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Sherlock Ohms

Rebooting the Van

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tekochip
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Platinum
Bad Ground?
tekochip   5/27/2013 9:16:20 AM
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Sounds like the ground cable from the battery was poor, and when they serviced the torque converter the recently tightened ground connection cured the problem.

Tom-R
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Gold
Re: Bad Ground?
Tom-R   5/28/2013 12:55:56 AM
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I don't know tecochip. Can grounds be specific to one thing on a radio? The rest of the radio worked; just not the CD player. And one of the doors always worked. If it was the battery ground cable I'd think everything would have been effected. But I'm a mechanical thinker.

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Bad Ground?
William K.   6/3/2013 9:49:37 PM
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Was it a bad ground? or just part of the system that had failed? Probably the CD function is a separate code module since a remote CD chnger is often an option. So it is quite reasonable that just one area needed the re-boot sequence.  

Now just think about the potential grief we would have if that mid-eighties dream od all those modules talking on one bus in the car. Just imagine the communications problems that could occur. But they went to one major module, although some have several, because of the high cost of so many modules, which was way more than the cost of the wiring saved.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Love the title
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2013 11:57:37 AM
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I love this title. I've been wondering how long it would take for someone to apply the concept of rebooting to an entire car.

OLD_CURMUDGEON
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Platinum
Re: Love the title
OLD_CURMUDGEON   5/28/2013 12:14:13 PM
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Ann,

Lots of folks in our neck of the woods do exactly that, but the REBOOTING process is a little different.  Getting their fill of lousy engineering & design, they opt for the DESTRUCTION DERBY arena, and then they see their "beloved" vehicles rebooted like never before!!!!!!

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Love the title
Ann R. Thryft   5/28/2013 12:23:48 PM
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Thanks for the laugh, OLD_CURMUDGEON. I was thinking more along the lines of new cars being so full of electronics the whole thing needs rebooting, not just a single board. But I like your version, too.



OLD_CURMUDGEON
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Love the title
OLD_CURMUDGEON   5/28/2013 12:54:25 PM
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NO matter the depth of the discussion, there's ALWAYS room for a little levity.  Glad y'all enjoyed my attempt at it.  I think in modern times no one person endorsed this belief more than Ronald Reagan.  He seemed to have an innate knack for a bright quip at some of the most serious times during his administration.

apresher
User Rank
Blogger
Rebooting the Van
apresher   5/28/2013 2:45:29 PM
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Wish I was ever this fortunate with an electronics problem in a car that I owned.

notarboca
User Rank
Gold
Re: Rebooting the Van
notarboca   5/31/2013 11:40:28 PM
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I haven't had a major electronics issue with my truck, but tightening the ground cable at the battery fixed some minor inconveniences once.

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
The radio
Battar   5/29/2013 4:29:04 AM
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Before you power down the vehicle completely read the radio manual. Some radios are individually coded to the vehicle (to render them useless in case of theft), and powering them down resets the code. When the power comes back up, the radio wont turn on.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
Re: The radio
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   5/29/2013 10:39:18 AM
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That's crazy.  Good intentions from an electronic and software origin, but a terrible reality for some poor guy with t dead battery.  Over-engineered, and over-thought.

Battar
User Rank
Platinum
Re: The radio
Battar   5/30/2013 3:48:07 AM
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Not crazy. The code is supplied with the vehicle/radio, and it's up to the owner to keep it in a safe place and transfer it when the vehicle is sold. My previous car was fitted with such a radio, when the battery needed replacing the service technician connected the car to a temporary "power cart" to prevent powering down the car completely. The setup will hold from capacitor charge for a couple of minutes, anyway.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
Re: The radio
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   6/3/2013 3:28:16 PM
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Again, good intentions, but at risk for practical use.   Consider an older car that's sitting on a used car lot and the Owner's manual has been long since-misplaced by a previous owner.  You suggested it's up to the owner to keep it safe, but Manufacturers can't count on an owner behaving responsibly. 

Back to the point of the article; a complete electrical shut-down (power-down; re-boot) really should be all that is required to reset electronics.  It's logical -- Why make it more difficult-?

Ratsky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: The radio
Ratsky   6/3/2013 3:45:18 PM
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This is all done in the name of "theft protection."  However, at least in the case of radio/NAV head units, there is usually a way via the OBD II port to re-initailize and set a new passcode.  You'd be astounded to learn how much of this there is in newer vehicles, all in an attempt to make theft of components (or the car itself) more trouble for the thief than it's worth.  In some makes, it has gotten to the point that the "theft prevention" stuff is the least reliable subsystem of the vehicle, specifically designed with failure modes that disable all or part of the vehicle!  And of course it adds to the cost as well....  and no, I can't turn this into a "Designed by Monkeys" article without breaking confidentiality agreements!

DrGamma
User Rank
Silver
Rebooting / Resetting cars
DrGamma   6/3/2013 3:37:00 PM
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I am on my second Chevy Volt. Lots of electronics and lots of code. Things get weird at times (Like compass not working, GPS lost, ...) With this car, you can call OnStar to do a remote diagnostic as you are driving. Both in the 2012 model and 2013 model, running this remote diagnostic seems to reset some systems and make things work again.

chiraldude
User Rank
Iron
Reboot also
chiraldude   6/3/2013 10:03:32 PM
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I have a 2005 Taurus and a couple of years ago I took the plunge and tried using E85 fuel.  The owners manual says it is Ok and I confirmed from my VIN number that I have a Flex Fuel engine.

