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      10-16-2008, 07:56 AM   #1
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Why didn't BMW get DCT software right the first time?

First, congrats to DCT owners for the new update!

My question now is, why didnt BMW get it right the first time? These cars are tested to death before release, so the testing engineers must have noticed big problems like stalling and laggy response. But why did BMW release a tranny with a faulty software anyway? Were they rushed? Not sufficient funding? Bad program manager?

It just seems odd that BMW would allow a very important new technology w a bad software come to the market and be tested for less than its actual potential.
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      10-16-2008, 08:35 AM   #2
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Nobody is perfect...
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      10-16-2008, 08:49 AM   #3
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The simple answer is to be first. They wanted to be the first to introduce a dual clutch to something other than fwd or ultra expensive (veyron). Porsche, VAG and Nissan were all fighting to be first and though Nissan beat them they still probably want to be Audi and Porsche as both were German.

The surprise was not the fact that there were faults, it was that the faults were sorted in record time.

Well all the ones that can be checked on a public road.
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      10-16-2008, 09:19 AM   #4
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Well didnt VW introduce the DSG a while ago?
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      10-16-2008, 09:38 AM   #5
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heard about patches for software programs ... ever heard of any software package being released and being perfect without any issues ... no

no matter how much testing one does on any system be it physical or software there are always bugs ...
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      10-16-2008, 10:21 AM   #6
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Yes no software is perfect, but the shortcomings in the original program were features that were critical to the purpose of the DCT: fast shifting, better laps times, etc. And the stalling issue could even endanger the life of the driver. They werent just little glitches, they were major issues.

I havent heard anything major like this with the GTR, or the new 911... Would you accept an answer like "no one's perfect" from BMW?
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      10-16-2008, 10:25 AM   #7
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My theory is that they had multiple programs in development (sharing most of the same codebase, each with its own tweaks) and released the one they thought best from a marketing and reliability standpoint initially.

Although it turned out to have bugs like the stalling issue it was probably what they thought would meet the needs of most people at the time without compromising too much in other areas such as effecting the durability of reliability of the transmission too much. I suspect that they knew there would be complaints no matter how they did it, and took the path they thought would make the most people happy. It seems they have been off a bit in their estimations. However, I do think that the true bugs (stalling issue) probably set the tone of unrest much moreso than the lag. I am fairly certain that the stalling bug caught them off guard. It is somewhat uncommon after all.

And although the new program makes shifts faster (lag is mostly gone) and fixed D5, it also tones down the surge in S modes for example. Everything has its tradeoffs. They may find ways later (or already have possibilities) for putting more surge back into S modes without tipping the durability scale too far. It's a bit of an art to get it all settled I think, but so far BMW is proving they are dedicated to making it work at good as it possibly can.
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      10-16-2008, 10:32 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rldzhao View Post
Well didnt VW introduce the DSG a while ago?
VW/Audi DSG only for GTI/R32/A3/TT...

Last edited by White Shark; 10-16-2008 at 01:18 PM.
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      10-16-2008, 10:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rldzhao View Post
Yes no software is perfect, but the shortcomings in the original program were features that were critical to the purpose of the DCT: fast shifting, better laps times, etc. And the stalling issue could even endanger the life of the driver. They werent just little glitches, they were major issues.

I havent heard anything major like this with the GTR, or the new 911... Would you accept an answer like "no one's perfect" from BMW?
Yeah you don't hear about from Nissan because they got bigger problems. Their problems are hardware related not software. To top it off, they are trying to blame the use of launch control as the cause for transmission failures and sticking the cost to the customer.
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      10-16-2008, 10:52 AM   #10
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it;s called software... any engineer on this forum who has built a complicated system with software is not only not surprised, but expected continuining software updates.
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      10-16-2008, 11:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkoesel View Post
My theory is that they had multiple programs in development (sharing most of the same codebase, each with its own tweaks) and released the one they thought best from a marketing and reliability standpoint initially.
I think you are on to something here as many of us had different problems. I seemed to have MOST of the issues. Some had 1 or 2 of them. I was commenting on how it was strange that some/most of us had no issues, some of us had 1 or 2 of the 6 or so known issues, and some of us, like me, had 5 of them (could be I also had the threshold braking issue, but I have not had time to track the car)!

