2013-09-30

Three into one does go: unified panel keeps engines under control



by Volvo Penta

Volvo Penta’s latest generation control panel, the DCU2, replaces three units with one compact system that’s designed for Volvo Penta engines, allowing for optimal compatibility and simplified engine control.

The Volvo Penta DCU2 control panel is a new generation of DCU, simplifying and enhancing the way that operators receive, read and interpret signals from the engine. While similar panels are available from aftermarket suppliers, the new Volvo DCU is tailor-made for Volvo Penta engines — meaning that OEMs won’t have to worry about compatibility or functionality. The panel will be available for all electronically governed engines in genset and off-road applications starting in November.

“With the DCU2, we’ve designed our own interface that works seamlessly with Volvo Penta engines,” says Emil Olsmo, the project leader for the new DCU. “Some customers source or build their own panels, but this gives them the option of buying a total package from us. It demonstrates our capacity as a provider of complete solutions — not just engine sales.”

Endlessly customizable
The new DCU2 streamlines the previous model’s three units — display, control panel and translator — into one unit that’s 50% smaller, despite having a larger display screen. The color monitor is now easier to read in bright sunlight, more resistant to the effects of sun and dust and can survive in a wider range of temperatures than the previous units.

Monitoring fuel consumption, speed and temperature, among other measurements, the DCU2 controls the engine and allows operators to regulate RPMs or shut the engine down at the touch of a button. Its 14 inputs and outputs give OEMs a new level of adaptability, allowing for the engine to be customized and adjusted to suit a variety of needs. In colder climates, the engine can be preheated by an external switch connected to the input/output. If a fault does occur, the DCU2 makes diagnosing and fixing the problem easier: the LCD screen provides status updates in one of five languages and error messages written in text rather than code, alerting the operator to issues and presenting solutions for repairing them.

The DCU2 can also be used with instruments that aren’t computerized. The configurable input/output translates signals from connected levers or potentiometers into computerized messages and sends them to the engine. Similarly, the panel can translate signals from digital to analogue.

Clever tech, simply delivered
The DCU2 also provides OEMs with the option of installing simple external gauges if they’re preferred to an LCD screen. And although a buzzer is built in to the system, an output is provided for a louder horn or alarm to be installed, if desired.

“The DCU system has continually evolved over time — but with the DCU2, we’ve seen an opportunity to improve upon it in ways that will really make a difference for our customers,” says David Hanngren, manager of industrial product planning at Volvo Penta. “When we created the first control panel, it was just a CIU display with inputs. Then we added a push-button panel for controlling the engine, followed by a DU with a user-friendly LCD display. But technology has brought us to the point where we can do all of that much more effectively with just one unit. The DCU2 is a big step forward for us in terms of engine control and monitoring, with all the best aspects of our old DCU in just one slimmed down unit.”

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