I ran a tank full of E85 with so so results so I decided to go back to "regular" fuel.

Soon after switching back, I began to notice poor performance.  Reduced acceleration, rough idle and recurring check engine light.  The engine trouble code was for fuel trim out of range. Basically, the engine was running rich but the ECM thought it was too lean.

I spend a couple of weeks trying to figure this out but just did not connect the dots to the E85 fuel.  Then, I needed some serious work done, i.e. Torque converter shaft failure.

When I got it to the shop, I also asked them to investigate the engine code.  When they called to tell me the work was done, I asked about the code.  They said there were none!  It has been running fine ever since.

It appears that the ECM detected the E85 just fine but could not detect that  I had switched back.  My Taurus needed an extended disconnect from the battery to reboot the ECM.

Ratsky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Reboot also
Ratsky   6/4/2013 3:15:50 PM
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Many sensors in autos have lots of hysteresis built in to prevent "chattering."  A common example is if you don't fully seat the fuel filler cap.  This will (after a while) trip the "check engine" telltale.  If you are hip to this behavior, you check the cap and tighten it.  It can take DAYS or WEEKS before the telltale goes off!  I suspect your E85 problem was an exaggerated instance of this behavior.  BTW, living in the South, I am not exposed to any stations selling E85.  Do any still sell it?  I often wonder (when stuck in traffic behind a vehicle with a "Flex Fuel" badge) how much that "feature" actually cost, and how much benefit the driver got from it?

chiraldude
User Rank
Iron
Re: Reboot also
chiraldude   6/4/2013 3:30:25 PM
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I still suspect this was a software glitch where the the code got stuck in E85 mode.  The only sensor involved in this process is the O2 sensor.  Not planning on using more E85 any time soon so probably will never find out for sure.

I live in western Michigan and there are a decent number of E85 station around.  Generally, using E85 doesn't make sense.  E85 has about 30% less energy per gallon compared to regular gasoline.  Here in MI, fuel prices fluctuate wildly so, if you pay attention to the price spread, you can come out ahead some once in a while but typically it is not worth the trouble.

Ratsky
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Reboot also
Ratsky   6/4/2013 3:35:25 PM
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That's certainly a good possibility.  However, I suspect that in general, a significant battery disconnect time will pretty much reset any sensors.  If the trigger conditions still exist, the sensor would trigger again eventually; if not, no harm, no foul!

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
REBOOT
bobjengr   6/8/2013 3:37:48 PM
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This is a fascinating post.  In my wildest dreams I would never have thought a "horseless" carriage might need rebooting to correct issues with electrical equipment.  I'm a mechanical engineer and just don't think along these lines.  QUESTION: Since this seems to be one solution to several problems, do any of the manufacturers provide "re-set" switches to allow for the reboot process?  I have two older vehicles and there is certainly nothing in the use and care manuals to indicating rebooting might be necessary.  Just checked both to verify.

imagineer1000
User Rank
Iron
Re: REBOOT
imagineer1000   6/26/2013 1:17:01 PM
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Agree it's an interesting post.  I've had two rental vehicles (different manufacturers) where the transmission just suddenly disengaged and the gas pedal stopped working.  What finally got the vehicles in gear again was cycling the ignition key.  Must be using a Windows operating system... ;-)  In all seriousness, I think vehicles are getting too complicated to be reliable in the long term.  I don't want my car to be like Microsoft Office where they have piled in more and more distracting "features" which offer fertile ground for introduction of more bugs without fixing bugs I first ran across a decade ago...

John
User Rank
Gold
Re: REBOOT
John   7/9/2013 4:45:24 PM
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Often times a simple battery disconnect will "reset" the OBD system.  But if there are any significant warnings they will reappear from the memory that didn't get erased.  Sometimes 40 to 60 engine starts will erase error messages too.  If the computer doesn't receive the signal it took to trigger the error code during this time period. 

Reliabilityguru
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Platinum
Re: REBOOT
Reliabilityguru   7/15/2013 9:18:08 AM
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I recently experienced the same problem with the CD player/changer in my wife's Escalade. After having the car in the shop for front strut replacement, the CD player wouldn't play CDs, and worse, the CD player motor wouldn't stop running even after the car was off and the keys removed. My worst fear was having to replace out of warranty the whole integrated CD/DVD changer, navigation system to the tune of untold $$. When I told my mechanic, he went immediatly to the fuse panel and pulled the fuse. Then he put it back and everything worked again good as new.

no_hazmats
User Rank
Iron
Rebooting
no_hazmats   6/10/2013 6:58:16 AM
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I've had experienced mechanics mention to me several times that disconnecting the battery and also shorting out the disconencted battery cables for about a minute (to ensure complete reset and that non-volatile memory is cleared) is a good practice for oddball electrical & control system behaviors.  

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Crash
Cadman-LT   7/16/2013 11:01:20 AM
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I know I am always rebooting my windows PC, I never knew you had to reboot your vehicle! Thanks for the info might come in handy some day.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Crash
Cabe Atwell   8/27/2013 2:04:45 PM
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It's like taking the cmos battery out of a motherboard to reboot the bios back to factory settings after a failed overclock. 

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Crash
Cadman-LT   9/2/2013 12:43:20 PM
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Gotcha!

Cadman-LT
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Crash
Cadman-LT   9/2/2013 12:45:41 PM
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Love the way you put that. After a failed overclock....lol

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