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On Mon, 2013-06-10 at 11:02 -0700, Girvin R. Herr wrote:
And I remember when car owner's manuals were 1/4" thick at the most, and 
large (readable) print.  My 2008 Toyota Prius owner's manual is 3/4" 
thick, small print, and spattered with dire paragraphs about everything 
causing injury or death!  Made me want to turn in my license!  It is not 
a good read and, like your experience, information is not easy to find 
in it.  Oh, and the owner's maintenance manual is a separate manual - 
equally obtuse and with more dire warnings.  Usually, when I get a new 
car, I go to the dealer's parts counter and order the factory shop 
manual for correct maintenance and understanding of what is "under the 
hood".  When I did so for the Prius, the parts counter guy recommended 
not, saying the shop manual is intricately tied to the shop diagnostic 
computer system ($$$$$) and by itself, is not very helpful.  So, i saved 
$100+ for the first time in my shadetree-mechanic career and, also for 
the first time in my decades of car-ownership, take it to the dealer for 
Girvin Herr
Also most mechanics are used to pure gasoline or diesel engines.  I
think many of them inherently distrust the electronics, so it has been a
real uphill battle for them to port some of their existing knowledge to
these new systems.  As to the computer system being the fault detector,
well, I guess that is kind of all of us Techies fault.  Built in
diagnostics for complex systems is a lot of overhead, and of course the
reading of the actual data may or may not be helpful without a deep
understand of how all that information relates to the system operation.
The first answer is of course to have a computer crunch that
information, and with the early car computers, the crunching power is
not there.  Today, I don't think that is true, but history holds us
prisoner sometimes.  

        The fundamental operation of a hybrid may be primarily electric, or
primarily gas.  This view will determine a lot how the parts interrelate
and how the system overall operates.  

        Other decisions, such a regenerative braking, dynamic power allocation,
Battery leveling and other design choices will also affect the
interrelation of the controls.  And then there is the aspect of multiple
computers.  Some cars today have 7 computers that I know about.  Which
ones do what, which sensors each reads and how they share and manipulate
information, if they do at all, also makes a huge difference in
diagnosis of any issue.  Some of these issues will self resolve over
time as designers, engineers and mechanics gain familiarity with what
works and what doesn't.  Over time the solutions will cycle from
complexity to simplicity while performance and efficiency will help form
the engineering boundaries and comfort, and customer perception will
help form the accessibility, reliability and aesthetic boundaries.  

        In short the rate of change is accelerating ;-)  But where the **** is
my flying car????  I want one that shoots down drones and is stealthy
while offering me full internet access. 100mpg wouldn't hurt either.

Les H

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