PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1688614 21.09.2006
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001688614
Titel Anlassanordnung für einen Verbrennungsmotor
Anmelder Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., Yokohama, Kanagawa, JP
Erfinder Mitsuhori, Ltd., Atsushi c/o Nissan Motor Co., Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 221-0023, JP;
Osada, Ltd., Naoki c/o Nissan Motor Co., Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 221-0023, JP;
Fujita, Ltd., Hidehiro c/o Nissan Motor Co., Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 221-0023, JP;
Matsuki, Ltd., Yoshitaka c/o Nissan Motor Co., Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 221-0023, JP;
Yuuya, Ltd., Masahiko c/o Nissan Motor Co., Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 221-0023, JP;
Yanai, Ltd., Tadanori c/o Nissan Motor Co., Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 221-0023, JP;
Katayama, Ltd., Takatsugu c/o Nissan Motor Co., Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 221-0023, JP;
Hamane, Ltd., Shouta c/o Nissan Motor Co., Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa, 221-0023, JP
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IS, IT, LI, LT, LU, LV, MC, NL, PL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 04.02.2006
EP-Aktenzeichen 062506209
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 09.08.2006
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 21.09.2006
IPC-Hauptklasse F02N 17/00(2006.01)A, F, I, 20060711, B, H, EP
IPC-Nebenklasse F02P 5/15(2006.01)A, L, I, 20060711, B, H, EP   F02D 41/06(2006.01)A, L, I, 20060711, B, H, EP   F02D 41/38(2006.01)A, L, I, 20060711, B, H, EP   F02N 11/04(2006.01)A, L, I, 20060711, B, H, EP   

Beschreibung[en]

The present invention relates to a starting system for an internal combustion engine and particularly, but not exclusively, to a system for starting an engine by combustion in a specific cylinder without relying on a starter that employs an electric motor or the like. The invention also relates to a method and to a device.

In starting an internal combustion engine without using a starter, the related art is described as follows. Upon starting the engine, the cylinder that stopped at the expansion stroke is detected, the detected cylinder is fired, and by this combustion the engine is rotated and thus started (see Japanese Patent Publication No. H02-271073 (Page 2, upper left column, lines 7 to 14).

After the stopping of an engine, however, the fuel pressure at the fuel injection system may not be maintained at as high a pressure as that prior to the stopping and it gradually decreases with time. If the fuel pressure has been reduced beyond a certain level of pressure, a sufficient injection pressure for the injector cannot be obtained during the starting of the engine at the next round (to recover the fuel pressure, the engine is required to be started); therefore sufficient vaporization of the injected fuel cannot be obtained, and thus satisfactory starting may not be obtained.

It is an aim of the present invention to address this problem. Embodiments of the invention provide an improved internal combustion engine that employs combustion starting and in which starting failure due to reduction of fuel pressure may be avoided and the engine may be securely started. Other aims and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following description, claims and drawings.

According to aspects of the present invention, therefore, there is provided a starting system for an internal combustion engine and a method of starting an internal combustion engine as set out in the appended claims.

According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a starting system for an internal combustion engine having a fuel pump drivable by the output of the engine, an injector for directly injecting fuel supplied by the fuel pump into a combustion chamber, and an ignition plug for igniting the fuel injected by the injector; the starting system comprising an engine position sensing means for detecting a cylinder position, a starter motor means for cranking the engine when the engine is stopped, characterized by a fuel pressure detection means for detecting the fuel pressure supplied to the injector at the starting of the engine, a primary start control means that identifies a cylinder at the expansion stroke from the engine position sensing means when the engine is stopped, selectively starts the engine only when the fuel pressure detected by the primary fuel pressure sensor is the same as or greater than a predetermined primary pressure, by injecting fuel into the cylinder at the expansion stroke using the injector, and igniting the fuel so injected using the ignition plug and driving the starter motor to start the engine when the detected fuel pressure is lower than the predetermined pressure, by cranking with the starter motor.

In one embodiment, the primary fuel pressure detection means selectively detects the time elapsed from the previous stop of the engine as a value correlated to the fuel pressure.

In one embodiment, the internal combustion engine is arranged to selectively carryout an idle stop temporarily stopping the engine when a predetermined idle stop condition is established and until a predetermined idle stop releasing condition is established and the starting system includes an idle stop inhibition means that inhibits an idle stop when the fuel pressure detected by the fuel pressure detection means is lower than a predetermined secondary pressure. The predetermined secondary pressure may be greater than the predetermined primary pressure.

