Getting into Automotive Electronics

Thread Starter

WreckedSparky

Joined Dec 27, 2017
11
Im currently an ECE(tech) student with 2 years left, and I would like to get into designing Engine Control Modules for a car company but I am unsure what area to focus on. So far I have just the background of analog and digital circuits through classes and military courses. Cars are essentially my life so I finally figured out after living for 28 years that I should just work in that field and combine my interest in electronic circuits; opposed to making it just a money pit hobby.

I believe ECM's are considered control electronics, but really there isn't much out there on how to design one other than a Wikipedia article. I know experience will trump any book reading and course work I do, as well as I won't graduate straight into designing, but I want a head start.

Any and all EE related tips are welcome, whether it's internship advise, preferred books, course work, things like that.

Thank you.
 

KL7AJ

Joined Nov 4, 2008
2,229
Im currently an ECE(tech) student with 2 years left, and I would like to get into designing Engine Control Modules for a car company but I am unsure what area to focus on. So far I have just the background of analog and digital circuits through classes and military courses. Cars are essentially my life so I finally figured out after living for 28 years that I should just work in that field and combine my interest in electronic circuits; opposed to making it just a money pit hobby.

I believe ECM's are considered control electronics, but really there isn't much out there on how to design one other than a Wikipedia article. I know experience will trump any book reading and course work I do, as well as I won't graduate straight into designing, but I want a head start.

Any and all EE related tips are welcome, whether it's internship advise, preferred books, course work, things like that.

Thank you.
I would try to get a job with Tesla....maybe as an apprentice.
 

Thread Starter

WreckedSparky

Joined Dec 27, 2017
11
I would try to get a job with Tesla....maybe as an apprentice.
Thanks for the suggestion. Although electric cars are the future, and the ICE will eventually be phased out of production, I wouldn't mind keeping in the ICE realm of things. Atleast for a few years.
 
Design ECM ? What equipment do you have ? Do you program u-chips ? Do you know CAN BUS ? Do you want to design circuit boards ? Do you want to go Software or Hardware ?
 

Thread Starter

WreckedSparky

Joined Dec 27, 2017
11
Best tool i ever invested in cost me ....$6.00, scan LIN, CANBUS, SPI, I2C,UART and others
It will give you an idea what your'e up against :) Free software on website too..
https://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-Logic-...723690&hash=item2ca15245bc:g:4IgAAOSw4CFYtr~B
Thank you, I'll keep this in mind when the time comes to where I can actually understand what I'll be looking at. 5 college courses in electronics really doesn't teach all too much other than calculating a circuit; I do have a lot to learn lol.

So far I am reading "The Art of Electronics", as well as "Engine Management: Advanced Tuning". For the next 7 months I'm limited to just reading books, due to me living in a hotel for the Marines (such a hard life.. lol). I doubt they would take too kindly to me setting up a lab to solder circuits together.
 
Thats exactly my point ! You get a whole electronics lab in the size of a chocolate bar ! If you already have a notebook you are all set !
Theres a difference between reading what someone else wrote in a book and finding stuff out for yourself
 

Lyonspride

Joined Jan 6, 2014
137
This is a subject that bores me, but I would suggest looking toward the specialist market, the motorsport electronics, kitcars and classics, low volume, high value, kinda like http://megasquirt.info/
Now if you could build a tunable/mappable aftermarket ECU used in specialist applications, then perhaps your work would get noticed and lead you into the design house for a big manufacturer (although you might not like what you find there).
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
27,964
Car companies have a large staff of engineers and technicians working on the development of ECUs for their engines.
If you can get a job with one of them you will likely start at the bottom of the staff chain doing basic development and testing.
Depending upon you ability to learn and do a good job, you then should be able to advance to more complex tasks.
Certainly a good knowledge of modern engine operation (fuel injection, sensors, variable valve timing, turbo-charging, etc.) as well as an understanding of embedded processor design would help you get a job initially.
 

Thread Starter

WreckedSparky

Joined Dec 27, 2017
11
Thank you for the replies. The engine operational side of things I am not too concerned about, although there is always more to learn. If an ECM is just a programmable control system circuit, I believe I can narrow my path in that direction.
 

Thread Starter

WreckedSparky

Joined Dec 27, 2017
11
Adding on to my thread of questions... I came to another realization. If somehow I can transfer enough credits into the Elec/Comp Eng degree, opposed to the technology one I am currently taking, would the added year of schooling be worth it? I have read a few threads on here and gathered the general consensus here that the traditional engineering supersedes technology, but at what cost? I currently have the rest of my technology degree paid for via Post 9/11, and I would have to take out roughly $35k in loans to finish out if I switch to a full engineering program.

Mind you, both programs are from the same school, both are ABET, and both are qualifiers for the NYS F.E. licensing exam.

I'm leaning towards just sticking to the current program and putting up with the sigma of a technology degree, but maybe there's more to it from someone who has been in the industry far longer than I have.

Thanks again
 
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