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New Gearbox Shifts In Zero Milliseconds!

Old 03-17-2004, 04:59 PM
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To put into perspective the stagnation of fundamental gearbox developments, check this out:

1928 - Synchromesh, Cadillac
1930 - Fluid flywheel and preselector, Daimler
1937 - Automatic, Oldsmobile
1958 - CVT, DAF "variomatic" ...46 years ago!

As technological progress has accelerated, the "there's nothing new under the sun" doctrine has prevailed. Consequence? Incremental R&D. Make today's things, smaller, faster, more 'stuff inside', more 'user-adjustable', 'more features' for tomorrow.

The car interior is turning into some kind of cheap hi-fi fascia nightmare with loads of stuff to fiddle with - jeez, BMWs even have a kind of mouse to navigate computer menus! Go figure... do we need this? Do we need to be paying for the gasoline to haul it all around?

Under all the engine stuff is the inescapable truth: a reciprocating internal combustion engine that relies on fuel, spark and compression (c.1870!). Under all the AMT, DCT, SMG, Tiptronic, F1, Cambiocorsa, Selespeed gearbox blarney is another inescapable truth: the mechanicals date back to before WWII.

Take manumatics (AMT etc). To shift faster they wallop the shift fork and synchro ring harder. A synchro ring needs time and the removal of power (which also takes time) for the taper to synchronise the gear and shaft speeds. Given that the AMT 'mode buttons and adjustors' have a 'sports' mode for a 'quick' shift, the synchro rings will struggle. So double and triple synchro rings are added. Then there are odd driving states like shifting down to accelerate that 'confuse' the logic and demand more software to process the various sensors and make sense of them... and on it goes. Proclaimed improvements of new cleverer software, more durable synchros... ay ay ay!

So what about DCT (dual clutch)? New, right? No. Pioneered for racing twenty years ago. To seamlessly, quickly shift makes a helluva contribution to lap times. Thing is, a dual clutch box needs two wet clutches instead of one dry one and a computer to choreograph the movements. Thing is, weight and cost have just alarmingly risen. Most disappointing of all, parasitic losses on top of the weight and the hellish computing did not deliver the expected result. Ho hum. Then Audi picked it up for the V6 TT, talking about the "20ms" shift time. 20ms is the period the two clutches fight one another - NOT the shift time. Do two shifts very quickly and you'll either confuse the gearbox (stop to re-boot - RE-BOOT for chrissakes!) or be stunned by how long it takes to - basically - go from 5th to 3rd. The kind of simple task that a flick of the wrist on an H-gate does... takes an age in a DCT box or crashes its computer!

One F1 team has experimented with dual-clutch. As far as I know they're not racing it. I met with another team who took the words out of my mouth with "whatever you might gain in shift time, you'll lose with another 5kg hanging out of the back of the car." Bear in mind a 'full-house' ZeroShift box would SAVE over 5kg and get rid of hydraulics from the car. That puts DCT into perspective.

The only technology that achieves the objectives of speed, smoothness, efficiency (cost/mechanical/emission/space) is... ZeroShift.

Our patent attorney describes our portfolio as "the most significant development in transmission history". What we do INSIDE the box is just the beginning - refer back to Racecar Engineering's feature "be prepared for a revolution".

Quick thought - isn't the 'Net a great thing? This kind of debate just couldn't have happened a decade ago. I hope you find it as interesting as we do!
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Old 03-17-2004, 04:59 PM
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Someone needs to stop drinking the marketing kool-aid, and it ain't the ZeroShift rep.

Let's see what they have. Sounds VERY interesting to me. I would rather shift on my own than trust some silicon-brained algorithm and a slippery rubberband.
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Old 03-17-2004, 05:06 PM
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Centric:

FANTASTIC car collection in your sig!

ZS
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Old 03-17-2004, 06:02 PM
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They aren't as fast as yours, though . . .

I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys have in store!
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Old 03-17-2004, 07:22 PM
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Will I be able to invest in Zeroshift in the NYSE anytime soon?
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Old 03-17-2004, 07:25 PM
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Originally posted by Threxx
Don't get me wrong... I appreciate your effort with this Zeroshift technology and expect it to be well-received, depending on its added cost, especially in the performance market. I just, as I said, think CVT is slowly on its way to replacing just about everything else out there.
Agreed. It only seems logical right now to think that the CVT will work its way around to a lot of cars. Almost every manufacturer is working on its own version of it. I think their just "breaking us in" right now.
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Old 03-18-2004, 03:42 AM
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After 46 years, CVT is still torque-limited and application-limited. Even in vehicles where it's available (therefore tested, proven, warranted) hardly anyone buys it. Right now you can buy a CVT in most of the big car cos model line-ups.