In one embodiment, the system comprises a forcible starting means for causing the primary start control means to forcefully start the engine after the idle stop when the fuel pressure detected by the fuel pressure detection means reaches the primary pressure or a tertiary pressure. The tertiary pressure may be greater than the primary pressure and lower than the secondary pressure.

In one embodiment, the system comprises a temperature detection sensor for detecting the temperature of the engine and a primary starting pressure modification means for modifying the primary pressure depending on the temperature detected by the temperature sensor.

In one embodiment, the system comprises a starting sensing means for detecting whether or not engine starting by the primary start control means was achieved and a secondary starting pressure modification means for increasing the primary pressure compared to that during the previous stopping for the next starting when a condition is detected other than the condition in which engine starting is achieved by the primary start control unit.

In one embodiment, the internal combustion engine selectively carries out an idle stop temporarily stopping the engine when a predetermined idle stop condition is established until a predetermined idle stop releasing condition is established and the starting system includes a forcible starting means that causes the primary start control unit to forcefully start the engine after an idle stop when the fuel pressure detected by the fuel pressure detection means reaches the primary pressure or a tertiary pressure that is greater than the primary pressure and lower than the tertiary pressure.

According to a further aspect of the invention there is provided a method of starting an internal combustion engine in which a fuel pump is rotated by the output of the engine and fuel supplied by the fuel pump is directly injected into a combustion chamber, comprising the steps of detecting the pressure of the fuel supplied by the fuel pump, identifying a cylinder in the expansion stroke when the engine is stopped, if the detected fuel pressure is equal to or greater than a predetermined pressure, injecting fuel into the combustion chamber of the detected cylinder and igniting the fuel to rotate and start the engine, and if the detected fuel pressure is lower than the predetermined pressure, starting the engine by cranking with a starter motor.

According to a still further aspect of the invention there is provided a starting device for a combustion engine that is provided in a combustion engine having a fuel pump driven by the output of the engine, an injector that directly injects the fuel supplied by the fuel pump into the combustion chamber and an ignition plug for igniting the fuel injected by the injector, which rotates and starts the engine by injecting the fuel to a designated cylinder using the injector and igniting the fuel using the ignition plug wherein it is comprised of a primary fuel pressure detection means that detects the fuel pressure that is supplied to the injector at the starting of the engine and a primary start control means that starts the engine only when the fuel pressure detected by the primary fuel detection means is the same as or greater than the designated primary pressure, by injecting the fuel into the designated cylinder using the injector, and igniting the fuel that is injected using the ignition plug.

The various aspects and embodiments set out in the preceding paragraphs and in the claims may be implemented individually or in any suitable combination.

In embodiments of the invention, a starting system is provided in an internal combustion engine having a fuel pump driven by the output of the engine, an injector that directly injects the fuel supplied by the fuel pump into the combustion chamber and an ignition plug for igniting the fuel injected by the injector. In operation, the starting system rotates and starts the engine by injecting the fuel into a predetermined cylinder using the injector and igniting the fuel using the ignition plug and, upon starting the engine, the fuel pressure supplied to the injector is detected and the engine is started by combustion in the predetermined cylinder only when the detected pressure is at or greater than the predetermined pressure, thereby guaranteeing the fuel pressure when combustion starting is employed. Consequently the engine can be securely started.

The present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

  • FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a combustion engine equipped with a starting system embodying a first form of the invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a chart showing transition of a location counter relative to output from a crank angle sensor;
  • FIG. 3 is a flowchart of a start control process according to the embodiment of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 4 is a graph showing the combustion start-permitting pressure P1;
  • FIG. 5 is a flowchart of an idle stop control process of a starting system embodying a second form of the invention;
  • FIG. 6 is a flowchart of an idle stop control process of a starting system embodying a third form of the invention;
  • FIG. 7 is a flowchart of a starting control process of a starting system embodying a fourth form of the invention; and
  • FIG. 8 is a graph showing the transition of the fuel pressure Pfuel after the engine stop.

In FIG. 1, engine 1 is a so-called direct-injection-type gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine.

