Honda "Drive by Wire" question... what if the power goes out?

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On 12/28/05 2:21 PM, in article GtCsf.11074$ snipped-for-privacy@newsread2.news.atl.earthlink.net, "Elle"


This all sounds right at face value, until you look at that new Nissan, or Honda, or Toyota and note that they are all built in US plants using > 90% US content by US workers. I don't think healthcare is the real issue.
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snip--Look back. :-)

That's a good point, but as I think I pointed out earlier in the thread, Time magazine in its Dec. 5th issue had an article on GM and pointed out that Honda or Toyota's (can't remember which) health care cost per car for its much younger work force was only about $300. Compare this to the IIRC roughly $1500 per car that goes for health care for GM's workforce (including retirees).
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E Meyer wrote:

they dont have all the retirees... yet. and the workers make sub-UAW wages, which isnt necessarily a bad thing.
if GM hadnt kept giving outrageous executive pay and bonuses, the UAW wouldnt have asked for (and gotten) all those wage increases. someone had to draw the line somewhere, and it might take bankruptcy court to settle the whole thing.
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All good points about which I had been wondering as well.
The Time magazine article also pointed out that GM (and I think Ford) too were selling their cars at relatively huge discounts the last few years. Whereas Honda and Toyota cars have been in such demand that they go for a premium. (Which I guess means consistently higher than invoice or far more over invoice than GM and Ford cars.) So the GM and Ford profit for each car sold tends to be lower.
Sorta blows away my theory that Americans are jerks about buying small, fuel efficient cars, though. They do buy them.
Elle Hoping to buy some Honda stock in the next year or so. Doggone Toyota stock has just about gone through the roof but still may be a good investment, if GM goes under.
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Elle wrote:

if youre looking to invest to actually MAKE some money, i think ford is undervalued.
yes- theyre in the same boat as GM, but theyre smaller and easier to turn around.
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If you mean check it's P/E (particularly the expected, next year's P/E) and make sure it's low, sure, that's one so-called stock fundamental to check. Ford's P/E is low at the moment. But, as you may be aware, this is one of dozens of company fundamentals that an astute investor should check. I often go next to the earnings history. In fact, Ford's annual earnings were in negative territory in the last five years, and are otherwise erratic. If you're interested, see the chart in the lower right of http://quicktake.morningstar.com/Stock/Snapshot.asp?CountryUSA&Symbol=F&stocktab=snapshot&pgid=qtqnnavsnapshot for the earnings trend in the last five years. Type in HMC for Honda or TM for Toyota, and compare their earnings trends. Also, compare to a huge conglomerate like GE or the soda pop company Coca-cola KO.
Then too simple realities like Ford bonds are now rated at the junk level make its stock an easy rejection. Not to be obnoxiously pedantic, but for the interested student, this means professional business analysts have gone over a company's fundamentals (prospects for making profit!) with a fine tooth comb and ruled the company in deep doo-doo, at significantly greater risk of going bankrupt compared to, say, a company like Honda these days.

Both are too risky for my blood at this time. That took some hard experience in investing to realize--I did own some Ford stock a few years ago! Coulda timed it and come out ahead, but you know how that goes. Likewise, one could buy some Ford stock today, like you suggest, and try to time it. But it really could go under. It's even more likely today than a few years ago. It's for gamblers, or people that want to put a very small portion of their portfolio in risky stocks, in the hope it will go up and provide a little gain. But they can also sustain the loss of the company going under, and the stock becoming worthless.
I also had some GMAC bonds (a subsidiary of GM) a few years ago. Pre-junk rating. They paid a nice interest rate, matured and all was swell. But today any GMAC bond available is rated junk. The yield is great, but they're high risk.
Of course, I know reputable people who say there is a fair chance the government would bail out either GM or Ford and not let them go under. Point being to spare the drag on the economy all these folks out of work etc. would be, I suppose. But then that may be seen to unfairly stifle companies producing a good product, like Honda and Toyota.
So we'll see. For me, I want stock in products I know people like and that are quality. Ford and GM once were. No more. Onto Honda and Toyota.
Back to the fun, substantive stuff that makes us all go "Whish, vroom, putt-putt-putt-putt... "
Elle (Gonna lay off poor Elliott, too.)
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SoCalMike wrote:

Smaller is a highly relative term here. Ford is a massive company both in North America and globally. The first obvious action Ford needs to take is to stop putting money down the Jaguar sink-hole, but instead Ford just put another $2.1 billion into Jaguar.
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=marketsNews&storyID 05-12-23T110104Z_01_L23231860_RTRIDST_0_AUTOS-FORD-JAGUAR-UPDATE-2.XML
John
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John Horner wrote:

http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=marketsNews&storyID 05-12-23T110104Z_01_L23231860_RTRIDST_0_AUTOS-FORD-JAGUAR-UPDATE-2.XML

dunno if jaguar is that much of a sinkhole. mebbe i should read the link, huh?
before the ford buyout, jags were extremely pricey and had a completely lousy reputation. now, hell- anyone could afford one! taurus guts underneath, FWIW. i see a lot more of em on the road than i used to, also. and they also managed to keep jags looking like jags.
and then theres GM/saab. ugh. rebadged crap from a once quirky company. even a rebadged subie, fer chrissakes.
i still say ford can turn it all around way before GM. yes, therye massive, but not as huge as GM and with a bit less baggage and a bit better reputation.
GM needs a LOT of help and should get rid of at *least* one US division entirely. id suggest losing the chevy truck line, badge em all GMC, and get rid of buick.
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E Meyer wrote:

The transplant factories employee mostly younger workers and have almost no retirees on the books. Healthcare expenses, and healthcare insurance costs, go up exponentially as a person ages.
John
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Yeah, the tundra's great. Unless you need to haul, tow, carry, pull, or otherwise do real work. I can't believe the STUPIDITY of the Japanese makers in trying to get in on the dying tails of the poseur truck market, selling luxury pseudo-trucks to people that need a truck like a hole in the head. Ford, Dodge, and Chevy will always sell their real work trucks to contractors farmers and ranchers, even when the poseur market is gone. Toyota, Nissan, and (especially) Honda with that ridiculous front-drive Ridgeline will have a lot of wasted engineering investment on their hands.
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Elle wrote:
<snip>

Indubitably true.

True again.
But in the comparison of aircraft "fly-by-wire" and the idea of truly analogous automotive "drive-by-wire", the plot tends to get lost.
Aircraft "fly-by-wire" came about to address certain actual, specific issues regarding the rather inmportant goal of keeping an airplane in the air. Automotive "throttle-by-wire" (to coin a more accurate phrase) arose in an attempt at meeting emissions regulations. The difference is fundamental and of great import: One is critical, the other is utterly useless absent its regulatory impetus.
To install true "drive-by-wire" in a road-going automobile on current roads would be astonishingly stupid. Airplanes are not cars and do not live in even remotely the same environment.
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That last comment is a bit too sweeping, or a bit misleading, for me to buy.
Some of the outcomes of reduced emissions regulations have made automobiles less trouble-prone. That's good for the driver-owner.

I agree people are throwing around this phrase very loosely here.
But folks love to kvetch, so... :-)
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Elle wrote:

Then I concentrate it a bit by saying that: airplane fly-by-wire addressed certain laws-of-physics issues that pointed up serious shortcomings in previous control systems. Cable control of the automotive throttle has not that sort of limitation where it would be fundamentally incapable of reliable and durable operation under normal and expected operating conditions. Therefore, replacing a cable with a servomotor in a car does not grant functional improvement to an auto throttle the way a servomotor would to, say, an airplane rudder.
Is that better?

I used to grow weary of replacing the points and condenser every 6,000 miles, so yes, electronic ignition (just to cite one example) has been a boon for the automotive enthusiast who wishes to do something else besides getting a backache and needing to find his bifocals.
However, this convenience comes at quite a price. I remember a points-and-condenser set costing the equivalent of a few dollars. If a modern electronic ignition component fails, you could spend the equivalent of 20-years worth of points-and-condensers replacing it.

This *is* Usenet, after all. Kvetching-R-Us.
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Sure.
I think I would have just said that the demands of operating a plane are quite a bit different from the demands of operating a car. One pushes against air to move; the other pushes against the ground to move, for one.
It was your somewhat disrespecting the outcome of regulatory impetus, as well as ignoring that other improvements not a result of regulation, that seemed to me to be off the mark.
No big deal. Your first post had already reduced the slop in this discussion substantially.

