Changing School Bus Programming

Changing the programming on one of our school buses from the end user side hasn’t happened until today with the help of the Freightliner dealer and Thomas Built Buses. For troubleshooting and service information we have the accessfreightliner website which is a remote website that can be logged on to using any one of our school bus VINs.

This allows us to access information on recalls, components, modules, parts and as the video shows ‘Servicelink’ which gives us entry to the inside of the modules that run all of the bus lights and operating systems. The modules communicate using inputs and outputs to operate all of the bus accessories.

It’s quite amazing to be able to remotely change something in the multiplexing system on a school bus thousands of miles away using wifi. In this case we wanted to change a simple operation like the stepwell light to be triggered by the entry door switch. Multiplexing allows the OEM to add the feature to the bulk head module programming.

Originally the dome light switch was the signal. It made sense to have the light come on every time the door was opened so it could be checked easily without having to go through turning on the dome lights which most times are only used at night. Another reason is to allow the government inspector, drivers and mechanics to see that it’s operating properly any time of the day.

Another request we made to the dealer was an add on circuit for a back up alarm. Years ago we hard wired a standard back up alarm directly to the back up lights. This caused the alarm to come on every time the rear emergency door was opened since the back up lights came on with the door open. The back up light were programmed this way so if there was an emergency evacuation in the dark the lights would activate for safety.

The dealer sent us a connector and pin location to install a new wire in one of the chassis hub modules for the new back up alarm circuit. Then we would go in to the features section of the bulk head module and hit refresh. Then we would be able to hook up the alarm which would only activate in reverse mode signaled from the transmission.

To confirm we were on the right circuit once the feature was refreshed we could check for voltage at the pin when the bus was in reverse. This stuff really impresses me and once you start to work with it and feel comfortable there’s no boundaries to what can be done with programming.