A piston 12 is disposed in a cylinder block 11 and the space formed between the crown surface 121 of the piston 12 and the bottom surface of the cylinder head 13 forming a combustion chamber 14. The piston 12 is connected to a crankshaft 17 via a connecting rod 15 and a crank arm 16, and the crankshaft 17 is caused to rotate through the reciprocating motion of the piston 12. According to the present embodiment, the center 122 of the piston boss is substantially aligned with the center axis m of the cylinder in the cross-section in FIG. 1. Nevertheless, the center 122 of the piston boss can be configured in this cross-section so that by being offset the junction c of the connecting rod 15 and the crank arm 16 will pass through the center 122 as well as pass through in front of the upper dead center on a straight line parallel to the center axis m of the cylinder.

An inlet port 18 is formed in the cylinder head 13 to one side of the center axis m of the cylinder, and is connected to an inlet manifold (not shown) to form an inlet path. The inlet port 18 is opened and closed by an inlet valve 19. An exhaust port 20 is formed on the other side of the center axis m of the cylinder, and is connected to an exhaust manifold (not shown) to form an exhaust path. The exhaust port 20 is opened and closed by an exhaust valve 21. Two of each of the inlet ports 19 and the exhaust ports 20 are provided in each cylinder, aligned in the direction of alignment of the cylinders. The inlet valve 19 and exhaust valve 21 are driven by an inlet cam and exhaust cam (not shown) provided on the upper side of each valve 19 and 21, respectively.

An injector 22 for supplying fuel is arranged on the cylinder head 13 to face the combustion chamber 14 and directly injects fuel into the combustion chamber 14. According to the present embodiment the injector 22 is arranged between two inlet ports 18 and 18 and the fuel is injected into the combustion chamber 14 from the side. Compressed fuel is fed by a fuel pump 72 to the injector 22 via a fuel pipe 71 connected to a fuel tank (not shown). According to the present embodiment, the fuel pump 72 is connected to one end of the cam shaft (not shown) and is driven by the output of the engine 1. An ignition plug 23 for igniting the fuel injected by the injector 22 is provided on the center axis m of the cylinder. Operation of the injector 22 (and the fuel pump 72) and the ignition plug 23 are controlled by the engine control unit 31 described below.

Operation of the engine 1 is comprehensively controlled by an engine control unit (hereinafter referred to as "ECU") 31. Signals are received by the ECU 31 from an accelerator sensor 41 that detect the aperture of the accelerator, from crank angle sensors 42 to 44 (the engine rotational speed can be calculated based on these), from a temperature sensor 45 that detects the temperature of the coolant, and from a pressure sensor 46 that detects the fuel pressure inside the fuel pipe 71 (hereinafter referred to as the fuel pressure), as well as from an ignition switch 47 and a start switch 48. Based on these signals, the ECU 31 calculates and sets the injection volume, the timing of the injector 22, and the ignition period of the ignition plug 23.

According to the present embodiment, three crank angle sensors 42 to 44 are provided in order to detect the precise stopping position of the crank shaft 17 at the stopping of the engine 1. From among these, two sensors 42 and 43 are provided for the primary rotor 61 attached on the crankshaft 17. Concave and convex shapes are formed at intervals of 30 degrees on the circumference of the primary rotor 61 and the sensors 42 and 43 generate a position signal at every 30 degrees of the crank angle depending on these concave and convex shapes. In addition, the sensors 42 and 43 are offset-positioned by 15 degrees in the direction of the circumference with the crankshaft at the center, and they generate position signals that are 15 degrees out of phase with each other. The remaining sensor 44 is provided for the secondary rotor (not shown) attached on the camshaft. A projection is formed on the circumference of the secondary rotor and the sensor 44 generates a reference signal every 720 degrees of crank angle as this projection passes by. Using these crank angle sensors 42 to 44, the stopping position of the crankshaft 17 can be detected with a precision of 15 degrees.

Based on the detected stopping position, ECU 31 detects the cylinder that stopped during the expansion stroke during the previous stopping, and the detected cylinder is fired to rotate and start the engine 1. The rotational speed of the engine can be detected by counting the position signals from the sensors 42 and 43 for a predetermined period of time, or by measuring the generation cycle of the reference signal from the sensor 44. In the present starting system, the "stopping" of the engine includes an idle stop in which the engine is stopped while the ignition switch is on when a predetermined idle stop condition is established, in addition to the normal stop in which the ignition switch is turned off.

