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Machines with computers!

Discussion in 'Forklifts/Telehandlers' started by Speedpup, Jul 16, 2007.

  1. Speedpup

    Speedpup Senior Member

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    They seem to scare me from the stories I hear. Any input?
     
  2. surfer-joe

    surfer-joe Senior Member

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    Working properly, they are the best thing since sliced bread. They control everything much better, contribute to better fuel economy, lower emissions, tell you when there is a problem, what it is, and where it's at. Some will wipe your nose for you.

    If they go bad, if they get wet, if the alternator goes out and fries their little brain, you got trouble, cause you won't run till it's replaced. Not much fixit to em.
     
  3. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    We sometimes (I use the term "We" very loosley), as operators, bag these modern whizz bang engines and machinery with all their techno stuff.....and often the bagging is with justification. Its difficult to repair ourselves out in the middle of nowhere.

    However, I think we sometimes forget (or take for granted) the Huge performance gains would have have not been acheived had it not been for the "black boxes. Trucks area really good example. A good friend of mine has gone from a Volvo 6 wheeler (no computer) to a new DAF 8 wheeler. His payload has gone up 9,000lbs and daily fuel is down by about $100...for an overall increase of 160 horsepower...and the new truck does it faster, safer and more comfortably. Thats nothing short of phenomenal.

    Technology often makes a big advance but the application into the machine often takes sometime to become reliable....just look at when emmission controls where first fitted on cars...it was all crap that failed, did little and often had a negative effect. Printed circuit board gauges, switches and the like in earthmoving machinery are a pet hate of mine.....not so long ago there was nothing under the dash that couldn't be repaired relatively easily...now its a whole different ball game when a blinkem light fails or a switch plays up.

    Caterpillar and Volvo are worth looking at over the last 10 or 12 years to see how they have managed the new computers onto existing engines...the 3412 is a good example. The first attempts (like ECAT1) needed specialised diagnostic equipment, as did Volvo. It was often the case with Volvo and MAN that the new engines we were installing (down under) had newer firmware in the PLC than we had in the manufacturer supplied diagnostic equipment. We couldn't even tune the engine after install because we were waiting for an update and our mechanics to get back from Sweden after undergoing the "special training". However, in that time, the 3412 went from 600 hp to over 1100hp...thats worth thinking about for an engine that was never designed to carry the electronics.

    Later the diagnostics became more generic, all that was needed was a laptop, and the latest software.

    The human factor needs considering more often than the bright spark who designed the engine control/mamagement system. It is common in sparsely populated areas of Australia for a brand spanking new John Deere to be commissioned with nobody in a 1000 miles knowing diddly squat about diagnosing engine problems.....you have to wait for some "technician" to fly out from Melbourne or somewhere. Not the computers fault. The computers are here for the long run...get used to them.
     
  4. digger242j

    digger242j Administrator

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    I know I've said this before, but I'll repeat myself.

    The term as I first heard it used, had to do with warplanes, and a concept called, "graceful degradation of damaged systems". It's a good thing, if things are going to go all to hell, to have them go all to hell slowly. It gives one time to plan on what to do.

    That's where the newer hardware lacks the charm of the old stuff. It used to be that something would run lousy for six months before it stopped running altogether. If you failed to remedy that, youhad only yourself to blame. Nowadays, it can be running fine one minute, and the next, it's dead in it's tracks. Thre's nothing graceful about how it lets you down...
     
  5. DirectTech

    DirectTech Well-Known Member

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    Ponsse Cut-to-length machines computers are based on the windows platform so it controls everything very scary when you think about it, but it needs it to keep track of trees processed and such. Also over in Sweden and Finland the lumber mills can e-mail the machine to the lengths of logs they want to come into the mill.
     
  6. thejdman04

    thejdman04 Senior Member

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    x2x2
     
  7. Speedpup

    Speedpup Senior Member

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    Local Lull dealer's tech said when a machine comes in they replace the computer almost immediately.:pointhead
     
  8. Wulf

    Wulf Senior Member

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    There's nothing to be scared of speedpup, most modern machines have electronic controllers and electronic engines have an ECU or ECM (engine control unit /module) in my experience they are very reliable, the biggest problem I have found is that many equipment techs find them hard to troubleshoot and because they don't understand what is in them they can end up changing them for no reason :Banghead
     
  9. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    The computers do have their advantages and disadvantages. In excavators the computer makes the machine far more effecient achieving huge improvments in fuel economy and production. There was a huge learning curve when electronics started to show up and lots of us had to learn on someone elses dollar. The manufacturers wrote lousy books, hired mostly idiots to teach the new systems and gave them nothing to teach with. They set up their systems for special tools that only they sold for a higher price per pound than gold.

    In the last few years it has been getting better. Most heavy equipment manufacturers now put the diagnostics in the machine and make it easier to understand how they work. A big portion of mechanics now have that early learning experience behind them and have enough foundation in the basics to work their way through the problem.

    The systems are better now and last longer. The problems happen about as often as the mechanical systems fail.
     
  10. Ross

    Ross Senior Member

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    Well, depends on what machines are in question.

    TANA machines have a computer that's just like a Nokia Mobile(CELL) phone menu system. Child play. :drinkup

    RH120-E by far the most complicated machine ive delt with. The whole control system is FLY BY WIRE. 7 control modes travel through 4 wires. Variation of pulse siginal. No Servo system like the old machines. Mix that with C-Select computers, PMS and BCS and :Banghead :Banghead :Banghead

    The only good to come out of computerized machines is the Load limiting systems that stop the machine from digging its own grave.