What's going to suddenly make you, me, everyone else go CVT? Do you want one in your Z28?
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Old 03-18-2004, 07:53 AM
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Originally posted by ZeroShift
What's going to suddenly make you, me, everyone else go CVT?
Once manufacturers are comfortable with it (which shouldn't be too long from what I'm seeing). I think you'll see it as a standard and not an option on most family cars and economy cars in the next 5 to 10 years. I liken the techology to AWD. AWD has been around forever, but it's always improving. Now more cars have AWD than ever before and even more cars will have it by the end of the decade.
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Old 03-18-2004, 08:24 AM
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Fair point, but AWD isn't applicable to every car/vehicle. It adds weight and brings with it compromises (choices by another name). There are pros and cons of FWD / RWD / AWD.

The same is true of all other transmission types. Depending on what's most important to you (performance, comfort, economy, fun...) you make a choice. ZeroShift beats whatever is currently best at a discipline which means that at the same time it provides 'best of all worlds'.

You'd pick ZeroShift to go fastest. You'd pick it for comfort. You'd pick it for emissions. You'd pick it for fun. You'd pick it...

Why will a manufacturer pick it? It can go through existing manual supply chains. It reduces inventory. It helps with CAFE compliance. It gives comfort and progress without adding weight (for a change!). Whatever is written about manufacturers pursuing excellence, the reality is they chase volume and profit for the benefit of the shareholders. It's just business, it's nothing personal.

Fast forward past the here and now of us modifying manuals for market entry to a full-house ZeroShift gearbox. This kind of gearbox will provide one hardware assembly to which a choice of controls can be added. Your options list might be (a) H-gate (b) I-gate sequential (c) paddles (d) auto. The hardware in the transmission tunnel is the same for all.

CVT is heavier, needs different factories, hasn't caught on in 46 years, is no fun to drive, has friction losses (greater than the engine efficiency gains) etc etc etc.

ZeroShift sounds too good to be true purely because of the status quo. Given the basic transmission principles in play date back to 1928, 1937 and and 1958 and everything since has been 'improvements' to them, it's hardly surprising that such ancient ideas, all be they evolved, are compromised in the 21st Century.

AWD is also dealt a blow by ZeroShift. AWD gives traction advantage (distinct from grip). ZeroShift controls traction through gear shifts which further reduces a rationale for picking a [heavier] AWD car over a [lighter] RWD ZeroShift car.

Revolutions are supposed to blow your mind - they are a complete about turn from what you're used to. We've just eliminated the compromises that have been part of our lives for all of our life!
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Old 03-18-2004, 08:46 AM
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Zero. Stick around. I look forward to hearing how this progresses.

Of course, if everything is as you say about zeroshift, then everyone will want one. It definitely sounds revolutionary to me.
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Old 03-18-2004, 09:09 AM
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Originally posted by ZeroShift
Fair point, but AWD isn't applicable to every car/vehicle. It adds weight and brings with it compromises (choices by another name). There are pros and cons of FWD / RWD / AWD.
I don't want to turn this into an AWD thread, but I have a couple of comments on it. No, AWD isn't necessary on many vehicles, but it would be nice to have on some. We had an earlier thread that dismissed some of the AWD myths. There are AWD systems that are only 150lbs more than FWD/RWD systems. The fuel economy difference is negligible. Your tires last longer with AWD. ETC...

Originally posted by ZeroShift
CVT is heavier, needs different factories, hasn't caught on in 46 years, is no fun to drive, has friction losses (greater than the engine efficiency gains) etc etc etc.
Even with CVT's "friction losses" they increase gas mileage by 4% to 8%. That's pretty good if you ask me. Has ZeroShift done any testing to show an increase in MPG?

Originally posted by ZeroShift
AWD is also dealt a blow by ZeroShift. AWD gives traction advantage (distinct from grip). ZeroShift controls traction through gear shifts which further reduces a rationale for picking a [heavier] AWD car over a [lighter] RWD ZeroShift car.
Being an owner of AWD, you'll have a hard time convincing me that ANY transmission can replace AWD's benefits. I can see how they could help each other though. AWD tends to have a jerky shift compared to FWD/RWD cars. Maybe ZeroShift can fix that.

