Automotive Electrical and Electronic Systems

Automotive Electrical and Electronic Systems
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Automotive
Electrical
and
Electronic
Systems
Classroom
Manual
Fifth Edition Update
Chek-Chart
John F. Kershaw, Ed.D.
Revision Author
James D. Halderman
Series Advisor
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey
Columbus, Ohio
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Executive Editor: Tim Peyton
Editorial Assistant: Nancy Kesterson
Production Editor: Christine Buckendahl
Production Supervision: Angela Kearney, Carlisle Editorial Services
Design Coordinator: Diane Y. Ernsberger
Cover Designer: Jeff Vanik
Cover photo: Super Stock
Production Manager: Deidra Schwartz
Marketing Manager: Ben Leonard
This book was set in Times by Carlisle Publishing Services. It was printed and bound by Bind Rite Graphics.
The cover was printed by Lehigh.
Portion of materials contained herein have been reprinted with permission of General Motors Corporation,
Service and Parts Operations. License Agreement #0310805.
Copyright © 2007 by Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458.
Pearson Prentice Hall. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication is
protected by Copyright and permission should be obtained from the publisher prior to any prohibited
reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or likewise. For information regarding permission(s), write to:
Rights and Permissions Department.
Pearson Prentice Hall™ is a trademark of Pearson Education, Inc.
Pearson® is a registered trademark of Pearson plc
Prentice Hall® is a registered trademark of Pearson Education, Inc.
Pearson Education Ltd.
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Pearson Education Malaysia Pte. Ltd.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ISBN 0-13-238883-9
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Introduction
Automotive Electrical and Electronic Systems is part of
the Chek-Chart Series in Automotive Technology,
which also includes:
• Automatic Transmissions and Transaxles
• Automotive Brake Systems
• Automotive Heating, Ventilation, and Air
Conditioning
• Automotive Manual Drive Train and Rear Axle
• Automotive Steering, Suspension, and Wheel
Alignment
• Automotive Engine Repair and Rebuilding
• Engine Performance, Diagnosis, and Tune-Up
• Fuel Systems and Emission Controls.
Since 1929, the Chek-Chart Series in Automotive
Technology has provided vehicle specification,
training, and repair information to the professional
automotive service field.
Each book in the Chek-Chart series aims to help
instructors teach students to become competent and
knowledgeable professional automotive technicians.
The texts are the core of a learning system that leads
a student from basic theories to actual hands-on
experience.
The entire series is job-oriented, designed for students who intend to work in the automotive service
profession. Knowledge gained from these books and
the instructors enables students to get and keep jobs in
the automotive repair industry. Learning the material
and techniques in these volumes is a giant leap toward
a satisfying, rewarding career.
NEW TO THE FIFTH
EDITION UPDATE
The fifth edition of Automotive Electrical and
Electronic Systems has been updated to include new
coverage of ignition systems. Ignition coverage had
been a standard feature of the text through the fourth
edition, but was removed from the fifth edition. Based
on feedback from numerous users who wanted the
ignition material back in the book, this updated fifth
edition was produced. It includes new ignition chapters in both the Classroom and Shop Manuals.
iii
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How to Use This Book
WHY ARE THERE
TWO MANUALS?
Unless you are familiar with the other books in this
series, Automotive Electrical and Electronic Systems is
unlike any other textbook you have used before. It is
actually two books, the Classroom Manual and the Shop
Manual. They have different purposes and should be
used together.
The Classroom Manual teaches what a technician
needs to know about electrical and electronic theory,
systems, and components. The Classroom Manual is
valuable in class and at home, both for study and for
reference. The text and illustrations can be used for
years hence to refresh your memory about the basics of
automotive electrical and electronic systems and also
about related topics in automotive history, physics,
mathematics, and technology. This fifth edition update
text is based upon detailed learning objectives, which
are listed in the beginning of each chapter.
The Shop Manual teaches test procedures, troubleshooting techniques, and how to repair the systems
and components introduced in the Classroom Manual.
The Shop Manual provides the practical, hands-on information required for working on automotive electrical
and electronic systems. Use the two manuals together to
understand fully how the systems work and how to make
repairs when something is not working. This fifth edition
update text is based upon the 2002 NATEF (National
Automotive Technicians Education Foundation) Tasks,
which are listed in the beginning of each chapter. The
fifth edition update Shop Manual contains Job Sheet
assessments that cover the 56 tasks in the NATEF 2002
A6 Electrical/Electronics repair area.
WHAT IS IN THESE
MANUALS?
The following key features of the Classroom Manual
make it easier to learn and remember the material:
• Each chapter is based on detailed learning objectives, which are listed in the beginning of each
chapter.
iv
• Each chapter is divided into self-contained sections for easier understanding and review. This
organization clearly shows which parts make up
which systems and how various parts or systems
that perform the same task differ or are the same.
• Most parts and processes are fully illustrated with
drawings or photographs. Important topics appear
in several different ways, to make sure other
aspects of them are seen.
• A list of Key Terms begins each chapter. These
terms are printed in boldface type in the text and
defined in the Glossary at the end of the manual.
Use these words to build the vocabulary needed to
understand the text.
• Review Questions are included for each chapter.
Use them to test your knowledge.
• Every chapter has a brief summary at the end to
help you review for exams.
• Brief but informative sidebars augment the technical information and present “real world” aspects of
the subject matter.
The Shop Manual has detailed instructions on test,
service, and overhaul procedures for modern electrical and electronic systems and their components.
These are easy to understand and often include stepby-step explanations of the procedure. The Shop
Manual contains:
• ASE/NATEF tasks, which are listed in the beginning of each chapter and form the framework for
the chapter’s content
• A list of Key Terms at the beginning of each
chapter (These terms are printed in boldface type
where first used in the text.)
• Helpful information on the use and maintenance
of shop tools and test equipment
• Safety precautions
• Clear illustrations and diagrams to help you
locate trouble spots while learning to read service literature
• Test procedures and troubleshooting hints that
help you work better and faster
• Repair tips used by professionals, presented
clearly and accurately
• A sample test at the back of the manual that is similar to those given for Automotive Service
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How to Use This Book
Excellence (ASE) certification (Use this test to
help you study and prepare when you are ready to
be certified as an electrical and electronics expert.)
WHERE SHOULD
I BEGIN?
If you already know something about automotive electrical and electronic systems and how to repair them,
this book is a helpful review. If you are just starting in
automotive repair, then this book provides a solid foundation on which to develop professional-level skills.
Your instructor has designed a course that builds on
what you already know and effectively uses the available facilities and equipment. You may be asked to
read certain chapters of these manuals out of order.
That’s fine. The important thing is to really understand
each subject before moving on to the next.
Study the Key Terms in boldface type and use the
review questions to help understand the material.
v
When reading the Classroom Manual, be sure to refer
to the Shop Manual to relate the descriptive text to the
service procedures. When working on actual vehicle
systems and components, look to the Classroom
Manual to keep the basic information fresh in your
mind. Working on such a complicated piece of equipment as a modern automobile is not easy. Use the
information in the Classroom Manual, the procedures
in the Shop Manual, and the knowledge of your
instructor to guide you.
The Shop Manual is a good book for work, not
just a good workbook. Keep it on hand while actually
working on a vehicle. It will lie flat on the workbench and under the chassis, and it is designed to
withstand quite a bit of rough handling.
When you perform actual test and repair
procedures, you need a complete and accurate source
of manufacturer specifications and procedures for
the specific vehicle. As the source for these specifications, most automotive repair shops have the
annual service information (on paper, CD, or
Internet formats) from the vehicle manufacturer or
an independent guide.
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Acknowledgments
The publisher sincerely thanks the following vehicle manufacturers, industry suppliers, and organizations for supplying information and illustrations
used in the Chek-Chart Series in Automotive
Technology.
Allen Testproducts
American Isuzu Motors, Inc.
Automotive Electronic Services
Bear Manufacturing Company
Borg-Warner Corporation
DaimlerChrysler Corporation
Delphi Corporation
Fluke Corporation
Fram Corporation
General Motors Corporation
Honda Motor Company, Ltd.
Jaguar Cars, Inc.
Marquette Manufacturing Company
Mazda Motor Corporation
Mercedes-Benz USA, Inc.
Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc.
Nissan North America, Inc.
The Prestolite Company
Robert Bosch Corporation
Saab Cars USA, Inc.
Snap-on Tools Corporation
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Vetronix Corporation
Volkswagen of America
Volvo Cars of North America
The comments, suggestions, and assistance of
the following reviewers were invaluable: Rick
Escalambre, Skyline College, San Bruno, CA,
and Eugene Wilson, Mesa Community College,
Mesa, AZ.
The publisher also thanks Series Advisor
James D. Halderman.
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Contents
Chapter 1 — Tools, Fasteners, and Safety
Learning Objectives 1
Key Terms 1
Threaded Fasteners 1
Metric Bolts 2
Grades of Bolts 2
Nuts 3
Washers 4
Basic Tool List 4
Tool Sets and Accessories 10
Brand Name Versus Proper Term 10
Safety Tips for Using Hand Tools 11
Measuring Tools 11
Safety Tips for Technicians 13
Safety in Lifting (Hoisting) a Vehicle 15
Electrical Cord Safety 17
Fire Extinguishers 19
Summary 20
Review Questions 20
Chapter 2 — Introduction to Electricity
Learning Objectives 21
Key Terms 21
What is Electricity? 22
Atomic Structure 22
Sources of Electricity 25
Historical Figures in Electricity 30
Summary 31
Review Questions 32
Chapter 3 — Electrical Fundamentals
Learning Objectives 35
Key Terms 35
Conductors and Insulators 36
Characteristics of Electricity 36
Complete Electrical Circuit 40
Ohm’s Law 42
Power 44
Capacitance 45
Summary 49
Review Questions 50
21
35
1
Chapter 4 — Magnetism 53
Learning Objectives 53
Key Terms 53
Magnetism 54
Electromagnetism 55
Electromagnetic Induction 60
Transformers 65
Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
Suppression 65
Summary 68
Review Questions 70
Chapter 5 — Series, Parallel, and SeriesParallel Circuits 71
Learning Objectives 71
Key Terms 71
Basic Circuits 71
Series Circuit 72
Parallel Circuit 72
Series Circuit Voltage Drops 73
Parallel Circuit Voltage Drops 75
Calculating Series Circuit Total
Resistance 76
Calculating Parallel Circuit Total
Resistance 78
Series-Parallel Circuits 79
Series and Parallel Circuit Faults 82
Summary of Series Circuit Operation 84
Summary of Parallel Circuit Operation 84
Review Questions 85
Chapter 6 — Electrical Diagrams and
Wiring 89
Learning Objectives 89
Key Terms 89
Wiring and Harnesses 90
Wire Types and Materials 92
Wire Size 93
Connectors and Terminals 96
Ground Paths 99
Multiplex Circuits 100
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Contents
Electrical System Polarity 103
Common Electrical Parts 103
Wire Color Coding 109
The Language of Electrical Diagrams 111
Diagrams 112
Summary 124
Review Questions 126
Chapter 7 — Automotive Battery
Operation 129
Learning Objectives 129
Key Terms 129
Electrochemical Action 130
Battery Electrolyte 134
State-of-Charge Indicators 135
Wet-Charged and Dry-Charged
Batteries 136
Battery Charging Voltage 136
Battery Selection and Rating Methods 136
Battery Installations 138
Battery Installation Components 140
Battery Life and Performance Factors 142
Summary 144
Review Questions 145
Chapter 8 — Charging System Operation 147
Learning Objectives 147
Key Terms 147
Charging System Development 148
DC Generator 148
Charging Voltage 148
Diode Rectification 150
AC Generator (Alternator) Components 152
Current Production in an AC Generator 156
Voltage Regulation 161
Electromagnetic Regulators 162
Solid-state Regulators 163
Charge/Voltage/Current Indicators 168
Charging System Protection 170
Complete AC Generator Operation 170
AC Generator (Alternator) Design
Differences 171
Summary 179
Review Questions 181
Chapter 9 — Starting System Operation 183
Learning Objectives 183
Key Terms 183
Starting System Circuits 184
Basic Starting System Parts 184
Specific Starting Systems 188
Starter Motors 192
Frame and Field Assembly 192
DC Starter Motor Operation 194
Armature and Commutator Assembly 197
Permanent-Magnet Fields 197
Starter Motor and Drive Types 198
Overrunning Clutch 203
Summary 204
Review Questions 206
Chapter 10 — Automotive Electronics 209
Learning Objectives 209
Key Terms 209
Semiconductors 210
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) 213
Diodes 213
Photonic Semiconductors 215
Rectifier Circuits 216
Transistors 217
Silicon-Controlled Rectifiers (SCRs) 221
Integrated Circuits 222
Using Electronic Signals 222
Summary 223
Review Questions 224
Chapter 11 — The Ignition Primary and
Secondary Circuits and Components 227
Learning Objectives 227
Key Terms 227
Need for High Voltage 228
High Voltage Through Induction 228
Basic Circuits and Current 229
Primary Circuit Components 230
Switching and Triggering 230
Monitoring Ignition Primary Circuit
Voltages 234
Primary and Secondary Circuits 236
Ignition Coils 237
Distributor Cap and Rotor 247
Ignition Cables 250
Spark Plugs 250
Spark Plug Construction 252
Summary 255
Review Questions 256
Chapter 12 — Automotive Lighting
Systems 257
Learning Objectives 257
Key Terms 257
Headlamp Circuits 258
Common Automotive Bulbs 268
Taillamp, License Plate Lamp, and Parking
Lamp Circuits 269
Stop Lamp and Turn Signal Circuits 270
Hazard Warning Lamp (Emergency Flasher)
Circuits 274
Backup Lamp Circuits 275
Side Marker and Clearance Lamp
Circuits 276
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Instrument Panel and Interior Lamp
Circuits 277
Summary 280
Review Questions 281
Chapter 13 — Gauges, Warning Devices, and
Driver Information System Operation 283
Learning Objectives 283
Key Terms 283
Electromagnetic Instrument Circuits 284
Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) 289
Speedometer 292
Electronic Instrument Circuits 292
Head-Up Display (HUD) 299
Summary 302
Review Questions 303
Chapter 14 — Horns, Wiper, and Washer
System Operation 305
Learning Objectives 305
Key Terms 305
Horn Circuits 305
Windshield Wipers and Washers 307
Summary 313
Review Questions 314
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Chapter 15 — Body Accessory Systems
Operation 315
Learning Objectives 315
Key Terms 315
Heating and Air-Conditioning Systems 316
Class 2 IPM-Controlled HVAC Systems 323
Radios and Entertainment Systems 325
Rear-Window Defogger and Defroster 328
Power Windows 328
Power Seats 329
Heated Seats 331
Power Door Locks, Trunk Latches, and SeatBack Releases 334
Automatic Door Lock (ADL) System 335
Remote/Keyless Entry Systems 335
Theft Deterrent Systems 341
Cruise Control Systems 345
Supplemental Restraint Systems 347
Summary 351
Review Questions 352
Glossary 355
Index 361
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1
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Prepare for ASE assumed knowledge con-
tent of the proper use of tools and shop
equipment.
• Explain the strength ratings of threaded
fasteners.
• Describe how to safely hoist a vehicle.
Tools,
Fasteners,
and Safety
• Discuss how to safely use hand tools.
• List the personal safety equipment that all
service technicians should wear.
KEY TERMS
Barrel
Bolts
Bump Cap
Cap Screws
Crest
Grade
Pitch
Spindle
Stud
Thimble
THREADED
FASTENERS
Most of the threaded fasteners used on vehicles
are cap screws. They are called cap screws when
they are threaded into a casting. Automotive service technicians usually refer to these fasteners
as bolts, regardless of how they are used. In this
chapter, they are called bolts. Sometimes, studs
are used for threaded fasteners. A stud is a short
rod with threads on both ends. Often, a stud will
have coarse threads on one end and fine threads
on the other end. The end of the stud with coarse
threads is screwed into the casting. A nut is used
on the opposite end to hold the parts together.
See Figure 1-1.
The fastener threads must match the threads in
the casting or nut. The threads may be measured either in fractions of an inch (called fractional) or in
1
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Chapter One
Figure 1-3.
Bolt size identification.
Figure 1-1. Typical bolt on the left and stud on the
right. Note the different thread pitch on the top and bottom portions of the stud.
Figure 1-4. Synthetic wintergreen oil can be used as
a penetrating oil to loosen rusted bolts or nuts.
Fractional thread sizes are specified by the diameter in fractions of an inch and the number of
threads per inch. Typical UNC thread sizes would
be 5/16–18 and 1/2–13. Similar UNF thread sizes
would be 5/16–24 and 1/2–20.
METRIC BOLTS
Figure 1-2. Thread pitch gauge is used to measure
the pitch of the thread. This is a 1/2-inch-diameter bolt
with 13 threads to the inch (1/2–13).
metric units. The size is measured across the outside of the threads, called the crest of the thread.
Fractional threads are either coarse or fine. The
coarse threads are called Unified National Coarse
(UNC), and the fine threads are called Unified
National Fine (UNF). Standard combinations of
sizes and number of threads per inch (called
pitch) are used. Pitch can be measured with a
thread pitch gauge as shown in Figure 1-2. Bolts
are identified by their diameter and length as
measured from below the head, as shown in
Figure 1-3.
The size of a metric bolt is specified by the letter M
followed by the diameter in millimeters (mm)
across the outside (crest) of the threads. Typical
metric sizes would be M8 and M12. Fine metric
threads are specified by the thread diameter followed by X and the distance between the threads
measured in millimeters (M8 × 1.5).
GRADES OF BOLTS
Bolts are made from many different types of steel,
and for this reason some are stronger than others.
The strength or classification of a bolt is called the
grade. The bolt heads are marked to indicate their
grade strength. Fractional bolts have lines on the
head to indicate the grade, as shown in Figures 1-5
and 1-6.
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Tools, Fasteners, and Safety
3
Figure 1-5. Typical bolt (cap screw) grade
markings and approximate strength.
The actual grade of bolts is two more than the
number of lines on the bolt head. Metric bolts
have a decimal number to indicate the grade.
More lines or a higher grade number indicate a
stronger bolt. Higher grade bolts usually have
threads that are rolled rather than cut, which also
makes them stronger. In some cases, nuts and machine screws have similar grade markings.
CAUTION: Never use hardware store (nongraded) bolts, studs, or nuts on any vehicle
steering, suspension, or brake component.
Always use the exact size and grade of hardware that is specified and used by the vehicle
manufacturer.
NUTS
Figure 1-6. Every shop should have an assortment
of high-quality bolts and nuts to replace those damaged during vehicle service procedures.
Most nuts used on cap screws have the same hex
size as the cap screw head. Some inexpensive nuts
use a hex size larger than the cap screw head. Metric nuts are often marked with dimples to show
their strength. More dimples indicate stronger
nuts. Some nuts and cap screws use interference fit
threads to keep them from accidentally loosening.
This means that the shape of the nut is slightly distorted or that a section of the threads is deformed.
Nuts can also be kept from loosening with a nylon
washer fastened in the nut or with a nylon patch or
strip on the threads. See Figure 1-7.
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Chapter One
sealers, such as Loctite, are used on the
threads where the nut or cap screw must be
both locked and sealed.
WASHERS
Figure 1-7. Types of lock nuts. On the left, a nylon
ring; in the center, a distorted shape; and on the right,
a castle for use with a cotter key.
NOTE: Most of these “locking nuts” are
grouped together and are commonly referred
to as prevailing torque nuts. This means that
the nut will hold its tightness or torque and
not loosen with movement or vibration. Most
prevailing torque nuts should be replaced
whenever removed to ensure that the nut will
not loosen during service. Always follow
manufacturer’s recommendations. Anaerobic
Washers are often used under cap screw heads
and under nuts. Plain flat washers are used to provide an even clamping load around the fastener.
Lock washers are added to prevent accidental
loosening. In some accessories, the washers are
locked onto the nut to provide easy assembly.
BASIC TOOL LIST
Hand tools are used to turn fasteners (bolts, nuts,
and screws). The following is a list of hand tools
every automotive technician should possess. Specialty tools are not included. See Figures 1-8
through 1-26.
Figure 1-8. Combination wrench. The openings are the same size at both ends. Notice
the angle of the open end to permit use in close spaces.
Figure 1-9. Three different qualities of open-end wrenches. The cheap wrench on the left
is made from weaker steel and is thicker and less accurately machined than the standard
in the center. The wrench on the right is of professional quality (and price).
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Tools, Fasteners, and Safety
Tool chest
1/4-inch drive socket set (1/4 in. to 9/16 in. Standard and deep sockets; 6 mm to 15 mm standard
and deep sockets)
1/4-inch drive ratchet
1/4-inch drive 2-inch extension
1/4-inch drive 6-inch extension
1/4-inch drive handle
3/8-inch drive socket set (3/8 in. to 7/8 in. standard and deep sockets; 10 mm to 19 mm standard and deep sockets)
3/8-inch drive Torx set (T40, T45, T50, and T55)
3/8-inch drive 13/16-inch plug socket
3/8-inch drive 5/8-inch plug socket
3/8-inch drive ratchet
3/8-inch drive 1 1/2-inch extension
3/8-inch drive 3-inch extension
3/8-inch drive 6-inch extension
3/8-inch drive 18-inch extension
3/8-inch drive universal
3/8-inch drive socket set (1/2 in. to 1 in. standard
and deep sockets)
1/2-inch drive ratchet
1/2-inch drive breaker bar
1/2-inch drive 5-inch extension
1/2-inch drive 10-inch extension
3/8-inch to 1/4-inch adapter
1/2-inch to 3/8-inch adapter
3/8-inch to 1/2-inch adapter
Crowfoot set (frictional inch)
Crowfoot set (metric)
3/8- through 1-inch combination wrench set
10 millimeters through 19 millimeters combination wrench set
1/16-inch through 1/4-inch hex wrench set
2 millimeters through 12 millimeters hex wrench set
5
3/8-inch hex socket
13 millimeters to 14 millimeters flare nut wrench
15 millimeters to 17 millimeters flare nut wrench
5/16-inch to 3/8-inch flare nut wrench
7/16-inch to 1/2-inch flare nut wrench
1/2-inch to 9/16-inch flare nut wrench
Diagonal pliers
Needle pliers
Adjustable-jaw pliers
Locking pliers
Snap-ring pliers
Stripping or crimping pliers
Ball-peen hammer
Rubber hammer
Dead-blow hammer
Five-piece standard screwdriver set
Four-piece Phillips screwdriver set
#15 Torx screwdriver
#20 Torx screwdriver
Awl
Mill file
Center punch
Pin punches (assorted sizes)
Chisel
Utility knife
Valve core tool
Filter wrench (large filters)
Filter wrench (smaller filters)
Safety glasses
Circuit tester
Feeler gauge
Scraper
Pinch bar
Sticker knife
Magnet
Figure 1-10. Flare-nut wrench. Also known as a line wrench, fitting wrench, or tube-nut
wrench. This style of wrench is designed to grasp most of the flats of a six-sided (hex) tubing fitting to provide the most grip without damage to the fitting.
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Figure 1-11. Box-end wrench. Recommended to loosen or tighten a bolt or nut where a
socket will not fit. A box-end wrench has a different size at each end and is better to use
than an open-end wrench because it touches the bolt or nut around the entire head instead
of at just two places.
Figure 1-12. Open-end wrench. Each end has a different-sized opening and is recommended for general usage. Do not attempt to loosen or tighten bolts or nuts from or to full
torque with an open-end wrench because it could round the flats of the fastener.
Figure 1-13. Adjustable wrench. The size (12 inches) is the length of the wrench, not how
far the jaws open!
Figure 1-14. A flat-blade (or straight-blade) screwdriver (on the left)
is specified by the length of the screwdriver and the width of the blade.
The width of the blade should match the width of the screw slot of the
fastener. A Phillips-head screwdriver (on the left) is specified by the
length of the handle and the size of the point at the tip. A #1 is a sharp
point, a #2 is most common (as shown), and a #3 Phillips is blunt and
is only used for larger sizes of Phillips-head fasteners.
