Complex ECUs need increased battery support – CTEK
A hot topic at the recent Automechanika trade fair was the significant battery support needed to program the increasingly complex activities coordinated by engine control units (ECUs) in vehicles, says CTEK, a global leader of smart battery charger development.
An ECU, also known as a powertrain control module (PCM), is responsible for controlling mechanisms within an engine that encourage optimal performance.
It does this through a microprocessor that monitors information from several sensors within the engine and makes necessary adjustments. As automobiles have become fitted with modern features like cruise control, automatic transmission, traction control, and so on, ECUs have had to evolve in response. They are now responsible for controlling vital functions such as fuel injection, airflow, temperature, idle speed, and various valve settings.
ECUs rely upon a vehicle’s battery during normal operation to perform properly, but they also call for higher levels of support during programming phases. In order to be programmed effectively, an ECU must be hooked into a computer while the engine is running to calibrate a wide range of functions to specific settings. This operation can vary in complexity according to the vehicle, but usually include defining ignition timing, RPM limits, water temperatures, acceleration enrichment, compensation for fluctuations in fuel pressure, and more. Without adequate battery supply during the programming process, errors could result and the ECU could be damaged; the diagnostic process could be disrupted resulting in incomplete system analytics and subsequent problems.
Jan-Ulf Soderberg, head of brand and marketing at CTEK, says: “While we were already aware of the relationship between battery performance and the growing sophistication of ECUs in vehicles, we were surprised at how popular the subject turned out to be at Automechanika. Our booth at the show was buzzing with fascinating conversations about how the increasing complexity of these devices and the multiplying demands placed upon them require advanced battery support.
“The upshot of these conversations is that complicated processes require robust technological solutions. Intelligent battery support for today’s powerful machines is more important than ever. We are confident that the right smart charger can help to prevent costly damage to ECUs, as well as avoiding the potential for battery failure during the programming process, which could lead to a variety of troublesome issues.”