base 2, or binary, number. 1010 means the
number is a base 10, or decimal, number. Normal notation eliminates the
subscripts 2 and 10 if the number system is clear from the context.
Table 3.2
Comparison of
in Different Bases
Decimal (Base 10)
Binary (Base 2)
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Converting from decimal to binary can be accomplished by finding the
largest number that is a power of 2 (divisor) that will divide into the decimal
number (dividend) with a 1 as a quotient, putting a 1 in its place, and
subtracting the divisor (the number used to divide with) from the decimal
number (dividend) to get a remainder. The operation is repeated by dividing
with the next lower number that is a power of 2 until the binary ones’ place has
been tested. Any time the dividend is less than the divisor, a 0 is put in that
place and the next power of 2 divisor is tried. For instance, to find the binary
equivalent for the decimal number 73, the largest number that is a power of 2
and that will divide into 73 with a quotient of 1 is 64 (26):
= 1 remainder (73 – 64) = 9
= 1 remainder (9 – 8) = 1
= 1001001
Digital computers can perform binary digit (bit) manipulations very
easily by using three basic logic circuits or gates: the NOT gate, the AND gate,
and the OR gate. Digital gates operate on logical variables that can have one of
two possible values (e.g., true/false, saturation/cutoff, or 1/0). As was previously
explained, numerical values are represented by combinations of 0 or 1 in a
binary number system.
As mentioned earlier, digital circuits operate with transistors in one of two
possible states—saturation or cutoff. Since these two states can be used to
represent the binary numbers 1 or 0, combinations of transistors that are in one
of these two states can be used to represent multiple-digit binary numbers. The
input and output voltages for such digital circuits will be either “high’’ or “low,’’
corresponding to 1 or 0. High voltage means that the voltage exceeds a high
threshold value that is denoted VH. Symbolically, the high-voltage condition
corresponding to logical 1 is written
V > VH
meaning V exceeds VH. Similarly, low voltage means that voltage V is given by
V < VL
meaning V is less than VL, where VL denotes the low threshold value. The actual
values for VH and VL depend on the technology for implementing the circuit.
Typical values are VH = 2.4 volts and VL = 0.8 volt.
2735 | CH 3 Page 84 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
Digital circuit operation is represented in terms of logical variables that
are denoted here with capital letters. For example, in the next few sections A, B,
and C represent logical variables that can have a value of either 0 or 1.
NOT Gate
A NOT gate inverts
input 1 to 0 and input 0
to 1.
The NOT gate is a logic inverter. If the input is a logical 1, the output is
a logical 0. If the input is a logical 0, the output is a logical 1. It changes zeros
to ones and ones to zeros. The transistor inverting amplifier of Figure 3.3
performs the same function if operated from cutoff to saturation. A high
base voltage (logical 1)* produces a low collector voltage (logical 0) and vice
versa. Figure 3.6a shows the schematic symbol for a NOT gate. Next to the
schematic symbol is what is called a truth table. The truth table lists all of the
possible combinations of input A and output B for the circuit. The logic
symbol is shown also. The logic symbol is read as “NOT A.”
AND Gate
An AND gate requires
all input signal levels to
be high for the output
signal to be high.
The AND gate is slightly more complicated. The AND gate has at least
two inputs and one output. The one shown in Figure 3.6 has two inputs. The
output is high (1) only when both (all) inputs are high (1). If either or both
inputs are low (0), the output is low (0). Figure 3.6b shows the truth table,
schematic symbol, and logic symbol for this gate. The two inputs are labeled A
and B. Notice that there are four combinations of A and B, but only one results
in a high output.
OR Gate
The output signal of an
OR gate is high when
any one of its input signal levels is high.
The OR gate, like the AND gate, has at least two inputs and one output.
The one shown in Figure 3.6 has two inputs. The output is high (1) whenever
one or both (any) inputs are high (1). The output is low (0) only when both
inputs are low (0). Figure 3.6c shows the schematic symbol, logic symbol, and
truth table for the OR gate.
NAND and NOR gates
may be constructed by
combining AND, OR,
and NOT gates.
Other logic functions can be generated by combining these basic gates. An
inverter can be placed after an AND gate to produce a NOT-AND gate. When
the inverter is an integral part of the gate, the gate is called a NAND gate. The
same can be done with an OR gate; the resultant gate is called a NOR gate. The
truth tables and schematic symbols for both of these gates are shown in Figure
3.6. Notice that the NOT function is indicated on the schematic symbol by a
small circle at the output of each gate. The small circle is the schematic symbol
for NOT, whereas the overbar is the logic symbol for NOT. Notice also that the
*Positive logic defines the most positive voltage as logical 1. Negative logic defines the most
positive voltage as logical 0. Positive logic is used throughout this book.
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Figure 3.6
Basic Logic Gates
2735 | CH 3 Page 86 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
truth table outputs for the NAND and NOR gates are the reverse of those for
the AND and OR gates, respectively. Where C was 1, it is now 0 and vice versa.
All of these gates are available in integrated circuit form with various quantities
of gates in a package and various numbers of inputs per gate.
XOR and Adder Circuits
XOR gates, which output a high only when
one or the other input is
high, are commonly
used to add binary numbers.
Another complex gate performs the exclusive OR function, abbreviated as
XOR, illustrated in Figure 3.7a. The output is high only when one input is
high, but not when both are high. This gate very commonly is used for
comparison of two binary numbers because if both inputs are the same, the
output is zero. The equivalent combination of basic gates to perform this
function is shown in Figure 3.7a. The XOR gate is also available in an integral
package so it is not necessary for the designer to interconnect separate gates in
this manner to build the function.
All of these gates can be used to build digital circuits that perform all of
the arithmetic functions of a calculator. Table 3.3 shows the addition of two
binary bits in all the combinations that can occur. Note that in the case of
adding a 1 to a 1, the sum is 0, and a 1, called a carry, is placed in the next place
value so that it is added with any bits in that place value. A digital circuit
designed to perform the addition of two binary bits is called a half adder and is
shown in Figure 3.7b. It produces the sum and any necessary carry, as shown in
the truth table.
A half adder circuit does not have an input to accept a carry from a
previous place value. A circuit that does is called a full adder (Figure 3.7c). A
series of full adder circuits can be combined to add binary numbers with as
many digits as desired. A simple electronic calculator performs all arithmetic
operations using full adder circuits and a few additional logic circuits. In such
circuits, subtraction is performed as a modified form of addition by using some
of the additional logic circuits. Multiplication is accomplished by repeated
addition, and division is accomplished by repeated subtraction.
Of course, the addition of pairs of 1-bit numbers has no major application
in digital computers. On the other hand, the addition of multiple-bit numbers
Table 3.3
Addition of Binary
Bit A
Bit B
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Figure 3.7
XOR and Adders
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is of crucial importance in digital computers. The 1-bit full adder circuit can be
expanded to form a multiple-bit adder circuit. By way of illustration, a 4-bit
adder is shown in Figure 3.8. Here the 4-bit numbers in place position notation
are given by
A = a4 a3 a2 a1
B = b4 b3 b2 b1
where each bit is either 1 or 0. The sum of two 4-bit numbers has a 5-bit result,
where the fifth bit is the carry from the sum of the most significant bits. Each
block labeled FA is a full adder. The carry out (C) from a given FA is the carry
in (C') of the next-highest full adder. The sum S is denoted (in place position
binary notation) by
S = C 4 S4 S3 S2 S1
Sequential logic circuits
have the ability to store,
or remember, previous
logic states. Sequential
logic circuits are the
basis of computer memories.
The logic circuits discussed so far have been simple interconnections of
the three basic gates NOT, AND, and OR. The output of each system is
determined only by the inputs present at that time. These circuits are called
combinatorial logic circuits. There is another type of logic circuit that has a
memory of previous inputs or past logic states. This type of logic circuit is
called a sequential logic circuit because the sequence of past input values and
the logic states at those times determine the present output state. Because
sequential logic circuits hold or store information even after inputs are
removed, they are the basis of semiconductor computer memories.
Figure 3.8
A 4-Bit Digital
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R-S Flip-Flop
An R-S flip-flop circuit
can be set into either
state. It will remain
latched in that state until
it is set to the opposite
state by the presence of
opposing logic signals on
its two inputs.
A very simple memory circuit can be made by interconnecting two
NAND gates, as in Figure 3.9a. A careful study of the circuit reveals that when
S is high (1) and R is low (0), the output Q is set high and remains high
regardless of whether S is high or low at any later time. The high state of S is
said to be latched into the state of Q. The only way Q can be unlatched to go
low is to let R go high and S go low. This resets the latch. This type of memory
device is called a Reset-Set (R-S) flip-flop and is the basic building block of
sequential logic circuits. The term “flip-flop’’ describes the action of the logic
level changes at Q. Notice from the truth table that R and S must not be 1 at
the same time. Under this condition, the two gates are bucking each other and
the final state of the flip-flop output is uncertain.
Figure 3.9
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J-K Flip-Flop
The J-K flip-flop circuit
is superior to the R-S
flip-flop circuit because
it resolves ambiguities
resulting from simultaneous inputs.
A flip-flop where the uncertain state of simultaneous inputs on R and S is
solved is shown in Figure 3.9b. It is called a J-K flip-flop and can be obtained
from an R-S flip-flop by adding additional logic gating, as shown in the logic
diagram. When both J and K inputs are 1, the flip-flop changes to a state other
than the one it was in. The flip-flop shown in this case is a synchronized one.
That means it changes state at a particular time determined by a timing pulse,
called the clock, being applied to the circuit at the terminal marked by a
triangle. The little circle at the clock terminal means the circuit responds when
the clock goes from a high level to a low level. If the circle is not present, the
circuit responds when the clock goes from a low level to a high level.
Synchronous Counter
Digital counter circuits
can easily be arranged to
develop circuits that are
used in digital clocks.
Figure 3.10 shows a four-stage synchronous counter. It is synchronous
because all stages are triggered at the same time by the same clock pulse. It has
four stages; therefore, it counts 24 or 16 clock pulses before it returns to a
starting state. The timed waveforms appearing at each Q output are also shown.
It is easy to see how such circuitry can be used for counting, for generating
other timing pulses, and for determining timed sequences. One can easily
visualize how such stages can be lined up to store the digits of a binary number.
If the storage is temporary, then such a combination of stages is called a register.
If storage is to be more permanent, it is called memory.
Digital clocks, as well as circuits that convert binary numbers to decimal
numbers so they can be displayed and read by humans, are made up of many
stages of such counting circuits.
To review what has been discussed about digital circuits:
1. They operate with signals at discrete levels rather than with signals whose
level varies continuously.
2. High and low voltage levels are commonly used to represent the binary
numbers 1 and 0, respectively.
3. Combinations of ones and zeros can be used as codes to represent numbers, letters, symbols, conditions, and so forth.
4. Circuits called gates (Figures 3.6 and 3.7) can be combined to make logical decisions.
5. Circuits called flip-flops (Figure 3.9) can be used to store ones and
zeros. They can be set or reset into particular binary sequences to produce or store digital information, to count, or to produce timed digital
6. Transistors are used in the on and off condition in circuits to form gates
and flip-flops.
2735 | CH 3 Page 91 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
Figure 3.10
A Four-Stage
Integrated circuits are
ideal for digital circuits
because the digital circuits consist of many
interconnected identical
Digital electronic systems send and receive signals made up of ones and
zeros in the form of codes. The digital codes represent the information that is
moved through the digital systems by the digital circuits. Digital systems are
made up of many identical logic gates and flip-flops interconnected to do the
function required of the system. As a result, digital circuits are ideal for
implementation in integrated circuits (ICs) because all components can be
made at the same time on a small silicon area.
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Digital circuits are now
available as electronic
systems or subsystems
packaged as ICs.
By using integrated circuit technology, all of the counters, registers, and
binary-to-decimal converters are produced at the same time on a tiny piece of
silicon semiconductor material by the techniques of photolithography
(photographic printing) and diffusion (modifying one material by combining it
with another using high temperature). This is the heart of integrated circuit
technology. The results are very small, high-performance circuits that use very
low power and have a high reliability.
The earliest ICs appeared about 1960 and had relatively few gates,
typically on the order of 10 to 12. Those devices were known as small-scale
integration (SSI) integrated circuits. By 1970, medium-scale integration (MSI)
ICs were available; they had on the order of 1,000 gates. The evolution of
technology continued through phases of large-scale integration (LSI) ICs to
very large scale integration (VLSI) ICs that had 5,000 or more gates.
One of the important consequences of IC technological progress has been
that digital circuits have become available (in IC form) as electronic systems or
subsystems. That is, the functional capability of digital circuits in single IC
packages, or chips, has spectacularly increased in the past 30 years. One of the
important digital systems that is available as an LSI IC is the arithmetic and
logic unit (ALU).
Figure 3.11 is a sketch of a typical ALU showing the various connections.
This 4-bit ALU has the capability of performing 16 possible logical or
Figure 3.11
ALU Circuit
2735 | CH 3 Page 93 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
arithmetic operations on two 4-bit inputs, A and B. Table 3.4 summarizes these
various operations using the logical notation explained earlier in this chapter.
The Microprocessor
The microprocessor in
combination with memory and other circuits
under program control
can accomplish very
complex tasks.
Perhaps the single most important digital IC to evolve has been the
microprocessor (MPU). This important device, incorporating more than
250,000 gates in an area of about 1/4-inch square, has truly revolutionized
digital electronic system development. A microprocessor is the operational core
of a microcomputer and has broad application in automotive electronic
The MPU incorporates a relatively complicated combination of digital
circuits including an ALU, registers, and decoding logic. A typical MPU block
diagram is shown in Figure 3.12. The double lines labeled “bus’’ are actually
sets of conductors for carrying digital data throughout the MPU. Common IC
MPUs use 8, 16, or 32 conductor buses.
A microprocessor by itself can accomplish nothing. It requires additional,
external digital circuitry as explained in the next chapter. One of the tasks
performed by the external circuitry is to provide instructions in the form of
digitally encoded electrical signals. For example, an 8-bit microprocessor
operates with 8-bit instructions. There are 28 (or 256) possible logical
combinations of 8 bits, corresponding to 256 possible MPU instructions, each
Figure 3.12
MPU Block Diagram
2735 | CH 3 Page 94 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
Table 3.4
Arithmetic Logic
Arithmetic Function, M = 0
Select S
Logic Function,
Cn = 1
F = A (NOT)
F = A Plus 1
F = A + B (NOR)
F = (A + B) Plus 1
F=A+ B
F = (A + B ) Plus 1
F = Minus 1
(2’s Complement)
F = A + AB
F = (A + A B ) Plus 1
F = B (NOT)
F = (A + B) Plus
F = ( A + B) Plus
AB + 1
F = AB + B A
(Exclusive OR)
F = (A – B) Minus 1 F = A Minus B
F = AB
F = A B Minus 1
F = A + B (Implica- F = A + AB
F = (A + B) Plus 1
F = AB + AB (NOT F = A + B
exclusive OR)
F = (A + B) Plus 1
F = (A + B ) Plus
F = (A + B )
Plus A + 1
F = AB (AND)
F = AB Minus 1
F = AB
F = A Plus A*
F = (A + A) Plus 1
F=A+ B
F = (A + B) Plus A
F = (A + B)
Plus A + 1
F = A + B (OR)
F = (A + B ) Plus A F = (A + B )
Plus A + 1
F = A Minus 1
*Each bit is shifted to the next more significant position.
Cn = 0
F = AB
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causing a specific operation. A complete summary of these operations and the
corresponding instructions (called microinstructions) is beyond the scope of
this book. A few of the more important instructions are explained in the next
chapter, which further expands the discussion of this important device.
2735 | CH 3 Page 96 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:03 AM
Quiz for Chapter 3
1. Forward conventional current
flows in a diode circuit from
a. anode to cathode
b. anode to anode
c. cathode to anode
d. cathode to cathode
2. Forward conventional current for a
PNP transistor flows from
a. base to ground
b. base to emitter
c. emitter to base
d. collector to base
3. The op amp is what type of cir-
a. digital
b. analog
c. logic gate
d. none of the above
4. The AND gate is what type of cir-
a. digital
b. analog
c. amplifier
d. inverter
5. Which conditions cause the out-
put of an XOR gate to be high?
a. both inputs are low
b. both inputs are high
c. either input is high but not
d. both inputs are zero
6. An R-S latch is what type of digital
a. combinational logic
b. sequential logic
c. Fortran
d. J-K
7. Flip-flops are used in what type of
logic systems?
a. memories
b. counters
c. data registers
d. all of the above
8. Integrated circuits are used in
automotive electronic systems
because they have
a. excellent functional
b. high reliability
c. small size
d. low cost
e. all of the above
9. Digital circuits operate with volt-
ages representing
a. an analog of a physical
quantity being measured
b. the electrical equivalent of 1
or 0
c. proportional currents
d. none of the above
10. A half adder circuit can be made
a. an operational amplifier
b. three NOT gates
c. two OR gates
d. an XOR gate in combination
with an AND gate
11. A full adder can be made from
a. a half adder with carry in
b. two half adder circuits with
carry in
c. an R-S flip-flop
d. all of the above
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12. Which of the following devices
require the use of semiconductors?
a. transistors
b. diodes
c. integrated circuits
d. all of the above
13. In which of the following circuits
is a diode used?
a. filter
b. rectifier
c. resistor
d. capacitor
14. What device is used to smooth out
the bumpy output of the rectifier
a. capacitor
b. resistor
c. diode
d. transistor
15. In which type of circuits are tran-
sistors used?
a. amplifiers
b. op amps
c. logic gates
d. all of the above
17. Which of the following conditions
cause the outputs of an AND gate
to be high?
a. both inputs are low
b. both inputs are high
c. one input is low
d. at least one input is low
18. What decimal number does the
binary number 0110 represent?
a. 4
b. 3
c. 110
d. 6
19. What binary number does the dec-
imal number 10 represent?
a. 0010
b. 0101
c. 1010
d. 1000
20. The binary addition of 0110 and
0010 produces what binary sum?
a. 1000
b. 0111
c. 1111
d. 1010
16. Which of the following conditions
cause the output of an OR gate to
be low?
a. both inputs are high
b. only one input is high
c. both inputs are low
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2735 | CH 4 Page 99 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Instrumentation and Control
This chapter explains microcomputers and how they are used in
instrumentation and control systems. Topics include microcomputer
fundamentals, microcomputer equipment, microcomputer inputs and
outputs, computerized instrumentation, and computerized control systems.
The specific automotive applications of microcomputers are explained in later
Digital versus Analog Computers
A digital computer represents each variable in
terms of binary numbers.
In digital computer-based systems, physical variables are represented by a
numerical equivalent using a form of the binary (base 2) number system. In the
previous chapter it was shown that transistor circuits can be constructed to have
one of two stable states: saturation and cutoff. These two states can be used to
represent a 0 (zero) or a 1 (one) in a binary number system. To be practically
useful, there must be groups of such circuits that are arranged in the form of a
place position, binary number system.
By contrast, an analog system has a single lead with a voltage (relative to
ground) that is proportional to the relevant physical variable. A digital system
will have a group of leads, each one of which can have only two voltage levels
representing 0 or 1 (as discussed in Chapter 3). It is common practice for a
digital computer to have the number of voltages representing the binary digits
(bits) be a multiple of 8. For example, early automotive engine control
computers used 8 bits to represent data, which means that 256 (2 8) possible
levels can be represented. In any application, including automotive, a
computer performs various operations on the data. To explain the operation of
a digital computer, it is helpful to first explain the operation of its various
Parts of a Computer
The parts of a digital computer are shown in Figure 4.1. The central
processing unit (CPU) is the processor that is the heart of the system. When
made in an integrated circuit, it is called a microprocessor. This is where all of
2735 | CH 4 Page 100 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.1
Basic Computer
Block Diagram
A digital computer consists of a CPU to process
information, a memory
to store information,
and input/output sections to communicate
with the user.
the arithmetic and logic decisions are made and is the calculator part of the
The memory holds the program and data. The computer can change the
information in memory by writing new information into memory, or it can
obtain information contained in memory by reading the information from
memory. Each memory location has a unique address that the CPU uses to find
the information it needs.
Information (or data) must be put into the computer in a form that the
computer can read, and the computer must present an output in a form that
can be read by humans. The input and output devices, called peripherals,
perform these conversions. Peripherals are devices such as keyboards,
monitors, magnetic tape units, magnetic disk units, modems, and printers.
The arrows on the interconnection lines in Figure 4.1 indicate the flow of
2735 | CH 4 Page 101 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Microcomputers versus Mainframe Computers
Microcomputers cost
less and occupy less
space than the mainframe computers commonly used by
governments and large
businesses. However,
microcomputers operate
more slowly and are less
accurate in mathematical
With this general idea of what a computer is, it is instructive to compare
a general-purpose mainframe computer and a microcomputer. A
microcomputer is just a small computer, typically thousands of times smaller
than the large, general-purpose mainframe computers used by banks and large
corporations. Microcomputers cost much less than mainframes, and their
computing power and speed is only a fraction of that of a mainframe. A
typical mainframe computer costs from tens of thousands of dollars to
millions of dollars and is capable of hundreds of thousands of arithmetic
operations per second (additions, subtractions, multiplications, and divisions).
A microcomputer costs from a little less than $1,000 to $15,000 and can
perform several thousand operations per second. More important for
mathematical calculations than the speed of the operation is the accuracy of
the operation. Mainframe computers use up to 64 bits to obtain high accuracy
when doing arithmetic. The decimal equivalent for the largest number that
can be represented using 64 bits is roughly 10 to the 19th power (1 followed
by 19 zeros). A typical engine control microcomputer does arithmetic using
only 16–32 bits. The largest decimal number that can be represented in 8 bits
is 127, if one of the bits is used as a sign bit to indicate whether the number is
positive or negative.
A program is a set of
steps (instructions) in a
logical order. The computer follows these steps
to perform a given task.
A program is a set of instructions organized into a particular sequence to
do a particular task. The first computers were little more than fancy calculators.
They did only simple arithmetic and made logic decisions. They were
programmed (given instructions) by punching special codes into a paper tape
that was then read by the machine and interpreted as instructions. A program
containing thousands of instructions running on an early model machine
might require yards of paper tape. The computer would process the program by
reading an instruction from the tape, performing the instruction, reading
another instruction from the tape, performing the instruction, and so on until
the end of the program. Reading paper tape was a slow process compared with
the speed with which a modern computer can perform requested functions. In
addition, the tape had to be fed through the computer each time the program
was run, which was cumbersome and allowed for the possibility of the tape
wearing and breaking.
To minimize the use of paper tape, and to increase computational
efficiency, a method was invented to store programs inside the computer. The
program is read into a large electronic memory made out of thousands of data
latches (flip-flops), one for each bit, that provide locations in which to store
program instructions and data. Each instruction is converted to binary
2735 | CH 4 Page 102 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
All modern electronic
computers have the ability to store a program in
internal memory and use
it over and over to
accomplish tasks.
numbers with a definite number of bits and stored in a memory location. Each
memory location has an address number associated with it like a post office
box. In fact, one could think of the computer memory bank as a large bank of
post office boxes. The computer reads the binary number (instruction or data)
stored in each memory location by going to the address (box number) of the
information it wants to read. When the address for a particular memory
location is generated, a copy of its information is transferred to the computer.
(Note that the original information stays in its location in memory while the
memory is being read.)
Storing a computer program inside the computer’s memory is what
separates a real computer from a fancy calculator. The computer can use some
of its memory for storing programs (instructions) and other memory for
storing data. The program or data can be easily changed simply by loading in a
different program or different data. The stored program concept is
fundamental to all modern electronic computers.
A microcomputer-based
engine control system
has much greater flexibility than the early systems which were partly
A suitably configured microcomputer can potentially perform any
control or instrumentation task. For example, it will be shown in a later
chapter that a microcomputer can be configured to control fuel metering and
ignition for an engine. The microcomputer-based engine control system has
much greater flexibility than the earliest electronic engine control systems,
which, typically, used elementary logic circuits as well as analog circuits. For
these early systems, changes in the performance of the control system required
changes in the circuitry. With a microcomputer performing the logic
functions, most changes can be made simply by reprogramming the computer.
That is, the software (program) is changed rather than the hardware (logic
circuits). This makes the microcomputer a very attractive building block in
any digital system.
Microcomputers can also be used to replace analog circuitry. Special
interface circuits can be used to enable a digital computer to input and
output analog signals (this will be discussed later). The important point here
is that microcomputers are excellent alternatives to hardwired (dedicated)
logic and analog circuitry that is interconnected to satisfy a particular
In the subsequent portions of this chapter, both the computer hardware
configuration and programs (software) are discussed. Because these two aspects
of computers are so strongly interrelated, it is necessary for the following
discussion to switch back and forth between the two.
2735 | CH 4 Page 103 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
A microcomputer stores
information on a temporary basis within the
CPU registers. Information is transferred
between the CPU registers and the memory or
input/output sections by
means of one or more
sets of multiple wires;
each set is called a bus.
Recall the basic computer block diagram of Figure 4.l. The central
processing unit (CPU) requests information from memory (or from an input
device) by generating the address for the data in memory. The address with all
its bits is stored in the CPU is a binary number in a temporary data latch type
memory called a register. The outputs of the register are sent at the same time
over multiple wires to the computer memory and peripherals.
As shown in Figure 4.2, the group of wires that carries the address is called
the address bus. (The word bus refers to one or more wires that is a common
path to and from various components in the computer.) The address register
used in most microcomputers holds 32 bits; these bits enable the CPU to access
232 memory locations. In a microcomputer, each memory location usually
contains multiples of 8 bits of data. A group of 8 bits is called a byte and a group
of 16 bits is sometimes called a word.
Figure 4.2
Buses and Registers
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Information is sent to or
received from memory
locations and input/output devices via the bidirectional data bus.
Data is sent to the CPU over a data bus (Figure 4.2). The data bus is
slightly different from the address bus in that the CPU uses it to read
information from memory or peripherals, and to write information to memory
or peripherals. Signals on the address bus originate only at the CPU and are sent
to devices attached to the bus. Signals on the data bus can either be inputs to or
outputs from the CPU that are sent or received at the CPU by the data register.
In other words, the data bus is a two-way street while the address bus is a oneway street. Another difference is that the data bus in many microcomputers is
only 16 bits wide whereas the address bus is typically 32 bits wide.
Memory Read/Write
During a memory read
operation, the CPU
changes the state of the
read/write line and puts
the appropriate address
on the address bus. This
causes the contents of
the addressed memory
location to be placed on
the data bus, where it
can be read by the CPU.
The CPU always controls the direction of data flow on the data bus
because, although it is bidirectional, data can move in only one direction at a
time. The CPU provides a special read/write control signal (Figure 4.2) that
tells the memory in which direction the data should flow. For example, when
the read/write (R/W) line is high, the CPU reads information into a memory
The timing diagram for a memory read operation is shown in Figure 4.3.
Suppose the computer has been given the instruction to read data from memory
location number 10. To perform the read operation, the CPU raises the R/W line
to the high level to tell the memory to prepare for a read operation. Almost
simultaneously, the address for location 10 is placed on the address bus (“address
valid” in Figure 4.3). The number 10 in binary (0000 0000 0000 1010) is sent to
the memory in the address bus. The binary electrical signals corresponding to 10
operate the specific circuits in the memory to cause the binary data at that
location to be placed on the data bus. The CPU has an internal register that is
activated during this read operation to receive and store the data. The data is then
processed by the CPU during the next cycle of operation according to the
relevant instruction.
Microcomputers use a
timing signal, called a
clock, to determine when
data should be written to
or read from memory.
A certain amount of time is required for the memory’s address decoder to
decode which memory location is called for by the address, and also for the
selected memory location to transfer its information to the data bus. To allow
time for this decoding, the processor waits a while before receiving the
information requested from the data bus. Then, at the proper time, the CPU
opens the logic gating circuitry between the data bus and the CPU data
register so that the information on the bus from memory location 10 is latched
into the CPU. During the memory read operation, the memory has temporary
control of the data bus. Control must be returned to the CPU, but not before
the processor has read in the data. The CPU provides a timing control signal,
called the clock, that tells the memory when it can take and release control of
the data bus.
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Figure 4.3
Timing Diagram for
Memory Read
Refer again to Figure 4.3. Notice that the read cycle is terminated when
the clock goes from high to low during the time that the read signal is valid.
This is the signal the CPU uses to tell the memory that it has read the data and
the data bus can be released. The timing for a memory write operation is very
similar to the memory read operation except that the R/W line is low instead of
The bus timing signals are very important to the reliable operation of the
computer. However, they are built into the design of the machine and,
therefore, are under machine control. As long as the machine performs the read
and write operations correctly, the programmer can completely ignore the
details of the bus timing signals and concentrate on the logic of the program.
Addressing Peripherals
In memory-mapped
input/output a peripheral device is treated like
a memory location by
the CPU.
The reason for distinguishing between memory locations and peripherals
is that they perform different functions. Memory is a data storage device,
while peripherals are input/output devices. However, many microcomputers
address memory and peripherals in the same way because they use a design
called memory-mapped I/O (input/output). With this design, peripherals,
such as data terminals, are equivalent to memory to the CPU so that sending
data to a peripheral is as simple as writing data to a memory location. In
systems where this type of microcomputer has replaced some digital logic, the
digital inputs enter the computer through a designated memory slot. If
outputs are required, they exit the computer through another designated
memory slot.
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Figure 4.4
Registers Available
in a Typical
The programmer (the person who writes the sequences of instructions
for a particular task) uses a different model (a programming model) of the
microprocessor used in a system than does the hardware designer. This model
shows the programmer which registers in the CPU are available for program
use, and what function the registers perform. By way of illustration Figure 4.4
shows a programming model microprocessor for a typical 8-bit (now obsolete)
microcomputer. The computer has two 8-bit registers and three 16-bit
registers. The 16-bit registers are discussed later; the 8-bit registers are
discussed here.
Accumulator Register
The accumulator register, also called the A register, is used for
arithmetic and logical
One of the 8-bit registers is an accumulator, a general-purpose register that
is used for arithmetic and logical operations. The accumulator can be loaded
with data from a memory location, or its data can be stored in a memory
location. The number held in the accumulator can be added to, subtracted
from, or compared with another number from memory. The accumulator is the
basic work register of a computer. It is commonly called the A register.
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Condition Code Register
The condition code register, also called the status register, indicates
certain conditions that
take place during various
accumulator operations.
The other 8-bit register, the condition code (CC) register (also called status
register), indicates or flags certain conditions that occur during accumulator
operations. Rules are established in the design of the microprocessor so that a 1
or 0 in the bit position of the CC register represents specific conditions that
have happened in the last operation of the accumulator. The bit positions and
rules are shown in Figure 4.5a. One bit of the CC register indicates that the A
register is all zeros. Another bit, the carry bit, indicates that the last operation
performed on the accumulator caused a carry to occur. The carry bit acts like
the ninth bit of the accumulator. Notice what happens when we add 1 to 255
in binary:
The condition code register can indicate if the
value contained in the
accumulator is negative.
This gives the CPU the
ability to represent a
much wider range of
The eight bits in the accumulator are all zeros, but the carry bit being set
to a 1 (high) indicates that the result is actually not 0, but 256. Such a
condition can be checked by examining the CC register carry bit for a 1.
The condition code register also provides a flag that, when set to a 1,
indicates that the number in the accumulator is negative. Most
microcomputers use a binary format called two’s complement notation for doing
arithmetic. In two’s complement notation, the leftmost bit indicates the sign
of the number. Since one of the 8 bits is used for the sign, 7 bits (or 15 if 16
bits are used) remain to represent the magnitude of the number. The largest
positive number that can be represented in two’s complement with 8 bits is
+127 (or +32,767 for 16 bits); the largest negative number is –128 (–32,768).
Since the example accumulator is only 8 bits wide, it can handle only 1 byte at
a time. However, by combining bytes and operating on them one after
another in time sequence (as is done for 16-bit arithmetic), the computer can
handle very large numbers or can obtain increased accuracy in calculations.
Handling bits or bytes one after another in time sequence is called serial
Instructions that direct
the microcomputer to
other parts of the program are called branches.
Branches may be conditional or unconditional.
The CC register provides programmers with status indicators (the
flags) that enable them to monitor what happens to the data as the program
executes the instructions. The microcomputer has special instructions that
allow it to go to a different part of the program. Bits of the CC register are
labeled in Figure 4.5a. Typical branch-type instructions are shown in
Figure 4.5b.
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Figure 4.5
Use of the CC
Program branches are either conditional or unconditional. Eight of the
nine branch instructions listed in Figure 4.5b are conditional branches. That is
to say, the branch is taken only if certain conditions are met. These conditions
are indicated by the CC register bit as shown. The branch-always instruction is
the only unconditional branch. Such a branch is used to branch around the
next instruction to a later instruction or to return to an earlier instruction.
Another type of branch instruction that takes the computer out of its normal
program sequence is indicated for the I bit of the CC register. It is associated
with an interrupt. An interrupt is a request, usually from an input or output (I/
O) peripheral, that the CPU stop what it is doing and accept or take care of
(service) the special request. There will be more about interrupts later in this
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Microprocessor Architecture
Understanding how the microprocessor operates is aided by Figure 4.6,
which is a block diagram of a typical commercial microprocessor. This block
diagram is divided into two main portions—a register section and a control
section. The actual operations performed by the microprocessor are
Figure 4.6
Internal Architecture
2735 | CH 4 Page 110 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
accomplished in the register section. The specific operations performed during
the execution of a given step in the program are controlled by electrical signals
from the instruction decoder.
During each program step, an instruction in the form of an 8-bit (or
possibly 16-bit) number is transferred from memory to the instruction register.
This instruction is decoded using logic circuits similar to those presented in
Chapter 3. The result of this decoding process is a set of electrical control
signals that are sent to the specific components of the register section that are
involved in the instruction being executed.
The data upon which the operation is performed is similarly transferred
from memory to the data bus buffer. From this buffer the data is then
transferred to the desired component in the register section for execution of the
Note that an arithmetic and logic unit (ALU) is included in the register
section of the typical microprocessor is shown in Figure 4.6. This device is a
complex circuit capable of performing the arithmetic and logical operations, as
explained in Chapter 3. Also included in the register section is the accumulator,
which is the register used most frequently to receive the results of arithmetic or
logical operation. In addition, the example microprocessor register section has an
index register, stack pointer register, and program counter register. The program
counter register holds the contents of the program counter and is connected
through the internal address bus to the address buffer register. The address bus for
the example microprocessor has 16 lines, and thereby can directly address 65,536
(i.e., 64K) of memory.
To understand how the computer performs a branch, one must first
understand how the computer reads program instructions from memory. Recall
that program instructions are stored sequentially (step by step) in memory as
binary numbers, starting at a certain binary address and ending at some higher
address. The computer uses a register called the program counter (Figure 4.4)
to keep track of where it is in the program.
The first step in starting
up a computer is initialization.
To start the computer, a small startup (boot) program that is permanently
stored in the computer is run. This program sets all of the CPU registers with
the correct values and clears all information in the computer memory to zeros
before the operations program is loaded. This is called initializing the system.
Then, the operations program is loaded into memory, at which point the
address of the first program instruction is loaded into the program counter. The
first instruction is read from the memory location whose address is contained in
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the program counter register; that is, the 16 bits in the program counter are
used as the address for a memory read operation. Each instruction is read from
memory in sequence and set on the data bus into the instruction register, where
it is decoded. The instruction register is another temporary storage register
inside the CPU (or microprocessor). It is connected to the data bus when the
information on the bus is an instruction.
Operation Codes
The actual instructions
in the program are in the
form of numeric codes
called operation codes
(op codes).
Instructions often are
contained in more than
one byte. In such cases,
the first byte contains
the op code, and succeeding bytes contain
the address.
Numeric codes called operation codes (or op codes for short) contain the
instructions that represent the actual operation to be performed by the CPU.
The block diagram of Figure 4.7, which illustrates part of the CPU hardware
organization, should help clarify the flow of instructions through the CPU.
The instruction register has a part that contains the numeric op codes. A
decoder determines from the op codes the operation to be executed, and a data
register controls the flow of data inside the CPU as a result of the op code
One important function of the op-code decoder is to determine how
many bytes must be read to execute each instruction. Many instructions
require two or three bytes. Figure 4.8 shows the arrangement of the bytes in
an instruction. The first byte contains the op code. The second byte
contains address information, usually the low or least significant byte of the
Program Counter
Each successive read of a
memory location causes
the program counter to
be incremented to the
address of the next byte.
The program counter is used by the CPU to address memory locations
that contain instructions. Every time an op code is read (this is often called
fetched) from memory, the program counter is incremented (advanced by
one) so that it points to (i.e., contains the address of ) the next byte
following the op code. If the operation code requires another byte, the
program counter supplies the address, the second byte is fetched from
memory, and the program counter is incremented. Each time the CPU
performs a fetch operation, the program counter is incremented; thus, the
program counter always points to the next byte in the program. Therefore,
after all bytes required for one complete instruction have been read, the
program counter contains the address for the beginning of the next
instruction to be executed.
Branch Instruction
All of the branch instructions require two bytes. The first byte holds the
operation code, and the second byte holds the location to which the processor
is to branch.
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Figure 4.7
CPU Organization
A positive branch offset
address results in a
branch to a higher memory location, while a
negative branch offset
address results in a
branch to a lower memory location.
Now, if the address information associated with a branch instruction is
only 8 bits long and totally contained in the second byte, it cannot be the actual
branch address. In this case, the code contained in the second byte is actually a
two’s complement number that the CPU adds to the lower byte of the program
counter to determine the actual new address. This number in the second byte of
the branch instruction is called an address offset or just offset. Recall that in two’s
complement notation, the 8-bit number can be either positive or negative;
therefore, the branch address offset can be positive or negative. A positive
branch offset causes a branch forward to a higher memory location. A negative
branch offset causes a branch to a lower memory location. Since 8 bits are used
2735 | CH 4 Page 113 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.8
Instruction Byte
in the present example, the largest forward branch is 127 memory locations and
the largest backward branch is 128 memory locations.
Offset Example
Suppose the program counter is at address 5,122 and the instruction at
this location is a branch instruction. The instruction to which the branch is to
be made is located at memory address 5,218. Since the second byte of the
branch instruction is only 8 bits wide, the actual address 5,218 cannot be
contained therein. Therefore, the difference or offset (96) between the current
program counter value (5,122) and the desired new address (5,218) is
contained in the second byte of the branch instruction. The offset value (96) is
added to the address in the program counter (5,122) to obtain the new address
(5,218), which is then placed on the address bus. The binary computation of
the final address from the program counter value and second byte of the branch
instruction is shown in Figure 4.9
Jump Instruction
8-bit branch operations
are limited to an offset
range of +127 or –128
memory locations. Thus,
program branches to
locations farther away
must use jump instructions. These 3-byte
instructions contain the
entire memory address.
Branch instructions have a range of +127 or –128 (in the present 8-bit
example). If the branch needs to go beyond this range, a jump instruction must
be used. The jump instruction is a 3-byte instruction. The first byte is the jump
op code, and the next two bytes are the actual jump address. The CPU loads
the jump address directly into the program counter, and the program counter
effectively gets restarted at the new jump location. The CPU continues to fetch
and execute instructions in exactly the same way it did before the jump was
The jump instruction causes the CPU to jump out of one section of the
program into another. The CPU cannot automatically return to the first section
because no record was kept of the previous location. However, another
instruction, the jump-to-subroutine, does leave a record of the previous
instruction address.
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Figure 4.9
Binary Computation
of Branch Address
Jump-to-Subroutine Instruction
Subroutines are short
programs used to perform specific tasks, particularly those tasks that
must be performed several times within the
same program.
The second and third
bytes of a jump-to-subroutine instruction provide the address of the
subroutine to be jumped
A subroutine is a short program that is used by the main program to
perform a specific function. It is located in sequential memory locations
separated from the main program sequence. If the main program requires some
function such as addition several times at widely separated places within the
program, the programmer can write one subroutine to perform the addition,
then have the main program jump to the memory locations containing the
subroutine each time it is needed. This saves having to rewrite the addition
program over and over again. To perform the addition, the programmer simply
includes instructions in the main program that first load the numbers to be
added into the data memory locations used by the subroutine and then jump to
the subroutine.
Refer to Figure 4.10 to follow the sequence. It begins with the program
counter pointing to address location 100, where it gets the jump-to-subroutine
instruction (step 1). Each jump-to-subroutine instruction (step 2) requires that
the next two bytes must also be read to obtain the jump address (step 2a).
Therefore, the program counter is incremented once for each byte (steps 3 and
4) and the jump address is loaded into the address register. The program
counter is then incremented once more so that it points to the op-code byte of
the next instruction (step 5).
Saving the Program Counter
The contents of the program counter are saved by storing them in a
special memory location before the jump address is loaded into the program
counter. This program counter address is saved so that it can be returned to in
the main program when the subroutine is finished. This is the record that was
mentioned before.
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Figure 4.10
For a jump-to-subroutine, the contents of the
program counter (after
being incremented) are
stored in two memory
locations pointed to by
the stack pointer. After
storing them, the stack
pointer value is
decreased by one to prepare it for the next store.
Now refer back to Figure 4.4. There is a register in Figure 4.4 called the
stack pointer (SP). The address of the special memory location used to store the
program counter content is kept in this 16-bit stack pointer register. When a
jump-to-subroutine op code is encountered, the CPU uses the number code
contained in the stack pointer as a memory address to store the program
counter to memory (step 2b of Figure 4.10). The program counter is a 2-byte
register, so it must be stored in two memory locations. The current stack
pointer is used as an address to store the lower byte of the program counter to
memory (step 6). Then the stack pointer is decremented (decreased by one) and
the high byte of the program counter is stored in the next lower memory
location (step 7). The stack pointer is then decremented again to point to the
next unused byte in the stack to prepare for storing the program counter again
when required (step 8).
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When the subroutine is
completed, a return
instruction retrieves the
saved program counter
value from the stack
pointer and loads it into
the program counter.
Execution of the main
program then resumes
from the point at which
the jump occurred.
The special memory locations pointed to by the stack pointer are called
stacks; if one considers memory locations as being slots stacked one atop the
other, it makes sense to think of the stack pointer stacking data like plates on a
After the program counter has been incremented and saved, the jump
address is loaded into the program counter (step 9). The jump to the
subroutine is made, and the CPU starts running the subroutine (step 10).
The only thing that distinguishes the subroutine from another part of the
program is the way in which it ends. When a subroutine has run to
completion, it must allow the CPU to return to the point in the main
program from which the jump occurred. In this way, the main program can
continue without missing a step. The return-from-subroutine (RTS)
instruction is used to accomplish this. It is decoded by the instruction
register, and increments the stack pointer as shown in Figure 4.11, step 1. It
uses the stack pointer to address the stack memory to retrieve the old
program counter value from the stack (steps 2 and 4). The old program
counter value is loaded into the program counter register (steps 3 and 5),
and execution resumes in the main program (step 6). The return-fromsubroutine instruction works like the jump-to-subroutine instruction,
except in reverse.
Microcomputers can be
used in place of discrete
logic circuits such as
AND gates.
Let’s look at an example of how a microcomputer might be used to
replace some digital logic, and along the way learn about some more
microcomputer instructions.
The digital logic to be replaced in this example is a simple AND gate
circuit. Now, no one would use a microcomputer to replace only an AND gate,
because an AND gate costs a fraction of what a microcomputer costs. However,
if the system already has a microcomputer in it, the cost of the AND gate could
be eliminated by performing the logical AND function in the computer rather
than with the gate. This is a perfectly legitimate application for a
microcomputer and is something that microcomputers do very well. Moreover,
this example well illustrates the use of a microcomputer.
Suppose there are two signals that must be ANDed together to produce
a third signal. One of the input signals comes from a pressure switch located
under the driver’s seat of an automobile; its purpose is to indicate whether
someone is occupying the seat. This signal will be called A, and it is at logical
high when someone is sitting in the seat. Signal B is developed within a
circuit contained in the seat belt and is at logical high when the driver’s seat
belt is fastened. The output of the AND gate is signal C. It will be at logical
high when someone is sitting in the driver’s seat and has the seat belt
2735 | CH 4 Page 117 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.11
Buffers provide temporary storage for peripheral inputs and let the
microcomputer treat
peripherals, such as sensors, as if they were
memory locations.
In order to use a microcomputer to replace the AND gate, the computer
must be able to detect the status of each signal. Remember that the computer
knows only what is stored in its memory. The microcomputer used here has
memory-mapped I/O, in which peripherals are treated exactly like memory
locations. The task is to provide a peripheral that allows the computer to look at
the switch signals as if they were bits in a memory location. This can be done
easily by using a device called a buffer (Figure 4.12). To the microcomputer, a
buffer looks just like an 8-bit memory slot at a selected memory location. The 8
bits in the memory slot correspond to 8 digital signal inputs to the buffer. Each
digital input controls the state of a single bit in the memory slot. The digital
inputs are gated into the buffer under control of the CPU. The microcomputer
can detect the state of the digital inputs by examining the bits in the buffer any
time after the inputs are gated into the buffer.
In this application, signal A will be assigned to the rightmost bit (bit 0)
and signal B to the next bit (bit 1). It doesn’t matter that the other 6 bits are left
2735 | CH 4 Page 118 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.12
unconnected. The computer will gate in and read the state of those lines, but
the program will be written to purposely ignore them. With the logic signals
interfaced to the microcomputer, a program can be written that will perform
the required logic function.
However, before writing a program, one must know the code or language
in which the program is to be written. Computer languages come in various
levels, including high-level language such as BASIC, assembly language that is
designed for a specific microprocessor, and machine language, which is the
actual language in which a program is stored in memory. For the present
example, we choose the intermediate-level language (assembly language) to
illustrate specific CPU operations.
Assembly Language
Microcomputer instructions are written in
assembly language, a type
of shorthand that uses
initials or shortened
words to represent microcomputer instructions.
Assembly language is a special type of abbreviated language, each
symbol of which pertains to a specific microprocessor operation. Some
assembly language instructions, such as branch, jump, jump-tosubroutine, and return-from-subroutine, have already been discussed.
Others will be discussed as they are needed to execute an example
program. Assembly language instructions have the form of initials or
shortened words that represent microcomputer functions. These
2735 | CH 4 Page 119 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Once the program has
been written in assembly
language, a special kind
of program, called an
assembler, converts the
assembly language program into the binary
code recognized by the
abbreviations are only for the convenience of the programmer because the
program that the microcomputer eventually runs must be in the form of
binary numbers. When each instruction is converted to the binary code
that the microcomputer recognizes, it is called a machine language
The assembly language abbreviation for the jump instruction is JMP.
Table 4.1 shows the assembly language equivalents for typical microcomputer
instructions, along with a detailed description of the operation called for by
the instruction. When writing a microcomputer program, it is easier and
faster to use the abbreviated name rather than the complete function name.
Assembly language simplifies programming tasks for the computer
programmer because the abbreviations are easier to remember and write than
the binary numbers the computer uses. However, the program eventually
must be converted to the binary codes that the microcomputer recognizes as
instructions, which is done by a special program called an assembler. The
assembler program is run on the computer to convert assembly language to
binary codes. This enables the programmer to write the program using words
that have meaning to the programmer and also to produce machine codes
that the computer can use.
Logic Functions
A microcomputer can
AND the contents of its
accumulator with a
memory location to perform the logical AND
Microprocessors are capable of performing all of the basic logic functions
such as AND, OR, NOT, and combinations of these. For instance, the NOT
operation affects the accumulator by changing all ones to zeros and zeros to
ones. Other logic functions are performed by using the contents of the
accumulator and some memory location. All eight bits of the accumulator are
affected, and all are changed at the same time. As shown in Figure 4.13, the
AND operation requires two inputs. One input is the contents of the
accumulator, and the other input is the contents of a memory location; thus,
the eight accumulator bits are ANDed with the eight memory bits. The AND
operation is performed on a bit-by-bit basis. For instance, bit 0 of the
accumulator (the rightmost bit) is ANDed with bit 0 of the memory location,
bit 1 with bit 1, bit 2 with bit 2, and so on. In other words, the AND operation
is performed as if eight AND gates were connected with one input to a bit in
the accumulator, and with the other input to a bit (in the same position) in the
memory location. The resulting AND outputs are stored back into the
accumulator in the corresponding bit positions. The OR logic function is
performed in exactly the same way as the AND except that a 1 would be
produced at the output if signal A or signal B were a 1, or if both were a 1 (i.e.,
using OR logic).
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Table 4.1
Assembly Language
Jump to new program location
Jump to a subroutine
Branch using the offset
Branch if accumulator is zero
Branch if accumulator is nonzero
Branch if carry bit is zero
Branch if carry bit is nonzero
Branch if minus bit is zero
Branch if minus bit is nonzero
Return from a subroutine
a. Program Transfer Instructions
Load accumulator from memory
Store accumulator to memory
# (Constant)
Load accumulator with constant
# (Constant)
Load stack pointer with constant
Store stack pointer to memory
b. Data Transfer Instructions
Complement accumulator (NOT)
AND accumulator with memory
OR accumulator with memory
Add accumulator with memory
Subtract accumulator with memory
# (Constant)
AND accumulator with constant
# (Constant)
OR accumulator with constant
Shift accumulator left logical
Shift accumulator right logical
Rotate accumulator left
Rotate accumulator right
c. Arithmetic and Logical Operations
2735 | CH 4 Page 121 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.13
Logical AND Function
Using a logical operation
known as a shift, a
microcomputer can shift
all the bits present in the
accumulator to the left
or right.
Instead of the AND gate inputs being switched to each bit position as
shown in Figure 4.13, the microcomputer uses a special type of sequential logic
operation, the shift, to move the bits to the AND gate inputs. A shift operation
causes every bit in the accumulator to be shifted one bit position either to the
right or to the left. It can be what is called a logical shift or it can be a
circulating shift. Figure 4.14 shows the four types of shift (logical, circulating,
right, left) and their effects on the accumulator. In a left shift, bit 7 (the
leftmost bit) is shifted into the carry bit of the CC register, bit 6 is shifted into
bit 7, and so on until each bit has been shifted once to the left. Bit 0 (the
rightmost bit) can be replaced either by the carry bit or by a zero, depending on
the type of shift performed. Depending on the microprocessor, it is possible to
shift other registers as well as the accumulator.
Programming the AND Function
It is the task of the programmer to choose instructions and organize them
in such a way that the computer performs the desired tasks. To program the
AND function, one of the instructions will be the AND, which stands for
“AND accumulator with contents of a specific memory location,” as shown in
2735 | CH 4 Page 122 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.14
Types of Shift
The programmer often
uses special names
(labels) to refer to specific memory locations.
Table 4.1c. Since the AND affects the accumulator and memory, values must
be put into the accumulator to be ANDed. This requires the load accumulator
instruction, LDA.
The assembly language program of Figure 4.15 performs the required
AND function. The programmer must first know which memory location the
digital buffer interface (Figure 4.12) occupies. This location is identified, and
the programmer writes instructions in the assembler program so that the
buffer memory location will be referred to by the label or name SEAT. SEAT
is easier for the programmer to remember and write than the address of the
2735 | CH 4 Page 123 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.15
Assembly Language
The use of a mask allows
the microcomputer to
separately examine two
or more digital signals
(bits) occupying the
same 8-bit byte.
The operation of the program is as follows. The accumulator is loaded with
the contents of the memory location SEAT. Note in Figure 4.12 that the two
digital logic input signals, A and B, have been gated into bits 0 and 1, respectively,
of the buffer that occupies the memory location labeled SEAT. Bit 0 is high when
someone is sitting in the driver’s seat. Bit 1 is high when the driver’s seat belt is
fastened. Only these two bits are to be ANDed together; the other six are to be
ignored. But there is a problem because both bits are in the same 8-bit byte and
there is no single instruction to AND bits in the same byte. However, the two bits
can be effectively separated by using a mask.
During a mask operation, the accumulator
contents are ANDed
with the mask value,
which has a zero in each
bit location except for the
bit(s) to be saved. The
saved, or masked, bit(s)
comes through
unchanged, but all others
are set to zero.
Masking is a technique used to allow only selected bits to be involved in a
desired operation. Since the buffer contents have been loaded into the
accumulator, only bits 0 and 1 have meaning, and these two bits are the only
ones of importance that are to be kept in the accumulator. To do this, the
accumulator is ANDed with a constant that has a zero in every bit location
except the one that is to be saved. The binary constant in line 2 of Figure 4.15a
(00000001) is chosen to select bit 0 and set all others to zero as the AND
instruction is executed. The ANDing procedure is called masking because a
mask has been placed over the accumulator that allows only bit 0 to come
through unchanged. If bit 0 was a logical 1, it is still a logical 1 after masking. If
bit 0 was a logical 0, it is still a logical 0. All other bits in the accumulator now
contain the correct bit information about bit 0.
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Shift and AND
During the final part of
the AND operation, the
shift left logically
instruction is used to
align the bits of signal A
with the correct bits in
signal B so the logical
AND can be accomplished.
In our example program, the accumulator is still not ready to perform the
final AND operation. Remember that SEAT contains the contents of the
buffer and the conditions of signal A and signal B. The contents of the
accumulator must be ANDed with SEAT so that signals A and B are ANDed
together. A copy of signal A is held in the accumulator in bit 0, but it is in the
wrong bit position to be ANDed with signal B in SEAT in the bit 1 position.
Therefore, signal A must be shifted into the bit 1 position. To do this the shift
left logically instruction is used (Figure 4.14a). With signal A in bit 1 of the
accumulator and signal B in bit 1 of SEAT, the AND operation can be
performed on the two bits. If both A and B are high, the AND operation will
leave bit 1 of the accumulator high (1). If either is low, bit 1 of the accumulator
will be low (0).
Use of Subroutines
The previous example program has been written as a subroutine named
CHECK so that it can be used at many different places in a larger program. For
instance, if the computer is controlling the speed of the automobile, it might be
desirable to be able to detect whether a driver is properly fastened in the seat
before it sets the speed at 55 miles per hour.
Since the driver’s seat information is very important, the main program
must wait until the driver is ready before allowing anything else to happen. A
program such as that shown in Figure 4.15b can be used to do this. The main
program calls the subroutine WAIT, which in turn immediately calls the
subroutine CHECK. CHECK returns to WAIT with the condition codes set as
they were after the last AND instruction. The Z bit (see Figure 4.5a) is set if A
and B are not both high (the accumulator is zero). The BEQ instruction (see
Table 4.1) in line 2 of WAIT branches back because the accumulator is zero and
causes the computer to reexecute the JSR instruction in line 1 of WAIT. This
effectively holds the computer in a loop rechecking signals A and B until the
accumulator has a nonzero value (A and B are high).
Timing Error
The time required for the
microcomputer to sample sensor inputs and
perform its instructions
must be taken into
account during program
design; otherwise, timing errors may result.
A flaw in the subroutine CHECK could cause it to incorrectly perform
the AND function. Notice that the logic states of A and B are sampled at
different times. Signal A is first read in and masked off, then signal A and B are
ANDed together. There is a possibility that during the interval between the
time A is read and the time A and B are ANDed, the state of A could change. A
computer is fast, but it still takes a certain amount of time for the
microprocessor to execute the program instructions. For the driver’s seat
application, the signals have a long time between change so the time lag is not
critical. However, in systems in which the timing of signals is very tight, the
program would have to be rewritten to remove the lag. Even after correcting
2735 | CH 4 Page 125 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
such a lag, there may be applications where variables change more rapidly than
the sampling time. Special compromises must be made in such cases, or a new
technique must be found to solve the problem.
The microcomputer system electronic components are known as
computer hardware. (The programs that the computer runs are called
software.) The basic microcomputer parts are the CPU, memory, and I/O
(input and output peripherals). We next expand upon this discussion of
important components and their associated operations.
Central Processing Unit
The central processing unit is a microprocessor. It is an integrated circuit
similar to the one shown in Figure 4.16a. It contains thousands of transistors
and diodes on a chip of silicon small enough to fit on the tip of a finger. It
includes some form of arithmetic logic unit (ALU), as well as registers for data
and instruction storage and a control section. The chip is housed in a
rectangular, flat package similar to the one shown in Figure 4.16b. It is less
than three inches long and has two rows of small pins that make connections
to external circuits. The CPU gets program instructions from a memory
Memory: ROM
Permanent memory,
called ROM, maintains
its contents even when
power is turned off.
ROM is used for CPU
instructions requiring
permanent storage.
There are several types of memory devices available, and each has its
own special features. Systems such as those found in the automobile that
must permanently store their programs use a type of permanent memory
called read-only memory (ROM). This type of memory can be programmed
only one time and the program is stored permanently, even when the
microcomputer power is turned off. The programs stored in ROM are
sometimes called firmware rather than software since they are unchangeable.
This type of memory enables the microcomputer to immediately begin
running its program as soon as it is turned on.
Memory: RAM
A form of memory that
can be written to and
changed, as well as read
from, is commonly
referred to as RAM.
Another type of memory, one that can be written to as well as read from,
is required for the program stack, data storage, and program variables. This type
of memory is called random access memory (RAM). This is really not a good
name to distinguish this type of memory from ROM because ROM is also a
random access type of memory. Random access means the memory locations
can be accessed in any order rather than in a particular sequence. A better
name for the data storage memory would be read/write memory (RWM).
However, the term RAM is commonly used to indicate a read/write memory, so
that is what will be used here. A typical microcomputer contains both ROM
and RAM type memory.
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Figure 4.16
Integrated Circuit
Chip Microprocessor
I/O Parallel Interface
Microcomputers require interface devices that enable them to
communicate with other systems. The digital buffer interface used in the
driver’s seat application discussed earlier is one such device. The digital buffer
interface is an example of a parallel interface because the eight buffer lines are
all sampled at one time, that is, in parallel. The parallel buffer interface in the
driver’s seat application is an input, or readable, interface. Output, or writable,
interfaces allow the microcomputer to affect external logic systems. An output
buffer must be implemented using a data latch so that the binary output is
2735 | CH 4 Page 127 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
retained after the microcomputer has finished writing data into it. This
permits the CPU to go on to other tasks while the external system reads and
uses the output data. This is different from the parallel input, in which the
states could change between samples.
Digital-to-Analog Converter
A DAC converts binary
signals from the microcomputer to analog voltages that are
proportional to the
number encoded in the
input signals.
The parallel input and output interfaces are used to examine and control
external digital signals. The microcomputer can also be used to examine and
control analog signals through the use of special interfaces. The microcomputer
can produce an analog voltage by using a digital-to-analog converter (DAC). A
DAC accepts inputs of a certain number of binary bits and produces an output
voltage level that is proportional to the input number. DACs come in many
different versions with different numbers of input bits and output ranges. A
common microcomputer DAC has 8-bit inputs and a 0 to 5 volt output range.
A simple 8-bit DAC is shown in Figure 4.17. This type of DAC uses a
parallel input interface and two operational amplifiers. The 8 bits are written
into the parallel interface and stored in data latches. The output of each latch is
a digital signal that is 0 volts if the bit is low and 5 volts if the bit is high. The
first op amp is a summing amplifier and has a gain of –(R f /R i). The second op
amp has a gain of –1; thus, it is only an inverter. The effect of the two amplifiers
is to scale each bit of the parallel interface by a specially chosen factor and add
the resultant voltages together. For instance, if only bit 0 is high and all the
others are low,
V out = 5 1  --------- + 0  --------- + 0  ------ + … + 0  ---
 2
 64
 128
 256
=  ---------
 256
= 0.0195 V
If only bits 0 and 7 are high:
V out = 5 1  --------- + 0  --------- + 0  ------ + … + 1  ---
 2
 64
 128
 256
=  ---------
 256
= 2.5195 V
2735 | CH 4 Page 128 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.17
Converter Circuit
The accuracy of the
DAC’s representation of
the digital input signal
varies with circuit
design, and with the rate
at which the input signal
is sampled.
