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Unintended Acceleration - Find the Cause

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    castg1castg1 Member Posts: 34
    Having a way to determine and save the 'physical position' of the pedal will at least discourage 'false claims of stuck pedal'. It can also help Investigators as they can now concentrate on other areas.

    Ok, if they can't add a switch, just make them monitor the voltage coming out
    of the pedal. If it is a voltage representing idle position. Flag it as 'physical idle position'. save it in a register. Then use it as a 'gate' . The throttle plate should not open to WOT if the pedal 'idle position bit' is turned on.

    So even if it is a cruise control system malfunction. As long as the pedal is detected in 'idle position', Any WOT or abnormal throttle opening will be considered 'suspect' by the computer.
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    nguyenngocbichnguyenngocbich Member Posts: 9
    Where you Elias? could I contact with you to discus some thing?
    My E-mail: bich_vnmilk@yahoo.com
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    beachfish2beachfish2 Member Posts: 177
    "God forbid that one of the engineers remembers that in order for the engine to run it needs a spark from the battery."

    A battery is not needed.

    It needs a battery to start (or a push start in some cases will do), but a battery is not necessary for the engine to run. The system makes its own electricity once the engine is running. Some of it is used to charge the battery as needed.

    JT
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    steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited March 2010
    Contest rules are supposed to be announced tomorrow.

    Unless the National Academy of Sciences or NASA solves the problem overnight I suppose. :shades:

    Government Launches Major Research into Unintended Acceleration (AutoObserver)
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    comradekevcomradekev Member Posts: 2
    The way I read his report, it sounded like the sensor output voltages were displaced, but parallel- meaning the slopes were the same. At 0%throttle, the voltages differed by the 0.6 to 0.8 volts... and at 100% throttle, they differed by 0.6 to 0.8 volts.

    What he suggested was that the linear voltages each have a different slope in their growth. For example, at 0% throttle the voltages would differ by 0.6 to 0.8 volts, but at 100% throttle they would differ by (for example) 1.6 to 1.8 volts.

    This would cause shorted sensors to eventually come out of spec and an engine code to be set. He diagrams this graphicly in his report if there are still questions.
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    kernickkernick Member Posts: 4,072
    edited March 2010
    The system makes its own electricity once the engine is running.

    Then disconnect the wires in the "system" (alternator) as you refer to it going back to supply the spark in the cylinders.
    An engine needs fuel, spark, and oxygen to run. There are several ways to stop 1 or more of those and shutdown a runaway engine. The battery can be used to provide power for steering, braking, and lights for 15 sec., until someone with UA can get to the side of the road.
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    ripper84ripper84 Member Posts: 5
    Does anyone have any idea where we can get the data logs from the failing automobiles? I don't expect they are going to be available to the public but this is useless without those logs/data dumps. Legally, there is probably good reason to not divulge them but if they want to fix this problem, they need to be offered up. good luck with that. This is more than obviously a noise/electromagnetic problem and probably not that difficult a problem to fix. Cooperation is the key. thanks in advance for any information you can provide. Even if it is the code that keeps track of systems in a toyota. That would be helpful also.
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    bduffycobduffyco Member Posts: 7
    I see no evidence of any co-operation from Toyota. I am sure their lawyers are telling them to keep all information confidential, but it may come out in a trial.

    My bet is that Toyota knows the real cause but has been caught in a lie and must continue lying to keep it covered up hoping it will fade away.

    I bet the defect numbers are low, i.e. 100 parts per million and they think it is cheaper to just ignore it. However, it won't go away. Now that NASA is involved, I'll bet they do find the problem. My guess is that it is a hardware failure, e.g. an ASIC defect.
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    vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    bduffyco: Now that NASA is involved, I'll bet they do find the problem.

    What are the odds in your opinion that they will not find a problem because none exists?

    Please keep in mind that I would prefer to keep an open mind about both possibilities. :)
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    The FLAW, assuming there is one, is most likely the result of poor coding, or even inadvertently poor coding, of the firmware. Since I rather doubt that Toyota even has access to the firmware source code NASA would have to pursue legal means to even get a look at the NipponDenso, Denso US, proprietary source code, just as they would with Bosch if this were one of the european marques.