6
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Figure 1-15. Assortment of pliers.
Slip-joint pliers (far left) are often
confused with water pump pliers
(second from left).
SPEED HANDLE
RATCHET
FLEX RATCHET
T
HANDLE
FLEX HANDLE
Figure 1-17.
Typical drive handles for sockets.
Figure 1-16. A ball-peen hammer (top) is purchased
according to weight (usually in ounces) of the head of
the hammer. At bottom is a soft-faced (plastic) hammer. Always use a hammer that is softer than the material being driven. Use a block of wood or similar
material between a steel hammer and steel or iron engine parts to prevent damage to the engine parts.
Figure 1-18. Various socket
extensions. The universal joint
(U-joint) in the center (bottom)
is useful for gaining access in
tight areas.
7
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Figure 1-19. Socket drive adapters.
These adapters permit the use of a 3/8-inch
drive ratchet with 1/2-inch drive sockets, or
other combinations as the various adapters
permit. Adapters should not be used where
a larger tool used with excessive force
could break or damage a smaller-sized
socket.
Figure 1-20. A 6-point socket fits the head of the bolt
or nut on all sides. A 12-point socket can round off the
head of a bolt or nut if a lot of force is applied.
Figure 1-21. Standard 12-point short socket (left),
universal joint socket (center), and deep-well socket
(right). Both the universal and deep well are 6-point
sockets.
8
Figure 1-22. Pedestal grinder with shields. This type
of grinder should be bolted to the floor. A face shield
should also be worn whenever using a grinder or wire
wheel.
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Figure 1-24.
Figure 1-23.
on the right.
Using a die to cut threads on a rod.
Various punches on the left and a chisel
TAP HOLDERS
TAPS
DIES
THREAD CHASERS
DIE HOLDER
Figure 1-25. Dies are used to make threads on the outside of round stock. Taps are used
to make threads inside holes. A thread chaser is used to clean threads without removing
metal.
Figure 1-26. Starting a tap in a drilled hole. The hole diameter should be matched exactly to the tap size for
proper thread clearance. The proper drill size to use is
called the tap drill size.
9
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Chapter One
TOOL SETS AND
ACCESSORIES
BRAND NAME VERSUS
PROPER TERM
A beginning service technician may wish to start
with a small set of tools before spending a lot of
money on an expensive, extensive tool box. See
Figures 1-27 through 1-29.
Technicians often use slang or brand names of
tools rather than the proper term. This results in
some confusion for new technicians. Some examples are given in the following table.
(a)
Figure 1-28. An inexpensive muffin tin can be used
to keep small parts separated.
(b)
Figure 1-27. (a) A beginning technician can start
with some simple basic hand tools. (b) An experienced, serious technician often spends several thousand dollars a year for tools such as those found in this
large (and expensive) tool box.
Figure 1-29. A good fluorescent trouble light is essential. A fluorescent light operates cooler than an incandescent light and does not pose a fire hazard as
when gasoline is accidentally dropped on an unprotected incandescent bulb used in some trouble lights.
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Tools, Fasteners, and Safety
Brand Name
Proper Term
Slang Name
Crescent
wrench
Vise Grips
Channel Locks
Adjustable
wrench
Locking pliers
Water pump
pliers or
multigroove
adjustable pliers
Diagonal cutting
pliers
Monkey
wrench
Pump pliers
Dikes or
side cuts
SAFETY TIPS FOR
USING HAND TOOLS
The following safety tips should be kept in mind
whenever you are working with hand tools.
• Always pull a wrench toward you for best
control and safety. Never push a wrench.
• Keep wrenches and all hand tools clean to
help prevent rust and for a better, firmer grip.
• Always use a 6-point socket or a box-end
11
• The original engine or vehicle components
must be measured to see if correction is necessary to restore the component or part to
factory specifications.
• The replacement parts and finished machined areas must be measured to ensure
proper dimension before the engine or
component is assembled or replaced on the
vehicle.
Micrometer
A micrometer is the most used measuring instrument in engine service and repair. See
Figure 1-30. The thimble rotates over the
barrel on a screw that has 40 threads per inch.
Every revolution of the thimble moves the
spindle 0.025 inch. The thimble is graduated
into 25 equally spaced lines; therefore, each line
represents 0.001 inch. Every micrometer should
be checked for calibration on a regular basis.
See Figure 1-31. Figure 1-32 shows examples
of micrometer readings.
wrench to break loose a tight bolt or nut.
• Use a box-end wrench for torque and an
•
•
•
•
•
open-end wrench for speed.
Never use a pipe extension or other type of
“cheater bar” on a wrench or ratchet handle.
If more force is required, use a larger tool or
use penetrating oil and/or heat on the frozen
fastener. (If heat is used on a bolt or nut to remove it, always replace it with a new part.)
Always use the proper tool for the job. If
a specialized tool is required, use the
proper tool and do not try to use another
tool improperly.
Never expose any tool to excessive heat.
High temperatures can reduce the strength
(“draw the temper”) of metal tools.
Never use a hammer on any wrench or
socket handle unless you are using a special
“staking face” wrench designed to be used
with a hammer.
Replace any tools that are damaged or worn.
Telescopic Gauge
A telescopic gauge is used with a micrometer to
measure the inside diameter of a hole or bore.
SPINDLE
THIMBLE
BARREL
MEASURING TOOLS
The purpose of any repair is to restore the engine
or vehicle to factory specification tolerance.
Every repair procedure involves measuring. The
service technician must measure twice.
Figure 1-30. Typical micrometers used for dimensional inspection.
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GAUGE ROD
Figure 1-31. All micrometers should be checked and
calibrated as needed using a gauge rod.
Figure 1-32. Sample micrometer
readings. Each larger line on the barrel between the numbers represents
0.025″. The number on the thimble is
then added to the number showing
and the number of lines times 0.025″.
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Tools, Fasteners, and Safety
13
Vernier Dial Caliper
• Watch your toes—always keep your toes
A vernier dial caliper can be used to measure rotor thickness and caliper piston diameter as well
as the length of a bolt or other component. See
Figure 1-33.
•
Dial Indicator
A dial indicator is used to measure movement
such as rotor runout or gear lash/clearance.
•
SAFETY TIPS
FOR TECHNICIANS
Safety is not just a buzzword on a poster in the
work area. Safe work habits can reduce accidents
and injuries, ease the workload, and keep employees pain free. Suggested safety tips include
the following.
• Wear safety glasses at all times while ser-
vicing any vehicle. See Figure 1-34.
•
•
•
•
protected with steel-toed safety shoes. See
Figure 1-35. If safety shoes are not available, then leather-topped shoes offer more
protection than canvas or cloth.
Wear gloves to protect your hands from
rough or sharp surfaces. Thin rubber gloves
are recommended when working around automotive liquids such as engine oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, or any other
liquids that may be hazardous.
Service technicians working under a vehicle
should wear a bump cap to protect the head
against under-vehicle objects and the pads
of the lift. See Figure 1-36.
Remove jewelry that may get caught on
something or act as a conductor to an exposed electrical circuit. See Figure 1-37.
Take care of your hands. Keep your hands
clean by washing with soap and hot water at
least 110°F (43°C).
Avoid loose or dangling clothing.
Ear protection should be worn if the sound
around you requires that you raise your
Figure 1-33. (a) A typical vernier dial caliper. This is a very useful measuring tool for automotive engine work
because it is capable of measuring inside and outside measurements. (b) To read a vernier dial caliper, simply add the reading on the blade to the reading on the dial.
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Chapter One
Figure 1-34. Safety glasses
should be worn at all times
when working on or around any
vehicle or servicing any component.
Figure 1-37. Remove all jewelry before performing
service work on any vehicle.
Figure 1-35. Steel-toed shoes are a worthwhile investment to help prevent foot injury due to falling objects. Even these well-worn shoes can protect the feet
of this service technician.
•
•
•
•
Figure 1-36. One version of a bump cap is this
padded plastic insert that is worn inside a regular cloth
cap.
•
voice (sound level higher than 90 dB). (A
typical lawnmower produces noise at a level
of about 110 dB. This means that everyone
who uses a lawnmower or other lawn or garden equipment should wear ear protection.)
When lifting any object, get a secure grip
with solid footing. Keep the load close to
your body to minimize the strain. Lift with
your legs and arms, not your back.
Do not twist your body when carrying a
load. Instead, pivot your feet to help prevent
strain on the spine.
Ask for help when moving or lifting heavy
objects.
Push a heavy object rather than pull it. (This
is opposite to the way you should work with
tools—never push a wrench! If you do and
a bolt or nut loosens, your entire weight is
used to propel your hand(s) forward. This
usually results in cuts, bruises, or other
painful injury.)
Always connect an exhaust hose to the
tailpipe of any running vehicle to help pre-
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Tools, Fasteners, and Safety
15
(a)
Figure 1-38. Always connect an exhaust hose to the
tailpipe of the engine of a vehicle to be run inside a
building.
HOOD STRUT
CLAMP
vent the build-up of carbon monoxide inside
a closed garage space. See Figure 1-38.
• When standing, keep objects, parts, and
tools with which you are working between
chest height and waist height. If seated,
work at tasks that are at elbow height.
• Always be sure the hood is securely held
open. See Figure 1-39.
WARNING: Always dispose of oily shop
cloths in an enclosed container to prevent a
fire. See Figure 1-40. Whenever oily cloths are
thrown together on the floor or workbench, a
chemical reaction can occur which can ignite
the cloth even without an open flame. This
process of ignition without an open flame is
called spontaneous combustion.
SAFETY IN LIFTING
(HOISTING) A
VEHICLE
Many chassis and underbody service procedures
require that the vehicle be hoisted or lifted off the
ground. The simplest methods involve the use of
(b)
Figure 1-39. (a) A crude but effective method is to
use locking pliers on the chrome-plated shaft of a hood
strut. Locking pliers should only be used on defective
struts because the jaws of the pliers can damage the
strut shaft. (b) A commercially available hood clamp.
This tool uses a bright orange tag to help remind the
technician to remove the clamp before attempting to
close the hood. The hood could be bent if force is used
to close the hood with the clamp in place.
drive-on ramps or a floor jack and safety (jack)
stands, whereas in-ground or surface-mounted
lifts provide greater access.
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Chapter One
LIFT POINT LOCATION SYMBOL
Figure 1-41. Most newer vehicles have a triangle symbol indicating the recommended hoisting lift points.
b. Boxed areas of the body are the best
Figure 1-40. All oily shop cloths should be stored in
a metal container equipped with a lid to help prevent
spontaneous combustion.
Setting the pads is a critical part of this procedure. All automobile and light-truck service
manuals include recommended locations to be
used when hoisting (lifting) a vehicle. Newer vehicles have a triangle decal on the driver’s door
indicating the recommended lift points. The recommended standards for the lift points and lifting
procedures are found in SAE Standard JRP-2184.
See Figure 1-41. These recommendations typically include the following points.
1. The vehicle should be centered on the lift or
places to position the pads on a vehicle
without a frame. Be careful to note
whether the arms of the lift might come
into contact with other parts of the vehicle before the pad touches the intended
location. Commonly damaged areas include the following.
1. Rocker panel moldings
2. Exhaust system (including catalytic
converter)
3. Tires or body panels (see Figures 1-44
through 1-46)
4. The vehicle should be raised about a foot (30
centimeters [cm]) off the floor, then stopped
and shaken to check for stability. If the vehicle seems to be stable when checked at a
short distance from the floor continue raising the vehicle and continue to view the vehicle until it has reached the desired height.
hoist so as not to overload one side or put
too much force either forward or rearward.
See Figure 1-42.
2. The pads of the lift should be spread as far
apart as possible to provide a stable platform.
3. Each pad should be placed under a portion
of the vehicle that is strong and capable of
supporting the weight of the vehicle.
a. Pinch welds at the bottom edge of the body
are generally considered to be strong.
CAUTION: Do not look away from the vehicle
while it is being raised (or lowered) on a hoist.
Often one side or one end of the hoist can stop
or fail, resulting in the vehicle being slanted
enough to slip or fall, creating physical damage not only to the vehicle and/or hoist but also
to the technician or others who may be nearby.
CAUTION: Even though pinch weld seams are
the recommended location for hoisting many
vehicles with unitized bodies (unit-body), care
should be taken not to place the pad(s) too far
forward or rearward. Incorrect placement of
the vehicle on the lift could cause the vehicle
to be imbalanced, and the vehicle could fall.
This is exactly what happened to the vehicle in
Figure 1-43.
HINT: Most hoists can be safely placed at any
desired height. For ease while working, the
area in which you are working should be at
chest level. When working on brakes or suspension components, it is not necessary to
work on them down near the floor or over your
head. Raise the hoist so that the components
are at chest level.
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Tools, Fasteners, and Safety
17
Figure 1-43. This vehicle fell from the hoist because
the pads were not set correctly. No one was hurt, but
the vehicle was a total loss.
(a)
SAFETY
ARM CLIP
Figure 1-44. The safety arm clip should be engaged
to prevent the possibility that the hoist support arms
can move.
(b)
Figure 1-42. (a) Tall safety stands can be used to
provide additional support for a vehicle while on a
hoist. (b) A block of wood should be used to avoid the
possibility of doing damage to components supported
by the stand.
5. Before lowering the hoist, the safety
latch(es) must be released and the direction
of the controls reversed. The speed downward is often adjusted to be as slow as possible for additional safety.
ELECTRICAL CORD
SAFETY
Use correctly grounded three-prong sockets and
extension cords to operate power tools. Some
tools use only two-prong plugs. Make sure these
are double insulated. When not in use, keep electrical cords off the floor to prevent tripping over
them. Tape the cords down if they are placed in
high foot traffic areas.
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(a)
(b)
Figure 1-45. (a) An assortment of hoist pad adapters that are often necessary to use to
safely hoist many pickup trucks, vans, and sport utility vehicles. (b) A view from underneath
a Chevrolet pickup truck showing how the pad extensions are used to attach the hoist lifting pad to contact the frame.
(a)
(b)
Figure 1-46. (a) In this photo the pad arm is just contacting the rocker panel of the vehicle. (b) This photo shows what can occur if the technician places the pad too far inward underneath the vehicle. The arm of the hoist has dented in the rocker panel.
18
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Tools, Fasteners, and Safety
19
FIRE
EXTINGUISHERS
There are four classes of fire extinguishers. Each
class should be used on specific fires only.
• Class A—is designed for use on general
combustibles, such as cloth, paper, and
wood.
• Class B—is designed for use on flammable
liquids and greases, including gasoline, oil,
thinners, and solvents.
• Class C—is used only on electrical fires.
• Class D—is effective only on combustible
metals such as powdered aluminum,
sodium, or magnesium.
Figure 1-47. A typical fire extinguisher designed to
be used on type A, B, or C fires.
The class rating is clearly marked on the side
of every fire extinguisher. Many extinguishers are
good for multiple types of fires. See Figure 1-47.
When using a fire extinguisher, remember the
word “PASS.”
P Pull the safety pin.
A Aim the nozzle of the extinguisher at the
base of the fire.
S Squeeze the lever to actuate the extinguisher.
S Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
See Figure 1-48.
WARNING: Improper use of an air nozzle can
cause blindness or deafness. Compressed air
must be reduced to less than 30 psi (206 kPa).
If an air nozzle is used to dry and clean parts,
make sure the air stream is directed away
from anyone else in the immediate area. Coil
and store air hoses when they are not in use.
Figure 1-48. A CO2 fire extinguisher being used on a
fire set in an open steel drum during a demonstration
at a fire department training center.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
Types of fire extinguishers include the following.
• Water—A water fire extinguisher is usually
in a pressurized container and is good to use
on Class A fires by reducing the temperature
to the point where a fire cannot be sustained.
• Carbon Dioxide (CO2)—A carbon dioxide
fire extinguisher is good for almost any type
of fire, especially Class B or Class C materials. A CO2 fire extinguisher works by re-
moving the oxygen from the fire and the
cold CO2 also helps reduce the temperature
of the fire.
• Dry Chemical (yellow)—A dry chemical
fire extinguisher is good for Class A, B, or C
fires by coating the flammable materials,
which eliminates the oxygen from the fire.
A dry chemical fire extinguisher tends to be
very corrosive and will cause damage to
electronic devices.
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Chapter One
SUMMARY
• Bolts, studs, and nuts are commonly used as
fasteners in the chassis. The sizes for fractional and metric threads are different and
are not interchangeable. The grade is the rating of the strength of a fastener.
• Whenever a vehicle is raised above the
ground, it must be supported at a substantial
section of the body or frame.
Review Questions
1. List three precautions that must be taken
whenever hoisting (lifting) a vehicle.
2. Describe how to determine the grade of a
fastener, including how the markings differ
between customary and metric bolts.
3. List four items that are personal safety
equipment.
4. List the types of fire extinguishers and
their usage.
5. Two technicians are discussing the hoisting
of a vehicle. Technician A says to put the
pads of a lift under a notch at the pinch
weld seams of a unit-body vehicle.
Technician B says to place the pads on the
four corners of the frame of a full-frame
vehicle. Which technician is correct?
a. Technician A only
b. Technician B only
c. Both Technicians A and B
d. Neither Technician A nor B
6. The correct location for the pads when
hoisting or jacking the vehicle can often be
found in the ___________
a. Service manual
b. Shop manual
c. Owner’s manual
d. All of the above
7. For the best working position, the work
should be ___________
a. At neck or head level
b. At knee or ankle level
c. Overhead by about 1 foot
d. At chest or elbow level
8. When working with hand tools, always
___________
a. Push the wrench—don’t pull toward you
b. Pull a wrench—don’t push a wrench
9. A high-strength bolt is identified by
___________
a. A UNC symbol
b. Lines on the head
c. Strength letter codes
d. The coarse threads
10. A fastener that uses threads on both ends is
called a ___________
a. Cap screw
b. Stud
c. Machine screw
d. Crest fastener
11. The proper term for Channel Locks is
___________
a. Vise Grips
b. Crescent wrench
c. Locking pliers
d. Multigroove adjustable pliers
12. The proper term for Vise Grips is
___________
a. Locking pliers
b. Slip-joint pliers
c. Side cuts
d. Multigroove adjustable pliers
13. What is not considered to be personal
safety equipment?
a. Air impact wrench
b. Safety glasses
c. Rubber gloves
d. Hearing protection
14. Which tool listed is a brand name?
a. Locking pliers
b. Monkey wrench
c. Side cutters
d. Vise Grips
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2
Introduction to
Electricity
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Define electricity, atomic structure, and elec-
tron movement and explain atomic theory in
relation to battery operation, using like and
unlike charges.
• Explain the different sources of electricity.
• Describe the scientists who were instrumental in the development of the different tenets
of electrical theory.
KEY TERMS
Amber
Atom
Battery
Current
Electricity
Electrolyte
Electron
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)
Horsepower
Ion
Matter
Neutron
Nucleus
Photoelectricity
Piezoelectricity
Proton
Static Electricity
Thermocouple
Thermoelectricity
Valence
Voltage
INTRODUCTION
This chapter reviews what electricity is in its basic
form. We will look at natural forms of electrical
energy, and the people who have historically played
a part in developing the theories that explain electricity. It is extremely important for automotive
technicians to learn all that they can about basic
electricity and electronics, because in today’s modern automobile, there is a wire or computer connected to just about everything.
21
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Many of us take for granted the sources of electricity. Electricity is a natural form of energy that
comes from many sources. For example, electricity is in the atmosphere all around us; a generator
just puts it in motion. We cannot create or destroy
energy, only change it, yet we can successfully
produce electricity and harness it by changing
various other forms of natural energy.
WHAT IS
ELECTRICITY?
Was electricity invented or discovered? The answer
is that electricity was discovered. So who discovered
electricity? Ben Franklin? Thomas Edison figured
out how to use electricity to make light bulbs, record
players, and movies. But neither of these scientist/
inventors had anything to do with the discovery of
electricity.
Actually, the Greeks discovered electricity.
They found that if they took amber (a translucent, yellowish resin, derived from fossilized
trees) and rubbed it against other materials, it
became charged with an unseen force that had the
ability to attract other lightweight objects such as
feathers, somewhat like a magnet picks up metal
objects. In 1600, William Gilbert published a
book describing these phenomena. He also discovered that other materials shared the ability to
attract, such as sulfur and glass. He used the Latin
word “elektron” to describe amber and the word
“electrica” for similar substances. Sir Thomas
Browne first used the word electricity during the
1600s. Two thousand years after ancient Greece,
electricity is all around us. We use it every day.
But what exactly is electricity? You can’t see it.
You can’t smell it. You can’t touch it; well, you
could touch it, but it would probably be a
shocking experience and could cause serious
injury. Next, we will discuss atomic structure to
find a more exact definition of electricity.
ATOMIC STRUCTURE
We define matter as anything that takes up
space and, when subjected to gravity, has weight.
There are many different kinds of matter. On
Earth, we have classified over a hundred elements. Each element is a type of matter that has
certain individual characteristics. Most have
been found in nature. Examples of natural ele-
Chapter Two
ments are copper, iron, gold, and silver. Other
elements have been produced only in the laboratory. Every material we know is made up of one
or more elements.
Let’s say we take a chunk of material—a rock
we found in the desert, for example—and begin
to divide it into smaller parts. First we divide it
in half. Then we test both halves to see if it still
has the same characteristics. Next we take one of
the halves and divide it into two parts. We test
those two parts. By this process, we might discover that the rock contains three different elements. Some of our pieces would have the characteristics of copper, for example. Others would
show themselves to be carbon, yet others would
be iron.
Atoms
If you could keep dividing the material indefinitely, you would eventually get a piece that only
had the characteristics of a single element. At that
point, you would have an atom, which is the smallest particle into which an element can be divided
and still have all the characteristics of that element.
An atom is the smallest particle that has the characteristic of the element. An atom is so small that it
cannot be seen with a conventional microscope,
even a very powerful one. An atom is itself made
up of smaller particles. You can think of these as
universal building blocks. Scientists have discovered many particles in the atom, but for the purpose
of explaining electricity, we need to talk about just
three: electrons, protons, and neutrons.
All the atoms of any particular element look
essentially the same, but the atoms of each element are different from those of another element.
All atoms share the same basic structure. At the
center of the atom is the nucleus, containing
protons and neutrons, as shown in Figure 2-1.
Orbiting around the nucleus, in constant motion,
are the electrons. The structure of the atom resembles planets in orbit around a sun.
The exact number of each of an atom’s
particles—protons, neutrons, and electrons—
depends on which element the atom is from. The
simplest atom is that of the element hydrogen. A
hydrogen atom (Figure 2-1) contains one proton,
one neutron, and one electron. Aluminum, by
comparison, has 13 protons, 14 neutrons, and
13 electrons. These particles—protons, neutrons, and electrons—are important to us
because they are used to explain electrical
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Introduction to Electricity
23
Figure 2-3.
Figure 2-1. In an atom (left), electrons orbit protons in
the nucleus in the same way the planets orbit the Sun.
Figure 2-2.
The charges within an atom.
charges, voltage, and current. Electrons orbit the
nucleus of an atom in a concentric ring known as
a shell. The nucleus contains the proton and the
neutron, which contains almost all of the mass
of the entire atom.
There are two types of force at work in every
atom. Normally, these two forces are in balance.
One force comes from electrical charges and the
other force, centrifugal force, is generated when
an object moves in a circular path.
Electrical Charges
Neutrons have no charge, but electrons have a
negative electrical charge. Protons carry a positive electrical charge (Figure 2-2). Opposite electrical charges always attract one another; so particles or objects with opposite charges tend to move
toward each other unless something opposes the
Unlike and like charges of a magnet.
attraction. Like electrical charges always repel;
particles and objects with like charges tend to
move away from each other unless the repelling
force is opposed.