The DAC output voltage can only change in discrete steps. This causes
the analog output voltage to have a staircase appearance as the binary number
at the input is increased one bit at a time from minimum value to maximum
value, as shown in Figure 4.18. This DAC can have any one of 256 different
voltage levels. For many applications, this is a close enough approximation to a
continuous analog signal.
The DAC output voltage can change only when the computer writes a
new number into the DAC data latches. The computer must generate each new
output often enough to ensure an accurate representation of the changes in the
digital signal. The analog output of the DAC can take only a specific number of
different values and can change only at specific times determined by the
sampling rate. The output of the converter will always have small discrete step
changes (resolution). The designer must decide how small the steps must be to
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Figure 4.18
Staircase Output
Voltage of the DAC in
Figure 4.17
produce the desired shape and smoothness in the analog signal so that it is a
reasonable duplication of the variations in the digital levels.
Analog-to-Digital Converter
The ADC performs a
function opposite of the
DAC: It converts an
analog signal into digital form for processing
by the microcomputer.
In addition, microcomputers can measure analog voltages by using a
special interface component called an analog-to-digital converter (ADC).
Analog-to-digital converters convert an analog voltage input into a digital
number output that the microcomputer can read.
Figure 4.19 shows a conceptually simple, but not very practical, way of
making an ADC by using a DAC and a voltage comparator. The input to the
DAC is a binary number generated by the microcomputer that starts at the
minimum value and increases toward the maximum value, as seen in Figure
4.18. This binary number is generated at the parallel output of the
microcomputer. The output of the DAC, Vout, is one input to the comparator.
The other input is the input voltage, Vin, that the ADC is measuring. When the
Vout voltage of the DAC is less then Vin, the output of the comparator, Vcomp, is
a low logic level. When Vout is greater than Vin, the output of the comparator is
a high level.
As soon as the binary number generated by the microcomputer causes
Vout from the DAC to be greater than Vin, the comparator output goes high and
stops the microcomputer from changing the binary number input further. The
binary number is used by the microcomputer as the equivalent of the analog
input voltage Vin. The microcomputer then resets and starts the binary number
generation again to make another match to the Vin voltage. In this manner, a
binary number, equivalent to a Vin and analog voltage, is produced at a selected
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Figure 4.19
sampling rate. The output of the comparator is fed back to the microcomputer
through a digital input.
The accuracy of the
DAC increases as the
rate of sampling of the
input signal increases.
The input sampling theorem states that an input
signal must be sampled
at least twice per cycle to
be minimally accurate.
The designer determines how quickly the microcomputer must change
the DAC voltage to accurately follow the analog signal. Figure 4.20 shows a
sine wave analog signal and some digital approximations with various sampling
rates. Notice that Figure 4.20a with 13 samples per sine wave cycle follows the
sinusoid much closer then Figure 4.20b, which only samples twice in a cycle.
When the sampling rate is less than 2, as in Figure 4.20c, the staircase output
doesn’t follow well at all. This is because the computer didn’t change the DAC
input often enough to produce an output signal that closely approximates the
desired signal.
An engineer named H. Nyquist studied the sampling rate problem and
determined that in order to reproduce a sinusoidal signal properly, the signal
must be sampled at least twice per cycle (the Nyquist sampling theorem). Of
course, more samples per cycle is better, but two samples per cycle is the
minimum required.
Analog-to-digital converters that perform everything by themselves are
available. The microcomputer simply tells them when to make a conversion
and then waits until the conversion is done. ADCs require anywhere from a few
millionths of a second to a second to complete the conversion.
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Figure 4.20
Analog Output
Voltage versus
Sampling Rate
Polling is used in some
microcomputers to periodically check the ADC
interface rather than
waiting in an idle state
for the ADC to do the
Conversion time can be a serious limitation when slow converters are
used. The microcomputer cannot afford to waste time waiting while the
converter works. This is especially true when the microcomputer is used to
control and monitor many systems at the same time. Instead of waiting for the
ADC to finish, the computer could be off running another part of the program
and come back only when the conversion is done. But how will the computer
know when the conversion is finished?
One way of doing this is for the microcomputer to periodically check the
interface while it is running another part of the program. This method is called
polling. A subroutine is included in the main program and is called up
whenever an ADC interface is being used. This usually consists of a few lines of
assembly language code that checks to see if the interface is done and collects
the result when it is finished. When the polling subroutine determines that the
ADC is finished, the main program continues without using the polling
subroutine until the ADC interface is called up again. The problem with such a
scheme is that the polling routine may be called many times before the interface
is finished. This can waste the computer’s time and slow it down. Therefore, an
evaluation must be made in certain systems to determine if polling is
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Interrupts cause the
CPU to jump to a specific location in the program. By signaling the
microprocessor for service only when needed,
interrupts are more efficient than polling.
An efficient alternative to polling uses control circuitry called an
interrupt. An interrupt is an electrical signal that is generated outside of the
CPU and is connected to an input on the CPU. The interrupt causes the
CPU to temporarily discontinue the program execution and to perform some
operation on data coming from an external device. A slow ADC, for instance,
could use an interrupt line to tell the processor when it is finished converting.
When an interrupt occurs, the processor automatically jumps to a designated
program location and executes the interrupt service subroutine. For the
ADC, this would be a subroutine to read in the conversion result. When the
interrupt subroutine is done, the computer returns to the place where it left
off in the program as if nothing had happened. (Recall the previous
discussion on the jump-to-subroutine instruction.) Interrupts reduce the
amount of time the computer spends dealing with the various peripheral
Another important use for interrupts is in timekeeping. Suppose that a
system is being used that requires things to be done at particular times; for
instance, sampling an analog signal is a timed process. A special component
called a timer could be used. A timer is a device that works like a digital
watch. A square-wave clock signal is counted in counter registers like the one
discussed in Chapter 3. The timer can be programmed to turn on the
interrupt line when it reaches a certain count and then reset itself (start over).
It may be inside the CPU itself or it may be contained in peripheral devices in
the microcomputer system. Timers have many automotive applications (as
shown later).
Such a technique is sometimes used to trigger the output of a new
number to a DAC at regular intervals. The microcomputer simply programs
the timer for the desired amount of time by presetting the counter to some
starting value other than zero. Each time the timer counts out the programmed
number of pulses, it interrupts the computer. The interrupt service subroutine
then gets the new binary number that has been put into memory by the
microcomputer and transfers this number to the DAC data latches at the input
to the DAC.
Vectored Interrupts
All of the interrupt activity is completely invisible to the program that
gets interrupted. In other words, the interrupted program doesn’t know it was
interrupted because its execution continues without program modification
with minimum delay. Interrupts allow the computer to handle two or more
things almost simultaneously. In some systems, one interrupt line may be
used by more than one device. For instance, two or more ADCs may use the
same interrupt line to indicate when either is ready. In this case, the computer
doesn’t know which device caused the interrupt. The computer could poll all
2735 | CH 4 Page 133 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Vectored interrupts tell
the CPU which specific
device needs service, and
also may implement a
priority of service
scheme. Vectored interrupts allow a microcomputer to handle a
number of different
tasks quickly.
the devices each time an interrupt occurs to see which one needs service, but
as discussed, polling may waste time. A better way is to use vectored
In computer parlance, a vector is a memory location that contains another
address that locates data or an instruction. It may be a specific memory location
that contains the address of the first instruction of a subroutine to service an
interrupt; it may be a register that contains the same type address. In this
specific case, an interrupt vector is a register that peripherals use to tell the
processor which device interrupted it. When a peripheral causes an interrupt, it
writes a code into the interrupt vector register so that the processor can tell
which device interrupted it by reading the code. The decoder for an interrupt
vector usually includes circuitry that allows each device to be assigned a
different interrupt priority. If two devices interrupt at the same time, the
processor will service the most important one first.
The vectored interrupt enables the microcomputer to efficiently handle
the peripheral devices connected to it and to service the interrupts rapidly.
Interrupts allow the processor to respond to things happening in peripheral
devices without having to constantly monitor the interfaces. They enable the
microcomputer to handle many different tasks and to keep track of all of them.
A microcomputer system designed to use interrupts is called a real-time
computing system because it rapidly responds to peripherals as soon as requests
occur. Such real-time systems are used in digital instrumentation and control
There is a great variety of applications of microprocessors in automobiles.
As will be explained in later chapters of this book, microprocessors find
applications in engine and driveline control, instrumentation, ride control,
antilock braking and other safety devices, entertainment, heating/air
conditioning control, automatic seat position control, and many other
systems. In each of these applications, the microprocessor serves as the
functional core of what can properly be called a special-purpose
Although these applications are widely varied in operation, the essential
configuration (or architecture) has much in common for all applications. Figure
4.21 is a simplified block diagram depicting the various components of each of
the automotive systems having the applications listed previously. In this block
diagram, the microprocessor is denoted MPU. It is connected to the other
components by means of three buses: address bus (AB), data bus (DB), and
control bus (CB). Each bus consists of a set of wires over which binary
electrical signals are transmitted. By way of illustration, in early automotive
application, the DB consists of 8 wires, the AB is typically 8 to 16 wires, and
the control bus is a set of 3 or 4 wires.
2735 | CH 4 Page 134 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.21
Architecture for
Typical Automotive
The hardware in the
microcomputer remains
fixed, while the programs stored in ROM
can be changed as
desired to perform different applications.
The operation of each special-purpose microcomputer system is
controlled by a program stored in ROM. As explained earlier in this chapter,
the MPU generates addresses for the ROM in sequence to obtain each
instruction in corresponding sequence. The operation of each microprocessorbased automotive subsystem has a specific program that is permanently stored
(electronically) in the ROM. Changes in the system operation can be achieved
by replacing the ROM chip(s) with new chip(s) that contain the appropriate
program for the desired operation. This feature is advantageous during the
engineering development phase for any microprocessor-based system. While
the hardware remains fixed, the system modifications and improvements are
achieved by substituting ROM chips.
A typical automotive microprocessor-based system also incorporates some
amount of RAM. This memory is used for a variety of purposes, including
storing temporary results, storing the stack, and storing all of the variables, not
to mention all of the other activities discussed earlier in this chapter.
The input/output (I/O) device for any given automotive microcomputer
system serves as the interface connection of the microcomputer with the
2735 | CH 4 Page 135 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
particular automotive system. Standard commercial I/O devices are available
from the manufacturers of each microprocessor that are specifically configured
to work with that processor. These I/O devices are implemented as an IC chip
and are very versatile in application. A typical such I/O device has two 8-bit
data ports for connecting to peripheral devices, and an 8-bit port that is
connected to the data bus of the computer.
Figure 4.22 is a block diagram of a typical commercial I/O device. In this
device there are two ports labeled A and B, respectively. These ports can be
configured to act as either input or output, depending on the data in the data
direction register. Normally the correct code for determining direction is
transferred to the I/O device from the microprocessor via the system data bus.
Whenever the microprocessor is either to transfer data to the I/O device
or receive data from it, a specific address is generated by the processor. This
address is decoded, using standard logic, to form an electrical signal that
activates the chip select inputs to the I/O. In addition, the read/write (R/W)
output of the microprocessor is activated, causing data to be received (read)
from a peripheral device, or transmitted (write) to a peripheral device.
This use of address lines to activate the I/O is known as memory-mapped I/O.
In memory-mapped I/O, input or output of data is selected by reading from the I/O
input address or writing to the I/O output address.
Microcomputers can
convert the nonlinear
output voltage of some
sensors into a linear voltage representation. The
sensor output voltage is
used to look up the corresponding linear value
stored in a table.
In instrumentation applications of microcomputers, the signal processing
operations are performed numerically under program control. The block
diagram of a typical computer-based instrument is depicted in Figure 4.23. In
this example instrument, an analog sensor provides a continuous-time voltage,
Vo, that is proportional to the quantity being measured. The continuous-time
voltage is sampled at times determined by the computer. The sampled analog
voltage is then converted to digital format (e.g., 8 to 16 bits) using an ADC.
The digital data is connected to port A of the I/O device of the computer to be
read into memory.
The ADC generates a signal when the conversion from analog to
digital is completed. This signal is normally termed end of conversion (EOC).
The EOC signal provides an interrupt signaling the computer that data is
The signal processing to be performed is expressed as a set of operations
that is to be performed by the microprocessor on the data. These operations
are termed the algorithm for the signal processing operation. The algorithm is
converted to a set of specific computer operations that becomes the program
for the signal processing. After the signal processing is completed, the result is
ready to be sent to the display device. The digital data is sent through I/O to
port B to the DAC. There it is converted back to sampled analog. The
2735 | CH 4 Page 136 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.22
Block Diagram of a
Typical Interface
2735 | CH 4 Page 137 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.23
Typical Automotive
sampled data is “smoothed” to a suitable continuous-time voltage by means
of a special filter known as a reconstruction filter. The continuous-time
output of this filter drives the continuous-time display.
In a great many applications, the display is digital (e.g., automotive
speed measurement). In this case, the conversion from digital to analog is not
required, and the computer output data can directly activate the digital
Digital Filters
Digital filters can be programmed on a microcomputer to reject
specific types of signals
while passing other signals.
As an example of computer-based instrumentation signal processing
applications, consider the relatively straightforward task of filtering the output
of a sensor. Low-pass filters pass low-frequency signals but reject high-frequency
signals. High-pass filters do just the reverse: They pass high-frequency signals
and reject low-frequency signals. Bandpass filters pass midrange frequencies but
reject both low and high frequencies. Analog filters use resistive, capacitive, and
inductive components, and sometimes operational amplifiers. Digital low-pass
and bandpass filters can be programmed on a microcomputer to perform
basically the same functions as their analog counterparts.
A digital low-pass filter could be used, for instance, to smooth the output
of an automotive fuel level sensor. The fuel level sensor produces an electrical
signal that is proportional to the height of the fuel in the center of the tank.
2735 | CH 4 Page 138 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Digital filters are implemented completely
through the use of software, thus their characteristics can be easily
changed. Because digital
filters require no extra
hardware, they are low
in cost.
The level at that point will change as fuel is consumed, but it also will change as
the car slows, accelerates, turns corners, and hits bumps. The sensor’s output
voltage varies widely because of fuel slosh even though the amount of fuel in
the tank changes slowly. If that voltage is sent directly to the fuel gauge, the
resulting variable indication will fluctuate too rapidly to be read.
The measurement can be made more readable and more meaningful by
using a low-pass filter to smooth out the signal fluctuations to reduce the
effects of sloshing. The low-pass filter can be implemented in a
microcomputer by programming the computer to average the sensor signal
over several seconds before sending it to the display. For instance, if the fuel
level sensor signal is sampled once every second and it is desirable to average
the signal over a period of 60 seconds, the computer saves only the latest 60
samples, averages them, and displays the average. When a new sample is
taken, the oldest sample is discarded so that only the 60 latest samples are
kept. A new average can be computed and displayed each time a new sample
is taken.
Digital filtering (averaging) can be performed by a computer under the
control of the software. Sometimes the section of code that performs the
filtering task is simply called “the filter.’’ Digital signal processing is very
attractive because the same computer can be used to process several different
signals. Also, since digital filters require no extra hardware, the filters can be
made much more complex with relatively little increase in cost. In addition, the
characteristics of the digital filter can be changed by changing the software.
Changing the characteristics of an analog filter usually requires changing the
hardware components. Another feature of digital filters (true for digital signal
processing in general) is that they don’t change with age or temperature, unlike
analog filters.
There are limitations to the use of digital filters, however. The frequency
range of digital filters is determined by the speed of the processor. The
microcomputer must be able to sample each signal at or above the rate required
by the Nyquist sampling theorem. It must also be fast enough to perform all of
the averaging and linearization for each signal before the next sample is taken.
This is an important limitation, and the system designer must be certain that
the computer is not overloaded by trying to make it do too many things too
Computers can also be
used in control applications.
Microcomputers are able to handle inputs and outputs that are either
digital or converted analog signals. With the proper software, they are capable
of making decisions about those signals and can react to them quickly and
precisely. These features make microcomputers ideal for controlling other
digital or analog systems, as discussed in the following sections.
2735 | CH 4 Page 139 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Closed-Loop Control System
Recall the basic closed-loop control system block diagram of Chapter 2.
The error amplifier compares the command input with the plant output and
sends the error signal to the control logic. The control logic uses the error
signal to generate a plant control signal that causes the plant to react with a
new output so that the error signal will be reduced toward zero. The control
logic is designed so that the plant’s output follows or tracks the command
input. A microcomputer can replace the error amplifier and the control logic.
The computer can compare command input and plant output and perform
the computation required to generate a control signal.
Limit-Cycle Controller
With proper software, a
microcomputer can
replace the error amplifier and control logic
used in the closed-loop
control system.
The limit-cycle controller, discussed in Chapter 2, can be readily
implemented with a microcomputer. Recall that the limit-cycle controller
controls the plant output so that it falls somewhere between an upper and lower
limit, preferably so that its average value is equal to the command input. The
controller must read in the command input and the plant output and decide
what control signal to send to the plant based on those signals alone.
Using a microcomputer, the upper and lower limit can be determined
from the command input by using a lookup table similar to that discussed later
in this chapter. The plant output is compared against these two limits. If the
plant output is above the higher limit or below the lower limit, the
microcomputer outputs the appropriate on/off signal to the plant to bring the
output back between the two limits.
Recall that in Chapter 2 the concept of a feedback control system was
introduced. There it was shown that a control system compares the value of
some controlled variable with a desired value (or set point) for that variable. In
such a control system, the difference between the desired and actual value is
first obtained, then an electrical signal is generated. The resulting error signal is
processed electronically, thereby generating a control signal that operates an
actuator. The actuator changes the controlled system in such a way as to reduce
the error. In Chapter 2, it was presumed that analog electronics were used for
the control.
A feedback control system can also be implemented using digital
electronics. Figure 4.24 is a block diagram of a control system employing a
computer. In this diagram, there is a physical system, or plant, that is to be
controlled. The specific variable being controlled is denoted X. For example, in
an automobile, the plant might be the engine and the controlled variable might
be brake torque.
The desired value for X is the set point S. An error signal e is obtained:
2735 | CH 4 Page 140 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.24
Typical Digital Control
The error signal is sampled, yielding samples en (where n represents
sample number; i.e., n = 1,2, . . .). In a typical digital control system, the
computer generates an output yn for each input sample:
( en – en – 1 )
y n = y o + Pe n + I ( e n + e n – 1 + e n – 2 )∆T + D ---------------------∆T
P is the proportional gain
I is the integral gain
D is the differential gain
∆ T is the time between successive samples
The previous equation represents an example of an algorithm for the particular
control strategy. The example algorithm is a form of a PID (proportional
integral differential) control strategy.
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After computing yn for each input sample, a digital version of yn is
transmitted through the I/O to the DAC. There it is converted to analog
format, providing a control signal to the actuator (A), which is presumed here
to be analog. The actuator controls the plant in such a way as to cause the error
to be reduced toward zero. Many examples of the application of computerbased electronic control systems in automobiles are presented in a later chapters
of this book.
Multivariable Systems
With the appropriate
control program, microcomputers have the ability to sample and control
multiple inputs and outputs independently. This
type of control is much
more difficult to design
when using analog circuitry.
A very important feature of microcomputer control logic is the ability to
control multiple systems independently and to control systems with multiple
inputs and outputs. The automotive applications for microcomputer control
involve both of these types of multivariable systems. For instance, the
automobile engine has several inputs (such as air/fuel ratio, throttle angle, and
spark timing). All of the outputs must be controlled simultaneously because
some inputs affect more than one output. These types of controllers can be very
complicated and are difficult to implement in analog fashion. The increased
complexity (and cost) of a multivariable microcomputer system is not much
higher than for a single-variable microcomputer system, presuming the
microcomputer has the capacity to do the task. It only affects the task of
programming the appropriate control scheme into the microcomputer. This
type of control is discussed in a later chapter.
Table Lookup
One of the important functions of a microcomputer in automotive
applications is table lookup. These applications include:
1. Linearization of sensor data
2. Multiplication
3. Calibration conversion
These applications are explained in detail in later chapters where
appropriate. In this chapter, we explain the basic principle using a specific
The concept of table lookup is illustrated in Figure 4.25, in which a pair
of variables, Vo and X, are related by the graph depicted therein. Also shown in
Figure 4.25 is a table listing certain specific values for the relationship. The
functional relationship between Vo and X might, for example, be the output
voltage of a nonlinear sensor Vo for measuring a quantity X. If the value for Vo is
known, then the corresponding value for X can theoretically be found using the
graph or the tabulated values. In the latter case, the nearest two tabulated values
for Vo are located, and the corresponding values for X are read from the table.
Denoting V1 and V2 as the nearest values and X1, X2 as the corresponding
2735 | CH 4 Page 142 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:06 AM
Figure 4.25
Illustration of Table
Lookup and
tabulated values, the value for X corresponding to Vo is found by linear
X = X 1 + ( X 2 – X 1 ) ( V o – V 2 )/ ( V 1 – V 2 )
A microcomputer can perform the same operation using tabulated values
for the relationship between Vo and X (i.e., Vo (X ) in correct mathematical
notation). This method is illustrated using a specific example of the
measurement of a variable X using a sensor output voltage, and variable X is
assumed to be that which is illustrated in Figure 4.24. A microcomputer is to
obtain the value for X using a table lookup operation.
The portion of the microcomputer that is involved in the table lookup
process is illustrated in Figure 4.26. The relationship Vo (X ) is stored in ROM
for representative points along the curve. This data is stored using Vo values as
addresses, and corresponding values of X as data. For example, consider a point
(V1, X1). The data X1 is stored at memory location V1 in binary format.
The operation of the table lookup is as follows. The sensor S has output
voltage Vo. The computer reads the values of Vo (using an ADC to convert to
digital format) through the I/O device. Then the MPU under program control
(program ROM) calculates the addresses for the two nearest values toVo, which
are V1 and V2 (V1 < Vo < V2). The computer, under program control, reads values
X1 and X2 and then calculates X using the preceding formula.
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Figure 4.26
Architecture Involved
in Table Lookup
Repeated reference will be made to the table lookup function in later
chapters. In particular, Chapter 7 will discuss how a typical digital engine
control system frequently obtains data using table lookup.
After a chapter on basics of automotive engine control and a chapter on
sensors and actuators, this book will deal more specifically with particular
microcomputer automotive instrumentation and control systems to show how
these systems are used in the automobile to control the engine and drivetrain
and many auxiliary functions.
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Quiz for Chapter 4
1. The parts of a computer include
a. CPU
b. memory
c. input/output
d. all of the above
2. What does a microcomputer use
to interface with other systems?
a. parallel interface
b. analog-to-digital converter
c. digital-to-analog converter
d. all of the above
3. Which control line do peripherals
use to get the computer’s attention?
a. power line
b. read/write line
c. interrupt line
d. clock line
4. What is a data bus?
a. a set of wires that carries bits
to or from the processor and
memory or peripherals
b. a large yellow vehicle for
carrying data
c. a bus carrying addresses
d. a set of wires for control
5. What are computers used
for in instrumentation
a. signal processing
b. sensor, actuator, and display
c. display formatting
d. filtering
e. all of the above
6. According to the Nyquist sam-
pling theorem, a signal must be
sampled at
a. the highest frequency in the
b. at least twice the highest frequency in the signal
c. less than half the lowest frequency in the signal
d. more than half the lowest frequency in the signal
7. What advantages does digital sig-
nal processing have over analog
signal processing?
a. digital is more precise
b. digital doesn’t drift with time
and temperature
c. the same digital hardware can
be used in many filters
d. all of the above
8. What advantage does analog signal
processing have over digital signal
a. analog is always less expensive
b. the same analog hardware can
be used for many filters
c. analog is sometimes less
d. high-frequency signals can
only be filtered with analog
9. What type of memory is used to
permanently store programs?
a. RAM
b. ROM
c. MAP
d. RPM
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10. What type of memory is used to
temporarily store data and variables?
a. RAM
b. ROM
c. MAP
d. RPM
11. What distinguishes a computer
from a fancy calculator?
a. add, subtract, multiply, and
b. stored program
c. the calculators can read paper
d. digital circuits
12. What part of the computer per-
forms the arithmetic and logic
a. peripherals
b. memory
c. CPU
d. address bus
13. Which computer register is the
main work register?
a. program counter
b. stack pointer
c. condition code register
d. accumulator
14. A short initialization program is
called what kind of program?
a. subroutine
b. boot program
c. main program
d. branch
15. Which register keeps track of pro-
gram steps?
a. program counter
b. stack pointer
c. condition code register
d. accumulator
16. A programmer uses what type of
statements in an assembly language program?
a. op codes
b. mnemonics
c. machine code
17. Most microcomputers use how
many bits to address memory?
a. 16
b. 32
c. 4
d. 6
18. Most automotive microcomputers
use how many bits in arithmetic?
a. 1
b. 6
c. 4
d. 8
19. Which of the following is a short
program that ends with an RTS
a. main program
b. interrupt
c. boot
d. subroutine
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2735 | CH 5 Page 147 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
The Basics of Electronic
Engine Control
Engine control in the vast majority of engines means regulating fuel and
air intake as well as spark timing to achieve desired performance in the form of
torque or power output. Until the late 1960s, control of the engine output
torque and RPM was accomplished through some combination of mechanical,
pneumatic, or hydraulic systems. Then, in the 1970s, electronic control systems
were introduced.
This chapter is intended to explain, in general terms, the theory of
electronic control of the automotive engine. Chapter 7 explains practical
control methods and systems. The examples used to explain the major
developments and principles of electronic control have been culled from the
techniques used by various manufacturers and are not necessarily representative
of any single automobile manufacturer at the highest level of detail.
The motivation for electronic engine control came in part from two
government requirements. The first came about as a result of legislation to
regulate automobile exhaust emissions under the authority of the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The second was a thrust to improve
the national average fuel economy by government regulation.
Exhaust Emissions
The combustion of gasoline in an engine results
in exhaust gases including CO2, H2O, CO,
oxides of nitrogen, and
various hydrocarbons.
The engine exhaust consists of the products of combustion of the air and
gasoline mixture. Gasoline is a mixture of chemical compounds that are called
hydrocarbons. This name is derived from the chemical formation of the various
gasoline compounds, each of which is a chemical union of hydrogen (H) and
carbon (C) in various proportions. Gasoline also contains natural impurities as
well as chemicals added by the refiner. All of these can produce undesirable
exhaust elements.
During the combustion process, the carbon and hydrogen combine with
oxygen from the air, releasing heat energy and forming various chemical
compounds. If the combustion were perfect, the exhaust gases would consist
only of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O), neither of which are
considered harmful in the atmosphere. In fact, both are present in a human’s
2735 | CH 5 Page 148 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Unfortunately, the combustion of the SI engine is not perfect. In
addition to the CO2 and H2O, the exhaust contains amounts of carbon
monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (chemical unions of nitrogen and
oxygen that are denoted NOx), unburned hydrocarbons (HC), oxides of
sulfur, and other compounds. Some of the exhaust constituents are
considered harmful and have come under the control of the federal
government. The exhaust emissions controlled by government standards are
CO, HC, and NOx.
Automotive exhaust emission control requirements started in the United
States in 1966 when the California state regulations became effective. Since
then, the federal government has imposed emission control limits for all states,
and the standards became progressively more difficult to meet through the
decade 1970–1980. Auto manufacturers found that the traditional engine
controls could not control the engine sufficiently to meet these emission limits
and maintain adequate engine performance at the same time, so they turned to
electronic controls.
Fuel Economy
Electronic engine control is used to reduce
exhaust emissions and
improve fuel economy,
both of which have limits set by the government.
Everyone has some idea of what fuel economy means. It is related to the
number of miles that can be driven for each gallon of gasoline consumed. It is
referred to as miles per gallon (MPG) or simply mileage. Just like it improves
emission control, another important feature of electronic engine control is its
ability to improve fuel economy.
It is well recognized by layman and expert alike that the mileage of a
vehicle is not unique. It depends on size, shape, weight, and how the car is
driven. The best mileage is achieved under steady cruise conditions. City
driving, with many starts and stops, yields worse mileage than steady highway
The government fuel economy standards are not based on just one car,
but are stated in terms of the average rated miles per gallon fuel mileage for the
production of all models by a manufacturer for any year. This latter
requirement is known in the automotive industry by the acronym CAFE
(corporate average fuel economy). It is a somewhat complex requirement and is
based on measurements of the fuel used during a prescribed simulated standard
driving cycle.
For an understanding of both emission and CAFE requirements, it is
helpful to review the standard cycle and how the emission and fuel economy
measurements are made. The U.S. federal government has published test
procedures that include several steps. The first step is to place the automobile
on a chassis dynamometer, like the one shown in Figure 5.1.
2735 | CH 5 Page 149 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Figure 5.1
Government test procedures use a chassis dynamometer to simulate
actual driving conditions
in a controlled environment.
A chassis dynamometer is a test stand that holds a vehicle such as a car or
truck. It is equipped with instruments capable of measuring the power that is
delivered at the drive wheels of the vehicle under various conditions. The
vehicle is held on the dynamometer so that it cannot move when power is
applied to the drive wheels. The drive wheels are in contact with two large
rollers. One roller is mechanically coupled to an electric generator that can
vary the load on its electrical output. The other roller has instruments to
measure and record the vehicle speed. The generator absorbs all mechanical
power that is delivered at the drive wheels, and the horsepower is calculated
from the electrical output. (746 watts of electrical output equals 1
horsepower.) The controls of the dynamometer can be set to simulate the
2735 | CH 5 Page 150 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Emission samples are
collected and measured
during a simulated
urban trip containing a
high percentage of stopand-go driving.
Fuel consumption also is
measured during the
tests. Emission and
MPG requirements have
grown increasingly stringent since 1968.
correct load and inertia of the vehicle moving along a road under various
conditions. The conditions are the same as if the vehicle actually were being
The vehicle is operated according to a prescribed schedule of speed and
load to simulate the specified trip. One is an urban trip and one is a highway
trip. The schedules are shown in Figure 5.2. The 18 cycles of the urban
simulated trip take 1,372 seconds and include acceleration, deceleration, stops,
starts, and steady cruise such as would be encountered in a “typical” city
automobile trip of 7.45 miles (12 km). The highway schedule takes 765
seconds and simulates 10.24 miles (16.5 km) of highway driving.
During the operation of the vehicle in the urban test, the exhaust is
continuously collected and sampled. At the end of the test, the absolute mass of
each of the regulated exhaust gases is determined. The regulations are stated in
terms of the total mass of each exhaust gas divided by the total distance of the
simulated trip.
In addition to emission measurement, each manufacturer must determine
the fuel consumption in MPG for each type of vehicle and must compute the
corporate average mileage for all vehicles of all types produced in a year. Fuel
consumption is measured during both an urban and a highway test, and the
composite fuel economy is calculated.
Table 5.1 is a summary of the exhaust emission requirements and CAFE
for representative years. It shows the emission requirements and increased fuel
economy required. Because of these requirements, each manufacturer has a
strong incentive to minimize exhaust emissions and maximize fuel economy for
each vehicle produced.
Federal HC/CO/NOx
California HC/CO/NOx
Table 5.1
Emission and MPG
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Figure 5.2
Federal Driving
Schedules (Title 40
United States Code of
Federal Regulations)
New regulations for emissions have recently come into effect. These
regulations affect not only passenger cars but also light utility vehicles and both
heavy- and light-duty trucks. Furthermore, regulations apply to a variety of
fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and alcohol-based fuels involving
mixtures of gasoline with methanol or ethanol.
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Standards have been written for the vehicle half-life (5 years or 50,000
miles—whichever comes first) and full life cycle (10 years or 100,000 miles).
The standards are:
0.31 g/mi
4.20 g/mi
0.60 g/mi (nondiesel)
1.25 g/mi (diesel)
These regulations were phased in according to the following schedules:
Model year 1994: 40%
Model year 1995: 80%
Model year 1996: 100%
There are many details to these regulations that are not relevant to the
present discussion. However, the regulations themselves are important in that
they provided motivation for expanded electronic controls.
Meeting the Requirements
Engines using mechanical, hydraulic, or pneumatic controls cannot
meet government regulations, but engines using
electronic engine controls can.
Unfortunately, as seen later in this chapter, meeting the government
regulations causes some sacrifice in performance. Moreover, attempts to
meet the Table 5.1 standards using mechanical, electromechanical,
hydraulic, or pneumatic controls like those used in pre–emission control
vehicles have not been cost effective. In addition, such controls cannot
reproduce functions with sufficient accuracy across a range of production
vehicles, over all operating conditions, and over the life of the vehicle to stay
within the tolerance required by the EPA regulations. Each automaker must
verify that each model produced will still meet emission requirements after
traveling 50,000 miles. As in any physical system, the parameters of
automotive engines and associated peripheral control devices can change
with time. An electronic control system has the ability to automatically
compensate for such changes and to adapt to any new set of operating
The Role of Electronics
The use of digital electronic control has enabled automakers to meet the
government regulations by controlling the system accurately with excellent
tolerance. In addition, the system has long-term calibration stability. As an
added advantage, this type of system is very flexible. Because it uses
microcomputers, it can be modified through programming changes to meet a
variety of different vehicle/engine combinations. Critical quantities that
2735 | CH 5 Page 153 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
describe an engine can be changed easily by changing data stored in the system’s
computer memory.
Additional Cost Incentive
Dropping costs of
microprocessors and
other very large scale
integrated circuits have
made electronic engine
control an increasingly
attractive system for
automobile manufacturers.
Besides providing control accuracy and stability, there is a cost incentive
to use digital electronic control. The system components—the multifunction
digital integrated circuits—are decreasing in cost, thus decreasing the system
cost. From about 1970 on, considerable investment was made by the
semiconductor industry for the development of low-cost, multifunction
integrated circuits. In particular, the microprocessor and microcomputer have
reached an advanced state of capability at relatively low cost. This has made the
electronic digital control system for the engine, as well as other on-board
automobile electronic systems, commercially feasible.
As pointed out in Chapter 3, as multifunction digital integrated circuits
continue to be designed with more and more functional capability through very
large scale integrated circuits (VLSI), the costs continue to decrease. At the
same time, these circuits offer improved electronic system performance in the
In summary, the electronic engine control system duplicates the function
of conventional fluidic control systems, but with greater precision. It can
optimize engine performance while meeting the exhaust emission and fuel
economy regulations and can adapt to changes in the plant.
In order to understand electronic engine control it is necessary to
understand some fundamentals of how the power produced by the engine is
controlled. Any driver understands intuitively that the throttle directly regulates
the power produced by the engine at any operating condition. It does this by
controlling the air flow into the engine.
In essence the engine is an air pump such that at any RPM the mass flow
rate of air into the engine varies directly with throttle plate angular position (see
Figure 5.3).
As the driver depresses the accelerator pedal, the throttle angle ( θ in
Figure 5.3) increases, thereby allowing an increased air flow into the engine.
The role of fuel control is to regulate the fuel that is mixed with the air so that
it increases in proportion to the air flow. As we will see later in this chapter,
the performance of the engine is affected strongly by the mixture (i.e., by the
ratio of air to fuel). However, for any given mixture the power produced by
the engine is directly proportional to the mass flow rate of air into the engine.
In the U.S. system of units, an air flow rate of about 6 lb/hr produces 1
horsepower of usable mechanical power as the output of the engine. Metric
2735 | CH 5 Page 154 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Figure 5.3
Intake System with
Throttle Plate
units are sometimes used, in which engine power is given in kilowatts (kw)
and air mass is given in kilograms (kg). In mathematical terms we can write:
Pb = KMA
Pb = power from the engine (hp or kw)
MA = mass air flow rate (kg/hr)
K = constant relating power to air flow (hp/kg/hr)
Of course, it is assumed that all parts of the engine, including ignition timing,
are functioning correctly for this relationship to be valid.
We consider next an electronic engine control system that regulates fuel
flow to the engine. An electronic engine control system is an assembly of
electronic and electromechanical components that continuously varies the fuel
and spark settings in order to satisfy government exhaust emission and fuel
economy regulations. Figure 5.4 is a block diagram of a generalized electronic
engine control system.
2735 | CH 5 Page 155 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Figure 5.4
Generic Electronic
Engine Control
Overall engine functions that are subject to
electronic engine controls are air/fuel ratio,
spark control, and
exhaust gas recirculation.
As explained in Chapter 2, a closed-loop control system requires
measurements of certain variables that tell the controller the state of the system
being controlled. The electronic engine control system receives input electrical
signals from the various sensors that measure the state of the engine. From
these signals, the controller generates output electrical signals to the actuators
that determine the engine calibration (i.e., correct fuel delivery and spark
Examples of automotive engine control system sensors will be discussed in
Chapter 6. As mentioned, the configuration and control for an automotive
engine control system are determined in part by the set of sensors that is
available to measure the variables. In many cases, the sensors available for
automotive use involve compromises between performance and cost. In other
cases, only indirect measurements of certain variables are feasible. From
measurement of these variables, the desired variable is found by computation.
Figure 5.5 identifies the automotive functions that surround the engine.
There is a fuel metering system to set the air–fuel mixture flowing into the engine
through the intake manifold. Spark control determines when the air–fuel mixture
is ignited after it is compressed in the cylinders of the engine. The power is
delivered at the driveshaft, and the gases that result from combustion flow out of
the exhaust system. In the exhaust system, there is a valve to control the amount
of exhaust gas being recirculated back to the input, and a catalytic converter to
further control emissions. This addition to the engine, as well as various sensors
and actuators depicted in Figure 5.5, is explained later.
At one stage of development, the electronic engine control consisted of
separate subsystems for fuel control, spark control, and exhaust gas recirculation.
The ignition system in Figure 5.5 is shown as a separate control system, although
engine control is evolving toward an integrated digital system (see Chapter 7).
This chapter discusses the various electronic engine control functions
separately and explains how each function is implemented by a separate control
system. Chapter 7 shows how these separate control systems are being
integrated into one system.
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Figure 5.5
Engine Functions and Control
Before proceeding with the details of engine control systems, certain
definitions of terms must be clarified—first some general terms and then some
specific engine performance terms.
Design parameters such
as engine size, compression ratio, and so forth,
are fixed; therefore, they
are not subject to any
engine operating control.
A parameter is a numerical value of some engine dimension that is fixed
by design. Examples of engine design parameters include the piston diameter
(bore), the distance the piston travels on one stroke (stroke), and the length of
the crankshaft lever arm (throw). The bore and stroke determine the cylinder
volume and the displacement. Displacement is the total volume of air that is
displaced as the engine rotates through two complete revolutions. Compression
ratio is the ratio of cylinder volume at BDC to the volume at TDC. Other
parameters that engine designers must specify include combustion chamber
shape, camshaft cam profile, intake and exhaust valve size, and valve timing. All
of these design parameters are fixed and are not subject to control while the
engine is operating.
A variable is a quantity that changes or may be changed as the engine
operates, typically under the control of the electronic control system. Some of
2735 | CH 5 Page 157 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
the important engine variables are mass air flow, fuel flow rate, spark timing,
power, intake manifold pressure, and many others that will be encountered in
this chapter.
Inputs to Controllers
A variable is a quantity
that can be changed as
the engine operates.
Figure 5.6 identifies the major physical quantities that are sensed and
provided to the electronic controller as inputs. They are as follows:
1. Throttle position sensor (TPS)
2. Mass air flow rate (MAF)
3. Engine temperature (coolant temperature) (CT)
4. Engine speed (RPM) and position
5. Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve position
6. Exhaust gas oxygen (EGO)
Outputs from Controllers
Figure 5.7 identifies the major physical quantities that are outputs from
the controller. These outputs are
1. Fuel metering control
2. Ignition control
3. Ignition timing
4. Exhaust gas recirculation control
Figure 5.6
Major Controller
Inputs from Engine
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Figure 5.7
Major Controller
Outputs to Engine
Several common terms are used to describe an engine’s performance. Here
are a few.
Power is a measurement
of an engine’s ability to
perform useful work.
Brake power, which is
measured with an engine
dynamometer, is the
actual power developed
by the engine minus
losses due to internal
The most common performance rating that has been applied to
automobiles is a power rating of the engine. It normally is given in kilowatts or,
formerly, in horsepower (note: 3/4 kilowatt = 1 horsepower). Power is the rate at
which the engine is doing useful work. It varies with engine speed and throttle
angle. Power may be measured at the drive wheels or at the engine output shaft.
It is more convenient and useful to the designer of an electronic engine control
system to know the output power of only the engine. This permits realistic
comparisons of engine data as engine controls are varied. To make such
measurements, an engine dynamometer is used. This dynamometer is similar to
the one in Figure 5.1 except that the engine output shaft drives the
dynamometer directly instead of coupling the output through wheels and
The power delivered by the engine to the dynamometer is called the brake
power and is designated Pb. The brake power of an engine is always less than the
total amount of power that is actually developed in the engine. This developed
power is called the indicated power of the engine and is denoted Pi. The
indicated power differs from the brake power by the loss of power in the engine
due to friction between cylinders and pistons, and other friction losses. That is,
Pb = Pi – friction and other losses
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BSFC is a measurement
of an engine’s fuel economy. It is the ratio of
fuel flow to the brake
power output of the
Fuel economy can be measured while the engine delivers power to the
dynamometer. The engine is typically operated at a fixed RPM and a fixed
brake power (fixed dynamometer load), and the fuel flow rate (in kg/hr) is
measured. The fuel consumption is then given as the ratio of the fuel flow rate
(rf ) to the brake power output (Pb). This fuel consumption is known as the
brake-specific fuel consumption, or BSFC.
BSFC = ----fPb
By improving the BSFC of the engine, the fuel economy of the vehicle in
which it is installed is also improved. Electronic controls help to improve
Torque is the twisting
force of an engine’s
Engine torque is the twisting action produced on the crankshaft by the
cylinder pressure pushing on the piston during the power stroke. Torque is
produced whenever a force is applied to a lever. The length of the lever (the
lever arm) in the engine is determined by the throw of the crankshaft (the
offset from the crankshaft centerline of the point where the force is applied).
The torque is expressed as the product of this force and the length of the lever.
The units of torque are N⋅m (newton meters) in the metric system or ft lb
(foot-pounds) in the U.S. system. (One ft lb is the torque produced by one
pound acting on a lever arm one foot long.) The torque of a typical engine
varies with RPM.
Volumetric Efficiency
Other measurements of
engine performance
include volumetric, or
“breathing,” efficiency
and thermal efficiency.
The variation in torque with RPM is strongly influenced by the
volumetric efficiency, or “breathing efficiency.” Volumetric efficiency actually
describes how well the engine functions as an air pump, drawing air and fuel
into the various cylinders. It depends on various engine design parameters such
as piston size, piston stroke, and number of cylinders.
Thermal Efficiency
Thermal efficiency expresses the mechanical energy that is delivered to
the vehicle relative to the energy content of the fuel. In the typical SI engine,
35% of the energy that is available in the fuel is lost as heat to the coolant
and lubricating oil, 40% is lost as heat and unburned fuel in exhaust gases,
and another 5% is lost in engine and drivetrain friction. This means that
only about 20% is available to drive the vehicle and accessories. These
percentages vary somewhat with operating conditions but are valid on the
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The definition of engine calibration is the setting of the air/fuel ratio and
ignition timing for the engine. With the new electronic control systems,
calibration is determined by the electronic engine control system.
Engine mapping is a
process by which measurements are made of
important engine variables while the engine is
operated throughout its
speed and load ranges.
The development of any control system comes from knowledge of the
plant, or system to be controlled. In the case of the automobile engine, this
knowledge of the plant (the engine) comes primarily from a process called
engine mapping.
For engine mapping, the engine is connected to a dynamometer and
operated throughout its entire speed and load range. Measurements are
made of the important engine variables while quantities, such as the air/fuel
ratio and the spark control, are varied in a known and systematic manner.
Such engine mapping is done in engine test cells that have engine
dynamometers and complex instrumentation that collects data under
computer control.
From this mapping, a mathematical model is developed that explains the
influence of every measurable variable and parameter on engine performance.
The control system designer must select a control configuration, control
variables, and control strategy that will satisfy all performance requirements
(including stability) as computed from this model and that are within the other
design limits such as cost, quality, and reliability. To understand a typical engine
control system, let’s look at the influence of control variables on engine
Effect of Air/Fuel Ratio on Performance
Figure 5.8 illustrates the variation in the performance variables of torque
(T) and brake power (BSFC) as well as engine emissions with variations in the
air/fuel ratio with fixed spark timing and a constant engine speed.
In this figure the exhaust gases are represented in brake-specific form.
This is a standard way to characterize exhaust gases whose absolute emission
levels are proportional to power. The definitions for the brake-specific
emission rates are
BSHC = brake-specific HC concentration
r HC
= ------Pb
BSCO = brake-specific CO concentration
r CO
= ------Pb
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BSNOx = brake-specific NOx concentration
r NO
= ----------x
rHC = HC rate of flow
rCO = CO rate of flow
r NOx = NOx rate of flow
One specific air/fuel ratio is highly significant in electronic fuel control
systems, namely, the stoichiometric mixture. The stoichiometric (i.e., chemically
correct) mixture corresponds to an air and fuel combination such that if
combustion were perfect all of the hydrogen and carbon in the fuel would be
converted by the burning process to H2O and CO2. For gasoline the
stoichiometric mixture ratio is 14.7:1.
Stoichiometry is sufficiently important that the fuel and air mixture is
often represented by a ratio called the equivalence ratio, which is given the
specific designation λ. The equivalence ratio is defined as follows:
( air/fuel )
λ = -----------------------------------------------------( air/fuel stoichiometry )
The air/fuel ratio has a
significant effect on
engine torque and emissions.
A relatively low air/fuel ratio, below 14.7 (corresponding to λ < 1), is called a
rich mixture; an air/fuel ratio above 14.7 (corresponding to λ > 1) is called a
lean mixture. Emission control is strongly affected by air/fuel ratio, or by λ.
Note from Figure 5.8 that torque (T) reaches a maximum in the air/fuel
ratio range of 12 to 14. The exact air/fuel ratio for which torque is maximum
depends on the engine configuration, engine speed, and ignition timing.
Also note that the CO and unburned hydrocarbons tend to decrease sharply
with increasing air/fuel ratios, as one might expect because there is relatively more
oxygen available for combustion with lean mixtures than with rich mixtures.
Unfortunately for the purposes of controlling exhaust emissions, the NO x
exhaust concentration increases with increasing air/fuel ratios. That is, there is
no air/fuel ratio that simultaneously minimizes all regulated exhaust gases.
Effect of Spark Timing on Performance
Spark timing also has a
major effect on emissions and engine performance. Maximum engine
torque occurs at MBT.
Spark advance is the time before top dead center (TDC) when the spark is
initiated. It is usually expressed in number of degrees of crankshaft rotation
relative to TDC. Figure 5.9 reveals the influence of spark timing on brakespecific exhaust emissions with constant speed and constant air/fuel ratio. Note
that both NOx and HC generally increase with increased advance of spark
timing. BSFC and torque are also strongly influenced by timing. Figure 5.9
shows that maximum torque occurs at a particular advanced timing referred to
as minimum advance for best timing (MBT).
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Figure 5.8
Typical Variation of
Performance with a
Variation in Air/Fuel
Operation at or near MBT is desirable since this spark timing tends to
optimize performance. As will be explained, engine control strategy involves
regulating fuel delivery at a stoichiometric mixture and varying ignition timing
for optimized performance. However, there is yet another variable to be
controlled, which assists the engine control system in meeting exhaust gas
emission regulations.
Figure 5.9
Typical Variation of
Performance with
Spark Timing
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Effect of Exhaust Gas Recirculation on Performance
Exhaust gas recirculation
greatly reduces nitrous
oxide emissions.
Up to this point in the discussion, only the traditional calibration
parameters of the engine (air/fuel ratio and spark timing) have been
considered. However, by adding another calibration parameter, the
undesirable exhaust gas emission of NOx can be significantly reduced while
maintaining a relatively high level of torque. This new parameter, exhaust gas
recirculation (EGR), consists of recirculating a precisely controlled amount of
exhaust gas into the intake. Figure 5.5 shows that exhaust gas recirculation is a
major subsystem of the overall control system. Its influence on emissions is
shown in Figures 5.10 and 5.11 as a function of the percentage of exhaust gas
in the intake. Figure 5.10 shows the dramatic reduction in NO x emission
when plotted against air/fuel ratio, and Figure 5.11 shows the effect on
performance variables as the percentage of EGR is increased. Note that the
emission rate of NOx is most strongly influenced by EGR and decreases as the
percentage of EGR increases. The HC emission rate increases with increasing
EGR; however, for relatively low EGR percentages, the HC rate changes only
The mechanism by which EGR affects NOx production is related to the
peak combustion temperature. Roughly speaking, the NOx generation rate
increases with increasing peak combustion temperature if all other variables
remain fixed. Increasing EGR tends to lower this temperature; therefore, it
tends to lower NOx generation.
Figure 5.10
NOx Emission as a
Function of EGR at
Various Air/Fuel
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Figure 5.11
Typical Variation of
Engine Performance
with EGR
The use of catalytic converters to reduce emissions leaving the tailpipe
allows engines to be calibrated for better performance and still meet
emission regulations.
It is the task of the electronic control system to set the calibration for each
engine operating condition. There are many possible control strategies for
setting the variables for any given engine, and each tends to have its own
advantages and disadvantages. Moreover, each automobile manufacturer has a
specific configuration that differs from competitive systems. However, this
discussion is about a typical electronic control system that is highly
representative of the systems for engines used by U.S. manufacturers. This
typical system is one that has a catalytic converter in the exhaust system.
Exhaust gases passed through this device are chemically altered in a way that
helps meet EPA standards. Essentially, the catalytic converter reduces the
concentration of undesirable exhaust gases coming out of the tailpipe relative to
engine-out gases (the gases coming out of the exhaust manifold).
The EPA regulates only the exhaust gases that leave the tailpipe; therefore, if
the catalytic converter reduces exhaust gas emission concentrations by 90%, the
engine exhaust gas emissions at the exhaust manifold can be about 10 times higher
than the EPA requirements. This has the significant benefit of allowing engine
calibration to be set for better performance than would be permitted if exhaust
emissions in the engine exhaust manifold had to satisfy EPA regulations. This is
the type of system that is chosen for the typical electronic engine control system.
Several types of catalytic converters are available for use on an automobile.
The desired functions of a catalytic converter include
1. Oxidation of hydrocarbon emissions to carbon dioxide (CO2) and water
2. Oxidation of CO to CO2
3. Reduction of NOx to nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2)
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Oxidizing Catalytic Converter
The oxidizing catalytic
converter increases the
rate of oxidation of HC
and CO to further
reduce HC and CO
The oxidizing catalytic converter (Figure 5.12) has been one of the more
significant devices for controlling exhaust emissions since the era of emission
control began. The purpose of the oxidizing catalyst (OC) is to increase the rate
of chemical reaction, which initially takes place in the cylinder as the
compressed air–fuel mixture burns, toward an exhaust gas that has a complete
oxidation of HC and CO to H2O and CO2.
The extra oxygen required for this oxidation is often supplied by adding
air to the exhaust stream from an engine-driven air pump. This air, called
secondary air, is normally introduced into the exhaust manifold.
The most significant measure of the performance of the OC is its
conversion efficiency, nc.
n c = -------o
Mo is the mass flow rate of gas that has been oxidized leaving the
Mi is the mass air flow rate of gas into the converter
The conversion efficiency of the OC depends on its temperature. Figure 5.13
shows the conversion efficiency of a typical OC for both HC and CO as
functions of temperature. Above about 300˚C, the efficiency approaches 98%
to 99% for CO and more than 95% for HC.
Figure 5.12
Oxidizing Catalytic
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Figure 5.13
Oxidizing Catalyst
Efficiency versus
The Three-Way Catalyst
The three-way catalyst
uses a specific chemical
design to reduce all three
major emissions (HC,
CO, and NOx) by
approximately 90%.
Another catalytic converter configuration that is extremely important for
modern emission control systems is called the three-way catalyst (TWC). It uses
a specific catalyst formulation containing platinum, palladium, and rhodium to
reduce NOx and oxidize HC and CO all at the same time. It is called three-way
because it simultaneously reduces the concentration of all three major
undesirable exhaust gases by about 90% if used optimally.
The conversion efficiency of the TWC for the three exhaust gases depends
mostly on the air/fuel ratio. Unfortunately, the air/fuel ratio for which NO x
conversion efficiency is highest corresponds to a very low conversion efficiency
for HC and CO and vice versa. However, as shown in Figure 5.14, there is a
very narrow range of air/fuel ratio (called the window) in which an acceptable
compromise exists between NOx and HC/CO conversion efficiencies. The
conversion efficiencies within this window are sufficiently high to meet the very
stringent EPA requirements established so far.
Note that this window is only about 0.1 air/fuel ratio wide (±0.05 air/fuel
ratio) and is centered at stoichiometry. (Recall that stoichiometry is the air/fuel
ratio that would result in complete oxidation of all carbon and hydrogen in the
fuel if burning in the cylinder were perfect; for gasoline, stoichiometry
corresponds to an air/fuel ratio of 14.7.) This ratio and the concept of
stoichiometry is extremely important in an electronic fuel controller. In fact,
the primary function of most modern electronic fuel control systems is to
maintain average air/fuel ratio at stoichiometry. The operation of the three-way
catalytic converter is adversely affected by lead. Thus, in automobiles using any
catalyst, it is necessary to use lead-free fuel.
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Figure 5.14
Efficiency of a TWC
The TWC operates at
peak efficiency when the
air/fuel ratio is at or very
near stoichiometry. An
electronic fuel control
system is required to
maintain the required
air/fuel ratio.
Controlling the average air/fuel ratio to the tolerances of the TWC
window (for 50,000 miles) requires accurate measurement of mass air flow rate
and precise fuel delivery and is the primary function of the electronic engine
control system. A modern electronic fuel control system can meet these precise
fuel requirements. In addition, it can maintain the necessary tolerances for
government regulations for over 50,000 miles.
For an understanding of the configuration of an electronic fuel control
system, refer to the block diagram of Figure 5.15. The primary function of this
fuel control system is to accurately determine the mass air flow rate into the
engine. Then the control system precisely regulates fuel delivery such that the
ratio of the mass of air to the mass of fuel in each cylinder is as close as possible
to stoichiometry (i.e., 14.7).
The components of this block diagram are as follows:
1. Throttle position sensor (TPS)
2. Mass air flow sensor (MAF)
3. Fuel injectors (FI)
4. Ignition systems (IGN)
5. Exhaust gas oxygen sensor (EGO)
6. Engine coolant sensor (ECS)
7. Engine position sensor (EPS)
The EPS has the capability of measuring crankshaft angular speed (RPM) as
well as crankshaft angular position when it is used in conjunction with a stable
and precise electronic clock (in the controller).
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Figure 5.15
Electronic Fuel Control Configuration
The signals from the various sensors enable the controller to determine
the correct fuel flow in relation to the air flow to obtain the stoichiometric
mixture. From this calculation the correct fuel delivery is regulated via fuel
injectors. In addition, optimum ignition timing is determined and appropriate
timing pulses are sent to the ignition control module (IGN).
There is an important property of the catalytic converter that allows for
momentary (very short term) fluctuations of the air/fuel ratio outside the narrow
window. As the exhaust gases flow through the catalytic converter they are
actually in it for a short (but nonzero) amount of time, during which the
conversions described above take place. Because of this time interval the
conversion efficiency is unaffected by rapid fluctuations above and below
stoichiometry (and outside the window) as long as the average air/fuel ratio over
time remains at stoichiometry and provided the fluctuations are rapid enough. A
practical fuel control system maintains the mixture at stoichiometry but has
minor (relatively rapid) fluctuations about the average, as explained below.
The electronic fuel control system operates in two modes: open loop and
closed loop. Recall the concepts for open-loop and closed-loop control as
explained in Chapter 2. In the open-loop mode (also called feedforward), the
mass air flow rate into the engine is measured. Then the fuel control system
determines the quantity of fuel to be delivered to meet the required air/fuel ratio.
In the closed-loop control mode (also called feedback), a measurement of
the controlled variable is provided to the controller (i.e., it is fed back) such that
an error signal between the actual and desired values of the controlled variable
is obtained. Then the controller generates an actuating signal that tends to
reduce the error to zero.
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In the case of fuel control, the desired variables to be measured are HC,
CO, and NOx concentrations. Unfortunately there is no cost-effective,
practical sensor for such measurements that can be built into the car’s exhaust
system. On the other hand, there is a relatively inexpensive sensor that gives an
indirect measurement of HC, CO, and NOx concentrations. This sensor
generates an output that depends on the concentration of residual oxygen in
the exhaust after combustion. As will be explained in detail in Chapter 6, this
sensor is called an exhaust gas oxygen (EGO) sensor. It will be shown that the
EGO sensor output switches abruptly between two voltage levels depending on
whether the input air/fuel ratio is richer than or leaner than stoichiometry. Such
a sensor is appropriate for use in a limit-cycle type of closed-loop control
(described in Chapter 2). Although the EGO sensor is a switching-type sensor,
it provides sufficient information to the controller to maintain the average air/
fuel ratio over time at stoichiometry, thereby meeting the mixture requirements
at the three-way catalytic converter.
In a typical modern electronic fuel control system, the fuel delivery is
partly open loop and partly closed loop. The open-loop portion of the fuel flow
is determined by measurement of air flow. This portion sets the air/fuel ratio at
approximately stoichiometry. A closed-loop portion is added to the fuel
delivery to ensure that time-average air/fuel ratio is at stoichiometry (within the
tolerances of the window).
There are exceptions to the stoichiometric mixture setting during
certain engine operating conditions, including engine start, heavy
acceleration, and deceleration. These conditions represent a very small
fraction of the overall engine operating times and are discussed in Chapter 7,
which explains the operation of a modern, practical digital electronic engine
control system.
Engine Control Sequence
Referring to Figure 5.15, the step-by-step process of events in fuel
control begins with engine start. During engine cranking the mixture is set
rich by an amount depending on the engine temperature (measured via the
engine coolant sensor), as explained in detail in Chapter 7. Once the engine
starts and until a specific set of conditions is satisfied, the engine control
operates in the open-loop mode. In this mode the mass air flow is measured
(via MAF sensor). The correct fuel amount is computed in the electronic
controller as a function of engine temperature. The correct actuating signal is
then computed and sent to the fuel metering actuator. In essentially all
modern engines, fuel metering is accomplished by a set of fuel injectors
(described in detail in Chapter 6).
After combustion the exhaust gases flow past the EGO sensor, through
the TWC, and out the tailpipe. Once the EGO sensor has reached its operating
temperature (typically a few seconds to about 2 min), the EGO sensor signal is
read by the controller and the system begins closed-loop operation.
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Closed-Loop Control
In the closed-loop mode
of operation, the signals
from the EGO sensor
are used by the electronic controller to
adjust the air/fuel ratio
through the fuel metering actuator.
Figure 5.16 is a simplified block diagram of the closed-loop portion of
the controller. The intake air passes through the individual pipes of the intake
manifold to the various cylinders. The set of fuel injectors (one for each
cylinder) is normally located near the intake valve (see Chapter 1). Each fuel
injector is an electrically operated valve that is either fully open or fully closed.
When the valve is closed there is, of course, no fuel delivery. When the valve is
open, fuel is delivered at a fixed rate. The amount of fuel delivered to each
cylinder is determined by the length of time that the fuel injector valve is
open. This time is, in turn, computed in the engine controller to achieve the
desired air/fuel ratio. Typically, the fuel injector open timing is set to coincide
with the time that air is flowing into the cylinder during the intake stroke (see
Chapter 1).
