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Old 07-17-2007, 09:38 PM
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Drive by Wire

This question/issue may be a little off base for this site, but I'm hoping I can find some info about using "drive by wire" technology.
I have a son who is trying to learn to drive from a wheelchair, and we are finding the hand controls pretty hard for him to master. The brake is not too difficult, as it's a push rod directly connected to the brake pedal. But the throttle is controlled on the same lever, by pushing downward, which actuates the gas pedal, and there's a spring, and a couple of levers to overcome.
He (and I) tend to have to press hard to get over the initial resistance, causing the car to lurch forward, and it's tiring to maintain a constant cruising speed. Plus using the same handle is confusing. Something like a motorcycle style throttle, or a jet-ski type thumb control would seem more logical.
I've read a number of articles about cars that are now using "drive by wire" for steering assist, and also replacing throttle cables, etc.
Looks like this could be a street rod application, as you could put the "gas" pedal anywhere, or even use a joystick type control, or steering wheel ring, etc., and could clean up the firewall.
Any info or help with any parts or aftermarket kits, etc., would be appreciated.
Thanks, Larry

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Old 07-17-2007, 09:53 PM
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Doc here,

Let me think on this for awhile...

Home brew about something like a Throttle solenoid, (mounted on the rear of the carb, pulling toward the firewall) .. Controlled By a "Tightly " adjusted Micro Switch on the brake pedal extension Shaft.

When ANY downward force is applied on the brake at all, the solenoid is activated , pulling the throttle all the way back to idle...until such time as the brake is Full off again..

You would also need some type of a Solenoid "override" be safe..

Another Thought comes to mind..something like a "Line lock " system but for all four brakes ... The car Would Raise..(if throttled enough) But not move or "lunge"..

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Old 07-19-2007, 12:06 AM
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Old 07-19-2007, 06:57 AM
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I've thought about this myself too. On my new Ford Fusion, the throttle is electronic. The foot pedal is basically a sensor like a throttle position sensor. The actuator on the throttle body is basiclly a cruise controll unit. That way only one cable goes to the throttle body. (I'm making some assumptions here, but I think that's the basic idea)

So, I'm thinking if I take a throttle position sensor and somehow wire it to a cruise control motor, the you could have a cableless throttle with just a coulpe wires needed. Opens up a lot of possibilities.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:41 AM
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really need to move to newer technologies to get what you want.
but yes ford has gone to fly by wire throttles bmw and benz have gone to electric brake boosters.
adapting a ford 3 valve v8(f150 and mustangs) to your hot rod would be a good thing. they are pretty cheap and can be had with all the stuff to get it to work. than you could just make you steering wheel mounted throttle control. if you have a decent electronics genius around who could build you a circuits box control unit to actuate the brakes and install one of the servo assisted brake setup you would be a millionaire, after DOT testing is paid for. and doing the same for the electronic throttle. about the only draw back i could see would be a brush ring on the steering wheel. maybe blue tooth type setup there?
otherwise my paraplegic friends all have used hand controls. we even made neon race ready for a friend who used to race the neon super cup.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:44 AM
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In the world of industrial automation there are things called "encoders" that can relay the position of a shaft, (such as might be hooked to a brake pedal or throttle), and then there are things called "stepper motors" that can produce movement and stop and hold position.

These setups are used in countless mechanisms all around us.
Sattelite dishes, medical equipment, auto focus cameras....

These are available in 12 volt DC, (as well as MANY other voltages and AC too.), and have resolutions of anywhere from just a few positions to being able to sense and position to within seconds of a degree..

There are also some pretty strong linear actuators that can be fitted with linear encoders, so as to provide a feedback that can make accurate positioning of heavy loads possible.

( that's basically how the little "manual" control knob on a CNC mill works)

The use of these controls usually need some type of microprocesser to interpret the commands, but I'll bet there are some that can be stand alone units as well.

Check with some of the automation control companies and see what's out there. Google some of the things I've mentioned and a whole bunch of stuff will come up.

I know that TRW makes some "steer by wire" steering systems that are self contained. Here is a link to a PDF from TRW about their systems.

Here is a thread about electronic power steering as well.
electronic power steering

In that one it discusses the Flaming River electronic steering setup.

And as seriousracer mentioned, you need to check with your local DOT for approval of the use of these devices.

I know there are a bunch of laws already in place regarding conversion of controls in vehicles.

Hope all that helps.

Later, mikey
my signature lines...not really directed at anyone in particular..

BE different....ACT normal.

No one is completely useless..They can always be used as a bad example
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