TideLog Archive for November, 2011

In this article I’ll show you what all the dials and indicators mean in the instrument cluster of Volvo’s EMS (Electronic Multiplex System) v2.0, the symbols, and what they mean. This dash is not just used on Volvo’s B7RLE/B7/9TL buses, it is also used on their range of coaches too, there may be differences, but the specifics are here. Their FH & FM range of trucks have the same indicators and dials, but the cluster layout is different.

A. Oil pressure gauge, engine

This gauge indicates the current engine oil pressure. The needle must not enter the red zone when the vehicle is being driven! This can sometimes be unavoidable on very hot days, but if it does, lower your revs as much as possible to lower the pressure and thus the temperature. The engine can be seriously damaged if oil pressure is lost due to an oil leak for example. This gauge gives a reading when the ignition key is in the drive position.

The LED in the lower left-hand corner lights when the engine control unit sends a low oil pressure signal, no matter what the gauge reads. The STOP exclamation indicator will light if the oil level becomes too low due to a leak, if it does, stop the bus and have it checked. If the bus is driven with a leak and the oil runs out, serious engine seizure and damage will result.

B. Temperature gauge, coolant

This gauge shows the engine coolant temperature. The same procedure above as for the engine oil should be followed.

C. Turbo pressure (boost) gauge

This needle shows how much boost the turbo is giving. Generally it will be higher under heavy acceleration and on hills, but you should not stress it too much otherwise the engine may go into limp home mode, shutting the turbocharger off to protect it from overheating.

D. Display (Infopanel)

This is where everything is displayed. Trip measurement, fuel economy, time/date. It also displays “Check diagnostics for xxx ECU” messages, along with the CHECK light (see J.). Failure icons and messages are also displayed, along with the STOP exclamation triangle (See I.). Info messages are also displayed, with the INFO indicator (See K.)

E. Tachometer

The tachometer displays the current engine speed in revolutions per minute (RPM) from 500 revs to 3,000 revolutions. Engine tickover (idle) speed is around 650rpm, and optimal gear upshift/downshift revs are between 1,000 and 2,000 revs. As always, observe the safety colur band in the rev ranges, and do not go over the yellow range maximum, otherwise engine damage will result.

F. Speedometer

The speedometer (speedo for short) displays the current total vehicle speed in km/h, some UK vehicles have it in mp/h, don’t get the two confused!

G. Fuel gauge

This gauge shows how much fuel you have left in the tank. This relates to single diesel tank fitted buses and trucks. For biodiesel and adblue vehicles, and Volvo vehicles fitted with dual diesel tanks there may be another separate dial. For adblue and biodiesel these are not normally Volvo fitted, but fitted by the body manufacturer or retrofit company to customer order (for buses) or the fleet company (for trucks). For information consult your vehicle documentation or builder.

H. Brake pressure gauges

These dials show the air pressure in the brake cylinders of the system. The pressure must not be allowed to get too low, otherwise brake failure will result. If it gets too low or high a Check Diagnostics warning is displayed in the Infopanel display, and a failure of the system will normally result in the STOP exclamation indicator coming on, in which case the vehicle MUST NOT be driven any further. Damage to the vehicle, other road users, passengers and yourself will result.

I. STOP exclamation indicator

This indicator will illuminate if a CRITICAL failure or other critical event happens, such as engine oil, coolant and/or fuel getting too low, an ECU or CAN/J1939 communications bus failure on the multiplex controller area network electrical system, brake failure, engine failure. If this indicator illuminates, STOP THE BUS IMMEDIATELY and have the cause rectified by an engineer. They, like myself, have the tools, knowledge and software to determine the cause by communicating with the vehicle electrical computer systems to find fault codes that tell us exactly where the fault is.

You MUST get the vehicle towed if this light comes on, for utmost safety. If you’re carrying passengers, make sure they are your first priority. Shut off the engine and use the emergency cutoff switch in the cab if you are worried about fuel or electrical fires or problems, it cuts both off safely. You’d be putting passengers, yourself and road users in extreme danger by driving a possibly seriously faulty vehicle that weighs over 18 – 30 tons by thinking the indicator is coming on for nothing, this is rarely the case. Volvo multiplex systems and control units are very very accurate. I can’t stress it enough.

J. CHECK warning indicator

This indicator comes on when there is a warning condition in one or more electronic control units (ECU’s) in the bus. They are not extreme failures, just friendly warnings that a service is needed. It will illuminate along with the following messages displayed in the Infopanel display:

1. “Check Diagnostics for Brake ECU at next stop”

This is the most common one you’ll see, and it means the brake wear sensors have detected the pads or discs are nearing their wear limit. It will also trigger when slight drops in pressure or leaks occur on the brake air system. Drops in pressure can be determined by ear. Listen to the discharge pattern when the system lets off steam regularly. The system discharges in two stages, two hisses about 2 seconds apart, every 5 or so minutes. If they are too long, too regular, the pressure may need to be looked at. Determine this by reading the pressure gauge in the dash as earlier in the article.