Sure.
Though as an aside, one of the regulars at the Honda newsgroup discovered that the external radio noise condenser some older Hondas have does wear over time and replacing it may improve performance. While it's not located electrically in the exact same place that the old points condenser was located, it does serve a kind of analogous function, protecting, for one, the igniter, just as the old points condenser protected the points, etc.

I'm not sure what a precise cost-benefit (including reliability; that has a pricetag) analysis would yield, but certainly I see your point.
Just that radio noise condenser to which I refer above goes for about $6 today through online Honda OEM parts sites. I'm not sure one can just run over to Radio Shack and replace it for a lot less.
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<snip>

Not that 6 bucks is all that big a price for a condenser to begin with... (Or was that your whole point? I haven't been following this thread closely since finding out that "drive-by-wire" actually means "throttle-by-wire" - A rather different beast than the subject line implied.)

I'm sure one can, as long as one defines "a lot" as somewhere in the 2-3 dollar range. It might be a multi-piece unit, and it will have two leads, rather than being the usual "single can with a wire hanging out" style, but when you get right down to it, a capacitor of the right value is a capacitor of the right value, regardless of form-factor or common-use name.
Given the value (mF/pF & voltage rating - prolly find it easily in the service manual - You *DO* have the service manual for your vehicle, right?) of the condenser on your Honda, you've got all the information you need to get one or more - depends on whether the target value is a standard size or not - capacitors that will replace it just fine, even though they might look a bit "odd" for an automotive application. :) They'll be functional, though, and that's what I'd be caring about. I'd expect that rat-shack would have them for around 2-3 bucks. Sure, the "real" one is easier to wire into the system, and might be "prettier" to a purist's eye, but the rat-shack one will work just the same once you get it in place, which would be my main concern if I was needing to be pinching pennies hard enough to go to the effort.
Going back to the "drive/throttle-by-wire" concept for a bit...
I could cope with throttle-by-wire - if, AND ONLY IF, it used a failsafe of "total driver control of the throttle", and when in operation, it confined its "modification" of my input to (brace yourself for the run-on-quotated-phrase from hell :) ) "OK, you just stomped it to the floor - That's fine, but since we're only turning "X" revs and I see we're in "Y"th gear, I can calculate that opening the throttle all the way will just dump "Z" amount of gas out the tailpipe unburned as we rev up to speed, so what I'll do is I'll actually only open the throttle "T" amount, which is optimal to increase "R" from the current value for <set of current operating conditions> without pouring that gas out the tailpipe, and I'll continuously recalculate and apply that "T" value to the throttle based on a new <set of current operating conditions> sampled every "M" milliseconds until either the throttle is fully open, or you let up on the pedal to a point at or below the current throttle position, whichever comes first"
<INHALE!>
<Whew!>
Any application of drive-by-wire that involves steering or braking is something I don't want any part of. As I said previously, I demand total, godlike control of my vehicle when I'm at the controls - Aside from the case stated above, I don't need or want a computer second-guessing my inputs - If my input says "put it on the locks to the left", I want the wheels turned to the locks on the left. I don't CARE if you think that's unsafe, Mr. Computer - Just MAKE IT HAPPEN. Your calculations may very well show that doing so will send the car into an out-of-control skid to the left. That's fine. Maybe that's *EXACTLY* what I'm counting on in order to avoid running over that kid that just jumped out in front of me. Ditto ABS - Mr. Computer says "You're braking too hard! You're gonna skid! Here, lemme just pump that real fast for you so you don't break traction." What if I'm *TRYING* to break traction for some reason that your little electronic pea-brain just plain isn't equipped to comprehend, let alone react to? What if that reason involves the difference between whether I break traction and spin out to come to a stop just before going over the 400 foot drop, or knowing that I braked smoothly and without loss of traction until a point about 30 feet beyond the edge of the dropoff? Uh-uh... when it comes to steering and braking, just DO WHAT I SAID AND DO IT NOW!
As someone else said, though, steering has been refined over the years, as have braking systems, so that both are highly reliable (given proper service, of course) and both responsive to user input in all but catastrophic failure situations, and give the operator good-to-excellent feedback when power-assisted. The considerations that make "fly-by-wire" a must-have (or even "just desirable") for some aircraft don't exist in cars, and no "drive-by-wire" control is needed unless one wishes to fully automate the driving (Thinking in terms of the "Autodrive" feature in the cars of the future from "Demolition Man"), which is something that I personally think is still a good many years beyond the reach of current technology and AI methods.
Or, more tersely: "It ain't broke. Why are we trying to fix it?"
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Don Bruder wrote:

it's 0.47 microfarads. the oem part is $27 with all the wiring and harness that accompanies it.