Referring to Figure 5.16, the control system operates as follows. For any
given set of operating conditions, the fuel metering actuator provides fuel flow
to produce an air/fuel ratio set by the controller output. This mixture is burned
in the cylinder and the combustion products leave the engine through the
exhaust pipe. The EGO sensor generates a feedback signal for the controller
input that depends on the air/fuel ratio. This signal tells the controller to adjust
the fuel flow rate for the required air/fuel ratio, thus completing the loop.
One control scheme that has been used in practice results in the air/fuel
ratio cycling around the desired set point of stoichiometry. Recall from Chapter
Figure 5.16
Simplified Typical Closed-Loop Fuel Control System
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2 that this type of control is provided by a limit-cycle controller (e.g., a typical
furnace controller). The important parameters for this type of control include
the amplitude and frequency of excursion away from the desired stoichiometric
set point. Fortunately, the three-way catalytic converter’s characteristics are such
that only the time-average air/fuel ratio determines its performance. The
variation in air/fuel ratio during the limit-cycle operation is so rapid that it has
no effect on engine performance or emissions, provided that the average air/fuel
ratio remains at stoichiometry.
Exhaust Gas Oxygen Concentration
The EGO sensor is used
to determine the air/fuel
In a closed-loop system,
the time delay between
sensing a deviation and
performing an action to
correct for the deviation
must be compensated
for in system design.
The EGO sensor, which provides feedback, will be explained in Chapter
6. In essence, the EGO generates an output signal that depends on the amount
of oxygen in the exhaust. This oxygen level, in turn, depends on the air/fuel
ratio entering the engine. The amount of oxygen is relatively low for rich
mixtures and relatively high for lean mixtures. In terms of equivalence ratio ( λ),
recall that λ = 1 corresponds to stoichiometry, λ > 1 corresponds to a lean
mixture with an air/fuel ratio greater than stoichiometry, and λ < 1 corresponds
to a rich mixture with an air/fuel ratio less than stoichiometry. (The EGO
sensor is sometimes called a lambda sensor.)
Lambda is used in the block diagram of Figure 5.16 to represent the
equivalence ratio at the intake manifold. The exhaust gas oxygen concentration
determines the EGO output voltage (Vo ). The EGO output voltage abruptly
switches between the lean and the rich levels as the air/fuel ratio crosses
stoichiometry. The EGO sensor output voltage is at its higher of two levels for a
rich mixture and at its lower level for a lean mixture.
The operation of the control system of Figure 5.16 using EGO output
voltage is complicated somewhat because of the delay from the time that λ
changes at the input until Vo changes at the exhaust. This time delay, tD, is in the
range of 0.1 to 0.2 second, depending on engine speed. It is the time that it
takes the output of the system to respond to a change at the input. The electrical
signal from the EGO sensor voltage going into the controller produces a
controller output of VF , which energizes the fuel metering actuator.
Closed-Loop Operation
Reduced to its essential features, the engine control system operates as a
limit-cycle controller in which the air/fuel ratio cycles up and down about the
set point of stoichiometry, as shown in Figure 5.17. The air/fuel ratio is either
increasing or decreasing; it is never constant. The increase or decrease is
determined by the EGO sensor output voltage. Whenever the EGO output
voltage level indicates a lean mixture, the controller causes the air/fuel ratio to
decrease, that is, to change in the direction of a rich mixture. On the other
hand, whenever the EGO sensor output voltage indicates a rich mixture, the
controller changes the air/fuel ratio in the direction of a lean mixture.
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Figure 5.17
Simplified Waveforms in a Closed-Loop Fuel Control System
The air/fuel ratio in a
closed-loop system is
always increasing or
decreasing in the vicinity
of stoichiometry. This is
in response to the EGO
sensor’s output, which
indicates a rich or lean
fuel mixture.
The electronic fuel controller changes the mixture by changing the
duration of the actuating signal to each fuel injector. Increasing this duration
causes more fuel to be delivered, thereby causing the mixture to become more
rich. Correspondingly, decreasing this duration causes the mixture to become
more lean. Figure 5.17b shows the fuel injector signal duration.
In Figure 5.17a the EGO sensor output voltage is at the higher of two levels
over several time intervals, including 0 to 1 and 1.7 to 2.2. This high voltage
indicates that the mixture is rich. The controller causes the pulse duration (Figure
5.17b) to decrease during this interval. At time 1 sec the EGO sensor voltage
switches low, indicating a lean mixture. At this point the controller begins
increasing the actuating time interval to tend toward a rich mixture. This
increasing actuator interval continues until the EGO sensor switches high, causing
2735 | CH 5 Page 173 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
the controller to decrease the fuel injector actuating interval. The process continues
this way, cycling back and forth between rich and lean around stoichiometry.
During any one of the intervals shown in Figure 5.17, the fuel injectors
may be activated several times. The engine controller continuously computes
the desired fuel injector actuating interval (as explained later) and maintains the
current value in memory. At the appropriate time in the intake cycle (see
Chapter 1), the controller reads the value of the fuel injector duration and
generates a pulse of the correct duration to activate the proper fuel injector.
Figure 5.17c illustrates the actuating signals for a single fuel injector. The
pulses correspond to the times at which this fuel injector is activated. The
duration of each pulse determines the quantity of fuel delivered during that
activation interval. This fuel injector is switched on repeatedly at the desired
time. The on duration is determined from the height of the desired actuator
duration of Figure 5.17b. Note that the first pulse corresponds to a relatively
low value. The second corresponds to a relatively high value, and the duration
of the on time shown in Figure 5.17c is correspondingly longer. The last pulse
shown happens to occur at an intermediate duration value and is depicted as
being of duration between the other two. The pulses depicted in Figure 5.17c
are somewhat exaggerated relative to an actual fuel control to illustrate the
principle of this type of control system.
One point that needs to be stressed at this juncture is that the air/fuel
ratio deviates from stoichiometry. However, the catalytic converter will
function as desired as long as the time-average air/fuel ratio is at stoichiometry.
The controller continuously computes the average of the EGO sensor voltage.
Ideally the air/fuel ratio should spend as much time rich of stoichiometry as it
does lean of stoichiometry. In the simplest case, the average EGO sensor voltage
should be halfway between the rich and the lean values:
V Rich + V Lean
avg.V EGO = ---------------------------2
Whenever this condition is not met, the controller adapts its computation of
pulse duration (from EGO sensor voltage) to achieve the desired average
stoichiometric mixture. Chapter 7 explains this adaptive control in more detail.
Frequency and Deviation of the Fuel Controller
Recall from Chapter 2 that a limit cycle controls a system between two
limits and that it has an oscillatory behavior; that is, the control variable oscillates
about the set point or the desired value for the variable. The simplified fuel
controller operates in a limit-cycle mode and, as shown in Figure 5.17, the air/fuel
ratio oscillates about stoichiometry (i.e., average air/fuel ratio is 14.7). The two
end limits are determined by the rich and lean voltage levels of the EGO sensor,
by the controller, and by the characteristics of the fuel metering actuator. The time
necessary for the EGO sensor to sense a change in fuel metering is known as the
transport delay. As engine speed increases, the transport delay decreases.
2735 | CH 5 Page 174 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
The frequency of oscillation fL of this limit-cycle control system is defined
as the reciprocal of its period. The period of one complete cycle is denoted Tp,
which is proportional to transport delay. Thus, the frequency of oscillation is
f L = -----Tp
Although the air/fuel
ratio is constantly swinging up and down, the
average value of deviation is held within ±0.05
of the 14.7:1 ratio.
where fL is the frequency of oscillation in hertz (cycles per second). This means
that the shorter the transport delay, the higher the frequency of the limit cycle.
The transport delay decreases as engine speed increases; therefore, the limitcycle frequency increases as engine speed increases. This is depicted in Figure
5.18 for a typical engine.
Another important aspect of limit-cycle operation is the maximum
deviation of air/fuel ratio from stoichiometry. It is important to keep this
deviation small because the net TWC conversion efficiency is optimum for
stoichiometry. The maximum deviation typically corresponds to an air/fuel
ratio deviation of about ±1.0.
It is important to realize that the air/fuel ratio oscillates between a
maximum value and a minimum value. There is, however, an average value for
the air/fuel ratio that is intermediate between these extremes. Although the
deviation of the air/fuel ratio during this limit-cycle operation is about ±1.0,
the average air/fuel ratio is held to within ±0.05 of the desired value of 14.7.
Generally, the maximum deviation decreases with increasing engine speed
because of the corresponding decrease in transport delay. The parameters of the
Figure 5.18
Typical Limit-Cycle
Frequency versus
2735 | CH 5 Page 175 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
control system are adjusted such that at the worst case the deviation is within
the required acceptable limits for the TWC used.
The preceding discussion applies only to a simplified idealized fuel
control system. Chapter 7 explains the operation of practical electronic fuel
control systems in which the main signal processing is done with digital
Fuel control systems in
open-loop mode must
maintain the air/fuel
mixture at or near stoichiometry, but must do
it without the benefit of
The open-loop mode of fuel control must accomplish the same thing as
the closed-loop mode; that is, it must maintain an air/fuel ratio very close to
stoichiometry for efficient system operation with the TWC used. However, it
must do it without feedback from the EGO sensor output, which senses the
actual air/fuel ratio. Recall from the previous discussion that open-mode
operation precedes closed-mode operation.
Although the open-loop mode of operation varies somewhat from one
model to the next, many features of this mode of operation are common to all
models. In reading the following discussion it is important to realize that the
throttle (under driver control) actually controls the flow of air into the engine.
The correct fuel flow is determined by the engine control system.
The MAP sensor output
voltage is proportional
to the average pressure
within the intake manifold.
The manifold absolute
pressure varies from near
atmospheric pressure
when the throttle plate is
fully opened to near zero
pressure when the throttle plate is closed.
The air and fuel mixture enters the engine through the intake manifold, a
series of channels and passages that directs the air and fuel mixture to the
cylinders. One very important engine variable associated with the intake
manifold is the manifold absolute pressure (MAP). The sensor that measures
this pressure is the manifold absolute pressure sensor—the MAP sensor. This
sensor develops a voltage that is approximately proportional to the average
value of intake manifold pressure.
Figure 5.19 is a very simplified sketch of an intake manifold. In this
simplified sketch, the engine is viewed as an air pump drawing air into the
intake manifold. Whenever the engine is not running, no air is being pumped
and the intake MAP is at atmospheric pressure. This is the highest intake MAP
for an unsupercharged engine. (A supercharged engine has an external air pump
called a supercharger.) When the engine is running, the air flow is impeded by
the partially closed throttle plate. This reduces the pressure in the intake
manifold so it is lower than atmospheric pressure; therefore, a partial vacuum
exists in the intake.
If the engine were a perfect air pump and if the throttle plate were tightly
closed, a perfect vacuum could be created in the intake manifold. A perfect
vacuum corresponds to zero absolute pressure. However, the engine is not a
perfect pump and some air always leaks past the throttle plate. (In fact, some air
must get past a closed throttle or the engine cannot idle.) Therefore, the intake
MAP fluctuates during the stroke of each cylinder and as pumping is switched
from one cylinder to the next.
2735 | CH 5 Page 176 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Figure 5.19
Simplified Intake
Each cylinder contributes to the pumping action every second crankshaft
revolution. For an N-cylinder engine, the frequency fp, in cycles per second, of
the manifold pressure fluctuation for an engine running at a certain RPM is
given by
f p = ----------------------120
Figure 5.20 shows manifold pressure fluctuations as well as average MAP.
For a control system application, only average manifold pressure is
required. The torque produced by an engine at a constant RPM is
approximately proportional to the average value of MAP. The rapid
fluctuations in instantaneous MAP are not of interest to the engine controller.
Therefore, the manifold pressure measurement method should filter out the
pressure fluctuations at frequency fp and measure only the average pressure.
One way to achieve this filtering is to connect the MAP sensor to the intake
manifold through a very small diameter tube. The rapid fluctuations in
pressure do not pass through this tube, but the average pressure does. The
MAP sensor output voltage then corresponds only to the average manifold
Measuring Air Mass
A critically important aspect of fuel control is the requirement to measure
the mass of air that is drawn into the cylinder (i.e., the air charge). The amount
of fuel delivered can then be calculated such as to maintain the desired air/fuel
ratio. There is no practically feasible way of measuring the mass of air in the
cylinder directly. However, the air charge can be determined from the mass flow
2735 | CH 5 Page 177 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Figure 5.20
Intake Manifold
rate of air into the engine intake since all of this air eventually is distributed to
the cylinders (ideally uniformly).
There are two methods of determining the mass flow rate of air into the
engine. One method uses a single sensor that directly measures mass air flow
rate. The operation of this sensor is explained in Chapter 6. The other method
uses a number of sensors that provide data from which mass flow rate can be
computed. This method is known as the speed-density method.
Speed-Density Method
The concept for this method is based on the mass density of air as
illustrated in Figure 5.21a. For a given volume of air (V ) at a specific pressure
(p) and temperature (T ), the density of the air (da) is the ratio of the mass of air
in that volume (Ma) divided by V:
d a = -------a
Another way of looking at this is that the mass of air in the volume V is the
product of its density and volume:
Ma = da V
2735 | CH 5 Page 178 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Figure 5.21
Volume Flow Rate
This concept can be extended to moving air, as depicted in Figure 5.21b. Here
air is assumed to be moving through a uniform tube (e.g., the intake pipe for an
engine) past a reference point for a specific period of time. This is known as the
volume flow rate. The mass flow rate is the product of the volume flow rate and
the air density. The air density in the intake manifold can be computed from
measurements of the intake manifold absolute pressure and the intake manifold
air temperature (Ti ).
In mathematical terms, if we define
R m = mass flow rate of air flowing through the intake manifold
R v = volume flow rate of air flowing through the intake manifold
d a = air density in the intake manifold
then the following equation expresses the relationship between R m, R v , and da:
Rm = R v da
2735 | CH 5 Page 179 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
The intake manifold air density is determined by the absolute pressure
and temperature of the intake air. The intake manifold absolute pressure is
determined by the ambient air pressure (i.e., the air outside the engine), the
throttle position as set by the driver, the RPM, and by the shape and size of
the intake manifold. The intake air temperature is determined by the
ambient air temperature and by the pressure change from ambient across the
The intake air density can be computed from the basic physics of air
known as the perfect gas law. The density of any gas (including air) is directly
proportional to pressure and inversely proportional to absolute temperature.
(Absolute temperature is the temperature relative to absolute zero.) Using the
Fahrenheit scale, absolute temperature is the temperature added to 459˚ in
degrees Fahrenheit.
The intake air can be computed relative to a standard condition.
Normally, the standard condition is sea level on a so-called standard day
(SLSD). The SLSD conditions are denoted do, po, To, referring to density,
absolute pressure, and absolute temperature. These parameters are constants for
air for the entire planet and are known to great precision. In mathematical
terms, the intake air density is given by
d a = d o ×  p---- × -----o
 o T i
That is, intake air density is found by multiplying standard density by the
ratio of intake manifold pressure to standard pressure and by the ratio of
standard temperature to intake manifold air temperature. Such a calculation is
readily performed in a digital engine controller based on measurements of
intake manifold absolute pressure (MAP) and intake air absolute temperature
A relatively close estimate of R v can be made using inexpensive sensors. As
discussed previously, the engine acts like an air pump during intake. If it were a
perfect pump, it would draw in a volume of air equal to its displacement for
each two complete crankshaft revolutions. Then, for this ideal engine, the
volume flow rate would be
R v =  ------------  ---- ideal volume flow rate
 60   2 
R v is the volume flow rate
D is the engine displacement
RPM is the engine speed
For this ideal engine, with D known, R v could be obtained simply by
measuring RPM.
2735 | CH 5 Page 180 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Unfortunately, the engine is not a perfect air pump. In fact, the actual
volume flow rate for an engine having displacement D and running at speed
RPM is given by
R v =  ------------  ---- n v
 60   2 
where nv is the volumetric efficiency.
Volumetric Efficiency
Volumetric efficiency
varies with MAP and
engine speed. A table of
values representing volumetric efficiency for
given speeds and MAP
values can be stored in
memory as a lookup
The volumetric efficiency is a number between 0 and 1 that depends on
intake manifold pressure (MAP) and RPM for all engine operating conditions.
For any given engine, the value of nv can be measured for any set of operating
conditions. A table of values of nv as a function of RPM and MAP can be
prepared from this data. In a digital system, the table can be stored in memory
as a lookup table. By knowing the displacement of the engine, measuring the
RPM and MAP, and looking up the value of nv for that RPM and MAP, the Rv
can be computed using the previous equation.
Exhaust gas recirculation
also must be considered
when calculating volume
flow rate. The true volume flow rate of air is
calculated by subtracting
the volume flow rate of
EGR from the total volume flow rate.
Calculating Rv is relatively easy for a computer, but another factor must
be taken into account. Exhaust gas recirculation requires that a certain portion
of the charge into the cylinders be exhaust gas. Because of this, a portion of the
displacement D is exhaust gas; therefore, the volume flow rate of EGR must be
known. A valve-positioning sensor in the EGR valve can be calibrated to
provide the flow rate.
From this information, the true volume flow rate of air, Ra, can be
determined by subtracting the volume flow rate of EGR (REGR) from Rv . The
total cylinder air charge is thus given as follows:
Including EGR
R a = R v – R EGR
The volume flow rate of EGR is known from the position of the EGR valve and
from engine operating conditions, as explained in Chapter 7.
Substituting the equation for Rv , the volume flow rate of air is
R a =  ------------  ---- n v – R EGR
 60   2 
Knowing Ra and the density da gives the mass flow rate of air Rm as follows:
Rm = Ra da
2735 | CH 5 Page 181 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Knowing R m, the stoichiometric mass flow rate for the fuel, R fm, can be
calculated as follows:
R fm = --------14.7
It is the function of the fuel metering actuator to set the fuel mass flow
rate at this desired value based on the value of Ra. The control system
continuously calculates Rm from Ra and da at the temperature involved, and
generates an output electrical signal to operate the fuel injectors to produce a
stoichiometric mass fuel flow rate. For a practical engine control system, it
completes such a measurement, computation, and control signal generation at
least once for each cylinder firing.
The engine ignition system exists solely to provide an electric spark to
ignite the mixture in the cylinder. As explained earlier in this chapter, the
engine performance is strongly influenced by the spark timing relative to the
engine position during the compression stroke (see also Chapter 1). The spark
advance (relative to TDC) is determined in the electronic engine control based
on a number of measurements made by sensors. As will be explained in Chapter
7, the optimum spark advance varies with intake manifold pressure, RPM, and
However, in order to generate a spark at the correct spark advance the
electronic engine control must have a measurement of the engine position.
Engine position is determined by a sensor coupled to the camshaft or the
crankshaft, or a combination of each, depending on the configuration for the
electronic ignition.
Electronic ignition can be implemented as part of an integrated system or
as a stand-alone ignition system. A block diagram for the latter system is shown
in Figure 5.22. Based on measurements from the sensors for engine position,
mass air flow or manifold pressure, and RPM, the electronic controller
computes the correct spark advance for each cylinder. At the appropriate time
the controller sends a trigger signal to the driver circuits, thereby initiating
spark. In many modern electronic spark systems, spark plugs are fired in pairs
through a common coil, or high-voltage transformer. Before the spark occurs,
the driver circuit sends a relatively large current through the primary (P) of the
coil. When the spark is to occur, a trigger pulse is sent to the driver circuit for
the coil associated with the appropriate spark plug. This trigger causes the
driver circuit to interrupt the current in the primary. A very high voltage is
induced at this time in the secondary (S) of the coil. This high voltage is applied
to the spark plugs, causing them to fire. Typically, one of the two cylinders will
be in this compression stroke. Combustion will occur in this cylinder, resulting
2735 | CH 5 Page 182 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Figure 5.22
Ignition System
in power delivery during its power stroke. The other cylinder will be in its
exhaust stroke and the spark will have no effect. Most engines have an even
number of cylinders and there will be a separate driver circuit and coil for each
pair of cylinders.
An ignition system such as this is often called a distributorless ignition
system (DIS) because the multiple coil packs and drivers are a modern
replacement for the (now essentially obsolete) distributor (see Chapter 1).
2735 | CH 5 Page 183 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
Quiz for Chapter 5
1. What is the primary motivation
for engine controls?
a. consumer demand for precise
b. the automotive industry’s
desire to innovate
c. government regulations
concerning emissions and fuel
2. What is the primary purpose of
fuel control?
a. to minimize fuel economy
b. to eliminate exhaust emissions
c. to optimize catalytic converter
d. to maximize engine torque
3. What is the primary purpose of
spark timing controls?
a. to maximize fuel economy
b. to minimize exhaust emissions
c. to optimize catalytic converter
d. to optimize some aspect of
engine performance (e.g.,
4. What does exhaust gas
recirculation do?
a. improves fuel economy
b. reduces NOx emission
c. increases engine torque
d. provides air for the catalytic
5. What does secondary air do?
a. dilutes the air/fuel ratio
b. helps oxidize HC and CO in
the exhaust manifold
c. helps oxidize NOx and CO in
the catalytic converter
d. helps reduce the production
of NOx
6. What is air/fuel ratio?
a. the mass of air in a cylinder
divided by the mass
of fuel
b. the volume of air in a cylinder
divided by the volume
of fuel
c. the ratio of the mass of HC to
mass of NOx
7. What electronic device is used in
engine controls?
a. AM radio
b. catalytic converter
c. microcomputer
8. What air/fuel ratio is desired
for a three-way catalytic
a. 12:1
b. 17:1
c. 14.7:1
d. none of the above
2735 | CH 5 Page 184 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
9. What is the desired operation of a
catalytic converter on HC
a. oxidation to H2O and CO2
b. reduction to H and C
c. reaction with NOx
d. none of the above
10. What is the desired operation of a
catalytic converter on NOx
a. reaction with HC
b. oxidation to N2 and O2
c. reduction to N2 and O2
d. none of the above
11. What is stoichiometry?
a. a very lean air/fuel ratio
b. a very rich air/fuel ratio
c. an air/fuel ratio for which
complete combustion is
theoretically possible
d. none of the above
12. How is CO emission affected by
air/fuel ratio?
a. it generally decreases with
increasing air/fuel ratio
b. it increases monotonically
with air/fuel ratio
c. it is unaffected by air/fuel
d. none of the above
13. What is MBT?
a. mean before top-center
b. miles per brake torque
c. mean spark advance for best
d. none of the above
14. What is the function of electronic
fuel control in a vehicle having a
three-way catalyst?
a. to maximize brake-specific
fuel consumption
b. to maintain the average air/
fuel ratio at stoichiometry
c. to always keep the air/fuel
ratio within ±0.05 of
d. to minimize NOx emissions
15. What is the fuel flow rate for an
electronic fuel control system for a
vehicle having a three-way catalyst?
a. Rfm = Rm/14.7
b. Ra/14.7
c. Rv – REGR/14.7
d. none of the above
16. What engine quantities are
measured to determine spark
advance for an electronic ignition
a. manifold pressure, RPM, and
b. coolant temperature and mass
air flow
c. manifold position and
crankshaft position
d. none of the above
17. In an electronic fuel control
system, what causes the time delay
between fuel metering and the
EGO sensor response?
a. dynamic response of the
b. transport time of the air and
fuel through the engine
c. limit-cycle theory
d. none of the above
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18. Brake power of an engine is
a. the power required to
decelerate the car
b. an electronic system for
stopping the car
19. What is engine calibration?
a. adjustment of air/fuel ratio,
spark timing, and EGR
b. instrumentation parameter
c. the difference between
c. electronic control system
indicated power and power
losses in the engine
d. none of the above
d. none of the above
2735 | CH 5 Page 186 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 11:10 AM
2735 | CH 6 Page 187 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Sensors and Actuators
The previous chapter introduced two critically important components
found in any electronic control system: sensors and actuators. This chapter
explains the operation of the sensors and actuators used throughout a modern
car. Special emphasis is placed on sensors and actuators used for power train
(i.e., engine and transmission) applications since these systems normally
employ the largest number of such devices. However, this chapter will also
discuss sensors found in other subsystems on modern cars.
In any control system, sensors provide measurements of important plant
variables in a format suitable for the digital microcontroller. Similarly, actuators
are electrically operated devices that regulate inputs to the plant that directly
control its output. For example, as we shall see, fuel injectors are electrically
driven actuators that regulate the flow of fuel into an engine for engine control
Recall from Chapter 2 that fundamentally an electronic control system
uses measurements of the plant variable being regulated for feedback control.
The measured variable is compared with a desired value for the variable to
produce an error signal. The electronic controller generates output electrical
signals that regulate inputs to the plant in such a way as to reduce the error to
As will be shown throughout the remainder of this book, automotive
electronics have many examples of electronic control in virtually every
subsystem. Modern automotive electronic control systems use microcontrollers
based on microprocessors (as explained in Chapter 4) to implement almost all
control functions. Each of these subsystems requires one or more sensors and
actuators in order to operate.
Sensors and actuators
play a critical role in
determining automotive
control system performance.
In control system applications, sensors and actuators are in many cases the
critical components for determining system performance. This is especially true
for automotive control system applications. The availability of appropriate
sensors and actuators dictates the design of the control system and the type of
function it can perform.
The sensors and actuators that are available to a control system designer
are not always what the designer wants, because the ideal device may not be
commercially available at acceptable costs. For this reason, often special signal
processors or interface circuits are designed to adapt to an available sensor or
actuator, or the control system is designed in a specific way to fit available
2735 | CH 6 Page 188 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
sensors or actuators. However, because of the large potential production run for
automotive control systems, it is often worthwhile to develop a sensor for a
particular application, even though it may take a long and expensive research
project to do so.
Although there are many subsystems on automobiles that operate with
sensors and actuators, we begin our discussion with a survey of the devices for
power train control. To motivate the discussion of engine control sensors and
actuators it is helpful to review the variables measured (sensors) and the
controlled variables (actuators). Figure 6.1 is a representative block diagram of a
typical electronic engine control system illustrating most of the relevant sensors
used for engine control. The position of the throttle plate, sensed by the
throttle position sensor (TPS), directly regulates the air flow into the engine,
thereby controlling output power. A set of fuel injectors (one for each cylinder)
delivers the correct amount of fuel to a corresponding cylinder during the
intake stroke under control of the electronic engine controller. A fuel injector
is, as will presently be shown, one of the important actuators used in
automotive electronic application. The ignition control system fires each spark
plug at the appropriate time under control of the electronic engine controller.
The exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is controlled by yet another output from
the engine controller. All critical engine control functions are based on
measurements made by various sensors connected to the engine in an
appropriate way. Computations made within the engine controller based on
these inputs yield output signals to the actuators. We consider inputs (sensors)
to the control system first, then we will discuss the outputs (actuators).
Figure 6.1
Typical Electronic Engine Control System
2735 | CH 6 Page 189 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Variables to be Measured
The set of variables sensed for any given engine is specific to the
associated engine control configuration. Space limitations for this book
prohibit a complete survey of all engine control systems and relevant sensor and
actuator selections for all car models. Nevertheless, it is possible to review a
superset of possible sensors, which is done in this chapter, and to present
representative examples of practical digital control configurations, which is
done in the next chapter.
The superset of variables sensed in engine control includes the
1. Mass air flow (MAF) rate
2. Exhaust gas oxygen concentration (possibly heated)
3. Throttle plate angular position
4. Crankshaft angular position/RPM
5. Coolant temperature
6. Intake air temperature
7. Manifold absolute pressure (MAP)
8. Differential exhaust gas pressure
9. Vehicle speed
10. Transmission gear selector position
In addition to measurements of the above variables, engine control is also
based on the status of the vehicle as monitored by a set of switches. These
switches include the following:
1. Air conditioner clutch engaged
2. Brake on/off
3. Wide open throttle
4. Closed throttle
In Chapter 5 we showed that the correct operation of an electronically
controlled engine operating with government-regulated exhaust emissions
requires a measurement of the mass flow rate of air (Rm) into the engine. The
majority of cars produced since the early 1990s use a relatively simple and
inexpensive mass air flow rate (MAF) sensor. This is normally mounted as part
of the air cleaner assembly, where it measures air flow into the intake manifold.
It is a ruggedly packaged, single-unit sensor that includes solid-state electronic
signal processing. In operation, the MAF sensor generates a continuous signal
that varies nearly linearly with true mass air flow Rm.
The MAF sensor is a variation of a classic air flow sensor that was known
as a hot wire anemometer and was used, for example, to measure wind velocity
2735 | CH 6 Page 190 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
for weather forecasting. In the MAF, the hot-wire, or sensing, element is
replaced by a hot-film structure mounted on a substrate. On the air inlet side is
mounted a honeycomb flow straightener that “smooths” the air flow (causing
nominally laminar air flow over the film element). At the lower portion of the
structure is the signal processing circuitry.
The film element is electrically heated to a constant temperature above
that of the inlet air. The latter air temperature is sensed using a solid-state
temperature sensor (explained later in this chapter). The hot-film element is
incorporated in a Wheatstone bridge circuit (Figure 6.2a). The power supply
for the bridge circuit comes from an amplifier.
The Wheatstone bridge consists of three fixed resistors R1, R2, and R3
and a hot-film element having resistance RHW . With no air flow the resistors
R1, R2, and R3 are chosen such that voltage va and vb are equal (i.e., the
bridge is said to be balanced). As air flows across the hot film, heat is carried
away from the film by the moving air. The amount of heat carried away
varies in proportion to the mass flow rate of the air. The heat lost by the film
to the air tends to cause the resistance of the film to vary, which unbalances
the bridge circuit, thereby producing an input voltage to the amplifier. The
output of the amplifier is connected to the bridge circuit and provides the
power for this circuit. The amplified voltage changes the resistance in such a
way as to maintain a fixed hot-film temperature relative to the inlet
The amplifier output voltage vc varies with MAF and serves as a measure
of Rm. Typically the conversion of MAF to voltage is slightly nonlinear, as
indicated by the calibration curve depicted in Figure 6.2b. Fortunately, a
modern digital engine controller can convert the analog bridge output voltage
directly to mass air flow by simple computation. As will be shown in Chapter 7,
in which digital engine control is discussed, it is advantageous to convert analog
sensor voltages to a digital format within the solid-state electronics associated
with the sensor. This conversion is convenient since it eliminates the need for
an analog-to-digital converter, which can be relatively expensive (see Chapter
One scheme for converting the analog output voltage to a digital signal
uses a device that is known as a voltage-to-frequency (v/f ) converter. This
circuit is a variable-frequency oscillator whose frequency f is proportional to
the input voltage (in this case, the amplifier output voltage).
The variable-frequency output voltage (vf ) is applied through an
electronic gate, which is essentially an electrically operated switch. Control
circuitry (also part of the sensor solid-state electronics) repeatedly closes the
switch for a fixed interval t. Then it opens it for another fixed interval. During
the first interval the variable-frequency signal from the v/f circuit is connected
to the binary counter (BC) (see Chapter 3). The BC counts (in binary) at the
instantaneous frequency of the v/f, which is proportional to the amplifier
output voltage vf, which in turn varies with mass air flow rate.
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Figure 6.2
Mass Air Flow Sensor
During each cycle of the electronic gate, the BC contains a binary
number given by the product of the v/f frequency and the time interval. For
example, if the mass air flow were such that the v/f frequency were 1000 cycles/
sec and the switch were closed for .1 sec, then the BC would contain the binary
equivalent of decimal 100 (i.e., 1000 × .1 = 100). If the mass air flow increased
2735 | CH 6 Page 192 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
such that the v/f frequency were 1500 cycles/sec, then the BC count would be
the binary equivalent of 150. In mathematical terms, the BC count B is given
by the binary equivalent of
B = BC count
f = frequency of v/f
t = duration of closure of electronic gate
After the engine controller reads the count, the BC is reset to zero to be ready
for the next sample. In actual operation, repeated measurements of frequency f
are made under control of the digital engine control module (see Chapter 7).
This conversion of voltage to frequency is advantageous in digital engine
control applications because the frequency is readily converted to digital format
without requiring an analog-to-digital converter.
Indirect Measurement of Mass Air Flow
Recall that Chapter 5 presented an alternative to direct mass air flow
measurement in the form of the so-called speed-density method. This method
computes an estimate of mass air flow from measurements of manifold absolute
pressure (MAP), RPM, and inlet air temperature. We consider first sensors for
measuring manifold absolute pressure.
MAP Sensor Concepts
Several MAP sensor configurations have been used in automotive
applications. The earliest sensors were derived from aerospace instrumentation
concepts, but these proved more expensive than desirable for automotive
applications and have been replaced with more cost-effective designs.
It is interesting to note that none of the MAP sensors in use measure
manifold pressure directly, but instead measure the displacement of a
diaphragm that is deflected by manifold pressure. The details of the diaphragm
displacement and the measurement of this displacement vary from one
configuration to another.
Strain Gauge MAP Sensor
One relatively inexpensive MAP sensor configuration is the silicondiaphragm diffused strain gauge sensor shown in Figure 6.3. This sensor uses a
silicon chip that is approximately 3 millimeters square. Along the outer edges,
the chip is approximately 250 micrometers (1 micrometer = 1 millionth of a
meter) thick, but the center area is only 25 micrometers thick and forms a
diaphragm. The edge of the chip is sealed to a pyrex plate under vacuum,
thereby forming a vacuum chamber between the plate and the center area of the
silicon chip.
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Figure 6.3
Typical SiliconDiaphragm Strain
Gauge MAP Sensor
In the strain gauge MAP
sensor, manifold pressure applied to the diaphragm causes a
resistance change within
the semiconductor material that corresponds to
the manifold pressure.
A set of sensing resistors is formed around the edge of this chamber, as
indicated in Figure 6.3. The resistors are formed by diffusing a doping impurity
into the silicon. External connections to these resistors are made through wires
connected to the metal bonding pads. This entire assembly is placed in a sealed
housing that is connected to the intake manifold by a small-diameter tube.
Manifold pressure applied to the diaphragm causes it to deflect.
The resistance of the sensing resistors changes in proportion to the
applied manifold pressure by a phenomenon that is known as piezoresistivity.
Piezoresistivity occurs in certain semiconductors so that the actual resistivity (a
property of the material) changes in proportion to the strain (fractional change
in length). The strain induced in each resistor is proportional to the diaphragm
deflection, which, in turn, is proportional to the pressure on the outside surface
of the diaphragm. This pressure is the manifold pressure.
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The resistors in the
strain gauge MAP sensor
are connected in a
Wheatstone bridge circuit. Output voltage of
the circuit varies as the
resistance varies in
response to manifold
pressure variations.
A pressure sensor having the configuration of Figure 6.3 is also used for
measuring absolute atmospheric pressure. It will be shown in Chapter 7 that
this absolute pressure can be used in engine control applications, as can the
manifold pressure.
An electrical signal that is proportional to the manifold pressure is
obtained by connecting the resistors in a circuit called a Wheatstone bridge, as
shown in the schematic of Figure 6.4a. Note the similarity in the Wheatstone
bridge of Figure 6.4a with that employed in the MAF sensor of Figure 6.2. The
voltage regulator holds a constant dc voltage across the bridge. The resistors
diffused into the diaphragm are denoted R1, R2, R3, and R4 in Figure 6.4a.
When there is no strain on the diaphragm, all four resistances are equal, the
bridge is balanced, and the voltage between points A and B is zero. When
manifold pressure changes, it causes these resistances to change in such a way
that R1 and R3 increase by an amount that is proportional to pressure; at the
same time, R2 and R4 decrease by an identical amount. This unbalances the
bridge and a net difference voltage is present between points A and B. The
differential amplifier generates an output voltage proportional to the difference
between the two input voltages (which is, in turn, proportional to the pressure),
as shown in Figure 6.4b.
Crankshaft angular position is an important
variable in automotive
control systems, particularly for controlling ignition timing and fuel
injection timing.
Besides pressure, the position of shafts, valves, and levers must be sensed
for automotive control systems. Measurements of the angular position or
velocity of shafts are common in automotive electronics. It is highly desirable
that these measurements be made without any mechanical contact with the
rotating shaft. Such noncontacting measurements can be made in a variety of
ways, but the commonest of these in automotive electronics use magnetic or
optical phenomena as the physical basis. Magnetic means of such
measurements are generally preferred in engine applications since they are
unaffected by oil, dirt, or other contaminants.
The principles involved in measuring rotating shafts can be illustrated by
one of the most significant applications for engine control: the measurement of
crankshaft angular position or angular velocity (i.e., RPM). Imagine the engine
as viewed from the rear, as shown in Figure 6.5. On the rear of the crankshaft is
a large, heavy, circular steel disk called the flywheel that is connected to and
rotates with the crankshaft. Let’s mark a point on the flywheel, as shown in
Figure 6.5, and draw a line through this point and the axis of rotation. Let’s
draw another line through the axis of rotation parallel to the horizontal center
line of the engine as a reference line. The crankshaft angular position is the
angle between the reference line and the mark on the flywheel.
Imagine that the flywheel is rotated so that the mark is directly on the
reference line. This is an angular position of zero degrees. For our purposes,
assume that this angular position corresponds to the No. 1 cylinder at TDC
(top dead center). As the crankshaft rotates, this angle increases from zero to
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Figure 6.4
Circuit Diagram for
MAP Sensor Using
Strain Gauges
360˚ in one revolution. However, one full engine cycle from intake through
exhaust requires two complete revolutions of the crankshaft. That is, one
complete engine cycle corresponds to the crankshaft angular position going
from zero to 720˚. During each cycle, it is important to measure the crankshaft
position with reference to TDC for each cylinder. This information is used by
the electronic engine controller to set ignition timing and, in most cases, to set
the fuel injector pulse timing.
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Figure 6.5
Engine Crankshaft
Angular Position
Crankshaft angular position can be sensed
directly at the camshaft,
since the camshaft
rotates at exactly onehalf the speed of the
In automobiles having electronic engine control systems, angular
position can be sensed on the crankshaft directly or on the camshaft. Recall
that the piston drives the crankshaft directly, while the valves and the
distributor for the spark ignition are driven from the camshaft. The camshaft
is driven from the crankshaft through a 1:2 reduction drivetrain, which can be
gears, belt, or chain. Therefore, the camshaft rotational speed is one-half that
of the crankshaft, so the camshaft angular position goes from zero to 360˚ for
one complete engine cycle. Either of these sensing locations can be used in
electronic control systems. Although the crankshaft location is potentially
superior for accuracy because of torsional and gear backlash errors in the
camshaft drivetrain, many production systems locate this sensor such that it
measures camshaft position. At the present time, there appears to be a trend
toward measuring crankshaft position directly rather than indirectly via
camshaft position. In fact, it is sufficient for engine control purposes to
measure crankshaft/camshaft position at a small number of fixed points. The
number of such measurements (or samples) is determined by the number of
It is desirable to measure engine angular position with a noncontacting
sensor to avoid mechanical wear and corresponding changes in accuracy of the
measurement. The two most common methods for noncontact coupling to a
rotating shaft employ magnetic fields or optics. Let’s consider the concepts used
for magnetically coupled sensors first.
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Magnetic Reluctance Position Sensor
In the magnetic reluctance position sensor, a
coil wrapped around the
magnet senses the
changing intensity of the
magnetic field as the tabs
of a ferrous disk pass
between the poles of the
One engine sensor configuration that measures crankshaft position
directly (using magnetic phenomena) is illustrated in Figure 6.6. This sensor
consists of a permanent magnet with a coil of wire wound around it. A steel
disk that is mounted on the crankshaft (usually in front of the engine) has tabs
that pass between the pole pieces of this magnet. In Figure 6.6, the steel disk
has four protruding tabs, which is appropriate for an 8-cylinder engine. The
passage of each tab can correspond to the TDC position of a cylinder on its
power stroke, although other reference positions are also possible.
This sensor is of the magnetic reluctance type and is based on the
concept of a magnetic circuit. A magnetic circuit is a closed path through a
magnetic material (e.g., iron, cobalt, nickel, or synthetic magnetic material
called ferrite). In the case of the sensor in Figure 6.6, the magnetic circuit is
the closed path through the magnet material and across the gap between the
pole pieces.
The magnetic field in a magnetic circuit is described by a pair of field
quantities that can be compared to the voltage and current of an ordinary
electric circuit. One of these quantities is called the magnetic field intensity. It
exerts a force similar to the voltage of a battery. The response of the magnetic
Figure 6.6
Magnetic Reluctance
Crankshaft Position
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The voltage generated by
the magnetic reluctance
position sensor is determined by the strength of
the magnetic flux. When
a tab on the steel disk
passes through the gap,
the flow of the magnetic
flux changes significantly.
circuit to the magnetic field intensity is described by the second quantity,
which is called magnetic flux. A line of constant magnetic flux is a closed path
through the magnetic material. The magnetic flux is similar to the current
that flows when a resistor is connected across a battery to form a closed
electrical circuit.
As we shall see, the voltage generated by the reluctance sensor is
determined by the strength of this magnetic flux. The strength of the
magnetic flux is, in turn, determined by the reluctance of the magnetic
circuit. Reluctance is to a magnetic circuit what resistance is to an electrical
The path for the magnetic flux of the reluctance sensor is illustrated in
Figure 6.7. The reluctance of a magnetic circuit is inversely proportional to the
magnetic permeability of the material along the path. The magnetic
permeability of steel is a few thousand times larger than air; therefore, the
reluctance of steel is much lower than air. Note that when one of the tabs of the
steel disk is located between the pole pieces of the magnet, a large part of the
gap between the pole pieces is filled by the steel. Since the steel has a lower
reluctance than air, the “flow” of magnetic flux increases to a relatively large
On the other hand, when a tab is not between the magnet pole pieces, the
gap is filled by air only. This creates a high-reluctance circuit for which the
magnetic flux is relatively small. Thus, the magnitude of the magnetic flux that
“flows” through the magnetic circuit depends on the position of the tab, which,
in turn, depends on the crankshaft angular position.
The magnetic flux is least when none of the tabs is near the magnet pole
pieces. As a tab begins to pass through the gap, the magnetic flux increases. It
Figure 6.7
Magnetic Circuit of
the Reluctance
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The voltage induced in
the sensing coil varies
with the rate of change
of the magnetic flux.
When the tab is centered
between the poles of the
magnet, the voltage is
zero because the flux is
not changing.
reaches a maximum when the tab is exactly between the pole pieces, and then
decreases as the tab passes out of the pole piece region. In most control systems,
the position of maximum magnetic flux has a fixed relationship to TDC for one
of the cylinders.
The change in magnetic flux induces a voltage, Vo, in the sensing coil that
is proportional to the rate of change of the magnetic flux. Since the magnetic
flux must be changing to induce a voltage in the sensing coil, its output voltage
is zero whenever the engine is not running, regardless of the position of the
crankshaft. This is a serious disadvantage for this type of sensor because the
engine timing cannot be set statically.
As shown in Figure 6.8, the coil voltage, Vo, begins to increase from zero
as a tab begins to pass between the pole pieces, reaches a maximum, then falls to
zero when the tab is exactly between the pole pieces (see Figure 6.8a). (Note
that although the value of magnetic flux is maximum at this point, the rate of
change of magnetic flux is zero; therefore, the induced voltage in the sensing
coil is zero.) Then it increases with the opposite polarity, reaches a maximum,
and falls to zero as the tab passes out of the gap between the pole pieces. The
coil voltage waveform shown in Figure 6.8b occurs each time one of the
Figure 6.8
Output Voltage
Waveform from the
Magnetic Reluctance
Crankshaft Position
Sensor Coil
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cylinders reaches TDC on its power stroke. It should be noted that if the disk is
mounted on the crankshaft, then the number of tabs for this crankshaft
position sensor always will be half the number of cylinders because it takes two
crankshaft rotations for a complete engine cycle.
Engine Speed Sensor
Engine speed can be calculated in a number of
ways. Digital circuits use
counters and crankshaft
sensors to calculate
actual engine speed.
An engine speed sensor is needed to provide an input for the electronic
controller for several functions. The position sensor discussed previously can
be used to measure engine speed. The reluctance sensor is used in this case as
an example; however, any of the other position sensor techniques could be
used as well. Refer to Figure 6.6 and notice that the four tabs will pass
through the sensing coil once for each crankshaft revolution. Therefore, if
we count the pulses of voltage from the sensing coil in one minute and
divide by four, we will know the engine speed in revolutions per minute
This is easy to do with digital circuits. Precise timing circuits such as those
used in digital watches can start a counter circuit that will count pulses until the
timing circuit stops it. The counter can have the divide-by-four function
included in it, or a separate divider circuit may be used. In many cases, the
actual RPM sensor disk is mounted near the flywheel and has many more than
four tabs; in such cases, the counter does not actually count for a full minute
before the speed is calculated, but the results are the same.
Timing Sensor for Ignition and Fuel Delivery
In electronic engine control it is often desirable to measure the angular
position of the engine relative to a specific point in the cycle. For such
measurement it is normally necessary to measure the position of the camshaft.
The measurement of engine position via crankshaft and camshaft position
sensors (as well as its use in timing fuel delivery and ignition) is described in
Chapter 7. Normally it is sufficient to measure camshaft position at a fixed
point. Such a sample of camshaft position is readily achieved by a magnetic
sensor similar to that described above for the crankshaft position
This sensor detects a reference point on the angular position of the
camshaft that defines a beginning to a complete engine cycle (e.g., power stroke
for all cylinders). Once this reference point has been detected, crankshaft
position measurements (as described above) provide sufficient information for
timing fuel injection pulses and ignition.
In one scheme a variable-reluctance sensor is located near a
ferromagnetic disk on the camshaft. This disk has a notch cut (or it can have
a protruding tab), as shown in Figure 6.9. The disk provides a low-reluctance
path (yielding high magnetic flux) except when the notch aligns with the
sensor axis. Whenever the notch aligns with the sensor axis, the reluctance of
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Figure 6.9
Crankshaft Position
The notched position
sensor uses an effect
opposite to that of the
tab position sensor. As a
notch in a rotating steel
disk passes by a variable-reluctance sensor,
the decrease in magnetic
flux generates a voltage
pulse in the sensor coil.
The Hall element is a
thin slab of semiconductor material that is placed
between the magnets so
it can sense the magnetic
flux variations as the tab
passes. A constant current is passed through the
semiconductor in one
direction, and a voltage is
generated that varies with
the strength of the magnetic flux.
this magnetic path is increased because the permeability of air in the notch is
very much lower than the permeability of the disk. This relatively high
reluctance through the notch causes the magnetic flux to decrease and
produces a change in sensor output voltage.
As the camshaft rotates, the notch passes under the sensor once for every
two crankshaft revolutions. The magnetic flux abruptly decreases, then
increases as the notch passes the sensor. This generates a voltage pulse that can
be used in electronic control systems for timing purposes.
Hall-Effect Position Sensor
As mentioned previously, one of the main disadvantages of the magnetic
reluctance sensor is its lack of output when the engine isn’t running. A
crankshaft position sensor that avoids this problem is the Hall-effect position
sensor. This sensor can be used to measure either camshaft position or
crankshaft position.
A Hall-effect position sensor is shown in Figure 6.10. This sensor is
similar to the reluctance sensor in that it employs a steel disk having protruding
tabs and a magnet for coupling the disk to the sensing element. Another
similarity is that the steel disk varies the reluctance of the magnetic path as the
tabs pass between the magnet pole pieces.
The Hall Effect
The Hall element is a small, thin, flat slab of semiconductor material.
When a current, I, is passed through this slab by means of an external circuit
as shown in Figure 6.11a, a voltage is developed across the slab
perpendicular to the direction of current flow and perpendicular to the
direction of magnetic flux. This voltage is proportional to both the current
and magnetic flux density that flows through the slab. This effect—the
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Figure 6.10
Hall-Effect Position
generation of a voltage that is dependent on a magnetic field—is called the
Hall effect.
In Figure 6.11b, the current, I, is represented by electrons, e, which
have negative charge, flowing from left to right. The magnetic flux flows
along the legs of the magnet as indicated and is generally perpendicular to
the face of the semiconductor Hall element. Whenever an electron moves
through a magnetic field, a force (called the Lorentz force) that is
proportional to the electron velocity and the strength of the magnetic flux is
exerted on the electron. The direction of this force is perpendicular to the
direction in which the electron is moving. In Figure 6.11b, the Lorentz force
direction is such that the electrons are deflected toward the lower sense
electrode. Thus, this electrode is more negative than the upper electrode and
a voltage exists between the electrodes, having the polarity shown in Figure
As the strength of the magnetic flux density increases, more of the
electrons are deflected downward. If the current, I, is held constant, then the
voltage, Vo, is proportional to the strength of the magnetic flux density, which,
in turn, is determined by the position of the tabs. This voltage tends to be
relatively weak so it is amplified, as shown in Figure 6.10.
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Figure 6.11
The Hall Effect
Output Waveform
Because the Hall-effect
sensor produces the
same output voltage
waveform regardless of
engine speed, the engine
timing can be set when
the engine is not running.
It was shown in the discussion of the reluctance crankshaft position sensor
that the magnetic flux density for this configuration depends on the position of
the tab. Recall that the magnetic flux is largest when one of the tabs is
positioned symmetrically between the magnet pole pieces and that this position
normally corresponds closely to TDC of one of the cylinders.
The voltage waveform Vo that is produced by the Hall element in the
position sensor of Figure 6.10 is illustrated in Figure 6.12. Since Vo is
proportional to the magnetic flux density, it reaches maximum when any of
the tabs is symmetrically located between the magnet pole pieces
(corresponding to TDC of a cylinder). If the disk is driven by the camshaft,
then the disk must have as many tabs as the engine has cylinders. Therefore,
the disk shown would be for a 4-cylinder engine. It is important to realize
that voltage output versus crankshaft angle is independent of engine speed.
Thus, this sensor can be used for setting the engine timing when the engine
is not running (e.g., when it is being motored at the end of an assembly
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Figure 6.12
Waveform of Hall
Element Output
Voltage for Position
Sensor of Figure 6.10
Shielded-Field Sensor
Figure 6.13 shows another concept that uses the Hall-effect element in a
way different from that just discussed. In this method, the Hall element is
normally exposed to a magnetic field and produces an output voltage. When
one of the tabs passes between the magnet and the sensor element, the low
reluctance of the tab and disk provides a path for the magnetic flux that
bypasses the Hall-effect sensor element, and the sensor output drops to near
zero. Note in Figure 6.13b that the waveform is just the opposite of the one in
Figure 6.12.
Figure 6.13
Hall-Effect Position
Sensor That Shields
the Magnetic Circuit
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Optical Crankshaft Position Sensor
In the optical crankshaft
position sensor, a disk
coupled to the crankshaft has holes to pass
light between the LED
and the phototransistor.
An output pulse is generated as each hole
passes the LED.
In a sufficiently clean environment a shaft position can also be sensed
using optical techniques. Figure 6.14 illustrates such a system. Again, as with
the magnetic system, a disk is directly coupled to the crankshaft. This time,
the disk has holes in it that correspond to the number of tabs on the disks of
the magnetic systems. Mounted on each side of the disk are fiber-optic light
pipes. The hole in the disk allows transmission of light through the light
pipes from the light-emitting diode (LED) source to the phototransistor
used as a light sensor. Light would not be transmitted from source to sensor
when there is no hole because the solid disk blocks the light. As shown in
Figure 6.14, the pulse of light is detected by the phototransistor and coupled
to an amplifier to obtain a satisfactory signal level. The output pulse level
can very easily be standard transistor logic levels of +2.4 V for the high level
Figure 6.14
Optical Position
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and +0.8 V for the low level. Used as pulses, the signals provide timereferenced pulses that can be signal processed easily with digital integrated
One of the problems with optical sensors is that they must be protected
from dirt and oil; otherwise, they will not work properly. They have the
advantages that they can sense position without the engine running and that
the pulse amplitude is constant with variation in speed.
Still another variable that must be measured for electronic engine
control is the throttle plate angular position. As explained in Chapter 1, the
throttle plate is linked mechanically to the accelerator pedal. When the driver
depresses the accelerator pedal, this linkage causes the throttle plate angle to
increase, allowing more air to enter the engine and thereby increasing engine
Measurement of the instantaneous throttle angle is important for control
purposes, as will be explained in Chapter 7. Most throttle angle sensors are
essentially potentiometers. A potentiometer consists of a resistor with a movable
contact, as illustrated in Figure 6.15.
Figure 6.15
Throttle Angle
Sensor: A
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A section of resistance material is placed in an arc around the pivot axis
for the movable contact. One end of the resistor is connected to ground, the
other to a fixed voltage V (e.g., 5 volts). The voltage at the contact point of the
movable contact is proportional to the angle (a) from the ground contact to the
movable contact. Thus,
v(a) = ka
where v(a) is the voltage at the contact point, k is a constant, and a is the angle
of the contact point from the ground connection.
This potentiometer can be used to measure any angular rotation. In
particular, it is well suited for measuring throttle angle. The only disadvantage
to the potentiometer for automotive applications is its analog output. For
digital engine control, the voltage v(a) must be converted to digital format
using an analog-to-digital converter.
Temperature is an important parameter throughout the automotive
system. In operation of an electronic fuel control system it is vital to know the
temperature of the coolant, the temperature of the inlet air, and the
temperature of the exhaust gas oxygen sensor (a sensor to be discussed in the
next section). Several sensor configurations are available for measuring these
temperatures, but we can illustrate the basic operation of most of the
temperature sensors by explaining the operation of a typical coolant sensor.
Typical Coolant Sensor
One kind of coolant sensor uses a temperaturesensitive semiconductor
called a thermistor. The
sensor is typically connected as a varying resistance across a fixed
reference voltage. As the
temperature increases,
the output voltage
A typical coolant sensor, shown in Figure 6.16, consists of a thermistor
mounted in a housing that is designed to be inserted in the coolant stream. This
housing is typically threaded with pipe threads that seal the assembly against
coolant leakage.
A thermistor is made of semiconductor material whose resistance varies
inversely with temperature. For example, at –40˚C a typical coolant sensor has
a resistance of 100,000 ohms. The resistance decreases to about 70,000 ohms at
The sensor is typically connected in an electrical circuit like that shown in
Figure 6.17, in which the coolant temperature sensor resistance is denoted RT .
This resistance is connected to a reference voltage through a fixed resistance R.
The sensor output voltage, VT , is given by the following equation:
V T = V -------------R + RT
The sensor output voltage varies inversely with temperature; that is, the output
voltage decreases as the temperature increases.
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Figure 6.16
Coolant Temperature
The sensors that we have discussed to this point have been part of the
open-loop (i.e., feedforward) control. We consider next sensors that are
appropriate for feedback engine control. Recall from Chapter 5 that feedback
control for fuel delivery is based on maintaining the air/fuel ratio at
stoichiometry (i.e., 14.7:1). The primary sensor for fuel control is the exhaust
gas oxygen sensor.
Exhaust Gas Oxygen Sensor
Recall from Chapter 5 that the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gas is
used as an indirect measurement of the air/fuel ratio. As a result, one of the
most significant automotive sensors in use today is the exhaust gas oxygen
(EGO) sensor. This sensor is often called a lambda sensor from the Greek letter
lambda (λ), which is commonly used to denote the equivalence ratio:
( air/fuel )
λ = -----------------------------------------------------------( air/fuel at stoichiometry )
Figure 6.17
Typical Coolant
Temperature Sensor
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The zirconium dioxide
EGO sensor uses zirconium dioxide sandwiched between two
platinum electrodes.
One electrode is exposed
to exhaust gas and the
other is exposed to normal air for reference.
Figure 6.18
Zirconium Dioxide
(ZrO2) EGO Sensor
Whenever the air/fuel ratio is at stoichiometry the value for λ is 1.
When the air–fuel mixture is too lean, the condition is represented by lambda
greater than one (denoted λ > 1). Conversely, when the air–fuel mixture is
too rich, the condition is represented by an equivalence ratio of lambda less
than one (λ < 1).
The two types of EGO sensors that have been used are based on the use
of active oxides of two types of materials. One uses zirconium dioxide (ZrO 2)
and the other uses titanium dioxide (TiO2). The former is the most
commonly used type today. Figure 6.18 is a photograph of a typical ZrO 2
EGO sensor and Figure 6.19 shows the physical structure. Figure 6.18
indicates that a voltage, Vo, is generated across the ZrO2 material. This
voltage depends on the exhaust gas oxygen concentration, which in turn
depends on the engine air/fuel ratio.
In essence, the EGO sensor consists of a thimble-shaped section of ZrO 2
with thin platinum electrodes on the inside and outside of the ZrO 2. The inside
electrode is exposed to air, and the outside electrode is exposed to exhaust gas
through a porous protective overcoat.
A simplified explanation of EGO sensor operation is based on the
distribution of oxygen ions. An ion is an electrically charged atom. Oxygen
ions have two excess electrons and each electron has a negative charge; thus,
oxygen ions are negatively charged. The ZrO2 has a tendency to attract the
oxygen ions, which accumulate on the ZrO2 surface just inside the platinum
The platinum plate on the air reference side of the ZrO2 is exposed to a
much higher concentration of oxygen ions than the exhaust gas side. The air
reference side becomes electrically more negative than the exhaust gas side;
therefore, an electric field exists across the ZrO2 material and a voltage, Vo,
results. The polarity of this voltage is positive on the exhaust gas side and
negative on the air reference side of the ZrO2. The magnitude of this voltage
depends on the concentration of oxygen in the exhaust gas and on the sensor
2735 | CH 6 Page 210 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Figure 6.19
EGO Mounting and
Because the exhaust contains fewer oxygen ions
than air, the “air” electrode becomes negative
with respect to the
“exhaust” electrode.
The quantity of oxygen in the exhaust gas is represented by the oxygen
partial pressure. Basically, this partial pressure is that proportion of the total
exhaust gas pressure (nearly at atmospheric pressure) that is due to the
quantity of oxygen. The exhaust gas oxygen partial pressure for a rich mixture
varies over the range of 10–16 to 10–32 of atmospheric pressure. The oxygen
partial pressure for a lean mixture is roughly 10 –2 atmosphere. Consequently,
for a rich mixture there is a relatively low oxygen concentration in the exhaust
and a higher EGO sensor output. Correspondingly, for a lean mixture the
exhaust gas oxygen concentration is relatively high (meaning that the
difference between exhaust gas and atmospheric oxygen concentrations is
lower), resulting in a relatively low EGO sensor output voltage. For a fully
warmed EGO sensor the output voltage is about 1 volt for a rich mixture and
about .1 volt for a lean mixture.
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Desirable EGO Characteristics
An ideal EGO sensor
would have an abrupt,
rapid, and significant
change in output voltage
as the mixture passes
through stoichiometry.
The output voltage
would not change as
exhaust gas temperature
The EGO sensor characteristics that are desirable for the type of limitcycle fuel control system that was discussed in Chapter 5 are as follows:
1. Abrupt change in voltage at stoichiometry
2. Rapid switching of output voltage in response to exhaust gas oxygen
3. Large difference in sensor output voltage between rich and lean mixture
4. Stable voltages with respect to exhaust temperature
Hysteresis is the difference
in the switching point of
the output voltage with
respect to stoichiometry
as a mixture passes from
lean to rich, as contrasted
to a mixture that passes
from rich to lean.
The switching time for the EGO sensor also must be considered in control
applications. An ideal characteristic for a limit-cycle controller is shown in Figure
6.20. The actual characteristics of a new EGO sensor are shown in Figure 6.21.
This data was obtained by slowly varying air/fuel ratios across stoichiometry. The
arrow pointing down indicates the change in Vo as the air/fuel ratio was varied
from rich to lean. The up arrow indicates the change in Vo as the air/fuel ratio
was varied from lean to rich. Note that the sensor output doesn’t change at
exactly the same point for increasing air/fuel ratio as for decreasing air/fuel ratio.