According to the present embodiment, as a starting method for engine 1, combustion starting using combustion as a trigger is employed, but in addition, by taking into account the situation in which starting cannot be effectively carried out using this method, a starter 73, operated by an electric motor, is provided.

FIG. 2 shows the output waveforms for the crank angle sensors 42 to 44 at the stopping of the engine 1.

A position counter CNT that takes a value from 1 to 48 is set for the ECU 31 and the ECU 31 detects the stopping position of the crankshaft 17 based on the value of the position counter CNT at stopping. As described above, the position signals POS 1 and POS2 from the sensors 42 and 43 are input every 30 degrees and are out of phase from each other by 15 degrees. The position counter CNT is reset to 1 (angle ANG1) by the input of the next position signal (in this case, POS1) in which the reference signal REF is input, and is incremented by 1 every time position signals POS1, and POS2 are input. When the position signals POS1 and POS2 from the sensors 42 and 43 are alternately input, the position counter CNT is incremented by 1 for each by the input of each POS1 and POS2; nonetheless, when the crankshaft 17 is rotated in reverse immediately prior to complete stopping of rotation upon stopping of the engine 1, position signals from one of the sensors (in this case, POS2) are repeatedly input (angle AGN2). In this case, by subtracting 1 from the position counter CNT, the stopping position incremented with reverse rotation can be detected. Whether or not the rotation is completely stopped can be detected from the fact that neither position signal POS1 nor POS2 are input during a predetermined period of time (angle ANG 3).

FIG. 3 is a flowchart of the start control process. This process is activated when the ignition switch 47 is turned on. By following this process, engine 1 starts from the state in which the ignition switch 47 is off.

At step S101, whether or not the start switch 48 is turned on is detected. When it is on, the process advances to step S102, and if it is not on, the detection of step S101 is repeated.

At step S102, fuel pressure Pfuel detected by the pressure sensor 46 is read and it is detected whether or not this fuel pressure Pfuel (equivalent to the "primary pressure") is the same as P1 or greater. If it is equal to P1 or greater, the process advances to step S103 and if it is lower than P1, the process advances to step S104. The pressure P1 is set to a value that corresponds to the coolant temperature Tw based on the search result from the chart (linear A) with a trend shown in FIG. 4. In this chart, the pressure P 1 is set to be a greater value as the coolant temperature TW becomes lower.

At step S103 the engine 1 is activated by combustion starting, under the presupposition that sufficient fuel pressure Pfuel is secured for starting and a sufficient injection pressure can be obtained by the injector 22. In other words, the cylinder that stopped during the expansion stroke at the previous stopping is detected based on the stopping position of the crankshaft 17 and combustion is generated for this cylinder by executing the injection ignition of the fuel, and thus the engine 1 is started.

At step S104, the engine 1 is activated by cranking of the starter 73 under the presupposition that the required fuel pressure Pfuel is not secured due to reduction of the fuel pressure Pfuel since the previous stopping.

In the present embodiment, the pressure sensor 46 corresponds to the "primary fuel pressure detection means" and the temperature sensor 45 is equivalent to the "temperature detection means". In addition, the process at step S103 in the flowchart shown in FIG. 3 corresponds to the function of the "primary start control means" and the process of step S104 in the same flowchart corresponds to the function of the "secondary start control means." The process at step S102 in the same flowchart includes a function that serves as the "first starting pressure modification means".

As a "temperature detection means," a device that detects the temperature of the engine oil or the temperature of the atmosphere can be employed as well as one that detects the coolant temperature.

The direct fuel injection engine employs a high-pressure-type fuel pump that supplies fuel to the injector. Because it requires the formation of a high pressure fuel, this fuel pump is connected to a cam shaft or the like and driven by the output of the engine. After the stopping of an engine, due to its structure, the fuel pressure at the fuel injection system cannot be maintained at as high a pressure as that prior to the stopping and it gradually decreases with time. When a long period of time has passed from the stopping of an engine, and the fuel pressure has been reduced beyond a certain level of pressure, a sufficient injection pressure for the injector cannot be obtained during the starting of the engine at the next round (to recover the fuel pressure, the engine is required to be started); therefore sufficient vaporization of the injected fuel cannot be obtained, and thus satisfactory starting may not be obtained.

