KEY ISSUES IN ELECTRONIC MAINTENANCE

Vehicles today are connected (automated emergency calling was made compulsory in April 2018 for passenger vehicles) and are increasingly adopting electronic driver assistance systems (ADAS). 
They are also communicating objects: workshops can download software updates. All of this means that maintenance has become electronic. For repair professionals, the crucial challenge is to take this new development into account in their working habits: source information, get trained up and invest in latest-generation maintenance systems.

Diagnosing electronic components, downloading and telecoding are the new horizon for industry and repair professionals working in the automobile and heavy goods aftermarket.

Single ECU (electronic control unit) injection systems and ABS are now a thing of the past: today a vehicle can contain several kilometres of electrical cables, up to 100 dedicated ECUs and nine separate electronic communication networks.

Electronics is used in virtually all of the vehicle’s operating systems: the engine for injection, but also the starter, and the treatment of exhaust gas. Electronics can also be found in braking, the gearbox, traction control (in both ESP and hill starts), lighting, air con, comfort accessories (electric windows, navigation, radio, central locking, steering, suspension, etc.).

All the systems are interconnected, not only because the information on their functioning must be accessible for controls, but also because certain data is needed for several different systems.

Take the example of speed, calculated by the wheel speed sensor: this is used for ABS and ESP and for the instrument panel, but also for the engine control, the gearbox, lighting, air con, radio, navigation (Satnav), steering and suspension. We could give dozens of other similar examples.

With the advent of automated driving, operating data must be made secure. As in aviation, scenarios to double transmissions are being planned. The amount of new data circulating on networks will therefore grow further as a result.

On recent vehicles, all maintenance tasks require the use of an electronic diagnostic tool. For an oil change, the fitting of a new accessory, new tyres or a bumper, each operation has one or several data-emitting or receiving components that must be replaced at the same time.


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NEW WORKSHOP EQUIPMENT

In the workshop, communication between the vehicle and the garage happens through the electronic maintenance device.

With new generation multiplex networks, data transmission can surpass 10 MB per second. Up until now with the CAN, the average throughput was 0.5 MB/s. The ethernet network adopted for the DoIP can transmit up to 100 MB/s.
New diagnostics equipment must adapt to DoIP which will become the standard in the coming five years. 

It should not be assumed that the electric car will simplify things. 90% of electric vehicles tomorrow will simply be petrol or diesel models with more interconnected components!
Vehicles will become “multi-equipped” as machines are gradually upgraded. Having a slightly dated diagnostic machine (more than five years old) does not mean it is obsolete. With an update conducted every 2 to 3 years, it can still provide numerous services, work on older vehicles and thereby supplement a new generation machine.
It is also possible to dedicate one of these machines to an additional specific task: a physical measurement, pollution diagnosis, wheel and ADAS geometry, or headlamp settings, for example.