This phenomenon is called hysteresis.
Temperature affects switching times and output voltage. Switching times
at two temperatures are shown in Figure 6.22. Note that the time per division is
twice as much for the display at 350˚C as at 800˚C. This means that the
switching times are roughly 0.1 second at 350˚C, whereas at 800˚C they are
Switching Characteristics
Figure 6.20
Ideal EGO Switching
2735 | CH 6 Page 212 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Figure 6.21
Typical EGO Sensor
EGO sensors are not
used for control when
exhaust gas temperature
falls below 300˚C
because the voltage difference between rich and
lean conditions is minimal in this range.
about 0.05 second. This is a 2:1 change in switching times due to changing
The temperature dependence of the EGO sensor output voltage is very
important. The graph in Figure 6.23 shows the temperature dependence of an
EGO sensor output voltage for lean and rich mixtures and for two different load
resistances—5 megohms (5 million ohms) and 0.83 megohm. The EGO sensor
output voltage for a rich mixture is in the range of about 0.80 to 1.0 volt for an
exhaust temperature range of 350˚C to 800˚C. For a lean mixture, this voltage
is roughly in the range of 0.05 to 0.07 volt for the same temperature range.
Under certain conditions, the fuel control using an EGO sensor will be
operated in open-loop mode and for other conditions it will be operated in
closed-loop mode (as will be explained in Chapter 7). The EGO sensor should
not be used for control at temperatures below about 300˚C because the
difference between rich and lean voltages decreases rapidly with temperature in
this region. This important property of the sensor is partly responsible for the
requirement to operate the fuel control system in the open-loop mode at low
exhaust temperature. Closed-loop operation with the EGO output voltage used
as the error input cannot begin until the EGO sensor temperature exceeds
about 300˚C.
Heated EGO Sensors
The increasingly stringent exhaust emission requirements for automobiles
in the 1990s have forced automakers to shorten the time from engine start to
the point at which the EGO sensor is at operating temperature. This
requirement has led to the development of the heated exhaust gas oxygen
(HEGO) sensor. This sensor is electrically heated from start-up until it yields
an output signal of sufficient magnitude to be useful in closed-loop control.
2735 | CH 6 Page 213 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Figure 6.22
Typical Voltage
Characteristics of
EGO Sensor
The HEGO sensor includes a section of resistance material. Electrical
power from the car battery is applied at start-up, which quickly warms the
sensor to usable temperatures. This heating potentially shortens the time
interval until closed-loop operation is possible, thereby minimizing the time
during warm-up that air/fuel ratio deviates from stoichiometry and
correspondingly reducing undesirable exhaust gas emissions.
Knock Sensors
Another sensor having applications in closed-loop engine control is the
so-called knock sensor. As explained in Chapter 7, this sensor is employed in
closed-loop ignition timing to prevent undesirable knock. Although a more
detailed explanation of knock is given in Chapter 7, for the purposes of this
chapter it can be described generally as a rapid rise in cylinder pressure during
combustion. It does not occur normally, but only under special conditions. It
2735 | CH 6 Page 214 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Figure 6.23
Typical Influence of
Mixture and
Temperature on EGO
Output Voltage
Some engine knock sensors use rods within a
magnetic field to detect
the presence of knock.
Other use vibrationsensitive crystals or
occurs most commonly with high manifold pressure and excessive spark
advance. It is important to detect knock and avoid excessive knock; otherwise,
there may be damage to the engine.
One way of controlling knocking is to sense when knocking begins and
then retard the ignition until the knocking stops. A key to the control loop for
this method is a knock sensor. A knock sensor using magnetostrictive
techniques is shown in Figure 6.24. Magnetostriction is a phenomenon whereby
the magnetic properties of a material depend on stress (due to an applied force).
When sensing knock, the magnetostrictive rods, which are in a magnetic field,
change the flux field in the coil due to knock-induced forces. This change in
flux produces a voltage change in the coil. This voltage is used to sense excessive
knock (see Chapter 7). Other sensors use piezoelectric crystals or the
piezoresistance of a doped silicon semiconductor. Whichever type of sensor is
used, it forms a closed-loop system that retards the ignition to reduce the knock
detected at the cylinders. Systems using knock sensors are explained in Chapter
7. The problem of detecting knock is complicated by the presence of other
vibrations and noises in the engine.
2735 | CH 6 Page 215 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Figure 6.24
Knock Sensor
In addition to the set of sensors, electronic engine control is critically
dependent on a set of actuators to control air/fuel ratio, ignition, and EGR.
Each of these devices will be discussed separately.
In general, an actuator is a device that receives an electrical input (e.g.,
from the engine controller) and produces a mechanical or thermal (or other)
output. Examples of actuators include: various types of electric motors,
solenoids, and piezoelectric force generators. In automotive electronic systems
the solenoid is the most commonly used device because it is relatively simple
and inexpensive.
The solenoid is used in applications ranging from precise fuel control to
mundane applications such as electric door locks. A solenoid is in essence a
powerful electromagnet having a configuration generally similar to that
illustrated in Figure 6.25. The solenoid consists of a fixed steel (i.e.,
ferromagnetic) frame with a movable steel element. A spring holds the movable
element in position such that there is a gap between the end of the movable
element and the opening in the frame. A coil is wound around the steel frame,
forming a powerful electromagnet.
When a current passes through the coil, a magnetic field is created that
tends to pull the movable element toward the steel frame. When the magnetic
field, which is proportional to the current, is sufficient to overcome the force at
the spring holding the movable element, then it begins to move toward the
frame. As this element moves, the size of the gap is reduced, causing an increase
in the strength of the magnetic field. This increase causes the movable element
to accelerate toward the frame until it reaches the stop.
This abrupt motion of the movable element is essentially in the form of a
mechanical switching action such that the solenoid tends to be either in its rest
position (as held by the spring) or against the mechanical stop. The movable
2735 | CH 6 Page 216 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
element is typically connected to a mechanism that is correspondingly moved
by the snap action of this element. Applications of solenoids in automotive
electronics include fuel injectors and EGR valves.
Fuel Injection
A fuel injector is (in essence) a solenoid-operated valve. The valve opens
or closes to permit or block fuel flow to the engine. The valve is attached to the
movable element of the solenoid and is switched by the solenoid activation
(Figure 6.25).
In a fuel injector with no current flowing, the solenoid movable element
is held down against the stop, covering the aperture or nozzle. Fuel is thereby
blocked from flowing from the pressurized fuel chamber into the aperture.
When current flows through the solenoid coil, the movable element is switched
Figure 6.25
Schematic Drawing of
a Solenoid
2735 | CH 6 Page 217 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
upward, the aperture is exposed, and fuel (under pressure) sprays through this
The fuel flow rate through the nozzle is constant for a given regulated fuel
pressure and nozzle geometry; therefore, the quantity of fuel injected into the
air stream is proportional to the time the valve is open. The control current that
operates the fuel injector is pulsed on and off to deliver precise quantities of
Fuel Injector Signal
Consider an idealized fuel injector as shown in Figure 6.26, in which the
injector is open when the applied voltage is on and is closed when the applied
voltage is off. In this idealization, the control voltage operating the fuel injector
is a binary pulse train (i.e., either on or off ). For a pulse train signal, the ratio of
on time t to the period of the pulse T (on time plus off time) is called the duty
cycle. This is shown in Figure 6.27. The fuel injector is energized for time t to
allow fuel to spray from the nozzle into the air stream going to the intake
manifold. The injector is deenergized for the remainder of the period.
Therefore, a low duty cycle, as seen in Figure 6.27a, is used for a high air/fuel
ratio (lean mixture), and a high duty cycle (Figure 6.27b) is used for a low air/
fuel ratio (rich mixture).
Figure 6.26
Schematic Drawing of
Fuel Injector
2735 | CH 6 Page 218 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Figure 6.27
Pulse Mode Fuel
Control Signal to Fuel
Exhaust Gas Recirculation Actuator
In Chapter 5 it was explained that exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) is
utilized to reduce NOx emissions. The amount of EGR is regulated by the
engine controller, as explained in Chapter 7. When the correct amount of EGR
has been determined by the controller based on measurements from the various
engine control sensors, the controller sends an electrical signal to the EGR
actuator. Typically, this actuator is a variable-position valve that regulates the
EGR as a function of intake manifold pressure and exhaust gas pressure.
Although there are many EGR configurations, only one representative
example will be discussed to explain the basic operation of this type of actuator.
The example EGR actuator is shown schematically in Figure 6.28. This
actuator is a vacuum-operated diaphragm valve with a spring that holds the
valve closed if no vacuum is applied. The vacuum that operates the diaphragm
2735 | CH 6 Page 219 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Figure 6.28
EGR Actuator Control
One kind of EGR actuator consists of a vacuumoperated valve with the
vacuum supply controlled by a solenoid.
When the EGR valve is
open, exhaust gas flows
into the intake manifold.
is supplied by the intake manifold and is controlled by a solenoid-operated
valve. This solenoid valve is controlled by the output of the control system.
This solenoid operates essentially the same as that explained in the
discussion on fuel injectors. Whenever the solenoid is energized (i.e., by current
supplied by the control system flowing through the coil), the EGR valve is
opened by the applied vacuum.
The amount of valve opening is determined by the average pressure on
the vacuum side of the diaphragm. This pressure is regulated by pulsing the
solenoid with a variable-duty-cycle electrical control current. The duty cycle
(see discussion on fuel injectors) of this pulsing current controls the average
pressure in the chamber that affects the diaphragm deflection, thereby
regulating the amount of EGR.
Ignition System
The equivalent of an actuator for the ignition system on an engine is the
combination of the spark plug, the ignition coil, and driver electronic circuits.
2735 | CH 6 Page 220 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
This is the subsystem that receives the electrical signal from the engine
controller and delivers as its output the spark that ignites the mixture during
the end of the compression stroke (see Chapter 1).
Figure 6.29 is a block diagram schematic drawing illustrating this
subsystem. The primary circuit of the coil (depicted as the left portion P of the
coil in Figure 6.29) is connected to the battery and through a power transistor
to ground. For convenience, the collector, emitter, and base are denoted c, e,
and b respectively (see Chapter 3). The coil secondary S is connected to one or
more spark plugs, as explained in Chapter 7.
The electronic controller supplies base current to the power transistor,
rendering it fully conductive (i.e., in saturation). When it is conducting, the
transistor acts essentially like a closed switch. A relatively large current
(denoted Ip) flows through the primary windings of the coil (P), creating a
relatively large magnetic field that is linked to the secondary coil. At the
appropriate time for ignition the controller switches off the base current,
causing the transistor to be nonconducting. At this instant the primary current
drops to zero very quickly, causing the magnetic field strength to drop rapidly
The very rapid drop in the magnetic field (linked to the secondary S)
generates a very high voltage (30,000 to 50,000 volts), which, in turn, creates
the spark across the spark plug electrodes, igniting the mixture and, finally,
initiating the power stroke for the engine. It should be noted that the coil
secondary is connected to a pair of spark plugs in Figure 6.29. Firing a pair of
spark plugs on two separate cylinders has become commonplace today (see
Chapters 1 and 7).
Figure 6.29
Electronic Ignition
2735 | CH 6 Page 221 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
Quiz for Chapter 6
1. What does a sensor do?
a. it selects transmission gear
b. it measures some variable
c. it is an output device
d. it sends signals to the driver
2. What does an actuator do?
a. it is an input device for an
engine control system
b. it provides a mathematical
model for an engine
c. it causes an action to be
performed in response to an
electrical signal
d. it indicates the results of a
3. What is a MAP sensor?
a. a sensor that measures
manifold absolute pressure
b. a vacation route planning
c. a measurement of fluctuations
in manifold air
d. an acronym for mean
atmospheric pressure
4. What is an EGO sensor?
a. a measure of the self-
centeredness of the driver
b. a device for measuring the
oxygen concentration in the
exhaust of an engine
c. a spark advance mechanism
d. a measure of crankshaft
5. The crankshaft angular position
sensor measures
a. the angle between the
connecting rods and the
b. the angle between a line
drawn through the crankshaft
axis and a mark on the
flywheel and a reference line
c. the pitch angle of the
d. the oil pressure angle
6. The Hall effect is
a. the resonance of a long,
narrow corridor
b. the flow of air through the
intake manifold
c. zero crossing error in camshaft
position measurements
d. a phenomenon occurring in
semiconductor materials in
which a voltage is generated
that is proportional to the
strength of a magnetic field
7. A mass air flow sensor measures
a. the density of atmospheric
b. the composition of air
c. the rate at which air is flowing
into an engine measured in
terms of its mass
d. the flow of exhaust out of the
2735 | CH 6 Page 222 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:10 PM
8. A thermistor is
a. a semiconductor temperature
b. a device for regulating engine
c. a temperature control system
for the passenger
d. a new type of transistor
9. Piezoresistivity is
a. a property of certain
semiconductors in which
resistivity varies with strain
b. a resistance property of
c. metal bonding pads
d. an Italian resistor
10. Reluctance is
a. the reciprocal of permeability
b. a property of a magnetic
circuit that is analogous to
resistance in an electrical
c. a line of constant magnetic
d. none of the above
11. An optical crankshaft position
a. senses crankshaft angular
b. operates by alternately passing
or stopping a beam of light
from a source to an optical
c. operates in a pulsed mode
d. all of the above
12. The resistance of a thermistor
a. varies inversely with
b. varies directly with
c. is always 100,000 ohms
d. none of the above
13. Duty cycle in a fuel injector
actuator refers to the ratio of
a. fuel on time to fuel off time
b. fuel off time to fuel on time
c. fuel on time to fuel on time
plus fuel off time
d. none of the above
14. An EGO sensor is
a. a perfectly linear sensor
b. a sensor having two different
output levels depending on
air/fuel ratio
c. unaffected by exhaust oxygen
d. unaffected by temperature
15. A potentiometer is
a. a variable-resistance circuit
b. sometimes used to sense air
c. usable in a throttle angle
d. all of the above
2735 | CH 7 Page 223 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
Digital Engine Control
Chapter 5 discussed some of the fundamental issues involved in electronic
engine control. This chapter explores some practical digital control systems.
There is, of course, considerable variation in the configuration and control
concept from one manufacturer to another. However, this chapter describes
representative control systems that are not necessarily based on the system of
any given manufacturer, thereby giving the reader an understanding of the
configuration and operating principles of a generic representative system. As
such, the systems in this discussion are a compilation of the features used by
several manufacturers.
In Chapter 5, engine control was discussed with respect to continuoustime representation. In fact, most modern engine control systems, such as
discussed in this chapter, are digital. A typical engine control system
incorporates a microprocessor and is essentially a special-purpose computer.
Electronic engine control has evolved from a relatively rudimentary fuel
control system employing discrete analog components to the highly precise fuel
and ignition control through 32-bit microprocessor-based integrated digital
electronic power train control. The motivation for development of the more
sophisticated digital control systems has been the increasingly stringent exhaust
emission and fuel economy regulations. It has proven to be cost effective to
implement the power train controller as a multimode computer-based system
to satisfy these requirements.
A multimode controller operates in one of many possible modes, and,
among other tasks, changes the various calibration parameters as operating
conditions change in order to optimize performance. To implement multimode
control in analog electronics it would be necessary to change hardware parameters
(for example, via switching systems) to accommodate various operating conditions.
In a computer-based controller, however, the control law and system parameters
are changed via program (i.e., software) control. The hardware remains fixed but
the software are reconfigured in accordance with operating conditions as
determined by sensor measurements and switch inputs to the controller.
This chapter will explain how the microcontroller under program control
is responsible for generating the electrical signals that operate the fuel injectors
and trigger the ignition pulses. This chapter also discusses secondary functions
(including management of secondary air that must be provided to the catalytic
converter EGR regulation and evaporative emission control) that have not been
discussed in detail before.
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Recall from Chapter 5 that the primary purpose of the electronic engine
control system is to regulate the mixture (i.e., air–fuel), the ignition timing, and
EGR. Virtually all major manufacturers of cars sold in the United States (both
foreign and domestic) use the three-way catalyst for meeting exhaust emission
constraints. For such cars, the air/fuel ratio is held as closely as possible to the
stoichiometric value of about 14.7 for as much of the time as possible. Ignition
timing and EGR are controlled separately to optimize performance and fuel
Figure 7.1 illustrates the primary components of an electronic engine control
system. In this figure, the engine control system is a microcontroller, typically
implemented with a specially designed microprocessor and operating under
program control. Typically, the controller incorporates hardware multiply and
ROM (see Chapter 4). The hardware multiply greatly speeds up the multiplication
operation required at several stages of engine control relative to software
multiplication routines, which are generally cumbersome and slow. The associated
ROM contains the program for each mode as well as calibration parameters and
Figure 7.1
Components of an Electronically Controlled Engine
2735 | CH 7 Page 225 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
lookup tables. The earliest such systems incorporated 8-bit microprocessors,
although the trend is toward implementation with 32-bit microprocessors. The
microcontroller under program control generates output electrical signals to
operate the fuel injectors so as to maintain stoichiometric mixture and ignition to
optimize performance. The correct stoichiometric mixture is obtained by
regulating the quantity of fuel delivered into each cylinder during the intake stroke
in accordance with the air mass, as explained in Chapter 5.
In determining the correct fuel flow, the controller obtains a measurement
or estimate of the mass air flow rate into the cylinder. As explained in Chapter
5, the measurement is obtained using a mass air flow sensor (MAF).
Alternatively, the mass air flow rate is estimated (calculated) using the speeddensity method, also explained in Chapter 5. This estimate can be found from
measurement of the intake manifold absolute pressure (MAP), the RPM, and
the inlet air temperature.
Using this measurement or estimate, the quantity of fuel to be delivered is
determined by the controller in accordance with the instantaneous control
mode. The quantity of fuel delivered by the fuel injector is determined by the
operation of the fuel injector. As explained in Chapter 6, a fuel injector is
essentially a solenoid-operated valve. Fuel that is supplied to each injector from
the fuel pump is supplied to each fuel injector at a regulated fuel pressure.
When the injector valve is opened, fuel flows at a rate Rf (in gal/sec) that is
determined by the (constant) regulated pressure and by the geometry of the fuel
injector valve. The quantity of fuel F delivered to any cylinder is proportional
to the time T that this valve is opened:
F = Rf T
The engine control system, then, determines the correct quantity of fuel to be
delivered to each cylinder (for a stoichiometric mixture) via measurement of
mass air flow rate. The controller then generates an electrical signal that opens
the fuel injector valve for the appropriate time interval T to deliver this desired
fuel quantity to the cylinder such that a stoichiometric air/fuel ratio is
The controller also determines the correct time for fuel delivery to
correspond to the intake stroke for the relevant cylinder. This timing is
determined by measurements of crankshaft and camshaft position using sensors
such as those described in Chapter 6.
The engine control system is responsible for controlling fuel and ignition
for all possible engine operating conditions. However, there are a number of
distinct categories of engine operation, each of which corresponds to a separate
and distinct operating mode for the engine control system. The differences
between these operating modes are sufficiently great that different software is
2735 | CH 7 Page 226 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
Engines have different
modes of operation as
the operating conditions change. Seven different modes of
operation commonly
affect fuel control.
During engine crank
and engine warm-up
modes, the controller
holds the air/fuel ratio to
a purposely low value (a
rich fuel mixture).
used for each. The control system must determine the operating mode from the
existing sensor data and call the particular corresponding software routine.
For a typical engine there are seven different engine operating modes that
affect fuel control: engine crank, engine warm-up, open-loop control, closed-loop
control, hard acceleration, deceleration, and idle. The program for mode control
logic determines the engine operating mode from sensor data and timers.
In the earliest versions of electronic fuel control systems, the fuel metering
actuator typically consisted of one or two fuel injectors mounted near the
throttle plate so as to deliver fuel into the throttle body. These throttle body
fuel injectors (TBFI) were in effect an electromechanical replacement for the
carburetor. Requirements for the TBFI were such that they only had to deliver
fuel at the correct average flow rate for any given mass air flow. Mixing of the
fuel and air, as well as distribution to the individual cylinders, took place in the
intake manifold system.
The more stringent exhaust emissions regulations of the late 1980s and
the 1990s have demanded more precise fuel delivery than can normally be
achieved by TBFI. These regulations and the need for improved performance
have led to timed sequential port fuel injection (TSPFI). In such a system there
is a fuel injector for each cylinder that is mounted so as to spray fuel directly
into the intake of the associated cylinder. Fuel delivery is timed to occur during
the intake stroke for that cylinder.
The digital engine control system requires sensors for measuring the
engine variables and parameters discussed in Chapter 5. Referring to Figure
7.1, the set of sensors may include, for example, mass air flow (MAF), exhaust
gas oxygen concentration (EGO), and crankshaft angular position (CPS), as
well as RPM, camshaft position (possibly a single reference point for each
engine cycle), coolant temperature (CT), throttle plate angular position (TPS),
intake air temperature, and exhaust pressure ratio (EPR) for EGR control.
In the example configuration of Figure 7.1, fuel delivery is assumed to be
TSPFI (i.e., via individual fuel injectors located so as to spray fuel directly into
the intake port and timed to coincide with the intake stroke). Air flow
measurement is via an MAF sensor. In addition to MAF, sensors are available
for the measurement of exhaust gas oxygen (EGO) concentration, RPM, inlet
air and coolant temperatures, throttle position, crankshaft (and possibly
camshaft) position, and exhaust differential pressure (for EGR calculation).
Some engine controllers involve vehicle speed sensors and various switches to
identify brake on/off and the transmission gear, depending on the particular
control strategy employed.
When the ignition key is switched on initially, the mode control logic
automatically selects an engine start control scheme that provides the low air/
fuel ratio required for starting the engine. Once the engine RPM rises above the
cranking value, the controller identifies the “engine started” mode and passes
control to the program for the engine warm-up mode. This operating mode
keeps the air/fuel ratio low to prevent engine stall during cool weather until the
2735 | CH 7 Page 227 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
After warm-up, the controller switches to openloop control until accurate readings can be
obtained from the EGO
sensor. The controller
then changes to, and
remains in, closed-loop
mode under ordinary
driving conditions.
During conditions of
hard acceleration or
deceleration, the controller adjusts the air/
fuel ratio as needed.
During idle periods, the
controller adjusts engine
speed to reduce engine
roughness and stalling.
engine coolant temperature rises above some minimum value. The particular
value for the minimum coolant temperature is specific to any given engine and,
in particular, to the fuel metering system. (Alternatively, the low air/fuel ratio
may be maintained for a fixed time interval following start, depending on startup engine temperature.)
When the coolant temperature rises sufficiently, the mode control logic
directs the system to operate in the open-loop control mode until the EGO
sensor warms up enough to provide accurate readings. This condition is detected
by monitoring the EGO sensor’s output for voltage readings above a certain
minimum rich air/fuel mixture voltage set point. When the sensor has indicated
rich at least once and after the engine has been in open loop for a specific time,
the control mode selection logic selects the closed-loop mode for the system.
(Note: other criteria may also be used.) The engine remains in the closed-loop
mode until either the EGO sensor cools and fails to read a rich mixture for a
certain length of time or a hard acceleration or deceleration occurs. If the sensor
cools, the control mode logic selects the open-loop mode again.
During hard acceleration or heavy engine load, the control mode selection
logic chooses a scheme that provides a rich air/fuel mixture for the duration of
the acceleration or heavy load. This scheme provides maximum torque but
relatively poor emissions control and poor fuel economy regulation as compared
with a stoichiometric air/fuel ratio. After the need for enrichment has passed,
control is returned to either open-loop or closed-loop mode, depending on the
control mode logic selection conditions that exist at that time.
During periods of deceleration, the air/fuel ratio is increased to reduce
emissions of HC and CO due to unburned excess fuel. When idle conditions
are present, control mode logic passes system control to the idle speed control
mode. In this mode, the engine speed is controlled to reduce engine roughness
and stalling that might occur because the idle load has changed due to air
conditioner compressor operation, alternator operation, or gearshift
positioning from park/neutral to drive, although stoichiometric mixture is used
if the engine is warm.
In modern engine control systems, the controller is a special-purpose
digital computer built around a microprocessor. A block diagram of a typical
modern digital engine control system is depicted in Figure 7.2. The controller
also includes ROM containing the main program (of several thousand lines of
code) as well as RAM for temporary storage of data during computation. The
sensor signals are connected to the controller via an input/output (I/O)
subsystem. Similarly, the I/O subsystem provides the output signals to drive the
fuel injectors (shown as the fuel metering block of Figure 7.2) as well as to
trigger pulses to the ignition system (described later in this chapter). In
addition this solid-state control system includes hardware for sampling and
analog-to-digital conversion such that all sensor measurements are in a format
suitable for reading by the microprocessor. (Note: see Chapter 4 for a detailed
discussion of these components.)
2735 | CH 7 Page 228 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
Figure 7.2
Digital Engine Control System Diagram
The sensors that measure various engine variables for control are as
Mass air flow sensor
Engine temperature as represented by coolant temperature
(One or two) heated exhaust gas oxygen sensor(s)
POS/RPM Crankshaft angular positon and RPM sensor cycle
Camshaft position sensor for determining start of each
engine cycle
Throttle position sensor
Differential pressure sensor (exhaust to intake) for EGR
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The control system selects an operating mode based on the instantaneous
operating condition as determined from the sensor measurements. Within any
given operating mode the desired air/fuel ratio (A/F )d is selected. The
controller then determines the quantity of fuel to be injected into each cylinder
during each engine cycle. This quantity of fuel depends on the particular engine
operating condition as well as the controller mode of operation, as will
presently be explained.
Engine Crank
During engine crank,
the controller compares
the value from the coolant temperature sensor
with values stored in a
lookup table to determine the correct air/fuel
ratio at that temperature.
While the engine is being cranked, the fuel control system must provide
an intake air/fuel ratio of anywhere from 2:1 to 12:1, depending on engine
temperature. The correct air/fuel ratio (i.e., [A/F]d) is selected from a ROM
lookup table as a function of coolant temperature. Low temperatures affect the
ability of the fuel metering system to atomize or mix the incoming air and fuel.
At low temperatures, the fuel tends to form into large droplets in the air, which
do not burn as efficiently as tiny droplets. The larger fuel droplets tend to
increase the apparent air/fuel ratio, because the amount of usable fuel (on the
surface of the droplets) in the air is reduced; therefore, the fuel metering system
must provide a decreased air/fuel ratio to provide the engine with a more
combustible air/fuel mixture. During engine crank the primary issue is to
achieve engine start as rapidly as possible. Once the engine is started the
controller switches to an engine warm-up mode.
Engine Warm-Up
The controller selects a
warm-up time from a
lookup table based on
the temperature of the
coolant. During engine
warm-up the air/fuel
ratio is still rich, but it is
changed by the controller as the coolant temperature increases.
While the engine is warming up, an enriched air/fuel ratio is still needed
to keep it running smoothly, but the required air/fuel ratio changes as the
temperature increases. Therefore, the fuel control system stays in the open-loop
mode, but the air/fuel ratio commands continue to be altered due to the
temperature changes. The emphasis in this control mode is on rapid and
smooth engine warm-up. Fuel economy and emission control are still a
secondary concern.
A diagram illustrating the lookup table selection of desired air/fuel ratios
is shown in Figure 7.3. Essentially, the measured coolant temperature (CT) is
converted to an address for the lookup table. This address is supplied to the
ROM table via the system address bus (A/B). The data stored at this address in
the ROM is the desired air/fuel ratio (A/F )d for that temperature. This data is
sent to the controller via the system data bus (D/B).
There is always the possibility of a coolant temperature failure. Such a
failure could result in excessively rich or lean mixtures, which can seriously
degrade the performance of both the engine and the three-way catalytic
converter (3wcc). One scheme that can circumvent a temperature sensor failure
involves having a time function to limit the duration of the engine warm-up
mode. The nominal time to warm the engine from cold soak at various
temperatures is known. The controller is configured to switch from engine
2735 | CH 7 Page 230 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
Figure 7.3
Illustration of
Lookup Table for
Desired Air/Fuel
warm-up mode to an open-loop (warmed-up engine) mode after a sufficient
time by means of an internal timer.
It is worthwhile at this point to explain how the quantity of fuel to be
injected is determined. This method is implemented in essentially all operating
modes and is described here as a generic method, even though each engine
control scheme may vary somewhat from the following. The quantity of fuel to
be injected during the intake stroke of any given cylinder (which we call F) is
determined by the mass of air (A) drawn into that cylinder (i.e., the air charge)
during that intake stroke. That quantity of fuel is given by the air charge
divided by the desired air/fuel ratio:
F = ----------------(A ⁄ F ) d
The quantity of air drawn into the cylinder, A, is computed from the mass air
flow rate and the RPM. The mass air flow rate (MAF) will be given in kg/sec. If
the engine speed in revolutions/minute is RPM, then the number of
revolutions/second (which we call r) is
r = -----------60
Then, the mass air flow is distributed approximately uniformly to half the
cylinders during each revolution. If the number of cylinders is N then the air
charge (mass) in each cylinder during one revolution is
A = -----------------r (N ⁄ 2)
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In this case, the mass of fuel delivered to each cylinder is
F = -----------------------------------r ( N ⁄ 2 ) ( A ⁄ F )d
This computation is carried out by the controller continuously so that the fuel
quantity can be varied quickly to accommodate rapid changes in engine
operating condition. The fuel injector pulse duration T corresponding to this
fuel quantity is computed using the known fuel injector delivery rate R f :
T = ---Rf
This pulse width is known as the base pulse width. The actual pulse width used
is modified from this according to the mode of operation at any time, as will
presently be explained.
Open-Loop Control
After engine warm-up,
open-loop control is
used. The most popular
method uses the mass
density equation to calculate the amount of air
entering the intake manifold.
For a warmed-up engine, the controller will operate in an open loop if
the closed-loop mode is not available for any reason. For example, the engine
may be warmed sufficiently but the EGO sensor may not provide a usable
signal. In any event, as soon as possible it is important to have a stoichiometric
mixture to minimize exhaust emissions. The base pulse width Tb is computed
as described above, except that the desired air/fuel ratio (A/F )d is 14.7
T b = --------------------------------------r ( N ⁄ s ) ( 14.7 )R f
base pulse width
Corrections of the base pulse width occur whenever anything affects the
accuracy of the fuel delivery. For example, low battery voltage might affect the
pressure in the fuel rail that delivers fuel to the fuel injectors. Corrections to the
base pulse width are then made using the actual battery voltage.
As explained in Chapter 5, an alternate method of computing mass air
flow rate is the speed-density method. Although the speed-density method has
essentially been replaced by direct mass air flow measurements, there will
continue to be a number of cars employing this method for years to come, so it
is arguably worthwhile to include a brief discussion in this chapter. This
method, which is illustrated in Figure 7.4, is based on measurements of
manifold absolute pressure (MAP), RPM, and intake air temperature Ti. The
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Figure 7.4
Engine Control System Using the Speed-Density Method
air density da is computed from MAP and Ti, and the volume flow rate Rv of
combined air and EGR is computed from RPM and volumetric efficiency, the
latter being a function of MAP and RPM. The volume rate for air is found by
subtracting the EGR volume flow rate from the combined air and EGR.
Finally, the mass air flow rate is computed as the product of the volume flow
rate for air and the intake air density. Given the complexity of the speed-density
method it is easy to see why automobile manufacturers would choose the direct
mass air flow measurement once a cost-effective mass air flow sensor became
The speed-density method can be implemented either by computation in
the engine control computer or via lookup tables. Figure 7.5 is an illustration of
the lookup table implementation. In this figure, three variables need to be
determined: volumetric efficiency (nv), intake density (da), and EGR volume
2735 | CH 7 Page 233 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
Figure 7.5
Lookup Table Determination of da, RE, and nv
flow rate (RE ). The volumetric efficiency is read from ROM with an address
determined from RPM and MAP measurements. The intake air density is read
from another section of ROM with an address determined from MAP and Ti
measurements. The EGR volume flow rate is read from still another section of
ROM with an address determined from differential pressure (DP) and EGR
valve position. These variables are combined to yield the mass air flow rate:
MAF = d a  ------------  ---- n v – R E
 60   2 
where D is the engine displacement.
Closed-Loop Control
Perhaps the most important adjustment to the fuel injector pulse duration
comes when the control is in the closed-loop mode. In the open-loop mode the
accuracy of the fuel delivery is dependent on the accuracy of the measurements
of the important variables. However, any physical system is susceptible to
changes with either operating conditions (e.g., temperature) or with time
(aging or wear of components).
2735 | CH 7 Page 234 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
In any closed-loop control system a measurement of the output variables
is compared with the desired value for those variables. In the case of fuel
control, the variables being regulated are exhaust gas concentrations of HC,
CO, and NOx, as explained in Chapter 5. Although direct measurement of
these exhaust gases is not feasible in production automobiles, it is sufficient
for fuel control purposes to measure the exhaust gas oxygen concentration.
Recall from Chapter 5 that these regulated gases can be optimally controlled
with a stoichiometric mixture. Recall further from Chapter 6 that the EGO
sensor is, in essence, a switching sensor that changes output voltage abruptly
as the input mixture crosses the stoichiometric mixture of 14.7.
The closed-loop mode can only be activated when the EGO (or
HEGO) sensor is sufficiently warmed. Recall from Chapter 6 that the output
voltage of the sensor is high (approximately 1 volt) when the exhaust oxygen
concentration is low (i.e., for a rich mixture relative to stoichiometry). The
EGO sensor voltage is low (approximately .1 volt) whenever the exhaust
oxygen concentration is high (i.e., for a mixture that is lean relative to
The time-average EGO sensor output voltage provides the feedback
signal for fuel control in the closed-loop mode. The instantaneous EGO sensor
voltage fluctuates rapidly from high to low values, but the average value is a
good indication of the mixture.
As explained earlier, fuel delivery is regulated by the engine control system
by controlling the pulse duration (T) for each fuel injector. The engine
controller continuously adjusts the pulse duration for varying operating
conditions and for operating parameters. A representative algorithm for fuel
injector pulse duration for a given injector during the nth computation cycle,
T(n), is given by
T ( n ) = Tb ( n ) × [ 1 + CL ( n ) ]
Tb(n) is the base pulse width as determined from measurements of mass
air flow rate and the desired air/fuel ratio
CL(n) is the closed-loop correction factor
For open-loop operation, CL(n) equals 0; for closed-loop operation, CL is given by
C L ( n ) = αI ( n ) + βP ( n )
I(n) is the integral part of the closed-loop correction
P(n) is the proportional part of the closed-loop correction
α and β are constants
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These latter variables are determined from the output of the exhaust gas oxygen
(EGO) sensor as described in Chapter 6.
Whenever the EGO sensor indicates a rich mixture (i.e., EGO sensor
voltage is high), then the integral term is reduced by the controller for the next
I(n + 1) = I(n) – 1
for a rich mixture.
Whenever the EGO sensor indicates a lean mixture (i.e., low output
voltage), the controller increments I(n) for the next cycle,
I(n + 1) = I(n) + 1
for a lean mixture. The integral part of CL continues to increase or decrease in a
limit-cycle operation, as explained in Chapter 5 for continuous-time operation.
The computation of the closed-loop correction factor continues at a rate
determined within the controller. This rate is normally high enough to permit
rapid adjustment of the fuel injector pulse width during rapid throttle changes
at high engine speed. The period between successive computations is the
computation cycle described above.
In addition to the integral component of the closed-loop correction to
pulse duration is the proportional term. This term, P(n), is proportional to
the deviation of the average EGO sensor signal from its mid-range value
(corresponding to stoichiometry). The combined terms change with
computation cycle as depicted in Figure 7.6. In this figure the regions of lean
and rich (relative to stoichiometry) are depicted. During relatively lean
periods the closed-loop correction term increases for each computation cycle,
whereas during relatively rich intervals this term decreases.
Once the computation of the closed-loop correction factor is completed,
the value is stored in a specific memory location (RAM) in the controller. At
the appropriate time for fuel injector activation (during the intake stroke), the
instantaneous closed-loop correction factor is read from its location in RAM
and an actual pulse of the corrected duration is generated by the engine
Acceleration Enrichment
The mixture is enriched
to maximize torque during very heavy load (for
example, a wide open
During periods of heavy engine load such as during hard acceleration, fuel
control is adjusted to provide an enriched air/fuel ratio to maximize engine
torque and neglect fuel economy and emissions. This condition of enrichment
is permitted within the regulations of the EPA as it is only a temporary
condition. It is well recognized that hard acceleration is occasionally required
for maneuvering in certain situations and is, in fact, related at times to safety.
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Figure 7.6
Closed-Loop Correction Factor
The computer detects this condition by reading the throttle angle
sensor voltage. High throttle angle corresponds to heavy engine load and is
an indication that heavy acceleration is called for by the driver. In some
vehicles a switch is provided to detect wide open throttle. The fuel system
controller responds by increasing the pulse duration of the fuel injector signal
for the duration of the heavy load. This enrichment enables the engine to
operate with a torque greater than that allowed when emissions and fuel
2735 | CH 7 Page 237 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
economy are controlled. Enrichment of the air/fuel ratio to about 12:1 is
sometimes used.
Deceleration Leaning
Fuel flow is reduced during deceleration with
closed throttle.
During periods of light engine load and high RPM such as during
coasting or hard deceleration, the engine operates with a very lean air/fuel ratio
to reduce excess emissions of HC and CO. Deceleration is indicated by a
sudden decrease in throttle angle or by closure of a switch when the throttle is
closed (depending on the particular vehicle configuration). When these
conditions are detected by the control computer, it computes a decrease in the
pulse duration of the fuel injector signal. The fuel may even be turned off
completely for very heavy deceleration.
Idle Speed Control
When the throttle angle
reaches its closed position and engine RPM
falls below a preset value,
the controller switches
to idle speed control. A
stepping motor opens a
valve, allowing a limited
amount of air to bypass
the closed throttle plate.
Idle speed control is used by some manufacturers to prevent engine stall
during idle. The goal is to allow the engine to idle at as low an RPM as possible,
yet keep the engine from running rough and stalling when power-consuming
accessories, such as air conditioning compressors and alternators, turn on.
The control mode selection logic switches to idle speed control when the
throttle angle reaches its zero (completely closed) position and engine RPM
falls below a minimum value, and when the vehicle is stationary. Idle speed is
controlled by using an electronically controlled throttle bypass valve (Figure
7.7a) that allows air to flow around the throttle plate and produces the same
effect as if the throttle had been slightly opened.
There are various schemes for operating a valve to introduce bypass air for
idle control. One relatively common method for controlling the idle speed
bypass air uses a special type of motor called a stepper motor. A stepper motor
moves in fixed angular increments when activated by pulses on its two sets of
windings (i.e., open or close). Such a motor can be operated in either direction
by supplying pulses in the proper phase to the windings. This is advantageous
for idle speed control since the controller can very precisely position the idle
bypass valve by sending the proper number of pulses of the correct phasing.
The engine control computer can know precisely the position of the valve
in a number of ways. In one way the computer can send sufficient pulses to
completely close the valve when the ignition is first switched on. Then it can
send open pulses (phased to open the valve) to a specified (known) position.
A block diagram of a simplified idle speed control system is shown in
Figure 7.7b. Idle speed is detected by the RPM sensor, and the speed is
adjusted to maintain a constant idle RPM. The computer receives digital
on/off status inputs from several power-consuming devices attached to the
engine, such as the air conditioner clutch switch, park–neutral switch, and
the battery charge indicator. These inputs indicate the load that is applied to
the engine during idle.
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Figure 7.7a
Idle Air Control
When the engine is not idling, the idle speed control valve may be
completely closed so that the throttle plate has total control of intake air.
During periods of deceleration leaning, the idle speed valve may be opened to
provide extra air to increase the air/fuel ratio in order to reduce HC emissions.
Figure 7.7b
Idle Air Control
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The engine controller
also must determine
when the EGR valve
should be opened or
A second electronic engine control subsystem is the control of exhaust gas
that is recirculated back to the intake manifold. Under normal operating
conditions, engine cylinder temperatures can reach more than 3000˚F. The
higher the temperature, the more chance the exhaust will have NO x emissions.
As explained in Chapter 5, a small amount of exhaust gas is introduced into the
cylinder to replace normal intake air. This results in lower combustion
temperatures, which reduces NOx emissions.
The control mode selection logic determines when EGR is turned off or
on. EGR is turned off during cranking, cold engine temperature (engine warmup), idling, acceleration, or other conditions demanding high torque.
Since exhaust gas recirculation was first introduced as a concept for
reducing NOx exhaust emissions, its implementation has gone through
considerable change. There are in fact many schemes and configurations for
EGR realization. We discuss here one method of EGR implementation that
incorporates enough features to be representative of all schemes in use today
and in the near future.
Fundamental to all EGR schemes is a passageway or port connecting the
exhaust and intake manifolds. A valve is positioned along this passageway
whose position regulates EGR from zero to some maximum value. Typically the
valve is operated by a diaphragm connected to a variable vacuum source, as
explained in Chapter 6. The controller operates a solenoid in a periodic
variable-duty-cycle mode. The average level of vacuum on the diaphragm (see
Chapter 6) varies with the duty cycle. By varying this duty cycle, the control
system has proportional control over the EGR valve opening and thereby over
the amount of EGR.
In many EGR control systems the controller monitors the differential
pressure between the exhaust and intake manifold via a differential pressure
sensor (DPS). With the signal from this sensor the controller can calculate
the valve opening for the desired EGR level. The amount of EGR required
is a predetermined function of the load on the engine (i.e., power
A simplified block diagram for an EGR control system is depicted in
Figure 7.8. In this figure the EGR valve is operated by a solenoid-regulated
vacuum actuator (coming from the intake). An explanation of this proportional
actuator is given in Chapter 6. The engine controller determines the required
amount of EGR based on the engine operating condition and the signal from
the differential pressure sensor (DPS) between intake and exhaust manifolds.
The controller then commands the correct EGR valve position to achieve the
desired amount of EGR.
As we have seen in Chapter 1, an engine must be provided with fuel and
air in correct proportions, and the means to ignite this mixture in the form of
2735 | CH 7 Page 240 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
Figure 7.8
EGR Control
an electric spark. Before the development of electronic ignition the traditional
ignition system included spark plugs, a distributor, and a high-voltage ignition
coil (see Chapter 1). The distributor would sequentially connect the coil output
high voltage to the correct spark plug. In addition, it would cause the coil to
generate the spark by interrupting the primary current (ignition points) in the
desired coil, thereby generating the required spark. The time of occurrence of
this spark (i.e., the ignition timing) in relation of the piston to TDC influences
the torque generated.
In most present-day electronically controlled engines the distributor has
been replaced by multiple coils. Each coil supplies the spark to either one or
two cylinders. In such a system the controller selects the appropriate coil and
delivers a trigger pulse to ignition control circuitry at the correct time for
each cylinder. (Note: In some cases the coil is on the spark plug as an integral
Figure 7.9a illustrates such a system for an example 4-cylinder engine. In
this example a pair of coils provides the spark for firing two cylinders for each
coil. Cylinder pairs are selected such that one cylinder is on its compression
stroke while the other is on exhaust. The cylinder on compression is the
cylinder to be fired (at a time somewhat before it reaches TDC). The other
cylinder is on exhaust.
The coil fires the spark plugs for these two cylinders simultaneously. For
the former cylinder, the mixture is ignited and combustion begins for the power
stroke that follows. For the other cylinder (on exhaust stroke), the combustion
has already taken place and the spark has no effect.
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Figure 7.9a
Distributorless Ignition System
Although the mixture for modern emission-regulated engines is
constrained to stoichiometry, the spark timing can be varied in order to achieve
optimum performance within the mixture constraint. For example, the ignition
timing can be chosen to produce the best possible engine torque for any given
operating condition. This optimum ignition timing is known for any given
engine configuration from studies of engine performance as measured on an
engine dynamometer. More will be said about this topic when we discuss
closed-loop ignition timing later in this chapter.
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Figure 7.9b
Ignition System
Ignition timing can be
adjusted to maximize
engine performance
within emission constraints. The engine control system calculates
spark advance from several variables, including
MAP and RPM.
The variables that influence the optimum spark timing at any operating
condition include RPM, manifold pressure (or mass air flow), barometric
pressure, and coolant temperature. The correct ignition timing for each value of
these variables is stored in a ROM lookup table. For example, the variation of
spark advance (SA) with RPM for a representative engine is shown in Figure
7.9b. The engine control system obtains readings from the various sensors and
generates an address to the lookup table (ROM). After reading the data from
the lookup tables, the control system computes the correct spark advance. An
output signal is generated at the appropriate time to activate the spark.
Figure 7.9a is a schematic of a representative electronic ignition system. In
this example configuration the spark advance value is computed in the main
engine control (i.e., the controller that regulates fuel). This system receives data
from the various sensors (as described above with respect to fuel control) and
determines the correct spark advance for the instantaneous operating condition.
In the configuration depicted in Figure 7.9a, the electronic ignition is
implemented in a stand-alone ignition module. This solid-state module receives
the correct spark advance data and generates electrical signals that operate the
coil driver circuitry. These signals are produced in response to timing inputs
coming from crankshaft and camshaft signals (POS/RPM).
The coil driver circuits generate the primary current in windings P1 and
P2 of the coil packs depicted in Figure 7.9a. These primary currents build up
during the so-called dwell period before the spark is to occur. At the correct time
the driver circuits interrupt the primary currents via a solid-state switch. This
2735 | CH 7 Page 243 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
interruption of the primary current causes the magnetic field in the coil pack to
drop rapidly, inducing a very high voltage (20,000–40,000 volts) that causes a
spark. In the example depicted in Figure 7.9a, a pair of coil packs, each firing
two spark plugs, is shown. Such a configuration would be appropriate for a 4cylinder engine. Normally there would be one coil pack for each pair of
The ignition system described above is known as a distributorless ignition
system (DIS) since it uses no distributor (see Chapter 1). There are a number of
older car models on the road that utilize a distributor. However, the electronic
ignition system is the same as that shown in Figure 7.9a, up to the coil packs. In
distributor-equipped engines there is only one coil, and its secondary is
connected to the rotary switch (or distributor) as described in Chapter 1.
In a typical electronic ignition control system, the total spark advance, SA
(in degrees before TDC), is made up of several components that are added
SA = SA S + SA P + SA T
The first component, SAS, is the basic spark advance, which is a tabulated
function of RPM and MAP. The control system reads RPM and MAP, and
calculates the address in ROM of the SAS that corresponds to these values.
Typically, the advance of RPM from idle to about 1200 RPM is relatively slow.
Then, from about 1200 to about 2300 RPM the increase in RPM is relatively
quick. Beyond 2300 RPM, the increase in RPM is again relatively slow. Each
engine configuration has its own spark advance characteristic, which is
normally a compromise between a number of conflicting factors (the details of
which are beyond the scope of this book).
The second component, SAP , is the contribution to spark advance due to
manifold pressure. This value is obtained from ROM lookup tables. Generally
speaking, the SA is reduced as pressure increases.
The final component, SA T , is the contribution to spark advance due to
temperature. Temperature effects on spark advance are relatively complex,
including such effects as cold cranking, cold start, warm-up, and fully warmedup conditions and are beyond the scope of this book.
Closed-Loop Ignition Timing
For best performance,
spark is advanced until
excessive knock occurs.
The ignition system described in the foregoing is an open-loop system.
The major disadvantage of open-loop control is that it cannot automatically
compensate for mechanical changes in the system. Closed-loop control of
ignition timing is desirable from the standpoint of improving engine
performance and maintaining that performance in spite of system changes.
One scheme for closed-loop ignition timing is based on the
improvement in performance that is achieved by advancing the ignition
timing relative to TDC. For a given RPM and manifold pressure, the variation
in torque with spark advance is as depicted in Figure 7.10. One can see that
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Figure 7.10
Torque versus SA
for Typical Engine
advancing the spark relative to TDC increases the torque until a point is
reached at which best torque is produced. This spark advance is known as
mean best torque, or MBT.
When the spark is advanced too far, an abnormal combustion
phenomenon occurs that is known as knocking. Although the details of what
causes knocking are beyond the scope of this book, it is generally a result of a
portion of the air–fuel mixture autoigniting, as opposed to being normally
ignited by the advancing flame front that occurs in normal combustion
following spark ignition. Roughly speaking, the amplitude of knock is
proportional to the fraction of the total air and fuel mixture that autoignites.
It is characterized by an abnormally rapid rise in cylinder pressure during
combustion, followed by very rapid oscillations in cylinder pressure. The
frequency of these oscillations is specific to a given engine configuration and
is typically in the range of a few kilohertz. Figure 7.11 is a graph of a typical
cylinder pressure versus time under knocking conditions. A relatively low
level of knock is arguably beneficial to performance, although excessive knock
is unquestionably damaging to the engine and must be avoided.
One control strategy for spark advance under closed-loop control is to
advance the spark timing until the knock level becomes unacceptable. At this
point, the control system reduces the spark advance (retarded spark) until
acceptable levels of knock are achieved. Of course, a spark advance control
scheme based on limiting the levels of knocking requires a knock sensor such as
that explained in Chapter 6. This sensor responds to the acoustical energy in the
spectrum of the rapid cylinder pressure oscillations, as shown in Figure 7.11.
Figure 7.12 is a diagram of the instrumentation for measuring knock
intensity. Output voltage VE of the knock sensor is proportional to the
2735 | CH 7 Page 245 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
Figure 7.11
Cylinder Pressure
acoustical energy in the engine block at the sensor mounting point. This
voltage is sent to a narrow bandpass filter that is tuned to the knock frequency.
The filter output voltage VF is proportional to the amplitude of the knock
oscillations, and is thus a “knock signal.’’ The envelope voltage of these
oscillations, Vd, is obtained with a detector circuit. This voltage is sent to the
controller, where it is compared with a level corresponding to the knock
intensity threshold. Whenever the knock level is less than the threshold, the
spark is advanced. Whenever it exceeds the threshold, the spark is retarded.
Following the detector in the circuit of Figure 7.12 is an electronic gate
that examines the knock sensor output at the time for which the knock
amplitude is largest (i.e., shortly after TDC). The gate is, in essence, an
electronic switch that is normally open, but is closed for a short interval (from 0
to T ) following TDC. It is during this interval that the knock signal is largest
in relationship to engine noise. The probability of successfully detecting the
knock signal is greatest during this interval. Similarly, the possibility of
mistaking engine noise for true knock signal is smallest during this interval.
The final stage in the knock-measuring instrumentation is integration
with respect to time; this can be accomplished using an operational amplifier.
For example, the circuit of Figure 7.13 could be used to integrate the gate
output. The electronic gate actually controls switches S1 and S2. The output
voltage VK at the end of the gate interval T is given by:
V K = – ( 1 ⁄ RC )
V d ( t ) dt
This voltage increases sharply (negative), reaching a maximum amplitude at the
end of the gate interval, as shown in Figure 7.13, provided that knock occurs.
However, if there is no knock, VK remains near zero.
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Figure 7.12
Instrumentation and
Waveforms for
Ignition Control
2735 | CH 7 Page 247 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
Figure 7.13
Example Integrator
Circuit Diagram
2735 | CH 7 Page 248 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
The acoustical knock
signal is compared with
a threshold level corresponding to unacceptable knock.
The level of knock intensity is indicated by voltage VK (T ) at the end of
the gate interval. The spark control system compares this voltage with a
threshold voltage (using an analog comparator) to determine whether knock
has or has not occurred (Figure 7.14). The comparator output voltage is binary
valued, depending on the relative amplitude of VK(T ) and the threshold
voltage. Whenever VK(T ) is less than the threshold voltage, the comparator
output is low, indicating no knock. Whenever VK(T ) is greater than the
threshold value, the comparator output is high, indicating knock.
Although this scheme for knock detection has shown a constant
threshold, there are some production applications that have a variable
threshold. The threshold in such cases increases with RPM because the
competing noises in the engine increase with RPM.
Spark Advance Correction Scheme
Whenever knock is
excessive, a closed-loop
spark advance system
causes spark to retard.
Although the details of spark advance control vary from manufacturer to
manufacturer, there are generally two classes of correction that are used: fast
correction and slow correction. In the fast correction scheme, the spark advance
is decreased for the next engine cycle by a fixed amount (typically from 5˚ to
10˚) whenever knock is detected. Then the spark advance is advanced in onedegree increments every 5 to 20 crankshaft revolutions.
The fast correction ensures that minimum time is spent under heavy
knocking conditions. Further, this scheme compensates for hysteresis (i.e., for
Figure 7.14
Knock Level
Detector Circuit
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Figure 7.15
Fast Correction
Spark Advance
one degree of spark advance to cause knocking, more than one degree must be
removed to eliminate knocking). The fast correction scheme is depicted in
Figure 7.15.
In the slow correction scheme (Figure 7.16), spark advance is decreased by
one (or more) degree each time knock is detected, until no knocking is
detected. The spark advance proceeds in one-degree increments after many
engine cycles.
Figure 7.16
Slow Correction
Spark Advance
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The slow correction scheme is more of an adaptive closed-loop control
than is the fast correction scheme. It is primarily employed to compensate for
relatively slow changes in engine condition or fuel quality (i.e., octane rating).
Each control subsystem for fuel control, spark control, and EGR has been
discussed separately. However, a fully integrated electronic engine control
system can include these subsystems and provide additional functions. (Usually
the flexibility of the digital control system allows such expansion quite easily
because the computer program can be changed to accomplish the expanded
functions.) Several of these additional functions are discussed in the following.
Secondary Air Management
Secondary air management is used to improve
performance of the catalytic converter. During
engine warm-up, secondary air is routed to
the exhaust manifold to
speed warm-up of the
The computer controls
secondary air by using
two solenoid-operated
valves that route air to
the air cleaner, exhaust
manifold, or directly to
the converter.
Secondary air management is used to improve the performance of the
catalytic converter by providing extra (oxygen-rich) air to either the converter
itself or to the exhaust manifold. The catalyst temperature must be above about
200˚C to efficiently oxidize HC and CO and reduce NOx. During engine
warm-up when the catalytic converter is cold, HC and CO are oxidized in the
exhaust manifold by routing secondary air to the manifold. This creates extra
heat to speed warm-up of the converter and EGO sensor, enabling the fuel
controller to go to the closed-loop mode more quickly.
The converter can be damaged if too much heat is applied to it. This can
occur if large amounts of HC and CO are oxidized in the manifold during
periods of heavy loads, which call for fuel enrichment, or during severe
deceleration. In such cases, the secondary air is directed to the air cleaner, where
it has no effect on exhaust temperatures.
After warm-up, the main use of secondary air is to provide an oxygen-rich
atmosphere in the second chamber of the three-way catalyst, dual-chamber
converter system. In a dual-chamber converter, the first chamber contains
rhodium, palladium, and platinum to reduce NOx and to oxidize HC and CO.
The second chamber contains only platinum and palladium. The extra oxygen
from the secondary air improves the converter’s ability to oxidize HC and CO
in the second converter chamber.
The computer program for the control mode selection logic can be
modified to include the conditions for controlling secondary air. The computer
controls secondary air by using two solenoid valves similar to the EGR valve.
One valve switches air flow to the air cleaner or to the exhaust system. The
other valve switches air flow to the exhaust manifold or to the converter. The air
routing is based on engine coolant temperature and air/fuel ratio. The control
system diagram for secondary air is shown in Figure 7.17.
Evaporative Emissions Canister Purge
During engine-off conditions, the fuel stored in the fuel system tends to
evaporate into the atmosphere. To reduce these HC emissions, they are
2735 | CH 7 Page 251 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
Figure 7.17
Secondary Air
Control System
collected by a charcoal filter in a canister. The collected fuel is released into the
intake through a solenoid valve controlled by the computer. This is done during
closed-loop operation to reduce fuel calculation complications in the open-loop
Torque Converter Lock-up Control
Automatic transmissions use a hydraulic or fluid coupling to transmit
engine power to the wheels. Because of slip, the fluid coupling is less efficient
than the nonslip coupling of a pressure-plate manual clutch used with a manual
transmission. Thus, fuel economy is usually lower with an automatic
transmission than with a standard transmission. This problem has been
partially remedied by placing a clutch functionally similar to a standard
pressure-plate clutch inside the torque converter of the automatic transmission
and engaging it during periods of steady cruise. This enables the automatic
transmission to provide fuel economy near that of a manual transmission and
still retain the automatic shifting convenience.
Here is a good example of the ease of adding a function to the electronic
engine control system. The torque converter locking clutch (TCC) is activated
2735 | CH 7 Page 252 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
by a lock-up solenoid controlled by the engine control system computer. The
computer determines when a period of steady cruise exists from throttle
position and vehicle speed changes. It pulls in the locking clutch and keeps it
engaged until it senses conditions that call for disengagement.
Automatic System Adjustment
A digital control system
can actually “learn” from
previous performances.
Another important feature of microcomputer engine control systems is
their ability to be programmed to learn from their past experiences. Many
control systems use this feature to enable the computer to learn new lookup
table values for computing open-loop air/fuel ratios. While the computer is in
the closed-loop mode, the computer checks its open-loop calculated air/fuel
ratios and compares them with the closed-loop average limit-cycle values. If
they match closely, nothing is learned and the open-loop lookup tables are
unchanged. If the difference is large, the system controller corrects the lookup
tables so that the open-loop values more closely match the closed-loop values.
This updated open-loop lookup table is stored in separate memory (RAM),
which is always powered directly by a car battery so that the new values are not
lost while the ignition key is turned off. The next time the engine is started, the
new lookup table values will be used in the open-loop mode and will provide
more accurate control of the air/fuel ratio. This feature is very important
because it allows the system controller to adjust to long-term changes in engine
and fuel system conditions. This feature can be applied in individual subsystem
control systems or in the fully integrated control system. If not available
initially, it may be added to the system by modifying its control program.
System Diagnosis
Abnormal responses
from sensors or actuators
can be detected by
microcomputer engine
control systems.
Another important feature of microcomputer engine control systems is
their ability to diagnose failures in their control systems and alert the operator.
Sensor and actuator failures or misadjustments can be easily detected by the
computer. For instance, the computer will detect a malfunctioning MAF sensor
if the sensor’s output goes above or below certain specified limits, or fails to
change for long periods of time. A prime example is the automatic adjustment
system just discussed. If the open-loop calculations consistently come up
wrong, the engine control computer may determine that one of the many
sensors used in the open-loop calculations has failed.
If the computer detects the loss of a primary control sensor or actuator, it
may choose to operate in a different mode until the problem is repaired. The
operator is notified of a failure by blinking lights or some other indicator on the
instrument panel. Because of the flexibility of the microcomputer engine
control system, additional diagnostic programs might be added to
accommodate different engine models that contain more or fewer sensors.
Keeping the system totally integrated gives the microcomputer controller access
to more sensor inputs so they can be checked. Chapter 10 discusses system
diagnosis more fully.
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Now that a typical electronic engine control system has been discussed,
let’s summarize what happens in an integrated system operating in the various
Engine Crank (Start)
The following list is a summary of the engine operation in the engine
crank (starting) mode. Here, the primary control concern is reliable engine
1. Engine RPM at cranking speed.
2. Engine coolant at low temperature.
3. Air/fuel ratio low.
4. Spark retarded.
5. EGR off.
6. Secondary air to exhaust manifold.
7. Fuel economy not closely controlled.
8. Emissions not closely controlled.
Engine Warm-Up
While the engine is warming up, the engine temperature is rising to its
normal operating value. Here, the primary control concern is rapid and smooth
engine warm-up. A summary of the engine operations during this period
1. Engine RPM above cranking speed at command of driver.
2. Engine coolant temperature rises to minimum threshold.
3. Air/fuel ratio low.
4. Spark timing set by controller.
5. EGR off.
6. Secondary air to exhaust manifold.
7. Fuel economy not closely controlled.
8. Emissions not closely controlled.
Open-Loop Control
The following list summarizes the engine operations when the engine is
being controlled with an open-loop system. This is before the EGO sensor has
reached the correct temperature for closed-loop operation. Fuel economy and
emissions are closely controlled.
