Introduction to Modifying the Electronics of Modern Classic Cars

Hello, my name is Julian Edgar and I’m the
author of the book Modifying the Electronics and Modern Classic Cars. Cars
in the 1990s and the 2000s. Now why is the book relevant to you? What’s in it?
Why is it interesting in its content? Well firstly, if you own a car of that era
you’re really lucky because there is so much that electronically you can change
to that car. You can fit programmable engine
management, you can tweak the standard engine management by adding interceptors,
you can change the lighting, you can change the sound system, and of course in
more modern cars – current cars – doing all of those things can be really, really
difficult. Change the engine management the dashboard stops working, put in a new sound system and something – another convenience item – no longer works, but in
the cars we’re talking about they’re simpler electronically, and that opens up
some fantastic opportunities for you to make changes, for you to modify what it
is you want the car to do. Let’s start off by talking about interceptors.
Interceptors are things that change input signals or change output signals
to the engine management system, allowing you to change fuelling, allowing you to
change ignition timing, allowing you to change turbo boost, and so on. And in the
book, I start with some very simple interceptors, ones that cost less than a
can of drink. What I do? I use potentiometers, and by using a
potentiometer (or a tiny electric component with an adjustable knob) you
can shift voltages of signals – very, very cheap, very, very effective. But I
also talk about commercial interceptors, mappable interceptors that you can
connect to your laptop and you can tune your car’s engine. I also talk about
programmable engine management: installing a completely new engine
management system that you can program to achieve whatever outcomes you want, in
terms of power, in terms of economy, in terms of response. Programmable engine
management, absolutely fantastic fun to fit and to tune. I also cover other car
systems, systems that also can be modified but not many people choose to
do it. Perhaps they don’t realise that can be modified: stability control, traction
control, systems like that that you can also make changes to. Also in the book, a
whole chapter on modifying sound systems and a real focus on installing speaker
systems that work well because that’s where you can make the
biggest improvement to a factory sound system from the era that we’re talking
about, and of course also talk about upgrading the head unit, navigation and
so on. The chapter on lighting, how do you upgrade the lighting? Your forward
lighting, your brake lights, your tail lights, your interior lighting, some
really good approaches that can be followed to give a massive upgrade in
lighting. And then I talk about dashboards. How do you upgrade
instruments? What about fitting a whole new programmable digital dash? Now what
about making that digital dash talk to the programmable engine management system
that you’ve installed as well? Then you can have a massive upgrade in the
information that’s available to the driver. I also talk about little
projects that you can do, simple projects: a lights on buzzer so you don’t leave
your headlights on when you leave the car, little electronic modules you can
add to your car to improve convenience, to improve security. Now, I’ve done
everything that’s in the book. All the examples are things that I’ve actually
done on my cars and I know that work. I’ve installed programmable engine management,
I’ve installed a digital dash, I’ve used those little potentiometer based
interceptors to shift signals, and I’ve done that for a long, long time. I’ve done
it from everything from changing the torque split on an R32 Skyline
GTR, to changing the fueling on a tiny 660 CC Daihatsu, right through to
changing the power steering rate on one of my V8 Lexuses; so it’s all stuff
that’s based on real world experiences, proven approaches, so it’s not just
written from a theoretical construct, it’s actually written from a practical
application from someone who’s actually done it. There’s plenty in the book if
you’re starting, though, without a background electronics of any sort I
suggest you read the companion volume to it Car Electrical and Electronic Systems
(also published by Veloce and written by me), and that will give you sufficient
background to immediately be able to adopt the techniques that are described
in this book. If you’re already familiar with how to use a multimeter, if you’re
already familiar with car wiring, you probably don’t need that background, you
can just jump straight in. A lot of the projects are really very simple one or
two components, but those are components can achieve fantastic outcomes in terms
of making changes to the car. So look, if you’ve got a budget which is only the
equivalent of one can of drink, right through to a budget which might be half
the cost of your car then there’s stuff in the book that you can apply. The book
is called Modifying the Electronics of Modern Classic Cars. It’s a book, I think,
unlike anything on the market – I’ve never seen a book aimed at such a
practical level for people making electronic modifications to their cars
and I hope that you enjoy it. Thank you.

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