According to the present embodiment, upon activation of the engine 1, the fuel pressure Pfuel is detected and only when the fuel pressure Pfuel is the same as the pressure P1 or greater, which is required for injection of the fuel, combustion starting is employed. This allows guaranteeing the fuel pressure Pfuel, thereby securely starting the engine 1 during combustion starting.

FIG. 8 shows the transition of the fuel pressure Pfuel after the engine 1 is stopped. After the stop at time t1, the fuel pressure Pfuel gradually decreases along with time elapsing. Here not much time has passed since the previous stop for the next starting, (time t2), and the fuel pressure Pfuel required for injection is secured so that combustion starting can be employed. On the other hand, if a long period of time has passed from the stop to the start (time t4), the fuel pressure Pfuel is so reduced that it is lower than the pressure P1 and therefore the required injection pressure cannot be obtained. If combustion starting is employed under this condition, the injected fuel does not vaporize in a desirable manner, and therefore the engine 1 may not start or a desirable starting may not be achieved.

According to the present embodiment, if the fuel pressure Pfuel is lower than the pressure P1, it inhibits the employment of combustion starting, and instead, the engine is started by the starter 73 without relying on the fuel pressure Pfuel.

In addition, according to the present embodiment, the coolant temperature Tw is detected and the pressure P1 is set in correspondence to the temperature Tw. In particular, the lower the coolant water temperature Tw, the greater the pressure P1 (FIG. 4) so that employment of combustion starting is inhibited under the condition of a low fuel pressure Pfuel, thereby securing startability when the engine 1 is cold.

According to the present embodiment, a predetermined pressure sensor 46 is provided in order to detect the fuel pressure Pfuel; nonetheless, instead of the pressure sensor 46, the elapsed time measured by a timer can be employed as the fuel pressure Pfuel. It is because there is sufficient correlation between the fuel pressure Pfuel and the time elapsed after the stop to identify the fuel pressure Pfuel (FIG. 8).

FIG. 5 is a flowchart of the idle stop control process according to a second embodiment of the present starting system. This process is activated when the ignition switch 47 is turned on and is executed according to a predetermined cycle. The ECU 31 carries out the normal stopping of the engine when ignition switch 47 is turned off, as well as carrying out an idle stop that temporarily stops the engine 1 when an idle stop condition that is predetermined as related to vehicle speed or the like is established, until the idle stop releasing condition is later established. According to the second embodiment, the stopping position of the crankshaft 17 is detected by the crank angle sensors 42 to 44 upon the idle stop, and in addition, upon restarting after the idle stop, the cylinder that is stopped during the expansion stroke is also detected based on the detected stopping position, and combustion starting is carried out. Along with the idle stop control process, an idle stop or a restarting thereafter is carried out.

At step S201, it is detected whether or not the predetermined idle stop condition is established. When this condition is established, the process advances to step S202, and if it is not established it returns to step S201. According to the second embodiment, the idle stop is executed under the conditions: a) the accelerator aperture is the same as or smaller than a predetermined value and the accelerator pedal is in a completely returned condition; b) the vehicle speed is the same as or lower than a predetermined value and the vehicle has virtually continuously stopped for a predetermined period of time; c) a driver is stepping on a foot brake; and d) the coolant temperature is the same as or greater than a predetermined temperature. The vehicle speed can detected rotational speed sensors provided on driving wheels, or can be calculated based on the engine rotational speed and the transmission ratio of the gear or the like.

At step S202, the fuel pressure Pfuel detected by the pressure sensor 46 is read and it is detected whether or not the fuel pressure Pfuel is the same as the predetermined pressure (equivalent to the secondary pressure) P2 or greater. If it is the same as or greater than P2, the process advances to step S203 and if it is less than P2, the idle stop is inhibited and therefore it returns to step S202. The pressure P2 is set to a value greater than the predetermined pressure P1 as described below (P1<P2).

At step S203 injector 22 and ignition plug 23 are stopped and therefore the engine 1 is stopped.

At step S204, it is detected whether or not the predetermined idle stop releasing condition is established. If this releasing condition is established the process advances to step S205 and if it is not established it repeats the process at step S204. According to the present embodiment, the idle stop is released under the reverse condition in which the idle stop is executed, which is described above a) to d). Therefore, for example, when an foot brake is released or an accelerator aperture having the same as or greater value than a predetermined value is detected by the accelerator sensor 41, the ECU 31 judges the engine should start.

