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Old 15th May 2015, 14:21   #61
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

This sure is an interesting concept. But I would say the success of such an e-clutch would really boil down to cost. I feel 20k is too much for a system like this when you can get an AMT @ 30 - 40k. Remember, the AMT gives you both options of manual as well as auto modes.

I assume there is a lot of programming involved to develop this ECM; in the sense there should be an electronic board with lots of codes written into it, correct? I can't think of any other means for the system to decide when to and when not to engage the clutch. And if you need "half-clutch" features, that would make the programming even more complicated. And the only benefit which you get is a pedal-less shift. The strain on your left hand still exists.

Alternate proposal:
Why can't they go for a simple electrically actuated clutch? That is, have a normal clutch pedal but instead of using hydraulics, use electrical signals to engage and disengage the clutch. The following could be the advantages of such a system:
1. Drivers who are used to MT can still comfortably drive the vehicle
2. The load on the pedal can be reduced drastically (I mean how hard would you need to press in order to activate a switch?)
3. Drivers still get control on the clutch (half-clutch, etc) so no issue of roll-back
4. Reduction in the development cost for the electronics (a simple system could do away with the complicated programming required) and thus probably reduced price for the final product.

I know such electrically actuated clutch pedals are being tried (or already in use) in Europe.

@Noopster: Do you know if these trials/demos are still on? I would love to have a feel of such a system in person.
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Old 15th May 2015, 15:51   #62
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Talking Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

@noopster A very professional post! Covers every little detail.

I normally drive a torque-converter AT, but this morning I drove my M800. I must say that it was more fun driving the M800, and I kept thinking about your post.

I did try out the Autoclutch around 2003, but it was just a test drive and it was too short to form an opinion.

The AMT is impressive, though not very smooth and I hope this aspect will improve in future.

Not having the clutch pedal will take a few days to get used to. I have several times forgotten to press the clutch when I first start a manual car in the morning. (such as when moving a neighbour's car out of the way), especially if have not driven a standard stick-shift for a while. But this has not happened while actually driving, maybe due to the unique environment it presents. Need to train that muscle memory, I guess (read: electric shock treatment ).

While enthusiasts may not like the ECM, I have every reason to believe that a proven ECM (to counter the 'kitna deti hai' and 'market mey naya hai' crowd) will have a large number of people go for it, if the cost is reasonable. When was the last time you saw people asking for the points and condenser ignition? Or even a carburetor? I am quite OK with my AT, even though I'm aware that it is needlessly churning the ATF at the signal or when it is crawling along.

Most likely, the people who graduate from the CVT scooters would gladly adopt it (If the full AMT was not within reach). This is not the same as the TVS Jive, which was a mechanical clutchless system.

Those not mechanically inclined would prefer this. but there has to be a clear advantage over AMT - financially and in terms of reliability and fuel efficiency.

Driving a manual can get tiring in a small car as many have pointed out and the main culprit is the clutch.

It is quite a different story with the diehard enthusiast, who can sense the system doing things sub-optimally and yearns for better control. In this case may be the ECM can provide an 'override' allowing for 'full manual', with maybe the option of a 'power assisted' clutch.

My opinion is that, the ECM has to be marketed properly. The ECM will be a complete failure if it is marketed like the LPG/CNG kits. For the enthusiast crowd, it would have to do the engaging and disengaging flawlessly in every possible situation (if it has not reached this level of refinement, this crowd must be dissuaded from buying the ECM). For businesses, the financial angle would be paramount and for those who just want the convenience, the ECM manufacturer must offer to stand by its product and even offer a money-back guaranty if the product fails for any reason in anything less than 10 years.

There! - now all I want is to test drive this system!
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Old 16th May 2015, 21:11   #63
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post

I'd already made my opinions about the ECM quite obvious by then- here's a quick summary:
  • Confusing as heck- am I driving an MT or an AT?
  • Lack of fully automatic mode is (literally) a pain
  • Perception of luxury associated with ATs will not spill over to these
  • Too little too late
Hi, another query from my side. Did the car throttle-blip while downshifting ? I am asking this because incase of a car with clutch, I can blip the throttle when downshifting while I depress the clutch. Will I have to stop at neutral in case of ECM while going down a gear?(e.g. 4-N-3) I know this doesn't apply every day, but hey, I do like to heel-toe once in a while.