In its normal state, an atom has the same number of electrons as it does protons. This means the
atom is electrically neutral or balanced because
there are exactly as many negative charges as
there are positive charges. Inside each atom, negatively charged electrons are attracted to positively charged protons, just like the north and
south poles of a magnet, as shown in Figure 2-3.
Ordinarily, electrons remain in orbit because the
centrifugal force exactly opposes the electrical
charge attraction. It is possible for an atom to lose
or gain electrons. If an atom loses one electron,
the total number of protons would be one greater
than the total number of electrons. As a result, the
atom would have more positive than negative
charges. Instead of being electrically neutral, the
atom itself would become positively charged.
All electrons and protons are alike. The number of protons associated with the nucleus of an
atom identifies it as a specific element. Electrons
have 0.0005 of the mass of a proton. Under normal conditions, electrons are bound to the positively charged nuclei of atoms by the attraction
between opposite electrical charges.
The electrons are in different shells or distances from the nucleus. The greater the speed,
the higher the energy of the electrons, the further
away from the nucleus the electron orbit. All elements are composed of atoms and each element
has its own characteristic number of protons
with a corresponding equal number of electrons.
The term electricity is used to describe the
behavior of these electrons in the outer orbits of
the atoms.
Electric Potential—Voltage
We noted that a balance (Figure 2-4) between
centrifugal force and the attraction of opposing
charges keeps electrons in their orbits. If anything upsets that balance, one or more electrons
may leave orbit to become free electrons. When
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Chapter Two
a number of free electrons gather in one location,
a charge of electricity builds up. This charge
may also be called a difference in electric
“potential”. This difference in electric potential
is more commonly known as voltage and can be
compared to a difference in pressure that makes
water flow. When this potential or pressure
causes a number of electrons to move in a single
direction, the effect is current flow. So the definition of current is the flow of electrons. Any
atom may possess more or fewer electrons than
protons. Such an unbalanced atom would be
described as negatively (an excess of electrons)
or positively (a net deficit of electrons) charged
and known as an ion (Figure 2-5). An ion is an
atom that has gained or lost an electron. Ions try
to regain their balance of equal protons and electrons by exchanging electrons with nearby
atoms. This is known as the flow of electric
current or electricity. For more information
about voltage and current, see the section on
“Electrical Units of Measurement” in Chapter 3
of the Shop Manual.
Valence
The concentric orbital paths, or shells, of an atom
proceed outward from the nucleus. The electrons
in the shells closest to the nucleus of the atom are
held most tightly while those in the outermost
shell are held more loosely. The simplest element,
hydrogen, has a single shell containing one electron. The most complex atoms may have seven
shells. The maximum number of electrons that
can occupy shells one through seven are, in
sequence: 2, 8, 18, 32, 50, 72, 98. The heaviest
elements in their normal states have only the first
four shells fully occupied with electrons; the
outer three shells are only partially occupied. The
outermost shell in any atom is known as its
valence ring. The number of electrons in the
valence ring will dictate some basic characteristics of an element.
The chemical properties of atoms are defined
by how the shells are occupied with electrons. An
atom of the element helium whose atomic number
is 2 has a full inner shell. An atom of the element
neon with an atomic number of 10 has both a full
first and second shell (2 and 8): its second shell is
its valence ring (Figure 2-6). Other more complex
atoms that have eight electrons in their outermost
shell, even though this shell might not be full, will
resemble neon in terms of their chemical inertness. Valence represents the ability to combine.
Remember that an ion is any atom with either a
surplus or deficit of electrons. Free electrons can
rest on a surface or travel through matter (or a vacuum) at close to the speed of light. Electrons resting
on a surface will cause it to be negatively charged.
Copper Atom
Figure 2-4.
A balanced atom.
Figure 2-5.
An unbalanced atom.
Figure 2-6.
Single
Valence
Electron
Valence ring.
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Introduction to Electricity
25
Because the electrons are not moving, that surface
is described as having a negative static electrical
charge. The extent of the charge is measured in
voltage or charge differential. A stream of moving
electrons is known as an electrical current. For
instance, if a group of positive ions passes in close
proximity to electrons resting on a surface, they will
attract the electrons by causing them to fill the
“holes” left by the missing electrons in the positive
ions. Current flow is measured in amperes: one
ampere equals 6.28 × 1018 electrons (1 coulomb)
passing a given point per second.
SOURCES OF
ELECTRICITY
Lightning
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) proved the electrical nature of thunderstorms in his famous kite
experiment, established the terms positive and
negative, and formulated the conventional theory of
current flow in a circuit. Franklin was trying to
prove that the positive and negative electron distribution in the clouds produced the static electricity
that causes lightning, as shown in Figure 2-7.
Natural negatively charged particles will produce
lightning when they find a path negative to positive.
Benjamin Franklin’s Theory:
When the science of electricity was still young,
the men who studied it were able to use electricity without really understanding why and how it
worked. In the early 1700s, Benjamin Franklin, the
American printer, inventor, writer, and politician,
brought his famed common sense to the problem.
Although he was not the first to think that electricity and lightning were the same, he was the first to
prove it. He also thought that electricity was like a
fluid in a pipe that flowed from one terminal to the
other. He named the electrical terminals positive
and negative and suggested that current moved
from the positive terminal to the negative terminal.
Benjamin Franklin created what we now call the
Conventional Theory of Current Flow.
Lightning Can Travel
from Cloud to Cloud
Positively Charged
Cloud
Negatively
Charged
Cloud
Lightning Can Travel
from GROUND to Cloud
Lightning Can Travel
from Cloud to GROUND
Figure 2-7.
Electron charges in the earth’s atmosphere.
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Chapter Two
Plastic Comb with
A Negative Charge
After Combing Hair
Small Pieces of Paper
Figure 2-9.
Static electricity discharge attraction.
Figure 2-8. Static electricity discharge to metal object.
Static Electricity
Static electricity is the term used to describe an
electrical charge that can build up in insulation by
friction or movement. It is referred to as static
electricity because, until the electrical charge is
dissipated, the electrons are not moving. See
Figure 2-8. Static can be created by any one of the
following examples:
• Walking on carpet or vinyl floors
• Movement between clothing and the body
causes friction
• Combing hair with a plastic comb
These actions cause the electrons to be pulled
from an object, thereby creating a negative charge
on one, such as the comb, and a positive charge to
the other, such as the hair. The charges created can
be shown as in Figure 2-9, which illustrates that
like charges repel each other, whereas unlike
charges are attracted toward each other.
The static charges that build up are not discharged until a conductor, such as a metal object,
is touched.
Static electricity can also be referred to as
frictional electricity because it results from the
contact of two surfaces. Chemical bonds are
formed when any surfaces contact and if the
atoms on one surface tend to hold electrons
more tightly, the result is the theft of electrons.
Such contact produces a charge imbalance by
pulling electrons of one surface from that of the
other; as electrons are pulled away from a surface, the result is an excess of electrons (negative charge) and a deficit in the other (positive
charge). The extent of the charge differential is,
of course, measured in voltage. While the surfaces with opposite charges remain separate, the
charge differential will exist. When the two
polarities of charge are united, the charge
imbalance will be canceled. Static electricity is
an everyday phenomenon, as described in the
examples in the opening to this chapter, and it
involves voltages of 1,000 volts to 50,000 volts.
An automotive technician should always use a
static grounding strap when working with static-sensitive electronic devices such as PCMs
and ECMs.
Electrostatic Field
The attraction between opposing electrical
charges does not require contact between the
objects involved, as shown in Figure 2-10. This
is so because invisible lines of force exist around
a charged object. Taken all together, these lines
of force make up an electrostatic field. Such
fields are strongest very close to the charged
object and get weaker as they extend away from
the object.
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Introduction to Electricity
27
Figure 2-11.
Negative Plate
Lead
ESD symbol.
Positive Plate
Lead Dioxide
Electrolyte
Sulfuric
Acid
Figure 2-10.
Electrostatic field.
Figure 2-12.
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)
An electrostatic charge can build up on the surface of your body. If you touch something, your
charge can be discharged to the other surface.
This is called electrostatic discharge (ESD).
Figure 2-11 shows what the ESD symbol looks
like. The symbol tells you that the component is a
solid-state component. Some service manuals
use the words “solid-state” instead of the ESD
symbol. Look for these indicators and take
the suggested ESD precautions when you work
on sensitive components. We will cover this subject in detail in Chapter 10 of this manual.
Chemical Source
A battery creates electricity by chemical reaction
by the lead dioxide and lead plates submerged in
a sulfuric acid electrolyte. In any battery, the
Automotive battery operation.
chemical reaction that occurs releases electrons
and generates direct current (DC) electricity. See
Figure 2-12. An electrolyte is a chemical solution that usually includes water and other compounds that conduct electricity. In the case of
automotive battery, the solution is water and sulfuric acid.
When the battery is connected into a completed
electrical circuit, current begins to flow from the
battery. This current is produced by chemical reactions between the active materials in the two kinds
of plates and the sulfuric acid in the electrolyte
(Figure 2-12). The lead dioxide in the positive
plate is a compound of lead and oxygen. Sulfuric
acid is a compound of hydrogen and the sulfate
radical. During discharge, oxygen in the positive
active material combines with hydrogen in the
electrolyte to form water. At the same time, lead in
the positive active material combines with the sulfate radical, forming lead sulfate. Figure 2-13
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Chapter Two
Voltmeter
200
300 400 500
600
Exhaust Temp. ºF
Pyrometer
Thermocouple
Voltmeter
Figure 2-14.
Lemon Battery
Figure 2-13.
Pyrometer thermocouple.
alloy, which is then connected to a voltmeter. As
the temperature at the connections of the two
metals increases, the reading on the voltmeter
increases. The voltmeter can then be calibrated in
degrees.
Lemon powered battery.
Photoelectricity
shows a very simplified version of a battery powered by a lemon. The availability and amount of
electrical energy that can be produced in this manner is limited by the active area and weight of the
materials in the plates and by the quantity of sulfuric acid in the electrolyte. After most of the
available active materials have reacted, the battery
can produce little or no additional energy, and the
battery is then discharged.
Light is composed of particles called photons that
are pure energy and contain no mass. However,
when sunlight contacts certain materials, such as
selenium and cesium, electron flow is stimulated
and is called photoelectricity (Figure 2-15).
Photoelectricity is used in photoelectric cells,
which are used in ambient light sensors. Solar
energy is light energy from the sun that is gathered in a photovoltaic solar cell.
Piezoelectricity
Thermoelectricity
Applying heat to the connection point of two dissimilar metals can create electron flow (electricity),
which is known as thermoelectricity (Figure 214). This affect was discovered by a German scientist named Seebeck and is known as the Seebeck
Effect. Seebeck called this device a thermocouple,
which is a small device that gives off a low voltage
when two dissimilar metals are heated. An example
of a thermocouple is a temperature measuring
device called a pyrometer. A pyrometer is commonly used to measure exhaust gas temperatures
on diesel engines and other temperature measuring applications. A pyrometer is constructed of
two dissimilar metals, such as steel and a copper
Some crystals, such as quartz or barium titanate,
create a voltage if pressure is applied. A change in
the potential of electrons between the positive and
negative terminal creates electricity know as
piezoelectricity. The term comes from the Greek
word “piezo,” which means pressure. Figure 2-16
shows that when these materials, quartz or barium
titanate, undergo physical stress or vibration, a
small oscillating voltage is produced.
Piezoelectricity is the principle used in knock
sensors (KS), also called detonation sensors. The
typical knock sensor (Figure 2-17) produces
about 300 millivolts of electricity and vibrates at
a 6,000-hertz (cycles per second) frequency,
which is the frequency that the cylinder walls
vibrate at during detonation.
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Introduction to Electricity
Figure 2-15.
29
Photoelectric cell sensor.
Hard Rubber Cushion
Neon Lamp
Figure 2-17.
Piezoelectric knock sensor. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
Barium Titanate
Hard Rubber Cushion
Figure 2-16.
Piezoelectric effect.
Squeeze a Rock Get a Volt
In 1880, the French chemists Pierre and Marie
Curie discovered the phenomenon of piezoelectricity, which means, “electricity through pressure.” They found that when pressure is applied to
a crystal of quartz, tourmaline, or Rochelle salt, a
voltage is generated between the faces of the
crystal. Although the effect is only temporary,
while the pressure lasts, it can be maintained by
alternating between compression and tension.
Piezoelectricity is put to practical use in phonograph pickups and crystal microphones, where
mechanical vibrations (sound waves) are converted into varying voltage signals. Similar applications are used in underwater hydrophones and
piezoelectric stethoscopes.
Applying a high-frequency alternating voltage
to a crystal can create a reverse piezoelectric
effect. The crystal then produces mechanical
vibrations at the same frequency, which are called
ultrasonic sound waves because they are beyond
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Chapter Two
our range of hearing. These ultrasonic vibrations
are used, among other things, to detect sonar
reflections from submarines and to drill holes in
diseased teeth.
1 Horsepower = a Horse
pulling a 200 lb weight 165
feet in 1 minute
165 feet
Time
1 Minute
HISTORICAL
FIGURES IN
ELECTRICITY
In 1767, Joseph Priestly established that electrical charges attract with a force inversely proportional to distance. In 1800, Alessandro Volta
invented the first battery. Michael Faraday
(1791–1867) opened the doors of the science we
now know as electromagnetism when he published his law of induction, which simply states
that a magnetic field induces an electromotive
force in a moving conductor. Thomas Edison
(1847–1931) invented the incandescent lamp in
1879, but perhaps even more importantly, built
the first central power station and electrical distribution system in New York City in 1881. This
provided a means of introducing electrical power
into industry and the home.
The discovery of the electron by J.J. Thomson
(1856–1940) in 1897 introduced the science of
electronics and quickly resulted in the invention of the diode (1904), the triode (1907), and
the transistor (1946). Andre Marie Ampere
established the importance of the relationship
between electricity and magnetism. In 1800,
Alessandro Volta discovered that if two dissimilar metals were brought in contact with a
salt solution, a current would be produced,
this invention is now known as the battery.
The German physicist George Simon Ohm
(1787–1854) proved the mathematical relationship between electrical potential (voltage),
electrical current flow (measured in amperes)
and the resistance to the current flow (measured in ohms: symbol Ω).
Another person who influenced electrical
technology was a Scottish inventor named
James Watt (1736–1819). James Watt worked
in coal mines and saw the power of a horse as it
200 time 165 = 33,000 lb/ft of work
1 horse can do 33,000 lb/ft of
work in 1 minute
Figure 2-18.
200
Pounds
Horsepower.
was used to lift coal from deep in the earth. He
developed the steam engine to take over the task
of lifting heavy loads instead of using the power
of a horse. At the same time, he calculated the
work that a horse could do and determined that a
horse could walk 165 feet in one minute pulling
a 200-pound weight (165 ft. 200 lb. 33,000
ft.-lb. per minute, or 550 foot-pounds of work
per second) and called this amount of work one
horsepower. One horsepower is needed to lift
550 pounds 1 foot off the ground in 1 second,
one horsepower equals 33,000 foot-pounds of
work per minute. The term brake horsepower
comes from the method of testing the early
engines.
In the metric system, the power of engines is
measured in watts or kilowatts after James Watt.
Watt’s Law states that a watt is the power done by
moving one ampere through a resistance of one
ohm using one volt in one second. Horsepower
can also be expressed in units of electrical power
or watts; the simple conversion is 1 horsepower
= 746 watts.
The term watt is most commonly used to
express electrical power, such as the wattage of
light bulbs. A light bulb is an example of where
watts are commonly used. A 100-watt light bulb
requires more electrical power to light than a 60watt bulb. Electricity is sold in kilowatt hours. A
kilowatt is 1000 watts and a kilowatt hour is one
kilowatt of power being used for one hour.
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Introduction to Electricity
SUMMARY
The Greeks discovered the first type of electricity
in the form of static electricity when they observed
that amber rubbed with fur would attract lightweight objects such as feathers. Static electricity is
electricity at rest or without any motion. All matter
is composed of atoms and electrical charge is a
component of all atoms, so all matter is electrical
in essence. An atom is the smallest part of an element that retains all of the properties of that element. All atoms share the same basic structure. At
the center of the atom is the nucleus, containing
protons, neutrons, and electrons. When an atom is
balanced, the number of protons will match the
number of electrons and the atom can be described
as being in an electrically neutral state. The phenomenon we describe as electricity concerns the
behavior of atoms that have become, for whatever
reason, unbalanced or ionized. Electricity may be
defined as the movement of free electrons from one
atom to another.
An electrostatic charge can build up on the surface of your body. If you touch something, your
charge can be discharged to the other surface,
which is called electrostatic discharge (ESD). An
automotive technician should always use a static grounding strap when working with staticsensitive electronic devices.
31
When light contacts certain materials, such as
selenium and cesium, electron flow is stimulated
and is called photoelectricity. Solar energy is light
energy (photons) from the sun that is gathered in a
photovoltaic solar cell. A photon is pure energy
that contains no mass. Thermoelectricity is electricity produced when two dissimilar metals are
heated to generate an electrical voltage. A thermocouple is a small device made of two dissimilar
metals that gives off a low voltage when heated.
Piezoelectricity is electricity produced when materials such as quartz or barium titanate are placed
under pressure. The production of electricity from
chemical energy is demonstrated in the lead-acid
battery. Electromagnetic induction is the production of electricity when a current is carried through
a conductor and a magnetic field is produced.
Andre Marie Ampere established the importance of the relationship between electricity and
magnetism. Alessandro Volta discovered that if
two dissimilar metals were brought in contact
with a salt solution, a current would be produced; this invention is now known as the battery. George Simon Ohm showed a relationship
between resistance, current, and voltage in an
electrical circuit; he developed what is known as
Ohm’s Law. James Watt developed a method
used to express a unit of electrical power known
as Watt’s Law.
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Chapter Two
Review Questions
1. The general name given every substance in
the physical universe is which of the
following:
a. Mass
b. Matter
c. Compound
d. Nucleus
2. The smallest part of an element that retains
all of its characteristics is which of the
following:
a. Atom
b. Proton
c. Compound
d. Neutron
3. The particles that orbit around the center of
an atom are called which of the following:
a. Electrons
b. Molecules
c. Nucleus
d. Protons
4. An atom that loses or gains one electron is
called which of the following:
a. Balanced
b. An element
c. A molecule
d. An ion
5. Technician A says the battery provides
electricity by releasing free electrons.
Technician B says the battery stores energy
in a chemical form. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
6. Static electricity is being discussed.
Technician A says that static electricity is
electricity in motion. Technician B says an
electrostatic charge can build up on the
surface of your body. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
7. What people discovered electricity?
a. The Italians
b. The Germans
c. The Greeks
d. The Irish
8. Technician A says batteries produce direct
current from a chemical reaction.
Technician B says that an electrolyte is a
chemical solution of water and
hydrochloric acid that will conduct
electricity. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
9. Two technicians are discussing
thermoelectricity. Technician A says
applying heat to the connection point of two
dissimilar metals can create electron flow
(electricity). Technician B says a
thermocouple is a small device made of two
dissimilar metals that gives off a low voltage
when heated. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
10. Technician A says when sunlight contacts
certain materials, electron flow is stimulated.
Technician B says solar energy is light
energy from the moon that is gathered in a
photovoltaic solar cell. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
11. Two technicians are discussing how
piezoelectricity works. Technician A says it
is electricity produced when barium titanate
is placed under pressure. Technician B
says when no change in the potential of
electrons between positive and negative
terminal occurs, the barium titanate creates
electricity. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
12. James Watt’s term horsepower is being
discussed. Technician A says one
horsepower equals 33,000 foot-pounds of
work per hour. Technician B says one
horsepower would be produced when a
horse walked 165 feet in one minute pulling
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Introduction to Electricity
a 500-pound weight or 165 ft. × 500 lb. =
33,000 ft-lb. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
13. Technician A says Andre Marie Ampere
established the importance of the
relationship between electricity and
33
magnetism. Technician B says Alessandro
Volta discovered that if two dissimilar metals
were brought in contact with a water
solution, a current would be produced. Who
is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
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3
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Explain the terms conductor, insulator, and
•
•
Electrical
Fundamentals
•
•
•
semiconductor, and differentiate between
their functions.
Identify and explain the basic electrical concepts of resistance, voltage, current, voltage
drop, and conductance.
Define the two theories of current flow
(conventional and electron) and explain the
difference between DC and AC current.
Explain the cause-and-effect relationship in
Ohm’s law between voltage, current, resistance, and voltage drop.
Define electrical power and its Ohm’s law
relationship.
Define capacitance and describe the function of a capacitor in an automotive electrical circuit.
KEY TERMS
Ampere
Capacitance
Capacitor
Circuit
Conductors
Conventional Theory
Current
Ground
Insulators
Ohm
Ohm’s Law
Resistance
Resistors
Semiconductors
Voltage
Voltage Drop
Watt
INTRODUCTION
This chapter reviews all of the basic electrical
principles required to understand electronics and
the automotive electrical/electronic systems in the
later chapters. An automotive technician must
have a thorough grasp of the basis of electricity
35
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Chapter Three
and electronics. Electronics has become the single
most important subject area and the days when
many technicians could avoid working on an
electrical circuit through an entire career are long
past. This course of electrical study will cover
conductors and insulators, characteristics of electricity, the complete electrical circuit, Ohm’s Law,
and finally capacitance and capacitors.
CONDUCTORS AND
INSULATORS
Wires
• Conductors. Conductors are materials with
fewer than four electrons in their atom’s
outer orbit that allow easy movement of
electrons through them. Copper is an excellent conductor because it has only one electron in its outer orbit. This orbit is far enough
away from the nucleus of the copper atom
that the pull or force holding the outermost
electron in orbit is relatively weak. See
Figure 3-1. Copper is the conductor most
used in vehicles because the price of copper
is reasonable compared to the relative cost of
other conductors with similar properties.
• Insulators. The protons and neutrons in the
nucleus are held together very tightly.
Normally the nucleus does not change. But
some of the outer electrons are held very
loosely, and they can move from one atom to
another. An atom that loses electrons has
more positive charges (protons) than negative charges (electrons); it is positively
charged. An atom that gains electrons has
more negative than positive particles; is negatively charged. A charged atom is called an
ion. Some materials hold their electrons very
tightly; therefore, electrons do not move
through them very well. These materials are
called insulators. Insulators are materials
with more than four electrons in their atom’s
outer orbit. Because they have more than
Insulator
Conductor
Insulator
Figure 3-1.
Conductors and insulators.
four electrons in their outer orbit, it becomes
easier for these materials to acquire (gain)
electrons than to release electrons. Examples
of insulators include plastics, wood, glass,
rubber, ceramics (spark plugs), and varnish
for covering (insulating) copper wires in alternators and starters.
• Semiconductors. Materials with exactly
four electrons in their outer orbit are neither
conductors nor insulators and are called
semiconductor materials.
1-013
A wire in a wiring harness is made up of a conductor and an insulator. The metal core of the
wire, typically made of copper, is the conductor.
The outer jacket (made of plastic or other material) coating the core is the insulator. Under normal
circumstances, electrons move a few inches per
second. Yet when an electrical potential is applied
to one end of a wire, the effect is felt almost
immediately at the other end of that wire. This is
so because the electrons in the conductor affect
one another, much like billiard balls in a line.
CHARACTERISTICS
OF ELECTRICITY
Voltage
We have said that a number of electrons gathered
in one place effect an electrical charge. We call
this charge an electrical potential or “voltage.”
Voltage is measured in volts (V). Since it is used
to “move electrons,” an externally applied electrical potential is sometimes called an “electromotive force” or EMF. Potential, voltage, and EMF
all mean the same thing. You can think of voltage
as the electrical “pressure” (Figure 3-2) that drives electron flow or current, similar to water pressure contained in a tank. When voltage is applied
to a disconnected length of wire (open circuit),
there is no sustained movement of electrons. No
current flows in the wire, because current flows
only when there is a difference in potential
(Figure 3-3). Check the voltage with a meter, and
you will find that it is the same at both ends of the
wire. (See the section on “DMM Operating
Principles” in Chapter 3 of the Shop Manual.)
