The Acoustic Function that lead to the VW emissions scandal

Posted By on July 23, 2016

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The development of Volkswagen’s emission defeating device may have initially had the best of intentions, according to Road and Track. It started with engineers in 1999 who were working to quiet the diesel clatter on an Audi V-6 engine. They were  using "Pilot Injection" to needleliftsensorpilotinjectioninject an additional amount of fuel to a cylinder when the engine was at idle to reduced the "clatter" that has plagued diesel engines since their invention. The downside was that adding fuel also increased emissions. In the VW engineering circles this was called an "Acoustic Function" and they implement it in Audi branded 3.0-liter European diesels from 2004 – 2008.

Then in 2006, Volkswagen engineers made the decision to adapt the the technology for use in their Generation 1 EA189 2.0-liter TDI engine (the  TDI diesel engine at the heart of the scandal) as a way to avoid licensing SCR technology from Mercedes-Benz. The commonplace selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology uses liquid urea to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and is the norm on all larger diesels. But for VW, the bread and butter small diesels could avoid the licensing and the added cost of a urea tank and exhaust injection system by using a "Lean Trap," which traps NOx and breaks it down in a catalytic converter by cycling to a fuel-rich mode as needed. Unfortunately this also brought on another problem as the Lean Trap choice also allowed too much build up of diesel particulates in the soot filter (DPF) resulting in premature failure. Engineers decided they could use the "Acoustic Function" to correct the problem … which was in turn approved by management. As sales for these highly efficient small diesel grew in popularity, Volkswagen leaned on this treatment technic further and further.

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In the early days Volkswagen engineers may have pursued the development of the "Acoustic Function" with the best of intentions, even when using it to extend the life of the diesel particulate filter. But somewhere along the line they decided to use the feature to cheat the emissions tests and continued to promote and market these small TDI "clean diesels."  Oh … the $15 BILLION web they weaved … not to mention the black-eye which will haunt the company for years.

Additional reading:
Road and Track has an interesting article on the "fix" that may not really be a fix.

TechFriday: What could a flexible screen do for the iPhone?

Posted By on July 22, 2016

With a renewed interest in the upcoming iPhone7 after Apple released the new iOS10 public beta, I’m wondering what’s really the next “big” (pun intended) thing for pocketable smart devices. If it were durable and possible, I’d love having an expanding screen on my iPhone that could do double-duty as an iPad!

Summertime activities, busy lives and missing our kids

Posted By on July 21, 2016

Brenda and I are looking forward to an upcoming trip to Minnesota to see Katelyn and Drew … especially after seeing the many summer activities they are enjoying this summer. Last week after work they even headed over to Wayzata for the evening concert, just like my mom and dad did in Sidney. Maybe it is in their blood?

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I can’t wait to visit with them in person (Facetime and cellphone calls are great … but I really miss seeing them more often).

Plagiarism and authenticity: We are a crazy species

Posted By on July 21, 2016

Mike Rowe brings a bit of commonsense to the nutty “mostly” media outrage about Melania Trump‘s  plagiarism considering almost every politician reads someone elses’ words off a teleprompter in practically every important speech. Are we fooled they aren’t reading a speech someone else wrote anyway? Should we be outraged at every speech a politician give or for that matter every article/book being “ghostwritten” for high profile people (you would be amazed at the things my company publishes for them)?

mikeroweimageHey! Look What I Wrote!

Eileen Bayer writes…

“Mike – Could you PLEASE interject some common sense and logic into today’s plagiarism headlines??? I would LOVE to hear your take on the matter!!”

Hello Eileen – I don’t know about common sense, but here’s my analysis of the situation. (I hope to God someone hasn’t already written this.)

Regarding the charges of plagiarism, I really don’t know. All I know for sure is that Mrs. Trump is absolutely, positively guilty of standing before the country and reading words she didn’t write as if they were own. I also know that Mrs. Obama is guilty of doing the same thing. Both women – along with their husbands – have stood proudly before a national audience and pretended the words they read originated with them – knowing full well they did not.

Let’s consider for a moment, the weird reality of speechwriters in our political discourse. Why do we tolerate them? Why do we permit our leaders to pretend that someone else’s words are theirs? Moreover, why do we allow them to stand before us and act as if they’re NOT reading from a script, when we know damn well they are? Why – in this – “age of authenticity” – do we accept the artifice of a Teleprompter, and all the other pretenses of earnestness that enable candidates to present themselves as something other than who they really are?
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Apple releases iOS 10 public beta 2 for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch

Posted By on July 20, 2016


Now that Apple’s third iOS 10 developer beta has had some time to settle, Apple has released the second iOS 10 public beta for non-developers testing the pre-release software. The latest buil…

Source: Apple releases iOS 10 public beta 2 for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

A naval architect and bagpipe accompanied ruckus music

Posted By on July 19, 2016

RobertPerryPipeMaybe the term isn’t ruckus, but HARD “rockish” music …  I’m not sure at the moment???

Anyway, one of my Facebook friends Robert Perry, and designer of our first boat Brenich a Baba 30, shared an AC/DC music video probably influenced by his years growing up in Australia? The clip from the Bon Scott years (mp3 below) was during a publicity performance in 1976 and had me smiling … and toe tapping. I was never a fan of “head-banging” music, but this certainly brought back high school and college memories. I remember the many versions of “It’s a Long Way To The Top” and am particularly fond of their use of bagpipes. It’s summer, so turn the volume up and let the music play!

It’s A Long Way To The Top (MP3) AC/DC – 1976

MH17 anniversary: Meet the man suing Vladimir Putin

Posted By on July 18, 2016

Vladimir Putin
Two years has passed since a missle downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, yet 298 families are still without closure. In the US we’ve heard the slogan “too big to fail” when giving a pass to big banks, companies or their decision makers. When it is the powerful like Vladimir Putin and Russia, one wonders if they are just “too big to be held accountable?” Aviation lawyer Jerry Skinner hasn’t given up in holding those accountable for the downing of a commercial airliners over the Ukraine as he continues to accumulate evidence that even the political in his own country have denied or try to ignore.

Vladimir Putin

When aviation lawyer Jerry Skinner stopped by his suburban Cincinnati office last Christmas, he found the door ajar and the interior trashed. The files for his latest lawsuit, on behalf of victims of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 crash, were missing.

“They didn’t take anything else but they turned the rest of the office inside out,” he remembered. “The police couldn’t say who did it – whoever came into the office was careful.”

Thirty days earlier, the white-bearded, friendly-faced lawyer had issued a threat. Weighing up all the available photographic, video and witness evidence, he decided that the missile that blew the passenger jet apart mid-air, killing all 298 people on board, must have been a Russian one. And that it had been fired from rebel-held eastern Ukraine by soldiers ultimately under the command of President Vladimir Putin.

MORE: MH17 anniversary: Meet the man suing Vladimir Putin, who now fears for his life

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.