Also regarding the benefit for commercial vehicles, doesn't a sequential gearbox ( like a motorcycle or an F1 car) make more sense? You just need clutch to move from stand-still or when stopping.

I'm quoting the following from wikipedia:

Quote:
A true sequential transmission will very often use dog clutch engagement rather than the more usual synchromesh as fitted to a normal H-pattern road car gearbox. Engagement using dogs only requires a very brief interruption of engine torque to complete a shift into any adjacent gear. This allows shifting between gears without the use of the clutch. The clutch would normally be used only for standing starts.
Not only does it require less space, it is impossible to mis-shift on a sequential gearbox. Disadvantages are that you can not skip a gear e.g. 4-2, you will have to do 4-3-2.

I do not know the costs involved in developing a sequential transmission, if it is expensive then it doesn't make sense pondering over this issue. The AMT is certainly better with regards to cost as well as the fact that it can be retrofitted over the existing gearboxes.
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Old 17th May 2015, 14:10   #64
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

@noopster this was a thoroughly enjoyable post - informative, thorough and well written

I am baffled by the concept though; it almost seems as if it this was designed to wean people off manual in an effort to transition customers to a conventional automatic transmissions ?

The thought of having to manually shift gears using a stick after having invested in a vehicle thats "automatic" seems counter intuitive. I agree with many previous posts that attribute the tedious nature of a manual transmission to the frequent clutch depressions required - but your arms do the bear the brunt as well, especially in smaller cars where you need to shift gear every time traffic slows you down.

I just can't wrap my head around this offering.
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Old 17th May 2015, 19:09   #65
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeff

Thanks for that review Noopster. After reading through all the posts and opinions here, I think most of are thinking in context of what we have learned and what we expect.

But if I step out a little and think about my better half who has always had problems with clutch, gear and accelerator, then I feel that this might be a great solution at minimal additional cost. And If we were to include the next generation, more likely to learn driving in an AMT/AT, then this would still work for them given that their muscle memory is zero.

On the whole, I think this technology has potential given the cost but Schaeffler/Bosch etc. need to target the right audience, which is the A/B segment first car buyers or maybe even tie up with True Value/Hyundai Advantage and add this to used cars so that first time car buyers get used to this and make this the defacto standard for shifting.
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Old 10th June 2015, 23:33   #66
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeffler

Years ago, I used to think that a manual gear box with an auto clutch would be the best of all worlds, but, reading the review, it actually seems to be the worst.

By the way, on a light note, I not ice in the first picture, a button marked "Shift Lock." Does that mean one can drive that car ALL IN CAPS?
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Old 11th June 2015, 00:16   #67
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeffler

On the same light note, Yes Thad! the shift lock when at off will change P-R-N-D-2-L to p-r-n-d-2-l.

A noob question from a stick shift user,
1. Does shift lock operate only for gears in 1-2-3 in say 5 speed gears? and does it work only in D mode or in 2/L mode as well?
2. Does having shift lock on the passenger side not pose inconvenience to users? No matter how infrequent the usage may be?

Last edited by DWind : 11th June 2015 at 00:18.
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Old 11th June 2015, 04:57   #68
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeffler

The solution to the My Left Foot syndrome could be a dummy clutch pedal, but I am not sure if it would be wise. If the ECM failed, a driver would expect the clutch pedal to work, and then find out (or remember) that it's just a dummy!
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Old 1st July 2015, 15:30   #69
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Default Re: Driven: Swift with Electronic Clutch Management (ECM). And some other ATs with Schaeffler

Wouldn't this system be better? It seems to automate clutchless shifting.
http://flatshifter.com/technical/
Quote:
Flatshifter Technical Explanation

The gear shifts are detected by the Flatshifter gear shift sensor which is fitted in place of the existing gear shift rod,.or in the gear shift linkage This senses the force and direction applied to the gear lever and passes a signal back to the control unit every time the gear lever is operated.

