Smartplex™: Less Wiring, More Flexibility
Unlike conventional point-to-point wiring systems where separate wires control each function, multiplex wiring lets multiple electronic messages travel back and forth through the same wire, reducing the number of wires by nearly 40 percent.
In a nutshell, that is the basis for Freightliner Trucks’ SmartPlex™ system and the reason Mark Faro, vocational segment manager, product marketing, Freightliner Trucks, is confident customers will welcome Freightliner’s expansion to its existing multiplex electrical system. Over the past decade, the company has worked on developing and refining its multiplex electrical wiring to provide truck equipment manufacturers an efficient and reliable solution to increase the ease of body integration and application programming.
“The result,” says Faro, “is the SmartPlex system, which provides a more robust, flexible and simple-to-implement system for use in end-customer and truck equipment manufacturer trucks. We use the term ‘plug and play’ when describing how easy we want this to be for our body and equipment installers.
“Both end-customers and truck equipment manufacturers are looking for an easy-to-use system that’s flexible without having to rewire the truck. Reduced wiring in the truck improves reliability and decreases maintenance.
We expect the system will be of particular interest to mid-size and smaller operators, who’ll really get a bang for their buck.—Mark Faro, vocational segment manager, Freightliner Trucks ”
With the SmartPlex™ switch and lamp module, there is capacity for up to 24 switches or indicators in the cab’s overhead console.
The SmartPlex system is controlled by Freightliner’s proprietary control modules that relay data, sending and receiving commands. Electrical components such as switches and lights are connected to these modules, which monitor and control their operation.
With the new SmartPlex hub module, there is capacity for up to 24 switches or indicator lamps in the cab’s overhead console, all dedicated to the unique needs of truck equipment manufacturers. Freightliner offers custom downloadable programming parameters for the SmartPlex system, and will release them to body installers and upfitters so they can program their switches and indicator lamps and use it on other trucks in the future. All SmartPlex switches and lamps have unique IDs in the system, which allows them to be programmed and then later moved to any location where there is a free multiplex harness pigtail without the need for reprogramming.
The SmartPlex system was on display at the National Truck Equipment Association show in March 2012 and is expected to be available Q3 2012.
“We expect the system will be of particular interest to mid-size and smaller operators, who’ll really get a bang for their buck,” says Faro. “And truck equipment manufacturers will appreciate this flexible, expandable system, which avoids unnecessary wiring and provides a dedicated home for their body controls and indicator lamps, as well as the ability to create custom programming parameters unique to their needs.”
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