1. Engine RPM at command of driver.
2. Engine temperature above warm-up threshold.
3. Air/fuel ratio controlled by an open-loop system to 14.7.
4. EGO sensor temperature less than minimum threshold.
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Spark timing set by controller.
EGR controlled.
Secondary air to catalytic converter.
Fuel economy controlled.
Emissions controlled.
Closed-Loop Control
For the closest control of emissions and fuel economy under various
driving conditions, the electronic engine control system is in a closed loop. Fuel
economy and emissions are controlled very tightly. The following is a summary
of the engine operation during this period:
1. Engine RPM at command of driver.
2. Engine temperature in normal range (above warm-up threshold).
3. Average air/fuel ratio controlled to 14.7, ±0.05.
4. EGO sensor’s temperature above minimum threshold detected by a sensor output voltage indicating a rich mixture of air and fuel for a minimum
amount of time.
5. System returns to open loop if EGO sensor cools below minimum threshold or fails to indicate rich mixture for given length of time.
6. EGR controlled.
7. Secondary air to catalytic converter.
8. Fuel economy tightly controlled.
9. Emissions tightly controlled.
Hard Acceleration
When the engine must be accelerated quickly or if the engine is under
heavy load, it is in a special mode. Now, the engine controller is primarily
concerned with providing maximum performance. Here is a summary of the
operation under these conditions:
1. Driver asking for sharp increase in RPM or in engine power, demanding
maximum torque.
2. Engine temperature in normal range.
3. Air/fuel ratio rich mixture.
4. EGO not in loop.
5. EGR off.
6. Secondary air to intake.
7. Relatively poor fuel economy.
8. Relatively poor emissions control.
Deceleration and Idle
Slowing down, stopping, and idling are combined in another special
mode. The engine controller is primarily concerned with reducing excess
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emissions during deceleration, and keeping idle fuel consumption at a
minimum. This engine operation is summarized in the following list.
1. RPM decreasing rapidly due to driver command or else held constant at
2. Engine temperature in normal range.
3. Air/fuel ratio lean mixture.
4. Special mode in deceleration to reduce emissions.
5. Special mode in idle to keep RPM constant at idle as load varies due to air
conditioner, automatic transmission engagement, etc.
6. EGR on.
7. Secondary air to intake.
8. Good fuel economy during deceleration.
9. Poor fuel economy during idle, but fuel consumption kept to minimum
Although major
improvements have been
made in electronic
engine control, the fuel
strategy continues to
maintain stoichiometry.
The digital engine control system in this chapter has been made possible
by a rapid evolution of the state of technology. Some of this technology has
been briefly mentioned in this chapter. It is worthwhile to review some of the
technological improvements that have occurred in digital engine control in
greater detail to fully appreciate the capabilities of modern digital engine
Integrated Engine Control System
One of the developments that has occurred since the introduction of
digital engine control technology is the integration of the various functions into
a single control unit. Whereas the earlier systems in many cases had separate
control systems for fuel and ignition control, the trend is toward integrated
control. This trend has been made possible, in part, by improvements in digital
hardware and in computational algorithms and software. For example, one of
the hardware improvements that has been achieved is the operation of the
microprocessor (MPU) at higher clock frequencies. This higher frequency
results in a reduction of the time for any given MPU computation, thereby
permitting greater computational capability. This increased computational
capability has made it possible, in turn, to have more precise control of fuel
delivery during rapid transient engine operation.
Except for long steady cruise while driving on certain rural roads or
freeways, the automobile engine is operated under changing load and RPM
conditions. The limitations in the computational capability of early engine
control systems restricted the ability of the controller to continuously
maintain the air/fuel ratio at stoichiometry under such changing operating
conditions. The newer, more capable digital engine control systems are more
precise than the earlier versions at maintaining stoichiometry and therefore
2735 | CH 7 Page 256 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:15 PM
operate more of the time within the optimum window for the three-way
catalytic converter.
Moreover, since the control of fuel and ignition requires, in some cases,
data from the same sensor set, it is advantageous to have a single integrated
system for fuel and ignition timing control. The newer engine controllers have
the capability to maintain stoichiometry and simultaneously optimize ignition
Oxygen Sensor Improvements
Improvements have also been made in the exhaust gas oxygen sensor,
which remains today as the primary sensor for closed-loop operation in cars
equipped with the three-way catalyst. As we have seen, the signal from the
oxygen sensor is not useful for closed-loop control until the sensor has reached
a temperature of about 300˚C. Typically, the temperature of the sensor is too
low during the starting and engine warm-up phase, but it can also be too low
during relatively long periods of deceleration. It is desirable to return to closedloop operation in as short a time as possible. Thus the oxygen sensor must reach
its minimum operating temperature in the shortest possible time.
An improved exhaust gas oxygen sensor has been developed that
incorporates an electric heating element inside the sensor, as shown in Figure
7.18. This EGO sensor is known as the heated exhaust gas oxygen, or HEGO,
sensor. The heat current is automatically switched on and off depending on the
engine operating condition. The operating regions in which heating is applied
are determined by the engine control system as derived from engine RPM and
MAP sensors. The heating element is made from resistive material and derives
heat from the power dissipated in the associated resistance. The HEGO sensor
Figure 7.18
Heated Exhaust Gas
Oxygen Sensor
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is packaged in such a way that this heat is largely maintained within the sensor
housing, thereby leading to a relatively rapid temperature rise.
Normally, the heating element need only be turned on for cold-start
operations. Shortly after engine start the exhaust gas has sufficient heat to
maintain the EGO sensor at a suitable temperature.
Fuel Injection Timing
Earlier in this chapter, the fuel control methods and algorithms were
explained for a sequential multipoint fuel injection system. In such a fuel
control system, it was shown that a separate fuel injector is provided for each
cylinder. The fuel injector for each cylinder is typically mounted in the intake
manifold such that fuel is sprayed directly into the intake port of the
corresponding cylinder during the intake stroke.
During the intake stroke, the intake valve is opened and the piston is
moving down from top dead center (TDC). Figure 7.19 illustrates the timing
for the fuel injectors for a 4-cylinder engine. It can be seen that in two complete
engine revolutions (as indicated by the No. 1 cylinder position), all four
injectors have been switched on for a time T(n). This pulse duration results in
delivery of the desired quantity of fuel for the nth engine cycle. This system
provides for highly uniform fueling of all the cylinders and is superior in
performance to either carburetors or throttle body fuel injectors.
Figure 7.19
Injector Timing for
4-Cylinder Engine
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Quiz for Chapter 7
1. A typical fuel control system
may include the following
a. MAF sensor
b. fuel injector
c. EGO sensor
d. all of the above
2. A fuel control system
a. has many operating modes
b. is never operated in open-
loop mode
c. does not control air/fuel ratio
during warm-up
d. none of the above
of fuel mixture?
a. lean
b. rich
c. poor
d. fat
7. Open- and closed-loop fuel
control systems control air/fuel
ratio near which of the following?
a. rich
b. lean
c. stoichiometry
d. rich and lean
8. Acceleration enrichment is used
engine requires
a. very rich mixture
b. very lean mixture
c. stoichiometric mixture
d. none of the above
for what purpose?
a. reduce fuel consumption
b. reduce exhaust emissions
c. provide maximum torque
d. provide minimum fuel
4. Electronic control system for
9. Idle speed control is used for what
3. During hard deceleration the
ignition can perform
a. timing for maximum
b. correct timing calculation
with respect to RPM
c. correct timing calculation
with respect to MAP
d. all of the above
5. The controller discussed in
this chapter is what type of
a. analog
b. digital
c. both analog and digital
6. A low air/fuel ratio is what type
a. maximum idle speed
b. minimum idle fuel
c. deceleration leaning
d. maintaining desired idle
10. Under closed-loop ignition
timing control, spark advance is
limited by
a. the distributor rotation
b. knock
c. MBT
d. coolant temperature
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11. The secondary air management
system is used
a. to control EGR
b. to avoid knock
c. with low-octane fuels
d. to improve performance of
the catalytic converter
12. When knock is detected in a
closed-loop ignition system,
spark timing is
a. initially advanced then
retarded slowly
b. always advanced to BDC
c. retarded then advanced
d. none of the above
13. Secondary functions of a digital
engine control system may
a. evaporative emissions canister
b. torque converter lockup
c. secondary air management
d. all of the above
14. In a direct electronic ignition
control system
a. the distributor is not
b. spark plugs are not needed
c. the coil is not needed
d. none of the above
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2735 | CH 8 Page 261 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Vehicle Motion Control
Electronic controls can
automate some driver
functions that were previously performed manually.
A cruise control is a
closed-loop system that
uses feedback of vehicle
speed to adjust throttle
The previous chapter discussed the application of digital electronics to
engine control. This chapter discusses the application of electronics to vehicle
motion control systems such as cruise control, tire slip control, ride control,
antilock braking, and electronic power steering control.
Automotive cruise control is an excellent example of the type of electronic
feedback control system that was discussed in general terms in Chapter 2.
Recall that the components of a control system include the plant, or system
being controlled, and a sensor for measuring the plant variable being regulated.
It also includes an electronic control system that receives inputs in the form of
the desired value of the regulated variable and the measured value of that
variable from the sensor. The control system generates an error signal
constituting the difference between the desired and actual values of this
variable. It then generates an output from this error signal that drives an
electromechanical actuator. The actuator controls the input to the plant in such
a way that the regulated plant variable is moved toward the desired value.
In the case of a cruise control, the variable being regulated is the vehicle
speed. The driver manually sets the car speed at the desired value via the
accelerator pedal. Upon reaching the desired speed the driver activates a
momentary contact switch that sets that speed as the command input to the
control system. From that point on, the cruise control system maintains the
desired speed automatically by operating the throttle via a throttle actuator. The
plant being controlled consists of the power train (i.e., engine and drivetrain),
which drives the vehicle through the drive axles and wheels. The load on this
plant includes friction and aerodynamic drag as well as a portion of the vehicle
weight when the car is going up and down hills.
The configuration for a typical automotive cruise control is shown in
Figure 8.1. The momentary contact (push-button) switch that sets the
command speed is denoted S1 in Figure 8.1. Also shown in this figure is a
disable switch that completely disengages the cruise control system from the
power supply such that throttle control reverts back to the accelerator pedal.
This switch is denoted S2 in Figure 8.1 and is a safety feature. In an actual
cruise control system the disable function can be activated in a variety of ways,
including the master power switch for the cruise control system, and a brake
pedal–activated switch that disables the cruise control any time that the brake
pedal is moved from its rest position. The throttle actuator opens and closes the
throttle in response to the error between the desired and actual speed.
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Figure 8.1
Cruise Control Configuration
Whenever the actual speed is less than the desired speed the throttle opening is
increased by the actuator, which increases vehicle speed until the error is zero, at
which point the throttle opening remains fixed until either a disturbance occurs
or the driver calls for a new desired speed.
A block diagram of a cruise control system is shown in Figure 8.2. In the
cruise control depicted in this figure, a proportional integral (PI) control
strategy has been assumed. However, there are many cruise control systems still
on the road today with proportional (P) controllers. Nevertheless, the PI
controller is representative of good design for such a control system since it can
reduce speed errors due to disturbances (such as hills) to zero (as explained in
Chapter 2). In this strategy an error e is formed by subtracting (electronically)
the actual speed Va from the desired speed Vd:
e = Vd – Va
The controller then electronically generates the actuator signal by combining a
term proportional to the error (KPe) and a term proportional to the integral of
the error (that is, K I e dt ). The actuator signal u is a combination of these two
u = K P e + K I e dt
The throttle opening is proportional to the value of this actuator signal.
2735 | CH 8 Page 263 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.2
Cruise Control
Block Diagram
Operation of the system can be understood by first considering the
operation of a proportional controller (that is, imagine that the integral term is
not present for the sake of this preliminary discussion). We assume that the
driver has reached the desired speed (say, 60 mph) and activated the speed set
switch. If the car is traveling on a level road at the desired speed, then the error
is zero and the throttle remains at a fixed position.
If the car were then to enter a long hill with a steady positive slope (i.e., a
hill going up) while the throttle is set at the cruise position for level road, the
engine will produce less power than required to maintain that speed on the hill.
The hill represents a disturbance to the cruise control system. The vehicle speed
will decrease, thereby introducing an error to the control system. This error, in
turn, results in an increase in the signal to the actuator, causing an increase in
engine power. This increased power results in an increase in speed. However, in
a proportional control system the speed error is not reduced to zero since a
nonzero error is required so that the engine will produce enough power to
balance the increased load of the disturbance (i.e., the hill).
The speed response to the disturbance is shown in Figure 8.3a. When the
disturbance occurs, the speed drops off and the control system reacts
immediately to increase power. However, a certain amount of time is required
for the car to accelerate toward the desired speed. As time progresses, the speed
reaches a steady value that is less than the desired speed, thereby accounting for
the steady error (es) depicted in Figure 8.3a (i.e., the final speed is less than the
starting 60 mph).
If we now consider a PI control system, we will see that the steady error
when integrated produces an ever-increasing output from the integrator. This
increasing output causes the actuator to increase further, with a resulting speed
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Figure 8.3
Cruise Control Speed Performance
increase. In this case the actuator output will increase until the error is reduced to
zero. The response of the cruise control with PI control is shown in Figure 8.3b.
The response characteristics of a PI controller depend strongly on the
choice of the gain parameters KP and KI. It is possible to select values for these
parameters to increase the speed of the system response to disturbance. If the
speed increases too rapidly, however, overshoot will occur and the actual speed
will oscillate around the desired speed. The amplitude of oscillations decreases
by an amount determined by a parameter called the damping ratio. The
damping ratio that produces the fastest response without overshoot is called
critical damping. A damping ratio less than critically damped is said to be
underdamped, and one greater than critically damped is said to be overdamped.
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Figure 8.3
Speed Response Curves
When a new speed is
requested, the time
required for the vehicle
to reach that speed is
affected by the control
system’s damping coefficient.
The curves of Figure 8.3c show the response of a cruise control system
with a PI control strategy to a sudden disturbance. These curves are all for the
same car cruising initially at 60 mph along a level road and encountering an
upsloping hill. The only difference in the response of these curves is the
controller gain parameters.
Consider, first, the curve that initially drops to about 30 mph and
then increases, overshooting the desired speed and oscillating above and
2735 | CH 8 Page 266 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
below the desired speed until it eventually decays to the desired 60 mph.
This curve has a relatively low damping ratio as determined by the
controller parameters KP and KI and takes more time to come to the final
steady value.
Next, consider the curve that drops initially to about 40 mph, then
increases with a small overshoot and decays to the desired speed. The
numerical value for this damping ratio (see Chapter 2) is about .7, whereas
the first curve had a damping ratio of about .4. Finally, consider the solid
curve of Figure 8.3c. This curve corresponds to critical damping. This
situation involves the most rapid response of the car to a disturbance, with no
The importance of these performance curves is that they demonstrate
how the performance of a cruise control system is affected by the controller
gains. These gains are simply parameters that are contained in the control
system. They determine the relationship between the error, the integral of the
error, and the actuator control signal.
Usually a control system designer attempts to balance the proportional
and integral control gains so that the system is optimally damped. However,
because of system characteristics, in many cases it is impossible, impractical, or
inefficient to achieve the optimal time response and therefore another response
is chosen. The control system should make the engine drive force react quickly
and accurately to the command speed, but should not overtax the engine in the
process. Therefore, the system designer chooses the control electronics that
provide the following system qualities:
Quick response
Relative stability
Small steady-state error
Optimization of the control effort required
Digital Cruise Control
The explanation of the operation of cruise control thus far has been
based on a continuous-time formulation of the problem. This formulation
correctly describes the concept for cruise control regardless of whether the
implementation is by analog or digital electronics. Cruise control is now
mostly implemented digitally using a microprocessor-based computer. For
such a system, proportional and integral control computations are performed
numerically in the computer. A block diagram for a typical digital cruise
control is shown in Figure 8.4. The vehicle speed sensor (described later in
this chapter) is digital. When the car reaches the desired speed, Sd, the driver
activates the speed set switch. At this time, the output of the vehicle speed
sensor is transferred to a storage register.
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Figure 8.4
Digital Cruise
Control System
The computer continuously reads the actual vehicle speed, Sa, and
generates an error, en, at the sample time, tn (n is an integer). en = Sd – Sa at time
tn. A control signal, d, is computed that has the following form:
d = KP en + KI
∑ en – m
(Note: the symbol Σ in this equation means to add the M previously
calculated errors to the present error.) This sum, which is computed in the
cruise control computer, is then multiplied by the integral gain KI and added
to the most recent error multiplied by the proportional gain KP to form the
control signal.
This control signal is actually the duty cycle of a square wave (Vc) that is
applied to the throttle actuator (as explained later). The throttle opening
increases or decreases as d increases or decreases due to the action of the throttle
The operation of the cruise control system can be further understood by
examining the vehicle speed sensor and the actuator in detail. Figure 8.5a is a
sketch of a sensor suitable for vehicle speed measurement.
2735 | CH 8 Page 268 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.5a
Digital Speed
Figure 8.5b
Digital Speed
In a typical vehicle speed measurement system, the vehicle speed
information is mechanically coupled to the speed sensor by a flexible cable
coming from the driveshaft, which rotates at an angular speed proportional to
vehicle speed. A speed sensor driven by this cable generates a pulsed electrical
signal (Figure 8.5b) that is processed by the computer to obtain a digital
measurement of speed.
A speed sensor can be implemented magnetically or optically. The
magnetic speed sensor was discussed in Chapter 6, so we hypothesize an optical
sensor for the purposes of this discussion. For the hypothetical optical sensor, a
flexible cable drives a slotted disk that rotates between a light source and a light
detector. The placement of the source, disk, and detector is such that the slotted
disk interrupts or passes the light from source to detector, depending on
2735 | CH 8 Page 269 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
whether a slot is in the line of sight from source to detector. The light detector
produces an output voltage whenever a pulse of light from the light source
passes through a slot to the detector. The number of pulses generated per
second is proportional to the number of slots in the disk and the vehicle speed:
f = NSK
f is the frequency in pulses per second
N is the number of slots in the sensor disk
S is the vehicle speed
K is the proportionality constant that accounts for differential gear ratio
and wheel size
It should be noted that either a magnetic or optical speed sensor generates a
pulse train such as described here.
The output pulses are passed through a sample gate to a digital counter
(Figure 8.6). The gate is an electronic switch that either passes the pulses to the
counter or does not pass them depending on whether the switch is closed or
open. The time interval during which the gate is closed is precisely controlled
by the computer. The digital counter counts the number of pulses from the
light detector during time t that the gate is open. The number of pulses P that is
counted by the digital counter is given by:
P = tNSK
That is, the number P is proportional to vehicle speed S. The electrical signal in
the binary counter is in a digital format that is suitable for reading by the cruise
control computer.
Throttle Actuator
The throttle actuator is an electromechanical device that, in response to
an electrical input from the controller, moves the throttle through some
appropriate mechanical linkage. Two relatively common throttle actuators
Figure 8.6
Digital Speed
2735 | CH 8 Page 270 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Throttle actuators use
manifold vacuum to pull
a piston that is mechanically linked to the throttle. The amount of
vacuum provided is controlled by a solenoid
valve that is turned on
and off rapidly.
operate either from manifold vacuum or with a stepper motor. The stepper
motor implementation operates similarly to the idle speed control actuator
described in Chapter 7. The throttle opening is either increased or decreased by
the stepper motor in response to the sequences of pulses sent to the two
windings depending on the relative phase of the two sets of pulses.
The throttle actuator that is operated by manifold vacuum through a
solenoid valve is similar to that used for the EGR valve described in Chapter 7.
During cruise control operation the throttle position is set automatically by
the throttle actuator in response to the actuator signal generated in the control
system. This type of manifold-vacuum-operated actuator is illustrated in
Figure 8.7.
A pneumatic piston arrangement is driven from the intake manifold
vacuum. The piston-connecting rod assembly is attached to the throttle lever.
There is also a spring attached to the lever. If there is no force applied by the
piston, the spring pulls the throttle closed. When an actuator input signal
energizes the electromagnet in the control solenoid, the pressure control valve is
pulled down and changes the actuator cylinder pressure by providing a path to
manifold pressure. Manifold pressure is lower than atmospheric pressure, so the
actuator cylinder pressure quickly drops, causing the piston to pull against the
throttle lever to open the throttle.
Figure 8.7
Throttle Actuator
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A switching, duty-cycle
type of signal is applied
to the solenoid coil. By
varying the duty cycle,
the amount of vacuum,
and hence the corresponding throttle angle,
is varied.
The force exerted by the piston is varied by changing the average pressure
in the cylinder chamber. This is done by rapidly switching the pressure control
valve between the outside air port, which provides atmospheric pressure, and
the manifold pressure port, the pressure of which is lower than atmospheric
pressure. In one implementation of a throttle actuator, the actuator control
signal Vc is a variable-duty-cycle type of signal like that discussed for the fuel
injector actuator. A high Vc signal energizes the electromagnet; a low Vc signal
deenergizes the electromagnet. Switching back and forth between the two
pressure sources causes the average pressure in the chamber to be somewhere
between the low manifold pressure and outside atmospheric pressure. This
average pressure and, consequently, the piston force are proportional to the
duty cycle of the valve control signal Vc. The duty cycle is in turn proportional
to the control signal d (explained above) that is computed from the sampled
error signal en.
This type of duty-cycle-controlled throttle actuator is ideally suited for
use in digital control systems. If used in an analog control system, the analog
control signal must first be converted to a duty-cycle control signal. The same
frequency response considerations apply to the throttle actuator as to the speed
sensor. In fact, with both in the closed-loop control system, each contributes to
the total system phase shift and gain.
In an analog cruise control system, an error
amplifier compares
actual speed and desired
(command) speed. The
error signal output is fed
to a proportional amplifier and an integral
amplifier. The resultant
outputs are combined by
a summing amplifier.
Cruise control can be implemented electronically in various ways,
including with a microcontroller with special-purpose digital electronics or
with analog electronics. It can also be implemented (in proportional control
strategy alone) with an electromechanical speed governor.
The physical configuration for a digital, microprocessor-based cruise
control is depicted in Figure 8.8. A system such as is depicted in Figure 8.8
is often called a microcontroller since it is implemented with a
microprocessor operating under program control. The actual program that
causes the various calculations to be performed is stored in read-only
memory (ROM). Typically the ROM also stores parameters that are critical
to the correct calculations. Normally a relatively small-capacity RAM
memory is provided to store the command speed and to store any temporary
calculation results. Input from the speed sensor and output to the throttle
actuator are handled by the I/O interface (normally an integrated circuit
that is a companion to the microprocessor). The output from the controller
(i.e., the control signal) is sent via the I/O (on one of its output ports) to socalled driver electronics. The latter electronics receives this control signal
and generates a signal of the correct format and power level to operate the
actuator (as explained below).
A microprocessor-based cruise control system performs all of the required
control law computations digitally under program control. For example, a PI
control strategy is implemented as explained above, with a proportional term
2735 | CH 8 Page 272 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.8
Digital Cruise Control Configuration
and an integral term that is formed by a summation. In performing this task the
controller continuously receives samples of the speed error en, and where n is a
counting index (n = 1, 2, 3, 4, . . .). This sampling occurs at a sufficiently high
rate to be able to adjust the control signal to the actuator in time to compensate
for changes in operating condition or to disturbances. At each sample the
controller reads the most recent error. As explained earlier, that error is
multiplied by a constant KP that is called the proportional gain, yielding the
proportional term in the control law. It also computes the sum of a number of
previous error samples (the exact sum is chosen by the control system designer
in accordance with the desired steady-state error). Then this sum is multiplied
by a constant KI and added to the proportional term, yielding the control
The control signal at this point is simply a number that is stored in a
memory location in the digital controller. The use of this number by the
electronic circuitry that drives the throttle actuator to regulate vehicle speed
depends on the configuration of the particular control system and on the
actuator used by that system.
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Stepper Motor-Based Actuator
For example, in the case of a stepper motor actuator, the actuator driver
electronics reads this number and then generates a sequence of pulses to the
pair of windings on the stepper motor (with the correct relative phasing) to
cause the stepper motor to either advance or retard the throttle setting as
required to bring the error toward zero.
An illustrative example of driver circuitry for a stepper motor actuator is
shown in Figure 8.9.The basic idea for this circuitry is to continuously drive
the stepper motor to advance or retard the throttle in accordance with the
control signal that is stored in memory. Just as the controller periodically
updates the actuator control signal, the stepper motor driver electronics
continually adjusts the throttle by an amount determined by the actuator
Figure 8.9
Stepper Motor Actuator for Cruise Control
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This signal is, in effect, a signed number (i.e., a positive or negative
numerical value). A sign bit indicates the direction of the throttle movement
(advance or retard). The numerical value determines the amount of advance or
The magnitude of the actuator signal (in binary format) is loaded into a
parallel load serial down-count binary counter. The direction of movement is in
the form of the sign bit (SB of Figure 8.9). The stepper motor is activated by a
pair of quadrature phase signals (i.e., signals that are a quarter of a cycle out of
phase) coming from a pair of oscillators. To advance the throttle, phase A signal
is applied to coil 1 and phase B to coil 2. To retard the throttle these phases are
each switched to the opposite coil. The amount of movement in either
direction is determined by the number of cycles of A and B, one step for each
The number of cycles of these two phases is controlled by a logical signal
(Z in Figure 8.9). This logical signal is switched high, enabling a pair of AND
gates (from the set A1, A2, A3, A4). The length of time that it is switched high
determines the number of cycles and corresponds to the number of steps of the
The logical variable Z corresponds to the contents of the binary counter
being zero. As long as Z is not zero, a pair of AND gates (A1 and A3, or A2 and
A4) is enabled, permitting phase A and phase B signals to be sent to the stepper
motor. The pair of gates enabled is determined by the sign bit. When the sign
bit is high, A1 and A3 are enabled and the stepper motor advances the throttle
as long as Z is not zero. Similarly, when the sign bit is low, A2 and A4 are
enabled and the stepper motor retards the throttle.
To control the number of steps, the controller loads a binary value into
the binary counter. With the contents not zero the appropriate pair of AND
gates is enabled. When loaded with data, the binary counter counts down at the
frequency of a clock (CK in Figure 8.9). When the countdown reaches zero, the
gates are disabled and the stepper motor stops moving.
The time required to count down to zero is determined by the numerical
value loaded into the binary counter. By loading signed binary numbers into
the binary counter, the cruise controller regulates the amount and direction of
movement of the stepper motor and thereby the corresponding movement of
the throttle.
Vacuum-Operated Actuator
The driver electronics for a cruise control based on a vacuum-operated
system generates a variable-duty-cycle signal as described in Chapter 6. In this
type of system, the duty cycle at any time is proportional to the control signal.
For example, if at any given instant a large positive error exists between the
command and actual signal then a relatively large control signal will be
generated. This control signal will cause the driver electronics to produce a large
duty cycle signal to operate the solenoid so that most of the time the actuator
2735 | CH 8 Page 275 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
cylinder chamber is nearly at manifold vacuum level. Consequently, the piston
will move against the restoring spring and cause the throttle opening to
increase. As a result the engine will produce more power and will accelerate the
vehicle until its speed matches the command speed.
It should be emphasized that, regardless of the actuator type used, a
microprocessor-based cruise control system will:
1. Read the command speed.
2. Measure actual vehicle speed.
3. Compute an error (error = command – actual).
4. Compute a control signal using P, PI, or PID control law.
5. Send the control signal to the driver electronics.
6. Cause driver electronics to send a signal to the throttle actuator such that
the error will be reduced.
An example of electronics for a cruise control system that is basically
analog is shown in Figure 8.10. Notice that the system uses four operational
amplifiers (op amps) as described in Chapter 3 and that each op amp is used for
Figure 8.10
Cruise Control
2735 | CH 8 Page 276 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
a specific purpose. Op amp 1 is used as an error amplifier. The output of op
amp 1 is proportional to the difference between the command speed and the
actual speed. The error signal is then used as an input to op amps 2 and 3. Op
amp 2 is a proportional amplifier with a gain of KP = –R2/R1. Notice that R1 is
variable so that the proportional amplifier gain can be adjusted. Op amp 3 is an
integrator with a gain of KI = –1/R3C. Resistor R3 is variable to permit
adjustment of the gain. The op amp causes a current to flow into capacitor C
that is equal to the current flowing into R3. The voltage across R3 is the error
amplifier output voltage, Ve. The current in R3 is found from Ohm’s law to be
I = -----e
which is identical to the current flowing into the capacitor. If the error signal Ve
is constant, the current I will be constant and the voltage across the capacitor
will steadily change at a rate proportional to the current flow. That is, the
capacitor voltage is proportional to the integral of the error signal:
V I = – --------- V e dt
R 3C
Because the output of
the summing amplifier is
an analog signal, it must
be converted into a
duty-cycle signal to
pulse the throttle
The output of the integral amplifier, VI, increases or decreases with time
depending on whether Ve is above or below zero volts. The voltage VI is steady
or unchanging only when the error is exactly zero; this is why the integral gain
block in the diagram in Figure 8.10 can reduce the system steady-state error to
zero. Even a small error causes VI to change to correct for the error.
The outputs of the proportional and integral amplifiers are added using a
summing amplifier, op amp 4. The summing amplifier adds voltages VP and VI
and inverts the resulting sum. The inversion is necessary because both the
proportional and integral amplifiers invert their input signals while providing
amplification. Inverting the sum restores the correct sense, or polarity, to the
control signal.
The summing amplifier op amp produces an analog voltage, Vs, that must
be converted to a duty-cycle signal before it can drive the throttle actuator. A
voltage-to-duty-cycle converter is used whose output directly drives the throttle
actuator solenoid.
Two switches, S1 and S2, are shown in Figure 8.10. Switch S1 is operated
by the driver to set the desired speed. It signals the sample-and-hold electronics
(Figure 8.11) to sample the present vehicle speed and hold that value. Voltage
V1, representing the vehicle speed at which the driver wishes to set the cruise
controller, is sampled and it charges capacitor C. A very high input impedance
amplifier detects the voltage on the capacitor without causing the charge on the
capacitor to “leak’’ off. The output from this amplifier is a voltage, Vs,
proportional to the command speed that is sent to the error amplifier.
2735 | CH 8 Page 277 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.11
Typical Sample-andHold Circuit
Switch S2 is used to disable the speed controller by interrupting the
control signal to the throttle actuator. Switch S2 disables the system whenever
the ignition is turned off, the controller is turned off, or the brake pedal is
pressed. The controller is switched on when the driver presses the speed set
switch S1.
For safety reasons, the brake turnoff is often performed two ways. As just
mentioned, pressing the brake pedal turns off or disables the electronic control.
In certain cruise control configurations that use a vacuum-operated throttle
actuator, the brake pedal also mechanically opens a separate valve that is located
in a hose connected to the throttle actuator cylinder. When the valve is opened
by depression of the brake pedal, it allows outside air to flow into the throttle
actuator cylinder so that the throttle plate instantly snaps closed. The valve is
shut off whenever the brake pedal is in its inactive position. This ensures a fast
and complete shutdown of the speed control system whenever the driver presses
the brake pedal.
One of the most readily accepted applications of electronics in automobiles
has been the antilock brake system (ABS). ABS is a safety-related feature that
assists the driver in deceleration of the vehicle in poor or marginal braking
conditions (e.g., wet or icy roads). In such conditions, panic braking by the driver
(in non-ABS-equipped cars) results in reduced braking effectiveness and,
typically, loss of directional control due to the tendency of the wheels to lock.
In ABS-equipped cars, the wheel is prevented from locking by a
mechanism that automatically regulates braking force to an optimum for any
2735 | CH 8 Page 278 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
given low-friction condition. The physical configuration for an ABS is shown in
Figure 8.12. In addition to the normal brake components, including brake
pedal, master cylinder, vacuum boost, wheel cylinders, calipers/disks, and brake
lines, this system has a set of angular speed sensors at each wheel, an electronic
control module, and a hydraulic brake pressure modulator (regulator).
In order to understand the ABS operation, it is first necessary to
understand the physical mechanism of wheel lock and vehicle skid that can
occur during braking. Figure 8.13 illustrates the forces applied to the wheel by
the road during braking.
The car is traveling at a speed U and the wheels are rotating at an angular
speed w where
w = ---------------30
and where RPM is the wheel revolutions per minute. When the wheel is rolling
(no applied brakes),
U = Rw
where R is the tire radius. When the brake pedal is depressed, the calipers are
forced by hydraulic pressure against the disk, as explained in Chapter 1. This
force acts as a torque Tb in opposition to the wheel rotation. The actual force
that decelerates the car is shown as Fb in Figure 8.13. The lateral force that
maintains directional control of the car is shown as FL in Figure 8.13.
The wheel angular speed begins to decrease, causing a difference between
the vehicle speed U and the tire speed over the road (i.e., wR). In effect, the tire
Figure 8.12
Antilock Braking
2735 | CH 8 Page 279 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.13
Forces During
slips relative to the road surface. The amount of slip (S ) determines the braking
force and lateral force. The slip, as a percentage of car speed, is given by
U – wR
S = ------------------ × 100%
Note: A rolling tire has slip S = 0, and a fully locked tire has S = 100%.
The braking and lateral forces are proportional to the normal force (from
the weight of the car) acting on the tire/road interface (N in Figure 8.13) and
the friction coefficients for braking force (Fb) and lateral force (FL ):
Fb = Nµb
FL = NµL
µb is the braking friction coefficient
µL is the lateral friction coefficient
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These coefficients depend markedly on slip, as shown in Figure 8.14. The solid
curves are for a dry road and the dashed curves for a wet or icy road. As brake
pedal force is increased from zero, slip increases from zero. For increasing slip,
µb increases to S = So. Further increase in slip actually decreases µb, thereby
reducing braking effectiveness.
On the other hand, µL decreases steadily with increasing S such that for
fully locked wheels the lateral force has its lowest value. For wet or icy roads, µL
at S = 100% is so low that the lateral force is insufficient to maintain directional
control of the vehicle. However, directional control can often be maintained
even in poor braking conditions if slip is optimally controlled. This is
essentially the function of the ABS, which performs an operation equivalent to
pumping the brakes as done by experienced drivers before the development of
ABS. In ABS-equipped cars under marginal or poor braking conditions, the
driver simply applies a steady brake force and the system adjusts tire slip to
optimum value automatically.
In a typical ABS configuration, control over slip is effected by controlling
the brake line pressure under electronic control. The configuration for ABS is
shown in Figure 8.12. This ABS regulates or modulates brake pressure to
maintain slip as near to optimum as possible (e.g., at So in Figure 8.14). The
Figure 8.14
Coefficients versus
Tire Slip (Solid
curves for dry road,
dashed curves for
wet or icy road):
2735 | CH 8 Page 281 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
operation of this ABS is based on estimating the torque Tw applied to the wheel
at the road surface by the braking force Fb:
Tw = RFb
In opposition to this torque is the braking torque Tb applied to the disk by the
calipers in response to brake pressure P:
Tb = kbP
where kb is a constant for the given brakes.
The difference between these two torques acts to decelerate the wheel. In
accordance with basic Newtonian mechanics, the wheel torque Tw is related to
braking torque and wheel deceleration by the following equation:
T w = T b + I w Ẇ
Iw is the wheel moment of inertia
Ẇ is the wheel deceleration (dw/dt, that is, the rate of change of wheel
During heavy braking under marginal conditions, sufficient braking
force is applied to cause wheel lock-up (in the absence of ABS control). We
assume such heavy braking for the following discussion of the ABS. As brake
pressure is applied, Tb increases and w decreases, causing slip to increase. The
wheel torque is proportional to µb, which reaches a peak at slip So.
Consequently, the wheel torque reaches a maximum value (assuming
sufficient brake force is applied) at this level of slip.
Figure 8.15 is a sketch of wheel torque versus slip illustrating the peak Tw .
After the peak wheel torque is sensed electronically, the electronic control
system commands that brake pressure be reduced (via the brake pressure
modulator). This point is indicated in Figure 8.15 as the limit point of slip for
the ABS. As the brake pressure is reduced, slip is reduced and the wheel torque
again passes through a maximum.
The wheel torque reaches a value below the peak on the low slip side and
at this point brake pressure is again increased. The system will continue to
cycle, maintaining slip near the optimal value as long as the brakes are applied
and the braking conditions are poor.
The mechanism for modulating brake pressure is illustrated in Figure
8.16. The numbers in Figure 8.16a refer to the following:
1. Applied master cylinder pressure
2. Bypass brake fluid
3. Normally open solenoid valve
4. EMB braking action
5. DC motor pack
2735 | CH 8 Page 282 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.15
Wheel Torque
versus Slip
6. ESB braking
7. Gear assembly
8. Ball screw
9. Check valve unseated
10. Outlet to brake cylinders
11. Piston
The numbers in Figure 8.16b refer to the following:
1. Trapped bypass brake fluid
2. Solenoid valve activated
3. EMB action released
4. DC motor pack
5. ESB braking action released
6. Gear assembly
7. Ball screw
8. Check valve seated
9. Applied master cylinder pressure
Under normal braking, brake pressure from the master cylinder passes
without reduction through the passageways associated with check valve 9 and
solenoid valve 3 in Figure 8.16a.
2735 | CH 8 Page 283 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.16
Brake Pressure
Whenever the wheel slip limit is reached, the solenoid valve is closed and
the piston (11) retracts, closing the check valve. This action effectively isolates
the brake cylinders from the master cylinder, and brake line pressure is
controlled by the position of piston 11. This piston retracts, lowering the brake
pressure sufficiently so that slip falls below So. At this point, the control system
detects low Tw and the piston moves up, thereby increasing brake line pressure.
The ABS system will continue to cycle until the vehicle has stopped, the
braking conditions are normal, or the driver removes the brake pressure from
the master cylinder.
In the latter case, the operation of the brake pressure modulator restores
normal braking function. For example, should the driver release the brake
pedal, then the pressure at the inlet (1) is reduced. At this point, the check valve
(9) opens and brake line pressure is also removed. The solenoid valve opens and
the piston returns to its normal position (fully up) such that the check valve is
held open.
Figure 8.17 illustrates the braking during an ABS action. In this
illustration, the vehicle is initially traveling at 55 mph and the brakes are
applied as indicated by the rising brake pressure. The wheel speed begins to
drop until the slip limit is reached. At this point, the ABS reduces brake
pressure and the wheel speed increases. With the high applied brake pressure,
2735 | CH 8 Page 284 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.17
ABS Braking Action
the wheels again tend toward lock-up and ABS reduces brake pressure. The
cycle continues until the vehicle is stopped.
It should be noted that by maintaining slip near So, the maximum
deceleration is achieved for a given set of conditions. Some reduction in lateral
force occurs from its maximum value by maintaining slip near So. However, in
most cases the lateral force is large enough to maintain directional control.
In some antilock brake systems, the slip oscillations are shifted below So,
sacrificing some braking effectiveness to enhance directional control. This can
be accomplished by adjusting the upper and lower slip limits.
Tire-Slip Controller
Another benefit of the ABS is that the brake pressure modulator can be
used for tire-slip control. Tire slip is effective in moving the car forward just as
it is in braking. Under normal driving circumstances, the slip that was defined
previously for braking is negative. That is, the tire is actually moving at a speed
that is greater than for a purely rolling tire. In fact, the traction force is
proportional to slip.
For wet or icy roads, the friction coefficient can become very low and
excessive slip can develop. In extreme cases, one of the driving wheels may be
2735 | CH 8 Page 285 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
on ice or in snow while the other is on a dry (or drier) surface. Because of the
action of the differential (see Chapter 1), the low-friction tire will spin and
relatively little torque will be applied to the dry-wheel side. In such
circumstances, it may be difficult for the driver to move the car even though
one wheel is on a relatively good friction surface.
The difficulty can be overcome by applying a braking force to the free
spinning wheel. In this case, the differential action is such that torque is applied
to the relatively dry wheel surface and the car can be moved. In the example
ABS, such braking force can be applied to the free spinning wheel by the
hydraulic brake pressure modulator (assuming a separate modulator for each
drive wheel). Control of this modulator is based on measurements of the speed
of the two drive wheels. Of course, the ABS already incorporates wheel speed
measurements, as discussed previously.
The ABS electronics have the capability to perform comparisons of these
two wheel speeds and to determine that braking is required of one drive wheel
to prevent wheel spin.
In Chapter 1, we described automotive suspension systems as consisting
of springs, shock absorbers, and various linkages to connect the wheel assembly
to the car frame. The purpose of the suspension system is to isolate the car body
motion as much as possible from wheel motion due to rough road input. In
Chapters 1 and 2, it was shown that the performance of the suspension system
is strongly influenced by the damping parameter of the shock absorber.
The two primary subjective performance measures are ride and handling.
Ride refers to the motion of the car body in response to road bumps or
irregularities. Handling refers to how well the car body responds to dynamic
vehicle motion such as cornering or hard braking.
Generally speaking, ride is improved by lowering the shock absorber
damping, whereas handling is improved by increasing this damping. In
traditional suspension design, the damping parameter is fixed and is chosen to
achieve a compromise between ride and handling (i.e., an intermediate value
for shock absorber damping is chosen).
In electronically controlled suspension systems, this damping can be
varied depending on driving conditions and road roughness characteristics.
That is, the suspension system adapts to inputs to maintain the best possible
ride subject to handling constraints that are associated with safety.
There are two major classes of electronic suspension control system: active
and semiactive. The semiactive suspension system is purely dissipative (i.e.,
power is absorbed by the shock absorber under control of a microcontroller). In
this system, the shock absorber damping is regulated to absorb the power of the
wheel motion in accordance with the driving conditions.
In an active suspension system, power is added to the suspension system
via a hydraulic or pneumatic power source. At the time of the writing of this
2735 | CH 8 Page 286 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
book, commercial suspension systems are primarily semiactive. The active
suspension system has potential to be in production in the future and is
explained in Chapter 11. In this chapter, we explain only the semiactive system.
The primary purpose of the semiactive suspension system is to provide a
good ride for as much of the time as possible without sacrificing handling.
Good ride is achieved if the car’s body is isolated as much as possible from the
road. A semiactive suspension controls the shock absorber damping to achieve
the best possible ride.
In addition to providing isolation of the sprung mass (i.e., car body and
contents), the suspension system has another major function. It must also
dynamically maintain the tire normal force as the unsprung mass (wheel
assembly) travels up and down due to road roughness. Recall from the discussion
of antilock braking that cornering forces depend on normal tire force. Of course
in the long-term time average, the normal forces will total the vehicle weight plus
any inertial forces due to acceleration, deceleration, or cornering.
However, as the car travels over the road, the unsprung mass moves up
and down in response to road input. This motion causes a variation in normal
force, with a corresponding variation in potential cornering or braking forces.
For example, while driving on a rough curved road, there is a potential loss of
steering or braking effectiveness if the suspension system doesn’t have good
damping characteristics.
Figure 8.18 illustrates typical tire normal force variation as a function of
frequency of excitation for a fixed-amplitude, variable-frequency sinusoidal
excitation (see Chapter 2 for a discussion of sinusoidal frequency response).
The solid curve is the response for a relatively low-damping-coefficient shock
absorber and the dashed curve is the response for a relatively high damping
In Figure 8.18, the ordinate is the ratio of amplitude of force variation to
the average normal load (i.e., due to weight). There are two relative peaks in
this response. The lower peak is approximately 1 to 2 Hz and is generally
associated with spring/sprung mass oscillation. The second peak, which is in
the general region of 12 to 15 Hz, is resonance of the spring/unsprung mass
Generally speaking, for any given fixed suspension system ride and handling
cannot both be optimized simultaneously, as explained in Chapter 1. A car with a
good ride is one in which the sprung mass motion/acceleration due to rough road
input is minimized. In particular, the sprung mass motion in the frequency region
from about 2 to 8 Hz is most important for good subjective ride. Good ride is
achieved for relatively low damping (low D in Figure 8.18).
For low damping, the unsprung mass moves relatively freely due to road
input while the sprung mass motion remains relatively low. Note from Figure
8.18 that this low damping results in relatively high variation in normal force,
particularly near the two peak frequencies. That is, low damping results in
relatively poor handling characteristics.
2735 | CH 8 Page 287 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.18
Tire Force Variation
With respect to the four frequency regions of Figure 8.18, the following
generally desired suspension damping characteristics can be identified.
Frequency (Hz)
1: Sprung mass mode
2: Intermediate ride
3: Unsprung mass resonance
4: Harshness
> 20
Another major input to the vehicle that affects handling is steering input
that causes maneuvers parallel to the road surface (e.g., cornering). Whenever
the car is executing such maneuvers, there is a lateral acceleration. This
acceleration acting through the center of gravity causes the vehicle to roll in a
direction opposite to the maneuver.
Car handling generally improves if the amount of roll for any given
maneuver is reduced. The rolling rate for a given car and maneuver is improved
if spring rate and shock absorber damping are increased. Although the
semiactive control system regulates only the damping, handling is improved by
increasing this damping as lateral acceleration increases.
2735 | CH 8 Page 288 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Lateral acceleration AL is proportional to vehicle speed and input steering
A L = kVq s
V is the speed of the car
qs is the steering angle
Although there are many potential control strategies for regulating shock
absorber damping, we consider here only switched damping as in our example.
In such a system, the shock absorber damping is switched to the higher value
whenever lateral acceleration exceeds a predetermined threshold. Figure 8.19
illustrates such a system in which the threshold for switching to firm damping
(i.e., higher damping) is 0.35 g.
In Chapter 2, we discussed the dynamics of a spring/mass/damping
system, identifying resonant frequency and critical damping Dc:
D c = 2 KM
For good ride, the damping should be as low as possible. However, from
practical design considerations, the minimum damping is generally in the
region of 0.1 < D /Dc < 0.2. For optimum handling, the damping is in the
region of 0.6 < D /Dc < 0.8.
Figure 8.19
Switching Threshold
versus Speed and
Steering Inputs
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The variation in shock absorber damping is achieved by varying the
aperture in the oil passage through the piston (see Chapter 1 for discussion of
shock absorber configuration). In practical semiactive suspension systems, there
are two means used to vary this aperture size—a solenoid-operated bypass valve
and a motor-driven variable-orifice valve (Figure 8.20).
Figure 8.21 is an illustration of the force/relative velocity characteristics of
a shock absorber having a solenoid-switched aperture.
The control system for a typical semiactive electronic suspension system
has a similar configuration to any electronic control system, as depicted in the
block diagram of Figure 8.22.
The control system typically is in the form of a microcontroller or
microprocessor-based digital controller. The inputs from each sensor are
sampled, converted to digital format, and stored in memory. The sampling is
typically at about 500 Hz. In this control configuration, sensors are provided to
measure body (sprung mass) acceleration, the relative position and motion of
the wheel/body (unsprung/sprung mass), the steering wheel input, and vehicle
speed. The body acceleration measurement can be used to evaluate ride quality.
The controller does this by computing a weighted average of the spectrum of
the acceleration. The relative body/wheel motion can be used to estimate tire
normal force.
Under program control in accordance with the control strategy, the
electronic control system generates output electrical signals to the actuators in
Figure 8.20
Adjustable Shock
2735 | CH 8 Page 290 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.21
Force versus
Relative Velocity of a
Aperture Shock
each shock absorber. These actuators vary the oil passage orifice independently
at each wheel to obtain the desired damping for that wheel.
There are many possible control strategies and many of these are actually
used in production vehicles. For the purposes of this book, it is perhaps most
beneficial to present a representative control strategy that typifies features of a
number of actual production systems. We assume a solenoid-switched shock
The important inputs to the vehicle suspension system come from road
roughness induced forces and inertial forces (due, for example, to cornering or
maneuvering), steering inputs, and vehicle speed. In our hypothetical simplified
control strategy these inputs are considered separately. When driving along a
nominally straight road with small steering inputs, the road input is dominant.
In this case, the control is based on the spectral content (frequency region) of
the relative motion. The controller (under program control) calculates the
spectrum of the relative velocity of the sprung and unsprung mass at each wheel
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Figure 8.22
Suspension System
(from the corresponding sensor’s data). Whenever the weighted amplitude of
the spectrum near the peak frequencies exceeds a threshold, the oil passage
aperture is switched smaller, causing relatively high damping (firm ride).
Otherwise, the aperture is switched to the larger opening, resulting in relatively
low damping (soft suspension).
If in addition the vehicle is equipped with an accelerometer (usually located
in the car body near the center of gravity) and with motor-driven variableaperture shock absorbers, then an additional control strategy is possible. In this
latter control strategy, the shock absorber apertures are adjusted to minimize
sprung mass acceleration in the 2 to 8 Hz frequency region, thereby providing
optimum ride control. However, at all times, the damping is adjusted to control
unsprung mass motion to maintain wheel normal force variation at acceptably
low levels for safety reasons. Whenever a relatively large steering input is sensed,
such as during a cornering maneuver, then the control strategy switches to the
smaller aperture, yielding a “stiffer” suspension and improved handling.
In Chapter 1, the steering system was explained. There it was shown that
the steering effort required of the driver to overcome restoring torque generally
decreases with vehicle speed and increases with steering angle. Traditionally, the
steering effort required by the driver has been reduced by incorporating a
hydraulic power steering system in the vehicle. Whenever there is a steering
2735 | CH 8 Page 292 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:19 PM
Figure 8.23
4WS Configuration
input from the driver, hydraulic pressure from an engine-driven pump is
applied to a hydraulic cylinder that boosts the steering effort of the driver.
Typically, the effort available from the pump increases with engine speed
(i.e., with vehicle speed), whereas the required effort decreases. It would be
desirable to reduce steering boost as vehicle speed increases. Such a feature can
potentially be incorporated into a power steering system featuring electronic
controls. An electronically controlled power steering system adjusts steering
boost adaptively to driving conditions. Using electronic control of power
steering, the available boost is reduced by controlling a pressure relief valve on
the power steering pump.
An alternative power steering scheme utilizes a special electric motor to
provide the boost required instead of the hydraulic boost. Electric boost power
steering has several advantages over traditional hydraulic power steering.
Electronic control of electric boost systems is straightforward and can be
accomplished without any energy conversion from electrical power to
mechanical actuation. Moreover, electronic control offers very sophisticated
adaptive control in which the system can adapt to the driving environment.
An example of an electronically controlled steering system that has had
commercial production is for four-wheel steering systems (4WS). In the 4WSequipped vehicles, the front wheels are directly linked mechanically to the
steering wheel, as in traditional vehicles. There is a power steering boost for the
front wheels as in a standard two-wheel steering system. The rear wheels are
steered under the control of a microcontroller via an actuator. Figure 8.23 is an
illustration of the 4WS configuration.
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In this illustration, the front wheels are steered to a steering angle δf by
the driver’s steering wheel input. A sensor (S) measures the steering angle and
another sensor (U) gives the vehicle speed. The microcontroller (C) determines
the desired rear steering angle δr under program control as a function of speed
and front steering angle.
The details of the control strategy are proprietary and not available for
this book. However, it is within the scope of this book to describe a
representative example control strategy as follows.
For speeds below 10 mph, the rear steering angle is in the opposite
direction to the front steering angle. This control strategy has the effect of
decreasing the car’s turning radius from the value it has for front wheel steering
only. Consequently, the maneuvering ability of the car at low speeds is
enhanced (e.g., for parking).
At intermediate speeds (e.g., 11 mph < U < 30 mph), the steering might
be front wheel only. At higher speeds (including highway cruise), the front and
rear wheels are steered in the same direction. At least one automaker has an
interesting strategy for higher speeds (e.g., at highway cruise speed). In this
strategy, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels for a
very short period (on the order of one second) and then turn in the same
direction as the front wheels. This strategy has a beneficial effect on maneuvers
such as lane changes on the highway. Figure 8.24 illustrates the lane change for
front wheel steering and for this latter 4WS strategy, in which the same front
steering angle was used. Notice that the 4WS strategy yields a lane change in a
shorter distance and avoids the overshoot common in a standard-steering
Figure 8.24
Lane Change
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Quiz for Chapter 8
1. A typical cruise control system
senses the difference between
a. vehicle speed and tire speed
b. set speed and actual vehicle
c. engine angular speed and
wheel speed
d. none of the above
2. A cruise control system controls
vehicle speed using
a. a feedback carburetor
b. a distributorless ignition
c. a throttle actuator
d. an MAF sensor
3. One of the major drawbacks to a
proportional controller is
a. steady-state error
b. integral of the error
c. gain error
d. all of the above
4. A critically damped system has a
response to a step input that
a. has overshoot
b. rises smoothly to the final
value with no overshoot
c. can only be achieved with a
proportional control system
d. is the slowest of all possible
5. A digital cruise control system
a. operates on samples of the
error signal
b. computes a control signal
c. obtains a digital measurement
of vehicle speed
d. all of the above
6. In the example digital cruise
control system of this chapter,
the vehicle speed sensor
a. counts pulses of light at a
frequency that is proportional
to vehicle speed
b. generates an analog signal
c. measures crankshaft rotation
speed directly
d. none of the above
7. One advantage of a digital
motion control system is
a. the ability to work with
analog signals
b. the stability of operation with
respect to environmental
c. the exclusive ability to
generate integrals of the error
d. all of the above
8. A practical tire-slip controller
is based on measurement of
a. wheel speed
b. vehicle speed
c. both of the above
d. neither of the above
9. An ideal antilock braking system
measures skid by
a. measuring the difference
between wheel speed and
vehicle speed
b. differentiating vehicle speed
with respect to time
c. measuring crankshaft angular
d. none of the above
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10. The example digital ride control
system of this chapter incorporates
a. a special electrically adjustable
shock absorber
b. a measurement of steering
c. a measurement of vehicle
speed and brake line pressure
d. all of the above
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Automotive Instrumentation
Low-cost solid-state
electronics, including
microprocessors, display
devices, and some sensors, have brought about
major changes in automotive instrumentation.
Automotive instrumentation includes the equipment and devices that
measure engine and other vehicle variables and display their status to the
driver. From about the late 1920s until the late 1950s, the standard
automotive instrumentation included the speedometer, oil pressure gauge,
coolant temperature gauge, battery charging rate gauge, and fuel quantity
gauge. Strictly speaking, only the latter two are electrical instruments. In fact,
this electrical instrumentation was generally regarded as a minor part of the
automotive electrical system. By the late 1950s, however, the gauges for oil
pressure, coolant temperature, and battery charging rate were replaced by
warning lights that were turned on only if specified limits were exceeded.
This was done primarily to reduce vehicle cost and because of the
presumption that many people did not necessarily regularly monitor these
Automotive instrumentation was not really electronic until the 1970s.
At that time, the availability of relatively low-cost solid-state electronics
brought about a major change in automotive instrumentation; the use of
low-cost electronics has increased with each new model year. Some of the
electronic instrumentation presently available is described in this chapter.
In addition to providing measurements for display, modern automotive
instrumentation performs limited diagnosis of problems with various
subsystems. Whenever a problem is detected, a warning indicator alerts the
driver of a problem and indicates the appropriate subsystem. For example,
whenever self-diagnosis of the engine control system detects a problem, such as
a loss of signal from a sensor, a lamp illuminates the “Check Engine” message
on the instrument panel.
The evolution of instrumentation in automobiles has been influenced by
electronic technological advances in much the same way as the engine control
system, which has already been discussed. Of particular importance has been
the advent of the microprocessor, solid-state display devices, and solid-state
sensors. In order to put these developments into perspective, recall the general
block diagram for instrumentation (first given in Chapter 2), which is repeated
here as Figure 9.1.
In electronic instrumentation, a sensor is required to convert any
nonelectrical signal to an equivalent voltage or current. Electronic signal
processing is then performed on the sensor output to produce an electrical
signal that is capable of driving the display device. The display device is read by
2735 | CH 9 Page 298 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:24 PM
Figure 9.1
Block Diagram
the vehicle driver. If a quantity to be measured is already in electrical form (e.g.,
the battery charging current) this signal can be used directly and no sensor is
In some modern automotive instrumentation, a microcomputer performs
all of the signal processing operations for several measurements. The primary
motivation for computer-based instrumentation is the great flexibility offered
in the design of the instrument panel. A block diagram for such an
instrumentation system is shown in Figure 9.2.
All measurements from the various sensors and switches are processed in a
special-purpose digital computer. The processed signals are routed to the
appropriate display or warning message. It is common practice in modern
automotive instrumentation to integrate the display or warning in a single
module that may include both solid-state alphanumeric display, lamps for
illuminating specific messages, and traditional electromechanical indicators.
For convenience, this display will be termed the instrument panel (IP).
The inputs to the instrumentation computer include sensors (or switches)
for measuring (or sensing) various vehicle variables as well as diagnostic inputs
from the other critical electronic subsystems. The vehicle status sensors may
include any of the following:
Fuel quantity
Fuel pump pressure
Fuel flow rate
Vehicle speed
Oil pressure
Oil quantity
Coolant temperature
Outside ambient temperature
Windshield washer fluid quantity
Brake fluid quantity
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Figure 9.2
Computer-Based Instrumentation System
In addition to these variables, the input may include switches for detecting
open doors and trunk, as well as IP selection switches for multifunction
displays that permit the driver to select from various display modes or
measurement units. For example, the driver may be able to select vehicle speed
in miles per hour (mph) or kilometers per hour (kph).
An important function of modern instrumentation systems is to
receive diagnostic information from certain subsystems and to display
appropriate warning messages to the driver. The power train control system,
for example, continuously performs self-diagnosis operations (see Chapter
10). If a problem has been detected, a fault code is set indicating the nature
and location of the fault. This code is transmitted to the instrumentation
system via a power train digital data line (PDDL in Figure 9.2). This code is
interpreted in the instrumentation computer and a “Check Engine” warning
message is displayed. Similar diagnostic data is sent to the instrumentation
system from each of the subsystems for which driver warning messages are
deemed necessary (e.g., ABS, airbag, cruise control). The way in which a
fault is detected is explained in greater detail in Chapter 10.
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Most sensors provide an
analog output, whereas
computers require digital inputs. A/D converters convert analog
signals to digital codes
appropriate for signal
processing by the computer.
It should be emphasized that any single input can be either digital
switched or analog, depending on the technology used for the sensor. A typical
instrumentation computer is an integrated subsystem that is designed to accept
all of these input formats. A typical system is designed with a separate input
from each sensor or switch. An example of an analog input is the fuel quantity
sensor, which is normally a potentiometer attached to a float, as described in
detail later in this chapter. The measurement of vehicle speed given in Chapter
8 is an example of a measurement that is already in digital format.
The analog inputs must all be converted to digital format using an analog
to digital (A/D) converter as explained in Chapter 4 and illustrated in Figure
9.3. The digital inputs are, of course, already in the desired format. The
conversion process requires an amount of time that depends primarily on the
A/D converter. After the conversion is complete, the digital output generated
by the A/D converter is the closest possible approximation to the equivalent
analog voltage, using an M-bit binary number (where M is chosen by the
designer and is normally between 8 and 32). The A/D converter then signals
the computer by changing the logic state on a separate lead (labeled “conversion
complete’’ in Figure 9.3) that is connected to the computer. (Recall the use of
interrupts for this purpose, as discussed in Chapter 4.) The output voltage of
each analog sensor for which the computer performs signal processing must be
converted in this way. Once the conversion is complete, the digital output is
transferred into a register in the computer. If the output is to drive a digital
display, this output can be used directly. However, if an analog display is used,
the binary number must be converted to the appropriate analog signal by using
a digital-to-analog (D/A) converter (see Chapter 4).