Gear

Shift

Sensor

When the gear lever is operated in the up shift direction the shift rod sends a signal to the control unit when a pre-set amount of force has been applied to the gear lever. The control unit momentarily ‘kills’ the engine by disconnecting the ignition coils or fuel injection, removing the torque from the gearbox and allowing the gears to move, giving a virtually instant gear shift.
The control unit then re-connects the supply allowing the engine to run again. The kill time is typically around 60ms but may be adjusted on the control unit. The control unit also has a 250ms lockout time immediately after the kill time to prevent multiple triggering caused by bumpy road surfaces or friction in the gear linkage. Shifts can be made smoothly and quickly at part or full throttle.
By operating the gear lever in the downshifting direction, the patented throttle blip system allows a smooth downshift to be made at all speeds without the need for a slipper clutch.

The downshift actuator spindle replaces the original engine idle adjuster screw, and provides a precise throttle-blip of the correct level to ensure a smooth downshift (up to 4 in 1 second.) The system has a built-in inhibitor which helps prevent rear wheel locking or engine damage caused by shifting down at too high engine speed.
The Flatshifter Auto Throttle Blip down shifter employs a patented system which powers and automatically regulates down shifting using engine vacuum. The operation of the system is based on the principle that engine inlet manifold vacuum is approximately proportional to engine load when a vehicle is coasting with the throttle closed.
The throttle blip control box houses a valve which, when triggered by the main control box, feeds a timed and regulated pulse of engine vacuum to the throttle blipper which in turn blips the throttle by a controlled amount depending on engine load and rpm.
This gives seamless automatic control downshifts at all speeds with only one variable adjuster which varies the level of blip to suit the drivers preference from aggressive to passive downshifting and everything in-between. The system has a built-in maximum blip limit to prevent over-revving when downshifts are made too quickly by inhibiting gear-lever movement until the engine rpm has fallen to a safe level for the next downshift.


The Flatshifter Auto Throttle Blip down shifter employs a patented system which powers and automatically regulates downshifting using engine vacuum.
The operation of the system is based on the principle that engine inlet manifold vacuum is approximately proportional to engine load when a vehicle is coasting with the throttle closed.
The throttle blip control box houses a valve which, when triggered by the main control box, feeds a timed and regulated pulse of engine vacuum to the throttle blipper which in turn blips the throttle by a controlled amount depending on engine load and rpm.
This gives seamless automatic control downshifts at all speeds with only one variable adjuster which varies the level of blip to suit the drivers preference from aggressive to passive downshifting and everything in-between. The system has a built-in maximum blip limit to prevent over-revving when downshifts are made too quickly by inhibiting gear-lever movement until the engine rpm has fallen to a safe level for the next downshift.
Installation is simple as the shifter does not require a gear position indicator or engine and wheel speed sensors or even a computer to set everything up. The throttle blipper replaces either the idle control screw or the redundant closing throttle cable on fly-by-wire engines.
This down shifter is uncomplicated, compact, light weight, and because it is powered by engine vacuum it is very fast with the capability of up to four downshifts per second.
The system is incorporated into the Flatshifter Expert and Pro shifter kits or can be supplied for downshift-only as the Flatshifter ‘Blip’ kit.
Installation is simple as the shifter does not require a gear position indicator or engine and wheel speed sensors or even a computer to set everything up. The throttle blipper replaces either the idle control screw or the redundant closing throttle cable on fly-by-wire engines. This down shifter is uncomplicated, compact, light weight, and because it is powered by engine vacuum it is very fast with the capability of up to four down shifts per second.
Flatshifter lets you concentrate on your driving not on adjustments.

The control unit also provides a visual LED indication of gearshift and an audible bleep to help speed up the initial installation, setting up and testing of the system.
Flatshifter Pro and Expert provide full or part throttle clutch less up-shifts and downshifts, Blip system enables clutchless down shifts only, Flatshifter Club provides full or part throttle clutch less up-shifts only.
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