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Final Year Project - Electronic/Electrical Lockers?


A Twig
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Hi guys,

I have to start thinking about my final year project for my masters. Having dragged myself through a horrific project this year, I've decided it really needs to be something that I have a genuine interest in. Hence I thought LR, and starting thinking about electronic/electrical applications to do with LR stuff.

My initial thoughts were to make some sort of automatic electronically controlled locker, which senses loss of traction, and locks the diff.

However advantages of not needing airlines etc aside, I'm not convinced that a) it's really all that revolutionary (you can already get them to some extent), and B) it would really be that effective.

Can anyone either convince me otherwise, or come up with some different but still suitable electrickery LR based idea?

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I always though an aftermarket electronic control for hydro steer (front and rear) would be interesting to look at. Lots of inputs/sensors, logic to keep everything safe and interfaces between hydraulic and electrical system etc... kind of a "fly by wire" system for Land Rovers. Rear steer could be controlled proportionately with speed and self centering, crab modes, adjustable front/rear steering bias at low speeds... all sorts of things to play with once you have the sensors and interfaces sorted. Steering input could be via a wheel or joystick, no good for road use though so maybe that limits the appeal.

Another interesting project idea I had was to automate air suspension possibly using pressure transducers on each bag to monitor and adjust ground pressure, gyroscopic level sensors and height sensors... all sorts of fun to be had there I'm sure ! Imagine a demo where you drive through crab holes and the air bags respond and hold the body perfectly level and at a specific height above the ground...

As for the diff lock idea I suspect that the electronic/electrical aspect would be minimal (although maybe that's not a bad thing !) amd the engineering side of it would be far bigger unless you can modify an existing diff lock... but then what's the point then.

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Hi guys,

I have to start thinking about my final year project for my masters. Having dragged myself through a horrific project this year, I've decided it really needs to be something that I have a genuine interest in. Hence I thought LR, and starting thinking about electronic/electrical applications to do with LR stuff.

My initial thoughts were to make some sort of automatic electronically controlled locker, which senses loss of traction, and locks the diff.

However advantages of not needing airlines etc aside, I'm not convinced that a) it's really all that revolutionary (you can already get them to some extent), and B) it would really be that effective.

Can anyone either convince me otherwise, or come up with some different but still suitable electrickery LR based idea?

Should be reasonably effective although why not look at designing a basic traction control system if your looking for a challenge. The D3's seem to do quite well without locking front or rear diffs.

I am sure you could use the ABS components & axles with wheel speed sensors from a classic range rover so the parts would be fairly cheap & easy to source. No major fabriction required just the electronics & control circuitry.

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Starting off with a problem and finding a solution to it can be more difficult than trying to find a problem to solve with a solution.

Regards the auto difflock, the underlying issue may be along the lines of how can you make a vehicle easier to drive over difficult terrain. Start from there and see where that leads you.

What area (of Engineering I presume) is you degree in.

I'm in a very similar situation, with a masters project next year. My current thinking is looking at how dynamic traction of an off road vehicles can be improved, though of couse there are many things to consider when selecting a project such as the tutor that will most likely be assigned to a project area. After 3 years (4 if you include placement) you know which memebers of staff are worth dealing with. The brief may get strategicly renamed.

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FWIW, I finished my masters (4 year course) last year, my final year project was 4wd electronic traction control. Nothing new, as we all know, but still a challenge to do, and get working. The scope of the project covered the software design down to the CAD design of the callipers, brake disks etc.

It worked, I got a good mark and ended up as one of three finalists in a national competition, so Land Rovers can form a part of a healthy balanced final year project!!

Good Luck,

Luke

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My degree is officially Electronics and Communications although the communications bit has just been a bit of digital network type stuff really. Essentialy the focus would be on the control part, rather than the designing of mechanical components. The best tutors are in power/control and communications, so definitely want to end up in one of those areas.

The communications could easily be different systems talking to each other wirelessly etc, it doesn't have to be "traditional" communications. The "level platform" idea could be good, there are a load of possible applications.

I'll carry on having a thunk....

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I would suggest that the next challenge for 4wd manufacturers is to reduce the strength/weight/complexity of the engine/drivetrain/braking systems:

4wd using electric motors at one end,

regenerative braking to reduce braking component size

very lightweight axles and diffs, electronics limiting snatch and torque to match component strength

multi geared autobox to remove transfer box

Something like a range rover with sj mechanicals, the electronics taking care of the lack of apparent strength.

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what about, a device that tells you when you need a diff locker, or warns you automatically it is aabout to be engaged.

i know you would have to be stupid to need a warning when you are spinning, but some poeple just floor it and end up with broken diffs (read my signature bit)

say, it senses a wheel spinning, activates a light/buzzer which tells you to engage a diff lock, or it automatically talks to the diff lock system ant warns you when it is about to be engaged automatically so you arent flooring it, and there is less strain on halfshafts,

even better, when it is about to eengage the locker, it automatically brings the revs down to a slow speed, just enough to keep from stalling, but not to put too much strain on the halfshafts.

mikey

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Guest noggy
what about, a device that tells you when you need a diff locker, or warns you automatically it is aabout to be engaged.

i know you would have to be stupid to need a warning when you are spinning, but some poeple just floor it and end up with broken diffs (read my signature bit)

say, it senses a wheel spinning, activates a light/buzzer which tells you to engage a diff lock, or it automatically talks to the diff lock system ant warns you when it is about to be engaged automatically so you arent flooring it, and there is less strain on halfshafts,

even better, when it is about to eengage the locker, it automatically brings the revs down to a slow speed, just enough to keep from stalling, but not to put too much strain on the halfshafts.

mikey

the first idea is waaaay to simple, and easily achievable. I believe clbarclay has been researching wheel slip with an old disco? is that you?

the second idea, well having a system that alters the engine revs its just plain dangerous.

