The future of Suspension Tuning: DSC Sport Controller V1

DSC Sport Controller V1 unboxing

So I took some crypto gains to purchase this little box to install on my Focus RS before a road trip. As most owners and those who followed the release of the Focus RS, that the suspension and ride is less than cushy comfort for daily driving for some. I found it ok. It was definitely feeling like a stiff sport suspension, but daily driving around 21,000 miles, I didn’t feel the need to whine and complain about it. Anyways, I purchased it more making my semi-active suspension (on the fly damper adjustments for normal and sport) to a fully dynamic active system as well as for my passengers who don’t seem to appreciate the spine tickling suspension on less than perfect roads.

DSC Sport has created a replacement suspension controller that will tune any magnetic or electronically controlled suspension that will dynamically respond to the car’s data sensors. I think it’s better explained from DSC themselves on their website:

DSC Sport offers a plug-and-play factory replacement controller that provides CAN-integrated Dynamic Suspension Control with unlimited tuning capability. Gathering CAN data from the vehicle in real time, DSC Sport sends a signal to each individual corner to control the damping level based on g-force, vehicle speed, brake/throttle input, and more (specific inputs vary by vehicle and package). The result is an active suspension setup that provides more grip to the tire, greater stability and ride control, and increased comfort for all driving styles and road conditions.

These guys make applications for most cars that feature an electronic suspension from the Nissan GTR to the Porsche 911s and Camaros. They also provide support and software to fine tune your suspension data to better fit your driving needs. This is the future of suspension tuning.

Although some might say that this modification might not provide faster times on the track or autocross, I’m led to believe that the driving feel will be much improved once I find out for myself. I’m sure it will remove the pogo-ing feel that the over rebounded dampers in sport mode provide and keep my tires connected to the pavement, just like most owners notice with minor changes to springs, sways, and wheel and tires.

So, installing this before a long road trip from FL to NC should give me a good idea if I cashed out on some of my hodlings well. Any improvements over that will just be icing on the cake.

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The Driver User Experience

The driver’s user experience. That sounds a little bit repetitive, mechanical, and awkward, but I think it describes what I want to publish in my little corner of the internet.

I am a car enthusiast. I enjoy the look and design of them. I like the sound their engines and exhaust pipes emit at different RPM intervals. I like how the new car smell differs from a BMW to a Japanese econo-box. I scrutinize the shifter feel after a perfect rev-match because it’s not “notchy” enough to my liking when I do the 3 pedal dance with my feet. I long for a curvy, traffic-less road. I adore on/off ramps. A third gear pull to speeds enough to break the law is as enjoyable as the sound and smell of squealing tires from low speed doughnuts and drifts. These are common feelings that car enthusiast share. But I want to cover the driver user experience (UX).

What do I mean by driver user experience?

There are so many things I could describe that compile together as driver user experience. From the radio button layout to the menu selections in the car’s navigation screen. How about the front and rear visibility of the car’s surrounding and how well it works with the rear view camera or the parking sensors? It can be the exhilaration of acceleration combined with noises from the engine and the reality of what the speedometer shows. From the cupholders doing their jobs in turns due to size and fitment to how secure you feel in the seat as you feel the car’s weight transfer in corners to urge you to go faster. It’s the quirks each car has that make you wonder, “what were the engineers thinking?”. From the moment you get in the car and power the engine to the moment you step out and everything in between – that is the driver user experience.

This will not just be automotive related reviews. I do not want to spit out facts and figures of 0-60 mph in x.x seconds. That is easily regurgitated with a quick Google search. I want to critque the user experience in the automotive industry.

Software and it’s digital user experience is quickly making their way into our cars. Screens that manages almost everything, from climate control to engine monitoring. With more software UI/UX integrated into cars these days, it is necessary to bridge traditional, mechanical, analog UX to modern digital UI/UX. I want to find the UX quirks that most cars have and explain how the user flow or design could be better.