Could be that they had different programs...makes total sense to me!
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      10-16-2008, 11:28 AM   #12
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is it safe to say i can take my e92 into the stealer and get my dct software updated??? please dont bash me for asking!!!!
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      10-16-2008, 11:29 AM   #13
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The logic in modern vehicle management software like this is amazing and complex so it's not surprising there are a few things that need fine tuning with the new systems.

I think we often forget just how many situations our brains compute when driving a car, many of which relate to how the clutch and gearbox are operated in a manual car. Systems like DCT need to replicate that which is no mean feat, particularly in a car like an M3 which has such a spread of capabilty.

As HIS4 said thankfully these are software and not hardware related. Nissan have a real credibility issue now with the GTR that will be much harder to resolve.

Last edited by aggie57; 10-16-2008 at 08:50 PM.
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      10-16-2008, 01:16 PM   #14
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BMW have had their issues with DCT, stalling and zero drive being the most dangerous. Nissan have their own concerns with reliability but without knowing what the owner was doing with the car it's impossible to say that it's totally Nissan's fault, the only thing we are sure of is that the Nissan is putting an extra 100~120hp more through it's transmission than BMW are and it's got awd which will also put more stress on the transmission. The only other car that has DCT, awd and more power than the M3 is the Bugatti and it's gearbox costs 160K to replace so one might expect it's extremely over engineered in comparison.

The only DCT I think that will have less problems than the others will be the PDK from Porsche. They sledom get too many things wrong....... well with the possible exception being the controls.

P.S.
I was told by the service manager that there was definitely different versions of software on the DCT cars, that is why the upgrade could take anything from 3~6 hours to complete.
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      10-16-2008, 01:45 PM   #15
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Err, working in the software industry you strive for no defects of course. You test based on certain scenarios and use cases. However, you can never cover every scenario from a functionality point of view .... sadly, so bugs do exist.
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      10-16-2008, 01:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footie View Post
I was told by the service manager that there was definitely different versions of software on the DCT cars, that is why the upgrade could take anything from 3~6 hours to complete.
Yea. It depends on how many ECUs will get a update. Remember, my installing PROGMAN 31.1, not only is the DCT s/w getting updated, but your Telematics BMW Assist TCU may be getting a update too .... to suport more phones :-)
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      10-16-2008, 03:21 PM   #17
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Nobody is perfect...
+1!
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      10-16-2008, 03:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newtom3 View Post
it;s called software... any engineer on this forum who has built a complicated system with software is not only not surprised, but expected continuining software updates.
This...

Complex software is very, very difficult. There are not enough good software engineers to go around.
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      10-16-2008, 07:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma View Post
This...

Complex software is very, very difficult. There are not enough good software engineers to go around.

We are waiting for you to get your update and your report, esp. the track part!!
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      10-16-2008, 07:45 PM   #20
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They did get it right... some of the cars just went out with early software versions. That would be my guess.
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      10-16-2008, 08:54 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apw2607 View Post
Err, working in the software industry you strive for no defects of course. You test based on certain scenarios and use cases. However, you can never cover every scenario from a functionality point of view .... sadly, so bugs do exist.
Quote:
Originally Posted by enigma View Post
This...

Complex software is very, very difficult. There are not enough good software engineers to go around.
Indeed. I run a software and integration business. I'd love to see their acceptance and regression tests for this stuff.
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      10-16-2008, 09:16 PM   #22
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They dumbed it down so people wouldn't break anything in the first 6 months of serial production. Then when they were certain it was OK mechanically, they released version 1.1.

OR

They didn't have the capacity to produce 100% M-DCTs, so they released a buggy version so people would be scared away and buy a 6MT. Now that production's ramped up on M-DCT, they released the updated software.
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