2. “Check Diagnostics for Engine ECU at next stop”

This message appears when a warning is triggered from the engine’s ECU. Situations include engine temperature sensor failure (look for the oil temp needle being cold when it shouldn’t), engine coolant sensor failure, tachograph sensor failure (for detecting RPM’s) and various others.

3. “Check Diagnostics for Light Control Unit at next stop”

The Light Control Unit controls all vehicle illumination and signalling equipment. Headlights, tail lights, indicators and brake lights. On buses it also controls gangway lighting, as they are wired into the main lighting system along with the destination board, normally wired in with the running lights (sidelights). The Light ECU monitors resistance across all lighting circuits, and any failing bulbs or LED brake/indicator clusters (used on Volvo buses with Wright Eclipse Urban/Gemini bodies) cause high resistance, so the ECU knows a light circuit has failed.

I am unaware if the Light ECU can trigger the STOP indicator.

K. INFO indicator (Can illuminate in conjunction with CHECK indicator)

This light comes on when the Infodisplay is set to Info messages in the display, such as fuel consumption etc, and a CHECK warning is displayed. Switch the display over using the control stalk on the steering column to view any CHECK messages and the INFO light will extinguish.

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I’ve rebuilt her with new base plastics, replaced the screen and hinges, and got a temporary palmrest whle I’m waiting on a decent one coming. She’s running brilliantly, even with Intel GMA X3100 graphics, HD videos at both 720p and 1080p are really smooth!

I’ve bought a genuine Toshiba batterysecond hand from a guy on eBay who said it was excellent. As I detailed in THIS POST, I ran the latest HWMonitor on it, and this machine has a battery sensor like my old Amilo in that old post. It is a battery that is factory new almost, take a look:

The capacity is still 100%, and CPUID have even added a Wear option for those that don’t understand the mWh ratings, it’s like a layman’s wear and tear status, even for a techie like me it’s great for at a glance status checking of your battery.

Download it, run it on your laptop, see what you get. Not all laptops have the motherboard battery capacity sensor pin connected though, there are several pins. As well as your usual positive and negative, you have pins for the following:

a) Pin(s) for basic capacity readings from the control IC in the battery. All laptops have these pins wired to the power management IC on the motherboard.

b) Pins that can read the wear and capacity status from the battery chip too, These are always present, but not soldered to anything on the motherboard on some laptops.

c) Pins that the battery control IC sends temperature signals through. The IC can also order a system shutdown if the battery runs too hot by sending a signal to the motherboard power control chip through these pins.

There will likely be support circuitry missing too, like resistors, capacitors and diodes if your system doesn’t support it, so it isn’t a case of joining the bridge, so to speak. If your laptop doesn’t support it, it’s likely the power control chip on your motherboard doesn’t have the feature anyway. Some ITE and Winbond chips don’t, but some do.

The reason a battery loses capacity isn’t always because the cells have worn out, but because the battery control chip is either defective, or out of sync with the cell(s) capacity. It is 99.9% of the time NEVER anything to do with the motherboard control system. All that does is feed the battery with power, this feed is adjusted based on the readings from the battery chip as it charges. The motherboard charging system then goes into trickle charge once the battery is full, this is actually what wears a battery down over time.

If you aren’t using the battery, you should discharge it first before storing it, you should never store a fully charged battery, the cells deteriorate. Don’t leave the battery on the laptop unnecessarily if you’re always on mains.

All I need now for my Toshy is a DVD fascia, DVD mounting bracket (yup, it’s missing, I just slotted a DVD-RW in for now) hard drive caddy, and a new screen surround and lid. They must have been damaged in the impact as the front bezel of the screen doesn’t clip where the hinges are and along the bottom of the screen, the wiring cover, the clips are all burst.

Apart from that, she’s a lovely runner, and is now with a much more caring and gentle owner. I’m surprised it survived that impact, as not a lot of impact damaged laptops I work on do.

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I went to Berkshire over the weekend to watch our site superheroine Shannon’s sister Suzy play rugby with her college girls team. I have never watched as sexy or as muddy a match like this ever since playing rugby against my high school girls team! The pitch they played on was a complete mess even before they started, thanks to another girls football team making it nice and messy for them! It has rained quite a lot up there over the past few weeks, and it showed!

