The joys of finding a single wire…

Posted on March 28th, 2004 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

Today I spent nearly six hours trying to find a wire. Odd, you say? Wasn’t there plenty of wire available at the local electronics store…cable, even? Well there was, but this particular wire was contained in the loom of a car. And the wire that I was looking for had a very specific signal on it. It was the speedo input on a mid-Eighties BMW735i.

It had all seemed easy enough…

Part of the very exciting range of DIY automotive electronics kits I am developing with magazine is a speedo interceptor. It’s a small box of tricks that will let you adjust your speedo reading up or down, giving you the facility to not only correct errors but also make appropriate changes when the gearing of the car has been altered. The concept is easy – it’s just a frequency-altering device – but as always, actually developing the kit has been another ballgame altogether.

So the module that today I was trying to fit is actually the second prototype. The difficulties with the first design came about when it was realised that there’s a whole host of different design speed sensors, and if the kit was to have any pretence of being universal in application, it was going to need to be able to be configured to work with all those sensors. Not to mention, be happy working into the speedo or the ECU.

The first design came and went, then electronics designer John Clarke completed the second iteration. And it looks a beauty – you can digitally increase or reduce the speedo reading in 1 per cent increments, simply by turning two multi-position switches. So if you alter the diff ratio so it’s 10 per cent taller, you simply alter the speedo correction by the same 10 per cent.

A week of cars

Posted on March 14th, 2004 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

Our recent editorial trip to Melbourne (well, recent as I am writing this), resulted in Michael Knowling and me driving a huge variety of cars – literally, from a 512TR Ferrari to a Japanese Domestic Market grey-import Toyota Hiace Super Custom Limited. In between there was the incredible APS Stage III (Phase III? whatever…), a Lancer Evo 7 and a current model 4.6-litre factory blown V8 Mustang.

We’ll cover (or have already covered) all these cars in full AutoSpeed stories, but here are some of my thoughts…

The APS car is the most impressive straightline street performer I have ever had the pleasure of steering.

You’ll have already read about the car in AutoSpeed but I gotta reiterate that the APS Stage III Falcon XR6 Turbo is really Something Else. Here is a car that in traffic is literally as docile as any ol’ auto-trans XR6 T, but with the foot down even half-way, can obliterate pretty well every other car on the road.

Push the throttle to the floor and it’s a case of feeling yourself flung towards the horizon. Get on the gas at 100 km/h and the nose perceptibly rises, the boost builds and – whoosh! – you’re gone. From one hundred kilometres an hour to 200 kilometres an hour takes, well, about as long as to read part-way into this sentence.

Figures? We’ve already run them but to remind you, try 327kW at the back treads, a standing quarter in the mid-Elevens, and a predicted kit cost of about AUD$9000.