If voltage is applied to one end of a conductor,
a different potential must be connected to the
other end of that conductor for current to flow.
In a typical automotive circuit, the positive terminal of the vehicle battery is the potential at one
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37
Water Pressure
VOLTAGE
(WATER)
Figure 3-4. Voltage is a potential difference in electromotive force.
Figure 3-2.
Voltage and water pressure.
POSITIVE
CHARGE
COPPER WIRE
NEGATIVE
CHARGE
ELECTRON THEORY
CURRENT FLOW
CONVENTIONAL
THEORY CURRENT
FLOW
Figure 3-5.
1-014
Current flow.
Figure 3-3. Voltage pushes current flow like force
pushes water flow.
end of a conductor, and the negative terminal is
the potential at the other end (Figure 3-4).
Current
The movement of electrons in a circuit is the
flow of electricity, or current flow (Figure 3-5),
which is measured in amperes (A). This unit expresses how many electrons move through a circuit in one second. A current flow of 6.25 × 1018
electrons per second is equal to one ampere. A
coulomb is 6.281 × 1018 electrons per second.
1 coulomb/sec=1 ampere.
Current Flow
Current flow will occur only if there is a path and
a difference in electrical potential; this difference
is known as charge differential and is measured
in voltage. Charge differential exists when the
electrical source has a deficit of electrons and
therefore is positively charged. Electrons are
negatively charged and unlike charges attract, so
electrons flow toward the positive source.
See the section on “DMM Operating Principles” in Chapter 3 of the Shop Manual.
Conventional Current Flow
and Electron Theory
In automotive service literature, current flow is
usually shown as flowing from the positive
terminal to the negative terminal. This way of describing current flow is called the conventional
theory. Another way of describing current flow is
called the electron theory, and it states that current
flows from the negative terminal to the positive
terminal. The conventional theory and electron
theory are two different ways of describing the
same current flow.
Essentially, both theories are correct. The electron theory follows the logic that electrons move
from an area of many electrons (negative charge)
to one of few electrons (positive charge). However,
in describing the behavior of semiconductors, we
often describe current as moving from positive to
negative. The important thing to know is which
theory is being used by the service literature you
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Chapter Three
VOLTS
VOLTS
+30
+20
10
+10
0
-10
5
-20
-30
TIME
TIME
Figure 3-6.
Direct current.
happen to be using; most schematics use conventional current flow theory.
A conductor, such as a piece of copper wire, contains billions of neutral atoms whose electrons move
randomly from atom to atom, vibrating at high
frequencies. When an external power source such as
a battery is connected to the conductor, a deficit of
electrons occurs at one end of the conductor and an
excess of electrons occurs at the other end, the
negative terminal will have the effect of repelling
free electrons from the conductor’s atoms while the
positive terminal will attract free electrons. This
results in a flow of electrons through the conductor
from the negative charge to the positive charge. The
rate of flow will depend on the charge differential
(or potential difference/voltage). The charge differential or voltage is a measure of electrical pressure.
The role of a battery, for instance, is to act as a sort
of electron pump. In a closed electrical circuit,
electrons move through a conductor, producing a
displacement effect close to the speed of light.
The physical dimensions of a conductor are also
a factor. The larger the cross-sectional area (measured by wire gauge size) the more atoms there are
over a given sectional area, therefore the more free
electrons; therefore, as wire size increases, so does
the ability to flow more electrical current through
the wire.
Direct Current
When a steady-state electrical potential is
applied to a circuit, the resulting current flows in
one direction. We call that direct current or DC
(Figure 3-6). Batteries produce a steady-state, or
DC, potential. The advantage of using DC is it
can be stored electro-chemically in a battery.
Figure 3-7.
Alternating current.
Alternating Current
The electrical potential created by a generator is
not steady state, it fluctuates between positive and
negative. When such a potential is applied to a
circuit, it causes a current that first flows in one
direction, then reverses itself and flows in the
other direction. In residential electrical systems,
this direction reversal happens 60 times a second.
This type of current is called alternating current or
AC (Figure 3-7). Rotating a coil in a magnetic field
usually produces alternating current. Alternating
current describes a flow of electrical charge that
cyclically reverses, due to a reversal in polarity at
the voltage source.
Automotive generators produce AC potential.
Alternating current is easier to produce in a generator, due to the laws of magnetism, but it is
extremely difficult to store. Generators incorporate special circuits that convert the AC to DC
before it is used in the vehicle’s electrical systems.
(Alternating current is also better suited than DC
for transmission through power lines.) The frequency at which the current alternates is measured
in cycles. A cycle is one complete reversal of current from zero though positive to negative and
back to the zero point. Frequency is usually measured in cycles per second or hertz.
Resistance
More vehicles can travel on a four-lane superhighway in a given amount of time than on a two-lane
country road. A large-diameter pipe can flow more
fluid than a small-diameter pipe. A similar characteristic applies to electricity. A large wire can carry
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39
ALLOWS LESS
FLOW (AMPS)
OHMS =
1000 ‰
VOLTS
AMPS
MEANS: THE SIZE OF THE RESTRICTION
(OHMS) IS DETERMINED BY DIVIDING
THE PRESSURE (VOLTS) BY THE
FLOW RATE (AMPS).
ALLOWS MORE
FLOW (AMPS)
10 ‰
Figure 3-8.
Resistance.
more current than a small wire. The reason the
large wire carries more current is that it offers less
resistance to current flow. All materials contain
some resistance. For information about measuring
resistance, see the section on “DMM Operating
Principles” in Chapter 3 of the Shop Manual.
Resistance opposes the movement of electrons,
or current flow. All electrical devices and wires
have some resistance. Materials with very low
resistance are called conductors; materials with
very high resistance are called insulators. As resistance works to oppose current flow, it changes
electrical energy into some other form of energy,
such as heat, light, or motion.
Resistance factors (Figure 3-8) determine the
resistance of a conductor by a combination of the
following:
• Atomic structure (how many free elec-
trons): The more free electrons a material
has, the less resistance it offers to current
flow. Example: copper versus aluminum
wire.
• Length: The longer a conductor, the higher
the resistance.
• Width (cross-sectional area): The larger
the cross-sectional area of a conductor, the
lower the resistance. For example: 12-gauge
versus 20-gauge wire.
• Temperature: For most materials, the higher
the temperature, the higher the resistance.
There are a few materials whose resistance
goes down as temperature goes up.
The condition of a conductor can also have a
large affect on its resistance (Figure 3-9). Broken
strands of wire, corrosion, and loose connections
can cause the resistance of a conductor to increase.
Wanted and Unwanted Resistance
Resistance is useful in electrical circuits. We use it
to produce heat, make light, limit current, and regulate voltage. However, resistance in the wrong
place can cause circuit trouble. Sometimes you
can predict that high (unwanted) resistance is present by just looking at an electrical connection or
component. Expect resistance to be high if the material is discolored or if a connection appears
loose. Resistance can also be affected by the physical condition of a conductor. For example, battery
terminals are made of lead, ordinarily an excellent
conductor. However, when a battery terminal is
covered with corrosion, resistance is substantially
increased. This makes the terminal a less effective
conductor.
Ohms
The basic unit of measurement for resistance is
the ohm. The symbol for ohms is the Greek letter
omega (Ω). If the resistance of a material is high
(close to infinite ohms), it is an insulator. If the
resistance of a material is low (close to zero
ohms), it is a conductor.
Resistors
Resistors are devices used to provide specific values of resistance in electrical circuits. A common
type is the carbon-composition resistor, which is
available in many specific resistance values. They
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Chapter Three
Figure 3-9.
Resistance factors.
are generally marked with colored bands that
make up a code expressing each resistor’s value.
The size of the resistor determines how much heat
the device can dissipate, and therefore how much
power it can handle.
COMPLETE
ELECTRICAL
CIRCUIT
For current to flow continuously from a voltage
supply, such as a battery, there must be a complete
circuit, as shown in Figure 3-10. A circuit is a path
for electric current. Current flows from one end of
a circuit to the other when the ends are connected
to opposite charges (positive and negative) We
usually call these ends power and ground. Current
flows only in a closed or completed circuit. If there
is a break somewhere in the circuit, current cannot
flow. We usually call a break in a circuit an open.
Most protection circuits contain a source of power,
conductive material (wires) load, controls, and a
ground. These elements are connected to each
other with conductors, such as a copper wire. The
primary power source in a car or truck is the battery. As long as there is no external connection
between the positive and negative sides, there is
no flow of electricity. Once an external connection
is made between them, the free electrons have a
path to flow on, and the entire electrical system is
connected between the positive and negative sides.
Power (Voltage Source)
The 12-volt battery is the most common voltage
source in automotive circuits. The battery is an electrochemical device; In other words, it uses chemicals to create electricity. It has a positive side and a
negative side, separated by plates. Typically, the
positive (+) part of the battery is made up of lead peroxide. The negative () part of the battery is made
up of sponge lead. A pasty chemical called electrolyte is used as a conductor between the positive
and negative parts. Electrolyte is made from water
and sulfuric acid. So, within the battery there exists
an electrical potential. The operation of the alternator continuously replenishes the electrical potential
of the battery to prevent it from “draining.”
Load
The load is any device in a circuit that uses electricity to do its job. For example, the loads in a circuit could include a motor, a solenoid, a relay, and
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41
Figure 3-10.
The complete electrical circuit.
a light bulb. All loads offer some resistance to
current flow.
reach all the way back to the ground terminal of
the battery.
Controls
Conductive Material
Control devices perform many different jobs,
such as turning lights on and off, dimming lights,
and controlling the speed of motors. Control devices work by completely stopping current flow
or by varying the rate of flow. Controls used to
stop current flow include switches, relays, and
transistors. Controls used to vary the rate include
rheostats, transistors, and other solid-state devices. Control devices can be on the positive or
negative side of the circuit.
Conductive materials, such as copper wire with an
insulator, readily permit this flow of electrons from
atom to atom and connect the elements of the circuit: power source, load, controls, and ground.
Ground
In a closed circuit, electrons flow from one side of
the voltage source, through the circuit, and then
return to the other side of the source. We usually
call the return side of the source the ground. A
circuit may be connected to ground with a wire or
through the case of a component. When a component is case-grounded, current flows through its
metal case to ground. In an automobile, one battery terminal is connected to the vehicle chassis
with a conductor. As a result, the chassis is at the
same electrical potential as the battery terminal.
It can act as the ground for circuits throughout the
vehicle. If the chassis didn’t act as a ground, the
return sides of vehicle circuits would have to
Negative or Positive Ground
Circuits can use a negative or a positive ground.
Most vehicles today use a negative ground system. In this system, the negative battery terminal
is connected to the chassis.
Voltage Drop
In an electrical circuit, resistance behaves somewhat like an orifice restriction in a refrigerant circuit. In a refrigerant circuit, pressure upstream of
the orifice is higher than that downstream of the
orifice. Similarly, voltage is higher before the
resistance than it is after the resistance. The voltage change across the resistance is called a
voltage drop (Figure 3-11).
Voltage drop is the voltage lost or consumed as
current moves through resistance. Voltage is highest where the conductor connects to the voltage
source, but decreases slightly as it moves through
the conductor. If you measure voltage before it
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Chapter Three
HIGH
PRESSURE
LOW
PRESSURE
ORIFICE
SOURCE
VOLTAGE
SOURCE
VOLTAGEVOLTAGE DROP
VOLTAGE DROP
Figure 3-11.
Voltage drop. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
goes into a conductor and measure it again on the
other side of a conductor, you will find that the
voltage has decreased. This is voltage drop. When
you connect several conductors to each other, the
voltage will drop each time the current passes
through another conductor.
Voltage drop is the result of a total applied voltage that is not equal at both ends of a single load circuit. Whenever the voltage applied to a device (a
load) is less than the source voltage there is a
resistance between the two components. The
resistance in a circuit opposes the electron flow,
with a resulting voltage loss applied to the load.
This loss is voltage drop. Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law
states that the sum of the voltage drops in any circuit will equal the source or applied voltage. For
more information about measuring voltage, See the
section on “DMM Operating Principles” in Chapter
3 of the Shop Manual.
OHM’S LAW
The German physicist, George Simon Ohm, established that electric pressure in volts, electrical
resistance in ohms, and the amount of current in
amperes flowing through any circuit are all re-
Figure 3-12. If this battery provides 1 volt of pressure, the resistance of the lamp must be 1 ohm.
lated. Ohm’s Law states that voltage equals
current times resistance, and is expressed as
EIR. Ohm’s Law is based on the fact that it
takes 1 volt of electrical potential to push 1 ampere of current through 1 ohm of resistance, as
demonstrated in Figure 3-12.
Ohm’s Law Units
Electricity is difficult to understand because it cannot be seen or felt. Illustrating electrical units water
makes the units of electricity easier to understand.
Voltage
Voltage is the unit of electrical pressure. This is
the same as water pressure is measured in pounds
per square inch or psi. Just as water pressure is
available at a faucet, there can be water pressure
or voltage without water or current flow. In the
Ohm’s Law equation, voltage is represented by
the letter E for electromotive force. One ampere
is equal to 6.28 × 1018 electrons (1 columb)
passing a given point in an electrical circuit in
one second.
Current
Electrical current is measured in amperes. An ampere is a unit of the amount of current flow. This
unit would be the same as gallons per minute
(gpm) of water flow if compared to water from a
faucet. In the Ohm’s Law equation, current is represented by the letter I for intensity or amperage.
The equation is
I
E
R
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43
Resistance
The unit of electrical resistance is the ohm, named
by George Ohm. An ohm is the unit of electrical
resistance. Resistance in the flow of water is usually associated with the size of the water pipe. A
small water pipe can only allow so much water,
whereas a larger pipe or hose can allow more water to flow. A large fire hose, for example, allows
more water in gallons per minute than a garden
hose. Resistance in an electrical circuit creates
heat because the increased number of collisions
that occur between the free electrons and the vibrating atoms. When these collisions create heat,
the resistance continues to increase. In the Ohm’s
Law equation, resistance is represented by the letter R, for resistance. The equation is:
R
E
I
In a complete electrical circuit, the resistance
in ohms is higher if the voltage (E) is higher
and/or if the current in amperes (I) is lower. A
closed circuit is a circuit that is complete and current is flowing. An open circuit has a break
somewhere and no current flows.
Here is an easy way to remember how to solve
for any part of the equation: To use the “solving
circle” in Figure 3-13, cover the letter you don’t
know. The remaining letters give the equation for
determining the unknown quantity.
In the circuit in Figure 3-14, the source voltage is unknown. The resistance of the load in
the circuit is 2 ohms. The current flow through
the circuit is 6 amps. Since the volts are missing, the correct equation to solve for voltage is
volts = amps × ohms. If the known units are inserted into the equation, the current can be calculated. Performing the multiplication in the equation
yeilds in 12 volts. volts = 6 × 2 as the source voltage
in the circuit.
In the circuit in Figure 3-15, the current is
unknown. The resistance of the load in the circuit
is 2 ohms. The source voltage is 12 volts. Since
the amps are missing, the correct equation to
solve for current is as follows:
Amps (I) Volts
E 12
6 amps
2
Ohms R
If the known units are inserted into the equation,
the current can be calculated. Performing the
division in the equation yields in 6 amps as the
current flow in the circuit.
Figure 3-13.
Ohm’s Law solving circle.
6A
Voltage = ?
2‰
Figure 3-14.
Solving for voltage.
12 Volts
Current = ?
2 Ohms
Figure 3-15.
Solving for current.
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Chapter Three
Ohm’s Law Chart
6 amps
12V
Figure 3-16.
Solving for resistance.
In the circuit in Figure 3-16, the resistance is
unknown. The current flow through the circuit
is 6 amps. The source voltage is 12 volts. Since
the ohms are missing, the correct equation to
solve for resistance is as follows:
Ohms (R) E 12
Volts
2 ohms
Amps
I
6
If the known units are inserted into the equation, the resistance can be calculated. Performing
the division in the equation yields 2 ohms as the
resistance in the circuit.
Ohm’s Law General Rules
Ohm’s Law shows that both voltage and resistance affect current. Current never changes on its
own—it changes only if voltage or resistance
changes. Current cannot change on its own because voltage causes current through a conductor
and all conductors have resistance. The amount of
current can change only if the voltage or the conductor changes. Ohm’s Law says if the voltage in
a conductor increases or decreases, the current
will increase or decrease. If the resistance in a
conductor increases or decreases, the current will
decrease or increase. The general Ohm’s Law
rule, assuming the resistance doesn’t change, is as
follows:
• As voltage increases, current increases
• As voltage decreases, current decreases
For more information about measuring voltage,
resistance, and current, see the section on “DMM
Operating” in Chapter 3 of the Shop Manual.
The table in (Figure 3-17) summarizes the relationship between voltage, resistance, and current. This
table can predict the effect of changes in voltage and
resistance or it can predict the cause of changes in
current. In addition to showing what happens to
current if voltage or resistance changes, the chart
also tells you the most likely result if both voltage
and resistance change.
If the voltage increases (Column 2), the current
increases (Column 1)—provided the resistance
stays the same (Column 3). If the voltage decreases
(Column 2), the current decreases (Column 1)—
provided the resistance stays the same (Column 3).
For example: Solving the three columns mathematically, if 12 volts ÷ 4 ohms 3 amps, and the
voltage increases to 14 volts/4 ohms 3.5 amps,
the current will increase with the resistance staying
at 4 ohms. Decrease the voltage to 10 volts:
10 volts/4 ohms 2.5 amps, or a decrease in current. In both cases, the resistance stays the same.
If the resistance increases (Column 3), the current decreases (Column 1)—provided the voltage
stays the same (Column 2). If the resistance decreases (Column 3), the current increases
(Column 1)—provided the voltage stays the same
(Column 2). For example: solving the three
columns mathematically, 12 volts ÷ 4 ohms 3
amps; increase resistance to 5 ohms and keep the
voltage at 12 volts: 12 volts/5 ohms 2.4 amps,
a decrease in current. Decrease the resistance to 3
ohms and keep the voltage at 12 volts:12 volts/3
ohms 4 amps, or an increase in current. In both
cases, the voltage stays the same.
POWER
Power is the name we give to the rate of work done
by any sort of machine. The output of automotive
engines is usually expressed in horsepower; so is
the output of electric motors. Many electrical devices are rated by how much electrical power they
consume, rather than by how much power they
produce. Power consumption is expressed in
watts: 746 watts 1 horsepower.
Power Formula
We describe the relationships among power, voltage, and current with the Power Formula. The basic
equation for the Power Formula is as follows:
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Electrical Fundamentals
Figure 3-17.
45
Ohm’s Law relationship table.
P I E or watts = amps volts
Power is the product of current multiplied times
voltage. In a circuit, if voltage or current increases, then power increases. If voltage or current decreases, then the power decreases.
The most common applications of ratings in
watts are probably light bulbs, resistors, audio
speakers, and home appliances. Here’s an example of how we determine power in watts: If the
total current (I) is equal to 10 amps, and the voltage (E) is equal to 120 volts, then
P 120 10 1200 watts
You can multiply the voltage times the current
in any circuit and find how much power is consumed. For example, a typical hair dryer can draw
almost 10 amps of current. You know that the
voltage in your home is about 120. Multiply these
two values and you get 1200 watts.
Figure 3-18.
A simple capacitor.
CAPACITANCE
Earlier, you learned that a resistor is any device
that opposes current flow. A capacitor (Figure
3-18) is a device that opposes a change in voltage. The property of opposing voltage change is
called capacitance, which is also used to describe
the electron storage capability of a capacitor.
Capacitors are sometimes referred to as condensers because they do the same thing; that is,
they store electrons.
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There are many uses for capacitors. In automotive electrical systems, capacitors are used to
store energy, to make up timer circuits, and as
filters. Actual construction methods vary, but a
simple capacitor can be made from two plates of
conductive material separated by an insulating
material called a dielectric. Typical dielectric
materials are air, mica, paper, plastic, and ceramic. The greater the dielectric properties of the
material used in a capacitor, the greater the resistance to voltage leakage.
Energy Storage
When the capacitor (Figure 3-19) is charged to the
same potential as the voltage source, current flow
stops. The capacitor can then hold its charge when
it is disconnected from the voltage source. With
the two plates separated by a dielectric, there is
nowhere for the electrons to go. The negative plate
retains its accumulation of electrons, and the positive plate still has a deficit of electrons. This is
how the capacitor stores energy.
When a capacitor is connected to an electrical
power source, it is capable of storing electrons
from that power source (Figure 3-20). When the
Chapter Three
capacitor’s charge capability is reached, it will
cease to accept electrons from the power source.
An electrostatic field exists between the capacitor
plates and no current flows in the circuit. The
charge is retained in the capacitor until the plates
are connected to a lower-voltage electrical circuit;
at this point, the stored electrons are discharged
from the capacitor into the lower-potential (lowervoltage) electrical circuit.
Capacitor Discharge
A charged capacitor can deliver its stored energy
just like a battery. When capacitors provide electricity, we say they Discharge. Used to deliver
small currents, a capacitor can power a circuit for
a short time (Figure 3-21).
In some circuits, a capacitor can take the place
of a battery. Electrons can be stored on the surface
of a capacitor plate. If a capacitor is placed in a
circuit with a voltage source, current flows in the
circuit briefly while the capacitor “charges”; that
is, electrons accumulate on the surface of the
plate connected to the negative terminal and
move away from the plate connected to the positive terminal. Electrons move in this way until
the electrical charge of the capacitor is equal to
that of the voltage source. How fast this happens
depends on several factors, including the voltage
applied and the size of the capacitor; generally
speaking, it happens very quickly.
A capacitor is a device that opposes a change
in voltage. The property of opposing voltage
Figure 3-19. As the capacitor is charging, the battery forces electrons through the circuit.
Figure 3-20. When the capacitor is charged, there is
equal voltage across the capacitor and the battery. An
electrostatic field exists between the capacitor plates.
No current flows in the circuit.
Figure 3-21. The capacitor is charged through one
circuit (top) and discharged through another.
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Electrical Fundamentals
change is called “capacitance,” which is also
used to describe the electron storage capability of
a capacitor. Capacitors are sometimes referred to
as condensers because they do the same thing,
that is, they store electrons.
There are many uses for capacitors. In an automotive electrical system, capacitors are used to
store energy, to make up timer circuits, and as filters. Actual construction methods vary, but a simple capacitor can be made from two plates of conductive material separated by an insulating
material called a “dielectric.” Typical dielectric
materials are air, mica, paper, plastic, and ceramic. The greater the dielectric properties of the
material used in a capacitor the greater the resistance to voltage leakage.
Capacitance is measured in farads, which is
named after Michael Faraday (1791–1867). The
symbol for farads is F. If a charge of 1 coulomb is
placed on the plates of a capacitor and the potential difference between them is 1 volt, the capacitance is then defined to be 1 farad. One coulomb
is equal to the charge of 6.25 1018 electrons.
One farad is an extremely large quantity of capacitance. Microfarads (0.000001 farad) or F
are more commonly used.
Capacitors are manufactured using many different types of materials and can be various
shapes and sizes. Capacitors are used in many automotive electronic circuits and perform the role
of an AC/DC filter. A filter is used to reduce highvoltage pulses that could damage electronic circuits. A capacitor can also help reduce the surge
(voltage spike) that can occur when circuits containing a coil are turned off.
47
Figure 3-22.
Types of capacitors.
Calculating Total Capacitance
The total capacitance of a circuit (Figure 3-23) is
dependent on how the capacitors are designed in the
circuit. When capacitors are in parallel, total capacitance is determined by the following equation:
CT C1 C2 C3
When capacitors are in series, total capacitance
is determined by the following equation:
Ct 1
1
1
Ct
Ct
Future Trends in Voltage:
Types of Capacitors
Capacitors, also called condensers, come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and construction. All capacitors are rated in farads or microfarads as well
as the voltage rating. See Figure 3-22.
