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  • Electronic brake control systems integrate computer controls to prevent wheel lock-up, shorten panic stop distances, help drivers maintain steering control, and improve vehicle stability.

  • Basic anti-lock brake systems control hydraulic pressure hold and release via solenoid valves, but cannot function independently of the driver’s applied brake pressure.

  • Traction control systems minimize wheel slip by automatically applying brake pressure to a slipping wheel’s brake unit and reducing engine output.

  • Electronic stability control systems use steering wheel position sensors, yaw sensors, and wheelspeed sensors to independently monitor vehicle stability and apply brakes as necessary.

  • Primary components of an anti-lock braking system are: ABS master cylinder, electronic brake control module/electronic control unit, hydraulic control unit/modulator, power booster, wheel speed sensor, and brake switch.

  • Braking force and wheel lock-up are affected by friction of road surface and type, condition, and loading of each tire.

  • Maximum traction occurs with 10–20% tire slip.

  • Wheel speed sensors signal the EBCM, which sends current to the solenoid valve, which then holds or releases hydraulic braking pressure.

  • ABS master cylinders are integral (mainly in older vehicles) or nonintegral with the HCU.

  • Solenoid valves provide three operating conditions: apply, hold, and release.

  • The hydraulic control unit executes the commands of the ABS control module.

  • Hydraulic control units differ by number of channels (one, two, three, or four), number of solenoid valves (single or dual), and type of accumulator (low or high pressure).

  • Wheel speed sensors send electric signals to the EBCM to determine speed and rate of deceleration for each wheel.

  • Wheel sensor assemblies are comprised of a toothed tone wheel and a pickup assembly, separated by an air gap.

  • Types of wheel speed sensors are: variable reluctance, magneto-resistive, and Hall effect.

  • The EBCM is comprised of electronic circuitry, electronic data processor, computer memory, and output drivers.

  • The EBCM receives input signals from: the brake switch, ignition switch, vehicle speed sensor, wheel speed sensors, and sometimes the battery.

  • The ESC system includes a yaw sensor (directional rotation), steering angle sensor (driver’s directional intent), and roll-rate sensor (rate and amount of vehicle roll).

  • Some TCS and ESC systems can be manually deactivated by the driver.

  • EBCM systems can self-diagnose and store faults as diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) for technicians to retrieve.

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