It sounds good, but proof is in the pudding. I can't wait to see the test car and how it performs.
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Old 03-18-2004, 09:22 AM
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Only 150lbs? That's a whole person! 5% of weight of car = % of fuel consumption (before mechanical loss!).

I'm not against AWD at all. My preference is RWD because I like to use my right foot to steer. Less said about that the better...

ZeroShift would remove the AWD shift jolts because it maintains the tension/driveline wind-up across the shift. Definitely a benefit. And because a 'full house ZeroShift' box (not a retro one) would be maybe 40% lighter/smaller than an equiv manual, and even lighter still than an equiv auto, you can 'win back' some of the 150lbs you're carting about.

Hurrah! ZeroShift can get AWD with zero weight penalty!

We haven't done gas mileage tests but you can work it out from weight savings, not enriching the mix at every shift etc. etc. We reckon that will give +5% against a MANUAL. Manuals are c.10% better than autos. CVT is 4% to 8% better than an AUTO. A ZeroShift box could be as much as 15% better than a conventional auto.

Last edited by ZeroShift; 03-18-2004 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 03-18-2004, 12:36 PM
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Threxx, and others talking about CVTs, if I'm not mistaken, CVTs are inherently less mechanically efficient than a fully hooked up manual. The fuel economy improvements given by a CVT are when compared to a conventional auto (often with only 4 speeds), because the CVT is marketed as an auto.

So, a CVT has gains in that you can keep the engine in more efficient operating ranges, but it has losses (at least those devloped so far) due to the nature of the design. I think the CVT advantage isn't too big against a six speed auto (versus a 4 speed, the advantage is more pronounced). Heck, M-B claims something like a 6% improvement in fuel economy from their new 7 speed auto vs the outgoing 5 speed auto.

Against a manual with sufficient forward speeds (5 or 6), I think the fuel economy gains of a CVT are probably nil, or negative. The CVT versions of the Insight and Civic Hybrids get significantly lower mileage ratings than the manual versions. Not to say they won't keep getting better, but when do we reach the point of diminished returns?... Something to think about.

ZeroShift, I am still having trouble fathoming how it can literally shift in no time, but I am quite intrigued by this whole concept, and I find your enthusiasm for your idea quite refreshing and interesting to read. I hope to learn more!
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Old 03-18-2004, 01:19 PM
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Joe:

Your appreciation of autos/CVTs is absolutely right.

Auto progress has been exceptional in recent years and most of the avant garde transmission ideas like CVT, IVT etc. raised their R&D dollars against auto benchmarks of a decade ago i.e. 3 and even 4 speeders. The trouble is - and this is the scary bit for investors and the real heart of why the new stuff isn't making headway - new generation autos are very good indeed. With torque convertor lock-up, they are pretty close to a hooked up manual. Where they mostly lose is the slip when not locked and because of weight and complexity/cost. But even then, use of alloys and trick casting techniques is chipping away at the weight issue.

7 gears in any type of car is pretty much optimum for auto or manual (see my earlier posts).

ZeroShift is the ONLY transmission type that can benchmark improvements against a manual and which can be automated without penalty. I can't over-emphasise the significance of this. Because we improve on the manual, we improve on EVERYTHING. That's what I've been trying to get across.

OK, the 'zero' thing. The switching of ratios is instant because the next gear overdrives the current gear at point of shift. Just like a Lenco box in a Top Fuel dragster. A Lenco only works UP the box, it has no engine-braking and can't downshift. ZeroShift can go both ways.

So, next question is 'where do the revs and inertia go?'. This is what ZeroShift FlatLiner resolves - it adjusts (NOT cuts) the throttle and adjusts the clutch to maintain constant torque at the output shaft. In other words, not only does it protect the engine, but it also doesn't enrich the gas like a normal shift (emission and gas mileage advantage) and it keeps the tension in the driveline which is easier on the bushes, UJs etc which ... da da da dah gives traction control on the gear shifts.

It's one clever gearbox. Bill Martin, the Inventor and Technical Director, is a remarkable engineer.

I can't help being enthusiastic - my car is the only one in the world with a ZeroShift gearbox at the moment!
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Old 03-18-2004, 02:00 PM
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What kind of life-span do you predict your zero shift parts to have?
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