• Resistor-capacitor circuits (R-C circuits):
A common use of an RC circuit is in the
power lead to a radio or sound system where
the combination of the two components is
used to eliminate alternating voltage interference. The capacitor can pass AC voltage
signals, which are used to take these signals
to ground through a resistor so that these
signals do not travel to the radio.
The 42-Volt System
The voltage of the automotive electrical system
was not always at today’s 12 volts. It was raised
once from 6 volts to 12 volts around 1955.The reason was that a higher ignition energy was required
for the higher-compression V8 engines being introduced, prompting the need for a higher-voltage
electrical system. Occurring almost simultaneously
with this ignition issue were new automotive features such as radios, higher-power headlamps, and
more powerful electric starting motors, all of which
were stretching the capabilities of the existing 6-volt
system. A pressing need for more reliable ignition
drove the implementation of a single higher-energy
12-volt battery (with 14-volt regulation). The transition took about two years.
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Chapter Three
Parallel
CT = C + C
42 volt system
36 volt
Battery
C1
Alternator
Starter
14 volt system
Series
Ct =
C2
Power Train
Control
Module
Ct Ct
Figure 3-23.
12 volt
Battery
Figure 3-24.
Dual 42-volt /14-volt system.
Calculating total capacitance here.
Today’s automobile industry is now faced
with a similar situation. Many new electronic
features are emerging. Some of them are to
meet tighter emission and fuel economy regulations, such as electromechanical (EM) engine
valve actuators and convenience items such as
in-vehicle information technology systems;
some are to satisfy increased desires for safety
and comfort with features such as electronic
brakes and steering. Many of these cannot be
practically introduced using the currently available 14-volt power supply, and a higher-voltage
supply would definitely be beneficial to some of
the existing automotive components. The comparative complexity of today’s 14-volt electrical
system and the large number of different components designed to operate at 14 volts make
the prospect of changing to any new voltage
more difficult. Moreover, there are some specific components, such as light bulbs and lowpower electronic control modules, that still require 12- to 14-volt operation.
Before the entire electrical system is transferred
to a higher voltage, a dual-voltage electrical system will most likely appear. In a dual-voltage system, a new higher-voltage system is introduced to
accommodate desired higher power components
and features while simultaneously preserving the
present 14-volt system for some interim period and
for those components that require the present
lower voltage.
42-Volt/14-Volt Electrical System Design
Due to the use of hybrid and mybrid vehicles, it
is very likely there will be a dual-voltage electrical
architecture before a complete single 42-volt system. In a 42/14-volt dual-voltage system, the
governing partitioning philosophy is that highpower loads will generally be allocated to the 42volt bus, while the low-power electronic loads, including most key-off loads, will be allocated to the
14-volt bus.
Figure 3-24 shows a dual system, including a
complicated alternator with two sets of stator
windings to deliver power separately to the 42and 14-volt buses, combined with an integral
starter motor. This design is often referred to as
an Integrated Starter Alternator (ISA). The dualstator/starter motor version uses a standard field
control (labeled C1) to regulate the 42-volt bus
voltage and a phase-controlled converter (C2) to
regulate the 14-volt bus voltage. Here again, highpower loads, including the cranking motor, are allocated to the 42-volt bus, while the 14-volt bus
supplies the low-power electronic control modules. Separate batteries are used for each bus.
There are some difficulties in controlling
individual stator windings for optimal outputs in
this dual-stator winding architecture.
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SUMMARY
A conductor is a metallic element that contains
fewer than four electrons in its outer shell. An
insulator is a non-metallic substance that contains
more than four electrons in the outer shell.
Semiconductors are a group of materials that
cannot be classified either as conductors or
insulators; they have exactly four electrons in their
outer shell. Current flow is measured by the number of free electrons passing a given point in an
49
electrical circuit per second. Electrical pressure or
charge differential is measured in volts, resistance
in ohms and current in amperes. If a hydraulic circuit analogy is used to describe an electrical circuit, voltage is equivalent to fluid pressure,
current to the flow in gpm, and resistance to flow
restriction.
Capacitors are used to store electrons: this consists of conductor plates separated by a dielectric.
Capacitance is measured in farads: capacitors are
rated by voltage and by capacitance.
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Chapter Three
Review Questions
1. Which of the following methods can
calculate circuit current?
a. Multiplying amps times ohms
b. Dividing ohms by volts
c. Dividing volts by ohms
d. Multiplying volts times watts
2. Which of the following methods can
calculate circuit resistance?
a. Dividing amps into volts
b. Dividing volts into amps
c. Multiplying volts times amps
d. Multiplying amps times ohms
3. Which of the following causes voltage drop
in a circuit?
a. Increase in wire size
b. Increase in resistance
c. Increase in insulation
d. Decrease in current
4. Which of the following describes a function
of a capacitor in an electrical circuit?
a. Timing device
b. Rectification
c. DC-to-AC conversion
d. Inductance
5. Which of the following is a measure of
electrical current?
a. Amperes
b. Ohms
c. Voltage
d. Watts
9. Voltage is which of these items:
a. Applied to a circuit
b. Flowing in a circuit
c. Built into a circuit
d. Flowing out of a circuit
10. The unit that represents resistance to
current flow is which of these items:
a. Ampere
b. Volt
c. Ohm
d. Watt
11. In automotive systems, voltage is supplied
by which of these components:
a. Alternator
b. ECM
c. DC Generator
d. Voltage Regulator
12. Which of the following characteristic does
not affect resistance?
a. Diameter of the conductor
b. Temperature of the conductor
c. Atomic structure of the conductor
d. Direction of current flow in the conductor
13. The resistance in a longer piece of wire is
which of these:
a. Higher
b. Lower
c. Unchanged
d. Higher, then lower
6. A material with many free electrons is a
good
a. Compound
b. Conductor
c. Insulator
d. Semiconductor
14. According to Ohm’s Law, when one volt
pushes one ampere of current through a
conductor, the resistance is:
a. Zero
b. One ohm
c. One watt
d. One coulomb
7. A material with four electrons in the valence
ring is which of these:
a. Compound
b. Insulator
c. Semiconductor
d. Conductor
15. The sum of the voltage drops in a circuit
equals which of these:
a. Amperage
b. Resistance
c. Source voltage
d. Shunt circuit voltage
8. The conventional theory of current flow says
that current flows
a. Randomly
b. Positive to negative
c. Negative to positive
d. At 60 cycles per second
16. Which of the following is a measure of
electrical pressure?
a. Amperes
b. Ohms
c. Voltage
d. Watts
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Electrical Fundamentals
51
17. Which of the following causes voltage drop
in a circuit?
a. Increase in wire size
b. Increase in resistance
c. Increase in insulation
d. Decrease in current
20. Capacitors are also called which of these
items:
a. Diodes
b. Resistors
c. Condensers
d. Dielectrics
18. Where E volts, I amperes, and
R resistance, Ohm’s Law is written as
which of these formulas:
a. I E R
b. E I R
c. R E I
d. E 12 R
21. Capacitors are rated in
a. Microcoulombs
b. Megawatts
c. Microfarads
d. Milliohms
19. In a closed circuit with a capacitor, current
will continue to flow until the voltage charge
across the capacitor plates becomes which
of these:
a. Less than the source voltage
b. Equal to the source voltage
c. Greater than the source voltage
d. Equal to the resistance of the plates
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4
Magnetism
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Define magnetism, electromagnetism, electromagnetic induction, and magnetomotive
force.
• Compare the units of magnetism to electricity: magnetic force to current, field density to voltage, and reluctance to resistance.
• Explain the use and operation of automotive circuit components that use electromagnetic induction and magnetism, to
include alternators, motors, starters, relays,
and solenoids.
KEY TERMS
AC Generator/Alternator
Commutator
Electromagnet
Electromagnetic induction
Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
Electromagnetism
Left-Hand Rule
Lines of Force
Magnetic Field
Magnetic Field Intensity
Magnetic Flux
Mutual Induction
Relay
Reluctance
Right-Hand Rule
Self-Induction
Transformers
INTRODUCTION
In this chapter you will learn about magnetism,
electromagnetism, electromagnetic induction, and
magnetomotive force. This knowledge is applied
thorough the explanation of the operation of automotive circuit components that use electromagnetic induction and magnetism, such as DC and
AC generators (alternators), motors, starters,
relays, and solenoids.
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Chapter Four
MAGNETISM
Historical Facts
Magnetism was first discovered in a natural rock
called lodestone. In the 1600s, Sir William
Gilbert discovered that the earth was a great
magnet with north and south poles. Gilbert
shaped a piece of lodestone into a sphere and
demonstrated that a small compass placed at any
spot on the sphere would always point, as it does
on the earth, toward the north pole. Lodestone is
also known as magnetite.
Lodestones
If a lodestone is suspended from a string, one end
will always rotate and point toward the north pole
of the earth. See Figure 4-1. Lodestone is one
material where the molecules can be aligned with
the magnetic field of the earth. Most materials
contain molecules that are arranged randomly and
cannot be made to align. Some material, such as
iron, nickel, and cobalt, can be made magnetic by
exposing them to a magnetic field. While some
materials will return the magnetism after they
have been magnetized, many materials will lose
this property.
Polarity
All magnets have a polarity. If a permanent magnet were to be cut or broken, the result is two
Figure 4-1.
(lodestone).
A freely suspended natural magnet
magnets, each with their own polarity. See
Figure 4-2. When a magnet is freely suspended,
the poles tend to point toward the north and
south magnetic poles of the earth, which led to
development of the compass.
Magnetism provides a link between mechanical energy and electricity. By the use of magnetism, an automotive generator converts some
of the mechanical power developed by the
engine to electromotive potential (EMF). Going
the other direction, magnetism allows a starter
motor to convert electrical energy from the battery into mechanical power to crank the engine.
A magnet can be any object or device that
attracts iron, steel, and other magnetic materials. There are three basic types of magnets as
follows:
• Natural magnets
• Man-made magnets
• Electromagnets
Reluctance
Magnetic lines of force are transmitted more
easily through a metallic substance rather than
air. Reluctance is the term used to describe the
resistance to the movement of magnetic lines of
force and permeability is the term used to list
the relative reluctance of a material. For example, steel is a better conductor of magnetic lines
of force than air and is given a permeability factor number of one compared to some alloys
whose permeability is over 2,000 and can be as
high as 50,000.
Figure 4-2. Magnetic poles behave like electrically
charged particles.
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Magnetism
Magnetic Fields and Lines
of Force
A magnetic field (Figure 4-3) is made up of many
invisible lines of force, which are also called lines of
flux. Magnetic flux is another term applied to lines of
force, which can be compared to current in electricity: They come out of one pole and enter the other
pole. The flux lines are concentrated at the poles and
spread out into the areas between the poles.
Magnetic Field Intensity
The magnetic field intensity refers to the magnetic field strength (force) exerted by the magnet
and can be compared to voltage in electricity. The
magnetic field existing in the space around a magnet can be demonstrated if a piece of cardboard is
placed over a magnet and iron filings are sprinkled
on top of the cardboard. The iron filings will be
arranged in a pattern showing the flux lines. A
weak magnet has relatively few flux lines; a strong
magnet has many. The number of flux lines is
sometimes described as flux density, as shown in
Figure 4-4.
55
Magnetism Summary
• Magnetic flux lines leave the north pole and
enter the south pole of the magnet.
• The more powerful the magnet, the higher
the flux density or concentration of the lines
of force.
• The greatest flux density occurs at the poles.
• Magnetic lines of force are always parallel
and never cross.
• Like poles repel and unlike poles attract.
Atomic Theory and Magnetism
Magnetism starts with the atom. Each atom has
electrons spinning around the nucleus in orbits, as
well as spinning on their own axis. It is this spinning of the electrons that creates small permanent
magnets. In most elements, the electrons spin in
opposite directions and as a result do not form a
magnetic field. The iron atom has 26 electrons and
22 of these cancel themselves out because they
have an opposite spin direction. However, the four
in the next to last outer shell all spin in the same
direction, giving iron a magnetic characteristic.
ELECTROMAGNETISM
In 1820, scientists discovered that current-carrying
conductors are surrounded by a magnetic field. A
conductor, such as a copper wire, that is carrying an
electrical current creates a magnetic field around
the conductor and is called electromagnetism.
Figure 4-3.
Magnetic field/lines of force.
Figure 4-4. Flux density equals the number of lines
of force per unit area.
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Chapter Four
CONDUCTOR
MOVEMENT
CONDUCTOR
MOVEMENT
Compass
deflects
From North
to South
Figure 4-5.
Compass
deflects
From North
to South
Electromagnet.
This magnetic field can be observed by the use of a
compass, as shown in Figure 4-5. The polarity of
the magnetic field changes depending on the direction in which the magnetic field is created.
Straight Conductor
The magnetic field surrounding a straight, currentcarrying conductor consists of several concentric
cylinders of flux the length of the wire, as in
Figure 4-6. The strength of the current determines
how many flux lines (cylinders) there will be and
how far out they extend from the surface of the wire.
Figure 4-6. A magnetic field surrounds a straight
current-carrying conductor.
Electromagnetic Field Rules
The following rules apply with electromagnetic
fields:
• The magnetic field moves only when the
current through the conductor is changing—
either increasing or decreasing.
• The strength of the magnetic field is directly
proportional to the current flow through the
conductor. The greater the current flow, the
stronger the magnetic field. If the current
flow is reduced, the magnetic field becomes
weaker.
Figure 4-7. Left-hand rule for field direction; used
with the electron-flow theory.
Left-Hand Rule
Right-Hand Rule
Magnetic flux cylinders have direction, just as the
flux lines surrounding a bar magnet have direction.
The left-hand rule is a simple way to determine this
direction. When you grasp a conductor with your
left hand so that your thumb points in the direction
of electron flow ( to +) through the conductor,
your fingers curl around the wire in the direction of
the magnetic flux lines, as shown in Figure 4-7.
It is important to note at this point that in automotive electricity and magnetism, we use the
conventional theory of current (+ to ), so you
use the right-hand rule to determine the direction of the magnetic flux lines, as shown in
Figure 4-8. The right-hand rule is used to denote
the direction of the magnetic lines of force, as
follows: The right hand should enclose the wire,
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Magnetism
57
Figure 4-8. Right-hand rule for field direction; used
with the conventional flow theory.
Figure 4-9.
Current direction symbols.
with the thumb pointing in the direction of
conventional current flow (positive to negative),
and the finger tips will then point in the direction of
the magnetic lines of force, as shown in Figure 48. For the rest of this chapter, the electron-flow theory (negative to positive) and the left-hand rule
are used.
Field Interaction
The cylinders of flux surrounding current-carrying
conductors interact with other magnetic fields. In
the following illustrations, the cross symbol (+)
indicates current moving inward, or away from
you. It represents the tail of an arrow. The dot symbol (.) represents an arrowhead and indicates current moving outward, or toward you (Figure 4-9).
If two conductors carry current in opposite
directions, their magnetic fields are also in opposite directions (according to the left-hand rule). If
they are placed side by side, Figure 4-10, the
opposing flux lines between the conductors create
a strong magnetic field. Current-carrying conductors tend to move out of a strong field into a weak
field, so the conductors move away from each
other (Figure 4-11).
If the two conductors carry current in the same
direction, their fields are in the same direction. As
seen in Figure 4-12, the flux lines between the
two conductors cancel each other out, leaving a
very weak field. In Figure 4-13, the conductors
are drawn into this weak field; that is, they move
closer together.
Motor Principle
Electric motors, such as automobile starter
motors, use field interaction to change electrical
energy into mechanical energy (Figure 4-14). If
Figure 4-10.
fields.
Conductors with opposing magnetic
Figure 4-11.
fields.
Conductors will move apart into weaker
Figure 4-12.
fields.
Conductors with the same magnetic
two conductors carrying current in opposite
directions are placed between strong north and
south poles, the magnetic field of the conductor
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Figure 4-13.
weak field.
Chapter Four
Conductors will move together into the
Figure 4-15.
Loop conductor. (Delphi Corporation)
Figure 4-16.
Coil conductor.
Figure 4-14. Electric motors use field interaction to
produce mechanical energy and movement.
interacts with the magnetic fields of the poles.
The clockwise field of the top conductor adds to
the fields of the poles and creates a strong field
beneath the conductor. The conductor tries to
move up to get out of this strong field. The
counterclockwise field of the lower conductor
adds to the field of the poles and creates a strong
field above the conductor. The conductor tries
to move down to get out of this strong field.
These forces cause the center of the motor or
armature where the conductors are mounted to
turn in a clockwise direction. This process is
known as magnetic repulsion. For more information about electric motors, see the section on
“Diagnostic Strategies” in Chapter 4 of the
Shop Manual.
Loop Conductor
Bending the wire into a loop can strengthen the
field around a straight conductor. As the wire is
bent, the fields, which meet in the center of the
loop, combine their strengths (Figure 4-15). The
left-hand rule also applies to loop conductors.
Coil Conductor
If several loops of wire are made into a coil, the
magnetic flux density is further strengthened.
Flux lines around a coil are the same as the flux
lines around a bar magnet (Figure 4-16). They
exit from the north pole and enter at the south
pole. Use the left-hand rule to determine the north
pole of a coil. If you grasp a coil with your left
hand so that your fingers point in the direction of
electron flow, your thumb points toward the north
pole of the coil, Figure 4-17. Increasing the number of turns in the wire, or increasing the current
through the coil, or both, can strengthen the magnetic field of a coil.
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Magnetism
Figure 4-17.
59
Left-hand rule for a coil.
Electromagnets
There is a third way to strengthen the magnetic
field surrounding a current-carrying conductor.
Because soft iron is very permeable, magnetic
flux lines pass through it easily. If a piece of soft
iron is placed inside a coiled conductor, the flux
lines concentrate in the iron core, as shown in
Figure 4-18, rather than pass through the air,
which is less permeable. This concentration of
force greatly increases the strength of the magnetic field inside the coil. A coils with an iron
core is called an electromagnet.
Electromagnetic field force is often described as
magnetomotive force (mmf). The strength of the
magnetomotive force is determined by:
• The higher the current flow through the coil,
the stronger the mmf.
• The higher the number of turns of wire in
the coil, the higher the mmf.
Magnetomotive force is measured in units of
ampere-turns, abbreviated AT. For example, a
coil with 100 turns carrying one ampere would
generate a magnetomotive force of 100 AT. The
same 100 AT can be generated by a coil with
only 10 turns of wire if 10 amperes were flowing. The actual magnetic field depends on the
design of the coil and if it does nor does not use
a soft iron core.
Figure 4-18.
Electromagnets.
electromagnetic coil in series with a battery and
a switch. Near the electromagnet is a movable
flat blade, or armature, of some material that is
attracted by a magnetic field. The armature pivots at one end and is held a small distance away
from the electromagnet by a spring (or by the
spring steel of the armature itself). A contact
point made of a good conductor is attached to the
free end of the armature. Another contact point is
fixed a small distance away. The two contact
points are wired in series with an electrical load
and the battery. When the switch is closed, the
following occurs:
1. Current travels from the battery through the
electromagnet.
2. The magnetic field created by the current
attracts the armature, bending it down until
the contact points meet.
3. Closing the contacts allows current in the
second circuit from the battery to the load.
When the switch is opened, the following occurs:
1. The electromagnet loses its current and its
magnetic field.
Relays
One common automotive use of electromagnets
is in a device called a relay. A relay is a control
device that allows a small amount of current to
trigger a large amount of current in another circuit. A simple relay (Figure 4-19) contains an
2. Spring pressure brings the armature back.
3. The opening of the contact points breaks the
second circuit.
Relays may also be designed with normally closed
contacts that open when current passes through the
electromagnet.
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Chapter Four
86
85
Figure 4-19.
30
87 87A
Electromagnetic relay.
Most relays contain a device that protects circuitry from the voltage spike that occurs when the
coil is de-energized. In older vehicles, the protective device is usually a diode (as in the circuit on
the left in Figure 4-19). A diode is a semiconductor
device that can be useful in several ways. In a relay,
the diode is located in parallel with the coil, where
it dissipates the voltage spike. (You’ll learn more
about how diodes work in a Chapter 10.)
Today many automobile relays include a resistor, rather than a diode, to protect the control circuit
(as in the circuit on the right in Figure 4-19). The
resistor dissipates the voltage spike in the same
way that a diode does. For more information about
relays, see the section on “Diagnostic Strategies”
in Chapter 4 of the Shop Manual.
ISO Relays
In Figure 4-19, on the right, the five terminals with
specific numbers assigned to them (#85, #86, etc.)
show that this relay, like many others now used in
vehicles, is an ISO relay. ISO relays, as required
by the International Organization for standardization (ISO), are the same size and have the same
terminal pattern. They’re used in many majorcomponent circuits, and are often located in a
vehicle’s underhood junction block or power distribution center. For more information about ISO
relays, see the section on “Diagnostic Strategies”
in Chapter 4 of the Shop Manual.
ELECTROMAGNETIC
INDUCTION
Only a decade after the discovery of magnetic
fields surrounding current-carrying conductors,
more discoveries were made about the relationship between electricity and magnetism. The
Figure 4-20. Voltage can be induced by the relative
motion between a conductor and a magnetic field.
modem automotive electrical system is based in
great part upon the principles of electromagnetic
induction discovered in the 1830s. Along with
creating a magnetic field with current, it is also
possible to create current with a magnetic field.
Magnetic flux lines create an electromotive
force, or voltage, in a conductor if either the flux
lines or the conductor is moving (relative
motion). This process is called electromagnetic
induction, and the resulting electromotive force
is called induced voltage (Figure 4-20). If the
conductor is in a complete circuit, current exists.
It happens when the flux lines of a magnetic
field cut across a wire (or any conductor). It does
not matter whether the magnetic field moves or
the wire moves. When there is relative motion
between the wire and the magnetic field, a voltage
is produced in the conductor. The induced voltage
causes a current to flow; when the motion stops,
the current stops.
Voltage is induced when magnetic flux lines
are broken by a conductor (Figure 4-20). This
relative motion can be a conductor moving across
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Magnetism
a magnetic field (as in a DC generator), or a
magnetic field moving across a stationary conductor (as in AC generators and ignition coils).
In both cases, the induced voltage is caused by
relative motion between the conductor and the
magnetic flux lines.
Voltage Strength
Induced voltage depends upon magnetic flux
lines being broken by a conductor. The strength of
the voltage depends upon the rate at which the
flux lines are broken. The more flux lines broken
per unit of time, the greater the induced voltage.
If a single conductor breaks one million flux lines
per second, 1 volt is induced.
There are four ways to increase induced voltage, as follows:
• Increase the strength of the magnetic field,
so there are more flux lines.
• Increase the number of conductors that are
breaking the flux lines.
• Increase the speed of the relative motion
between the conductor and the flux lines so
that more lines are broken per time unit.
• Increase the angle between the flux lines and
the conductor to a maximum of 90 degrees.
No voltage is induced if the conductors move
parallel to, and do not break any, flux lines, as
shown in Figure 4-21. Maximum voltage is induced
if the conductors break flux lines at 90 degrees
(Figure 4-22). Induced voltage varies proportionately at angles between 0 and 90 degrees.
We know voltage can be electromagnetically
induced, and we can measure it and predict its
behavior. Induced voltage creates current. The
Figure 4-21.
broken.
No voltage is induced if no flux lines are
61
direction of induced voltage (and the direction
in which current moves) is called polarity and
depends upon the direction of the flux lines and
the direction of relative motion. An induced current moves so that its magnetic field opposes
the motion that induced the current. This principle, called Lenz’s Law, is based upon Newton’s
observation that every action has an equal and
opposite reaction. The relative motion of a conductor and a magnetic field is opposed by the
magnetic field of the current it has induced.
This is why induced current can move in either
direction, and it is an important factor in the
design and operation of voltage sources such
as alternators.
DC Generator Principles
The principles of electromagnetic induction are employed in generators for producing DC current. The
basic components of a DC generator are shown in
Figure 4-23. A framework composed of laminated
iron sheets or an other ferromagnetic metal has a
coil wound on it to form an electromagnet. When
current flows through this coil, magnetic fields are
created between the pole pieces, as shown.