At step S205, it is detected whether or not the fuel pressure Pfuel is the same as the predetermined pressure (equivalent to the primary pressure) P1 or greater. If it is the same as P1 or greater the process advances to step S206 and if it is less than P1, the process advances to step S207.

At step S206, the engine 1 is activated by combustion starting.

At step S207 the engine 1 is activated by causing the starter 73 to carry out cranking.

According to the second embodiment, the process at step S202 in the flowchart shown in FIG. 5 corresponds to the function of the "idle stop inhibition means". In addition, the pressure sensor 46 has both the functions of the "primary fuel pressure detection means" and the "secondary fuel pressure detection means".

According to the second embodiment, upon idle stop the fuel pressure Pfuel is detected, and if the fuel pressure Pfuel is lower than the relatively large pressure P2, the idle stop is inhibited. Therefore, the time after the idle stop until the fuel pressure Pfuel is reduced to the pressure P1 is secured and therefore restarting by the starter 73 is avoided as much as possible, thereby saving consumption.

FIG. 6 is a flowchart of the idle stop control process according to a third embodiment of the present invention. This process, too, is activated when the ignition switch 47 is turned on, and is executed in a predetermined cycle. In this flowchart, those steps that carry out a similar process to those in FIG. 5 have the same number. According to the third embodiment, employment of combustion starting is secured for a reason described below, and therefore the engine 1 can be constructed without a starter.

Whether or not the predetermined idle stop condition is established is detected (step S201) and if the condition is established, only when the fuel pressure Pfuel is the same as or greater than the predetermined pressure (equivalent to the secondary pressure) P2, is the engine 1 stopped (steps S202, S203).

At S301, the fuel pressure Pfuel after the idle stop is monitored and whether or not this fuel pressure Pfuel is the same as or greater than the predetermined pressure (equivalent to the tertiary pressure) P3, in other words, whether or not the fuel pressure Pfuel is reduced to the pressure P3 is detected. If it is not reduced, the process advances to step S204, and if it is reduced the process advances to S302. The pressure P3 is set to a value smaller than the pressure P2.

At step S204, it is detected whether or not the predetermined idle stop releasing condition is established and the process advances to S302 only when this releasing condition is established. At step S302 the engine 1 is started by combustion starting.

According to the third embodiment, the process at step S301 in the flowchart shown in FIG. 6 corresponds to the function of the "forcible starting means". In addition, the pressure sensor 46 has all the functions of the "primary fuel pressure detection means", "secondary fuel pressure detection means" and "tertiary fuel pressure detection means".

The predetermined pressure P3 is set to be the same as or greater than the pressure (equivalent to the "primary pressure") P 1 employed for starting after a normal stop, which is separate from restarting after an idle stop.

According to the third embodiment, after the idle stop, the fuel pressure Pfuel is monitored and when the fuel pressure Pfuel is reduced to the pressure P3, the engine 1 is forcibly started regardless of the establishment of the idle stop releasing condition (the transition of the fuel pressure Pfuel in this case is shown as the single dot dashed line C in FIG. 8). Therefore, combustion starting can be securely carried out during the restarting after the idle stop. In other words, the employment of combustion starting is guaranteed without having a starter.

FIG. 7 is a flowchart of the start control process according to a fourth embodiment of the present invention. This process is activated when the ignition switch 47 is turned on. In this flowchart, those steps that carry out a similar process to those in FIG. 3 have the same number. According to the present embodiment, it is detected whether or not the starting of the engine 1 by combustion starting is desirably achieved. If the starting is poor, an adjustment is made so that the value of the pressure P1 that is the threshold value for determining whether to use combustion starting is increased compared to the previous starting.

When the start switch 48 is turned on (step S101), the fuel pressure Pfuel and the predetermined pressure P1 are compared and the starting method is switched between combustion starting and starting by means of the starter 73 (steps S 102 to S104). When combustion starting is used (step S103), whether or not the starting of the engine is achieved is detected and if it is achieved, the present process is returned and if it is not achieved the process advances to S402.

At S402, the starting method is switched to starting carried out by cranking with the starter 73.

