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AUTOMOTIVE ELECTRICAL covers the basic concepts and application of automotive

electrical systems. Students will learn the fundamental concepts of electricity, electrical
circuits, principles of magnetism, tools and test equipment, automotive electrical systems
and circuits as well as comfort and safety.


Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
CLO1.Explain and sketch the diagrams of basic electrical quantities, types of electrical
circuits, electrical power and
electrical energy.(P5)
CLO2.Explain clearly the relationship between current flow and magnetism (C2)
CLO3.Apply mathematical equation to solve the automotive electrical related problems


( 08 : 04 )
Electrical circuits; basic electrical quantities i.e. electromotive force (EMF),
charge, current, potential difference (voltage) and resistance. Types of electrical
circuits; open circuit and short circuit. The relationship between current, voltage
and resistance. Electrical power, electrical energy and characteristics of series
circuits and parallel circuits
( 04 : 02 )
Relationship between current flow and magnetism, factors affecting the strength
of electromagnets, characteristics of magnetic quantities and electromagnetic
( 04 : 02 )
Measuring properties, measuring equipment and the use of Multimeter and
( 06 : 03 )
The system approach, Electrical Wiring, terminal and switching,Circuit Diagram
and Symbol
( 08 : 04 )
Central locking and electric power windows, In-car Multimedia, Security In
Vehicle, Airbag and Belt Tensione



Units associated with basic electrical

At the end of this chapter you should be able to:
state the basic SI units
recognize derived SI units
understand prefixes denoting multiplication and division
state the units of charge, force, work and power and perform simple calculations involving
these units
state the units of electrical potential, e.m.f., resistance, conductance, power and energy and
perform simple calculations involving these units

The system of units used in engineering and science is the Systme Internationale dUnits
(International system of units), usually abbreviated to SI units, and isbased on the metric
system. Thiswas introduced in 1960 and is now adopted by the majority of countries as
theofficial system of measurement.The basic units in the SI system are listed below iththeir

Derived SI units use combinations of basic units and there are many of them. Two examples are:
Velocitymetres per second (m/s)
Accelerationmetres per second squared (m/s2)
SI units may be made larger or smaller by using prefixes which denote multiplication or division by
a particular amount. The six most common multiples, with their meaning, are listed in Table 1.2.

The unit of charge is the coulomb (C) where one coulomb is one ampere second. (1 coulomb =
6.24 1018 electrons). The coulomb is defined as the quantity of electricity which flows past a given
point in an electric circuit when a current of one ampere is maintained for one second.

charge, in coulombs Q=It

where I is the current in amperes and t is the time in seconds.
Problem 1. If a current of 5 A flows for 2 minutes, find the quantity of electricity transferred.
Quantity of electricity Q = It coulombs

I = 5 A, t =2 x 60 = 120 s
Hence Q = 5 x 120 = 600 C

Electromotive Force (emf)

The energy supplie by a source of power in driving a unit charge. Force which causes
electrons to move from one location to another.
Symbol: E Unit: Volt (V)

Charge is defined as the product of current and time and the unit is Coulomb (C).
The coulomb is defined as the quantity of electricity which flows past a given point in an
electric circuit when a current of one ampere is maintained for one second Charge is defined
as the product of current and time.
Q= I x t
where I is the current in amperes and t is the time in seconds.
Symbol: Q Unit: Coulomb (C)



A flow of electric Charge through a medium.

Unit is Ampere ( A )
Pontential Energy ( Voltage )
A measure of the energy of Electricity.
Unit is Volt ( V )
Ability of substance to prevent or resist the flow of the electrical current.
Unit is ohm ( )

Resistance and resistivity

The resistance of an electrical conductor depends on four factors, these being:
(a) the length of the conductor,
(b) the cross-sectional area of the conductor,
(c) the type of material and
(d) the temperature of the material.
Resistance, R, is directly proportional to length, l, of a conductor, i.e. Rl. Thus, for example, if the
length of a piece of wire is doubled, then the resistance is doubled. Resistance, R, is inversely
proportional to crosssectional area, a, of a conductor, i.e. R1/a. Thus, for example, if the crosssectional area of a piece of wire is doubled then the resistance is halved. Since Rl and R1/a then
Rl/a. By inserting a constant of proportionality into this relationship the type of material used may
be taken into account. The constant of proportionality is known as the resistivity of the material and
is given the symbol (Greek rho). Thus