    And where, how, do you go about finding a programmer, or programming group, that would have the knowhow, expertise, to troubleshoot the NipponDenso source code...?
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    [quote=]According to the wiring manual, there are 4 conditions that will cancel cruise control -

    1- the stop switch is activated (ie the brake lights come on by pressing the brake)

    2- the cruise CANCEL switch is pressed

    3- the cruise on/off is moved to OFF

    4- the shift selector is moved from D to any other position[/quote]

    There are at least 2 more.

    5- The road speed falling below ~35MPH.
    6- The road speed falling more than ~5MPH below the CC set speed.

    And maybe the following:

    7- The road speed rising more than ~5MPH above the set speed.
    8- TC activation.
    9- VSC activation.
    10- OAT below ~35F

    IMMHO 8, 9 and 10 should be REQUIRED.

    I wonder...

    In an airplane many of the functions that a pilot would not want to inadvertently or casually activate have "guards" over the control switches. The guard must be removed, flipped aside, in order to activate the function.

    Couldn't something like that approach be used to prevent unintentional SUA events..?? In this case if I wish to go WOT, or even dramatically increase the throttle opening, I must first move the "guard" aside..

    With a manual transmission the driver would almost always downshift before going WOT or even going to a higher acceleration rate. So why not have a simple PB, Push-Button, control that must be depressed just momentarily prior to applying a substantial level of additional pressure to the accelerator pedal.

    With these new sequential shifting automatic transmissions a quick, momentary downshift signal could be used to "arm" the WOT capability.

    Along those same lines, thoughts, why not prevent cruise control from accelerating beyond a sensible road speed, say 65-70MPH, without the driver having first released CC "accel" mode and then re-engage the "accel" mode.
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    bduffycobduffyco Member Posts: 7
    read post # 457

    The problem is real.
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    carguyfrankcarguyfrank Member Posts: 11
    Forget the drive by wire, forget the speed control; while these may be the cause of unattended acceleration, the biggest cause of a runaway vehicle is an idiot driver... Didn't anyone of these people have enough sense to put the vehicle into NEUTRAL. It's not rocket science; the car won't accelerate in neutral..
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    edited March 2010
    Actually it really is "rocket science"...!!

    Modern day vehicles have thousands of lines of SOFTWARE coding(***) between the shifter position switches and the transaxle. Depending on the state of that software the transaxle may, or may not, follow your shift into neutral "command". Same goes for pushbutton start/stop functionality.

    The SOFTWARE in the Sikes Prius was quite clearly not responding to brake application as designed. Saylor's ES350 may very well have had the same problem/issue. It would be hard to support a statement saying Saylor never tried shifting into neutral.

    *** And EVERY single line of that code had best, had better be, as well certified, verified, and validated as any code used by NASA. Even a higher level of code certification should be used IMMHO since unlike NASA there is no computer redundancy, redundant computers involved to use a three way "vote".
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    On the other hand what if EVERY time you wanted to increase your acceleration rate, DRAMATICALLY increase your acceleration rate, you had to momentarily depress a PB first..?? that would put a complete STOP to claims of driver unintentionally/inadvertently inducing engine runaway conditions.

    Doing so, first depressing the PB, would soon become a learned trait, instinctive reaction, just as applying the clutch first before shifting gears is with a manual transmission.

    We would then be left with only manufacturer design flaws as a possible
    explanation for SUA.

    Personally I think the PB start/stop is a REALLY bad design idea. What would be wrong with having to insert a "credit card" type of device, say the current remote code enable device, into a slot to enable the PB start. Removing the "card", or pressing the PB, would stop the engine.

    "..why not a simple KILL switch..."

    Like:

    Have electrical contacts inside the slot so that the code device's internal battery must be present for initially "powering" the engine/tranaxle controller computer, or at least the BTO "segment". Once the engine is started a PWM (10/90 duty-cycle) recharge path could be provided for the code device's internal battery. No battery to recharge, no engine POWER.