Permanent magnets could also be employed instead
of the electromagnet.
To simplify the initial explanation, a single
wire loop is shown between the north and south
pole pieces. When this wire loop is turned
within the magnetic fields, it cuts the lines of
force and a voltage is induced. If there is a complete circuit from the wire loop, current will
flow. The wire loop is connected to a split ring
known as a commutator, and carbon brushes
pick off the electric energy as the commutator
rotates. Connecting wires from the carbon
brushes transfer the energy to the load circuit.
Figure 4-22. Maximum voltage is induced when the
flux lines are broken at a 90-degree angle.
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Figure 4-23. Direct current (DC) voltage generated
in a rotating loop conductor.
Chapter Four
When the wire loop makes a half-turn, the
energy generated rises to a maximum level, then
drops to zero, as shown in parts B and C of
Figure 4-23. As the wire loop completes a full rotation the induced voltage would reverse itself and
the current would flow in the opposite direction
(AC current) after the initial half-turn. To provide
for an output having a single polarity (DC current),
a split-ring commutator is used. Thus, for the
second half-turn, the carbon brushes engage commutator segments opposite to those over which
they slid for the first half-turn, keeping the current
in the same direction. The output waveform is not
a steady-level DC, but rises and falls to form a pattern referred to as pulsating DC. Thus, for a
complete 360-degree turn of the wire loop, two
waveforms are produced, as shown in Figure 4-23.
The motion of a conductor may induce DC voltage across a stationary magnetic field. This is the
principle used to change mechanical energy to electrical energy in a generator. A looped conductor is
mechanically moved within the magnetic field created by stationary magnets, as in Figure 4-23.
In Figure 4-23A, the voltage is zero because the
conductor motion is parallel to the flux lines. As the
conductor moves from A to B, the voltage increases
because it is cutting across the flux lines. At B, the
voltage is at a maximum because the conductor is
moving at right angles to the flux lines, breaking the
maximum number.
From position B to C, the voltage decreases to
zero again because fewer lines are broken. At C, the
conductor is again parallel to the flux lines. As the
conductor rotates from C to D, voltage increases.
However, the induced voltage is in the opposite
direction because the conductor is cutting the flux
lines in the opposite direction. From position D to
E, the cycle begins to repeat. Figure 4-23 shows
how voltage is induced in a loop conductor through
one complete revolution in a magnetic field. The
induced voltage is called alternating current (AC)
voltage because it reverses direction every half
cycle, as shown on the graph at the bottom of
the figure. Because automotive battery voltage is
always in one direction, the current it produces
always flows in one direction. This is called direct
current (DC). Alternating current cannot be used
to charge the battery, so the AC must be changed
(rectified) to DC. This is done in a generator by
the commutator. In a simple, single-loop generator,
the commutator would be a split ring of conductive
material connected to the ends of the conductor.
Brushes of conductive material ride on the surface
of the two commutator segments.
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Induced current travels from the conductor
through the commutator and out through the
brushes (Figure 4-24A). At the instant the looped
conductor is turned so that the induced current
changes direction (Figure 4-24B), the commutator also rotates under the brushes, so that the
brushes now contact the opposite commutator
63
segments. Current now flows out of the other half
of the commutator, but the same brush is there to
receive it. This design is called a brush-rectified,
or commutator-rectified, generator, and the output is called pulsating direct current. Actual DC
generators have many armature windings and
commutator segments. The DC voltages overlap
to create an almost continuous DC output.
AC Generator (Alternator)
Principles
Since 1960, virtually all automobiles have used an
AC generator (alternator), in which the movement of magnetic lines through a stationary conductor (Figure 4-25) generates voltage. A magnet
called a rotor is turned inside a stationary looped
conductor called a stator (Figure 4-25). The
induced current, like that of a DC generator, is
constantly changing its direction. The rotation of
the magnetic field causes the stator to be cut by
flux lines, first in one direction and then the
other. The AC must be rectified to match the battery DC by using diodes, which conduct current
in only one direction. This design is called a
diode-rectified alternator. We will study diodes
in Chapter 10 and alternators in Chapter 8 of
this book.
See the section on “Diagnostic Strategies” in
Chapter 4 of the Shop Manual.
Self-Induction
Up to this point, our examples have depended upon
mechanical energy to physically move either the
conductor or the magnetic field. Another form of
relative motion occurs when a magnetic field is
forming or collapsing. When current begins to flow
in a coil, the flux lines expand as the magnetic
Figure 4-24. The commutator and brushes conduct
pulsating direct current from the looped conductor.
Figure 4-25.
A simplified alternator.
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Chapter Four
field forms and strengthens. As current increases,
the flux lines continue to expand, cutting through
the wires of the coil and actually inducing another
voltage within the same coil, which is known as
self-induction. Following Lenz’s Law, this selfinduced voltage tends to oppose the current that
produces it. If the current continues to increase,
the second voltage opposes the increase. When the
current stabilizes, the counter voltage is no longer
induced, because there are no more expanding
flux lines (no relative motion). When current to
the coil is shut off, the collapsing magnetic flux
lines self-induce a voltage in the coil that tries to
maintain the original current. The self-induced
voltage opposes and slows down the decrease in
the original current. The self-induced voltage that
opposes the source voltage is called counterelectromotive force (CEMF).
Mutual Induction
When two coils are close together, energy may be
transferred from one to the other by magnetic coupling called mutual induction. Mutual induction
means that the expansion or collapse of the magnetic field around one coil induces a voltage in
the second coil. Usually, the two coils are wound
Figure 4-26.
Mutual induction.
on the same iron core. One coil winding is connected to a battery through a switch and is called
the primary winding. The other coil winding is
connected to an external circuit and is called the
secondary winding.
When the switch is open (Figure 4-26A), there
is no current in the primary winding. There is no
magnetic field and, therefore, no voltage in the secondary winding. When the switch is closed (Figure
4-26B), current is introduced and a magnetic field
builds up around both windings. The primary
winding thus changes electrical energy from the
battery into magnetic energy of the expanding
field. As the field expands, it cuts across the secondary winding and induces a voltage in it. A meter
connected to the secondary circuit shows current.
When the magnetic field has expanded to its
full strength (Figure 4-26C), it remains steady as
long as the same amount of current exists.
The flux lines have stopped their cutting action.
There is no relative motion and no voltage in the
secondary winding, as shown on the meter. When
the switch is opened (Figure 4-26D), primary
current stops and the field collapses. As it does,
flux lines cut across the secondary winding, but in
the opposite direction. This induces a secondary
voltage with current in the opposite direction, as
shown on the meter.
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Magnetism
65
TRANSFORMERS
Transformers (Figure 4-27) are electrical devices
that work on the principle of mutual induction.
Transformers are typically constructed of a primary winding (coil), secondary winding (coil) and
a common core. When alternating current or pulsating direct current is applied to the primary
winding, a voltage is induced in the secondary
winding. The induced voltage is the result of the
primary winding’s magnetic field collapsing. The
principle of a transformer is essentially that of
flowing current through a primary coil and inducing current flow in a secondary or output coil.
Variations on this principle would be coils that are
constructed with a movable core, which permits
their inductance to be varied.
Transformers can be used to step up or step
down the voltage. In a step-up transformer, the
voltage in the secondary winding is increased over
the voltage in the primary winding, due to the secondary winding having more wire turns than the
primary winding. Increasing the voltage through
the use of a transformer results in decreased current in the secondary winding. An ignition coil is
an example of a step-up transformer operating on
pulsating direct current. A transformer that steps
down the voltage has more wire turns in the primary winding than in the secondary winding.
These transformers produce less voltage in the
secondary but produce increased current.
Mutual induction is used in ignition coils
(Figure 4-28), which are basically step-up transformers. In an ignition coil, low-voltage primary
current induces a very high secondary voltage
Primary Coil
because of the different number of turns in the primary and secondary windings.
ELECTROMAGNETIC
INTERFERENCE
(EMI) SUPPRESSION
Until the advent of the onboard computer, electromagnetic interference (EMI) was not a
source of real concern to automotive engineers.
The problem was mainly one of radiofrequency
interference (RFI), caused primarily by the use
of secondary ignition cables containing a lowresistance metal core. These cables produced
electrical impulses that interfered with radio and
television reception.
Radiofrequency interference was recognized
in the 1950s and brought under control by the
use of secondary ignition cables containing a
high-resistance, nonmetallic core made of carbon, linen, or fiberglass strands impregnated
with graphite. In addition, some manufacturers
Secondary Coil
Transformer
Figure 4-27.
Transformer.
Figure 4-28. Mutual induction in the ignition coil produces voltage across the spark plugs.
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even installed a metal shield inside their distributors to further reduce RFI radiation from the
breaker points, condensers, and rotors.
As the use of electronic components and systems increased, the problem of electromagnetic
interference reappeared with broader implications.
The low-power digital integrated circuits now in
use are extremely sensitive to EMI signals that
were of little or no concern before the late 1970s.
For more information about EMI, see the “Logic
Probe” section in Chapter 4 of the Shop Manual.
Interference Generation
and Transmission
Whenever there is current in a conductor, an electromagnetic field is created. When current stops
and starts, as in a spark plug cable or a switch that
opens and closes, field strength changes. Each
time this happens, it creates an electromagnetic
signal wave. If it happens rapidly enough, the
resulting high-frequency signal waves, or EMI,
interfere with radio and television transmission or
with other electronic systems such as those under
the hood. This is an undesirable side effect of the
phenomenon of electromagnetism. Figure 4-29
shows common sources of EMI on an automobile.
Static electric charges caused by friction of the
tires with the road, or the friction of engine drive
Chapter Four
belts contacting their pulleys, also produce EMI.
Drive axles, drive shafts, and clutch or brake lining
surfaces are other sources of static electric charges.
There following four ways of transmitting EMI
can all be found in an automobile:
• Conductive coupling through circuit con-
ductors (Figure 4-30).
• Capacitive coupling through an electrostatic
field between two conductors (Figure 4-31).
• Inductive coupling as the magnetic fields
between two conductors form and collapse
(Figure 4-32).
• Electromagnetic radiation (Figure 4-33).
Figure 4-30. Wiring between the source of the interference and the receiver transmits conductive-coupling
interference.
Figure 4-31. Capacitive field between adjacent
wiring transmits conductive-coupling interference.
Figure 4-29. Sources of electromagnetic interference (EMI) in an automobile.
Figure 4-32. Inductive-coupling interference transmitted by an electromagnetic field between adjacent
wiring.
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Magnetism
67
Figure 4-33. Radiation interference: EMI waves
travel through the air and are picked up by wiring that
acts as a receiving antenna.
EMI Suppression Devices
Just as there are four methods of EMI transmission, there are four general ways in which EMI is
reduced, as follows:
Figure 4-34. The capacitor attached to a GM HEI
ignition module protects the module from EMI.
• By the addition of resistance to conductors,
which suppresses conductive transmission
and radiation
• By the use of capacitors and radio choke coil
combinations to reduce capacitive and inductive coupling
• By the use of metal or metalized plastic
shielding, which reduces EMI radiation in
addition to capacitive and inductive coupling
• By an increased use of ground straps to
reduce conductive transmission and radiation
by passing the unwanted signals to ground
Resistance Suppression
Adding resistance to a circuit to suppress RFI
works only for high-voltage systems (for example, changing the conductive core of ignition
cables). The use of resistance to suppress interference in low-voltage circuits creates too much
voltage drop and power loss to be efficient.
The only high-voltage system on most vehicles
is the ignition secondary circuit. Although this is
the greatest single source of EMI, it is also the
easiest to control by the use of resistance spark
plug cables, resistor spark plugs, and the silicone
grease used on the distributor cap and rotor of
some electronic ignitions.
Suppression Capacitors and Coils
Capacitors are installed across many circuits and
switching points to absorb voltage fluctuations.
Among other applications, they are used as follows:
Figure 4-35. Interference-suppression capacitors
and choke coils are attached to electric motors, like
the Bosch wiper motor shown. (Reprinted by permission
of Robert Bosch GmbH)
• Across the primary circuit of some elec-
tronic ignition modules (Figure 4-34)
• Across the output terminal of most alterna-
tors
• Across the armature circuit of electric motors
Radio choke coils reduce current fluctuations
resulting from self-induction. They are often
combined with capacitors to act as EMI filter circuits for windshield wiper and electric fuel pump
motors (Figure 4-35). Filters may also be incorporated in wiring connectors.
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68
Shielding Metal
Shields, such as the ones used in breaker point distributors, block the waves from components that
create RFI signals. The circuits of onboard computers are protected to some degree from external
electromagnetic waves by their metal housings.
Ground Straps
Ground or bonding straps between the engine and
chassis of an automobile help suppress EMI conduction and radiation by providing a low-resistance
circuit ground path. Such suppression ground straps
are often installed between rubber-mounted components and body parts, Figure 4-36. On some
models ground straps are installed between body
parts, such as the hood and a fender panel where
no electrical circuit exists, Figure 4-36. In such a
case, the strap has no other job than to suppress
EMI. Without it, the sheet-metal body and hood
could function as a large capacitor. The space
between the fender and hood could form an electrostatic field and couple with the computer circuits
in the wiring harness routed near the fender panel.
For more information about ground straps, see the
section on “Diagnostic Strategies” in Chapter 4 of
the Shop Manual.
EMI Suppression
Interference suppression is now a critical automotive engineering task because the modem automobile has an increased need for EMI suppression.
Figure 4-36. Ground straps are installed in many
areas of the engine compartment to suppress EMI.
(Reprinted by permission of Robert Bosch GmbH)
Chapter Four
The increasing use of cellular telephones, as well
as onboard computer systems, are only two of the
factors that have made interference suppression
extremely important.
Even small amounts of EMI can disrupt the
operation of an onboard digital computer, which
operates on voltage signals of a few millivolts
(thousandths of a volt) and milliamperes (thousandths of an ampere) of current. Any of the interference transmission modes discussed earlier are
capable of creating false voltage signals and
excessive current in the computer systems. False
voltage signals disrupt computer operation, while
excessive current causes permanent damage to
micro-electric circuitry.
As the complexity and number of electronic systems continues to increase, manufacturers are using
multiplex wiring systems to reduce the size and
number of wiring harnesses, which also reduces
EMI. Multiplexing is a method of sending more
than one electrical signal over the same channel.
SUMMARY
Electricity can be generated in several ways. The
most important way for automotive use is by magnetism. Magnetism is a form of energy caused by
the alignment of atoms in certain materials. It is
indicated by the ability to attract iron. Some magnetic materials exist in nature; others can be artificially magnetized. The magnetic properties of some
metals, such as iron, are due to electron motion
within the atomic structure. Reluctance is resistance
to the movement of magnetic lines of force: iron
cores have permeability and are used to reduce
reluctance in electromagnetic fields.
Lines of force, called flux lines, form a magnetic
field around a magnet. Flux lines exit the north
pole and enter the south pole of a magnet. Magnetic
flux lines also surround electrical conductors. As
current increases, the magnetic field of a conductor
becomes stronger. Voltage can be generated by the
interaction of magnetic fields around conductors.
The relative movement of a conductor and a
magnetic field generates voltage. This process is
called induction. Either the conductor or the magnetic field may be moving. The strength of the
induced voltage depends on the strength of the
magnetic field, the number of conductors, the speed
of the relative motion, and the angle at which the
conductors cut the flux lines. Electromagnetic
induction is used in generators, alternators, electric
motors, and coils. Magnetomotive force (mmf) is a
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Magnetism
measure of electromagnetic field strength. The unit
of measure used for mmf is ampere-turns. The
principle of a transformer can be summarized by
describing it as flowing current through a primary
coil and inducing a current flow in a secondary or
output coil.
69
Electromagnetism can also generate electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radiofrequency
interference (RFI). Such interference can disrupt
radio and television signals, as well as electronic
system signals. Many devices are used to suppress this interference in automotive systems.
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Chapter Four
Review Questions
1. Which of the following can store energy in
the form of an electromagnetic charge?
a. Thermocouple
b. Induction coil
c. Potentiometer
d. Capacitor
2. Current flows through a heated thermocouple
because of the two-way flow of
a. Electrons between dissimilar materials
b. The blockage of free electrons between
the metals
c. The one-way transfer of free electrons
between the metals
d. Random electron flow
3. Which of the following forms of generating
electricity is not widely used in an
automobile?
a. Heat
b. Pressure
c. Chemistry
d. Magnetism
4. The lines of force of a magnet are called
a. Flux lines
b. Magnetic polarity
c. Magnetic lines
d. Flux density
5. A material through which magnetic force
can easily flow has a high
a. Reluctance
b. Permeability
c. Capacitance
d. Magnetic attraction
6. The left-hand rule says that if you grasp a
conductor in your left hand with your thumb
pointing in the direction of the electron ( to
+) flow,
a. Your fingers will point in the direction of
the magnetic flux lines.
b. Your fingers will point in the opposite
direction of the magnetic flux lines.
c. Your fingers will point at right angles to
the magnetic flux lines.
d. Your fingers will point at a 45-degree
angle to the magnetic flux lines.
7. The left-hand rule is useful to determine
a. The direction of current flow
b. The length of the magnetic flux lines
c. The strength of the magnetic field
d. Flux density
8. When two parallel conductors carry
electrical current in opposite directions,
their magnetic fields will
a. Force them apart
b. Pull them together
c. Cancel each other out
d. Rotate around the conductors in the
same direction
9. The motor principle of changing electrical
energy into mechanical energy requires
a. Two semiconductors carrying current in
opposite directions
b. Two semiconductors carrying current in
the same direction
c. Two conductors carrying current in
opposite directions
d. Two conductors carrying current in the
same direction
10. Which of the following will not increase
induced voltage?
a. Increasing the strength of the magnetic
field
b. Increasing the number of conductors
cutting flux lines
c. Increasing the speed of the relative
motion between the conductor and the
flux lines
d. Increasing the angle between the flux lines
and the conductor beyond 90 degrees
11. The _________ in an automobile DC
generator rectifies AC to DC.
a. Armature
b. Commutator
c. Field coil
d. Loop conductor
12. In an ignition coil, low-voltage primary
current induces a very high secondary
voltage because of
a. The different number of wire turns in the
two windings.
b. An equal number of turns in the two
windings
c. The constant current flow through the
primary winding
d. The bigger wire in the secondary winding
13. To reduce EMI, manufacturers have done all
of the following except:
a. Using low resistance in electrical systems
b. Installing metal shielding in components
c. Increasing the use of ground straps
d. Using capacitors and choke coils
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5
Series,
Parallel, and
Series-Parallel
Circuits
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Define a series circuit.
• Identify the series circuit
•
•
•
•
•
•
laws and
apply Ohm’s Law for voltage, current, and
resistance.
Define a parallel circuit.
Identify the parallel-circuit laws and
apply Ohm’s Law for voltage, current, and
resistance.
Define Kirchhoff’s Voltage Drop Law and
Current Law.
Define a series-parallel circuit.
Identify the series and parallel circuit loads
of a series-parallel circuit.
Using Ohm’s Law, solve series-parallel circuits for voltage, current, and resistance.
KEY TERMS
Circuit
Kirchhoff’s Law of Current
Kirchhoff’s Law of Voltage Drops
Parallel Circuit
Series Circuit
Series-Parallel Circuits
Voltage Drop
INTRODUCTION
In this chapter you will apply the individual series
and parallel circuit laws learned in previous chapters
to a combination circuit consisting of some components connected in series and some in parallel.
Series/parallel electrical circuits seem complicated,
but are in fact fairly simple to understand if you
remember which circuit laws apply to each circuit
load component. Most vehicle electrical circuits
used today contain several series-parallel circuits, or
portions of a series-parallel circuit.
BASIC CIRCUITS
In Chapter 3, we explained that a circuit is a path
for electric current (Figure 5-1). Current flows
from one end of a circuit to the other when the
ends are connected to opposite charges (positive
71
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Chapter Five
Current Flow
Current Flow
Current Flow
Current Flow
Current Flow
Circuit Load
Device (LAMP)
Battery (Voltage or
Power Source)
Ground
Switch
Control
Device
Wire (Conductive
Material)
Current Flow
Figure 5-1.
Current Flow
Current Flow
Basic circuit.
and negative). We usually call these ends power
and ground. Current flows only in a closed or
completed circuit. If there is a break somewhere
in the circuit, current cannot flow. We usually call
a break in a circuit an open. Every automotive
circuit contains a source of power, protection, a
load, controls, wires (conductive material) and a
ground. These elements are connected to each
other with conductors.
SERIES CIRCUIT
A series circuit (Figure 5-2) is the simplest kind of
circuit. Automotive systems almost never include a
pure series circuit. A series circuit is a complete
circuit that has more than one electrical load
through which the current has to flow. These are
characteristics of all series circuits:
• Voltage drops add up to the source voltage.
• There is only one path for current flow.
• The same current flows through every com-
ponent. In other words, you would get the
same current measurement at any point along
the circuit.
• Since there is only one path, an open anywhere in the circuit stops current flow.
• Individual resistances add up to the total
resistance.
For more information about series circuits, see the
section on “Circuit Devices” in Chapter 5 of the
Shop Manual.
PARALLEL CIRCUIT
A parallel circuit is a complete circuit where the
current flow has more than one electrical path for
the current flow. These are characteristics of all
parallel circuits (Figure 5-3):
• There is more than one path for current flow.
Each current path is called a branch.
• All of the branches connect to the same pos-
itive terminal and the same negative terminal. This means the same voltage is applied
to all of the branches.
• Each branch drops the same amount of voltage, regardless of resistance.
• The current flow in each branch can be different depending on the resistance. Total
current in the circuit equals the sum of the
branch currents.
• The total resistance is always less than the
smallest resistance in any branch.
We call the top segment of this circuit the main line
because it’s the lead connecting the voltage source
to the other branches. For more information about
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Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel Circuits
73
MAIN
LINE
BRANCH
Figure 5-3.
Parallel circuit. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
Figure 5-2.
Series circuit. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
parallel circuits, see the section on “Circuit
Protectors” in Chapter 5 of the Shop Manual.
SERIES CIRCUIT
VOLTAGE DROPS
As current passes through resistance, energy is
converted. It’s tempting to say that energy is
used up, but that’s not strictly accurate. In truth,
energy can’t be used up; it can only be converted
to some other form, such as heat, motion, or
light. In any case, the effect of this change in
energy is that the voltage before a resistance is
greater than the voltage after the resistance. We
call this a voltage drop, and we usually talk
about a voltage drop across a resistance or load.
As electricity moves through a resistance or
load, there is a change in potential, but the current does not change.
Using a circuit schematic, along with Ohm’s
Law, we can calculate the voltage drop across a
single resistance. The total of all voltage drops in
a series circuit (as shown in Figure 5-4), is always
equal to the source voltage (also called the
applied voltage). This is known as Kirchhoff’s
Law of Voltage Drops.
Kirchhoff’s second law, also called the voltage
law, states that the sum of the voltage drops in any
closed circuit is equal to the source voltage.
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Chapter Five
I=
2 OHMS
R1
10 OHMS
R2
12volts 12volts
Et
=
=
= 1amp
12Ω
Rt 2Ω+10Ω
E R1 = I x R1 = 1amp x 2Ω = 2volts
ER2 = I x R2= 1amp x 10Ω = 10volts
ET = ER1 +E R2 = 2volts+10volts=12volts
Figure 5-4.
Calculating series circuit voltage drops. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Series Circuit Exercise
Exercise Objective: Demonstrate that the sum of
the voltage drops for each load in a series circuit
is equal to the source voltage.
When you measure any voltage, you measure
the difference in potential between two points.
Components in circuits cause voltage drops. Each
voltage drop is a difference in potential between
two points—one point before a load, the other
point after the load. When you add together all of
the voltage drops in a circuit, the total will equal
the supply voltage. For more information about
applying Kirchhoff’s Law of Voltage Drops, see
the “Circuit Faults” section in Chapter 5 of the
Shop Manual.