Figure 9.3
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When an analog output
signal is required to
drive an analog display, a
D/A converter is used.
The D/A converter generates a voltage that is
proportional to the
binary number that the
computer sends to the
Figure 9.4 illustrates a typical D/A converter used to transform digital
computer output to an analog signal. The eight digital output leads ( M = 8 in
this example) transfer the results of the signal processing to a D/A converter.
When the transfer is complete, the computer signals the D/A converter to start
converting. The D/A output generates a voltage that is proportional to the
binary number in the computer output. A low, pass filter (which could be as
simple as a capacitor) is often connected across the D/A output to smooth the
analog output between samples. The sampling of the sensor output, A/D
conversion, digital signal processing, and D/A conversion all take place during
the time slot allotted for the measurement of the variable in a sampling time
sequence, to be discussed shortly.
The computer monitors
each sensor individually
and provides output signals to its display component before going on
to another sensor.
Of course, the computer can only deal with the measurement of a single
quantity at any one time. Therefore, the computer input must be connected to
only one sensor at a time, and the computer output must be connected only to
the corresponding display. The computer performs any necessary signal
processing on a particular sensor signal and then generates an output signal to
the appropriate display device.
Figure 9.4
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The switching of sensor
and display inputs is performed with solid-state
switches known as multiplexers; output switching is performed by
In Figure 9.5 the various sensor outputs and display inputs are connected
to a pair of multiposition rotary switches—one for the input and one for the
output of the computer. The switches are functionally connected such that they
rotate together. Whenever the input switch connects the computer input to the
appropriate sensor for measuring some quantity, the output switch connects the
computer output to the corresponding display or warning device. Thus, with
the switches in a specific position, the automotive instrumentation system
corresponds to the block diagram shown in Figure 9.1. At that instant of time,
the entire system is devoted to measurement of the quantity corresponding to
the given switch position.
Typically, the computer controls the input and output switching
operation. However, instead of a mechanical switch as shown in Figure 9.5, the
actual switching is done by means of a solid-state electronic switching device
called a multiplexer (MUX) that selects one of several inputs for each output.
Multiplexing can be done either with analog or digital signals. Figure 9.6
illustrates a digital MUX configuration. Here it is assumed that there are four
inputs to the MUX (corresponding to data from four sensors). It is further
presumed that the data is available in 8-bit digital format. Each of the
Figure 9.5
Switching Scheme
for Sampling
2735 | CH 9 Page 303 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:24 PM
Figure 9.6
Data Multiplexer
multiplexers selects a single bit from each of the four inputs. There must be
eight such MUX circuits, each supplying one data bit. The output lines from
each MUX are connected to a corresponding data bus line in the digital
computer (see Chapter 4). Similarly, the output switching (which is often called
demultiplexing, or DEMUX) is performed with a MUX connected in reverse,
as shown in Figure 9.7. The MUX and DEMUX selection is controlled by the
computer. Note that in Figures 9.6 and 9.7, each bit of the digital code is
multiplexed and demultiplexed.
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Figure 9.7
Only one variable can be
sampled by the computer at a time. The
other variables must wait
a set period of time
before being sampled
again by the computer.
The measurement of any quantity takes place only when the input and
output switches (MUX and DEMUX) functionally connect the corresponding
sensor and display to the computer, respectively. There are several variables to
be measured and displayed, but only one variable can be accommodated at any
given instant. Once a quantity has been measured, the system must wait until
the other variables have been measured before that particular variable is
measured again. This process of measuring a quantity intermittently is called
sampling, and the time between successive samples of the same quantity is called
the sample period, as explained in Chapter 2.
One possible scheme for measuring several variables by this process is to
sample each quantity sequentially, giving each measurement a fixed time slot, t,
2735 | CH 9 Page 305 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:24 PM
Some variables, such as
speed and battery
charge, change much
faster than others. To
effectively monitor these
differences the computer uses different sampling times.
out of the total sample period, T, as illustrated in Figure 9.8. This method is
satisfactory as long as the sample period is small compared with the time in
which any quantity changes appreciably. Certain quantities, such as coolant
temperature and fuel quantity, change very slowly with time. For such variables,
a sample period of a few seconds or longer is often adequate.
On the other hand, variables such as vehicle speed, battery charge, and
fuel consumption rate change relatively quickly and require a much shorter
sample period, perhaps every second or every few tenths of a second. To
accommodate the various rates of change of the automotive variables being
measured, the sample period varies from one quantity to another. The most
rapidly changing quantities are sampled with a very short sample period,
whereas those that change slowly are sampled with a long sample period.
In addition to sample period, the time slot allotted for each quantity must
be long enough to complete the measurement and any A/D or D/A conversion
required. The computer program is designed with all of these factors in mind so
that adequate time slots and sample periods are allowed for each variable. The
computer then simply follows the program schedule.
Advantages of Computer-Based Instrumentation
One of the big advantages of computer-based instrumentation is its great
flexibility. To change from the instrumentation for one vehicle or one model to
another requires only a change of computer program. This change can often be
implemented by replacing one ROM (read-only memory) with another.
Remember that the program is permanently stored in a ROM that is typically
packaged in a single integrated circuit package (see Chapter 4).
Figure 9.8
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Computer-based instrumentation is more accurate and, due to the
computer’s program,
more easily changed
than conventional
Another benefit of microcomputer-based electronic automotive
instrumentation is its improved performance compared with conventional
instrumentation. For example, the conventional fuel gauge system has errors
that are associated with variations in the mechanical and geometrical
characteristics of the tank, the sender unit, the instrument voltage regulator,
and the indicator (galvanometer). The electronic instrumentation system
eliminates the error that results from imperfect voltage regulation. Generally
speaking, the electronic fuel quantity measurement maintains calibration over
essentially the entire range of automotive electrical system conditions.
Moreover, it significantly improves the display accuracy by replacing the
electromechanical galvanometer display with an all-electronic digital display.
Some fuel quantity sensors use a float within
the fuel tank; the float is
mechanically linked to a
potentiometer that operates as a voltage divider.
During a measurement of fuel quantity, the MUX switch functionally
connects the computer input to the fuel quantity sensor, as shown in Figure
9.9. This sensor output is converted to digital format and then sent to the
computer for signal processing. (Note: In some automotive systems the analog
sensor output is sent to the instrumentation subsystem, where the A/D
conversion takes place.)
Figure 9.9
Fuel Quantity
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The computer compensates for fuel slosh by
averaging float sensor
readings over a period of
Several fuel quantity sensor configurations are available. Figure 9.10
illustrates the type of sensor to be described, which is a potentiometer
connected via mechanical linkage to a float. Normally, the sensor is mounted so
that the float remains laterally near the center of the tank for all fuel levels. A
constant current passes through the sensor potentiometer, since it is connected
directly across the regulated voltage source. The potentiometer is used as a
voltage divider so that the voltage at the wiper arm is related to the float
position, which is determined by fuel level.
The sensor output voltage is not directly proportional to fuel quantity in
gallons because of the complex shape of the fuel tank. The computer memory
contains the functional relationship between sensor voltage (in binary number
equivalent) and fuel quantity for the particular fuel tank used on the vehicle.
The computer reads the binary number from the A/D converter that
corresponds to sensor voltage and uses it to address a particular memory
location. Another binary number corresponding to the actual fuel quantity in
gallons for that sensor voltage is stored in that memory location. The computer
then uses the number from memory to generate the appropriate display
signal—either analog or digital, depending on display type—and sends that
signal via DEMUX to the display.
Computer-based signal processing can also compensate for fuel slosh. As
the car moves over the road, the fuel sloshes about and the float moves up and
down around the average position that corresponds to the correct level for a
stationary vehicle. The computer compensates for slosh by computing a
running average. It does this by storing several samples over a few seconds and
computing the arithmetic average of the sensor output. The oldest samples are
continually discarded as new samples are obtained. The averaged output
Figure 9.10
Fuel Quantity Sensor
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becomes the signal that drives the display. It should be noted that this is actually
a form of digital filtering.
Another important automotive parameter that is measured by the
instrumentation is the coolant temperature. The measurement of this quantity
is different from that of fuel quantity because usually it is not important for the
driver to know the actual temperature at all times. For safe operation of the
engine, the driver only needs to know that the coolant temperature is less than
a critical value. A block diagram of the measuring system is shown in Figure
The coolant temperature sensor used in most cars is a solid-state sensor
called a thermistor. Recall that this type of sensor was discussed in Chapter 6,
where it was shown that the resistance of this sensor decreases with increasing
temperature. Figure 9.12 shows the circuit connection and a sketch of a typical
sensor output voltage versus temperature curve.
Figure 9.11
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Figure 9.12
To measure coolant temperature, the sensor output from a thermistor is
converted into a digital
signal and compared to a
maximum safe value
stored in memory.
The sensor output voltage is sampled during the appropriate time slot and
is converted to a binary number equivalent by the A/D converter. The
computer compares this binary number to the one stored in memory that
corresponds to the high temperature limit. If the coolant temperature exceeds
the limit, an output signal is generated that activates the warning indicator. If
the limit is not exceeded, the output signal is not generated and the warning
message is not activated. A proportional display of actual temperature can be
used if the memory contains a cross-reference table between sensor output
voltage and the corresponding temperature, similar to that described for the
fuel quantity table.
Oil pressure warning
systems use a variableresistance sensor as part
of a voltage divider. This
arrangement provides a
varying voltage that corresponds to changes in
oil pressure.
Engine oil pressure measurement is similar to coolant temperature
measurement in that it uses a warning message display rather than an indicated
numerical value. Whenever the oil pressure is outside allowable limits, a
warning message is displayed to the driver. In the case of oil pressure, it is
important for the driver to know whenever the oil pressure falls below a lower
limit. It is also possible for the oil pressure to go above an allowable upper limit;
however, many manufacturers do not include a high oil pressure warning in the
The simplest oil pressure warning system involves a spring-loaded switch
connected to a diaphragm. The switch assembly is mounted in one of the oil
passageways such that the diaphragm is exposed directly to the oil pressure. The
force developed on the diaphragm by the oil pressure is sufficient to overcome
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the spring and to hold the switch open as long as the oil pressure exceeds the
lower limit. Whenever the oil pressure falls below this limit the spring force is
sufficient to close the switch. Switch closure is used to switch on the low oil
pressure warning message lamp.
One of the deficiences of this simple switch-based oil pressure warning
system is that it has a single fixed low oil pressure limit. In fact, the threshold oil
pressure for safe operation varies with engine load. Whereas a relatively low oil
pressure can protect bearing surfaces at low loads (e.g., at idle), a
proportionately higher oil pressure threshold is required with increasing load
(i.e., increasing horsepower and RPM).
An oil pressure instrument that operates with a load- or speed-dependent
threshold requires an oil pressure sensor rather than a switch. Such an oil
pressure warning system is illustrated in Figure 9.13. This system uses a
variable-resistance oil pressure sensor such as seen in Figure 9.14. A voltage is
developed across a series of fixed resistance that is proportional to oil pressure.
It should be noted that this assumed pressure sensor is hypothetical and used
only for illustrative purposes.
Figure 9.13
Oil Pressure
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Figure 9.14
Oil Pressure Sensor
During the measurement time slot, the oil pressure sensor voltage is
sampled through the MUX switch and converted to a binary number in the
A/D converter. The computer reads this binary number and compares it with
the binary number in memory for the allowed oil pressure limits. The oil
pressure limit is determined from load or crankshaft speed measurements that
are already available in the engine control system. These measurement data
can be sent to the instrument subsystem via the PDDL (see Figure 9.1). These
measurements serve as the address for a ROM lookup table to find the oil
pressure limit. If the oil pressure is below the allowed lower limit or above the
allowed upper limit, an output signal is generated that activates the oil
pressure warning light through the DEMUX.
It is also possible to use a proportional display of actual oil pressure if a
cross-reference table, similar to the fuel quantity table, is used. A digital display
can be driven directly from the computer. An analog display, such as the electric
gauge, requires a D/A converter.
Digital measurement of
vehicle speed is possible
using a binary counter
and a sensor having an
output signal frequency
that is proportional to
An example of a digital speed sensor has already been described in
Chapter 8 for a cruise control system. A sensor of this type is assumed to be
used for car speed measurements. The output of this sensor is a binary number,
P, that is proportional to car speed S. This binary number is contained in the
output of a binary counter (see Chapter 8). A block diagram of the
instrumentation for vehicle speed measurement that uses this digital speed
sensor is shown in Figure 9.15.
2735 | CH 9 Page 312 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:24 PM
Figure 9.15
Vehicle Speed
The computer reads the number P in the binary counter, then resets
the counter to zero to prepare it for the next count. After performing
computations and filtering, the computer generates a signal for the display
to indicate the vehicle speed. A digital display can be directly driven by the
computer. Either mph or kph may be selected. If an analog display is used, a
D/A converter must drive the display. Both mph and kph usually are
calibrated on an analog scale.
One of the most important components of any measuring instrument is
the display device. In automotive instrumentation, the display device must
present the results of the measurement to the driver in a form that is easy to
read and understand. The speedometer, ammeter, and fuel quantity gauge were
originally electromechanical devices. Then automotive manufacturers began
using warning lamps instead of gauges to cut cost. A warning lamp can be
considered as a type of electro-optical display.
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Electromechanical and
simple electro-optical
displays are being
replaced by sophisticated
electronic displays that
provide the driver with
numeric or alphabetic
Recent developments in solid-state technology in the field called
optoelectronics have led to sophisticated electro-optical display devices that are
capable of indicating alphanumeric data. This means that both numeric and
alphabetic information can be used to display the results of measurements of
automotive variables or parameters. This capability allows messages in English
or other languages to be given to the driver. The input for these devices is an
electronic digital signal, which makes these devices compatible with computerbased instrumentation, whereas electromechanical displays require a D/A
Automobile manufacturers have considered many different types of
electronic displays for automotive instrumentation, but only four have been
really practical: light-emitting diode (LED), liquid crystal (LCD), vacuumfluorescent (VFD), and the cathode ray tube (CRT). It now appears that the
VFD will be the predominant type of instrumentation for at least the near
future. Each of these types is discussed briefly to explain their uses in
automotive applications.
LEDs are solid-state
devices that emit light
when current is passed
through the diode.
LEDs are difficult to
view in bright sunlight.
The light-emitting diode is a semiconductor diode that is constructed in a
manner and of a material so that light is emitted when an electrical current is
passed through it. The semiconductor material most often used for an LED
that emits red light is gallium arsenide phosphide. Light is emitted at the
diode’s PN junction when the positive carriers combine with the negative
carriers at the junction (see Chapter 3 for a discussion of PN junctions). The
diode is constructed so that the light generated at the junction can escape from
the diode and be seen.
An LED display is normally made of small dots or rectangular segments
arranged so that numbers and letters can be formed when selected dots or
segments are turned on. The configuration for these segments is described in
greater detail later in this chapter in the section on VFD. A single LED is not
well suited for automotive display use because of its low brightness. Although it
can be seen easily in darkness, it is difficult to impossible to see in bright
sunlight. It also requires more electrical power than an LCD display; however,
its power requirements are not great enough to be a problem for automotive use.
LCDs use a liquid that
possesses the ability to
rotate the polarization of
polarized light. LCD
displays have low power
The LCD display is commonly used in electronic digital watch displays
because of its extremely low electrical power and relatively low voltage
requirements. The heart of an LCD is a special liquid that is called a twisted
nematic liquid crystal. This liquid has the capability of rotating the polarization of
linearly polarized light. Linearly polarized light has all of the vibrations of the
optical waves in the same direction. Light from the sun and from most artificial
light sources is not polarized, and the waves vibrate randomly in many directions.
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Nonpolarized light can be polarized by passing the light through a polarizing
material. To illustrate, think of a picket fence with narrow gaps between the
pickets. If a rope is passed between two of the pickets and its end is whipped up
and down, the ripples in the rope will pass through the fence. The ripples represent
light waves and the picket fence represents a polarizing material. If you whip the
rope in any direction other than vertically, the ripples will not pass through.
Now visualize another picket fenced turned 90˚ so that the pickets are
horizontal. Place this fence behind the vertical picket fence. This arrangement is
called a cross-polarizer. If the rope is now whipped in any direction, no ripples
will pass through both fences. Similarly, if a cross-polarizer is used for light, no
light will pass through this structure.
The configuration of an LCD can be understood from the schematic
drawings of Figure 9.16. The liquid crystal is sandwiched between a pair of glass
plates that have transparent, electrically conductive coatings. The transparent
conductor is deposited on the front glass plate in the form of the character, or
segment of a character, that is to be displayed. Next, a layer of dielectric
(insulating) material is coated on the glass plate to produce the desired alignment
of the liquid crystal molecules. The polarization of the molecules is vertical at the
front, and they gradually rotate through the liquid crystal structure until the
molecules at the back are horizontally polarized. Thus, the molecules of the liquid
crystal rotate 90˚ from the front plate to the back plate so that their polarization
matches that of the front and back polarizers with no voltage applied.
Figure 9.16
Typical LCD
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When current is not
being applied to an LCD
display, light entering
the crystal is polarized
by the front polarizer,
rotated, passed through
the rear polarizer, and
then reflected off the
When a voltage is applied
to a display segment, the
crystal’s molecules
change and do not rotate
the polarized light. Since
the light cannot align
with the rear polarizer, it
is not reflected and the
segment appears dark.
The operation of the LCD in the absence of applied voltage can be
understood with reference to Figure 9.17a. Ambient light enters through the
front polarizer so that the light entering the front plate is vertically polarized. As
it passes through the liquid crystal, the light polarization is changed by the
orientation of the molecules. When the light reaches the back of the crystal, its
polarization has been rotated 90˚ so that it is horizontally polarized. The light is
reflected from the reflector at the rear. It passes back through the liquid crystal
structure, the polarization again being rotated, and passes out of the front
polarizer. Thus, a viewer sees reflected ambient light.
The effect of an applied voltage to the transmission of light through this
device can be understood from Figure 9.17b. A voltage applied to any of the
segments of the display causes the liquid crystal molecules under those
segments only to be aligned in a straight line rather than twisted. In this case,
the light that enters the liquid crystal in the vicinity of the segments passes
through the crystal structure without the polarization being rotated. Since the
light has been vertically polarized by the front vertical polarizing plate, the
light is blocked by the horizontal polarizer so it cannot reach the reflector.
Thus, light that enters the cell in the vicinity of energized segments is not
returned to the front face. These segments will appear dark to the viewer, the
Figure 9.17
Liquid Crystal
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surrounding area will be light, and the segments will be visible in the presence
of ambient light.
The LCD is an excellent display device because of its low power
requirement and relatively low cost. However, a big disadvantage of the LCD
for automotive application is the need for an external light source for viewing in
the dark. Its characteristic is just the opposite of the LED; that is, the LCD is
readable in the daytime, but not at night. For night driving, the display must be
illuminated by small lamps inside the display. Another disadvantage is that the
display does not work well at the low temperatures that are encountered during
winter driving in some areas. These characteristics of the LCD have limited its
use in automotive instrumentation.
VFDs use a phosphor (a
material that emits light
when bombarded by
electrons). VFDs provide readability over a
wide range of conditions.
VFD brightness can be
controlled by varying the
voltage on the accelerator grid.
One of the most common automotive display devices in use today is the
vacuum-fluorescent display (VFD). This device generates light in much the
same way as a television picture tube does; that is, a material called phosphor
emits light when it is bombarded by energetic electrons. The display uses a
filament coated with material that generates free electrons when the filament is
heated. The electrons are accelerated toward the anode by a relatively high
voltage. When these high-speed electrons strike the phosphor on the anode, the
phosphor emits light. A common VFD has a phosphor that emits a blue-green
light that provides good readability in the wide range of ambient light
conditions that are present in an automobile. However, other colors (e.g., red or
yellow) are available by using other phosphors.
The numeric characters are formed by shaping the anode segments in the
form of a standard seven-segment character. The basic structure of a typical
VFD is depicted in Figure 9.18. The filament is a special type of resistance wire
and is heated by passing an electrical current through it. The coating on the
heated filament produces free electrons that are accelerated by the electric field
produced by a voltage on the accelerating grid. This grid consists of a fine wire
mesh that allows the electrons to pass through. The electrons pass through
because they are attracted to the anode, which has a higher voltage than the
grid. The high voltage is applied only to the anode of the segments needed to
form the character to be displayed. The instrumentation computer selects the
set of segments that are to emit light for any given message.
Since the ambient light in an automobile varies between sunlight and
darkness, it is desirable to adjust the brightness of the display in accordance
with the ambient light. The brightness is controlled by varying the voltage on
the accelerating grid. The higher the voltage, the greater the energy of the
electrons striking the phosphor and the brighter the light. Figure 9.19 shows
the brightness characteristics for a typical VFD device. A brightness of 200 fL
(foot-lamberts) might be selected on a bright sunny day, whereas the
brightness might be only 20 fL at night. The brightness can be set manually
by the driver, or automatically. In the latter case, a photoresistor is used to
vary the grid voltage in accordance with the amount of ambient light. A
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Figure 9.18
photoresistor is a device whose resistance varies in proportion to the amount
of light striking it.
The VFD is likely to be the most widely used instrumentation display for
some time. It operates with relatively low power and operates over a wide
temperature range. The most serious drawback for automotive application is its
Figure 9.19
Brightness Control
Range for VacuumFluorescent Display
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susceptibility to failure due to vibration and mechanical shock. However, this
problem can be reduced by mounting the display on a shock-absorbing
isolation mount.
The cathode ray tube
(CRT) is similar to a TV
picture tube and has
great potential for automotive display applications.
The display devices that have been discussed to this point have one rather
serious limitation. The characters that can be displayed are limited to those
symbols that can be approximated by the segments that can be illuminated.
Furthermore, illuminated warning messages such as “Check Engine” or “Oil
Pressure” are fixed messages that are either displayed or not, depending on the
engine conditions. The primary disadvantage of such ad hoc display devices is
the limited flexibility of the displayed messages.
The display device that has the greatest flexibility for displaying messages
or pictorial information is the cathode ray tube (CRT). The CRT that is
perhaps most familiar to the reader is the television picture tube. The CRT is
also the display device most commonly used in personal computers.
A technology that has the same flexibility of display as the CRT is the
solid-state equivalent of a CRT. Such a display is commonly called a flat-panel
display. Such a display, if it can be produced at sufficiently low cost, has
enormous potential in future automotive IP displays. However, as it is
functionally equivalent to the CRT and as the CRT is an existing, very mature
technology, we will describe such displays using the CRT example.
The CRT is being used increasingly for display purposes in the aerospace
industry, where it is used to display aircraft attitude information (sometimes
pictorially), aircraft engine or airframe parameters, navigational data, and
warning messages. Clearly, the CRT has great potential for automotive
instrumentation display.
It has, however, certain disadvantages compared to solid-state or
electromechanical display devices. For example, its size and shape make it
complicated to locate in the instrument panel, where it can most easily be read
by the driver. In addition, the CRT requires circuitry for its operation that is
not required by a solid-state digital display. Furthermore, the CRT is more
expensive than a typical solid-state or vacuum-fluorescent display. The
hardware cost incurred for a CRT is essentially independent of the complexity
of displayed messages, whereas the cost of alternate solid-state or vacuumfluorescent displays increases somewhat with complexity of the messages. Thus,
the cost of the CRT only becomes comparable with vacuum-fluorescent
displays as message complexity increases.
Although there have been numerous experimental and a few
commercially successful automotive CRT display systems, the future of this
application is uncertain. However, it is worthwhile to describe the technology
to give the reader some insight into the varied potential automotive
instrumentation applications. While it is beyond the scope of this book to
explain in detail the physical processes of the CRT and its associated electronic
2735 | CH 9 Page 319 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:24 PM
circuits, a relatively simple overview of the functional operation of the CRT as a
display device is straightforward and should serve to illustrate some potential
automotive applications.
Figure 9.20 is a sketch of a typical CRT. It is an evacuated glass tube that
has a nominally flat surface that is coated with a phosphorescent material. This
surface is the surface or face on which the displayed messages appear. At the rear
is a somewhat complex structure called an electron gun. This device generates a
stream of electrons that is accelerated toward the screen and brought to
convergence at a spot on the screen. A system of coils in the form of
electromagnets causes this convergence of electrons (or beam) and is referred to
as the magnetic focusing system. The focused stream of electrons is called the
The electron beam generates a spot of light at the point on the screen.
The intensity of the light is proportional to the electron beam current. This
current is controlled by the voltage (Vc ), which is called the video signal, on an
electrode that is located near the electron gun.
Figure 9.20
CRT and
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In the majority of applications (including TV), the electron beam is
scanned in a pattern known as a raster by means of specially located
electromagnets (see Figure 9.20). The magnetic fields created by the scanning
coils deflect the beam horizontally and vertically. The amount of deflection is
proportional to the current flowing through the respective coils. The raster
pattern traced by the beam is illustrated on the face of the CRT in Figure 9.21.
The scanning motion is done in synchronism with the source of
information being displayed. At the end of each horizontal scan line, a
synchronizing pulse (called horizontal sync) causes the beam to deflect rapidly to
the left and then to begin scanning at a constant rate to the right. A similar
synchronizing pulse is generated at a time when the beam is at the bottom of the
CRT. This pulse (called vertical sync) causes the beam to deflect rapidly to the
top of the CRT face and then to begin scanning downward at a uniform speed.
The information (or picture) displayed on the face of the CRT is
controlled by the voltage Vc as a function of time relative to the horizontal and
vertical sync pulses. Thus, to generate a message on an automotive CRT
Figure 9.21
Raster Pattern
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In automotive instrumentation applications,
a CRT display is driven
by a special electronics
system called the CRT
display, a specific voltage pattern for Vc must be generated in timed relationship
to the sync pulses. This voltage is typically referred to as the video voltage.
In a typical CRT display device, the video voltage and sync pulses are
generated in a special circuit called the CRT controller. A simplified block
diagram for a system incorporating a CRT display with the associated CRT
controller is depicted in Figure 9.22. The sensors and instrumentation
computer, which are microprocessor (MPU) based, shown at the left of this
illustration have the same function as the corresponding components of the
system in Figure 9.2. The output of the instrumentation computer controls the
CRT display, working through the CRT controller.
The instrumentation computer communicates with the CRT controller
via data and address buses (DB and AB), and via a serial link along a line
labeled UART (universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter). The data that is
sent over the DB is stored in a special memory called video RAM. This memory
stores digital data that is to be displayed in alphanumeric or pictorial patterns
on the CRT screen. The CRT controller obtains data from the video RAM and
Figure 9.22
Automotive CRT
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converts it to the relevant video signal (Vc). At the same time, the CRT
controller generates the horizontal and vertical sync necessary to operate the
raster scan in synchronism with the video signal.
The video controller in the example system (Figure 9.23) itself
incorporates an MPU for controlling the CRT display. The video signals that
are required to operate the CRT—Vc (video), Hs (horizontal sync), and Vs
(vertical sync)—are typically generated in a special-purpose integrated circuit,
which in Figure 9.23 is labeled the video generator.
The data to be displayed is stored in the video RAM via the system buses
under control of the instrumentation computer. The operation of the MPU is
controlled by programs stored in a display ROM (DROM). This ROM might
also store data that is required to generate particular characters. The various
components of the CRT controller are internally connected by means of data
and address buses similar to those used in the instrumentation computer.
Figure 9.23
CRT Controller
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A typical CRT uses a raster scan method and
generates dots on the
screen by means of suitably timed video signals.
Figure 9.24
Display of
Characters F and P
The operation of the CRT controller is under control of the
instrumentation computer. This computer transfers data that is to be
displayed to the video RAM, and signals the CRT controller via the UART
link. During the display time, the MPU operates under control of programs
stored in the DROM. These programs cause the MPU to transfer data from
the video RAM to the video IC (chip) in the correct sequence for display.
The details of the transfer of data to the video IC and the corresponding
generation of video signals vary from system to system. In the hypothetical
system seen in Figure 9.22, the display on the CRT screen consists of a
sequence of data arranged in 256 rows vertically by 256 horizontally. Here the
display generates the characters F and P (see Figure 9.24). The dots are
generated by switching on the electron beam at the desired location. The beam
is switched by pulsing the video voltage at the time relative to Hs and Vs at
which a dot is to appear. The resolution of the display is one dot, which is often
termed a pixel (picture element).
A scheme for generating the suitable video signals for such a display is
shown (greatly simplified) in the block diagram of Figure 9.25. During the
horizontal retrace time when the electron beam is moving rapidly from right
to left, the MPU (under program control) determines which data pattern is
to be displayed during the next scanning line. The MPU maintains an
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Figure 9.25
Video Signal
internal record of the current active line on the CRT by counting vertical
sync pulses. The actual bit pattern associated with the character being
displayed along the active line on the CRT is loaded into the shift register.
This data comes in eight separated 8-bit bytes from video RAM. Then during
the scanning of the active line, the bit pattern is shifted out one bit at a time
by a pulse signal, Hck, at a frequency that is 256 times that of the horizontal
sync frequency.
Each bit location in the shift register corresponds to a pixel location on
the CRT screen. A “1” stored at any shift register location corresponds to a
bright spot on the CRT. Thus, by placing a suitable pattern in the shift register
for a particular line, it is possible to display complex alphanumeric or pictorial
data on the CRT.
The enormous flexibility of the CRT display offers the potential for a very
sophisticated automotive instrumentation system. In addition to displaying the
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variables and parameters that have traditionally been available to the driver, the
CRT can display engine data for diagnostic purposes (see Chapter 10), vehicle
comfort control system parameters, and entertainment system variables. The
data required for such displays can, for example, be transmitted via a highspeed digital data (HSDD) link between the various on-board electronics
There are several reasons for using the serial HSDD link for transmitting
data between the various systems rather than tying the internal data buses
together. For example, it is desirable to protect any given system from a failure
in another. A defect affecting the data bus of the comfort system could
adversely affect the engine control system. In addition, each internal data bus
tends to be busy handling internal traffic. Moreover, the transfer of data to the
instrumentation computer can take place at relatively low data rates (for the
diagnostic application outlined here).
Figure 9.26 is a block diagram of an integrated vehicle instrumentation
system in which all on-board electronic systems are coupled by an HSDD link.
This system requires a keyboard (KB) or similar input device for operator
Figure 9.26
Integrated Vehicle
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control. The driver can, for example, select to display the entertainment system
operation. This display mode permits the driver to select radio, tape, or CD,
and to tune the radio to the desired station and set the volume. In vehicle
diagnostic mode, the CRT can be configured to display the parameters
required by the mechanic for performing a diagnosis of any on-board
electronic system.
In Figure 9.26, several electronic systems are connected by the digital
data link. Tying systems together this way has great potential performance
benefits for the vehicle. Each automotive subsystem has its own primary
variables, which are obtained through measurements via sensors. A primary
variable in one subsystem might be a secondary variable in another system. It
might not be cost-effective to provide a sensor for a secondary variable to
achieve the best possible performance in a stand-alone subsystem. However, if
measurement data can be shared via the digital data link, then the secondary
measurement is potentially available for use in optimizing performance.
Furthermore, redundant sensors for measuring primary variables can be
eliminated by an integrated electronics system for the vehicle. For example,
wheel speed measurements are primary variables for ABS systems and are also
useful in electronic transmission control.
The various subsystems in Figure 9.26 have all been identified in other
sections of this book and will not be discussed further here, except for the
system manager. This subsystem is responsible for coordinating data transfer
and regulating the use of the data bus so that no two systems are transmitting
Essentially, the digital data link provides a sophisticated
communication system between various subsystems. Among the issues of
importance for such a communication system are the physical protocol and
message format. It is highly advantageous to have a standard protocol for all
automobiles. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is working to
develop a standard protocol for the high-speed digital data link. This link
operates at a data rate of 1 megabit/sec and can be implemented with wire or
optical fiber. Any of a number of bit-encoding schemes are useful for
message formats, the details of which are unimportant for the present
Some form of network arbitration is required for determining priority of
the use of the link whenever there is conflict between subsystems for its use.
This feature is typically handled by the system manager.
The basic message structure is derived assuming that the majority of data
on the link is regularly sent. This means that the content of each message is
known (only the actual data varies).
The potential for incorporating the CRT as an automotive display will be
greatly enhanced if the solid-state CRT becomes available at sufficiently low
cost. It can, potentially, lead to the so-called glass cockpit described next. Such a
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display device could use a raster-type display strategy similar to that explained
above for a vacuum-tube CRT.
The development of a cost-effective solid-state equivalent of the CRT can
have enormous application in automotive instrumentation. It can yield a
completely reconfigurable display system similar to the multifunction display
used in some modern transport aircraft. Such displays are termed a glass cockpit
in aircraft parlance. It is also known as an electronic flight information system
A single CRT acting as a display for a digital instrumentation system has
the capability of displaying any of several choices of data readout, including
Navigation data
Subsystem status parameters
Attitude (artificial horizon)
Air data (airspeed, altitude, etc.)
It can also be used for diagnosis of problems with various aircraft subsystems. In
this case it can present a pictorial diagram of any aircraft subsystem (hydraulic
system or electrical system) so that the flight crew doesn’t have to resort to
hunting through a manual for the aircraft to diagnose a problem with a
One of the benefits of an automotive glass cockpit is its great flexibility.
Any message in any format can be displayed. In fact, the format can be chosen
by the driver via a set of switches or by a keypad arrangement. The driver selects
a particular display format from a number of choices and the display will be
reconfigured to his choice by software, that is, by the program stored in the
instrumentation computer. A likely default choice would include a standard
display having speed and fuel quantity and the capability of displaying warning
messages to the driver.
Another benefit of the EFIS-type display is the capability of displaying
diagnostic information to a service technician. The service tech can select a
display mode that presents fault codes from any vehicle subsystem whenever
the car is taken for repairs or during routine maintenance operations.
Of particular importance is the capability of digital instrumentation to
identify intermittent faults. The instrumentation computer can store fault
codes with a time stamp that gives the time of occurrence to indicate to a
service technician that a particular component or subsystem is experiencing
intermittent failures. Such failures are extremely difficult to diagnose because
they are often not present when the car is brought in for service. In this mode of
operation the instrumentation computer along with its software-reconfigurable
display is serving a role somewhat analogous to a flight data recorder on an
2735 | CH 9 Page 328 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:24 PM
The trip information
computer analyzes fuel
flow, vehicle speed, and
fuel tank quantities, and
then calculates information such as miles to
empty, average fuel
economy, and estimated
arrival time.
One of the most popular electronic instruments for automobiles is the
trip information system. This system has a number of interesting functions and
can display many useful pieces of information, including the following:
Present fuel economy
Average fuel economy
Average speed
Present vehicle location (relative to total trip distance)
Total elapsed trip time
Fuel remaining
Miles to empty fuel tank
Estimated time of arrival
Time of day
Engine RPM
Engine temperature
Average fuel cost per mile
Additional functions can be performed, which no doubt will be part of future
developments. However, we will discuss a representative system having features
that are common to most available systems.
A block diagram of this system is shown in Figure 9.27. Not shown
in the block diagram are MUX, DEMUX, and A/D converter components,
which are normally part of a computer-based instrument. This system can
be implemented as a set of special functions of the main automotive
instrumentation system, or it can be a stand-alone system employing its
own computer.
The vehicle inputs to this system come from the three sensors that
measure the following variables:
1. Quantity of fuel remaining in the tank
2. Instantaneous fuel flow rate
3. Vehicle speed
Other inputs that are obtained by the computer from other parts of the
control system are
1. Odometer mileage
2. Time (from clock in the computer)
The driver enters inputs to the system through the keyboard. At the
beginning of a trip, the driver initializes the system and enters the total trip
distance and fuel cost. At any time during the trip, the driver can use the
keyboard to ask for information to be displayed.
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Figure 9.27
Trip Information
The system computes a particular trip parameter from the input data.
For example, fuel economy in miles per gallon (MPG) can be found by
S is the speed in miles per hour
F is the fuel consumption rate in gallons per hour
As operating conditions
change, the values provided by a trip information computer may also
Of course, this computation varies markedly as operating conditions vary. At a
steady cruising speed along a level highway with a constant wind, fuel economy
is constant. If the driver then depresses the accelerator (e.g., to pass traffic), the
fuel consumption rate temporarily increases faster than speed, and MPG is
reduced for that time. Various averages can be computed such that instant fuel
economy, short-term average fuel economy, or long-term average fuel economy
can be displayed.
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Another important trip parameter that this system can display is the miles
to empty fuel tank, D. This can be found by calculating
D = MPG × Q
where Q is the quantity of fuel remaining in gallons. Since D depends on MPG,
it also changes as operating conditions change (e.g., during heavy acceleration).
In such cases, the calculation of miles to empty based on the above simple
equation is grossly incorrect. However, this calculation gives a correct estimate
of the miles to empty for steady cruise along a highway in which operating
conditions are constant.
Still another pair of parameters that can be calculated and displayed by
this system are distance to destination, Dd, and estimated time of arrival, ETA.
These can be found by computing
Dd = DT – DP
ETA = T1 + (Dd/S )
DT is the trip distance (entered by the driver)
DP is the present position (in miles traveled since start)
S is the present vehicle speed
T1 is the start time
The computer can calculate the present position DP by subtracting the start
mileage, D1 (obtained from the odometer reading when the trip computer was
initialized by the driver), from the present odometer mileage.
The average fuel cost per mile C can be found by calculating
C = (DP/MPG) × fuel cost per gallon
There are many other useful and interesting operations that can be
performed by the variety of available systems. Actually, the number of such
functions that can be performed is limited primarily by cost and by the
availability of sensors to measure the required variables.
The instrumentation
computer can also be
used as a diagnostic aid
during vehicle manufacturing, operation, or
In certain automobile models, the instrumentation computer can perform
the important function of diagnosis of the electronic engine control system.
This diagnosis takes place at several different levels. One level is used during
manufacturing to test the system, and another level is used by mechanics or
interested car owners to diagnose engine control system problems. Some levels
operate continuously and others are available only on request from an external
device that is connected to the car data link for diagnostic purposes by a
technician. This application is explained in the next chapter.
2735 | CH 9 Page 331 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:24 PM
In the continuous monitor mode, the diagnosis takes place under
computer control. The computer activates connections to the vehicle sensors
and looks for an open- or short-circuited sensor. If such a condition is detected,
a failure warning message is given to the driver on the alphanumeric display or
by turning on a labeled warning light. A detailed discussion of automotive
diagnosis appears in Chapter 10.
2735 | CH 9 Page 332 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:24 PM
Quiz for Chapter 9
1. What is the primary purpose of
automotive instrumentation?
a. to indicate to the driver the
value of certain critical
variables and parameters
b. to extend engine life
c. to control engine operation
d. entertainment of passengers
2. What are the three functional
components of electronic
a. sensor, MAP, display
b. sensor, signal processing, error
c. display, sensor, signal
d. none of the above
3. What is the function of a
multiplexer in computer-based
a. it measures several variables
b. it converts sensor analog
signals to digital format
c. it sequentially switches a set
of sensor outputs to the
instrumentation computer
4. What is sampling?
a. a signal processing algorithm
b. a selective display method
c. a method of measuring a
continuously varying quantity
at discrete time instants
d. the rate of change of battery
5. What is an A/D converter?
a. a device that changes a
continuously varying quantity
to a digital format
b. an 8-bit binary counter
c. an analog-to-decimal converter
d. a fluid coupling in the
6. What type of sensor is commonly
used for fuel quantity
a. a thermistor
b. a strain gauge
c. a potentiometer whose movable
arm is connected to a float
d. a piezoelectric sensor
7. How is coolant temperature
a. with a mercury bulb
b. with a strain gauge
c. with a thermistor as a sensor
d. none of the above
8. A digital vehicle speed sensor
a. a variable-frequency pulse
generator and digital counter
b. a variable resistor
c. a variable capacitance
d. none of the above
9. What is the predominant type of
automotive digital display?
a. light-emitting diode
b. galvanometer
c. vacuum-fluorescent
d. liquid crystal
2735 | CH 9 Page 333 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:24 PM
10. What sensor input variables are used
in a typical trip computer system?
a. manifold pressure and engine
b. RPM, barometric pressure,
and fuel quantity remaining
c. MPG and fuel consumption
d. car speed, fuel flow rate, fuel
quantity remaining in tank
11. A CRT display device uses
a. a cathode ray tube scanned in
a raster pattern
b. a vacuum-fluorescent tube
c. an incandescent light source
d. none of the above
12. In the digital video signal
generator used with a CRT display
a. each bit in the shift register
corresponds to a pixel location
b. each pixel on the screen
corresponds to a specific video
voltage level
c. scanning of the CRT by the
electron beam is from right to
left and from bottom to top
d. all of the above are true
13. The term MUX refers to
a. an electronic switch that
selects one of a set of inputs
per an input code
b. a digital output device
c. a time slot
d. none of the above
15. In electronic instrumentation, fuel
quantity is displayed by
a. an ammeter
b. a potentiometer
c. a digital display
d. none of the above
16. LED refers to
a. level-equalizing detector
b. light-emitting diode
c. liquid crystal display
d. none of the above
17. An LCD display uses
a. a nematic liquid
b. an incandescent lamp
c. large electrical power
d. a picket fence
18. Light is produced in a VFD by
a. ionic bombardment of a
b. ambient temperature
c. bombardment of a phosphor
by energetic electrons
d. chemical action
19. Fuel economy is calculated in a
trip computer by:
a. S × F
b. F/S
c. S/F
d. none of the above
14. A D/A converter
a. is a disk access device
b. converts the digital output of
an instrumentation computer
to analog form
c. stores analog data
d. enters digital data in a
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2735 | CH 10 Page 335 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
The development of
electronic engine control
has increased the complexity of diagnosis and
From the earliest days of the commercial sale of the automobile, it has
been obvious that maintenance is required to keep automobiles operating
properly. Of course, automobile dealerships have provided this service for years,
as have independent repair shops and service stations. But until the early 1970s,
a great deal of the routine maintenance and repair was done by car owners
themselves, using inexpensive tools and equipment. However, the Clean Air
Act affected not only the emissions produced by automobiles but also the
complexity of the engine control systems and, as a result, the complexity of
automobile maintenance and repair. Car owners can no longer, as a matter of
course, do their own maintenance and repairs on certain automotive
subsystems (particularly the engine).
The change from traditional fluidic/pneumatic engine controls to
microprocessor-based electronic engine controls was a direct result of the need
to control automobile emissions, and has been chronicled throughout this
book. However, little has been said thus far about the diagnostic problems
involved in electronically controlled engines. This type of diagnostics requires a
fundamentally different approach than that for traditionally controlled engines
because it requires more sophisticated equipment than was required for
diagnostics in pre-emission-control automobiles. In fact, the best diagnostic
methods use special-purpose computers that are themselves microprocessor
based. However, before launching into a discussion of electronic control system
diagnostics, there are two nonmicroprocessor diagnostic instruments that are
still used in garages and repair shops (particularly for older-model cars) that
should be discussed: the timing light and the engine analyzer.
The timing light (Figure 10.1) is used to measure and set ignition timing.
It is a special stroboscopic light source that generates very short duration light
pulses, the timing of which coincides with ignition pulses. The timing of these
pulses is obtained from a special probe connected to a spark-plug wire. Figure
10.2 is a block diagram of a typical timing light.
The probe generates a very short duration voltage pulse each time the
spark plug fires. The pulse is amplified and then operates a trigger electrode on
a flash lamp that is a gas discharge tube. When triggered, a current pulse flows
through the flash lamp, generating a short burst of light.
In timing the ignition, the light from the flash lamp is directed at the
pulley on the front end of the crankshaft. Adjacent to the pulley is a pointer,
such as seen in Figure 10.3. On the pulley are several marks. The relationship
2735 | CH 10 Page 336 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.1
Typical Engine
Timing Light
Figure 10.2
Timing Light Block
2735 | CH 10 Page 337 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.3
Timing Marks
between the pointer and these marks corresponds to specific crankshaft angular
positions relative to top dead center (TDC). The relationship of the pointer
and crankshaft pulley marks at the time of ignition can be seen by viewing the
pulley using the light from the flash lamp. When the ignition timing is correct,
the pointer will align with the correct pulley mark.
The timing light and
traditional engine analyzer are not enough for
diagnosis of engine
The engine analyzer is an instrument that has existed for many years and
continues to be used in garages for several tuneup tasks. It provides, for
example, a means for optimally setting the gap for ignition points (in cars that
still have them, of course) by measuring the so-called dwell. Dwell is essentially
the fractional duration that the ignition points are closed. However, an engine
analyzer’s role in diagnosing cars that have digital engine control systems is
markedly different than its role in the diagnosis of cars that have analog or
mechanical control systems. For example, ignition points have virtually been
eliminated in digitally controlled cars. Nevertheless, the concept of dwell is still
applicable, only today it represents the amount of time current flows through
the coil primary circuit before this circuit is interrupted (see Chapter 7). In
addition, in certain cases ignition timing can be measured by measuring the
relative strength (peak voltage) of ignition pulses. Although the engine analyzer
continues to be a useful instrument, it is not adequate for diagnosing problems
in electronically controlled systems.
While it is true that both the timing light and the engine analyzer will
continue to be used because there are many cars still on the roads whose
engines are controlled either by analog or mechanical systems, it is probable
2735 | CH 10 Page 338 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
that the use of these two diagnostic instruments will be phased out within a
few years.
Each microprocessor-based electronic subsystem has the capability of
performing some limited self-diagnosis. A subsystem can, for example, detect a
loss of signal from a sensor or detect an open circuit in an actuator circuit as
well as other failures. As long as the subsystem computer is still functioning it
can store fault codes for detected failures. Such diagnosis within a given
subsystem is known as on-board diagnosis.
However, a higher level of diagnosis than the on-board diagnosis is
typically done with an external computer-based system that is available in a
service shop. Data stored in memory in an on-board subsystem is useful for
completing diagnosis of any problem with the associated subsystem. Such
diagnosis is known as off-board diagnosis and is usually conducted with a
special-purpose computer.
In order for fault code data to be available to the off-board diagnosis
computer, a communication link is required between the off-board equipment
and the particular subsystem on board the vehicle. Such a communication
system is typically in the form of a serial digital data link. A serial data link
transmits digital data in a binary time sequence along a pair of wires (one of
which is normally ground). Before discussing the details of on-board and offboard diagnosis, it is perhaps worthwhile to briefly discuss automotive digital
Intermodule communications within an automobile itself and between
each on-board subsystem and an off-board system are analogous to
communications between computers. That is, they take the form of a local
area network (LAN).
There are several important issues involved in any LAN, including the
communication protocol, the bit rate, access to the network, and
synchronization between the various subsystems. In a LAN, each subsystem
connected to the serial data link is called a node. Normally one of the nodes
serves as a master that has the capability of controlling access to the network.
The other nodes are called slaves and respond to software-controlled commands
issued by the master.
One of the possible problems that can occur in a LAN is the simultaneous
transmission of messages by two separate nodes (called collision). Resolution of
potential collisions is controlled by the master using a software capability
known as arbitration.
An example of an automotive digital data system is the Controller Area
Network (CAN) that was developed by the Robert Bosch Company in
Germany. CAN is a serial asynchronous communication protocol that connects
electronic control modules’ sensors and actuators in automobiles. Among its
many functions and services is a digital data link.
2735 | CH 10 Page 339 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
CAN is an asynchronous system in that each node synchronizes to others’
messages on the first bit leading edge of a message and on subsequent bit
leading edges throughout the remainder of the message. The ability of any node
to synchronize to another node is determined by the maximum differences in
oscillator frequencies (see Chapter 4 for an explanation of microprocessor
clocks). Other issues and critical periods include the duration of a bit, message
duration and composition, and cooperative use of the network between master
and slave, known as handshaking.
It is beyond the scope of this book to give a detailed account of CAN-type
data communication. Rather, we wish to identify the use of data
communication in automotive electronics and point out some critical issues.
One important application for digital communication in automobiles is
the serial digital data link from the power train controller to an off-board
diagnostic system. This data communications link has the capability of
transmitting fault codes that have been stored in memory to the external device
(among other uses). This off-board system can range in complexity from a
computer-based diagnostic workstation (explained later in this chapter) to a
simple portable scanner used to simply read and display fault codes in sequence
as they are retrieved over the data link from the power train controller. Using
these fault codes and following a fault tree diagnosis procedure, the service
technician can normally diagnose power train control system problems. We
consider next on-board and off-board diagnosis in detail, using specific
On-board Diagnostics
Existing microprocessorbased engine control systems incorporate some
Limited diagnostic capability is provided in any modern microprocessorbased electronic control system. These diagnostic functions are performed by
the microprocessor under the control of stored programs, and are performed
only when the microprocessor is not fully committed to performing normal
control calculations. While it is beyond the scope of this book to review the
actual software involved in such diagnostic operations, the diagnostic
procedures that are followed and explanations of on-board diagnostic functions
can be reviewed.
During the normal operation of the car, there are intermittent periods
during which various electrical and electronic components are tested.
Whenever a fault is detected, the data is stored in memory using a specific fault
code. At the same time, the controller generates or activates a warning lamp (or
similar display) on the instrument panel, indicating that service is required.
The on-board diagnostic functions have one major limitation—they
cannot detect intermittent failures reliably. For the system to detect and isolate
a failure, the failure must be nonreversible. In most on-board diagnostics, the
electronic control module stores trouble codes that are automatically cleared by
the microprocessor after a set number of engine cycles have occurred without a
fault reappearing.
2735 | CH 10 Page 340 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
A two-digit fault code is
assigned to each failure.
The on-board diagnostic capabilities can be manually activated by causing
the engine controller to enter a diagnostic mode. The method for
accomplishing this task varies from car to car. For example, in certain oldermodel fuel-injected Cadillac cars, the diagnostic mode is entered by first
switching on the ignition, then simultaneously depressing the Off and Warmer
buttons on the climate control system.
The use of on-board diagnostics can easily be illustrated by outlining
typical procedures and using the Cadillac system as an example system.
Although display of the fault codes varies from car to car, in each case the
codes must be readable as a numeric code. A typical method involves flashing
the “Check Engine’’ light. The mechanic enters the display mode and then
counts the number of times that this light is flashed, in two-digit groups. For
example, a fault code 24 would be given by 2 flashes then 4 flashes. After a
short time interval the next code would similarly be flashed in two-digit
sequence. At one time Cadillac used the environment controller to display a
two-digit code. Figure 10.4 is a drawing of a Cadillac environmental system
displaying code 88. This particular code is used to check that all display
segments are working correctly and is the first display shown when the
diagnostic mode is entered.
After verifying that all display segments are working, the fault codes for all
component failures are displayed in sequence, beginning with the lowest and
proceeding to the highest. The mechanic notes the fault codes that are
displayed and, using a reference manual, identifies the failed components. Table
10.1 is a summary of the Cadillac fault codes, which we present here simply as
Figure 10.4
Fault Code Display
2735 | CH 10 Page 341 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Table 10.1
Summary of Fault Codes
Circuit Affected
Two-Digit Fault Code
No distributor signal
EGO sensor not ready
Coolant sensor circuit (short)
Coolant sensor (open)
Generator voltage out of range
Crank signal (short)
Crank signal (open)
Fuel pump circuit (short)
Fuel pump circuit (open)
Throttle position sensor circuit (short)
Throttle position sensor (open)
Engine speed sensor
Throttle switch (short)
Throttle switch (open)
Idle speed control
MAP sensor circuit (short)
MAP sensor circuit (open)
MAP/Baro sensor correlation
MAP signal too high
Baro sensor circuit (short)
Baro sensor circuit (open)
Manifold air temp (short)
Manifold air temp (open)
Lean exhaust signal
Rich exhaust signal
PROM error indicator
Transmission not in drive
“Set” and “resume” circuits engaged simultaneously
Car speed exceeds maximum limit
Car and set speed tolerance exceeded
Car acceleration exceeds maximum limit
System ready for further tests
Cruise control brake circuit test
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Table 10.1
Circuit Affected
Two-Digit Fault Code
Throttle switch circuit test
Drive (ADL) circuit test
Reverse circuit test
Cruise on/off circuit test
“Set/Coast” circuit test
“Resume/Acceleration” circuit test
“Instant/Average” circuit test
“Reset” circuit test
Air conditioner clutch circuit test
Display check
System ready to display engine data
All diagnostics complete
an example of two-digit fault code assignment. After all fault codes have been
displayed, the number 70 appears on the climate control head, and the engine
control system awaits further action by the mechanic.
Typically, the “Check Engine” light on the instrument panel is
illuminated whenever any fault occurs. For codes 12 through 38 and 51 in
Table 10.1, this warning light goes out automatically if the malfunction clears.
However, the control module stores the code associated with the detected
failure until the diagnostic system is manually cleared, or until 20 engine cycles
occur with no malfunction. For codes 44 and 45, the “Check Engine” light will
not go out until cleared from memory by the mechanic. For codes 60 through
68, there is no activation of the “Check Engine” light.
Whenever a defect occurs (as indicated by a fault code), the mechanic
must follow a specific procedure to isolate the particular problem. These
procedures are outlined for the mechanic in charts in the shop manuals. An
example procedure will be illustrated here by following the steps necessary to
respond to the specific fault code 13, which indicates that the oxygen (O 2 or
EGO) sensor is not ready. Recall from the discussion in Chapter 6 that the O 2
sensor switches between approximately 0 and 1 volt as the mixture switches
between the extreme conditions of lean and rich. Recall also that this voltage
swing requires that the O2 sensor must be at a temperature above 200˚C. Fault
code 13 means that the O2 sensor will not swing above or below its cold voltage
of approximately 0.5 volt, and that the electronic control system will not go
into closed-loop operation (see Chapters 5 and 7).
2735 | CH 10 Page 343 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Possible causes for fault code 13 include the following:
• O2 sensor is not functioning correctly.
• Defective connections or leads.
• The control unit is not processing the O2 sensor signal.
Further investigation is required to attempt to isolate the specific problem.
To check the operation of the O2 sensor, the average value of its output
voltage is measured using the electronic engine control system (the procedure
for which is explained later in this chapter). The desired voltage is displayed on
the climate control head in multiples of .01 volt. That is to say, “00’’
corresponds to 0 volts and “99’’ corresponds to 0.99 volts, and so forth.
Using this voltage, the mechanic follows a procedure outlined in Figures
10.5, 10.6, and 10.7. If the voltage is less than 0.37 volt or greater than 0.57
volt, the mechanic is asked to investigate the wiring harness for defects.
If the O2 sensor voltage is between 0.37 volt and 0.57 volt, tests are
performed to determine whether the O2 sensor or the control unit is faulty. The
mechanic must jumper the O2 sensor leads together at the input to the control
unit, simulating a sensor short circuit, and must read the sensor voltage value
using the climate control display. If this voltage is less than 0.05 volt, the
control unit is functioning correctly and the O2 sensor must be investigated for
defects. If the indicated sensor voltage is greater than 0.05 volt, the control unit
is faulty and should be replaced.
When diagnosing a problem, the mechanic might wish to clear a fault
code from the electronic control memory. A good reason to do this, for
example, would be to test whether a failure is “hard’’ or intermittent. To
clear trouble codes (with the system in diagnostic mode), the mechanic
simultaneously pushes the Off and Hi buttons on the climate control head
until “00’’ is displayed. After all fault codes are cleared, code 70 will appear.
Figure 10.5
DFI Oxygen Sensor
2735 | CH 10 Page 344 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.6
DFI Code 13:
Oxygen Sensor Not
On-board diagnosis also
examines the status of
several switches.
Code 70 represents a decision point in the diagnostic procedure. At this
point, the mechanic has several choices, including:
Perform switch tests.
Display engine data.
Perform output cycling tests.
2735 | CH 10 Page 345 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.7
DFI Chart No. 14:
Oxygen Sensor Test
Perform cylinder select tests.
Exit from diagnostic mode.
Each of the above procedures provides an important diagnostic capability to the
2735 | CH 10 Page 346 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
The switch tests involve fault codes 71 to 80 and provide checks on the
switches indicated in Figure 10.8. To begin the switch tests, the mechanic must
depress and release the brake pedal. If there is no brake switch failure, then the
code advances to 71. If the display doesn’t advance, then the control unit is not
processing the brake switch signal and further diagnosis is required. For such a
failure, the mechanic locates the specific chart (such as seen in Figures 10.9 and
10.10) for diagnosis of the particular switch failure and follows the procedure
outlined. The detailed tests performed by the mechanic are continuity checks
that are performed with a test light.
Similar procedures are followed for each switch test in the sequence. This
procedure sequence is as follows:
1. With code 71 displayed, depress and release brake pedal. For normal
operation, the display advances.
2. With 72 displayed, depress the throttle from idle position to wide open
position. The control unit tests the throttle switch, and advances the display to 73 for normal operation.
3. With 73 displayed, the transmission selector is moved to drive and then
neutral. This operation tests the drive switch, and the display advances to
74 for normal operation.
4. With 74 displayed, the transmission selector is moved to reverse and then
to park. This tests the reverse switch operation, and the display advances
to 75 for normal operation.
5. With 75 displayed, the cruise control is switched from off to on and back
to off, testing the cruise control switch. For normal operation, the display
advances to 76.
Figure 10.8
Switch Test Series
2735 | CH 10 Page 347 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.9
DFI Cruise Control
Brake Circuit
2735 | CH 10 Page 348 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.10
DFI Code 71: Cruise
Control Brake
2735 | CH 10 Page 349 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Measurements of average O2 sensor voltage are
useful for diagnosis of
this sensor.
6. With code 76 displayed and the cruise control instrument panel switch
on, depress and release the set/coast button. If the button (switch) is operating normally, the display advances to 77.
7. With 77 displayed and with the cruise control instrument on, depress and
release the resume/acceleration switch. If the switch is operating normally,
the display advances to 78.
8. With 78 displayed, depress and release the instant/average button on the
MPG panel. If the button is working normally, the code advances to 79.
9. With 79 displayed, depress and release the reset button on the mph panel.
If the reset button is working normally, the code will advance to 80.
10. With 80 displayed, depress and release the rear defogger button on the climate control head. If the defogger switch is working normally, the code
advances to 70, thereby completing the switch tests.
With code 70 displayed, the engine data can be displayed in sequence by
switching the cruise control instrument panel off. The code should then
advance to 90. To further advance the display, the mechanic must depress the
instant/average button on the MPG panel (to return to the previously displayed
parameter, the mechanic must depress the reset button on the MPG panel). To
exit the engine parameter display mode, the mechanic simultaneously depresses
the Off and Hi buttons on the climate control head. After the last parameter
has been displayed, the code advances to 95.
Figure 10.11 shows the parameter values in sequence. Parameter 01 is the
angular deflection of the throttle in degrees from idle position. Parameter 02 is
the manifold absolute pressure in kilopascals (kPa). The range for this
parameter is 14 to 99, with 14 representing about the maximum manifold
vacuum. Parameter 03 is the absolute atmospheric pressure in kPa. Normal
atmospheric pressure is roughly 90–100 kPa at sea level. Parameter 04 is the
coolant temperature. The conversion from this code to an actual temperature is
given in Table 10.2. Parameter 05 is the manifold air temperature, which uses
the same conversion as parameter 04.
Parameter 06 is the duration of the fuel injector pulse in msec. In reading
this number, the mechanic assumes a decimal point between the two digits (i.e.,
16 is read as 1.6 msec). Refer to Chapters 5, 6, and 7 for an explanation of the
injector pulse widths and the influence of these pulse widths on fuel mixture.
Parameter 07 is the average value for the O2 sensor output voltage.