    Ross
     
  11. surfer-joe

    surfer-joe Senior Member

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    I've wondered if anyone would ever start using the controlled pulse deal for controls. It sure cuts down on the amount of wire being used. Next will be like cable TV or phone circuits, no wire at all, just pulses of light. Wonder how that will hold up on some cranky excavator?
     
  12. MKTEF

    MKTEF Senior Member

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    Our new Volvo graders got three computers!:eek:
    One does everything on the engine.
    Another takes care of the gearbox.
    The third is for the vehicle itself and is master.
    They talk to each other by a canbus network.

    When u turn the key, the vehicle computer starts, tells the engine to prepare.
    When u switch to engine crancing, the engine one klicks the relays and starts the starting prosess. And thats some programe! it registrer temp, fuelpressure, where the engine is on its turn around, regulates injection timings and a lot more.
    When the engine starts, and as it crankes, it sends info back to the vehicle comp.

    Bet you didn't know that the new engines with common rail or injectors, have to be turned a complete round before they get fuel?
    Thats why u feel like u have to turn forever before it starts.:confused:
    This is because the electronics need a complete round to determine where the engine is on its round.
    The old one in the Champion fired as the first piston passed top!

    And if u got a Scania, it is programmed so that u have to turn for a number of seconds acording to how cold it is outside.
    The colder it gets, the more turning u have to do before it gets fuel!

    And much of this is because of the environment regulations, Tier 3, means no more exaust out of the exaust stacks even if its real cold outside.
    Scania solves it by turning a lot before injecting fuel, Volvo starts kikking imediately, but lurks around at 400-600 rpm's before it get up the temp.
    Turning on the Scania builds temp in the sylinders, so the combustion is right when it fires.

    Computers is ok as long as they function. For us it means having a computer and the possibility to solve problems out in the field.
    We can't sit in Afghanistan, and wait for a pc guy from Sweden to arrive.:)
     
  13. klyons

    klyons Member

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    limp mode

    they are here and not going away. most machines ,excavators have a limp mode switch (hidden) in case of a catatropic failure .
     
  14. MKTEF

    MKTEF Senior Member

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    Yeah thats right.:)
    And most of the machines have an emergency program that starts if everything else fails.:eek:
    U can work and it functions, but u got to get the mecanics around fast.
    On some u won't have full power, but can manage to do the job for some hours/day before it has to be "repaired."
     
  15. John C.

    John C. Senior Member

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    The one place where I don't think computers are worth the trouble is in transmissions, particularly in dozers. Why go to all the expense of integrating a computer into a power shift transmission which really only locks into a gear. What possible fuel advantage is there to adding speed sensors and an autoshift, especially when they are the usual failure points.

    Dozers are a rough application anytime and now we have added a bunch of delicate components and wiring harnesses that have a finite shelf life and degrade in oil or fuel. It seems to me that the marketing people wanted to say their machines were space age and the engineering people wanted to prove that it could be done. I have not found any end users that are satisfied with the electronics in their dozers.

    Any other thoughts or experiences?
     
  16. Countryboy

    Countryboy Senior Member

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    Welcome to HEF klyons! :drinkup
     
  17. Dwan Hall

    Dwan Hall Senior Member

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    The new Volvo L60F I am looking at has the option of talking to Volvo INC. anytime it wants to Telling them ware it is at (gps) and what it is doing, with all the other information about the machine. Oil preasure, temp, rpm, what gear it is in, inside cab temp, hours on machine, wether it is upside down or right side up, etc). Then Volvo can call or e-mail me when it is time to change oil.

    I don't think I am going to order that option.

    Personaly I like computer in equipment. I just got a line striper for parking lots that has a computer onboard that figures ow thick I am applying the paint to the ground. and it puts marks down ware to start and stop when striping. I have cut the time it takes to layout a new parking lot by over 75% over what it use to take me with a calculator, tape measure and chalk. now instead of 4 hours it is done in less then 1 hour. Ya I like computers on equipment.
     
  18. ongrademike

    ongrademike Member

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    My company purchased a Komatsu 300 lc 7 excavator with the komtrax gps sytem on it. It is a nice feature to have for service schedules,fuel consumption,error codes and it also can be tracked if ever stolen like lo-jack. The thing I don't like is the boss loves to look up on the computer joke around about how many hours it works a day when I am in the office! I know it is easy enough to block the antenna like satelite radio but i have nothing to hide.lol
     
  19. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    That reminds me of a funny/embarrasing story. I rented a 325CL one time for some truck loading. Shut the machine down and went to lunch, when I came back the machine ran fine for a few minutes, then lost power and some of the boom/stick/bucket functions. I thought to myself great, I have all these trucks to load and the computer went down - also being relieved it was a rental and it was their problem. This is the funny part - I called the Cat service guys to explain the problem and they came up with "we need to send a tech out". After that frustrating phone call with the service guys I call my salesman - which is also my heavy equip. rental guy. After explaining the situation he says look under the seat, there is a limp mode switch and check it. Well there were some water bottles as well as some other discarded items behind the seat that engaged the limp mode switch. I flipped the switch while still on the phone with my salesman who then said " you dumbxxx - they all have them". Now understand my salesman is also a drinking buddy so he got away with that.:rolleyes: Plus I felt pretty dumb myself - but remember the service department was sending a tech out.

    Gotta love machines with computers!:pointhead