At S403, the pressure P1 is changed by a predetermined value to a greater value compared to the current value. According to the fourth embodiment, the pressure P1 in the table in FIG. 1 is increased by a predetermined value. It is preferable that an adjustment of the table be carried out for every range of the coolant temperature Tw. The pressure P1 after the modification (shown as double dot dash line B in FIG. 4) is reflected in the detection in step S102 for the next starting.

The detection of whether or not the starting is achieved (step S401) can be easily carried out from changes in the rotation speed of the engine after ignition is started.

According to the fourth embodiment, the process at step S401 in the flowchart shown in FIG. 7 is equivalent to the function of the "start detection means" and the process in S403 in the same flowchart is equivalent to the function of the "secondary starting pressure modification means".

According to the fourth embodiment, upon starting of the engine 1 by combustion starting, it is detected whether or not starting is achieved, and if it is not achieved, an adjustment is made so that the threshold value for determining whether to use the combustion starting (namely pressure P1) is increased for the next start, and only when a higher fuel pressure Pfuel is secured does combustion starting become employed. Therefore, the startability of the engine 1 by combustion starting can be maintained without being affected by changes due to age, such as the operability of the injector 22.

The terms "primary", "secondary" and "tertiary", as used in the context of fuel pressure, are not intended to be limiting and may be synonymous with "first", "second" and "third", respectively. Furthermore, while the present invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof, this is by way of illustration and not of limitation, and the appended claims should be construed as broadly as the prior art will permit.

This application claims priority from Japanese Patent Application No. 2005-028968, filed 4th February 2005, the contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.


Anspruch[en]
A starting system for an internal combustion engine having a fuel pump (72) drivable by the output of the engine, an injector (22) for directly injecting fuel supplied by the fuel pump into a combustion chamber, and an ignition plug (23) for igniting the fuel injected by the injector; the starting system comprising: engine position sensing means (42, 43, 44) for detecting a cylinder position; fuel pressure detection means (46) for detecting a fuel pressure supplied to the injector; and primary start control means (31) for identifying a cylinder at an expansion stroke when the engine is stopped and starting the engine by combustion in said cylinder when the fuel pressure is greater than or equal to a predetermined primary pressure. A starting system as claimed in claim 1 further comprising starter motor means (73) for cranking the engine when the engine is stopped, the primary start control means (31) being arranged to start the engine by cranking with the starter motor means (73) when the fuel pressure is less than the predetermined pressure. A starting system as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the fuel pressure detection means (46) is arranged to detect the time elapsed from a previous engine stop and to estimating or calculating the fuel pressure in dependence thereon. A starting system as claimed in any preceding claim comprising idle stop inhibition means (31) for inhibiting an idle stop of the engine when the fuel pressure detected by the fuel pressure detection means is lower than a predetermined secondary pressure. A starting system for an internal combustion engine according to any preceding claim comprising forcible starting means (31) for causing the primary start control means (31) to start the engine after an idle stop when the fuel pressure detected by the fuel pressure detection means (46) reaches the primary pressure or a tertiary pressure that is greater then the primary pressure and lower than the secondary pressure. A starting system for an internal combustion engine according to any one of claims 1 to 5 comprising: temperature detection means (45) for detecting an engine temperature; and primary starting pressure modification means (31) for modifying the primary pressure in dependence on the temperature detected by the temperature detection means (45). A starting system as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 6 comprising: starting detection means (31, 42, 43, 44) for detecting whether or not engine starting was achieved; and secondary starting pressure modification means (31) for increasing the primary pressure when the starting detection means (31, 42, 43, 44) detects that engine starting was not achieved. A method of starting an internal combustion engine in which fuel is supplied to an injector by a fuel pump and is directly injected into a combustion chamber, the method comprising: detecting the pressure of the fuel supplied by the fuel pump; identifying a cylinder (11) in an expansion stroke when the engine is stopped; and injecting fuel into the combustion chamber of the detected cylinder and igniting the fuel to rotate and start the engine if the detected fuel pressure is greater than or equal to a predetermined pressure. A method as claimed in claim 8 comprising starting the engine by cranking with a starter motor if the detected fuel pressure is less than the predetermined pressure. A method as claimed in claim 8 or claim 9 wherein detecting the pressure of the fuel supplied by the fuel pump comprises detecting the time elapsed from a previous engine stop and estimating or calculating the fuel pressure in dependence thereon.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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