Assemble a circuit as shown in Figure 5-5.
Measure the voltage drop across each of the following circuit sections and record the readings in
the spaces provided in the illustration.
Does the sum of the voltage drops equal the
applied voltage?————
Why do the voltage drops in a series circuit add
up to the source voltage?
Measure the values of the resistors:
R1: ____________________________________
R2: ____________________________________
R3: ____________________________________
R4: ____________________________________
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Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel Circuits
75
before calculating total current. When performing calculation on a parallel circuit, it should be
remembered that more current will always flow
through the path with the least resistance.
Kirchhoff’s Law of Current (Kirchhoff’s 1st
Law) states that the current flowing into a junction
or point in an electrical circuit must equal the
current flowing out.
PARALLEL CIRCUIT
VOLTAGE DROPS
In a parallel circuit, each branch drops the same
voltage, regardless of the resistance. If the resistance values are not the same, then different
amounts of current will flow in each branch
(Figure 5-6). According to Kirchhoff’s Law of
Current, the current that flows through a parallel circuit divides into each path in the circuit:
When the current flow in each path is added, the
total current will equal the current flow leaving
the power source. When calculating the current
flow in parallel circuits, each current flow path
must be treated as a series circuit or the total
resistance of the circuit must be calculated
Parallel Circuit Voltage Drops
Exercise
Exercise Objective: Demonstrate that all branches
of a parallel circuit drop an equal amount of
voltage.
In a parallel circuit, each branch drops the
same voltage, regardless of the resistance. If the
resistance values are not the same, then a different amount of current flows in each branch.
Assemble the circuit shown in Figure 5-7.
Measure voltage between each of the following
pairs of points and record the readings.
Record Measurements:
1 to 2 ______________________________volts
3 to 4 ______________________________volts
5 to 6 ______________________________volts
7 to 8 ______________________________volts
Are the voltage drops in the three branches
equal?________
Does the sum of the 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8 voltage
drops equal the supply voltage?________ Should
it?________
Why do you think all branches of a parallel circuit
drop an equal amount of voltage?
Figure 5-5. Series circuit voltage drop exercise.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
20V
Figure 5-6.
BRANCH
#1
4A
BRANCH
#2
2A
BRANCH
#3
2.9A
5Ω
10Ω
7Ω
20V
20V
20V
Parallel circuit voltage drops.
Et = 20V
Rt = 0.4Ω
It = 8A
IB1 = 4A
IB2 = 2A
IB3 = 2.9A
EB1 = 20V
EB2 = 20V
EB3 = 20V
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Chapter Five
Figure 5-7.
Parallel circuit voltage drop exercise. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
CALCULATING
SERIES CIRCUIT
TOTAL RESISTANCE
The way resistance behaves in a series circuit is
easy to understand. Each resistance affects the
entire circuit because there is only one current
path. If a resistance is added or if an existing
resistance increases, the current for the entire
circuit decreases. To calculate the total resistance in a series circuit, add up the individual
resistances. The total resistance of the series circuit in Figure 5-8 is 3 3 4 10 ohms. The
total circuit resistance is usually called the
equivalent resistance.
Open in Series Circuit
There is only one path for current flow in a
series circuit. If that path is open, there is no
current flow and the circuit loads cannot work.
If there is an open in a series circuit, the voltage
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Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel Circuits
77
12V
3 OHMS
R
Total Resistance
Switch
is open
R T =R 1 + R 2 + R 3
R T =3 + 3 + 4
3 OHMS
R2
R T = 10 ohms
OV
R
4 OHMS
Figure 5-8.
R3
R2
Series circuit total resistance. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
drop across the load in that circuit will be zero
volts (Figure 5-9). At some point in that circuit,
you will be able to measure applied voltage. If
you measure the voltage across the open ends of
the circuit (on either side of the break), you will
measure the applied voltage. There will be no
continuity (infinite resistance) between the
source and ground. You will measure zero current flow at any point on the circuit. For more
information about opens in a series circuit, see
the “Circuit Faults” section in Chapter 5 of the
Shop Manual.
Open in Series Circuit Exercise
Read each question carefully and fill in the
blanks.
Turn to the “HVAC: Blower Controls, Manual
C60” schematic in an OEM service manual and
think about the following conditions.
Condition A
You suspect a problem in the blower resistor
assembly and want to check the resistances across
its various terminals.
Figure 5-9.
Open series circuit. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
1. Which DMM input terminal do you use?——
2. To which position do you turn the rotary
switch?———
3. If you measure infinite resistance across
terminals C and B of the blower resistor
assembly, is it possible for the blower motor
to work correctly in positions LOW and M1?
a. Yes
b. No
Condition B
The blower motor doesn’t work with the blower
switch in the LOW and M1 positions. You know the
blower switch is okay, and you suspect the problem
is in the blower resistor assembly. You measure
voltage between terminal 30 of the blower relay
and ground while moving the blower switch
through the various positions. The mode selector is
turned to MAX and the engine is running.
4. Which DMM input terminal do you use?——
5. To which position do you turn the rotary
switch?———
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Chapter Five
Current in a Series Circuit
You learned earlier that since there is a single
current path in a series circuit, the current is the
same in every part of the circuit. You can relate
this back to the water pipe analogy. If water
flows from a tank through a single pipe, the rate
of flow will be the same in every part of the
water circuit. It doesn’t matter how many
faucets or other parts are plumbed into the circuit, the flow of water has to be the same in
every part. The same holds true for an electrical
circuit.
water tank with a pipe and two faucets (Figure 5-11).
Assume the tank holds 10 gallons of water. Now
assume that each faucet will allow water to flow
out of the tank at about 1 gallon per minute: If
you open one faucet, it flows 1 gallon per
minute. It will take 10 minutes to empty 10 gallons from the tank. With both faucets open,
the water flows at 1 gallon per minute through
each faucet. With the faucets in parallel, a total
R 1 = 5 OHMS
R 2 = 10 OHMS
R 3 = 30 OHMS
CALCULATING
PARALLEL CIRCUIT
TOTAL RESISTANCE
Understanding the effect of resistance in a parallel circuit is more complicated than for a series
circuit. The math for calculating the equivalent
resistance for a parallel circuit is complex, and
it’s not likely you’ll ever need to do such a calculation in your work. However, it is important
for you to know that the total resistance of a parallel circuit is actually less than the resistance of
its smallest resistor. For example, the circuit in
Figure 5-10 contains 5-, 10-, and 30-ohm resistors. The smallest resistance is 5 ohms. The total
resistance must be less than that. In fact, it’s
3 ohms. If there are two loads in parallel of different resistance the following equation can be
used to determine the total resistance:
Rt R
R2
R3
1 =
RT
1
RT =
1 =
RT
1 =
RT
1 =
RT
1
1
1
R1 R2 R3
1 1
1
5 10 30
6
30
3
30
1
30
10
30
1
3
RT = 3 OHMS
Figure 5-10. Parallel circuit total resistance. (GM
Service and Parts Operations)
10 Gallons
of Water
R1 R2
R1 R2
If you have more than two loads, because in a parallel circuit resistance is fractional, you use the
following formula for total resistance:
Rt =
1
1
1
1
1
1
1 1
1 2
R1 R2 R3
6 3
6 6
1
1
1
=
=
= 2 ohms
3
1
0.5
6
2
You can think of a parallel circuit in plumbing
terms like water going through pipes. Consider a
1 GPM
1 GPM
Figure 5-11. Water analogy for parallel circuits.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
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Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel Circuits
of 2 gallons per minute flows out of the tank. It
will take 5 minutes to empty 10 gallons from
the tank.
Notice that the faucets are connected like resistors in a parallel circuit. Because each faucet
offers a path for water to flow, two paths offer less
resistance than one. In the same way, two parallel
paths offer less resistance than a single path and
allow more total current to flow.
Current in a Parallel Circuit
The current is not the same throughout a parallel or series-parallel circuit. It is true that the
same voltage is applied to each branch. But,
because the resistance in each branch can be
different, the current for each branch can also
be different. To find the total current in a parallel or series-parallel circuit, add up the currents
in all of the circuit branches. For example, you
will find the current to be 21⁄2 amps in the
Tail Light
(2 Amps)
Figure 5-12.
79
circuit shown in Figure 5-12. The current of the
main line is always the same as the total current
because it is the only path for that part of
the circuit.
SERIES-PARALLEL
CIRCUITS
A series-parallel circuit is a circuit that contains both series circuits and parallel circuits.
This type of circuit is also known as a combination circuit as shown in a circuit in Figure 5-13.
The simple circuit in Figure 5-13 has a 2-ohm
resistor in series from the battery then splits into
two parallel branches of first a 6-ohm resistor
and then a 3-ohm resistor before recombining
and returning to the battery. There is no specific
law or formula that pertains to the whole seriesparallel circuit for voltage, amperage, and resistance. Instead, it is a matter of determining
Marker Light
(1/2 Amp)
Current in a parallel circuit. (GM Service and
Parts Operations)
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Chapter Five
which branch loads of the circuit are in series and
which are in parallel, simplifying the circuit where
possible, and using the circuit laws that apply to
each of these branches to find the value totals. For
more information about series-parallel circuits,
see the “Circuit Faults” section in Chapter 5 of the
Shop Manual.
Series-Parallel Circuits
and Ohm’s Law
I
Values in a series-parallel circuit are figured by
reducing the parallel branches to equivalent
values for single loads in series. Then the equivalent values and any actual series loads are
combined. To calculate total resistance, first
find the resistance of all loads wired in parallel.
If the circuit is complex, it may be handy to
group the parallel branches into pairs and treat
each pair separately. Then add the values of all
loads wired in series to the equivalent resistance
of all the loads wired in parallel. In the circuit
shown in Figure 5-13,
Rt =
resistance of the loads in parallel, and the total
current through this equivalent resistance.
Figure out the voltage drop across this equivalent
resistance and add it to the voltage drops across
all loads wired in series. To determine total current, find the currents in all parallel branches and
add them together. This total is equal to the current at any point in the series circuit.
R1 R2 6 3
2
R1 R2 6 3
E
E
6 6
1 2 3 amps
R1 R2 6 3
In Figure 5-13, notice that there is only 6 volts
across each of the branch circuits because
another 6 volts has already been dropped across
the 2-ohm resistor.
Figure 5-14 is a complete headlamp circuit
with all bulbs and switches, which is an example
of a series-parallel circuit.
Series-Parallel Circuit Exercise
Exercise Objective: Demonstrate that a seriesparallel circuit has the characteristics of both a
series circuit and a parallel circuit.
Assemble the circuit shown in Figure 5-15 and
answer the following questions.
18
+ 2 = 4 ohms
9
The equivalent resistance of the loads in parallel is
Rt R1 R2 6 3 18
2 ohms
R1 R2 6 3
9
The total of the branch currents is 1 2 3
amps, so the voltage drop is E IR 3 2 6.
The voltage drop across the load in series is 2 3
6 volts. Add these voltage drops to find the
source voltage: 6 6 12 volts.
To determine the source voltage in a seriesparallel circuit, you must first find the equivalent
2 OHMS 3 AMPS
12 VOLTS
Figure 5-13.
1
AMP
2
AMPS
6
OHMS
Series-parallel circuit.
3
OHMS
Figure 5-14. A complete headlamp circuit with
all bulbs and switches, which is a series-parallel circuit.
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Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel Circuits
81
RESISTORS
R1
R2
R3
R4
R1 100 ohms / 0.5 W
R2 10,000 ohms / 0.5 W
R3 1,000 ohms / 0.5 W
100 ohms
100 ohms
1,000 ohms
10,000 ohms
R4 100 ohms / 0.5 W
FUSE
(7.5A)
Location #1
Location #3
Location #2
Figure 5-15.
Series-parallel circuit exercise. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
1. Measure the voltage drop at location #1 and #2.
7. Does the resistance at location #1 and #2
________________________________________
2. Measure the resistance at location #1.
add up to the resistance you measured at
location #3?
________________________________________
________________________________________
3. Measure the resistance of each resistor in the
parallel portion of the circuit.
________________________________________
4. Use Ohm’s Law to figure out the total resistance for the parallel circuit.
________________________________________
5. Measure the resistance at location #2. Does it
match your calculation?
________________________________________
6. Measure the resistance at location #3.
________________________________________
8. Calculate the total circuit current using
Ohm’s Law.
________________________________________
9. Measure the total circuit current. Does it
match your calculation?
________________________________________
10. Measure the current of each branch of the par-
allel portion of the circuit.
________________________________________
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Chapter Five
1. Which loads would operate if the circuit was
SERIES AND
PARALLEL
CIRCUIT FAULTS
operating properly?
________________________________________
________________________________________
Opens in a Parallel Circuit
The effect of an open on a parallel circuit
(Figure 5-16) depends on where in the circuit
the open is located and on the design of the circuit. If an open occurs in the main line, none of
the loads on the circuit can work. In effect, all
of the branches are open. If an open occurs on a
branch below the main line, only the load on
that branch is affected. All of the other branches
still form closed circuits and still operate. For
more information about opens in a parallel circuit, see the “Circuit Faults” section in Chapter 5
of the Shop Manual.
Opens in a Parallel Circuit
Exercise
Using an OEM service manual, go to the
“Exterior Lights” schematic to answer these
questions. You should assume the following:
• The ignition is ON
• The turn signal switch is in LEFT
• The headlight switch is OFF
________________________________________
________________________________________
2. Which loads would operate if there was an
open circuit between the turn flasher and the
turn/hazard-headlight switch assembly in the
circuit?
________________________________________
3. Which loads would operate if there was an
open circuit between the turn/hazard-headlight
switch assembly and the ground?
________________________________________
Which loads would not operate?
________________________________________
4. Which loads would operate if there was an
open in the circuit between the turn/hazardheadlight switch assembly and the first
connector?
________________________________________
Which loads would not operate?
________________________________________
Short to Voltage in a Parallel
Circuit
OPEN
in main
line
OPEN
resistor
OPEN
in branch
wire
Figure 5-16.
Open parallel circuits. (GM Service and
Parts Operations)
A short to voltage happens when one circuit is
shorted to the voltage of another circuit. Such a
short can also occur between two separate
branches of the same circuit. The cause is usually broken or damaged wire insulation. You can
narrow down the location of a short to voltage by
following the appropriate diagnostic steps, such
as removing fuses and observing the results.
We’ll discuss these diagnostic steps in detail in
Chapter 5 of the Shop Manual. You should also
keep in mind that the OEM Service Manual
often contains diagnostic procedures for specific
symptoms.
The symptoms of a short to voltage depend on
the location of the short in both circuits. One or
both circuits may operate strangely. For example,
in Figure 5-17A, the short is before the switches
on both circuits. This means both switches control
both loads. A different problem shows up if the
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Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel Circuits
83
Figure 5-17. Short to voltage in a parallel circuit.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 5-18. Short to ground before the switch.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
short is after the load on one branch and before
the load on the second (Figure 5-17 B). The load
in the second branch operates normally. The load
in the first branch will not come on at all, or the
current flow might be so high that the fuse blows.
If there is no circuit protector, the wire could get
so hot that it actually catches on fire.
Short to Ground
A short to ground (Figure 5-18) occurs when current flow is grounded before it was designed to
be. This usually happens when wire insulation
breaks and the wire touches a ground. The effect
of a short to ground depends on the design of the
circuit and on its location in relationship to the
circuit control and load.
Figure 5-19 shows a short located between the
switch and the load. The resistance is lower than
it should be because the current is not passing
through the loads. The fuse blows only after the
switch is closed. Lower resistance means the
current flow is higher than normal. The fuse or
other circuit protector will open. An automatically resetting circuit breaker would repeatedly
open and close. If there was no circuit protector
at all, the wire might get hot enough to burn.
Figure 5-20 shows an example where a short to
ground is after the load but before the control.
Figure 5-19. A short to ground before the load.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
This means the control switch is cut out of the circuit and the circuit is always closed. As a result,
the bulb is lit all of the time. If a short to ground
occurs close to the intended ground connection,
you probably won’t notice any effects.
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Chapter Five
SUMMARY OF SERIES
CIRCUIT OPERATION
• The current flows through the circuit in only
one path.
• The current flow is the same at any point in
the circuit.
• The voltage drops in the circuit always add
up to the source voltage.
• The total resistance is equal to the sum of
the individual resistances.
SUMMARY OF
PARALLEL CIRCUIT
OPERATION
• The sum of the currents in each branch
equals the total current in the circuit.
• The voltage drop will be the same across
Figure 5-20.
Short circuit before switch. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
each branch in the circuit.
• The total resistance is always lower than the
smallest branch resistance.
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Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel Circuits
85
Review Questions
1. The total resistance is equal to the sum of
all the resistance in:
a. Series circuits
b. Parallel circuits
c. Series-parallel circuits
d. Series and parallel circuits
2. What type of circuit does this figure
illustrate?
6. In most modern automobiles, the chassis
can act as a ground because it is
connected to the ———
a. Negative battery terminal
b. Generator output bolt
c. Generator ground
d. Positive battery terminal
7. The following are all examples of loads:
a. Switch, motor, bulb
b. Bulb, fuse, resistor
c. Bulb, motor, solenoid
d. Fuse, wire, circuit breaker
8. A circuit has only one path for current.
a. Parallel
b. Series
c. Series-parallel
d. Ground
a.
b.
c.
d.
Series
Parallel
Series-parallel
Broken
3. The amperage in a series circuit conforms
to which of these statements:
a. It is the same anywhere in the circuit.
b. It is always the same at certain points.
c. It is the same under some conditions.
d. It is never the same any where in the
circuit.
4. Where current can follow more than one
path to complete the circuit, the circuit is
called:
a. Branch
b. Series
c. Complete
d. Parallel
5. If resistance in a parallel circuit is unknown,
dividing the voltage by the branch ————
equals branch resistance.
a. Amperage
b. Conductance
c. Voltage drops
d. Wattage
9. In a circuit with more than one
resistor, the total resistance of a
series circuit is ——— the resistance of
any single resistor.
a. Greater than
b. Less than
c. The same
d. Equal to
10. In a circuit with more than one resistor, the
total resistance of a parallel circuit is ———
the resistance of any single resistor.
a. Greater than
b. Less than
c. The same
d. Equal to
11. Technician A says an open in one of the
branches of a parallel circuit will not
affect the operation of the other branches.
Technician B says an open in one
of the branches of a parallel circuit will not
affect the operation of the other branches.
Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
12. Which of the following describes
characteristics of two resistances
connected in series?
a. They must have different resistances.
b. They must have the same resistance.
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Chapter Five
c. The voltage drop will be equal across
each.
d. There will be only one path for current
to flow.
13. What happens when one resistance in a
series circuit is open?
a. The current in the other resistance is at
maximum.
b. The current is zero at all resistances.
c. The voltage drop increases.
d. The current stays the same.
14. Which of the following is true
regarding a series circuit with unequal
resistances?
a. The highest resistance has the most
current.
b. The lowest resistance has the most
current.
c. The lowest resistance has the highest
voltage drop.
d. The highest resistance has the highest
voltage drop.
15. Which of the following is true regarding a
parallel circuit with unequal branch
resistance?
a. The current is equal in all branches.
b. The current is higher in the highest
resistance branch.
c. The voltage is higher in the lowest
resistance branch.
d. The current is higher in the lowest
resistance branch.
16. The total resistance of a series circuit is:
a. Equal to the current
b. The sum of the individual
resistances
c. Always a high resistance
d. Each resistance multiplied together
17. In a circuit with three parallel branches, if
one branch opens, the total current will:
a. Increase
b. Decrease
c. Stay the same
d. Blow the fuse
18. Which of the following is true regarding
series-parallel circuits?
a. Voltages are always equal across each
load.
b. Current is equal throughout the circuit.
c. Only one current path is possible.
d. Voltage applied to the parallel
branches is the source voltage minus
any voltage drop across loads wired in
series.
19. The amperage in a series circuit is:
a. The same throughout the
entire circuit
b. Different, depending on the number of
loads
c. Sometimes the same, depending on the
number of loads
d. Never the same anywhere in the
circuit
20. What does a short circuit to ground before
the load cause?
a. An increase in circuit resistance
b. Voltage to increase
c. Current flow to Increase
d. Current flow to decrease
21. Three lamps are connected in parallel.
What would happen if one lamp
burns out?
a. The other two lamps would go out.
b. Current flow would increase through the
“good” lamps.
c. Total circuit resistance would go up.
d. Voltage at the other two lamps would
increase.
22. Total resistance in a series circuit is equal
to the:
a. Sum of the individual resistances
b. Voltage drop across the resistor with the
highest value
c. Current in the circuit divided by the
source voltage
d. Percent of error in the voltmeter itself
23. Parallel circuits are being
discussed. Technician A says that
adding more branches to a parallel
circuit reduces total circuit resistance.
Technician B says that adding more
branches to a parallel circuit increases
the total current flowing in the circuit.
Who is right?
a. Technician A
b. Technician B
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
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Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel Circuits
24. The sum of all voltage drops in a series
circuit equals the:
a. Voltage across the largest load
b. Voltage across the smallest load
c. Source or applied voltage
25. What is the name for a circuit that allows
two or more paths for current flow?
a. Series circuit
b. Parallel circuit
87
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
26. What is the name for a circuit
that allows only one path for
current to flow?
a. Series circuit
b. Parallel circuit
c. Series-parallel circuit
d. Integrated circuit
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6
Electrical
Diagrams
and Wiring
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Identify the wire types and materials used in
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
automotive wiring.
Explain how wire size is determined by both
the American Wire Gauge (AWG) system
and the metric system.
Explain the use of a wiring harness and
define the different types of connectors and
terminal ends.
Define the ground, parallel data, serial data,
and multiplexing paths.
Identify common electrical parts and explain
their operation.
Explain the color-coding of automotive
wiring.
Explain the terms used in the language of
automotive wiring diagrams.
Identify the component symbols used in
automotive wiring schematics.
Explain the purpose of a wiring diagram or
schematic.
KEY TERMS
Circuit Number
Color Coding
Component Symbols
Connectors
Ground Cable
Installation Diagram
Metric Wire Sizes
Multiplexing
Primary Wiring
Schematic Diagram
Solenoid
Switches
Weatherproof Connectors
Wire Gauge Diagram
Wire Gauge Number
Wiring Harness
89
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90
INTRODUCTION
Now that we have discussed current flow, voltage, sources, electrical loads, and series and parallel circuits, in this chapter we start to build some
automotive circuits. To build a complete circuit,
we must have conductors to carry the current
from the voltage source to the electrical loads.
The conductors are the thousands of feet of wire
and cable used in the complete electrical system.
The vehicle chassis is also a conductor for the
ground side of the circuits, as we will see later. We
will begin our study by looking at the wiring harnesses, connectors, and terminals of the system.
The preceding chapters used symbols to show
some of the components in an automotive electrical system. After studying the basic parts of
the system (voltage source, conductors, and
loads), it is time to put them together into complete circuits.
In real-world cases, diagrams of much greater
complexity are used. Technicians must be able
to identify each component by its symbol and
determine how current travels from the power
source to ground. Technicians use electrical circuit diagrams to locate and identify components
on the vehicle and trace the wiring in order to
make an accurate diagnosis of any malfunctions
in the system.
Chapter Six
WIRING AND
HARNESSES
An automobile may contain as much as half a mile
of wiring, in as many as 50 harnesses, with more
than 500 individual connections (Figure 6-1). This
wiring must perform under very poor working
conditions. Engine heat, vibration, water, road
dirt, and oil can damage the wiring and its connections. If the wiring or connections break down,
the circuits will fail.
To protect the many wires from damage and to
keep them from becoming a confusing tangle, the
automotive electrical system is organized into
bundles of wire known as wiring harnesses that
serve various areas of the automobile. The wires
are generally wrapped with tape or plastic covering, or they may be enclosed in insulated tubing.
Simple harnesses are designed to connect two
components; complex harnesses are collections
of simple harnesses bound together (Figure 6-2).
