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Electronic Control Unit: A Look at Different Types Used In Motor Vehicles

Date Added: July 28, 2009 07:25:48 PM
Category: "E": Electronic Components & Equipment

An electronic control unit or ECU is usually linked to motor vehicles thus making it popular in automotive electronics.  Some may often term it plainly as a control unit or other names such as control module.  Generally, an ECU means a system of controls in order to test and analyze the electrical systems found in motor vehicles.

An electronic control unit is more of a general than a specific term.  This simply means that it has other categories under its banner.  With modern car owners, it is best to know the most common types of ECUs used by the automotive industry to make each motor vehicle serve its real purpose.  The list includes engine control units, transmission control units and airbag control units.

Engine control units

Sometimes, an engine control unit is also abbreviated as ECU.  Specifically, this part of modern cars is used in order to control engines through employing techniques that will determine the amount of fuel that the motor vehicle has.  It is also essential in controlling the timing and ignition of these engines through the use of sensors and basic reading values.  Other functions of the engine control unit include controls for idle speed and variable valve timings.  Most modern cars already have programmable types and are highly significant when car owners want to modify the vehicle's old engine.

Transmission control unit

This is another electronic control unit for motor vehicles that are critical in controlling automatic transmissions of modern electronics.  It makes use of sensors of the vehicle and its corresponding engine control unit.  The transmission control unit calculates when or how a person should change gears.  This is important to make the shift quality better and to provide increased fuel economy.  Both of these things are vital for the automobile to reach its optimum performance.  Transmissions have changed from hydromechanical controls to a more updated version that has electronic controls.  One of the most important changes in this type of ECU is the transmission solenoid.

Airbag control unit

Simply known as an airbag, this part of electronic cars is known as one of the passive safety devices.  These are known as inactive counterparts of seatbelts.  When used by vehicle owners, the airbag control unit becomes an active part of the vehicle as well.

Other types

Aside from the three main types of ECUs, there are others one must take note of.  The list includes the telephone control unit, man machine interface, door and seat control units and the speed control unit.  The enumeration for an electronic control unit for any vehicle will not be complete without the body control module which is essential in controlling door locks, windows and courtesy lights.


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