You might think your car’s braking system is relatively simple. However, with the advancement of technology, modern vehicles feature advanced braking systems that can prevent brakes from locking up as well as distribute brakeforce evenly to all four wheels.
In-car technology like electronic brakeforce distribution has progressed massively over the years, thanks to improvements in the processing speed of computers and huge improvements in the sensor technology that reads grip levels.
Often referred to as EBD, electronic brakeforce distribution now features on the majority of cars with ABS, including MG HS, and helps to improve driving experiences every day.
What is electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD)?
Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, or EBD, is a subsystem of the vehicle’s anti-lock braking system and electronic stability control (ESC).
Put simply, EBD is a system that stabilises the amount of braking force on each wheel of the car. In doing this, electronic brakeforce distribution provides stronger and safer braking performance in emergency scenarios. The amount of pressure applied to each wheel can be varied due to factors such as the condition of the road or the speed of the vehicle.
EBD brakes are part of what is considered active safety equipment, as they help prevent a crash from occurring or lessen the impact of an accident.
How does electronic brakeforce distribution work?
The way that the electronic brakeforce distribution systems typically works is by looking at data from speed sensors to determine if any of the wheels aren't rotating at the same speed as the others. If a discrepancy is found, indicating that a tyre may be skidding, corrective measures can be taken.
The electronic brakeforce distribution system is part of a suite of braking and stability safety technologies and makes use of three components; the speed sensors, brake force modulators and electronic control unit (ECU).
The speed sensor not only calculates the speed of the car, but the speed of the engine too (RPM). Electronic brakeforce distribution can be used when the speed of the wheel may not be the same as the speed of the car, which results in skidding. The speed sensors calculate the likelihood of the car losing control and relay this to the EBD system.
Electronic Control Unit
The electronic control unit collects the data from the speed sensors in each wheel and uses this data to calculate the slip ratio (difference between the speed of the car and the rotation of the tyre). Once the slip ratio is determined, it makes use of the brake force modulators to keep the slip ratio within limits.
Brake Force Modulators
The brake force modulators pump brake fluid into the brake lines and activate the brake cylinders. The brake force applied on each wheel can be controlled by the electronic brakeforce distribution system.
All these three components work in tandem and make the EBD system work flawlessly.
Electronic brakeforce distribution can also work by responding to differences in wheel weights, road conditions, or braking situations much faster than the driver can sense them. The system can also vary pressure on individual wheels - which the driver can't. This greatly improves braking performance.
What is the purpose of electronic brakeforce distribution?
The purpose of electronic brakeforce distribution is similar to that of anti-lock brakes and traction control – to stabilise the vehicle under heavy braking. These technologies are all designed to prevent the wheels of a vehicle from locking up, which can cause a driver to lose control very quickly. Unlike other brake systems, electronic brakeforce distribution is able to dynamically control the brake force that is applied to each wheel.
What happens if my electronic brakeforce distribution system fails?
In the event of your electronic brakeforce distribution system failing, the conventional brake system should continue to function normally. That means you’ll typically be fine if you have to drive a vehicle that has a malfunctioning EBD system. However, you’ll need to take extra care when braking and should call your local dealer as soon as you can.
Since EBD and ABS (AntiLock Braking Systems) use many of the same components, your anti-lock brakes will often fail at the same time as your electronic brake force distribution system, which means you may need to pump your brakes instead of applying steady pressure.
Manufacturers recommend that you check your brake fluid level if you suspect a malfunctioning electronic brakeforce distribution system, since some vehicles use the same warning light for low fluid that is used for other brake issues. If the fluid level is low, you should avoid driving the vehicle until it has been topped up, and a mechanic should inspect the system for leaks.
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