|MPC5566 Block Diagram. Source: Freescale. Click to enlarge.|
The 2011 Buick Regal’s direct injection Ecotec 2.0L engine microcontroller features a 32-bit Freescale microprocessor that operates at 128 MHz—the fastest throughput engine microprocessor in the industry, according to Karla Wallace, GM senior manager, global powertrain electronics engineering.
The 32-bit embedded “Viper” processor (Freescale’s Qorivva MPC5566 unit) reliably performs 125 million operations per second, enabling more precise fuel delivery for improved fuel economy, emissions and performance. This is accomplished through an increased number of intake air adjustments and spark optimization during every combustion event, even when running at maximum engine speed of 6,350 rpm.
The Qorivva MPC5566 is the first device from Freescale’s Qorivva MPC55xx Family to integrate 3MB of embedded flash memory, to be qualified for the harshest automotive environment and to offer full Read-While-Write capability. This provides developers with a cost-effective medium to support more sophisticated, memory-intensive timing and control functionality. The processor offers system performance of up to five times that of its MPC500 predecessors, while bringing maintaining the reliability and familiarity of the Power Architecture technology.
The turbo Regal’s microcontroller is part of the Engine Control Module (ECM), which controls all the functions of an engine including the operation of the 2.0L’s turbo, direct injection and variable valve timing systems.
The ECM’s microcontroller executes the commands such as when to inject fuel into the engine’s combustion chambers. The software executed by the microcontroller comes from almost a million lines of code developed by GM and uses over 300 kilobytes of calibration data.—Karla Wallace
In the 1980s, GM’s first powertrain control module had four kilobytes of memory and executed 1 million operations per second.
Three meg of flash memory and 128 MHz clock speed doesn’t sound like a lot in terms of computing power until you consider the environment these controllers have to live in. Unlike most home entertainment and electronic devices, our controllers are made to operate reliably up to 260 degrees (127 °C) and down to -40 degrees (-40 °C) for the life of the vehicle. On top of this, they are sealed against air, water, dust and electromagnetic interference. These are parameters that take the Regal’s controller to the highest levels of reliability and durability.—Karla Wallace
Since being introduced in GM powertrains in the late 1970s, the scope of engine electronic controls has continually increased and now extends to significant interaction with the entire vehicle. There are 12 controllers interacting with the ECM on the 2011 Buick Regal including transmission, body, climate, and brake controllers.
The ECM itself holds power electronics, as well as ASICs to control the direct injection system and turbocharger, in addition to the Viper microprocessor.