Technical newsletter

EureTechFlash aims to demystify new technologies and make them transparent, to stimulate You as a professional repairer to keep pace with technology.

Start and Charge Systems

Vehicles powered by internal combustion engines require components that are capable of starting the engine, generating electricity and storing part of it. The parts responsible for these functions form the starting and charging systems, and carry out a discontinuous cycle of conversion of electrical to mechanical energy and vice versa. These systems allow the starting, running and stopping cycle to be carried out continuously and for it to be interrupted when required.
The starter motor converts electrical energy (supplied from the battery) into mechanical energy to rotate the engine until it starts. At the same time, so the engine can continue to run, an electrical current generator or alternator is required. The alternator, in contrast to the starter motor, converts mechanical energy (from the rotation of the engine) into electrical energy. Part of the electrical energy supplied by the alternator is stored in the battery and the rest supplies the vehicle’s loads, among which is the engine itself. The electrical energy stored in the battery will be used to restart the engine and supply some of the vehicle’s electrical circuits when the engine is stopped.
As a consequence of the evolution of anti-pollution regulations towards increasingly more restrictive values, the starting and charging system has undergone a significant evolution over recent years in order to contribute to the more efficient operation of the vehicle.
One of the most noticeable advances in this regard is the creation of the Start-Stop systems, which stop the engine during short stops, which are very common in urban traffic, and restart it automatically to continue driving. The latest generation charging systems also use the vehicle’s kinetic energy during braking to produce electrical energy. This avoids generating it during acceleration phases in order to reduce fuel consumption without affecting the performance of the engine.
Recently, reversible alternator systems have also been developed, this specific component is key to “capturing” more energy during deceleration. It is also capable of starting the engine in the automatic stop phases, so the starter motor is not used in these cases. In more sophisticated models, the reversible alternator can even help the vehicle’s engine during acceleration.
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Analysis of 5 diesel gases

Since the creation of internal combustion engines, the energy output of the diesel engine has been much higher than its direct competitors, a factor, which, combined with the cost of the fuel, has led to its absolute dominance in industrial, heavy transport and collective mobility applications.
Its application in light motor vehicles was initially limited due to the fact that diesel engines were more expensive, heavier, louder and had more limited operating flexibility. For many years, the complexity and precision of their fuel feed systems increased production costs, which were ultimately offset as a result of the evolution of machining techniques and the automation of the machinery.
Shortly thereafter, the development of digital electronics and their application to engine fuel injection systems revolutionized the automotive world by generating a spectacular improvement in the performance of diesel engines.
The response by end consumers to the combination of improved operating economy and equal or better performance was not long in coming, with diesel vehicles topping the sales figures for several years running.
The rapid transformation of the automotive fleet in some counties and the mass adoption of diesel vehicles in large cities in just a few short years became a reality with dangerous consequences. The particulate emissions of diesel engines, in recent years have made it the source of a public health problem that the authorities are attempting to solve by means of increasingly-stringent type approval requirements and periodic inspections.
Mandatory compliance with anti-pollution standards has sparked the technical evolution of diesel engines and the development of new pollutant-reduction systems whose performance and proper functioning can only be verified by the final chemical composition of the exhaust gases. The measurement of the proportions and variation of certain substances generated by combustion also makes it possible to diagnose certain specific anomalies that the self-diagnosis programs of the vehicles are unable to identify.
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Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Vehicle sales are increasing year after year worldwide. To get an idea of how much, in the 1990s, a total of 39.2 million vehicles were sold worldwide. In 2016, more than 74 million units were sold. This increase in sales has also resulted in an increase in the number of traffic accidents. The human factor, roads and the vehicles themselves are the key elements that come into play in accidents.
Users are aware of this, so they are showing increasing interest in the different safety systems installed by the different makes when purchasing a vehicle. However, it is important to take into account that these systems have a series of research and development costs that are reflected in the final price of the vehicle. This poses a problem because according to surveys, when evaluating the purchase of a vehicle, the primary determining factor is still price, above aesthetics, fuel consumption and even safety.
The probability of survival of the occupants of a modern vehicle is double compared to that of the vehicles of 10 years ago. Several studies have demonstrated the importance of purchasing a vehicle with the largest possible number of safety elements. By law, some systems are mandatory. These include: ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), SRS (Supplementary Restraint Systems, or airbags), tyre pressure monitoring or isofix anchorages. There are others that are currently optional, such as: smart speed control, automatic braking systems, pedestrian detection systems, etc.
For this reason, the new safety systems, grouped under the name of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) play a vital role in accident prevention and the protection of occupants and road users. This technology is useless if people do not understand how it works or if it is used incorrectly, because it could result in hazardous behaviour behind the wheel. At no time are drivers relieved of their responsibility to drive safely and alertly.
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NOx Reduction Systems

One of the substances produced by combustion engines that is most harmful to people and the environment are the nitrogen oxides and their derivatives. According to the maximum environmental pollution levels established for cities, nitrogen dioxide, NO2, must not exceed 200 mg/m3.
In reality, these levels can often triple in adverse weather conditions, which is a serious threat to public health. Nitrogen oxides are mainly produced during combustion in the diesel engine at low engine speeds when the amount of diesel injected is small. As the engine works with unrestricted aspirated air, under these conditions the air/fuel mix is lean, so there is a large amount of air that does not participate directly in combustion. As the air mainly consists of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%), the remainder of these elements that have not been involved in the combustion react due to the high temperatures in the combustion chamber. They pollute the air by forming nitrogen oxides (NOx), which cause serious problems relating to pollution in large cities.
Consequently, car manufacturers have developed different solutions for reducing, converting and controlling nitrogen oxide emissions. One of these solutions is the use of the AdBlue agent, which reduces emissions by converting the nitrogen oxides.

AdBlue is a registered brand under which the product technically called AUS32 (Aqueous Urea Solution, a 32.5% urea solution) is marketed. Its purpose is to reduce the nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from diesel engines. For this, a process is applied called SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction). This process is carried out in a catalytic converter that is specifically for the storage and reduction of the NOx.
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Maintenance of automatic gear boxes

The concept of an automatic transmission or automatic gearbox is based on the ability to change gear or speed ratios automatically, without requiring the driver to do this manually using the selection lever. This means that vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions have only two pedals (brake and accelerator) and that they therefore lack both a clutch pedal and a conventional gear shift lever.

Automatic transmissions are being applied more and more commonly on the market. They were initially developed in high-end vehicles where user comfort is very important, and they are now starting to be used in the majority of models of each one of the car makes.
Today it is possible to find an endless array of vehicle models with different types of gearboxes and the respective variations of each type, thus achieving a particular use for each type of transmission. Different types of automatic transmissions currently coexist:
Planetary gear transmission with torque converter.
Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Robotised gearbox.
Dual-clutch gearbox.

Each type of gearbox installed in today’s vehicles is given a specific name depending on the manufacturer, such as: DSG, PDK, Multitronic, Tiptronic (VAG Group); Easytronic (GM); Steptronic (BMW); Hypertronic (NISSAN); Q-System, Selespeed (ALFA ROMEO-FIAT); Geartronic (VOLVO); PowerShift (FORD), among many other names.
Since there are many different types of transmissions on the market, each one requires periodic maintenance over the course of its operating lifetime. According to some manufacturers, maintenance is not required due to the fact that the oil is intended to last for the entire life of the transmission, while others do specify periods for replacing oil and filters.
In many cases, different adjustments or verifications need to be carried out during the period the gearbox is in use, always following the instructions of the transmission or vehicle manufacturer. The adjustments may be done mechanically or electronically, using a diagnostic machine.
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