is measured in ohm metres (_m). The value of the resistivity is that resistance of a unit cube of the
material measured between opposite faces of the cube.
Resistivity varies with temperature and some typical values of resistivities measured at about room
temperature are given below:
Copper 1.7 108 _m (or 0.017 _m)
Aluminium 2.6 108 _m (or 0.026 _m)
Carbon (graphite) 10 108 _m (0.10 _m)
Glass 1 1010 _m (or 104 _m)
Mica 1 1013 _m (or 107 _m)
Note that good conductors of electricity have a lowvalue of resistivity and good insulators have a
high value of resistivity.



Calculate the resistance of a 2 km length of aluminium overhead power cable if the cross-sectional
area of the cable is 100^2. Take the resistivity of aluminium to be 0.03 10^(6) m.

Length l =2 km=2000 m,
area a=100 2 =100 10(6) 2
and resistivity =0.03 10(6) m.
Resistance R = l
= (0.03 10-6 m)(2000 m)
(100 10-6 2)
= 0.03 2000
= 0.6

Which have moderate resistance
Exp: Germanium, Silicon.
Electricity flows more easily through some materials than through others. Good conductors have
little resistance.
A conductor is a material having a lowresistance which allows electric current to flow in it. All
metals are conductors and some examples include copper, aluminium, brass, platinum, silver, gold
and carbon.
An insulator is a material or object which contains no free electron permit the flow of electricity.
An insulator is a material having a high resistance which does not allow electric current to flow in
it. Some examples of insulators include plastic, rubber, glass, porcelain, air, paper, cork, mica,
ceramics and certain oils

Temperature coefficient of resistance


In general, as the temperature of a material increases, most conductors increase in

resistance, insulators decrease in resistance, whilst the resistance of some special alloys
remain almost constant. The temperature coefficient of resistance of a material is the
increase in the resistance of a 1_ resistor of that material when it is subjected to a rise of
temperatureof 1C. The symbol used for the tempe raturecoefficient of resistance is
(Greek alpha). Thus, if some copper wire of resistance 1_ is heated through 1C and its
resistance is then measured as 1.0043_ then =0.0043 _/_ C for copper. The units are
usually expressed only as per C, i.e. =0.0043/C
for copper. If the 1_ resistor of copper is heated through 100C then the resistance at 100C
be 1+1000.0043=1.43_. Some typical values of temperature coefficient of resistance
measured at 0C are given below:
Copper 0.0043/C
Nickel 0.0062/C
Constantan 0
Aluminium 0.0038/C
Carbon 0.00048/C
Eureka 0.00001/C
Type Of Electrical Circuit


Simple circuits, complete circuit, open and short circuits.
An open circuit has an infinite resistance, which means that it has zero current flow
through it for any finite voltage across it. On a circuit diagram it is indicated by two
terminals not connected to anything.
A short circuit is the opposite of an open circuit. It has zero voltage across it for any
finite current flow through it. On a circuit diagram a short circuit is designated by an
ideal conducting wire a wire with zero resistance. A short circuit is often called a
short. Not all open and short circuits are desirable. Frequently, one or the other is a
circuit defect that occurs as a result of a component failure from an accident or the
misuse of a circuit.

Complete Circuit:


i. Have 3 main components voltage supplied, resistance and Current flow in the medium.


Incomplete Circuit:
i. Open Circuit
> caused intentionally when a user opens a switch,
> one of the 3 main components missing

Resistor missing

Lamp not on

ii. Short Circuit:


> Whenever the resistance of a circuit or the resistance of a part of a circuit drops in value
to almost zero.
> Connection by passed with a non-value of conductor.

Voltmeters, Ammeters and Ohmmeters


Voltmeters measure voltage.

Voltage is measured in volts, V.
Voltmeters are connected in parallel across components.
Voltmeters have a very high resistance.


Ammeters measure current.


Current is measured in amps (amperes), A.

