Duramax Diesels Forum Truck of the Week
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Old 08-15-2012, 10:56 PM
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Default "Whats inside".....Allison 4th gen TCM

Im going to start a new little discussion segment/forum in my vendor section on Duramax Diesels.

As everyone knows, I get a kick out of electronics and whiz-bang little gadgets that are related to trucks/automotive stuff. I think it really interesting the electrical engineering, electronics design, and computer technology that goes into the simplest of things in cars/trucks nowadays.

I like explaining things, I like figuring out how things work, and I like sharing my knowledge about things that interest me. So I figured I would start a series of threads where Ill take something apart, maybe describe a little bit about whats going on, and if anyone has questions, Ill try to answer them. Im just a stupid dumbass liberal-arts major; Im not a formally-educated electrical engineer or computer-science engineer so Im not going to have all the answers....but Ill at least have some pretty high-resolution pictures for you guys to look at.

Its going to be creatively called the...wait for it..."whats inside" segment.

OK. Here we go.

For starters, the thing was designed to be assembled once and never taken apart. It is sealed/glued together. I had to spend a few minutes looking over it just to figure out HOW to open it. The only reason I took this one apart was because it was dead. Not "dead" as in it was flashed wrong and now nothing will communicate with it...but actually physically damaged internally...There is an internal short somewhere in the power supply or ground circuit because when plugged in, it doesnt even draw any current.

So I pried it open.

The whole PCB (printed circuit board) is potted. What that means is its fully encased in a sort of epoxy to keep it 100% liquid and air sealed...and to protect against vibration. The potting stuff allison used is something like a mixture of jello and rubber cement. Its squishy but not sticky, and its not hard. Some sort of gel, I dunno.

You can see the tiny wires that connect the two boards together...these wires are "floating"/suspended in the gel potting compound. They are incredibly small and delicate. Both PCB's are mounted solidly to the big heat sink, which has the spiky fins on the other side that we can see on the outside.

Its divided up into two separate boards. One is the controls and the other is the drivers. Basically one side is the brains and the other is the muscle (to drive the solenoids and stuff). The green PCB is the driver board.

Later, ill make some diagrams pointing to various objects and what [I think] they are. Fingers will probably be able to make more sense of this than me, but I still find it cool to look at just the same.

The processor cores on the tan/brown board are exposed, as you can see. They are holographic-looking things and when you tilt the TCM side to side, they change color and look 3D..very cool.

the pictures are big so you can really look up close. Even if you arent an electronics person, its still interesting to see the detail and how small/detailed some of the stuff is.













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Old 08-16-2012, 06:38 AM
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Damn...looks waay over engineered.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:07 AM
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I bet when Ben got it open it was pure euphoria and all the blood rushed out of his big head to his little head and he probably blacked out for a minute or two he was so excited!

I wonder which was more exciting:

1) Getting his Cherry Popped !
2) Cracking Open a Forth Generation GM Allison TCM!
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MACKIN View Post
I bet when Ben got it open it was pure euphoria and all the blood rushed out of his big head to his little head and he probably blacked out for a minute or two he was so excited!

I wonder which was more exciting:

1) Getting his Cherry Popped !
2) Cracking Open a Forth Generation GM Allison TCM!
wouldnt you like to know.
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Old 08-16-2012, 08:47 AM
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Cool Ben, thanks for sharing
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Old 08-16-2012, 09:19 AM
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Hey Mack, I found out a few weeks ago my cousin and her boyfriends went to school with Ben...They also told me some veryyyy interesting stories about him! Ben, Id like to put my truck back together, so if you dont call me back I will be forced to go public with these
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Old 08-16-2012, 05:54 PM
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Hey Mack, I found out a few weeks ago my cousin and her boyfriends went to school with Ben...They also told me some veryyyy interesting stories about him! Ben, Id like to put my truck back together, so if you dont call me back I will be forced to go public with these
Is the guy to girl ratio that out of whack in CT? That shit is not cool, must make for some weird get togethers...
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Old 08-16-2012, 06:04 PM
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Looks like a Wallmart parking lot, from an airplane...
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:18 AM
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The Back side of both boards are also populated with components.

You don't often see de-cased chips. And this controller has three. Processor, Com, and memory.
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Old 08-19-2012, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingers View Post
The Back side of both boards are also populated with components.

You don't often see de-cased chips. And this controller has three. Processor, Com, and memory.
I work for Micron, and we're starting to sell more and more of our product as die on board (not cased). Of course, it is usually going into cell phones where space is more of a premium than in here. It is interesting they went with die on board. It looks like the whole thing was assembled in a clean room (not cheap).

Also, looking at it, I think there are drivers on both boards, not just the green board. I could be wrong though, as we're only seeing the top of the boards.
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Old 08-19-2012, 02:54 PM
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Die on Board is used for space and heat dissipation.

Speaking of which, I don't see any thermal sinks or traces on the processor board. Not driving much other than signals. Even those look to be clamped and isolated.
Now the drive board appears to be driving a fair bit. Note the pin cushion areas. Those are for either hi heat or noise reduction. Considering we can see some drivers soldered to them on this side. Chances are good there is another one the other side of the open pin cushion areas.

Now that I have looked a little closer I see there are several more Die on Board components than I thought. Two I recognize as dual OP-Amps.
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Old 08-19-2012, 03:31 PM
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...and to think, that TCM probably has more computing power than what took the astronauts to the moon and back. Pretty amazing all the computing power packed into that small case.
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:01 PM
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...and to think, that TCM probably has more computing power than what took the astronauts to the moon and back. Pretty amazing all the computing power packed into that small case.
many hundreds of times more computing power. If not, thousands?

Even the microcontrollers/computers that I use in my lockup controllers are several times more powerful than the Apollo 11 guidance computer...
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by duratothemax View Post
many hundreds of times more computing power. If not, thousands?

Even the microcontrollers/computers that I use in my lockup controllers are several times more powerful than the Apollo 11 guidance computer...
Thats just insane!
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:39 PM
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...and to think, that TCM probably has more computing power than what took the astronauts to the moon and back. Pretty amazing all the computing power packed into that small case.
are we really sure the Apollo 11 mission even landed on the moon ???
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