The automotive industry is developing by leaps and bounds. If a couple of decades ago there were no automatic transmissions, and everyone just drove a mechanic, now the situation has changed dramatically. Robotic gearboxes have appeared. It is about them that will be discussed in this article. Consider the main advantages and disadvantages, the cost of repairs and feedback from motorists.
What is a robot box
A manual transmission that shifts automatically is considered robotic. The gear and clutch drive is usually hydraulic or electric, depending on the make and class of the vehicle. Actually, the principle of operation of the box itself is practically no different from classical mechanics. The essence of the whole lies in the actuators. It is the servos that are responsible for shifting gears while driving. The actuator contains an electric motor withgearbox and actuator.
Actually, there is nothing complicated, but, as reviews confirm, a robotic gearbox is extremely convenient. Do not confuse it with automatic, which works a little differently.
About management features
The first thing you should pay attention to is the absence of the classic gear lever mounted on manual transmissions. A kind of joystick is already used here, which only sets the electronics to turn on one or another gear. The ECU is responsible for processing all digital data. The key advantage of this type of gearbox is its economy and high reliability, as well as smooth gear changes. It turns out that we have the strengths of the machine and mechanics. In addition, when buying a new car on a robot, it will cost a little less than on a machine.
Usually there are two servos in the design. One of them is responsible for turning the clutch on and off, and the second is responsible for the movement of the gears in the box. Consequently, there are only 2 pedals, as in an automatic transmission, so driving such a car is much easier than driving a mechanic.
Two types of actuators
It is worth paying attention to the fact that servos differ in the principle of operation. They should be divided into two groups:
- Electric drive - installed even on budget cars. The structure of such an actuator includes an electric motor, an actuator and a gearbox. Such a servo drive costs less, and it takes severalcheaper.
- Hydraulic drive - more expensive, installed on premium cars. The principle of operation of the actuator is to push the cylinders with electromagnetic valves. The advantages here are obvious - the complete absence of failures and quick response. But at the same time, the repair of robotic gearboxes with an electro-hydraulic drive is an order of magnitude more expensive.
All received data is processed by a computerized node. He reads the readings from the car's sensors and, based on this, makes decisions.
First and second generation of robots
The first robotic gearboxes had a single clutch. After testing, this design proved to be not the best. Many shortcomings have been identified. Therefore, the designers decided to double the clutch. Consider each type of box in more detail.
The essence of the box with one clutch is as follows. The drive shaft is driven by the engine. There is a clutch between the shaft and the motor. From the driven shaft, rotation is fed directly to the wheel drive. When the first servo disengages the clutch, the second one moves the synchronizers. In view of the careful attitude of the electronics to the clutch, a significant failure is noticeable at the moment of separation.
By introducing a dual clutch, the designers tried to minimize dips during gear changes. The principle of operation of the box in this case is as follows. Both shafts - both driving and driven - have a clutch with the engine. Inthe time the car starts moving, the first gear on the drive shaft is engaged, and at the same time the driven shaft engages with the second gear. When the first gear is disconnected, the second one immediately turns on. Such a box is called "preselective" - anticipating the choice.
Robotic gearbox: pros and cons
The main advantage is the reliability of the node. The fact is that mechanical boxes are taken as the basis, which have long been time-tested. And robotic boxes under the hood take up much less space, which expands the layout options for the manufacturer. Automatic machines and CVTs are much more expensive to maintain, and the latter are also less reliable. Wet clutch performance is almost 30% higher. Fuel consumption is the same as on the mechanics, and the mass is less than that of the machine.
As for the shortcomings, they look like this:
- Long delay when shifting gears. On some robots, the figure reaches 2 seconds.
- The use of an electrohydraulic drive leads to a significant increase in the cost of the structure. Maintaining high brake fluid pressure takes some of the power out of the engine. Therefore, the use of hydraulics is justified on powerful engines and premium cars.
- Expensive cost of preselective robotic box repairs and lack of spare parts.
Robotic Gearbox Repair
WhatAs for maintenance, then, as noted above, the machine will cost the owner a little more. This is if you do not take into account the latest preselective boxes. The mechanical part itself is quite tenacious and withstands serious loads. But the "dampness" of the ECU can easily lead to failure of the clutch. And the same actuator or other attachments cost quite a lot. Therefore, when purchasing a used car with a preselective box, it is necessary to carefully diagnose its condition. In some cities, it will be extremely difficult to make a robot, because it is not always easy to find spare parts quickly. This also applies to smart specialists.
Before buying a car on the robot
It is worth collecting as much useful information as possible on the model as a whole. It is advisable to communicate with the owners on thematic forums and find out the strengths and weaknesses. Consumer reviews play an important role. For the most part they are positive, but not always. Some robots are underdeveloped and cause significant problems, which usually disappear after flashing the control unit. Well, in fact, the box itself must be carefully checked, starting with its appearance and ending with computer diagnostics at the service station.
A few important points
We examined the main disadvantages of a robotic gearbox. As you can see, not always a robotic box can satisfy the needs of a motorist. The fact is that some ECUs have not yet been finalized, but it happensand the design of the robot itself is not the most successful. Hydraulic drive increases comfort but costs more. Budget car models are usually not equipped with adaptive systems. Because of this, the driver may experience some discomfort for some time.
But even with all the shortcomings, automatic robotic transmission has much more pluses that look very convincing. Low fuel consumption, a high level of reliability and lightning-fast response - all this will allow you to enjoy driving a car. But in order to minimize various kinds of problems with robots, it is advisable to buy a new car, where the gearbox is worked out as well as possible.
Progress does not stand still. Not only mechanical and automatic transmissions are developing, but also their hybrids. The latter have a large number of strengths, but are not yet without shortcomings. With moderate driving, the robot is cheaper to maintain. For the layout of attachments in the engine compartment, it is more convenient, as it takes up less space, and the weight is also lower.
But only quality service using original oils will make such a box work perfect. Do not neglect the manufacturer's recommendations and delay with scheduled maintenance. With a careless attitude, even the most indestructible mechanics can be disabled. Well, if you live in a small provincial town, then it will not be easy to repair a robotic box of a preselective type. Not only becausethere are no craftsmen who have seen this product from the inside, but the spare parts will have to wait quite a long time.