Reference was made earlier in this chapter to the diagnostic use of this parameter.
Recall that the O2 sensor switches between about 0 and 1 volt as the mixture
oscillates between lean and rich. The displayed value is the time average for this
voltage, which varies with the duty cycle of the mixture. A decimal point should
be assumed at the left of the two digits (i.e., 52 is read as 0.52 volt).
Parameter 08 is the spark advance in degrees before TDC. This value
should agree with that obtained using a timing light or engine analyzer.
Parameter 09 is the number of ignition cycles that have occurred since a trouble
2735 | CH 10 Page 350 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
code was set in memory. If 20 such cycles have occurred without a fault, this
counter is set to zero and all trouble codes are cleared.
Parameter 10 is a logical (binary) variable that indicates whether the
engine control system is operating in open or closed loop. A value of 1
corresponds to closed loop, which means that data from the O2 sensor is fed
back to the controller to be used in setting injector pulse duration. Zero for this
variable indicates open-loop operation, as explained in Chapters 6 and 7
Parameter 11 is the battery voltage minus 10. A decimal point is assumed
between the digits. Thus, 2.3 is read as 12.3 volts.
After completion of parameter data values, the climate control display will
advance to 95. The remaining codes are specific to certain Cadillac models and
are not germane to the present discussion.
Once the mechanic has read all of the fault codes, he or she proceeds with
the diagnosis using the shop manual in the same manner as explained for the
Cadillac example. For each fault code there is a procedure to be followed that
attempts to isolate the specific components that have failed. Obviously, the
Figure 10.11
Engine Data
2735 | CH 10 Page 351 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Table 10.2
Conversion Table
process of diagnosing a problem can be lengthy and can involve many steps.
However, without the aid of the on-board diagnostic capability of the electronic
control system, such diagnosis would take much more time and might, in
certain cases, be impossible.
On-board diagnosis has also been mandated by government regulation,
particularly if a vehicle failure could damage emission control systems. The
California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has been at the forefront of
2735 | CH 10 Page 352 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
automotive emission control regulations, has proposed a new, relatively severe
requirement for on-board diagnosis that is known as OBDII (on-board
diagnosis II). This requirement is intended to ensure that the emission control
system is functioning as intended.
Automotive emission control systems, which have been discussed in
Chapters 5 and 7, consist of fuel and ignition control, the three-way catalytic
converter, EGR, secondary air injection, and evaporative emission. The OBDII
regulations require real-time monitoring of the health of the emission control
system components. For example, the performance of the catalytic converter
must be monitored using a temperature sensor for measuring converter
temperature and a pair of EGO sensors (one before and one after the converter).
Another requirement for OBDII is a misfire detection system. It is known
that under misfiring conditions (failure of the mixture to ignite), exhaust emissions
increase. In severe cases, the catalytic converter itself can be irreversibly damaged.
The only cost-effective means of meeting OBDII requirements involves
electronic instrumentation. For example, one possible means of detecting
misfire is based on measurements of the crankshaft instantaneous speed. That
speed fluctuates about the average RPM in response to each cylinder firing
event. Misfire can be detected in most cases by monitoring the crankshaft speed
fluctuations using some relatively sophisticated electronic signal processing.
Off-board Diagnosis
Special-purpose digital
computers are coming
into use in service bay
diagnosis systems.
An alternative to the on-board diagnostics is available in the form of a
service bay diagnostic system. This system uses a computer that has a greater
diagnostic capability than the vehicle-based system because its computer is
typically much larger and has only a single task to perform—that of diagnosing
problems in engine control systems.
An example of a service bay diagnostic system is General Motors’ CAMS
(Computerized Automotive Maintenance System). Although the system
discussed here is essentially obsolete, it is at leats representative of this level of
diagnosis. The GM-CAMS used an IBM PC/AT computer that had
considerable computational capability for its time. Its memory included 640K
of RAM, 1.2 million bytes on a 5.75 inch diskette drive and 20 million bytes
on a fixed disk drive. This system was capable of detecting, analyzing, and
isolating faults in late-model GM vehicles that are equipped with a digital
engine control system. This system, commonly called the technicians’ terminal,
has a modem equivalent that operates in essentially the same way as the CAMS.
The technicians’ terminal is mounted on a rugged portable cart (Figure
10.12) suitable for use in the garage. It connects to the vehicle through the
assembly line data link (ALDL). The data required to perform diagnostics are
obtained by the terminal through this link. The terminal has a color CRT
monitor (similar to that of a typical home computer) that displays the data and
procedures. It has a touch-sensitive screen for technician input to the system.
The terminal features a keyboard for data entry, printer for hard copy output,
2735 | CH 10 Page 353 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.12
Engine Data
and modem for a telephone link to a network that collects and routes GMCAMS information.
The GM system also features a mainframe computer system at the
General Motors Information Center (GMIC) that contains a master database
that includes the most recent information relating to repair of applicable GM
cars. This information, as well as computer software updates, is relayed
throughout the network. Mechanics can also obtain diagnostic assistance by
calling the GM-CAMS Customer Support Center.
When using the GM-CAMS, the mechanic enters the vehicle
identification number (VIN) via the terminal. The computer responds by
displaying a menu in which several choices are presented. To select a particular
choice the technician touches the portion of the display associated with that
choice. Next, the computer displays an additional menu of further choices; this
continues until the mechanic has located the desired choice.
2735 | CH 10 Page 354 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
The service bay diagnostic system can be readily
updated with new service bulletins.
Among the many capabilities of the technicians’ terminal is its ability to
store and display the diagnostic charts that appear in the shop manual.
Whenever a fault is located, the appropriate chart(s) are automatically displayed
for the mechanic. This capability greatly increases the efficiency of the
diagnostic process. In addition, the GM-CAMS computer can store all of the
data that is associated with the diagnostic procedures for several vehicles and
then locate and display, virtually instantaneously, each specific procedure as
required. Furthermore, updates and the most recent service bulletins are
brought into the mechanics’ terminal over the phone network so that
mechanics lose no time trying to find the most recent data and procedures for
diagnosing vehicular electronic systems.
In addition to storing and displaying shop manual data and procedures, a
computer-based garage diagnostic system can automate the diagnostic process
itself. In achieving this objective, the technicians’ terminal has the capability to
incorporate what is commonly called an expert system.
An expert system is a form
of artificial intelligence
that has great potential
for automotive diagnosis.
An expert system takes
information from
experts and converts this
to a set of logical rules.
Although it is beyond the scope of the present book to explain expert
systems, it is perhaps worthwhile to introduce some of the major concepts
involved in this rapidly developing technology. An expert system is a computer
program that employs human knowledge to solve problems normally requiring
human expertise. The theory of expert systems is part of the general area of
computer science known as artificial intelligence (AI). The major benefit of
expert system technology is the consistent, uniform, and efficient application of
the decision criteria or problem-solving strategies.
The diagnosis of electronic engine control systems by an expert system
proceeds by following a set of rules that embody steps similar to the diagnostic
charts in the shop manual. The diagnostic system receives data from the
electronic control system (e.g., via the ALDL connector in the GM-CAMS) or
through keyboard entry by the mechanic. The system processes this data
logically under program control in accordance with the set of internally stored
rules. The end result of the computer-aided diagnosis is an assessment of the
problem and recommended repair procedures. The use of an expert system for
diagnosis can significantly improve the efficiency of the diagnostic process and
can thereby reduce maintenance time and costs.
The development of an expert system requires a computer specialist who
is known in AI parlance as a knowledge engineer. The knowledge engineer must
acquire the requisite knowledge and expertise for the expert system by
interviewing the recognized experts in the field. In the case of automotive
electronic engine control systems the experts include the design engineers as
well as the test engineers, mechanics, and technicians involved in the
development of the control system. In addition, expertise is developed by the
mechanics who routinely repair the system in the field. The expertise of this
latter group can be incorporated as evolutionary improvements in the expert
2735 | CH 10 Page 355 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
system. The various stages of knowledge acquisition (obtained from the experts)
are outlined in Figure 10.13. It can be seen from this illustration that several
iterations are required to complete the knowledge acquisition. Thus, the
process of interviewing experts is a continuing process.
Not to be overlooked in the development of an expert system is the
personal relationship between the experts and the knowledge engineer. The
experts must be fully willing to cooperate and to explain their expertise to the
knowledge engineer if a successful expert system is to be developed. The
personalities of the knowledge engineer and experts can become a factor in the
development of an expert system.
Figure 10.14 represents the environment in which an expert system
evolves. Of course, a digital computer of sufficient capacity is required for the
Figure 10.13
Stages of
2735 | CH 10 Page 356 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.14
Environment of an
Expert System
development work. A summary of expert system development tools that are
applicable for a mainframe computer is presented in Table 10.3.
It is common practice to think of an expert system as having two major
portions. The portion of the expert system in which the logical operations are
performed is known as the inference engine. The various relationships and basic
knowledge are known as the knowledge base.
The general diagnostic field to which an expert system is applicable is one
in which the procedures used by the recognized experts can be expressed in a set
of rules or logical relationships. The automotive diagnosis area is clearly such a
field. The diagnostic charts that outline repair procedures (as outlined earlier in
this chapter) represent good examples of such rules.
Table 10.3
Expert System
Developing Tools for
Carnegie Mellon University
Xerox 1108
Xerox 1198
Xerox 1198
2735 | CH 10 Page 357 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
A typical expert system
formulates expertise in
IF-THEN rules.
To clarify some of the ideas embodied in an expert system, consider the
following example of the diagnosis of an automotive repair problem. This
particular problem involves failure of the car engine to start. It is presumed in
this example that the range of defects is very limited. Although this example is
not very practical, it does illustrate some of the principles involved in an expert
The fundamental concept underlying this example is the idea of
condition-action pairs that are in the form of IF-THEN rules. These rules
embody knowledge that is presumed to have come from human experts (e.g.,
experienced mechanics or automotive engineers).
The expert system of this example consists of three components:
1. A rule base of IF-THEN rules
2. A database of facts
3. A controlling mechanism
Each rule of the rule base is of the form of “if condition A is true, then
action B should be taken or performed.” The IF portion contains conditions
that must be satisfied if the rule is to be applicable. The THEN portion states
the action to be performed whenever the rule is activated (fired).
The database contains all of the facts and information that are known to
be true about the problem being diagnosed. The rules from the rule base are
compared with the knowledge base to ascertain which are the applicable rules.
When a rule is fired, its actions normally modify the facts within the database.
The controlling mechanism of this expert system determines which
actions are to be taken and when they are to be performed. The operation
follows four basic steps:
1. Compare the rules to the database to determine which rules have the IF
portion satisfied and can be executed. This group is known as the conflict
set in AI parlance. A conflict set is a type of set, as in set theory.
2. If the conflict set contains more than one rule, resolve the conflict by
selecting the highest priority rule. If there are no rules in the conflict set,
stop the procedure.
3. Execute the selected rule by performing the actions specified in the
THEN portion, and then modify the database as required.
4. Return to step 1 and repeat the process until there are no rules in the conflict set.
In the present simplified example, it is presumed that the rule base for
diagnosing a problem starting a car is as given in Figure 10.15. Rules R2
through R7 draw conclusions about the suspected problem, and rule R1
identifies problem areas that should be investigated. It is implicitly assumed
that the actions specified in the THEN portion include “add this fact to the
database.” In addition, some of the specified actions have an associated
2735 | CH 10 Page 358 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.15
Simple Automobile
Diagnostic Rule Base
fractional number. These values represent the confidence of the expert who is
responsible for the rule that the given action is true for the specified condition.
Further suppose that the facts known to be true are as shown in Figure
10.16. The controlling mechanism follows step 1 and discovers that only R1 is
in the conflict set. This rule is executed, deriving these additional facts in
performing steps 2 and 3:
Suspect there is no spark.
Suspect too much fuel is reaching the engine.
At step 4, the system returns to step 1 and learns that the conflict set includes
R1, R4, and R6. Since R1 has been executed, it is dropped from the conflict set.
In this simplified example, assume that the conflict is resolved by selecting the
lowest-numbered rule (i.e., R4 in this case). Rule R4 yields the additional facts
after completing steps 2 and 3 that there is a break in fuel line (0.65). The value
0.65 refers to the confidence level of this conclusion.
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Figure 10.16
Starting Database of
Known Facts
The mechanic uses the
expert system interactively in diagnosing
The procedure is repeated with the resulting conflict set R6. After
executing R6, the system returns to step 1, and finding no applicable rules, it
stops. The final fact set is shown in Figure 10.17. Note that this diagnostic
procedure has found two potential diagnoses: a break in fuel line (confidence
level 0.65), and mixture too rich (confidence level 0.70).
The previous example is intended merely to illustrate the application of
artificial intelligence to automotive diagnosis and repair.
To perform diagnosis on a specific car using an expert system, the
mechanic identifies all of the relevant features to the mechanic’s terminal
including, of course, the engine type. After connecting the data link from the
electronic control system to the terminal, the diagnosis can begin. The terminal
can ask the mechanic to perform specific tasks that are required to complete the
diagnosis, including, for example, starting or stopping the engine.
The expert system is an interactive program and, as such, has many
interesting features. For example, when the expert system requests that the
mechanic perform some specific task, the mechanic can ask the expert system
why he or she should do this, or why the system asked the question. The expert
system then explains the motivation for the task, much the way a human expert
would do if he or she were guiding the mechanic. An expert system is
frequently formulated on rules of thumb that have been acquired through years
of experience by human experts. It often benefits the mechanic in his or her
Figure 10.17
Final Resulting
Database of Known
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task to have requests for tasks explained in terms of both these rules and the
experience base that has led to the development of the expert system.
The general science of expert systems is so broad that it cannot be covered
in this book. The interested reader can contact any good engineering library for
further material in this exciting area. In addition, the Society of Automotive
Engineers has many publications covering the application of expert systems to
automotive diagnosis.
From time to time, automotive maintenance problems will occur that are
outside the scope of the expertise incorporated in the expert system. In these
cases, an automotive diagnostic system needs to be supplemented by direct
contact of the mechanic with human experts. The GM-CAMS system, for
example, has incorporated this feature into its customer support center.
Vehicle off-board diagnostic systems (whether they are expert systems or
not) continue to be developed and refined as experience is gained with the
various systems, as the diagnostic database expands, and as additional software
is written. The evolution of such diagnostic systems is heading in the direction
of fully automated, rapid, and efficient diagnoses of problems in cars equipped
with modern digital control systems.
Occupant protection during a crash has evolved dramatically since about
the 1970s. Beginning with lap seat belts, and motivated partly by government
regulation and partly by market demand, occupant protection has evolved to
passive restraints and airbags. We will discuss only the latter since airbag
deployment systems can be implemented electronically, whereas other schemes
are largely mechanical.
Conceptually, occupant protection by an airbag is quite straightforward.
The airbag system has a means of detecting when a crash occurs that is
essentially based on deceleration along the longitudinal car axis. A collision that
is serious enough to injure car occupants involves deceleration in the range of
tens of gs (i.e., multiples of 10 of the acceleration of gravity), whereas normal
driving involves acceleration/deceleration on the order of 1 g.
Once a crash has been detected, a flexible bag is rapidly inflated with a gas
that is released from a container by electrically igniting a chemical compound.
Ideally, the airbag inflates in sufficient time to act as a cushion for the driver (or
passenger) as he or she is thrown forward during the crash.
On the other hand, practical implementation of the airbag has proven to
be technically challenging. Considering the timing involved in airbag
deployment it is somewhat surprising that they work as well as they do. At car
speeds that can cause injury to the occupants, the time interval for a crash into
a rigid barrier from the moment the front bumper contacts the barrier until the
final part of the car ceases forward motion is substantially less than a second.
Table 10.4 lists required airbag deployment times for a variety of test crash
2735 | CH 10 Page 361 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Table 10.4
Airbag Deployment
Test Library Event
9 mph frontal barrier
Required Deployment Time
9 mph frontal barrier
15 mph frontal barrier
30 mph frontal barrier
35 mph frontal barrier
12 mph left angle barrier
30 mph right angle barrier
30 mph left angle barrier
10 mph center high pole
14 mph center high pole
18 mph center high pole
30 mph center high pole
25 mph offset low pole
25 mph car-to-car
30 mph car-to-car
30 mph 550 hop road, panic stop
30 mph 629 hop road, panic stop
30 mph 550 tramp road, panic stop
30 mph 629 tramp road, panic stop
30 mph square block road, panic stop
40 mph washboard road, medium braking
25 mph left-side pothole
25 mph right-side pothole
60 mph chatter bumps, panic stop
45 mph massoit bump
5 mph curb impact
20 mph curb dropoff
35 mph belgian blocks
Note: ND = nondeployment
2735 | CH 10 Page 362 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
A typical airbag will require about 30 msec to inflate, meaning that the
crash must be detected within about 20 msec. With respect to the speed of
modern digital electronics, a 20 msec time interval is not considered to be
short. The complicating factor for crash detection is the many crashlike
accelerations experienced by a typical car that could be interpreted by airbag
electronics as a crash, such as impact with a large pothole or driving over a curb.
The configuration for an airbag system has also evolved from
electromechanical implementation using switches to electronic systems
employing sophisticated signal processing. One of the early configurations
employed a pair of acceleration switches SW1 and SW2 as depicted in Figure
10.18a. Each of these switches is in the form of a mass suspended in a tube with
the tube axis aligned parallel to the longitudinal car axis. Figure 10.18b is a
circuit diagram for the airbag system.
The two switches, which are normally open, must both be closed to
complete the circuit for firing the squib. When this circuit is complete, a
current flows through the squib ignitor that activates the charge. A gas is
produced (essentially explosively) that inflates the airbag.
The switches SW1 and SW2 are placed in two separate locations in the
car. Typically, one is located near the front of the car and one in or near the
front of the passenger compartment (some automakers locate a switch under
the driver’s seat on the floor pan).
Referring to the sketch in Figure 10.18a, the operation of the
acceleration-sensitive switch can be understood. Under normal driving
conditions the spring holds the movable mass against a stop and the switch
contacts remain open. During a crash the force of acceleration (actually
deceleration of the car) acting on the mass is sufficient to overcome the spring
force and move the mass. For sufficiently high car deceleration, the mass moves
forward to close the switch contacts. In a real collision at sufficient speed, both
switch masses will move to close the switch contacts, thereby completing the
circuit and igniting the squib to inflate the airbag.
Figure 10.18b also shows a capacitor connected in parallel with the
battery. This capacitor is typically located in the passenger compartment. It has
sufficient capacity that in the event the car battery is destroyed early in the
crash, it can supply enough current to ignite the squib.
In recent years there has been a trend to implement electronic airbag
systems. In such systems the role of the acceleration-sensitive switch is played
by an analog accelerometer along with electronic signal processing, threshold
detection, and electronic driver circuit to fire the squib. Figure 10.19 depicts a
block diagram of such a system.
The accelerometers a1 and a2 are placed at locations similar to where the
switches SW1 and SW2 described above are located. Each accelerometer
outputs a signal that is proportional to acceleration (deceleration) along its
sensitive axis.
2735 | CH 10 Page 363 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.18
Airbag Deployment
Under normal driving conditions the acceleration at the accelerometer
locations is less than 1 g. However, during a collision at a sufficiently high speed
the signal increases rapidly. Signal processing can be employed to enhance the
collision signature in relation to the normal driving signal. Such signal
processing must be carefully designed to minimize time delay of the output
relative to the collision deceleration signal.
After being processed, the deceleration signal is compared with a
threshold level. As long as the processed signal is less than this threshold the
driver circuit remains deactivated. However, when this signal exceeds the
2735 | CH 10 Page 364 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
Figure 10.19
Accelerometer-Based Airbag System
threshold, the driver circuit sends a current of sufficient strength to activate the
squib and inflate the airbag.
Typically, the threshold is set so that airbag deployment occurs for a crash
into a barrier at or above a specific speed. Depending on the system design, this
speed can be anywhere between 8 and 12 mph. This speed range is chosen by
the manufacturer to optimize the protection offered the car occupants while
minimizing false deployment (that is, deployment when there is no crash).
There will continue to be new developments in airbag technology in
order to improve performance. Complicating this task is the fact that the
signature of a crash differs depending on the crash configuration. For example,
there is one class of signature for a crash into a rigid barrier (i.e. a nonmoving
and incompressible object) and another for a crash between a pair of cars
(particularly when vehicle curb weights are different). In spite of technical
difficulties in implementation, the airbag is finding broad application for
occupant protection and seems destined to continue to do so.
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Quiz for Chapter 10
1. In a microprocessor-based digital
electronic engine control system,
a. is not really required
b. can be accomplished with a
c. can be accomplished with a
d. is best accomplished with a
computer-based system
2. A timing light is useful for
a. locating timing marks in
the dark
b. adjusting ignition timing
c. checking dwell
d. reading the clock on
the instrument panel in
the dark
3. An engine analyzer has been
used to
a. set ignition points in cars
equipped with them
b. measure intake fuel flow
c. set the choke
d. none of the above
4. In modern engines incorporating
computer-based control systems,
diagnosis is performed
a. with a timing light only
b. with a timing light and
c. in the digital control
d. none of the above
5. Diagnosis of intermittent
a. is routinely accomplished
with the on-board diagnostic
capability of the engine
control system
b. is readily found using
standard service bay
c. is accomplished by displaying
fault codes to the driver at the
time of the failure
d. none of the above
6. A fault code is
a. a numerical indication of
failure in certain specific
engine components
b. displayed to the mechanic
during diagnostic mode
c. registered in memory
whenever a failure in a
component occurs
d. all of the above
7. Failures can be detected by
a computer-based control
system in the following
a. O2 sensor
b. MAP sensor
c. brake switch on cars
equipped with cruise
d. all of the above and more
2735 | CH 10 Page 366 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:27 PM
8. An expert system is
a. a computer program that
incorporates human
knowledge to solve problems
normally solved by humans
b. an organization of automotive
c. a digital computer
d. none of the above
9. An expert system is applicable to
automotive diagnosis because
a. automobiles are designed by
b. the diagnostic procedures
used can be expressed in a set
of rules or logical relationships
c. modern automobiles
incorporate complex digital
d. all of the above
10. In addition to displaying fault
codes, the example on-board
diagnostic system explained in this
chapter can
a. tell the mechanic where to
locate the faulty component
on the engine
b. measure certain engine
c. detect failures in the catalytic
d. all of the above
2735 | CH 11 Page 367 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Future Automotive Electronic
Up to this point, this book has been discussing automotive electronic
technology of the recent past or present. This chapter speculates about the
future of automotive electronic systems. Some concepts are only in the
laboratory stage and may not, at the time of this writing, have had any vehicle
testing at all. Some of the system concepts have been or are currently being
tested experimentally. Some are operating on a limited basis in automobiles.
Some of the concepts that were included in the corresponding chapter of the
previous editions of this book are now in production automobiles.
Whether or not any of the concepts discussed here ever reaches a
production phase will depend largely on its technical feasibility and
marketability. Some will simply be too costly to have sufficient customer appeal
and will be abandoned by the major automobile manufacturers.
On the other hand, one or more of these ideas may become a major
market success and be included in many models of automobiles. Some of these
systems may even prove to be a significant selling point for one of the large
automobile manufacturers.
The following is a summary of the major electronic systems that have
been considered and that may be considered for future automotive application.
For convenience, these ideas are separated into the following categories:
1. Engine and drivetrain
2. Safety
3. Instrumentation
4. Navigation
5. Diagnosis
The first edition of this book described electronic engine control
technology that had been developed up to about the 1981 model-year cars.
Considerable technical innovations have evolved in the interval since then.
Some of these technological developments include
1. Knock control
2. Linear solenoid idle speed control
3. Sequential fuel injection
4. Distributorless ignition
2735 | CH 11 Page 368 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
5. Self-diagnosis for fail-safe operation
6. Back-up MPU
7. Crankshaft angular position measurement for ignition timing
8. Direct mass air flow sensor
Although these technological changes have improved the performance and
reliability of the electronically controlled engine, the fundamental control
strategy for fuel metering has not changed. The fuel metering strategy has been
and will probably continue to be (at least for the short term) to provide a
stoichiometric mixture to the engine. This strategy will remain intact as long as
a three-way catalytic converter is used to reduce undesirable tailpipe exhaust gas
emissions. However, within the constraint of stoichiometric mixture control
strategy, there will be some technological improvements in engine control.
These improvements will occur in mechanical and electrical components as
well as in software that is optimized for performance and efficiency.
In the area of mechanical components, research is being done in the area
of variable parameter intake structures. New mechanisms and
electromechanical actuators are being developed that will permit
1. Induction systems with variable geometry
2. Variable valve timing
3. Variable nozzle turbochargers
4. Throttle actuators
The performance and efficiency of any engine are markedly influenced by the
intake system. The intake system configuration directly affects the volumetric
efficiency of the engine, which is a measure of engine performance as an air
pump. The design of an intake system in the past has involved many
compromises and trade-offs that were made to enable high volumetric
efficiency over the entire engine operating range. Variable geometry is achieved
through the use of new electromechanical mechanisms or actuators that can
change the shape and dimensions of intake system components.
One such system is illustrated in Figure 11.1 for an experimental V-6
engine. This system has two separate intake systems, each of which has a
throttle valve. In a traditional engine, the intake manifold is tuned to achieve
maximum torque at a particular RPM. The system of Figure 11.1, which is
known as a variable impedance aspiration system (VIAS), has two separate
intake pipes leading from a plenum chamber to the cylinder banks, with a
butterfly valve connecting the two sides. By suitable opening and closing of this
valve, the effective dimensions of the intake pipes are changed, thereby tuning
the intake. Figure 11.1b shows the relative torque output for an open and
closed valve. Note the improved torque at low RPM.
An important aspect of volumetric efficiency is the valve timing (see Chapter
1). Valve timing and valve lift profile are designed with many constraints to ensure
the best possible volumetric efficiency over a wide range of engine operations. In
2735 | CH 11 Page 369 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Figure 11.1
Configuration of
Intake System
2735 | CH 11 Page 370 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
the future, variable valve timing will provide significant improvement in
volumetric efficiency by reducing the constraints on valve timing.
Variable intake components offer great potential for engine performance
improvement. However, these components must be controlled by the engine’s
digital control system. A control system for optimal use of a variable intake
system is currently under development and is, of course, equally as important as
the components themselves. In addition, there is an increasing trend to apply
modern control theory (i.e., adaptive learning systems) to automotive engine
Perhaps in the more distant future, technological improvements can be
expected in the following areas:
1. Variable compression
2. Swirl control
3. Fuel atomization
Compression ratio directly affects the thermal efficiency and, hence,
performance of the engine. It also affects knocking. A variable compression
ratio has the potential for significant performance improvement when suitably
controlled. The thermal efficiency of an engine is increased with increased
compression ratio. However, excessively high compression ratio can lead to
knocking. In a variable compression ratio engine the maximum compression
ratio must be limited to prevent excessive knock. The development of actuator
mechanisms and control strategies for variable compression are important
future research areas.
Swirl is a term used to describe the motion of intake gases as they enter
the combustion chamber. Swirl influences combustion speed and, thereby,
thermal efficiency. Swirl control can theoretically be achieved by using a
variable intake system. There is research currently being done in this area.
Efficient combustion of all of the energy that is available in the fuel is
influenced by fuel atomization. When fuel is mixed with air, the droplets
should be sized such that air and gasoline molecules can readily be combined.
The atomization of fuel to optimally-sized droplets is influenced by the fuel
injector configuration. Research into new fuel injectors that can provide
improved fuel atomization is underway. Also being researched is the use of
ultrasonics to increase atomization after injection has occurred.
Control Based on Cylinder Pressure Measurements
One of the more interesting new control concepts currently under
investigation is based on cylinder pressure measurements. Cylinder pressure
developed during the power stroke has long been recognized as the most
fundamental variable that can be monitored to determine the operating state of
the engine. Cylinder pressure measurements provide real-time combustion
process feedback that can be used for control of engine variables of individual
2735 | CH 11 Page 371 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Figure 11.2 is a block diagram of an engine control system that obtains
the required feedback signal from a cylinder pressure sensor. An example of fuel
control strategy using cylinder pressure is based on the relationship between air/
fuel ratio and the cyclic fluctuation in cylinder pressure. Figure 11.3 is a graph
of the fluctuation in peak cylinder pressure (θpmax) as a function of air/fuel
ratio. This fluctuation remains relatively low for air/fuel ratios of approximately
13 to 20. For leaner mixtures, the random fluctuations in cylinder pressure
increase. Such fluctuations are equivalent to rough engine operation and are
undesirable. In the example fuel control strategy, the air/fuel ratio is maintained
near 20 and is reduced whenever the measured cycle fluctuation in cylinder
pressure exceeds a threshold value.
Figure 11.2
Engine Control
System Based on
Cylinder Pressure
2735 | CH 11 Page 372 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Figure 11.3
Variation in
Cylinder Pressure
with Air/Fuel Ratio
A corresponding spark-advance control strategy can be similarly derived
from cylinder pressure measurements. In Chapter 7, a scheme for measuring
knock intensity from the rapid cylinder pressure fluctuations near TDC is
explained. Thus, a measurement of cylinder pressure has the potential to
provide fuel and spark control from a single sensor.
An experimental cylinder pressure sensor that uses a piezoelectric element
has been developed (Figure 11.4a). The output voltage from the piezoelectric
element is proportional to the applied pressure. Figure 11.4b is a sketch of the
mounting configuration for this sensor in the cylinder head. Cylinder pressure
is applied to the piezoelectric element, and an output voltage is generated that
is suitable for closed-loop engine control.
Wide Range Air/Fuel Sensor
There is another sensor that may influence the trend of future fuel control
systems. This sensor is mounted in the engine exhaust pipe similarly to the
presently used EGO sensor. However, this sensor generates an output that varies
linearly with air/fuel ratio over a range of about 12 to 22. The importance of a
control strategy based on air/fuel ratio measurements is illustrated in Figure
11.5, in which relative power, fuel consumption rate, and NOx emissions as a
function of equivalence ratio (see Chapter 5) are depicted. Note that engine
power is reduced compared to stoichiometry (λ = 1) for relatively high values of
λ, but that the reduction is smaller than the reduction in NOx emission. The
fuel consumption rate is minimum for λ ≅ 1.5. In contrast, these variables are
shown versus the output of a standard O2 (EGO) sensor.
2735 | CH 11 Page 373 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Figure 11.4
Cylinder Pressure
2735 | CH 11 Page 374 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Figure 11.5
Performance versus
Equivalence Ratio
2735 | CH 11 Page 375 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
The sensor configuration is shown in Figure 11.6. This sensor uses yttria
(Y2O3)-stabilized zirconia (ZrO2) as a diffusion element that is preheated to a
desired operating temperature. In actual operation, a voltage, Vs, is applied
across this element, and a current, Ip, flows. The theory of operation is beyond
the scope of this book, though it is based on the diffusion of various ions
through the element. Nevertheless, current Ip varies linearly with λ, as shown in
Figure 11.7. A measurement of the current (which is straightforward) yields a
measurement of λ.
Whether this sensor concept will be broadly applied in engine control is
yet to be determined. However, the control strategy based on air/fuel ratio
measurements has the benefit of providing emission control without requiring a
three-way catalytic converter, and at the same time achieves relatively good fuel
Figure 11.6
Linear Air/Fuel
2735 | CH 11 Page 376 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Figure 11.7
Operation of
Lambda Sensor
Alternative Engine
The engine that has been discussed in detail throughout this book is a 4stroke/cycle, gasoline-fueled, spark-ignited (SI) engine (see Chapter 1). An
alternative gasoline engine is the 2-stroke/cycle engine. This type of engine has
been used for many years as a small marine engine, as motorcycle and
lawnmower engines, and briefly as a passenger car engine. Unlike the 4-stroke/
cycle engine, which requires two complete crankshaft revolutions for each
power stroke, the 2-stroke/cycle engine delivers power during each crankshaft
revolution. This engine has the potential to be more compact and lightweight
for a given power output and to require fewer parts than a comparable 4-stroke/
cycle engine. Great potential fuel economy benefits can be achieved using this
engine compared with a 4-stroke/cycle engine due to reduced vehicle weight
and improved vehicle shape for drag reduction.
2735 | CH 11 Page 377 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
In the past, the 2-stroke/cycle engine was virtually eliminated as a
passenger car power plant due to the emission regulations of the Clean Air Act.
Poor emission performance results, in part, from less efficient combustion
than the 4-stroke/cycle engine. In addition, the traditional 2-stroke/cycle
engine requires mixing lubricating oil with gasoline, resulting in poor
The potential for this engine in cars may be returning due to recent
developments in technology, including electronic fuel control. Figure 11.8 is a
schematic cross-sectional drawing of a 2-stroke/cycle engine. Some of the new
technology on this engine that is missing from the traditional 2-stroke/cycle
engine includes the intake and exhaust valves, supercharger, direct fuel
injection, and oil injector jet for lubrication. In at least one engine
configuration under development, there are four valves per cylinder that assist
in scavenging (i.e., removing exhaust and charging the cylinder with intake air).
In addition, a Roots-type supercharger helps in scavenging and mixture
The direct fuel injection provides highly atomized fuel droplets. The
control of fuel droplet size to very small droplets improves the surface/
volume ratio of fuel, resulting in reduced emissions and improved fuel
Figure 11.8
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Other keys to optimal emission control include precise mixture
distribution and ignition control. Mixture distribution is controlled by
regulating (under electronic control) the fuel injection timing. Electronic
controls have proved to be the only cost-effective means of mixture distribution
and ignition timing control.
Should the highly sophisticated fuel control system for the 2-stroke/cycle
engine meet all emissions and performance goals, the engine should have a
great future in passenger car applications.
Alternative-Fuel Engines
In order to reduce dependence on imported oil, there has been a
considerable development effort devoted to finding alternatives to gasoline
fuels. The two leading candidates are natural gas and alcohol fuels (methanol
and ethanol). The latter fuel is made from grain and is a renewable fuel source.
Brazil has operated large fleets of ethanol-fueled cars for years, though at great
government subsidy. For the foreseeable future, ethanol does not appear to be a
practical alternative to replace gasoline in the United States (although it is often
mixed with gasoline, forming so-called gasohol).
Methanol is an alcohol fuel that is potentially available at relatively low
cost and can replace gasoline as a motor fuel. It can be manufactured from coal,
which is in abundant supply in the United States. It is routinely used as a fuel
for racing cars because it has a relatively high octane rating.
Unfortunately, methanol has a number of disadvantages for passenger use.
For example, it has roughly half the energy of an equivalent amount of gasoline.
Thus, for a given range, the fuel tank must be roughly double the size of a fuel
tank for gasoline. In addition, methanol-fueled cars do not start readily in cold
weather, which is an obvious disadvantage in the northern United States.
Moreover, methanol is toxic and highly corrosive. The entire fuel system must
be made from stainless steel in order to cope with the severe corrosion.
Yet another disadvantage of methanol is the lack of a distribution system
(including gas stations equipped to sell this fuel). This latter problem can be
potentially overcome with the advent of engines that can operate on either
gasoline, methanol, or a mixture of the two. Vehicles that are so equipped are
called flexible fuel vehicles (FFV).
Electronic fuel controls are vital to the success of any FFV. Fundamental
to any FFV is a sensor that can measure the alcohol content of the fuel. There
are two types of practical alcohol sensors available at the present time. One of
these measures alcohol content optically by sensing the index of refraction for
the mixture, which is a unique function of the alcohol content. The other
senses alcohol with a capacitive sensor. This latter sensor is based on the
differences in dielectric constant (see Chapter 5) of gasoline and methanol.
Once the alcohol content of fuel has been measured, the electronic fuel
control system can properly regulate fuel delivery to stoichiometric mixture
2735 | CH 11 Page 379 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
ratio. The quantity of fuel required for a given mass air flow rate increases as the
alcohol content increases. For neat methanol (100% methanol), the fuel flow
rate is roughly double that for neat gasoline.
Figure 11.9 is a schematic of an FFV system. This system configuration is
virtually identical to the fuel control system explained in Chapters 6 and 7. The
only significant difference is the alcohol sensor (and the need for stainless steel
fuel delivery hardware).
Transmission Control
Electronic control of an
automotive transmission could provide maximum performance by
matching engine controls and transmission
gear ratios.
The automatic transmission is another important part of the drivetrain
that must be controlled. Traditionally, the automatic transmission control
system has been hydraulic and pneumatic. However, there are some potential
benefits to the electronic control of the automatic transmission.
The engine and transmission work together as a unit to provide the
variable torque needed to move the car. If the transmission were under control
of the electronic engine control system, then optimum performance for the
Figure 11.9
FFV System
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entire drivetrain could be obtained by coordinating the engine controls and
transmission gear ratio.
Continuously Variable Transmission
One concept having great potential for integrated engine/power train
control involves the use of a continuously variable transmission. Instead of
being limited to three, four, or five gear ratios, this transmission configuration
has a continuous range of gear ratios from a minimum value to a maximum
value as determined by the design parameters for the transmission.
The continuously variable transmission (CVT) is an alternative to the
present automatic transmission. It is being developed presently and will likely
see considerable commercial use in production cars. The principle of the CVT
is shown in Figure 11.10.
Figure 11.10
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Power is transmitted from the driving shaft to the driven shaft by a belt
that couples a pair of split pulleys. The effective gear ratio is the ratio of pulley
radii at the contact point of the belt. The radii vary inversely with the spacings
of the split pulleys. The spacings are controlled by a pair of hydraulic cylinders
that push the left half of each pulley in or out.
The control strategy for an integrated engine and CVT system is relatively
complicated and involves measuring vehicle speed and load torque.
Considerable research effort has been and will continue to be expended to
develop a suitable control system, the technology of which will, undoubtedly,
be digital electronic controls.
Collision Avoidance Radar Warning System
Collision avoidance
radar systems use lowpower radar to sense
objects and provide
warnings of possible collisions.
An interesting safety-related electronic system having potential for
future automotive application is the anticollision warning system. An onboard low-power radar system can be used as a sensor for an electronic
collision avoidance system to provide warning of a potential collision with an
object lying in the path of the vehicle. As early as 1976, at least one
experimental system was developed that could accurately detect objects up to
distances of about 100 yards. This system gave very few false alarms in actual
highway tests.
For an anticollision warning application, the radar antenna should be
mounted on the front of the car and should project a relatively narrow beam
forward. Ideally, the antenna for such a system should be in as flat a package as
possible, and should project a beam that has a width of about 2˚ to 3˚
horizontally and about 4˚ to 5˚ vertically. Large objects such as signs can reflect
the radar beam, particularly on curves, and trigger a false alarm. If the beam is
scanned horizontally for a few degrees, say 2.5˚ either side of center, false alarms
from roadside objects can be reduced.
In order to test whether a detected object is in the same lane as the radarequipped car traveling around a curve, the radius of the curve must be
measured. This can be estimated closely from the front wheel steering angle for
an unbanked curve. Given the scanning angle of the radar beam and the curve
radius, a computer can quickly perform the calculations to determine whether
or not a reflecting object is in the same lane as the protected car.
For the collision warning system, better results can be obtained if the
radar transmitter is operated in a pulsed mode rather than in a continuous-wave
mode. In this mode, the transmitter is switched on for a very short time, then it
is switched off. During the off time, the receiver is set to receive a reflected
signal. If a reflecting object is in the path of the transmitted microwave pulse, a
corresponding pulse will be reflected to the receiver. The round trip time, t,
from transmitter to object and back to receiver is proportional to the range, R,
2735 | CH 11 Page 382 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
to the object, as illustrated in Figure 11.11 and expressed in the following
t = -----c
A collision avoidance
system compares the
time needed for a microwave signal to be
reflected from an object
to the time needed for a
signal to be reflected
from the ground. By
comparing these times
with vehicle speed data,
the computer can calculate a “time to impact”
value and sound an
alarm if necessary.
where c is the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). The radar system has
the capability of accurately measuring this time to determine the range to the
It is possible to measure the vehicle speed, V, by measuring the Doppler
frequency shift of the pulsed signal reflected by the ground. (The Doppler
frequency shift is proportional to the speed of the moving object. The
Doppler shift is what causes the pitch of the whistle of a moving train to
change as it passes.) This reflection can be discriminated from the object
reflection because the ground reflection is at a low angle and a short, fixed
The reflection from an object will have a pulse shape that is very nearly
identical to that of the transmitted pulse. As noted, the radar system can
detect this object reflection and find R to determine the distance from the
vehicle to the object. In addition, the relative speed of closure between the car
and the object can be calculated by adding the vehicle speed, V, from the
ground reflected pulses and the speed of the object, S, which can be
determined from the change in range of the object’s reflection pulses. A block
diagram of an experimental collision warning system is shown in Figure
11.12. In this system, the range, R, to the object and the closing speed, V + S,
are measured.
The computer can perform a number of calculations on this data. For
example, the computer can calculate the time to collision, T. Whenever this
time is less than a preset value, a visual and audible warning is generated. The
system could also be programmed to release the throttle and apply the brakes, if
automatic control were desired.
Figure 11.11
Range to Object for
Warning System
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Figure 11.12
Collision Avoidance
Warning System
If the object is traveling at the same speed as the radar-equipped car and
in the same direction, S = –V, and T is infinite. That is, a collision would never
occur. If the object is stationary, S = 0 and the time to collision is:
T = --V
Note that this system can give the vehicle speed, which is applicable for antilock
braking systems. If the object is another moving car approaching the radarequipped car head-on, the closing speed is the sum of the two car speeds. In this
case, the time to closure is
T = -----------V +S
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This concept already has been considerably refined since its inception.
However, there are still some technical problems that must be overcome before
this system is ready for production use. Nevertheless, the performance of the
experimental systems that have been tested is impressive. It will be interesting
to watch this technology improve and to see which, if any, of the present system
configurations becomes commercially available.
Low Tire Pressure Warning System
Another potential application of electronics to
automotive safety is a
low tire pressure warning
Another interesting electronic system that may be used on future
automobiles is a warning system for low tire pressure that works while the
car is in motion. A potentially dangerous situation could be avoided if the
driver could be alerted to the fact that a tire has low pressure. For example, if
a tire develops a leak, the driver could be warned in sufficient time to stop
the car before control becomes difficult.
There are several pressure sensor concepts that could be used. A block
diagram of a hypothetical system is shown in Figure 11.13. In this scheme, a
tire pressure sensor continually measures the tire pressure. The signal from the
sensor mounted on the rolling tire is coupled by a link to the electronic signal
processor. Whenever the pressure drops below a critical limit, a warning signal
is sent to a display on the instrument panel to indicate which tire has the low
Figure 11.13
Low Tire Pressure
Warning System
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A low tire pressure warning system utilizes a tiremounted pressure sensor. The pressure sensor
signals a loss in tire pressure.
The difficult part of this system is the link from the tire pressure sensor
mounted on the rotating tire to the signal processor mounted on the body.
Several concepts have the potential to provide this link. For example, slip rings,
which are similar to the brushes on a dc motor, could be used. However, this
would require a major modification to the wheel-axle assembly and does not
appear to be an acceptable choice at the present time.
Another concept for providing this link is to use a small radio transmitter
mounted on the tire. By using modern solid-state electronic technology, a lowpower transmitter could be constructed. The transmitter could be located in a
modified tire valve cap and could transmit to a receiver in the wheel well. The
distance from the transmitter to the receiver would be about one foot, so only
very low power would be required.
One problem with this method is that electrical power for the transmitter
would have to be provided by a self-contained battery. However, the transmitter
need only operate for a few seconds and only when the tire pressure falls below
a critical level. Therefore, a tiny battery could theoretically provide enough
The scheme is illustrated schematically for a single tire in Figure 11.14.
The sensor switch is usually held open by normal tire pressure on a diaphragm
mechanically connected to the switch. Low tire pressure allows the springloaded switch to close, thereby switching on the microtransmitter. The
receiver, which is directly powered by the car battery, receives the transmitted
Figure 11.14
Sensor Concept
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signal and passes it to the signal processor, also directly powered by the car
battery. The signal processor then activates a warning lamp for the driver, and
it remains on until the driver resets the warning system by operating a switch
on the instrument panel.
One reason for using a signal processing unit is the relatively short life of
the transmitter battery. The transmitter will remain on until the low-pressure
condition is corrected or until the battery runs down. By using a signal
processor, the low-pressure status can be stored in memory so the warning will
still be given even if the transmitter quits operating. The need for this feature
could arise if the pressure dropped while the car was parked. By storing the
status, the system would warn the driver as soon as the ignition was turned on.
Many other concepts have been proposed for providing a low tire pressure
warning system. The future of such a system will be limited largely by its cost
and reliability.
The reduced cost of
VLSI and microprocessor electronics is resulting in advanced
instrumentation and the
use of voice synthesis in
warning systems.
It is very likely that some interesting advances in automotive
instrumentation will be forthcoming, such as certain functions, new display
forms including audible messages by synthesized speech, and interactive
communication between the driver and the instrumentation. These advances
will come about partly because of increased capability at reduced cost for
modern solid-state circuits, particularly microprocessors and
One of the important functions that an all-electronic instrumentation
system can have in future automobiles is continuous diagnosis of other onboard electronic systems. In particular, the future computer-based electronic
instrumentation may perform diagnostic tests on the electronic engine control
system. This instrumentation system might display major system faults and
even recommend repair actions.
Another function that might be improved in the instrumentation system
is the trip computer function. The system probably will be highly interactive;
that is, the driver will communicate with the computer through a keyboard or
maybe even by voice.
The full capabilities of such a system are limited more by human
imagination and cost than technology. Most of the technology for the systems
discussed is available now and can be packaged small enough for automotive
use. However, in a highly competitive industry where the use of every screw is
analyzed for cost-effectiveness, the cost of these systems still limits their use in
production vehicles.
Heads Up Display
In the first edition of this book, it was speculated that CRT displays
would appear in production cars. This has, in fact, occurred, and there is a
2735 | CH 11 Page 387 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
The CRT, when combined with a partially
reflective mirror, results
in a HUD. Information
is displayed on the CRT
in the form of a reversed
image. The image is
reflected by the mirror
and viewed normally by
the driver.
description of the CRT display in Chapter 9. It was also speculated that the
CRT might be used in conjunction with a heads up display (HUD). There is
no clear sign, however, that the basic display source will be a CRT. In fact, any
light-emitting display device can be used with a HUD. A heads up display of
the speed is now available on certain models of automobiles.
It is convenient to describe a HUD by presuming that the display
source is a CRT, keeping in mind that many other display sources can be
substituted for the CRT. Figure 11.15 illustrates the concept of a HUD. In
this scheme, the information that is to be displayed appears on a CRT that
is mounted as shown. A partially reflecting mirror is positioned above the
instrument panel in the driver’s line of sight of the road. In normal driving,
the driver looks through this mirror at the road. Information to be
displayed appears on the face of the CRT upside down, and the image is
reflected by the partially reflecting mirror to the driver right side up. The
driver can read this data from the HUD without moving his or her head
from the position for viewing the road. The brightness of this display would
have to be adjusted so that it is compatible with ambient light. The
brightness of this data image should never be so great that it inhibits the
driver’s view of the road, but it must be bright enough to be visible in all
ambient lighting conditions. Fortunately, the CRT brightness can be
automatically controlled by electronic circuits to accommodate a wide
range of light levels.
Figure 11.15
Heads Up Display
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Speech Synthesis
Speech synthesizers use
phoneme synthesis, a
method of imitating the
basic sounds used to
build speech. Computers rely on an inventory
of phonemes to build
the words for various
automotive warning
One really exciting new display device, information provided by
synthesized speech, has great potential for future automotive electronic
instrumentation. Important safety or trip-related messages could be given
audibly so the driver doesn’t have to look away from the road. In addition to its
normal function of generating visual display outputs, the computer generates
an electrical waveform that is approximately the same as a human voice
speaking the appropriate message. The voice quality of some types of speech
synthesis is often quite natural and similar to human speech.
The speech synthesis considered here must be distinguished from
production voice message systems that have already appeared in production
cars. In these latter systems only “canned,” or preplanned, messages have been
available. In the true speech synthesis system, relatively complex messages can
be generated in response to outputs from various electronic subsystems. For
example, the trip computer could give fuel status in relationship to the car’s
present position and known fueling stations (both of the latter being available
from the navigation system). By combining information from several
subsystems on board the car it is possible to inform the driver of trip status at
any preprogrammed level of detail.
There are several major categories of speech synthesis that have been studied
experimentally. Of these, phoneme synthesis is probably the most sophisticated.
A phoneme is a basic sound that is used to build speech. By having an inventory of
these sounds in computer memory and by having the capability to generate each
phoneme sound, virtually any word can be constructed by the computer in a
manner similar to the way the human voice does. Of course, the electrical signal
produced by the computer is converted to sound by a loudspeaker.
Synthesized speech is being used to automatically provide data over the
phone from computer-based systems and is available on some production cars.
One of the high-cost items in building and servicing vehicles is the
electrical wiring. Wires of varying length and diameter form the interconnection
link between each electrical or electronic component in the vehicle. Virtually the
entire electrical wiring for a car is in the form of a complex, expensive cable
assembly called a harness. Building and installing the harness requires manual
assembly and is time consuming. The increased use of electrical and electronic
devices has significantly increased the number of wires in the harness.
Sensor Multiplexing
The use of microprocessors for computer engine control, instrumentation
computers, etc., offers the possibility of significantly reducing the complexity of
the harness. For example, consider the engine control system. In the present
configuration, each sensor and actuator has a separate wire connection to the
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Sensor multiplexing can
reduce the necessary wiring in an electrical harness by using time
division multiplexing.
CPU. However, each sensor only communicates periodically with the computer
for a short time interval during sampling.
It is possible to connect all the sensors to the CPU with only a single wire
(with ground return, of course). This wire, which can be called a data bus,
provides the communication link between all of the sensors and the CPU. Each
sensor would have exclusive use of this bus to send data (i.e., measurement of
the associated engine variable or parameter) during its time slot. A separate time
slot would be provided for each sensor.
This process of selectively assigning the data bus exclusively to a specific
sensor during its time slot is called time division multiplexing (or sometimes just
multiplexing—MUX). Recall that multiplexing was discussed as a data selector
for the CPU input and output in a digital instrumentation system as described
in Chapter 9. Limited use of multiplexing already exists in some production
cars, but the concept considered here is for data flow throughout the entire car
between all electronic subsystems.
To understand the operation of time division multiplexing of the data
bus, refer to the system block diagram in Figure 11.16. The CPU controls the
use of the data bus by signaling each sensor through a transmitter/receiver
Figure 11.16
Sensor Multiplexing
Block Diagram
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Each sensor in a multiplexing system sends its
individual data over a
common bus. The computer identifies the sensor by signaling each
sensor with a unique
(T/R) unit. Whenever the CPU requires data from any sensor, it sends a coded
message on the bus, which is connected to all T/R units. However, the message
consists of a sequence of binary voltage pulses that are coded for the particular
T/R unit. A T/R unit responds only to one particular sequence of pulses, which
can be thought of as the address for that unit.
Whenever a T/R unit receives data corresponding to its address, it
activates an analog-to-digital converter. The sensor’s analog output at this
instant is converted to a digital binary number as already discussed. This
number and the T/R unit’s address are included so that the CPU can identify
the source of the data. Thus, the CPU interrogates a particular sensor and then
receives the measurement data from the sensor on the data bus. The CPU then
sends out the address of the next T/R unit whose sensor is to be sampled.
Control Signal Multiplexing
It also is possible to multiplex control signals to control switching of
electrical power. Electrical power must be switched to lights, electric motors,
solenoids, and other devices. The system for multiplexing electrical power
control signals around the vehicle requires two buses—one carrying battery
power and one carrying control signals. Figure 11.17 is a block diagram of such
Figure 11.17
Control Signal
Multiplexing Block
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A multiplexed system
can also control switching of electrical power
for lights, motors, and
similar devices. Each
RM would switch power
to the appropriate device
in response to a CPU
a multiplexing system. In a system of this type, a remote switch applies battery
power to the component when activated by the receiver module (RM). The
receiver module is activated by a command from the CPU that is transmitted
along the control signal bus.
This control signal bus operates very much like the sensor data bus
described in the multiplexed engine control system. The particular
component to be switched is initially selected by switches operated by the
driver. (Of course, these switches can be multiplexed at the input of the
CPU.) The CPU sends an RM address as a sequence of binary pulses along
the control signal bus. Each receiver module responds only to one particular
address. Whenever the CPU is to turn a given component on or off, it
transmits the coded address and command to the corresponding RM. When
the RM receives its particular code, it operates the corresponding switch,
either applying battery power or removing battery power, depending on the
command transmitted by the CPU.
Fiber Optics
Signal buses using fiber
optics transmit data and
control signals in the
form of light pulses
along thin fiber “wires.”
Such systems are relatively immune from
noise interference.
It is possible, maybe even desirable, to use an optical fiber for the signal
bus. For such a system, the address voltage pulses from the CPU are
converted to corresponding pulses of light that are transmitted over an
optical fiber. An optical fiber, which is also known as a light pipe, consists of a
thin transparent cylinder of light-conducting glass about the size of a human
hair. Light will follow the light pipe along its entire path, even around
corners, just as electricity follows the path of wire. A big advantage of the
optical fiber signal bus for automotive use is that external electrical noise
doesn’t interfere with the transmitted signal. The high-voltage pulses in the
ignition circuit, which are a major potential source of interference in
automotive electronic systems, will not affect the signals traveling on the
optical signal bus.
For such a system, each component has an RM that has an optical
detector coupled to the signal bus. Each detector receives the light pulses that
are sent along the bus. Whenever the correct sequence (i.e., address) is received
at the RM, the corresponding switch is either closed or opened.
A variety of multiplexing systems have been experimentally studied. It
seems very likely that one form or another of multiplexing system will be used
in the near future whenever the cost of such a system becomes less than that of
the harness that it is to replace. It is possible that the move to multiplexing will
occur in stages. For example, one experimental system incorporates a
multiplexing system for switches located in the door only.
One of the more interesting potential future developments in the
application of electronics to automobiles is navigation. Every driver who has
2735 | CH 11 Page 392 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
taken a trip to an unfamiliar location understands the problem of navigation.
The driver must first obtain maps having sufficient detail to locate the
destination. Along the trip the driver must be able to identify the car location in
relationship to the map and make decisions at various road intersections about
the route continuation.
There has been considerable research done into the development of an
electronic automatic navigation system, which may someday lead to the
widespread commercial sale of such a system. Although stand-alone
electronic navigation systems with multiscale electronic maps have been
commercially available for some time, these are somewhat less complex
than the concept considered here. The present concept assumes a
multisensor system that optimally integrates position and car motion data
from the various sensors to obtain the best possible estimate of present
Figure 11.18 is a block diagram showing the major components of a
generic automatic navigation system. The display portion of a research system is
typically a CRT. This display depicts one of many maps that are stored in
Ideally, the display device should have the capability of displaying maps
with various levels of magnification. As the car approaches its destination, the
map detail should increase until the driver can locate his or her position within
an accuracy of about half a block.
The map database must be capable of storing sufficient data to
construct a map of an entire region. For example, data could be stored on
floppy disks (one for each region of the country) that are read into computer
Figure 11.18
Generic Automatic
Navigation System
2735 | CH 11 Page 393 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
RAM as desired for a particular trip. Alternatively, a CD (compact disc)
player could be used for large-scale data storage. In this case, the CD player
would be part of the entertainment system. If the vehicle electronic system is
integrated, the CD player can function as a large-scale memory for on-board
navigation data.
The computer portion of the generic navigation system obtains signals
from various position sensors and calculates the correct vehicle position in
relationship to the map coordinates. The computer also controls the map
display, accounting for magnification (called for by the driver) and displaying
the vehicle position superimposed on the map. The correct vehicle position
might, for example, be shown as a flashing bright spot.
Navigation Sensors
The most critical and costly component in the generic navigation system
is the position-determining system, that is, the position sensor. Among the
concepts presently being considered for automotive navigation are inertial
navigation, radio navigation, signpost navigation, and dead reckoning
navigation. Each of these has relative advantages in terms of cost and
An inertial navigation sensor has been developed for aircraft navigation,
but it is relatively expensive. The aircraft inertial navigation sensor consists of
three gyros and accelerometers. Figure 11.19 is a block diagram of a typical
navigation system using inertial navigation.
Figure 11.19
Automotive Inertial
Navigation System
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An inertial navigation system locates the vehicle position relative to a
known starting point by integrating acceleration twice with respect to time. For
example, along the x direction, vehicle position at time t is x(t):
x ( t ) = xo +
∫ ∫ a ( y ) dy dt
xo is the initial x position
a is the acceleration along x direction
A similar integration is performed along the two orthogonal directions.
An inertial navigation system has position errors due to initial gyro
alignment errors, uncompensated gyro drift, and accelerometer errors. A typical
high-quality commercial navigation system (e.g., Carousel IV) has a position
error of about 3000 feet for each hour of flight. Position errors generated at this
rate in an automotive environment imply a trip of no more than a half hour
before the error exceeds the half-block limit. This error, in combination with
the system’s relatively high cost (about $120,000), renders the inertial
navigation system unfeasible for automotive use for the foreseeable future. On
the other hand, updated measurement of a car’s present position can be
obtained using radio navigation sensors.
Radio Navigation
A radio-based automotive navigation system uses either land- or
satellite-based transmitters and automotive receivers for position location.
Land-based transmitter systems that are potentially applicable include Decca,
Loran-C, VOR, and Omega. The only satellite-based system that is
potentially applicable is the Global Positioning System (GPS). The landbased systems are primarily intended for aircraft or ship navigation and have
somewhat limited coverage. For example, Loran-C has no coverage for large
portions of the southwestern United States. Nevertheless, research is being
done on the applicability of these land-based systems to automotive
The GPS, when fully operational, will have 24 orbiting satellites, of
which there will be a minimum of four within line of sight of any location on
earth. This is sufficient for position location. Figure 11.20 is a block diagram of
a GPS-based automotive navigation system.
In final operational service, there will be two classes of user service
available for GPS: the Precise Positioning Service (PPS), which is available
only to the military, and the Standard Position Service (SPS), which is
available for automotive navigation. Each satellite transmits clock pulses that
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Figure 11.20
Automotive GPS
Navigation System
give the time of transmission. The distance to any satellite is known by the
Ri = c ( ti – tr )
Ri is the distance to any satellite
c is the speed of light
ti is the time that the clock pulse is transmitted from satellite to car
tr is the time that the car receives the pulses
The measurement of the propagation time from satellite to receiver (ti – tr)
requires highly accurate (and expensive) clocks in both the satellite and the car.
Position is determined (in three dimensions and time) by solving four
equations involving the range to four satellites. In GPS service, an accuracy of
2735 | CH 11 Page 396 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
100 meters is quoted. In experiments, absolute accuracies of 30 meters have
been achieved.
There are a number of problems associated with GPS-based navigation
systems, including cost, time to fix position, and propagation considerations.
The cost of a GPS receiver is determined partly by its precise clock. However,
produced in sufficient quantities, the receiver cost could be brought into a
commercially viable range. The time to fix initial position is on the order of two
to three minutes, which is inconvenient but possibly acceptable. Once initial
position is fixed, updated position is available in about two-second intervals. In
addition, it is necessary to maintain a direct line of sight. This can be a problem
in areas of tall buildings or in mountainous terrain. Nevertheless, GPS is
potentially viable for future automotive navigation and has many advocates.
Signpost Navigation
In signpost navigation, a number of information stations (signposts) are
located throughout the road network. In one scheme, the signpost
continuously transmits data concerning its geographic location. The on-board
navigation system converts this data to map coordinates, which are displayed.
Figure 11.21 is a block diagram of a typical signpost navigation system.
