1996-02-01

A New Way of Trouble Shooting the Wire Harness - From Drawing Board to Service Rack 960394

Failures in automobile cable harnesses account for at least 30%of all automotive electronics failures, and contribute over 50% of the electronic control modules (ECUs) returned to the factory and marked “no trouble found.”This paper discusses the use of Wave Signature Analysis (WSA) and Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR)1 to detect actual and potential failures in cable harnesses. “Failures” here include not only the normal faults of the harness, connectors, sensors, and actuators, but also the loading effects and variability of wires that induce failures in ECUs. The technique can be employed throughout the cycle of harness life -- design and characterization, production testing, and diagnosis in the service bay.Solving these interconnect problems in the automobile will result in faster prototype development, better assembly line testing, and more accurate service diagnosis. The technology can either be employed as a stand-alone system or incorporated directly into the ECU module.

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