Diagnostics and Communications in Vehicle Control Systems Using Smart Power ICs 940627
The increasing complexity in automotive systems is resulting in the need for more extensive diagnostics and protection, especially at the output (high stress) portion of the system. These diagnostics are inputs to the vehicle control system which can provide an immediate indication to the driver of the need for servicing and store information for subsequent interrogation by service diagnostic equipment. This paper will present techniques for fault protection, diagnosing faults and obtaining bidirectional communication between various vehicle loads and microcontrollers (MCUs) in vehicle electronic systems through the use of power ICs (integrated circuits) with embedded sensors. The power handling capability of these devices combined with integrated circuit design allows considerable simplification of printed circuit board layout and reduction in electronic module size, while providing the possibility of sophisticated communications with the MCU.