    This would also solve the current problem of walking away from the car with the engine still running and the remote in your pocket/purse.
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    ripper84ripper84 Member Posts: 5
    Seems to me a lot of great ideas but no actual problem description or a pinpoint of what is really happening in these cases and it seems without a failing toyota or a list of failure codes/data downloaded form a failing vehicle all this is conjecture. I am sure somewhere in here a lot of good information is posted but finding it seems a futile effort. LOL NASA doesn't work on cars and if my experience serves me right this is probably going to be a lot simpler than some of these explainations and conjecture. Give me a failing Toyota or the logs from a failing vehicle for a start. Without that, good luck guessing.
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    ournestournest Member Posts: 1
    Faulty alternator which is creating a surge of power.
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    ripper84ripper84 Member Posts: 5
    No the battery supplies the electrical system with a ground reference. Without it ,you have a floating ground which may actually be happening due to epectromagnetic inteference. Couple that with another battery (from what i understand is inside the computer) and voila. Ground reference problems with 2 batteries enclosed in one of the electrically noisiest places there is. The automotive engine compartment. i bet money a low power line is picking up noise and messing with the reference causing a computer glitch in the puter. Cable shielding will solve it but without a failure to record, this is also conjecture.
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    vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    I did when that post first appeared, and again just now as you wanted me to.

    My post refers to your certainty that NASA would find a defect now that they've been asked to aid the investigation. My comment was merely to inquire as to what odds, in your opinion, were that no defect would be found, that's all. :)

    And if NASA can't find a defect, then, in your opinion, what is the certainty that no such defect exists as claimed by many?
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    bduffycobduffyco Member Posts: 7
    From the IEEE:

    The avionics system in the F-22 Raptor, the current U.S. Air Force frontline jet fighter, consists of about 1.7 million lines of software code. The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, scheduled to become operational in 2010, will require about 5.7 million lines of code to operate its onboard systems. And Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner, scheduled to be delivered to customers in 2010, requires about 6.5 million lines of software code to operate its avionics and onboard support systems.

    These are impressive amounts of software, yet if you bought a premium-class automobile recently, ”it probably contains close to 100 million lines of software code,” says Manfred Broy, a professor of informatics at Technical University, Munich, and a leading expert on software in cars. All that software executes on 70 to 100 microprocessor-based electronic control units (ECUs) networked throughout the body of your car.

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/advanced-cars/this-car-runs-on-code/0
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    No, it would happen more often then.
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    srs_49srs_49 Member Posts: 1,394
    redundant computers involved to use a three way "vote"

    That helps to correct for a hardware failure, but does nothing if the failure is due to buggy code, which may be running on all 3 computers.

    Your other points are right on.
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    srs_49srs_49 Member Posts: 1,394
    LOL NASA doesn't work on cars and if my experience serves me right this is probably going to be a lot simpler than some of these explainations and conjecture

    No, but one of things NASA does have is a disciplined approach to finding the root cause of failures or problems. Bringing in third parties to review schematics, parts selection, software code, packaging, etc. That's what's required here. Detailed knowledge of how cars operate is almost secondary to solving the problem.

    Only time will tell if your conjecture that the cause of the problem is "a lot simpler than some of these explanations" is true. My opinion is that it's not simple, =for the simple reason that if it were, there would be a lot more UAEs.
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    srs_49srs_49 Member Posts: 1,394
    ...yet if you bought a premium-class automobile recently, ”it probably contains close to 100 million lines of software code"

    100 million lines of possibly buggy software. No wonder you keep hearing stories about vehicle owners having to get some computer or other re-flashed in a vain attempt to solve some problem.
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    ponderpointponderpoint Member Posts: 277
    I was down in Lauderdale the other day and catching up with family and visiting. While in traffic, the Toyota subject came up and my nephew made the statement that "some idiots drive with both feet - that might be what's happening with Toyotas", and I asked him what he meant.

    He replied that he knew of someone that used both feet with an automatic and then my sister also chimed in and said she knew of people that had this habit also, defending it because "traffic is so heavy nowadays, stop and go... It's easier to use both feet sometimes...".

    Am I so far gone from driver ed that I forgot, but isn't driving with "both feet" with an automatic considered hazardous? I seem to remember that using both feet were obvious for a manual shift but If you had an automatic... One foot only.

    Has any research been done by NHTSA or Toyota to see if runaways involved motorists that could theoretically apply both pedals at the same time in a panic?
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    srs_49srs_49 Member Posts: 1,394
    That's an interesting point - using both feet in an automatic. I don't know how many drivers actually use that technique. But, given the number of cars I see that accelerate away from a stop light with the brake light still on, it's got to be more than just a handful.