why on earth would you want that? have you ever driven a diesel? a diesel driver has no direct control over fuel injection whatsoever - it's all delegated to the govenor, either old mechanical or modern electronic. can't say i've met a diesel driver that ever had their panties in a bunch about it the way you all have.
the biggest single advantage for fly-by-wire throttle control in a car is the ability to impliment F1 style shifting on the steering wheel. the day i can get that in a honda [that i can fit in] is the day i retire my 89 civic hatch.

steering wheel? how about hand crank starting? bias ply tires? rod brakes?
fly-by-wire engine control is simply the next logical step. why shift an automatic under full power if you don't have to? it's bad for the transmission, the rest of the power train, the engine mountings, and gives a lurchy ride to the occupants. the current "fudge" of this is to retard ignition timing so that power drops on shift, but it still burns full power gas. that's dumb if you can properly de-throttle and speed up the shift at the same time - and that can be achieved with fly-by-wire.
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I meant that I would think the points and condenser assembly today was more than a few bucks. More like at least $20. OTOH, I've never put my hands on these and certainly never went shopping for them. I'm only going by what simple mechanical parts for my 91 Civic go for. Now I could google and either quickly prove myself wrong--that points and condensers remain so common today they're dirt cheap--or I would find I'm correct. Don't know. Don't care. We're not doing a detailed analysis of anything here and so there is no learning going on. Just people posting crap off the top of their heads.

Yes.
What do *YOU* think?
It's 0.47 microfarad on the cars that have them. You *DO* know how I found this, right? No, you don't. I haven't a service manaul. I'm amazingly smart and know where to find info like this.
snip stuff that's a best guess and I'd just have to double check anyway, if I were in the market for this condenser, which I'm not, because my Civic's radio noise condenser is built-in to the igniter.
snip the dilettante stuff
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Don Bruder wrote:

I don't recall exact pricing any more, but the Kettering points-and-condenser set used to be one of those very cheap things you could buy for your car, probably because so very many were made and sold every day of the week.
I'm vaguely remembering the set was close to the cost of an oil filter. And if you had only one set of points (some cars had two) and were not swapping the condenser this time around, it got even cheaper.
Anyone with a better memory?
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Don Bruder wrote:

So why did humans move out of caves?
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How many layers of gold leaf are you planning on putting on that turd?
In other words, Sparky, take your specious "If it isn't the newest, bestest, fastest, it must be garbage", and the implied "If you aren't using the newest/fastest/bestest, you're too stupid to move out of a cave" crap and stick it where the sun don't shine. Something being *ABLE* to be improved doesn't imply a need, or even a desirability, for the improvement to happen - Only the possibility of doing so. Also phrased as "just because it's the hot new thing doesn't mean it's any good." - Ever heard of Thalidomide? And the results of using it?
Things as they stand in automotive technology, are quite functional now. Further development, while being *POSSIBLE*, is neither required, nor in some cases, desirable, for many currently in-use automotive systems.
An old programmer's line: "A program is never *DONE*, but you do have to ship it sooner or later."
In other words, there's the choice between continuing to hang bells and whistles (needed or not) off the program, and actually getting it to the customer - *ANY* program can be tweaked and tuned and fiddled with until doomsday, if desired. But somewhere, somebody has to step in and say "Hey! We've gotta ship this thing if we wanna eat!"
Cars have reached that point. Particularly the control systems. The next major change in vehicle systems won't come until the day that we can make *100 PERCENT* reliable, sentient machines that can respond to a situation as well as or better than a human *EVERY SINGLE TIME*. At which point, cars will be ready to go to "full auto drive". Until the "Eureka Moment" that shows us how to make things absolutely infallible happens, I'll continue to be a luddite and insist on purely mechanical/hydraulic control of my brakes and steering, *WITHOUT* any input from a computer, thanks.
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