Why not build a fully automated turbo timer, that alters the cool down time according to the engines core temperature/ turbo temperature, you could also build in a immobiliser into it aswell.

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the second idea, well having a system that alters the engine revs its just plain dangerous.

err, most engines have such a thing - the idle control valve. Have a look in the Megasquirt thread(s) for discussions on the PWM idle valve and closed-loop idle control / anti-stall.

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My degree is officially Electronics and Communications although the communications bit has just been a bit of digital network type stuff really. Essentialy the focus would be on the control part, rather than the designing of mechanical components.

Control eh? How about developing an ECU to help smokeyone out...

V6 diesel

You might have a few other takers too :D

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Guest noggy
err, most engines have such a thing - the idle control valve. Have a look in the Megasquirt thread(s) for discussions on the PWM idle valve and closed-loop idle control / anti-stall.

yes, i know about such things, but he was saying to build a system to lower your revs, when your difflock automatically engages. Surely if you were going up a hill and your diff auto started to lock up your engine suddenly dies to stop damage to the half shafts?

i think that could get me in a sticky situation!

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Noggy

I haven't been doing too much "reasurch" this last year, though quite a bit of time has been spent on a design and build which should hopefully prove useful next year, though it still needs a little more work on it before then.

Back to descussion of traction aid projects. The standard locking diff is either on or off with no progressive control. One though would be to start of with something along the lines of friction plate LSD, but replace the springs with hydraulic actuators. That side of it is all mechanical engineering so no really suitable to A Twig's course, but the control side of it could be interesting. As well as wheel slip, it could take into account steering angle and torque when deciding how much force to apply to the friction plates. In theory the same thing could be achived with an electromagnet and a voltage regulator, though I have know idea how practical that would be.

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i like the last one!

there are loads of variable vane turbos out there that would be suitable transplants into a tdi or even td5 - but the electronics of controlling the vanes is the limiting factor. So people end up chosing mechanical vvt's and end up playing silly buggers with dozens of springs, linkages and trial + error like certain chaps on this forum...

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The VVT controller could be very doable, if they're not so interested in the hardware you could use a MegaSquirt or MicroSquirt and just write some new code to go in it, you'd have hardware to spare for running things like propane or water injection too in sync with whatever the turbo's doing. Could grab the interest of the diesel boys.

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VGT control is definately a goer - I can provide some info on the type of response you're likely to want too. Don't be fooled into thinking that the mechanical route is just a bit amish and fitting a box of wires means it'll run perfectly - there's still plenty of calibration work to be done to get all the maps right.

I want mine to run underwater (it IS a diesel... :)) but I'm not sure if there's a closed-loop feedback VGT in the mainstream automotive world? You could use a commercially-available knock sensor to detect surge (or just d(pressure)/d(time) over a certain threshold?) and assess strategies which achieve maximum boost across the rev range, minimum back pressure across the rev range etc etc.

As a control project this one's a goer in my opinion - remember the marks aren't for creating something useful, they're for hardcore maths. You can fill pages and pages with Bode, Nyquist and PID and probably not even get as far as cutting metal :) If you want a test bed, I'm not too far away.

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How about a good interface for electric drive control?

It would have a wide range of uses in differing vehicle types.

You could look at diesel electric in a Land Rover. A diesel engine could drive a generator where the gear box would be and there would be individual wheel traction motors and a method of controlling the current to each wheel motor to ensure the correct wheel speed and to control traction, braking and regeneration at the wheel. If you made a 'black box' that did all that then we could lose the mechanical bits between engine and wheels.

The design could also be used for pure electric vehicles as well. The idea could be extended further if you made the system modular so that a vehicle would have as many modules as it has drive wheels managed by a central controller. That would allow commercial electric drive vehicles to add axles as needed and open up powered trailers that really work.

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maybe an automatic free wheel hub setup, or even better,

have you ever seen or heard of the dynashift system in a massey ferguson,

try one of those (if you dont know its sort of 4 more electrical gears in each gear.)

like you have, in first gear, A,B,C,and D

same in second etc etc etc.so if you have 5 manual gears, you have 20 gears.

mikey

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  • 2 weeks later...
Free's up your hands to do other stuff......

Could do away with the hands free phone and also install a coffee machine / kettle :o

My serious contribution to the project ideas is a transmission controller for ZF4HP22/24(electronic) auto boxes and/or US autos like 4L80E, etc. It would solve a lot of problems for those with engines more beefy than LR transmissions can reliably cope. Functionally similar to Compushift or Megashift project. It might need to (in no particular order)

  • lock and hold any gear
  • pick up from stationary in 2nd or 3rd (to reduce wheelspin on slippery surfaces)
  • lock the torque converter in any gear
  • sense engine speed / load and road speed
  • monitor hydraulic pressure in the box
  • apply logic to gear selection
  • control solenoids for the hydraulic actuation
  • use PWM control of torque converter lock
  • communicate with vehicle systems - CANBUS, etc
  • cope with vehicle power supplies
  • be robust enough to survive heat/cold/vibration/shock/dust/immersion

Plenty of meat there which have spin offs in the real world. Once finished, assessed, etc for your Masters you might place it in the public domain for others to take forward.

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How about looking at electronic control of winch and a maybe also drive - the drive interface is via the PTO output. Maybe you could use the PTO output to provide torque at variable speed to the wheels via a lockable magnetic clutch (something like a rotating version of the Telma retarders) or/and to provide sensible electrical output for driving electric winches. Doesn't have to be 12v - could be 440v 3phase. Your control gear could for instance ensure you don't drive over the winch line.

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