    If that technique really is illegal (not sure if it is here or not), or considered bad drving practice, not sure how many people would admit to it even if they do use it.
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    ripper84ripper84 Member Posts: 5
    Well i agree with your premise about NASA but don't agree their precedure would be any different than any engineering firm. The name is big and fancy but doesn't impress me too much. Maybe with them involved, we can get toyota to loosen up on the information we need. i am seeing a lot of talk about the code which is probably bugged. The problem i have is the premise that it is necessarily a software problem. Symptom yes, root cause, i think not. Again conjecture though wothout a failure code which may actually exist but we will never see it. Without Toyotas cooperation, no one is going to find this problem. First make the problem happen consistently, then find the cause/solution. Fairly basic engineering debug procedure, but again not without their cooperation.
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    That depends on the nature of the "bug".

    The one that "votes", alone, for a runaway throttle gets kicked offline.
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    NASA will not be allowed to find a firmware defect. For NASA to do so would require access to the firmware source code and NipponDenso is NOT going to allow that to happen.

    NipponDenso will find the firmware coding flaw, BUG, and quietly correct it without anyone outside of NipponDenso ever being the wiser, not even Toyota/etc. Runaways of this "nature" will simple cease to happen.
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    "...Detailed knowledge of how cars operate is almost secondary to solving the problem..."

    Really...??

    Not for the 40 or so years I have been involved in real time process control hardware and software development.

    You simply would not believe how many software "bugs" are generated, generated INITIALLY, before product shipment, due to the language barrier between engineers with detailed knowledge of hardware operation and the programming team. BRILLIANCE on both sides of the aisle but.....
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    Next time you're driving along on the freeway pay attention to how many brake lights are on with the vehicle driving smoothly along or even accelerating.

    The BTO failsafe has been a long time coming, and hopefully it will be implemented COMPLETELY. Even the slightest pressure on the brake pedal and the engine drops to idle.
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    vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    wwest: NASA will not be allowed to find a firmware defect. For NASA to do so would require access to the firmware source code and NipponDenso is NOT going to allow that to happen.

    I would suggest that if there is a defect, then an entity like NASA, coupled with the might of the US government backing it, is the correct combination to find it. Phrases like "not be allowed to" to me sound too much like unsupported conspiracy theory in this case.

    I think that there is only a minute chance a defect as described and claimed exists, and if NASA cannot find it, then the overwhelming chances are that no such defect as is claimed exists.

    There, I said it! :)
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    "...Phrases like..."

    Absent a court finding/ruling the US government would not have the right to access even Ford's proprietary firmware source code. And even with a US court finding/ruling NipponDenso could not be required to disclose their proprietry firmware source code. The US would have to take the case for disclosure to the Japanese court system.

    And like that's going to happen....!!!

    No "unsupported conspiracy theory" required, just the existing US and Japanese corporate mindset and legal system.
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    vchengvcheng Member Posts: 1,284
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't NHTSA already have the authority to subpeona any and all records from TMC North America and indeed its parent and subsidiary companies as well?
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    "..right to subpoena.." does not mean the "target" must simply roll over and supply the "documents", they can always contest the issue through legal means. And the US rights to subpoena clearly cannot automatically apply to non-US offshore entities.
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    srs_49srs_49 Member Posts: 1,394
    Absent a court finding/ruling the US government would not have the right to access even Ford's proprietary firmware source code.

    Well then, you just get hold of the ECU and reverse engineer the code. Certainly messy, but it can be done. Not sure how close to the original source code you can get, assuming it was coded in some type of HOL like C, or C++. The government could exempt itself (if it is not already) from such legal snares like the DCMA.
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    elfoxelfox Member Posts: 1
    03/31/2010

    I am not in the car business, but years ago I had a car with the same propblem.....when I had brought it back to the dealer .....he said the problem was in the cruise control...this might be the same problem....since the car would speed up on its own...Louise C
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    plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    edited March 2010
    1:
    * Employees, officers, contractors and agents of (i) Edmunds, its clients and its subsidiaries and affiliates, including any of the judges and advisors; (ii) current automobile manufacturers and dealers; (iii) employees of the United States federal government; and (iv) suppliers of the actual part of the automobile which causes the unintended acceleration described in the Submission.