This system requires an augmented database to convert the transmitted data to
map coordinates. This system has the capability to provide position to an
accuracy of a few meters.
There are drawbacks to the signpost system, however, including an
inability to determine position between signposts, inability to show a turn until
Figure 11.21
Navigation System
2735 | CH 11 Page 397 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
the next signpost is reached, the need for signposts at every intersection, and
the requirement for a large number of codes. Thus, in spite of the high accuracy
of this system, it inherently requires a huge investment in infrastructure.
Dead Reckoning Navigation
Dead reckoning navigation is a method of determining present position
from a known earlier position and information about vehicle motion. Figure
11.22 is a block diagram for such a system. The sensor components of this
system include a heading sensor and a wheel speed sensor. Navigation systems
of this type have been commercially available for some time. However,
integration of this dead reckoning navigation system into a multisensor
navigation system has not been available (the combined system being
potentially a future electronic feature). The use of heading and speed
information is illustrated in Figure 11.23. Experimental systems have used a
form of magnetic compass, known as a flux gate, to measure heading. Wheel
speed sensors have already been explained in Chapter 8. Although this system is
conceptually simple, it suffers from poor accuracy. It is estimated that a position
error of about half a block would accrue for trips of less than six miles.
Typically, an electronic dead reckoning system employs a CRT (see
Chapter 9) as a display device for presenting a map of the relevant geographic
region. In at least one commercial system (ETAK), there are eight different
levels of resolution. The maps are generated from digital data that is stored on a
magnetic tape cassette. A compact disk read-only memory data storage (CDROM) is also suitable for map data storage. Using the stored data, the
Figure 11.22
Dead Reckoning
Navigation System
2735 | CH 11 Page 398 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Figure 11.23
Dead Reckoning
electronic map is displayed on the CRT, identifying the present position of the
car as well as its destination. Using the present position (Po of Figure 11.23),
the new position (P1) is calculated.
Errors occur in any dead reckoning navigation system after a time.
However, in automotive navigation systems, such errors can be readily
bounded. It is presumed that the car is on a road (or in a driveway or parking
lot) at all times. The coordinates of the road are known as part of the navigation
database. Wherever the estimated position (P1) is off the road, the computer
adjusts the car position to the nearest point on the road. This correction
procedure is known as map matching and results in extremely accurate
A potential area for future technological development is an extension of
the radar collision-avoidance scheme. In at least one proposed configuration,
the areas behind and on either side of the vehicle are scanned by a
combination of laser radar and ultrasonic sensing system. The data from these
sensors will be analyzed by a computer running some very sophisticated
algorithms. The purpose of these systems is to warn drivers of a potential
2735 | CH 11 Page 399 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
collision with approaching vehicles (e.g., before lane changes are made).
Warnings to the driver can be made by synthesized voice or visual HUD
Still another potential technical development in automotive electronics
involves the application of artificial intelligence to voice recognition. In such a
system the driver can activate electronic functions by simply speaking to the car.
A microphone will pick up his speech, recognize what is spoken, and take
action accordingly. Such a system has the advantage that the driver can enter
commands or data without looking away from the road while keeping both
hands safely on the steering wheel.
Another interesting technical development that is likely to occur in the
future involves the use of electronically controlled window transparency. Using
advanced electrochromic material it is possible to reduce window transparency
on very bright sunny days or to increase transparency on darker days. This has
the advantage of reducing glare and improving the heat load on the air
conditioning system within the vehicle.
The development of cellular telephones for cars has greatly expanded the
ability to conduct business on the road. Not only is it possible to conduct
ordinary phone conversations while driving, but it is also now possible to
exchange information from home offices to the automobile via the cellular
phone. Since its introduction in 1984, the sale of cellular phones has increased
dramatically, with the total in service at roughly 4 million in mid-1991, and has
continued to expand exponentially since then.
A cellular phone is linked via radio to a two-way (duplex) fixed station
servicing a specific geographic region, or cell. The radio link carrier frequency is
sufficiently high that coverage for any cell is limited to the line of sight for the
fixed station antenna.
At the present time, cellular service is available within urban areas and
along high traffic interstate roads. As the car moves across the boundary of a cell
into another cell, a computer selects the particular cell for best coverage at each
location. Any cellular phone within a given cell can be connected to any phone
in the world using services of the cellular phone utility that operates that cell
and all fixed telephone utilities in the world.
Virtually any information service that is available in a fixed office through
telephones is now available in a car via the cellular phone. These extraordinary
capabilities have led to the term office on wheels for cars that are so equipped.
For example, a facsimile machine is readily operated through a cellular phone
link to any other facsimile machine.
In addition to facsimile machines, the office on wheels can readily
accommodate an answering machine and a portable computer with printer
and, of course e-mail. Clearly, the driver cannot simultaneously operate a
2735 | CH 11 Page 400 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
computer and drive a car. However, a rear-seat installation of a computer,
which is perhaps coupled via modem and the cellular phone to other
computers, is technically feasible now. In one configuration the computer,
answering machine, and facsimile are standard office devices that receive power
through a special adapter via the cigarette lighter.
Integration of the office into the vehicle electronics is also possible. For
example, we have already shown in Chapter 9 that a CRT is available in certain
car models. This CRT can play several roles as a display device. In addition to
its original application, it serves as input/output for heating/cooling and
entertainment systems. It can serve as the display device for an electronic
navigation system. It can also be converted to serve as the monitor for an
automotive computer. Of course, a keyboard assembly is also required along
with the main computer structure as a feature of the office on wheels
It can be anticipated that the computer would only be operable when the
transmission selector is in Park. This feature provides assurance that the car is
not actually on the road when in computer mode. A printer could also be
provided for receiving hard copy of the computer output.
The applications of such an automotive built-in computer are many. For
example, a salesman could transmit orders directly from the field to
headquarters. Alternatively, contract modifications could be made and
transmitted to a remote site instantaneously. The extension of these ideas to an
office on wheels is limited only by the ingenuity of the users of such a system.
Voice Recognition Cell Phone Dialing
As beneficial as cellular phone systems are, they do have a potential safety
disadvantage. For most people, dialing a number on a cell phone requires
looking at the key pad while entering the digits. If the car is moving (and
particularly if it is moving in heavy traffic), the momentary distraction of
dialing the phone can potentially divert the driver’s attention and an accident
can occur.
A scheme for dialing the phone without diverting the driver’s attention
from driving involves speech recognition technology. There are already cell
phones available that can accept verbal dialing such that the driver simply
speaks the telephone number to be dialed. When the connection is made the
phone conversation can be completed without the driver having to physically
hold the phone to his or her ear and mouth.
However, the majority of such hands-free cell phones can recognize only
one or two individual’s voices. Normally such a system is trained to recognize
the individual speakers. In the future it is likely that cell phone systems will be
available that can recognize essentially any speaker. Using such systems, phone
conversations can be completed without the driver ever having to divert his or
her attention from the road.
2735 | CH 11 Page 401 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
One of the areas having the greatest potential payoff for electronics in
automobiles is in the relationship of the car and driver to the road.
Improvements in traffic flow in congested areas might be possible if the driver
has information concerning traffic problems on the road ahead.
In an attempt to improve traffic flow, particularly on congested routes
near large metropolitan areas, a government program has been established that
has come to be known as the intelligent transportation system (ITS). As of the
time of this writing, roughly $1 billion has been invested with cooperative
investment from the transportation industry. The general aim of this project
has been to improve the safety, efficiency, capacity, and environmental quality
of the existing highway transportation system.
The concept involves building an infrastructure supported by on-board
vehicle electronics to evaluate traffic flow in an area and to communicate to
drivers recommendations for improved routing as well as timely messages
concerning traffic tie-ups and safety-related warnings. Included in the required
hardware for the system are sensors for measuring existing traffic flow, very
large, high-power computers for processing data and for generating the
appropriate messages, as well as communications systems and automotive
Although the long-term capabilities for ITS are unclear, the short-term
application of technology will probably be in the form of an advanced driver
information system. One of the most likely candidates is a radio message service
system utilizing a portion of the bandwidth allotted to commercial FM radio
stations (in the same spectrum used to transmit Muzak). This system requires a
special FM receiver equipped with a decoding system. Whenever it is
appropriate (e.g., for road emergencies or traffic congestion), a message is
transmitted by the FM stations in the area. In one scheme, the radio receiver is
automatically retuned to a special frequency on which voice messages are
transmitted identifying the problem to the driver.
One very interesting experimental system having great potential for future
ITS application is the system called TELEPATH that was developed by Delco.
This system serves as an example of an ITS system in that it is representative of
features that are likely to be found in future cars, although the exact
architecture for any particular vehicle could well be different than the present
A block diagram of this system, shown in Figure 11.24, is built around
the digital data bus described in Chapter 9. This system supports a number of
subsystems, including Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation, a keyless
entry, vehicle-to-roadside communication (VRC), a digital audio broadcast
(DAB) entertainment system, and a radio data system (RDS) that also serves as
a communication link for a differential GPS augmentation data channel and a
cellular phone. Other inputs to the navigation and communications computer
2735 | CH 11 Page 402 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Figure 11.24
The TELEPATH Intelligent Transportation System
include a switch pad for data/command input, a compass, antilock braking,
and wheel steering sensors. This system is to have an active matrix liquid crystal
display (AMLCD) as well as a heads up display (HUD).
The GPS navigation system has already been discussed. The keyless entry
system is in common use today and involves transmission of a digital code via a
radio frequency link from a miniature (hand-held) transmitter that is received
2735 | CH 11 Page 403 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
in the car and decoded. If there is a code match, a signal is sent to the door lock
actuator, which can be solenoids or motors.
The vehicle-to-roadside communication (VRC) system provides a means
of transmitting messages from a road information system (via radio). The latter
requires an infrastructure of low-power transmitters and receivers located
adjacent to highways at strategic locations, as well as a message-generating
system. The latter can be an internal preprogrammed fixed message (e.g.,
specific road closure) or it can be a digital data link to a computer-controlled
master controller capable of generating variable messages (e.g., warning of
congested traffic on a given route at a specific time). The infrastructure can also
be used to automatically interrogate passing vehicles via an on-board
transponder. The transponder is a special transceiver that receives coded
messages from a master controller requesting that certain data be transmitted
back to the master. Transponders are commonly used in aircraft to report
position and altitude to an air traffic control radar interrogator. In the VRC
system, data can be collected from moving vehicles. A form of VRC is in use
today for automatic toll collection as well as to read truck weights while the
truck is in motion.
The VRC concept includes a transponder on board the vehicle that has an
output for relaying messages to the driver. These messages are routed along the
data bus to either the HUD display or to an audio warning message system, or
both. Message complexity is limited by the system’s maximum data rate and by
the time interval in which the moving vehicle is within the limited range of the
roadside transmitter. The message is repetitively transmitted by the roadside
transmitter at intervals sufficient for all passing vehicles to receive the entire
message. In an experimental implementation developed by Delco, the data rate
is roughly 50 kbits/sec for a 5-second repetition period. Uses of the VRC
system can include roadsign-type information to warn drivers of hazardous
road conditions, speed limit changes (e.g., for work crews), services available,
weighing of commercial vehicles while in motion, and, as indicated above, toll
collections from vehicles traveling at highway speed without requiring stops at
toll collection booths.
The digital audio broadcast system (DBS) is a radio broadcast
entertainment system that has the potential to achieve CD-quality audio and
reliable data services over a broadcast radio channel. The nonaudio message
should have a capacity of the order of 10 kbits/sec. An experimental system has
been tested that operates with a carrier frequency of 1.5 GHz and uses a form
of phase-shift keying modulation.
The radio data system (RDS) utilizes an auxiliary channel (subcarrier) on
a commercial FM radio signal. A special receiver is required to obtain the data
from the auxiliary data channel. Uses of RDS include paging, traffic congestion
messages, and warnings of hazardous conditions (rock slides, icy bridges, etc.).
An interesting potential use for RDS is to relay corrections to GPS signals
appropriate for a local receiving area. These corrections provide greatly
2735 | CH 11 Page 404 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Figure 11.25
Automatic Driving
Control System
improved accuracy (reducing errors from about 100 meters to less than about 5
meters). The corrected GPS is known as differential GPS, or DGPS.
The technology for such service exists today. Implementation requires
only the infrastructure for sending emergency messages. Advanced forms of
such a service are in the experimental stages of development now and can be
implemented as soon as this infrastructure exists. These extensions include
providing alternate route suggestions to drivers to help them avoid serious
traffic delays. The further extensions of such a service are limited only by the
system infrastructure and have great potential for easing traffic flow
Another rather interesting (but probably pretty far in the future)
technology is the vehicle guideway system. This is a purely experimental
system at the time of this writing that is envisaged as an automatic driving
system. The concept involves automatic steering and automatic vehicle speed
control. The concept leads to a system of multiple-vehicle automatic driving
called platooning. In a platooning system a group of cars is automatically
controlled to maintain a set highway cruise speed with a fixed nominal intercar
Steering control is via a signal radiated from a wire buried in the center of
the roadway. Distances between cars and vehicle speeds are maintained with the
aid of measurements made by an on-board radar system.
A simplified block diagram for automatic control is shown in Figure
11.25. In this figure, a sensor (S) is located on the bottom front of the car that
picks up the signal radiated by the buried wire. This sensor signal is the input to
2735 | CH 11 Page 405 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
a tracking controller that outputs a control signal to a steering actuator.
Steering commands guide the vehicle to maintain the sensor over the guideway
Vehicle speed control is accomplished using an on-board radar sensor.
This sensor is located in front of the vehicle and directs a narrow radar beam
forward. The radar sensor system obtains a measurement of the range to a car in
front of the given car as well as the rate of change of that range. The sensor can
also measure vehicle ground speed via Doppler shift of radar signals reflected
from the ground.
The control system is a multiple-input/multiple-output controller that
generates control signals for a throttle actuator and a braking actuator.
Normally the controller will only activate the throttle; however, if the range to
the vehicle is decreasing even with a closed throttle, then braking is required.
The braking actuator pressurizes the brake lines automatically to slow the
vehicle as required. This action could occur if the platoon of cars were driving
down a long, relatively steep mountain or slope. It could also be required if an
obstacle were encountered that was stationary (as in the case of a car with a
breakdown). Panic-stop braking could actually be required in extreme cases.
Whenever manual control is required (e.g., when a given vehicle exits the
highway in order to reach a given destination), the driver takes control by
operating a control release switch.
There are many variations on the concept described above. Some will
prove to be feasible; others will not. At this time the automatic vehicle
guideway is an interesting experimental system with great potential for
maintaining optimum traffic flow on otherwise busy or congested highways.
It should be emphasized that many of the topics included in this final
chapter have an uncertain future in terms of production automobiles. Each idea
discussed here has had at least an experimental confirmation of its technical
feasibility. However, the final arbiter of the viability of each subsystem will be
the automobile consumer, who will vote with his or her dollars on whether any
given subsystem or feature is worth the incremental purchase price.
2735 | CH 11 Page 406 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
Quiz for Chapter 11
1. Engine performance may be
improved in the future by
a. tuning the intake manifold
b. use of variable compression
c. variable valve timing
d. all of the above
2. One potential engine control
strategy based on a feedback signal
from cylinder pressure may
a. a piezoelectric cylinder
pressure sensor
b. a new MAP sensor
c. an exhaust air/fuel sensor
d. none of the above
3. An airbag is
a. a mechanism for occupant
protection in a car
b. a container for use in case of
c. an impact sensor
d. all of the above
4. One concept for automotive
collision avoidance involves
a. braking rapidly in dangerous
b. measuring the round-trip time
of a radar pulse from
protected car to collision
c. aircraft surveillance of
d. wheel speed sensors
5. Doppler shift has potential
automotive application for
a. measuring the speed of
passing trains
b. automatic gear changing
c. measuring vehicle speed over
the road
d. none of the above
6. The major problem associated
with a practical low tire pressure
sensor is
a. developing a means of getting
the electrical signal from the
rotating sensor to the car body
b. developing a sensor that can
measure relative pressure
c. absolute pressure calibration
d. measuring tire pressure when
the vehicle is stopped
7. A CRT has potential automotive
application for
a. controlling vehicle motion
b. recording vehicle transient
c. monitoring entertainment
d. displaying information to the
8. The term HUD refers to
a. housing and urban
b. heads up display
c. heads up driver
d. none of the above
2735 | CH 11 Page 407 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
9. Speech synthesis is
a. a system that automatically
recognizes human speech
b. an automatic checkbook
balancing system
c. a visual display of speech
11. An inertial navigation system
incorporates the following sensors
a. radio receivers
b. Doppler radar
c. gyros and accelerometers
d. none of the above
d. a means of electronically
generating human speech
10. An optical fiber is
a. a tiny beam of light
b. an optical waveguide that is
often called a light pipe
c. an optical switch
d. none of the above
2735 | CH 11 Page 408 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:30 PM
2735 | Glossary Page 409 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:33 PM
A/F: See Air/Fuel Ratio.
Accumulator: The basic work register of a computer.
Actuator: A device which performs an action in response to an electrical signal.
A/D (also ADC): Analog-to-digital converter; a device which is proportional
to the analog voltage level input.
Analog Circuits: Electronic circuits which amplify, reduce, or otherwise alter a
voltage signal which is a smooth or continuous copy of some physical quantity.
Assembly Language: An abbreviated computer language which humans can
use to program computers. Assembly language eventually is converted to
machine language so that a computer can understand it.
BDC: Bottom dead center; the extreme lowest position of the piston during its
Bit: A binary digit; the smallest piece of data a computer can manipulate.
Block Diagram: A system diagram which shows all of the major parts and
their interconnections.
BSCO: Brake specific fuel consumption; the ratio of the rate at which fuel is
flowing into an engine to the brake horsepower being generated.
BSHC: Brake specific HC; the ratio of the rate at which hydrocarbons leave
the exhaust pipe to the brake horsepower.
BSNOx: Brake specific NOx; the ratio of the rate at which oxides of nitrogen
leave the exhaust pipe to the brake horsepower.
Byte: 8 bits dealt with together.
CAFE: Corporate-Average-Fuel-Economy. The government mandated fuel
economy which is averaged over the production for a year for any given manufacturer.
Capacitor: An electronic device which stores charge.
Catalytic Converter: A device which enhances certain chemical reactions
which help to reduce the levels of undesirable exhaust gases.
Closed-Loop Fuel Control: A mode where input air/fuel ratio is controlled
by metering the fuel response to the rich-lean indications from an exhaust gas
oxygen sensor.
CO: Carbon monoxide; an undesirable chemical combustion product due to
imperfect combustion.
Combinational Logic: Logic circuits whose outputs depend only on the
present logic inputs
Combustion: The burning of the fuel-air mixture in the cylinder.
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Comparator, Analog: An electronic device which compares the voltages
applied to its inputs.
Compression Ratio: The ratio of the cylinder volume at BDC to the volume
at TDC.
Control Variable: The plant inputs and outputs which a control system
manipulates and measures to properly control it.
Conversion Efficiency (Catalytic Converter): The efficiency with which
undesirable exhaust gases are reduced to acceptable levels or are converted to
desirable gases.
CPU: Central processing unit; the calculator portion of a computer.
Cutoff: A transistor operating mode where very little current flows between
the collector and emitter.
D/A (also DAC): Digital-to-analog converter; a device which produces a voltage which is proportional to the digit input number.
Damping Coefficient: A parameter which affects a system’s time response by
making it more or less sluggish.
DEMUX: Demultiplexer; a type of electronic switch uses to select one of several output lines.
Diesel: A class of internal combustion engine in which combustion is initiated
by the high temperature of the compressed air in the cylinder rather than an
electrical spark.
Digital Circuits: Electronic circuits whose outputs can change only at specific
instances and between a limited number of different voltages.
Diode: A semiconductor device which acts like a current check valve.
Display: Advice which indicates in human readable form the result of measurement of some variable.
Drive Train: The combination of mechanisms connecting the engine to the
driving wheels including transmission, driveshaft, and differential.
Dwell: The time that current flows through the primary circuit of the ignition
coil for each spark generation.
Dynamometer: A device for loading the engine and measuring engine
EGO: Exhaust gas oxygen; the concentration of oxygen in the exhaust of an
engine. An EGO sensor is used in closed-loop fuel control systems to indicate
rich or lean A/F.
EGR: Exhaust gas recirculation; a procedure in which a portion of exhaust is
introduced into the intake of an engine.
Electronic Carburetor: A fuel metering actuator in which the air/fuel ratio is
controlled by continual variations of the metering rod position in response to
an electronic control signal.
Engine Calibration: The values for air/fuel, spark advance, and EGR at any
operating condition.
2735 | Glossary Page 411 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:33 PM
Engine Crankshaft Position: The angular position of the crankshaft relative
to a reference point.
Engine Mapping: A procedure of experimentally determining the performance of an engine at selected operating points and recording the results.
Equivalence Ratio: Actual air/fuel ratio divided by the air/fuel ratio at
Evaporative Emissions: Evaporated fuel from the carburetor or fuel system
which mixes with the surrounding air.
Foot-Pound: A unit of torque corresponding to a force of one pound acting
on a one foot level arm.
Frequency Response: A graph of a system’s response to different frequency
input signals.
Gain: The ratio of a system’s output magnitude to its input magnitude.
HC: Hydrocarbon chemicals, such as gasoline, formed by the union of carbon
and hydrogen.
Ignition Timing: The time of occurrence of ignition measured in degrees of
crankshaft rotation relative to TDC.
Inductor: A magnetic device which stores energy in a magnetic field produced
by current flowing in it.
Instrumentation: Apparatus (often electronic) which is used for measurement
or control, and for display of measurements or conditions.
Integral Amplifier: A control system component whose voltage output
changes at a rate proportional to its input voltage.
Integrated Circuit: A semiconductor device which contains many circuit
functions on a single chip.
Interrupts: An efficient method of quickly requesting a computer’s attention
to a particular external event.
Lead Term: A control system component which anticipates future inputs
based on the current signal trend.
Limit Cycle: A mode of control system operation in which the controlled
variable cycles between extreme limits with the average near the desired
Linear Region: A transistor operating mode where the collector current is proportional to the base current.
Logic Circuits: Digital electronic circuits which perform logical operations
such as NOT, AND, OR, and combinations of these.
Lookup Table: A table in the computer memory which is used to convert an
important value into a related value from the table.
MAP: Manifold absolute pressure; the absolute pressure in the intake manifold
of an engine.
Mathematical Model: A mathematical equation which can be used to numerically compute a system’s response to a particular input.
2735 | Glossary Page 412 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:33 PM
Microcomputer: A small computer which uses an integrated circuit which
contains a central processing unit and other control electronics.
MUX: Multiplexer; a type of electronic switch used to select one of several
input lines.
NOx :The various oxides of nitrogen.
Op Code: A number which a computer recognizes as an instruction.
Open-Loop Fuel Control: A mode where engine input air/fuel ratio is controlled by measuring the mass of input air and adding the proper mass of fuel to
obtain a 14.7 to 1 ratio.
Operational Amplifier: A standard analog building block with two inputs,
one output, and a very high voltage gain.
Optimal Damping: The damping which produces the very best time
Peripheral: An external input-output device which is connected to a
Phase Shift: A measure of the delay in degrees between the time a signal
enters a system and the time it shows up at the output as a fraction of a full
cycle of 360˚.
Plant: A system which is to be controlled.
Proportional Amplifier: A control system component which produces a control output proportional to its input.
Qualitative Analysis: A study which reveals how a system works.
Quantitative Analysis: A study which determines how well a system performs.
RAM: Random access memory; read/write memory.
Random Error: A measurement error which is neither predictable nor correctable, but has some statistical nature to it.
ROM: Read only memory; permanent memory used to store permanent programs.
RPM: Revolutions per minute; the angular speed of rotation of the crankshaft
of an engine or other rotating shaft.
Sample and Hold: The act of measuring a voltage at a particular time and
storing that voltage until a new sample is taken.
Sampling: The act of periodically collecting or providing information about a
particular process.
Semiconductor: A material which is neither a good conductor nor a good
Sensor: An energy conversion device which measures some physical quantity
and converts it to an electrical quantity.
Sequential Logic: Logic circuits whose output depends on the particular
sequence of the input logic signals.
SI Engine: Abbreviation for spark-ignited, gasoline-fueled, piston-type,
internal-combustion engine.
2735 | Glossary Page 413 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:33 PM
Signal Processing: The alteration of an electrical signal by electronic circuitry;
used to reduce the effects of systematic and random errors.
Skid: A condition in which the tires are sliding over the road surface rather
thin rolling; usually associated with braking.
Slip: The ratio of the angular speed of the driving element to the angular speed
of the driven element of a torque converter; also, the condition in which a
driven tire loses traction so that the driving torque does not produce vehicle
Software: The computer program instructions used to tell a computer what
to do.
Spark Advance: The number of degrees of crankshaft rotation before TDC
where the spark plug is fired. (See ignition timing.)
Spark Timing: The process of firing the spark plugs at the proper moment to
ignite the combustible mixture in the engine cylinders.
Stoichiometry: The air/fuel ratio for perfect combustion; it enables exactly all
of the fuel to burn using exactly all of the oxygen in the air.
System: A collection of interacting parts.
Systematic Error: A measurement error in instrumentation system which is
predictable and correctable.
TBFI: Throttle-body-fuel-injector; a fuel metering actuator in which the air/
fuel ratio is controlled by injecting precisely controlled spurts of fuel into the air
stream entering the intake manifold.
TDC: Top dead center; the extreme highest point of the piston during its
Throttle Angle: The angle between the throttle plate and a reference line;
engine speed increases as the angle increases.
Torque Converter: A form of fluid coupling used in an automatic transmission which acts like a torque amplifier.
Torque: The twisting force of the crankshaft or other driving shaft.
Transfer Function: A mathematical equation which, when graphed, produces
a system’s frequency response plot.
Transistor: An active semiconductor device which operates like a current
Transport Delay: The time required for a given miss of fuel and air to travel
from the intake manifold through the engine to the EGO sensor in the exhaust
Volumetric Efficiency: The pumping efficiency of the engine as air is drawn
into the cylinders.
2735 | Glossary Page 414 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:33 PM
2735 | Index Page 415 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
absolute atmospheric pressure
sensors, 194
acceleration enrichment, 235-237
accelerator, 153, 206, 261
accelerometers, 291, 362-363
accumulator (A) register, 106, 110,
119-125, 409
active matrix liquid crystal display
(AMLCD), 402
active region, transistor, 75, 81
active suspension system, 285-286
actuators, 30, 32, 34, 52, 58, 60,
155, 215-220, 261, 368, 405, 409.
See also fuel injection; throttle
abnormal responses, 252
automotive applications of, 187189
fuel control, 172-173, 181
stepper motor, 273-274
suspension system, 289-290
vacuum-operated, 274-277
A/D converter. See analog-to-digital
converter (ADC)
adder circuits, 86-88
address bus (AB), 103, 110, 133, 321
address offset, 112-113
addressing peripherals, 105
air charge, 176
air flow. See mass air flow (MAF)
air intake. See intake air
air mass, measuring, 176-181
airbags, 360-364
air/fuel ratio, 9, 147, 153-155, 175,
176, 208-209, 227, 229, 253-255,
371. See also stoichiometry
actuators to control, 215
lean mixture, 161, 171-173, 209,
211, 212, 217, 235, 237, 238,
255, 371
performance, effect on, 160-161
rich mixture, 161, 171-173, 209,
211, 212, 217, 226, 235-237
wide range air/fuel sensors, 372375
alcohol fuels, 378-379
algorithms, 53-54, 135
amplifiers. See also error amplifiers;
operational amplifiers
integral, 271, 276, 411
transistor, 76-77
analog accelerometers, 362-363
analog circuits, 53, 77, 102, 409
analog computer, 80, 99
analog control systems, 58, 275-276
analog filters, 137
analog instrumentation display, 300303, 307, 311, 312, 313
analog sensors, 135
analog signals
digital-to-analog converter
(DAC), 127-129, 130, 132
processing, 54-55
sampling, 130
analog systems, 32-35
analog-to-digital converter (ADC),
37, 129-130, 135, 207, 300, 307,
309, 311, 328, 409
interrupts, 132
polling, 130-131
AND function, 83, 84, 116-125, 274
anode, 72
antilock braking system (ABS), 24,
arbitration, 338
2735 | Index Page 416 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
arithmetic and logic unit (ALU), 9293, 110, 125
assembly language, 118-120, 409
assembly line data link (ALDL), 352
automatic driving control, 404-405
automatic transmission, 19, 379-381
bandpass filters, 137
bandwidth, 39-40, 46, 49-52
base pulse width, 231, 234
base-emitter diode, 75
beam, 319-320
before top dead center (BTDC), 17,
binary circuits, 80-81
binary counters (BC), 190-192, 269,
274, 311
binary numbering system, 36, 81-83,
bits, 83, 86-88, 103, 409
block, engine, 7
block diagrams, 31-32, 409
digital instrumentation system, 53
boost, steering, 25, 292
boot program, 110-111
bore, piston, 156
bottom dead center (BDC), 9, 156,
brakes, 3, 23-24
antilock braking system, 24, 277285
power, 158
pressure modulator, 281-284
turnoff, cruise control, 277
brake-specific fuel consumption
(BSFC), 159, 160, 161, 409
brake-specific HC (BSHC), 409
brake-specific NOx (BSNOx), 409
braking actuator, 405
braking torque, 281
branches (computer program), 107108, 111-113
breaker points, 15-16
buffers, 117-118, 126-127
buses (computer), 103-105, 133,
321-322, 391
bypass air, 237
bytes, 103, 409
CAFE (corporate average fuel
economy), 148, 150, 409
calibration, 155, 160, 410
conversion, 141
measurement, 47, 52
parameters, 163, 223, 224
set by control system, 164
shift, 50
stability, 152
California Air Resources Board
(CARB), 351-352
caliper, 23
cams, on distributor shaft, 16
camshaft, 7, 156
crankshaft angular position,
sensing, 196
measuring position of, 200
camshaft position sensors, 226, 228
capacitors, 15-16, 30, 62, 362, 409
cruise control systems, 276
half-wave rectifier circuit, 73
carbon monoxide (CO), 148, 150,
164-166, 169, 227, 234, 237, 250,
carburetor, 11, 410
carry circuit, 86
catalytic converter, 155, 164-166,
168, 173, 254. See also three-way
catalyst (TWC)
definition, 409
monitoring, 352
2735 | Index Page 417 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
cathode, 72
cathode ray tube (CRT), 352, 386387, 392, 400
cellular telephones, 399-400
central processing unit (CPU), 99100, 103, 125, 410
registers, 106-110
sensors connected to, 389, 391
centrifugal spark advance, 17
chassis, 3
chassis dynamometer, 149-150
“Check Engine” light, 342
digital, 90
electronic, 167
frequencies, 255
microcomputer, 104
closed-loop control systems, 58, 5960, 139, 155, 254. See also limitcycle control
cylinder pressure sensors and, 372
exhaust gas oxygen sensors, 256257
fuel control, 168-175, 170-175,
212, 227, 233-235, 409
ignition timing, 243-248
knock sensors, 213-214
operation, 171-175
spark advance correction, 250
clutch, torque converter locking,
collector-base diode, 75
collision avoidance radar warning
system, 381-384
collision (LAN), 338
combinational logic, 409
combinatorial logic circuits, 83-88
combustion, 409
command input, 139
block diagram of system, 32
diagnostic, 338-339
interactive, 386
compact disc (CD) player, 393
comparator, analog, 410
compression, variable, 370
compression ratio, 156, 410
compression stroke, 9
computer. See also microcomputer
analog, 80, 99
languages, 118-119
computer programs, 38, 101-102,
branches, 107-108, 111-113
control, 135, 224
cruise control, 271
AND function, 121-123
modification, 152, 223, 305
suspension system, 289-290
Computerized Automotive
Maintenance System (CAMS),
condition code (CC) register, 107108
constant velocity (CV), 19
continuously variable transmission
(CVT), 380-381
continuous-time, 137, 223. See also
analog control systems
control application electronic system
block diagram for, 32
control bus (CB), 133
control law, 58
control logic, 139, 141
control modes, 225-238, 253-255
control section, microprocessor, 109110
control signal, 60
bus, 391
multiplexing, 390-391
control systems, 56-60. See also
actuators; electronic control
systems; sensors
closed-loop (See closed-loop
control systems)
feedback, 139-141
limit-cycle (See limit-cycle
2735 | Index Page 418 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
control systems, (continued)
microcomputers in, 138-143
multivariable systems, 141
objectives, 56-57
control variable, 410
Controller Area Network (CAN),
controllers, 56. See also
frequency and deviation of, 173175
inputs to, 157
multimode, 223
outputs from, 157-158
proportional, 60-66, 263-265,
serial digital link from, 339
conversion efficiency (catalytic
converter), 410
coolant temperature (CT), 157, 189,
229, 253
failure, 229-230
measuring, 308-309
sample period, 305
sensors, 167, 207-208, 226, 228
spark timing and, 242
counter circuits, 200
crankshaft, 7, 10
angular velocity, measurement of,
throw, 156
crankshaft angular position, 167,
189, 411
ignition timing and, 337, 368
sensors (CPS), 194-206, 226,
critical damping, 45, 264, 266
CRT (cathode ray tube) display, 318327
CRT controller, 321
cruise control system, 261-277
digital, 266-269
electronics, 271-277
speed response curves, 265-266
throttle actuator, 261-263, 267,
269-272, 276-277
cutoff, transistor, 75, 81, 410
cylinder head, 7-8
cylinder pressure
measurements, control based on,
sensors, 372
cylinders, 7, 155, 156, 170, 182
ignition sparking and, 240
shock absorber, 22
D/A converter. See digital-to-analog
converter (DAC)
damping, 43-45, 285-291
coefficient, 410
high, 291
low, 286, 288, 291
optimal, 412
ratio, 264-266
data bus (DB), 104, 110, 111, 133,
321, 389
data latches. See flip-flop circuits
dead reckoning system, 397-398
deceleration, 254-255
deceleration leaning, 237, 238
demultiplexer (DEMUX), 303-304,
307, 311, 328, 410
diagnostics, 252, 335-366
electronic control system, 339354
engine analyzer, 337-338
inputs, 298-299
instrumentation, 330-331
off-board, 338, 352-360
on-board, 252, 338, 339-352, 386
timing light, 335-337
diagrams, block. See block diagrams
diesel engines, 18, 410
differential, 19-20, 68
2735 | Index Page 419 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
differential exhaust gas pressure, 189
differential GPS (DGPS), 404
differential pressure (DP), 233
differential pressure sensors (DPS),
228, 239
digital audio broadcast (DAB)
entertainment system, 401, 403
digital buffer interface, 126
digital circuits, 80-83, 200, 410
as integrated circuits, 92
logic gates used to build, 86-88
digital clocks, 90
digital communications, 338-339
digital computer
analog computer vs., 99
multiple-bit numbers in, 86-88
parts of, 99-100
digital control systems, 37, 58, 223259. See also electronic control
cruise control, 266-269
exhaust gas recirculation (EGR),
239, 256-257
features, 224-225
fuel control, 225-238
ignition control, 239-250
integrated systems, 250-256
suspension system, 289-290
digital data link, 325-326, 338-339
digital filters, 137-138, 308
digital instrumentation display, 300303, 307, 311, 312, 327
digital proportional integral
controller, 65-66
digital signal processing (DSP), 5354
digital systems. See also digital control
characteristics of, 35-37
performance, 38
digital-to-analog converter (DAC),
37, 127-130, 132, 135, 300-301,
312, 313, 410
diodes, 30, 71-73, 75, 410
discrete-time systems. See digital
control systems
disk brakes, 23
displacement, engine, 156
display devices, 32, 46, 49, 52, 297298, 312-327
analog or digital, conversion for,
definition, 410
multifunction, 299
distributor, 14-16, 240
distributorless ignition system (DIS),
182, 240-243, 367
disturbance response, proportional
controller, 60-62, 64
Doppler frequency shift, 382
drive shaft, 19, 155
drive traction, 4
drive train, 18-20, 367-381, 410. See
also power train
drive wheels, 4
driver electronics, 219, 274-275
driver information system, advanced,
driving control, automatic, 404-405
drum brakes, 23
duty cycle, 217, 219, 267, 271, 274
dwell, 15, 242, 337, 410
dynamic response, 48-52
dynamometer, 149-150, 158, 159,
241, 410
electric motors, 215, 292
electrical input/output, 32-33, 35, 51
electrical signals, 32-33, 35, 297
electrical wiring, 388
electron gun, 319
electronic control systems. See also
digital control system; electronic
engine control systems
2735 | Index Page 420 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
electronic control systems.
antilock braking, 277-285
driving control, 404-405
steering control, 291-293
electronic controllers. See controllers
electronic engine control systems
automatic system adjustment, 252
basics, 147-185
concept of, 153-156
cost of, 153
cylinder pressure measurements,
diagnostics (See diagnostics)
drive train, 367-381
engine, 367-381
exhaust emissions (See exhaust
features, 224-225, 261
fuel control (See fuel control
ignition (See ignition system)
improvements, 255-257
integrated, 250-256, 393
microcomputer-based, 102
motivation for, 147-148
strategy, 162, 164-167
electronic systems. See also electronic
control systems
block diagrams of, 31-32
components of, 30
concept of, 30-35
future, 367-407
history of, 2, 5, 29, 297-299
performance, 37-46
suspension system, 285-291
electronics, fundamentals of, 71-97
electro-optical display devices, 32,
emissions. See exhaust emissions
end of conversion (EOC), 135
engine analyzer, 337-338
engine block, 7
engine crank, 226-227, 229, 253
engine mapping, 160-164, 411
engine position sensors (EPS), 167
engine speed. See idle speed control;
engine speed sensors, 200
engine warm-up, 226-227, 229-231,
engines, 5-10
alternative, 18, 376-378
alternative-fuel, 378-379
calibration (See calibration)
components of, 6
control, 11-12 (See also electronic
engine control systems)
diesel, 18, 410
4-stroke cycle, 8-10
location of, 3-4
parameters, 156
performance, 158-164
2-stroke/cycle engine, 18, 376378
variables, 156-157
Wankel, 18
entertainment system, 326
Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), 147, 152, 164, 235
equivalence ratio, 161, 411
error amplifiers, 60, 139, 271, 276.
See also operational amplifiers
error signals, 139, 261
cruise control system, 267, 272,
fuel control systems, 168
measurement, 47-49, 59, 60, 6466
sources, 50-52
ethanol, 378-379
evaporative emissions, 411
evaporative emissions canister purge,
exhaust emissions, 147-148, 160
control, 161-164, 351-352, 375,
2735 | Index Page 421 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
regulation, 147-153, 162, 164,
224, 235-237, 253-254, 377
2-stroke/cycle engine, 377-378
exhaust gas oxygen (EGO), 157, 169,
189, 410
exhaust gas oxygen (EGO) sensors,
167, 208-213, 226, 228, 352. See
also heated EGO sensors
closed loop control/operation,
170-173, 234-235, 254
definition, 410
desirable characteristics, 211
improvements, 256-257
open loop mode, 175, 227, 253
secondary air management, 250
switching characteristics, 211-212
temperature dependence, 212
exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), 155,
157, 188, 224, 232-233, 253-255
actuators, 215, 218-219
control, 226, 228, 239
definition, 410
in integrated engine control
system, 250
measuring air mass and, 180-181
performance and, 163-164
exhaust manifold, 165, 239, 253
exhaust pressure ratio (EPR), 226
exhaust system, 6, 155. See also
catalytic converter
electronic control systems, 169
wide range air/fuel sensors for,
exhaust valve, 8, 10, 156
expert systems, 354-360
wide range air/fuel sensors vs., 372
codes, 299, 338, 340-350
hard, 343
intermittent, 327, 339, 343
federal government test procedures,
feedback, in operational amplifiers,
feedback control, 59, 139-141, 187.
See also closed-loop control
cylinder pressure measurements,
from, 370-372
sensors for, 208-214
fiber optics, 391
filters, 54, 137-138, 308, 312
firmware, 125
fixed messages, 318
flat-panel display, 318
flexible fuel vehicles (FFV), 378-379
flip-flop circuits, 89-91, 101
floats, fuel quantity, 300, 306
flywheel, 10, 194
foot-pound, 411
forward biased condition, 72
4-cylinder engine, 240, 257
4-stroke cycle, 8-10
four-wheel steering systems (SWS),
frame, 3
frequency response, 38-39, 55, 411
front wheel drive, 4, 19
alternative, 378-379
atomization, 370, 377
lead-free, 166
fuel consumption. See also fuel
brake-specific (BSFC), 159, 160
rate, 305, 372
fuel control system, 6, 147, 153-155,
157, 167-175, 368, 377. See also
fuel injection
acceleration enrichment, 235-237
closed-loop (See closed-loop
control system)
control modes, 225-238, 253-255
2735 | Index Page 422 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
fuel control system, (continued)
deceleration leaning, 237, 238
frequency and deviation of
controller, 173-175
in integrated engine control
system, 250
open-loop (See open-loop fuel
control system)
sequence, 169
variables, 168-169
fuel delivery timing sensors, 200201
fuel economy, 148-153, 235-237,
253-255, 328-329, 375, 376
fuel flow rate, 157, 225
fuel flow sensors, 168
fuel injection, 11-12, 167, 169, 187,
188, 216-218, 234, 367
alternative engine, 377-378
quantity of fuel to be injected,
225, 230-231
signals, 217
timing, 170, 173, 194, 195, 257
fuel level sensors, 137-138
fuel metering actuators, 181. See also
fuel injection
fuel metering system. See fuel control
fuel quantity
measurement, 306-308
sample period, 305
sensors, 306-307
full adder circuits, 86-88
gain, 411
gates, 83-88, 91, 119
gear ratio, 19
General Motors CAMS diagnostic
system, 352-354, 360
glass cockpit, 327
Global Positioning System (GPS),
394-396, 401, 404
glossary, 409-413
government regulations, 2
exhaust emissions (See exhaust
federal test procedures, 148-153
fuel economy (See fuel economy)
occupant protection systems, 360
half adder circuits, 86
half-wave rectifier circuit, 72-73
Hall-effect position sensors, 202204
handling, 285, 287
handshaking, 339
microcomputers, 125-133
multiply, 224
harness, electrical, 388
heads up display (HUD), 386-387,
399, 402, 403
heated EGO sensors (HEGO), 212213, 228, 234, 256-257
high-pass filters, 137
high-speed digital data (HSDD) link,
high-voltage circuit, 12-15
hydrocarbons (HC), 147-148, 150,
161, 164-166, 169, 227, 234, 237,
238, 250-251, 411
hysteresis, 211, 248-249
idle speed control, 227, 237-238,
254-255, 367
IF-THEN rules, 357-359
2735 | Index Page 423 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
ignition actuators, 215, 219-220
ignition coils, 12, 15, 181, 219, 240,
242-243, 337
ignition control module (IGN), 168
ignition controller, output from, 157
ignition points, 337
ignition system, 6, 12-16
electronic ignition, 181-182, 188,
fuel control system and, 167, 225
as separate control system, 155
ignition timing, 17-18, 157, 194,
195, 224, 378
closed-loop, 243-248
crankshaft angular position and,
definition, 411
sensors, 200-201
timing light, 335-337
indicated power, 158
inductor, 411
inertial navigation, 393-394
inference engine, 356
initialization, computer, 110-111
inlet air temperature, 192, 225
input/output (I/O). See also memorymapped I/O (input/output)
device, 104, 134-135, 135, 227
interface, 126-127, 271
inputs, instrumentation, 54-55, 7779, 298-303, 328-329. See also
instruction register, 111
instrument panel (IP), 290-291,
instrumentation, 32, 46-49, 297333, 411
applications of microcomputers,
computer-based, advantages of,
coolant temperature
measurement, 308-309
display devices, 312-327
energy extracted by, 48
fuel quantity, 306-308
future systems, 386-388
glass cockpit, 327
input and output signal
conversion, 300-303
oil pressure measurement, 309311
performance, 306
sampling, 304-306
trip information computer, 328330
vehicle speed measurement, 311312
intake air, 11, 147, 170, 179, 238,
absolute temperature (IAT), 179
temperature, 189, 226, 231-232
intake manifold, 155, 170, 239, 368370
intake manifold pressure, 17, 157,
absolute pressure (See manifold
absolute pressure (MAP))
analysis of, 175-181
intake stroke, 9
intake system, 368-370
intake valve, 8-9, 156, 257
integral amplifiers, 271, 276, 411
integrated circuits (IC), 91-95, 99,
central processing unit, 125
operational amplifiers, 77
video, 323
integrated engine control system,
250-256, 393
concept of, 62-64
proportional (See proportional
integral (PI) controller)
intelligent transportation system
(ITS), 401
interactive communication, 386
interrupts, 132-133, 411
2735 | Index Page 424 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
inverting input, 54-55, 77-79
I/O. See input/output
J-K flip-flop circuit, 90
jump instruction, 113
jump-to-subroutine instruction, 113116
junction, 74-75, 313
keyboard, 325-326, 328, 352
keyless entry system, 401, 402-403
control, 367, 370
sensors, 213-214
spark advance and, 243-248
knowledge base, 356
knowledge engineer, 354-355
lambda sensors. See exhaust gas
oxygen (EGO) sensors
LCD (liquid crystal display), 313,
lead term, 411
lead-free fuel, 166
LED (light-emitting diode), 205,
313, 387
limit-cycle control, 66-68, 139-141
definition, 411
fuel control, 171, 173-174, 211
linear circuits, 77
linear region, 75, 411
linear transfer characteristic, 51
loading errors, 48, 50
local area network (LAN), 338-339
logic circuits/functions, 83-91, 119,
lookup tables, 141-143, 225, 229,
232-233, 242, 252, 311, 411
Lorentz force, 202
low-pass filters, 54, 137-138
magnetic circuit, 197-198
magnetic field intensity, 197-198
magnetic flux, 198-200, 203
magnetic focusing system, 319
magnetic sensors, 194, 196, 200,
angular speed, 55
reluctance position, 197-201
magnetostriction, 214
manifold. See also intake manifold
exhaust, 165, 239, 253
pressure, 214, 270 (See also
manifold absolute pressure
vacuum, 17, 270-271, 275
manifold absolute pressure (MAP),
179-180, 189, 192, 225, 231-233,
sensors, 175-176, 192-194
spark timing and, 242, 243
map matching, 398
masking, 123
mass air flow (MAF), 157, 181
alcohol fuel and, 379
indirect measurement of, 192-194
rate, 154, 167, 189, 225, 230-232
sensors, 167, 169, 177-181, 189194, 225, 226, 228, 368
spark timing and, 242
mass density equation, 231
master, 338
mathematical model, 411
2735 | Index Page 425 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
mean best torque (MBT), 244
basic system, 32, 49-53
definition, 46
issues, 47-49
memory, 90, 100, 103, 110
program read into, 101-102
RAM (See random access
read/write, 104, 125
ROM (See read-only memory)
memory-mapped I/O (input/
output), 105, 117
methanol, 378-379
microcomputer, 412. See also digital
computer; microprocessor
architecture, 133
automotive systems, uses in, 133143
in control systems, 138-143
example use of, 116-125
fundamentals, 99-102
hardware, 125-133
instrumentation, uses in, 135-138,
298, 321
lookup tables (See lookup tables)
mainframe computers compared,
operations, 103-105
reading instructions by, 110-116
tasks, 102
microcontroller, 187, 224-225, 271,
microelectronics, 2
microprocessor (MPU), 93-95, 99100, 125, 133, 187, 223-225, 227,
architecture, 109-110
back-up, 368
for cruise control, 266, 271-272
diagnostics by, 339
instrumentation use, 297, 321322
suspension system, 289
minimum advance for best timing
(MBT), 161-162
motion control, 261-295
multimode controllers, 223
multiplexer (MUX), 301-304, 311,
328, 388-391, 412
NAND gate, 84-86, 89
natural gas, 378
navigation systems, 391-398
node, 338
noise, 52, 56-57
noninverting input, 54, 77-79
nonlinear behavior, 50
nonlinear sensors, 53
NOR gate, 84-86
NOT gate, 83, 84, 119
notched position sensors, 201
NOx, 148, 150, 161, 163, 164,
166, 169, 218, 234, 239, 250,
372, 412
NPN transistor, 74-75
Nyquist sampling theorem, 130,
occupant protection systems, 360364
off-board diagnosis, 338-339, 352360
office on wheels, 399-400
offset, 112-113
oil pressure management, 309-311
on-board diagnosis, 252, 338, 339352, 386
open-loop fuel control system, 168,
169, 175, 212, 227, 231-231,
2735 | Index Page 426 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
open-loop fuel control system,
definition, 58-59, 412
open-loop gain, 54
operation codes (op codes), 111,
operational amplifiers, 54-55, 77-80,
275-276, 412
analog computers, 80
feedback, 78-79
summing mode, 79-80
optical display devices, 312-327
optical fiber, 391
optical sensors, 194, 196, 205-206,
optimal damping, 412
OR gate, 83, 84, 119
output, 56, 139, 300-303. See also
actuators; input/output (I/O)
overdamping, 264
overhead cam engine, 7
oxidizing catalytic converter, 165166
oxygen partial pressure, 210
oxygen sensors
EGO (See exhaust gas oxygen
(EGO) sensors)
O2, 342-343, 349-350, 372
parallel interface, I/O, 126-127, 271
parameters, 156
passive restraints, 360
peripherals, 100, 412
addressing, 105
temporary storage for inputs,
phase shift, 39, 412
phoneme, 388
phototransistor, 205
piezoelectric crystals, 214
piezoelectric element, 372
piezoelectric force generators, 215
piezoresistivity, 193
piston rings, 7
pistons, 7
diameter, 156
shock absorber, 22, 289
pixel, 323
plant, 32, 56-59, 261, 412
output, 60, 139
variables, measurements of, 187,
platooning, 404-405
PN junction, 74-75, 313
PNP transistor, 74-75
polling, 130-131
potentiometer, 206-207, 300, 307
power, 147, 155, 157, 158, 188
power steering system, 25
power stroke, 10
power train. See also drive train
control system, 299
controller, serial digital link from,
digital data line (PDDL), 299,
sensor and actuator applications,
precision, measurement, 47
pressure sensors, 33-34, 175-176,
192-194, 228, 239. See also
manifold absolute pressure
program counter, 110, 111, 114116
programs. See computer programs
proportional amplifiers, 271, 276,
proportional control systems, 60-66,
263-265, 271-272
proportional integral differential
(PID) controller, 66
2735 | Index Page 427 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
proportional integral (PI) controller,
64-66, 263-265, 271-272
pulse width, 231, 234
qualitative analysis, 412
quantitative analysis, 412
quantization, 35-37, 53
radar warning system, collision
avoidance, 381-384
radio data system (RDS), 401, 403404
radio navigation, 394-396
random access memory (RAM), 125,
134, 227, 412
cruise control system, 271
video (CRT), 321-324
random errors, 47, 412
sensors, 52
readable interfaces, 126
reading (computer), 104, 110-116
read-only memory (ROM), 125,
134, 224-225, 227, 233, 412. See
also lookup tables
cruise control system, 271
display (DROM), 322-323
replacing, 305
read/write memory (RWM), 104,
real-time computing system, 133
receiver module (RM), 391
reconstruction filter, 137
rectifier circuit, 72-73
registers, 90, 103, 106-110, 109110
reliability, measurement, 49
resistors, 30
return-from-subroutine (RTS)
instruction, 116
reverse biased condition, 72
ride, 285-288
rotary engine, 18
RPM (revolutions per minute), 157,
159, 167, 189, 194, 200, 278
control modes for fuel control
and, 225, 226, 230-233, 253255
control of, 147
definition, 412
idle speed control, 237-238
mass air flow measurement, 153,
sensor disk, 200
sensors, 228
spark timing and, 181, 242, 243
volumetric efficiency, 180
R-S flip-flop circuit, 89
safety, 381-386
sample and hold, 412
sample period, 304-305
sample time, 35
sampling, 35-36, 272, 304-306, 389,
saturation condition, transistor, 76,
sea level standard day (SLSD), 179
secondary air, 165, 250, 253-255
self-diagnosis, 299, 338, 368
semiactive suspension system, 285286, 289
semiconductor devices, 71-76, 412
sensors, 30, 32, 35, 49-53, 155, 261,
abnormal responses, 252
air flow rate, 189-194
2735 | Index Page 428 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
sensors, (continued)
automotive applications of, 187189
camshaft position, 226, 228
coolant temperature, 167, 207208, 226, 228
crankshaft angular position, 194206
CRT display and, 321
cylinder pressure, 372
definition, 412
engine position, 181
errors in, 50-52
exhaust system (See exhaust gas
oxygen (EGO) sensors)
feedback control, 208-214
filtering output of, 137
frequency response, 55
fuel delivery timing, 200-201
fuel flow, 168
fuel quantity, 306-307
Hall-effect position, 202-204
ignition timing, 200-201
instrumentation input from, 298
knock, 213-214
low tire pressure, 385
magnetic (See magnetic sensors)
manifold absolute pressure
(MAP), 175-176, 192-194
mass air flow rate (See mass air
flow (MAF))
multiplexing, 388-390
navigation, 393-394
noncontacting, 194, 196
optic, 268-269
shielded-field, 204
speed, 189, 200, 266-269, 271,
temperature, 190, 207-208, 226,
228, 352
throttle angle (See throttle angle)
transducer gain, 33
variable resistance, 309
wide range air/fuel, 372-375
sequential logic, 88-91, 412
serial operation (computer), 107
set point, 58
shielded-field sensors, 204
shift logical operations, 124
shock absorbers, 20-22, 43-45, 285291
shot noise, 52
SI (spark-ignited) engine, 5-6, 8-10,
148, 412
signal processing, 32, 34, 49, 51-56,
for airbags, 362-363
definition, 413
fuel quantity management, 307308
low tire pressure warning, 386
operations, 135
signpost navigation, 396-398
sinusoid, 38-44, 286
skid, 413
slaves, 338
slip, 413
software. See computer programs
solenoids, 215-216, 219, 239, 270,
lock-up, 252
suspension system, 290
solid state devices, 297. See also
semiconductor devices; thermistors
CRT, 318-327
glass cockpit, 327
solid-state electronics, 2, 5, 29
spark advance, 17, 181, 243-250,
correction scheme, 248-250
cylinder pressure measurements to
control, 372
excessive, 214
spark control, 155, 250
spark plugs, 12-13, 15, 188, 219,
2735 | Index Page 429 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
spark pulse generation, 15-16
spark timing, 157, 160, 181, 241242, 253-254
advance mechanisms, 52
definition, 413
performance, effect on, 161-162
regulation of, 147
spark-ignited engine. See SI (sparkignited) engine
speech synthesis, 386, 388, 399
speed control, vehicle. See also cruise
control system
radar sensor, 405
sample period, 305
speed response curves, 265-266
speed sensors, 189, 200, 266-269,
271, 311
speed set switch, 266
speed-density method, 192, 225,
spring rate, 21
springs, 20-21
sprung mass, 21, 41, 286-287, 289
square wave waveform, 51
stack pointer (SP), 115-116
stacks, 116
standards, measurement, 47
status register, 107-108
steering system, 3, 4, 24-26, 291293
step response, of system, 45-46
stepper motor, 237, 270, 273-274
stoichiometry, 161, 162, 166-175,
209, 211, 224, 225, 231, 234,
definition, 413
future developments, 368, 372,
strain gauge MAP sensors, 192-194
stroke, 156, 182
struts, 21
subroutines, 114-116, 124
subsystems, 30, 338
summing amplifiers, 79-80, 271,
suspension system, 3, 20-22, 41-45,
swirl control, 370
switch tests, 344, 346-349
switches, 189, 298-299, 302
acceleration-sensitive, 362
closure of, 237
cruise control systems, 276
exhaust gas oxygen sensors,
switching characteristics of,
oil pressure management, 309-310
synchronizing pulses, CRT, 320
synchronous counter, 90-91
system plant. See plant
systematic errors, 47-49, 413
concept of, 30-35
definition, 413
TDC. See top dead center (TDC)
technicians’ terminal, 352
telephones, cellular, 399-400
temperature. See also coolant
temperature (CT); intake air
fuel metering and, 181
inlet air, 192, 225
temperature sensors, 190, 207-208,
226, 228, 352
thermal efficiency, 159, 370
thermal noise, 52
thermistors, 207, 308-309
three-way catalyst (TWC), 166-167,
174-175, 224, 256
throttle actuator, 52, 261-263, 267,
269-272, 276-277, 405
2735 | Index Page 430 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
throttle angle, 52, 153, 189, 206,
decrease in, 237
position sensors (TPS), 50, 157,
167, 188, 206-207, 226, 228,
throttle body fuel injectors (TBFI),
226, 413
throttle plate, 11, 277
angle (See throttle angle)
cruise control shutoff and, 277
intake air control, 175, 238
time division multiplexing, 389-390
time response, of system, 45
timed sequential port fuel injection
(TSPFI), 226
timekeeping, interrupts for, 132
timer (computer), 132
timing. See also ignition timing; spark
fuel injection, 170, 257
light, 335-337
microcomputer operation, 104105, 124-125
valves, 156, 368-370
tire pressure, low, warning system,
tire-slip control, 284-285
top dead center (TDC)
compression ratio and, 156
definition, 9, 413
fuel injection timing, 194-195,
ignition timing, 194-195, 197,
200, 240, 243-244, 337
spark advance measurement, 161
torque, 147
acceleration enrichment and, 235236
air/fuel ratio variations and, 160,
braking, 281
definition, 159, 413
exhaust gas recirculation and, 163
ignition timing and, 241
maximum, 368
mean best, 244
restoring, 24-25
spark advance and, 243-244
wheel, 281, 285
torque converter, 413
torque converter locking clutch
(TCC), 251-252
transaxle, 4, 19
transducer gain, of sensors, 33
transfer function, 413
transistors, 30, 71, 74-76, 220, 413
amplifiers, 76-77
digital circuits, 81
transmission, 18-19
continuously variable (CVT),
control, 379-381
gear selector position, 189
transmitter/receiver (T/R) unit, 390
transport delay, 413
trip computers, 328-330, 386
twisted nematic liquid crystal, 313316
two’s complement notation, 107
2-stroke/cycle engine, 18, 376-378
underdamping, 264
universal joints, 19
unsprung mass, 21, 41-42, 286-287,
vacuum spark advance, 17
vacuum-fluorescent display (VFD),
2735 | Index Page 431 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
vacuum-operated actuator, 274-277
valves, 7, 8-9, 155. See also
EGR, 239
timing, 156, 368-370
variable impedance aspiration system
(VIAS), 368
variable parameter intake, 368-370
variable resistance sensors, 309
variables, 56, 156-157, 188
control, 410
desired value of, 261
fuel control systems, 168-169
measurement of, 188, 189, 261,
297, 298
status, display of, 297
vectored interrupts, 132-133
vehicle-to-roadside communication
(VRC), 401, 403
very large scale integrated circuits
(VLSI), 153
video voltage, 321
voltage-to-frequency (v/f ) converter,
volumetric efficiency, 159, 180, 232233, 368-370, 413
Wankel engine, 18
lights, 46, 312, 342
messages, 298, 299, 309
systems, 403
tire pressure, low, 384-386
Wheatstone bridge, 190, 194
wheel torque, 281, 285
wide range air/fuel sensors, 372-375
word, 103
writable interfaces, 126
write, 104
XOR gate, 86-88
2735 | Index Page 432 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:35 PM
2735 | Answers Page 433 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:38 PM
Answers to Quizzes
Chapter 1
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 2
2735 | Answers Page 434 Tuesday, March 10, 1998 1:38 PM
Chapter 6
Chapter 8
Chapter 10
Chapter 7
Chapter 9
Chapter 11
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