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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default How to 'educate' a new (old) roadster

    Hello all,

    I'm getting a 2004 roadster in a few days. Very excited.

    I've been reading this forum and others to learn all I can. One thing intrigues me but seems not to get mentioned much (and the manual refers to it very briefly).

    It's the idea that the ECU 'learns' your driving style and adjusts. What does this really mean? What variables is it considering? How and how quickly does it learn?

    I ask because I wonder whether disconnecting from battery to reset the ECU is of benefit when getting a new old car. If it has learnt the style of its old owner, will it learn my preferences quicker (less to unlearn)? I want it to realise pretty quick that there's a new boss!

    I've seen various advice about how long the battery needs to be disconnected for the ECU to reset. Some people say 5 minutes, others 15, some 30. It's easy enough to wait 30 minutes but what's usually required?

    So how to educate a roadster? And its new owner.

    Any help appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bristol
    Posts
    6,236

    Default Re: How to 'educate' a new (old) roadster

    Hello JackBlack and to thesmartclub.
    Tony - Living life with Pure Passion, always with my finger on the Pulse


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Stavanger, Norway
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: How to 'educate' a new (old) roadster

    Quote Originally Posted by JackBlack View Post
    It's the idea that the ECU 'learns' your driving style and adjusts. What does this really mean? What variables is it considering? How and how quickly does it learn?
    Do not worry about former owners driving style.
    What the ECU does is to react to drivers input. Its capacity to remember anything is smaller than a fish in a bowl.

    Agressive use of the loud pedal will make the engine and gearchange agressive. Going from that to easy small adjustments to the pedal will make the whole package go soft and tender alas driving ms Daisy in an instant.
    Opposite: Going from a nice slow lazy sunday drive to chasing a bad guy it takes just one pedal-to-the-metal-move and the car is instantly in 'racing mode'.
    Its all about how you treat the loud pedal.

    As for the battery disconnect this is usually done to erase stored error codes in the ECU. The 'average' advice is five minutes, but I wouldnt be surprised if someone came along and said five seconds is enough. I would stick to five-ten minutes as it gives you time for a break for tea /coffee /siggy


    This is fun This is not

    Frodie fancies fun over not

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: How to 'educate' a new (old) roadster

    Hello Guinnessian, Thanks for the welcome and the advice. In looking about the web it's clear that smart enthusiasts are very willing to share knowledge. That's mighty reassuring for a newbie, especially one buying a pretty quirky vehicle. Hope I'm not back here with the first rain looking for leak advice!. cheers

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    400

    Default Re: How to 'educate' a new (old) roadster

    This applies equally to all Smart cars...but before I forget note the radio code before you disconnect...least that is the advice I have received as I've never disconnected any batteries in now over 200,000 miles of Smart Car driving.

    I believe that over a period the car will have adapted to it's previous owner and to a lesser extent the owner to the car...my first was an ex-Demonstrator so it had learnt nothing...however when I got my Roadster I initially thought my 51 bhp went better...in fact it was largely because by that time the older car was at 50k miles and was looser was definitely nippier on the lanes and quite happy when warmed up for 30 mile stint on the A30...the Roadster had lead a sheltered life and it's slightly different gearing was part of the problem. Another was that through the nearside mirror it was not possible to see a cyclist and the drivers mirror would only give one lane of a motorway...after much deliberation with MB/Smart worked out the mirrors were wrong.
    My Cabrio was equally odd as it seemed Cornwall centric...it took two weeks to stop the radio defaulting to radio Cornwall...and it seemed a bit of a shock to it once it went further than 20 miles...this was solved with a 250 mile one day tour of Cornwall...but it took ages for the car to loosen up.

    What is very noticeable is when buying a Roadster now is the amount of things which go wrong following change of ownership...this I suspect is maybe due to the different driving style, as all the ageing bits have quite happily worked together with the previous owner. OK nothing scientific can prove or disprove. What really cheers them up is a decent bit of prolonged use...my Roadie seems to have benefitted from a 3,000 mile romp to Smartimes and back and my Cabrio benefitted from the Smart Festival...as the first 50 miles was a bit sedate...but by the time I was on the way back it seemed irrepressible...not sure they don't communicate whilst sitting in the car park...Regards ACE

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: How to 'educate' a new (old) roadster

    Hi ACE, Cornwall is renowned for filled pastries and tin mining. I'd hadn't realised its radio is also addictive! I've read a heap about SAMs, ECUs, TANs, wilfully misbehaving keys etc with the smart. Leaves me terrified of its electrics (including the bl**dy radio). Most of my cars have had pushrods and carburettors. None has ever silently communicated with others in the car park. In a past life I've been a serious amateur winemaker. That's a sport full of intangibles (and lots of pseudoscience, ignorance and bluff). Which sounds a bit like the black magic surrounding the roadster's ECU. Guinessian says it's got the memory of a goldfish. You reckon it picks up bad habits and won't even change its listening preferences. And you're probably both completely right. Just like it's impossible for anyone to answer the question "How do you make wine?", does anyone know what variables the ECU considers, for how long, in what ratio etc? Someone had to code the algorithms for the thing. Care to take a crack at what kind of recipe it has in its tiny brain? I worried my roadster's going to say "Sorry, Dave, I can't do that";. My name's not even Dave! cheers, happy driving and listening and thanks for the info.
    Last edited by JackBlack; 19th September 2011 at 10:08.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: How to 'educate' a new (old) roadster

    Sorry about the mess above. I don't know why I can't do carriage returns. Might be the ECU!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: How to 'educate' a new (old) roadster

    ACE, re-reading your post I thought demonstrators would learn a lot. Like rental cars, they can go from top gear to reverse with no intervening brake!.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    400

    Default Re: How to 'educate' a new (old) roadster

    Radio was defaulting...hopefully nothing to do with the ECU/SAM etc...my original Smart had 2,500 miles of demonstrating over a 6 months period. In fact with the exception of the window winding, which was solved with warrantee...it's first mechanical/repair was to the steering at 93,000 miles...it had consumed oil since 70,000 miles...following engine rebuild at 106,000 miles the electro/mechanical parts of the gear change gave up. I was not specifically referring to the ECU/SAM adjusting but the whole car. Prior to having the For-Two I had a Diesel Maestro van which used to chug around the lanes...high gear low revs and a Wolseley 1500 (which could get from Holsworthy to Okehampton in top gear...which included a 1 in 4)...and gradually the For-Two got into chugging mode...fortunately I'd changed my ways a bit for the Roadster and it would niftily get itself back into 5th or 4th in the lanes...whatever way it would take about a month or a nice tour of Oz to get a Roadster adapted to your style.

    Is there not somewhere in Australia with Cornish engine houses etc from West Cornwall...most of the placenames in Tasmania seem to originate from East Cornwall/South West Devon...shouldn't take to much to knock up pasties in Oz...not allowed to call them Cornish anymore...unless they come from Cornwall...Regards ACE

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