    * Any person who received any direct or indirect assistance related to the Contest from any of the persons excluded above (other than assistance generally available to the public) in preparing a Submission.

    2:
    A winning Submission must include information that demonstrates that unintended acceleration resulted under the conditions specified, as well as a well defined testing protocol which allows us to replicate that acceleration under controlled conditions.

    ****
    I call BS, since that essentially leaves the contest open to small engineering firms and a private universities and so on. Government employees of any kind can't apply(or students/teams funded by state colleges and so on), nor can anyone who is in the industry, nor can anyone who doesn't have a test lab and a method to verifiably prove the cause in such an environment.

    The ending date also is likely longer than the actual time it will take to find out the cause as well.

    Lastly, there is no mention of any award for figuring out the cause without proving it to the "even a dummy can press this button and make it happen level"(and short of hacking Toyota's code which is illegal unless you ARE in the industry or in the government, you're SOL there)

    Net result - no money, no chance for the normal people who read this site. IT's a bit like the idiocy surrounding the 100MPG car contest. The fine print also says that you have to have the ability to produce 10,000(HOLY CRUD) of them to be eligible to win. That just nerfed every small DIYer.
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    No, my approach would be to add a "post-processor". A small processor module operating in parallel with the existing processor(s) and using the same sensors.

    I modified my '92 LS400's climate control "module" that way.

    For example: If, when the engine is started, the OAT is below 55F, or has been below 55F in the last 48 hours my "post-processor" will disable the A/C clutch command signal going to the engine control module.

    Running the A/C in the wintertime solely for dehumdification purposes is fraught with peril.

    The post-processor design will also result in the climate control system, if the A/C is disabled, coming up in the combined heat/windshield mode and with a heating setpoint well above the actual driver input setpoint, 72F for me.

    Now only does the cabin temperature rise more quickly to the actual setpoint, but the interior surface of the windshield gets "pre-heated" in the process. Once the cabin temperature approaches the setpoint the system automatically reverts to footwell only mode. And unlike the unmodified system it is prevented from transitioning into combined heating/cooling mode unless the A/C mode is enabled.
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    There is a way for an individual person to win, "double-down" even.

    Design, produce, and market an add-on BTO. Have the BTO continuously record, in a ring-buffer (ignoring DEC's patent for same) all the sensor inputs deemed of interest. If the BTO ever "triggers", then stop the recording immediately.

    The BTO functionality of the aftermarket module would monitor the brake light signal, the brake fluid pressure signal, the engine RPM and the throttle position sensors.

    If the brake lights went on OR the brake fluid pressure rose to a moderate level, AND the engine RPM remained elevated OR the throttle plate position other than idle, then the aftermarket BTO module would OPEN the fuel injector's ground return circuit.

    Any event that result in the BTO activating would be trapped in the ring buffer logging.
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    ripper84ripper84 Member Posts: 5
    I haven't even read it and knew that was coming. sounds nice"WOW A MILLION DOLLARS" but get into the fine points and a dog with a bone has as good a chance as anyone else. Check this out now. look to your right. See the Toyota advertisement thanking us for being loyal. ROFLMAO. Coincidental? i think not. lol Lets all click that. I don't think so! cheers!
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    ineedajobineedajob Member Posts: 12
    That process involves a certain type of arc-welding and we soon found that our microprocessor based Mitel phone system was going bonkers on a regular basis.

    I could believe that, being in the computer industry for over 30 years as I have seen it! BUT.......
    It was NOT EMF from the welder that caused your phone system to go nuts, it was the common ground (wire) between the buildings or units that was wrecking havoc on your phone system. EMF falls off very quickly (as far as a usable interference goes) as air is not a good conductor yet that similar noise on a ground wire will throw computer systems (or phones in this case) into a tizzy.

    The ARC welding scenario is so far fetched I can’t even begin to start with why it can’t possibly cause this issue.

