Digital Cruise Control
The main function of a cruise control, as everybody knows, is to enable your vehicle to maintain a constant speed while resting your right foot. However, have you ever thought about the other benefits?
- - Ease driver fatigue.
- - Improve fuel consumption.
- - Minimise the chance of being caught speeding.
- - Less stress on a vehicles engine.
- - Reduction in CO2 emissions
While travelling, a cruise control counts pulses that are generated by the vehicles computer system. This is called a speed pulse. As you might guess the faster the vehicle goes the faster the pulses. By monitoring this signal, any slight deviation and the cruise control makes adjustments to the throttle to keep your vehicle at a steady speed.
There are two main types of cruise control used these days.
Electric actuator; the throttle pedal or cable is physically pulled via a cable driven by a motor. It tightens the cable to go faster and releases to slow the vehicle down. This system is often found on older vehicles.
Drive by wire; this system has no moving parts what so ever. All adjustments made to the vehicles throttle is done via a digital signal. The cruise control T's in to the harness from the throttle position switch and interrupts the signal as if you were adjusting it with your foot. Using this same technology, the manufactures have been able to incorporate a optional speed limiter into the cruise control system.
A number of safety features are included in the systems.
- - Connection to the break light switch. As soon at the break lights illuminate the cruise control will disengage.
- - Connection to the clutch switch. If the clutch pedal is pressed the cruise control will drop out stopping damage due to over revving on the engine.
- - Manually switched off using the stork control.
- - Speed variance drop out. Should the speed of the vehicle alter beyond tolerance, again the cruise will switch out.
The use of a cruise control is kept as simple as possible (after all you are driving).
Most functions can be applied by simply moving the control stalk in one direction or another e.g. Press the stalk up and it will engage at the speed you are currently travelling. Should you want it to stop simply press either the break, or clutch pedal and you will regain full control of the throttle. A little light will indicate on the stalk if the cruise is on or off, red for on green for off.