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Architecture and method for controlling a plurality of combustion engines

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012532D
Publication Date: 2003-May-13
Document File: 2 page(s) / 59K

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The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related Documents

US-6233943-A: PATENT [+5]

Abstract

This document describes a system for controlling a plurality of combustion engines, specifically for industrial or marine applications. The system enables a specific method for controlling the engines and this method is also described.

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Architecture and method for controlling a plurality of combustion engines

This document describes an inventive system for controlling a plurality of combustion engines, specifically for industrial or marine applications. The system enables a specific method for controlling the engines and this method is also described.

Background of the invention

Today it is possible for a main ECU (electronic control unit) to communicate with a plurality of electronic engine control units, which in turn control one engine each. The main ECU, this type of ECU hereinafter called the coordinator, may be used for signals indicating an instantaneous position of an accelerator pedal, a desired total engine torque or a desired engine speed for all the engines etc. The coordinator then handles these signals and transmits separate control signals to each engine control unit. The separate control signals indicate separately to each engine control unit which specific engine output is requested by that specific engine control unit.

At installation of at least one new engine in an already present system, the coordinator generally needs to be reconfigured in order to be adapted for controlling of the new engine configuration. Also in the case of installation of a totally new system, the main ECU has to be adapted for that particular system. Thereby the software in the coordinator has to be flexible and easily amendable in order to suit all the different system configurations desired for each particular application.

Summary of the invention

The object of the system is to provide a flexible engine control architecture for controlling an arbitrary number of engines. This is achieved by enabling a tree structure for the control units as well as the control signals. An embodiment is shown in Fig. 1 and here the control signals always are integrated from two inputs all the way up to a top coordinator 1a, which generates a master signal dependent on a desired engine torque, engine speed, accelerator pedal position etc. The tree structure comprises a number of intermediate nodes/coordinators 1b between the top coordinator and the engine control units 2. Here the top coordinator 1a is connected to two intermediate coordinators. These two intermediate coordinators are on a level, hereinafter called the second level, below the top coordinator in the tree structure hierarchy and each are connected to two other intermediate coordinators positioned on a third level below the second level. Each coordinator on the third level is each connected to two intermediate coordinators on a fourth level and each coordinator on the forth level is in turn connected to two engine control units positioned on a fifth level, which here is the last level of control units.

Each coordinator is able to multiplex/add two signals from the two nodes, i.e. coordinators or engine control units below said coordinator. The coordinators are also able to forward some of the signals unaffected by the coordinator. The...