Just before the match, all nice and almost clean, just a bit of mud from their warm up:

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Then the match gets under way. Things get dirty really quick, these girls don’t mess about. Straight away I wished I could have my kit handy so I could join them and show the other side who’s boss! One of Suzy’s teammates gets tackled, and down she goes:

Another tackle comes shortly after by the other side. The pitch was getting worse by the minute, and made things difficult for both sides. It was barely recognisable as a field, and resembled the mudbath I played Swamp Soccer on two years ago! This next pic was taken by Kassie who was standing over the other side:

I’m surprised the college didn’t get into trouble, this was a public field owned by a council, hence the temporary benching set up for specatators. I suppose they must have had permission to have a ladies team and a rugby team play after one another. I don’t envy the job of whoever has to re-lay or re seed the grass!

Half time came up, Suzy’s side were losing, here she is on the left with a team-mate, both looking sexy as hell all muddy but very dejected:

Second half came, and things got revved up, even muddier and much more determined by Suzy’s side. I also took a lot more photos! Suzy’s team REALLY didn’t wanna let go of the ball. Caption for the next pic, “Gimme the ball NOW!” “No way, we’re winning this match, you’re gonna have to pry it from my cold muddy hands!!”

The girl tackling must have been the only girl by that time with clean legs apart from the substitute girls waiting by the sidelines! The next pic is one of my favourite action ones of this match, showing Suzy’s best friend Ruby making a run for it with the ball, running the muddy gauntlet like a sexy muddy rugby goddess:

Soon things picked up a little more, Suzy’s team were winning after scoring a couple of tries, here’s Suzy running alongside Phoebe giving her backup. I remember being in formation playing rugby at school, you’d all run alongside each other in a line and throw the ball to each other to stop the other side getting it:

Look at all those cute clean ladies on the sidelines. If I’d have been playing I’d have called them all on the pitch to go all out against the other side, getting nice and dirty. Next up, Phoebe was downed (you can just see her in the bottom left), so Ruby was on hand to come in formation with Suzy after getting the ball:

Then Suzy later had the ball and ran the gauntlet, looking as hot as a sexy muddy 20 year old adrenaline charged rugby chick can, which is quite a lot in my book:

I knew by this point they were going to win. Everyone was egging them on, Kassie and myself included, and Shannon, Suzy’s sister was with us (not in her Supergirl outfit though), and all the shouting seemed to encouraage them even more, as here’s one of the girls, Sandra, really going for it to get past an opponent:

Then, sadly, she was tackled, right into the mud, but kept hold of the ball, looking round for someone to chuck it to, and that person came in the form of Suzy, all in the next two pictures:

Suze then made a big run for it, and boy did she go for it, like her and her team’s life depended on it. I’ve never seen so much determination and stamina!

She lobbed the ball to Sandra, who was wide open. Sandy then proceeded to run like hell, and score the final touchdown, winning the match for the team!

The triumphant team, after the match, looking happy but muddy and tired! A game well worth it, for the team and the spectators. Kassie even had her eye on the cute Asian girl player at the front 🙂

Wow. I have never witnessed an all-girl rugby match as fiesty, muddy, and adrenaline charged as this one. You’ve gotta be there to appreciate the sexiness and power of strong girls playing rugby. You can even play against them and feel the power directly. If you like sporty girls who are not wimps, then girls rugby is for you.

Football is for wimps, rugby is for real men, and real women, as it is a competitive contact sport. You can’t be scared of getting dirty or injured. Next stop on my list of 50 things to do before I die is to play a game like this with a women’s rugby team, down and dirty. I’ve played as the only guy in a women’s football team, now to do it in rugby! The boys against the girls rugby matches at school just weren’t the same as this. This is all-girl, hot, dirty and ferocious action, the pictures don’t really do justice.

To sum girls rugby up in one or two words? Scrum-ptious!

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This is a tip I’ve known for a few years, but never shared until the issue happened again. Sometimes your Recycle Bin will give you errors when emptying, or your Recycler folder in roots of drives will have a filesize, but nothing is in the Bin. To fix it,

1. Restart your PC.

2. As Windows is starting, just after your BIOS screens disappear, press the F8 key. Several options will appear on your screen.

3. Select “Safe Mode with Command Prompt.” Your screen should now show a command prompt, or “C:\.” If you see something else, you may be in the Windows directory. Type the command “CD\” and press Enter. This should bring you to “C:\.”

4. Type “attrib –s –h recycler” and press Enter. This command tells Windows to give you access to the protected recycle folder.

5. Type the command “del recycler” and press Enter. This entry will delete your corrupt Recycle Bin.

6. Restart your computer. Windows will detect the missing Recycle Bin and create a new one.

Repeat the process for any other drives, by entering the drive letter at the C:\ prompt, and your Recycle Bin should now work properly!

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