Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Toyota Recall

Some experts are claiming that the culprit behind the problems that Toyota has been experiencing with their gas pedals and brakes is electro-magnetic interference upon the computer chips and software that control these devices. It makes me wonder why then aren't other devices effected as well like rolling down windows and shutting off driving lights by the same stray electronic interferences. They're all controlled electronically somewhere down the line. Also, why wouldn't there be an onboard indicator whose only function is to detect the presence of rouge electro-magnetic interference. Once electro-magnetic interference is detected the watchdog indicator would signal the computer chips to over ride standard electronic operations and revert to a safe mode.

They built cars today with so much electronics controlling everything under the hood that it's not possible anymore to fix your own car without having to buy expensive electronic equipment whereas a simple wrench and a can of beer would make do in the past. At least to me, there's a lot of mystery surrounding the electronic controls in modern cars. Specifically, as to how well they were adapted to the conditions that a vehicle must endure from everyday driving like vibrations and temperature extremes. And the mental state of these miniature black boxes when they do stop working for whatever reasons. For example, I've done my own wiring on my motorbikes which often involves splicing in a relay onto the wires. There are equivalent electronic relays available from the automotive industry, however I always use a tried and true mechanical relay. If an electronic relay burns out it would stop working in the "on" state and whatever device it was relaying electricity to would stay on. Whereas, a mechanical relay would usually expire in an "off" state such that the specific device that the mechanical relay is wired to would stop getting electricity and cease operating without having to shift into neutral.

11 comments:

Rowena... said...

I tell you, there's a conspiracy in all this, and Toyota (being numbero uno at one point) just had to be tagged as the beta project. ET is out there fine-tuning the controls -- be prepared to foot-pedal it like the Flintstones.

Ann da sista said...

I'm with Rowena. Look for pedal bikes to be making a comeback.... Chad's Toyota truck got recalled a while ago because the undercarriage was rusting out. The solution? They basically sprayed foam everywhere. Stinky. I remember the days on Kaua'i when Toyotas and Hondas were still running fine even though the body had completely rusted out; now, not so much....

RONW said...

Rowena- there's plenty of conspiracy theory revolving around industrial espionage, and who the people behind them, that are making hollywood screenwriters drool. These vehicles are put through rigorous testing at a factory track, it's hard to believe the malfunctions would go undetected.

Ann- pedal power? It's amazing that nobody's thought of that invention yet. Rust is the best thing that ever happened to cars. Makes them lighter, LOL.

Seaweed said...

I drove several different Toyotas and Hondas over the last 20 years and never had a problem. In fact, I had one American car since 1978. That was the only one that didn't surpass 100K miles.

Cloudia said...

Complexity grows
simplicity is lost in the thicket!


Aloha, neighbor


Comfort Spiral

RONW said...

Cloudia- enjoying the snow, LOL. Good thing we live here.

RONW said...

Seaweed- whoops, I didn't see your comment until now. I imagine driving on the mainland you'd tend to rack up a lot more mileage quicker than on an island. Over 100K and all that. Fortunately those are highway miles and not city. I haven't heard of a single case of gas pedal malfunction in our state as of yet. Toyotas in Hawaii are usually from Japan factories, or at least, that's what the spokesman said on tv news.

Ann da sista said...

Seems like my idea has caught on. Saw the guy who collects carts in the parking lot at Trader Joe's biking to work on Route 1. Route 1 is a major highway here...two lanes each way. The helmetless dude is brave....

RONW said...

Ann- you've single handedly started a new trend. I'll tell you a story about bicycling. I use to bicycle up the Mililani hill for work with 60-lbs of tools on the bike's racks. We were building track houses up the hill and the more we built, the further up the hill the work site moved. After five-months I was barely making it in by the 7am start. The nice thing was pau hana, I coasted down the entire hill only having to peddle at the start to get the bicycle rolling. There's a girl who use to live in our apt. building. She moved to Haleiwa and one day she decided to peddle all the way to town through the Kipapa gulch road.

OkiHwn said...

I miss my '70 VW Bug. So simple and easy to fix by yourself.

RONW said...

Nate- nothing like the sound and the feel driving a VW bug. Bar none.