    I still firmly stand my ground in that the current run of Toyota unintended sudden acceleration issues is based on 3 things:

    1. User error (wrong pedal)
    2. Misplace floor mats
    3. Natural Toyota “personality” (for lack of a better term).

    What I mean by Toyota personality is that most newer Toyota’s are very well powered (like most US consumers want). They have a plenty of torque in the 1st gear and WILL tend to accelerate on their own (slightly). What I mean by this is, coming to a stop, under certain conditions a driver might feel a surge as the transmission kicks down to lower gears and / or the A/C cycles on at that same moment. These are not flaws, but rather design characteristics that (IMO) should be addressed. The A/C RPM kick up circuit in Toyota/Lexus vehicles definitely causes a feeling of “surge” which could make any driver a little nervous.
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    plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    the BTO idea has merit, but without hacking the black box and code, there's no way to verify it. Toyota, faced with 40+ deaths and a potential *BILLION+* in wrongful death lawsuits will never ever EVER admit to anything. Ever. Not even if NASA cracks and reverse-engineers the whole mess by brute-force. (but that would kil the reward - catch-22)

    Impossible to verify without a full reverse-engineering of the entire computer system.. No prize can be awarded to normal DIYers as a result.
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    srs_49srs_49 Member Posts: 1,394
    That's pretty slick :D .
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    kernickkernick Member Posts: 4,072
    edited April 2010
    C'mon everybody; let's run down to Radio Shack! ;)

    Didn't you post this a day or 2 early? April Fool's everyone! :D
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    plektoplekto Member Posts: 3,738
    edited April 2010

    Didn't you post this a day or 2 early? April Fool's everyone!


    Yeah, I wish.... It almost sounds like someone out there wants to save a ton of money by getting us "normal people" to to the work for them. That said, there are only two possible causes. One requires a total redesign of the system to use different technologies. The other requires a complete analysis of the code and computer systems.

    Neither will happen on Toyota's end, so the only advice I have for you is don't buy a Toyota or any other "Drive-by-wire" vehicle with an automatic (computerized) transmission. You can only put a simpler version of the technology on manual equipped vehicles and it's easy to remedy with the clutch pedal. (that said, used manual Toyotas will be cheap as the public avoids the other 90%+ that are automatics)
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    The first thing we did to try to cure the Mitel problem was put it on a UPS. Once we discovered the arc welding next door might be the problem we tried isolating the Mitel by unplugging the UPS from commercial power during times we confirmed the arc machine was working.

    The only headway we made was by grounding the arc welding machine itself, frame to "earth" ground. The thermocouple arc welding process was of an intermittent and short duration, one a minute at best, and no extraordinary load on commercial power. Plus which, the manufacturer's installation manual had caution notes throughout, some regarding our specific instance.

    "..surge as the transmission kicks down..."

    Actually the "surge" during low speed coastdown periods, braking or no, many drivers are complaining about is the result of the transaxle UPSHIFTING once the speed is so low the coastdown "fuel cut" technique is no longer viable. Due to the hazards arising therefrom most FWD & F/awd vehicle will NOT downshift into 1st until the car has come to a full and complete stop.

    The current "run" of SUA incidents, Saylor and Sikes specifically, is undoubtedly the result of a firmware design flaw.

    "...scenario is so far-fetched..."

    Sign, normally, if a closed-up mind. But that doesn't sound like you otherwise.

    EMI is a form of radio frequency "radiation" and as little as 20 watts can reach, is detectable, from the earth to the HPP of the solar wind. Google: Pioneer 10.
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    wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    No need to "hack" anything. Just unplug the connector(s) to the engine control computer, plug them into the BTO and then plug the BTO's "repeater" cable/connectors into the engine control computer. All signals pass through the BTO module UNMODIFIED. The BTO would remain totally passive, inactive, unless it "triggers" in which case the engine control computer signal outputs to the fuel injector would be disabled.
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    rue_dupinrue_dupin Member Posts: 2
    kernick:

    I don't follow your reasoning here discounting external interference as a factor in runaway acceleration. You say if it was "any one thing," like external interference, then it would be more prevalent and thus more likely discovered. But since external factors would be very hard to discover in a lab test and might be very random in the environment, then they would be very hard to discover. And, such external influence could easily influence more than one factor in the CPU or any one of the linked electronic systems in Toyotas. When an electronic control goes haywire, its effects spread and multiply, for instance into the brake override system for the cruse control.
    Rue
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