1A is quite large, so mA (milliamps) and A (microamps) are often used. 1000mA = 1A,
1000A = 1mA, 1000000A = 1A.
Ammeters are connected in series.
To connect in series you must break the circuit and put the ammeter across the gap, as
shown in the diagram.
Ammeters have a very low resistance


An ohmmeter is used to measure resistance in ohms ( ). Ohmmeters are rarely
found as separate meters but all standard multimeters have an ohmmeter setting.
1 is quite small so k and M are often used. 1k = 1000, 1M = 1000k = 1000000.

Wattmeter and Symbol

The wattmeter is an instrument for measuring the electric power (or the supply rate of electrical
energy) in watts of any given circuit . Symbol for wattmeter


Ohms law
Ohms law states that the current I flowing in a circuit is directly proportional to the applied
voltage V and inversely proportional to the resistance R, provided the temperature remains constant.

The current though a conductor between two points is directly Proportional difference across the
two points (Voltage) and inversely proportional to the resisstance between them.

V = voltage
I = current
R = resistance



Find the current in the circuit


Define Power.
Power is the time rate of expanding ( or absorbing ) energy, measured in watts (W).
The power absorbed ( or supplied) by an element is the product of the voltage across the element
and the current through it.
P = V x I watt


Where P = power, V = Volt, I = current

Power P in an electrical circuit is given by the product of potential difference V and current I


From Ohms law, V =IR.

Substituting for V in equation
(1) gives:
P =R


Also, from Ohms law, I =V/R. Substituting for I in equation (1) gives:
P = V x /
P = 2/ watt
Example 1.
A 100W electric light bulb is connected to a 250V supply. Determine (a) the current flowing in the
bulb, and (b) the resistance of
the bulb.


Example 2.
Calculate the power dissipated when a current of 4mA flows through a resistance of 5 k.



Multiples and sub-multiples

Currents, voltages and resistances can often be very large or very small. Thus multiples and
sub-multiples of units are often used, as stated in Chapter 1. The most common ones, with
an example of each, are listed in Table 2.1.

Example. 3 Determine the p.d. which must be applied to a 2 k resistor in order that a current of
10mA may flow.
Resistance R = 2 k = 2 103 = 2000
Current I = 10mA = 10 103 A
Conductors and insulators


Characteristics of Series and Parallel ciruit

Series and parallel networks
Series circuits

Figure shows three resistors R1, R2 and R3 connected end to end, i.e. in series, with a battery
source of V volts.Since the circuit is closed a current I will flow and the p.d. across each
resistor may be determined from the voltmeter readings V1, V2 and V3.

In a series circuit
(a) the current I is the same in all parts of the circuit and hence the same reading is found on
each of
the ammeters shown, and
(b) the sum of the voltages V1, V2 and V3 is equal to
the total applied voltage, V,
i.e. V =V1 +V2 +V3
From Ohms law: V1 =IR1, V2 =IR2, V3 =IR3 and V =IR where R is the total circuit
resistance. Since
V = V1+V2+V3 then IR = IR1+IR2+IR3. Dividing throughout by I gives
R=R1 +R2 +R3
Thus for a series circuit, the total resistance is obtained by adding together the values of the
separate resistances.


Example 1. For the circuit shown in Fig. 5.2, determine (a) the battery voltage V, (b) the
total resistance of the circuit, and (c) the values of resistors R1, R2 and R3, given that the
p.d.s across R1, R2 and R3 are 5V, 2V and 6V respectively.

Example 2. For the circuit shown in Fig. 5.3, determine the p.d. across resistor R3. If the
total resistance of the circuit is 100_, determine the current flowing through resistor R1.
Find also the value of resistor R2.


Example 3. A 12V battery is connected in a circuit having three series-connected resistors

having resistances of 4_, 9_ and 11_. Determine the current flowing through, and the p.d.
across the 9 resistor. Find also the power dissipated in the 11 resistor.


Potential divider

The circuit shown in Fig. 5.5(b) is often referred to as a potential divider circuit. Such a circuit can
consist of a number of similar elements in series connected across a voltage source, voltages being
taken from connections between the elements. Frequently the divider consists of two resistors as
shown in Fig. 5.5(b), where


Example 5. Two resistors are connected in series across a 24V supply and a current of 3A flows in
the circuit. If one of the resistors has a resistance of 2_ determine (a) the value of the other
resistor, andm(b) the p.d. across the 2 resistor. If the circuit is connected for 50 hours, how much
energy is used?


Parallel networks




Current division