Main wiring harnesses are located behind the
instrument panel (Figure 6-3), in the engine compartment (Figure 6-4 and Figure 6-5), and along
the body floor. Branch harnesses are routed from
the main harness to other parts of the system.
Items 1, 2, and 3 in Figure 6-4 are ground connections. The colored insulation used on individual wires makes it easier to trace them through
Figure 6-1. The wiring harness in this vehicle is typical of those in most late-model cars. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
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Figure 6-2. Wiring harnesses range from the simple to the complex. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 6-3.
This instrument panel wiring harness has 41 different connectors. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
91
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Chapter Six
trucks also are considered low-voltage systems.)
The low-voltage wiring of a vehicle, with the
exception of the battery cables, is called the
primary wiring. This usually includes all lighting,
accessory, and power distribution circuits. By 2003,
we will see 42-volt systems in some hybrid and
mybrid applications. For more information about
diagnosing wiring problems, see the “Tracing
Circuits” section in Chapter 6 of the Shop Manual.
WIRE TYPES AND
MATERIALS
Figure 6-4. The engine compartment wiring harnesses. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 6-5. The engine wiring harnesses connects to
the individual engine components to the engine compartment wiring harness. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
these harnesses, especially where sections of the
wire are hidden from view.
Aloose or corroded connection, or a replacement
wire that is too small for the circuit, will add extra
resistance and an additional voltage drop to the circuit. For example, a 10-percent extra drop in voltage to the headlamps will cause a 30-percent
voltage loss in candlepower. The same 10-percent
voltage loss at the power windows or windshield
wiper motor can reduce, or even stop, motor operation. All automotive electrical circuits, except the
secondary circuit of the ignition system (from
the coil to the spark plugs), operate on 12 to 14 volts
and are called low-voltage systems. (Six-volt
systems on older cars and 24-volt systems on
Most automotive wiring consists of a conductor
covered with an insulator. Copper is the most common conductor used. It has excellent conductivity,
is flexible enough to be bent easily, solders readily,
and is relatively inexpensive. A conductor must be
surrounded with some form of protective covering
to prevent it from contacting other conductors.
This covering is called insulation. High-resistance
plastic compounds have replaced the cloth or paper
insulation used on older wiring installations.
Stainless steel is used in some heavy wiring,
such as battery cables and some ignition cables.
Some General Motors cars use aluminum wiring in
the main body harness. Although less expensive,
aluminum is also less conductive and less flexible.
For these reasons, aluminum wires must be larger
than comparable copper wires and they generally
are used in the lower forward part of the vehicle
where flexing is not a problem. Brown plastic wrapping indicates aluminum wiring in GM cars; copper
wiring harnesses in the cars have a black wrapping.
Wire Types
Automotive wiring or circuit conductors are used
in one of three forms, as follows:
• Solid wires (single-strand)
• Stranded wires (multistrand)
• Printed circuitry
Solid or single-strand wire is used where current is low and flexibility is not required. In automotive electrical systems, it is used inside
components such as alternators, motors, relays,
and other devices with only a thin coat of enamel
or shellac for insulation. Stranded or multistrand
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Electrical Diagrams and Wiring
wire is made by braiding or twisting a number of
solid wires together into a single conductor insulated with a covering of colored plastic, as shown
in Figure 6-6. Most automotive electrical system
wiring uses stranded wire, either as single conductors or grouped together in harnesses or
looms. For more information about wire types,
see the section on “Copper Wiring Repair” in
Chapter 6 of the Shop Manual.
Printed circuitry is a thin film of copper or
other conductor that has been etched or embedded
on a flat insulating plate (Figure 6-7). A complete
93
printed circuit consists of conductors, insulating
material, and connectors for lamps and other
components, and is called a printed circuit (PC)
board. It is used in places where space for individual wires or harnesses is limited, such as
behind instrument panels.
WIRE SIZE
Automotive electrical systems are very sensitive
to changes in resistance. This makes the selection
of properly sized wires critical whenever systems
are designed or circuits repaired. There are two
important factors to consider: wire gauge number
and wire length.
Wire Gauge Number
Figure 6-6. Automotive wiring may be solid-wire conductors or multistrand-wire conductors. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
A wire gauge number is an expression of the
cross-sectional area of the conductor. The most
common system for expressing wire size is the
American Wire Gauge (AWG) system. Figure 6-8
is a table of AWG wire sizes commonly used in
automotive systems. Wire cross-sectional area is
measured in circular mils; a mil is one-thousandth
of an inch (0.001), and a circular mil is the area of a
circle 1 mil (0.001) in diameter. A circular mil measurement is obtained by squaring the diameter of a
conductor measured in mils. For example, a conductor 1/4 inch in diameter is 0.250 inch, or 250 mils, in
diameter. The circular mil cross-sectional area of the
wire is 250 squared, or 62,500 circular mils.
Figure 6-7. Printed circuit boards are used in automotive instrument panels and elsewhere. (DaimlerChrysler
Figure 6-8. This table lists the most common wire
gauge sizes used in automotive electrical systems.
Corporation)
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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Chapter Six
electrical systems require larger-gauge wires than
12-volt systems for the same current loads. This is
because the lower source voltage requires lower
resistance in the conductors to deliver the same
current. Generally, 6-volt systems use wires two
sizes larger than 12-volt systems for equivalent
current loads. Future 42-volt systems will not
require as large a wire diameter as the current
12-volt system. Generally, a 42-volt system will
use two sizes smaller than 12-volt systems for
equivalent current loads.
Wire Size Matters
Figure 6-9. This figure shows the relationship
between current capacity and resistance as the crosssection of a conductor changes.
Gauge numbers are assigned to conductors of
various cross-sectional areas. As gauge number
increases, area decreases and the conductor
becomes smaller (Figure 6-9). A 6-gauge conductor is smaller than a 3-gauge conductor, and a
12-gauge conductor is smaller than a 6-gauge
conductor. You learned in Chapter 1 that as the
cross-sectional area of a conductor decreases, its
resistance increases. As resistance increases, so
does the gauge number. Also, because the currentcarrying ability of a conductor decreases as the
resistance increases, a conductor with a higher
gauge number will carry less current than a conductor with a lower gauge number.
Remember that the wire gauge number refers to
the size of the conductor, not the size of the complete wire (conductor plus insulation). For example,
it is possible to have two 16-gauge wires of different outside diameters because one has a thicker
insulation than the other. Twelve-volt automotive zelectrical systems generally use 14-, 16-, and
18-gauge wire. Main power distribution circuits
between the battery and alternator, ignition switch,
fuse box, headlamp switch, and larger accessories
use 10- and 12-gauge wire. Low-current electronic
circuits may use 20-gauge wire. Lighting other than
the headlamps, as well as the cigarette lighter, radio,
and smaller accessories, use 14-, 16-, and 18-gauge
wire. Battery cables, however, generally are listed
as 2-, 4-, or 6-AWG wire size.
The gauge sizes used for various circuits in an
automobile are generally based on the use of copper wire. A larger gauge size is required when aluminum wiring is used, because aluminum is not
as good a conductor as copper. Similarly, 6-volt
The following drawing shows how a large wire
easily conducts a high-amperage current, such as
you would find going to a starter motor. The heaviest wires are often called cables, but their purpose is the same. On the other hand, a comparatively light wire tends to restrict current flow, which
may generate excess heat if the wire is too small
for the job.Too much current running though a light
wire may cause the insulation to melt, leading to a
short circuit or even a fire.
Correct Wire for Load Easy Current Movement
E
E
E
E
E
E
E
More Heat
Wire Too Small; Restricted Current Movement
Metric Wire Sizes
Look at a wiring diagram or a service manual for
most late model vehicles, and you may see wire
sizes listed in metric measurements. Metric wire
sizes have become the norm in domestic automotive manufacturing due to the global economy. For example, if you look at a wiring diagram for an import or late-model domestic
vehicle, you will see wire sizes listed as 0.5,
1.0, 1.5, 4.0, and 6.0. These numbers are the
cross-sectional area of the conductor in square
millimeters (mm2). Metric measurements are
not the same as circular-mil measurements;
they are determined by calculating the crosssectional area of the conductor with the following formula: Area = Radius2 × 3.14. A wire with
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a 1-mm cross-sectional area actually has a
1.128-mm diameter. The following table lists
AWG sizes and equivalent metric wire sizes.
AWG Size Metric Size Table
AWG Size (Gauge)
20
18
14
12
10
8
6
4
Metric Size (mm2)
0.5
0.8
2.0
3.0
5.0
8.0
13.0
19.0
95
different lengths to carry various current loads. Wire
lengths are based on circuits that are grounded to the
vehicle chassis.
Special Wiring
Although most of the electrical system is made up
of low-voltage primary wiring, special wiring is
required for the battery and the spark plugs. Since
these wires are larger in size than primary wiring,
they are often called cables. Battery cables are lowresistance, low-voltage conductors. Ignition cables
are high-resistance, high-voltage conductors.
Battery Cables
Wire Length
Wire length also must be considered when designing electrical systems or repairing circuits. As conductor length increases, so does resistance. An
18-gauge wire can carry a 10-ampere load for
10 feet without an excessive voltage drop. However,
to carry the same 10-ampere load for 15 feet, a
16-gauge wire will be required. Figure 6-10 is a
table showing the gauge sizes required for wires of
The battery is connected to the rest of the electrical system by very large cables. Large cables
are necessary to carry the high current required
by the starter motor. Figure 6-11 shows several
kinds of battery cables. Twelve-volt systems
generally use number 4 or number 6 AWG wire
cables; 6-volt systems and some 12-volt diesel
systems require number 0 or number 1 AWG
wire cables. Cables designed for a 6-volt system
can be used on a 12-volt system, but the smaller
cable intended for a 12-volt system cannot be
used on a 6-volt system without causing too
much voltage drop.
Battery installations may have an insulated
ground cable or one made of braided, uninsulated
wire. The braided cables or straps are flat instead
of round; however, they have the same resistance
and other electrical properties of a round cable of
equivalent gauge. Most battery cables are fitted at
one end with a lead terminal clamp to connect to
the battery, although many import cars use a
spring-clamp terminal. The lead terminal is used
to reduce corrosion when attached to the lead battery post. A tinned copper terminal is attached to
the other end of the cable to connect to the starter
motor or ground, as required.
Ignition Cables
Figure 6-10. Wire gauge table: As wire length
increases, larger-gauge wire must be used to carry the
same amount of current.
The ignition cables, or spark plug cables, are often
called high-tension cables. They carry current at
10,000 to 40,000 volts from the coil to the distributor cap, and then to the spark plugs. Because
of the high voltage, these cables must be very well
insulated.
Years ago, all ignition cables were made with copper or steel wire conductors. During the past 30
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Chapter Six
Figure 6-11.
Assorted battery cables.
years, however, high-resistance, non-metallic cables
have replaced metallic conductor cables as original
equipment on cars and light trucks. Although metallicconductor ignition cables are still made, they are
sold for special high-performance or industrial
applications and are not recommended for highway
use. The conductors used in high-resistance, nonmetallic ignition cables are made of carbon, or of
linen or fiberglass impregnated with carbon. These
cables evolved for the following reasons:
• High-voltage ignition pulses emit high-fre-
quency electrical impulses or radio frequency
interference (RFI) that interfere with radio
and television transmission, as described in
Chapter 2. The principal method used to limit
this interference is the use of high-resistance
ignition cables, often referred to as suppression cables.
• The extra resistance in the cable decreases
the current flow and thus reduces the burning of spark plug electrodes. The higher
resistance also helps take advantage of the
high-voltage capabilities of the ignition system, as shown in Part Five of this manual.
The high-voltage current carried by ignition
cables requires that they have much thicker insulation than low-voltage primary wires. Ignition
cables are 7 or 8 millimeters in diameter, but the
conductor in the center of the cable is only a small
core. The rest of the cable diameter is the heavy
insulation used to contain the high voltage and
protect the core from oil, dirt, heat, and moisture.
One type of cable insulation material is known
by its trade name, Hypalon, but the type most commonly used today is silicone rubber. Silicone is
generally thought to provide greater high-voltage
insulation while resisting heat and moisture better
than other materials. However, silicone insulation
is softer and more pliable than other materials and
thus more likely to be torn or damaged by rough
handling. Cables often have several layers of insulation over the conductor to provide the best insulating qualities with strength and flexibility.
CONNECTORS AND
TERMINALS
Electrical circuits can be broken by the smallest
gap between conductors. The gaps can be caused
by corrosion, weathering, or mechanical breaks.
One of the most common wear points in an automobile electrical system is where two conductors
have been joined. Their insulation coats have been
opened and the conductive material exposed.
Special connectors are used to provide strong,
permanent connections and to protect these points
from wear.
These simple connectors are usually called
wiring terminals. They are metal pieces that
can be crimped or soldered onto the end of a wire.
Terminals are made in many shapes and sizes for
the many different types of connections required.
They can be wrapped with plastic electrical tape
or covered with special pieces of insulation. The
simplest wire terminals join a single wire to a
device, to another single wire, or to a few other
wires (Figure 6-12). Terminals for connecting to
a device often have a lug ring, a spade, or a hook,
which can be bolted onto the device. Male and
female spade terminals or bullet connectors are
often used to connect two individual wires
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97
Figure 6-12. Some common single-wire terminals
(connectors).
Figure 6-13. Male and female bullet connectors and
spade terminals are common automotive connectors.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
(Figure 6-13). For more information about the
use of different types of connectors, see the
“Connector Repair” section in Chapter 6 of the
Shop Manual.
Figure 6-14. Multiple connectors are used to make
complex switch connections. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Multiple Wire Connectors
Although the simple wiring terminals just described
are really wire connectors, the term connector is
normally used to describe multiple-wire connector
plugs. This type of plug is used to connect wiring to
switches, as shown in Figure 6-14, or to other components. It also is used to join wiring harnesses.
Multiple-wire connectors are sometimes called
junction blocks. On older vehicles, a junction block
was a stationary plastic connector with terminals set
into it, in which individual wires were plugged or
screwed in place. Because of the time required to
connect this type of junction block on the assembly
line, it has been replaced by a modem version that
accepts several plugs from different harnesses
(Figure 6-15).
Some multiple-connector plugs have as many as
40 separate connections in a single plug. They provide a compact, efficient way to connect wires for
Figure 6-15. This junction block accepts individual
wires on one side and connectors on the other.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
individual circuits while still grouping them
together in harnesses. Wiring connections can be
made quickly and accurately with multiple connectors, an important consideration in assembly-line
manufacturing.
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Figure 6-16. Connectors have some form of lock to
prevent accidental separation. Individual terminals
and wires can be removed from some connectors;
other connectors are replaced as an entire assembly.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
Chapter Six
Such connector plugs generally have hard
plastic shells, with one half of the connector
containing the male terminals or pins, and the
other half containing the female terminals or
sockets. Probing the rear of the individual connections without separating the connector can
test circuit operation. A locking tab of some type
is used to prevent the connector halves from separating. Separation or removal of the plug may
require the locking tab to be lifted or depressed
(Figure 6-16).
Although many hard-shell connector designs
allow removal of the individual wires or their terminals for repair, as shown in Figure 6-17, manufacturers are now using plugs that are serviced as
an assembly. If a wire or terminal is defective, the
entire plug is cut from the harness. The replacement plug is furnished with 2 or 3 inches of wires
extending from the rear of the plug. These plugs
are designed to be replaced by matching and soldering their wire leads to the harness.
Bulkhead Connectors
A special multiple connector, called a bulkhead
connector or bulkhead disconnect, is used where a
Figure 6-17. A bulkhead connector, or disconnect, is mounted on many firewalls. Multiple-wire connectors plug
into both sides. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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number of wiring circuits must pass through a barrier such as the firewall (Figure 6-17). The bulkhead connector is installed in the firewall and multiple connectors are plugged into each side of it to
connect wires from the engine and front accessories to wires in the rest of the car.
Weatherproof Connectors
Special weatherproof connectors are used in the
engine compartment and body harnesses of latemodel GM cars. This type of connector has a rubber
seal on the wire ends of the terminals, with secondary sealing covers on the rear of each connector
half. Such connectors are particularly useful in electronic systems where moisture or corrosion in the
connector can cause a voltage drop. Some Japanese
carmakers use a similar design (Figure 6-18).
GROUND PATHS
We have spoken as if wiring carried all of the current in an automotive electrical system. In fact,
wiring is only about half of each circuit. The other
half is the automobile engine, frame, and body,
which provide a path for current flow. This side of
the circuit is called the ground (Figure 6-19).
Automotive electrical systems are called singlewire or ground-return systems.
The cable from one battery post or terminal is
bolted to the car engine or frame. This is called
the ground cable. The cable from the other battery terminal provides current for all the car’s
electrical loads. This is called the insulated, or
Figure 6-18. Nissan uses this type of waterproof
connector. (Courtesy of Nissan North America, Inc.)
99
hot, cable. The insulated side of every circuit in
the vehicle is the wiring running from the battery to the devices in the circuit. The ground
side of every circuit is the vehicle chassis
(Figure 6-19).
The hot battery cable is always the insulated
type of cable described earlier. The ground cable
may be an insulated type of cable, or it may be a
braided strap. On many vehicles additional
grounding straps or cables are connected between
the engine block and the vehicle body or frame.
The battery ground cable may be connected to
either the engine or the chassis, and the additional
ground cable ensures a good, low-resistance
ground path between the engine and the chassis.
This is necessary for proper operation of the circuits on the engine and elsewhere in the vehicle.
Late-model vehicles, which rely heavily on computerized components, often use additional
ground straps whose sole purpose is to minimize
or eliminate electromagnetic interference (EMI),
as shown in Chapter 4.
The resistances in the insulated sides of all the
circuits in the vehicle will vary depending on
the number and kinds of loads and the length of
the wiring. The resistance on the ground side of
all circuits, that is, between each load and its
ground connection, must be virtually zero. For
more information about ground paths, see the
“Copper Wiring Repair” section in Chapter 6 of
the Shop Manual.
Early Wiring Problems
Early automobiles had many problems with their
electrical systems, usually the result of poor electrical insulation. For example, high-tension cable
Figure 6-19. Half of the automotive electrical system
is the ground path through the vehicle chassis.
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insulation, made by wrapping cotton or silk
around wire and then coating it with rubber, was
easily hardened by heat. The insulation often
broke off, leaving bare wire exposed.
A common problem in cars that used dry-cell
batteries was moisture penetration through the
battery’s paper insulation. Current design would
flow to ground and the batteries would become
discharged.
Even washing a car sometimes caused trouble. Water got into the distributor terminals and
made the engine hard to start. Some technicians
poured melted wax into the space between the
plug wires and the distributor cap terminals.
For protection from heat, moisture, oil, and
grease, wiring was often run through a metal
conduit. Armored cable-insulated wire enclosed
in a permanent, flexible metal wrapping was also
used, especially in a circuit where any voltage
drop was critical.
This is an important point to remember. It may be
helpful at this time to review the explanations in
Chapters 3 and 5 of voltage drops and current flow
in various circuits from the source, through all the
loads, and back to the source. Every electrical load
is attached to the chassis so that current can pass
through the ground and back to the grounded battery terminal. Grounding connections must be
secure for the circuit to be complete. In older cars
where plastics were rarely used, most loads had a
direct connection to a metal ground. With the
increased use of various plastics, designers have
had to add a ground wire from some loads to the
nearer metal ground. The ground wires in most
circuits are black for easy recognition.
MULTIPLEX
CIRCUITS
The use of multiplexing, or multiplex circuits, is
becoming a necessity in late-model automobiles
because of the increasing number of conventional
electrical circuits required by electronic control
systems. Wiring harnesses used on such vehicles
have ballooned in size to 60 or more wires in a
single harness, with the use of several harnesses
in a vehicle not uncommon. Simply put, there
are too many wires and too limited space in
which to run them for convenient service. With so
many wires in close proximity, they are subject to
Chapter Six
electromagnetic interference (EMI), which you
learned about in Chapter 4. To meet the almost
endless need for electrical circuitry in the growing and complex design of automotive control
systems, engineers are gradually reducing the size
and number of wire and wiring harnesses by using
a multiplex wiring system.
The term multiplexing means different things to
different people, but generally it is defined as a
means of sending two or more messages simultaneously over the same channel. Different forms of
multiplexing are used in automotive circuits. For
example, windshield wiper circuits often use multiplex circuits. The wiper and washer functions in
such circuit work though a single input circuit by
means of different voltage levels. In this type of
application, data is sent in parallel form. However,
the most common form of multiplexing in automotive applications is serial data transmission,
also known as time-division multiplex. In the
time-division type of circuit, information is transmitted between computers through a series of digital pulses in a program sequence that can be read
and understood by each computer in the system.
The three major approaches to a multiplex wiring
system presently in use are as follows:
• Parallel data transmission
• Serial data transmission
• Optical data links
We will look at each of these types of system, and
then we will discuss the advantages of multiplexing over older systems of wiring.
Parallel Data Transmission
The most common parallel data multiplexing circuits use differentiated voltage levels as a means of
controlling components. The multiplex wiring circuit used with a Type C General Motors pulse
wiper-washer unit is shown in Figure 6-20. The circuit diagram shows several major advantages over
other types of pulse wiper circuits, as follows:
• Eliminating one terminal at the washer pump
reduces the wiring required between the wiper
and control switch.
• Using a simple grounding-type control switch
eliminates a separate 12-volt circuit to the
fuse block.
• Eliminating a repeat park cycle when the
wash cycle starts with the control switch in
the OFF position—in standard circuits, the
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101
Figure 6-20. Parallel data transmission through differentiated voltage levels reduces the amount of wiring
in this multiplex wiper-washer circuit. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
blades begin a wash cycle from the park
position and return to park before continuing the cycle—simplifies operation.
An electronic timer controls the park and pulse
relays. The timer consists of a capacitor, a variable resistor in the control switch, and electronic
switching circuitry. The variable resistor controls
the length of time required to charge the capacitor. Once the capacitor reaches a certain level of
charge, it energizes the electronic switching circuit, completing the ground circuit to the pulse
relay. This energizes the 12-volt circuit to the
motor windings and the motor operates. When
the driver presses the wash button, it grounds the
washer pump ratchet relay coil circuits, starting a
wash cycle. The electronic timer circuitry uses
a high-voltage signal for wiper operation and a
low-voltage signal for the wash cycle.
A multiplex circuit that functions with parallel
data transmission is a good tool for simple circuit
control. However, transmitting data in parallel
form is slower and more cumbersome than transmitting in serial form. This is important when the
signal is to be used by several different components or circuits at the same time.
Serial Data Transmission
Serial data transmission has become the most frequently used type of multiplex circuit in automotive applications. It is more versatile than parallel
transmission but also more complex. A single circuit used to transmit data in both directions also is
called a bus data link.
Sequencing voltage inputs transmitted in serial
form can operate several different components, or
elements within a single component. This allows
each component or element to receive input for a
specified length of time before the input is transmitted to another component or element. A fourelement light-emitting diode (LED) display in the
instrument cluster is a typical example. By rotating the applied voltage from left to right rapidly
enough, each segment of the display is illuminated 25 percent of the time, but the human eye
cannot detect that fact. To the eye, the entire display appears to be uniformly illuminated 100 percent of the time.
To prevent interference between the various
signals transmitted, a multiplex system using bus
data links must have a central transmitter (microprocessor) containing a special encoder. The system also requires a receiver with a corresponding
decoder at each electrical load to be controlled.
The transmitter and each receiver are connected to
battery power and communicate through a twoway data link called a peripheral serial bus.
Operational switches for each circuit to be controlled have an individual digital code or signal
and are connected to the transmitter. When the
transmitter receives a control code, it determines
which switch is calling and sends the control signal to the appropriate receiver. The receiver then
carries out the command. If a driver operates the
headlamp switch, the transmitter signals the
proper receiver to turn the headlights on or off,
according to the switch position.
On the Chrysler application shown in Figure 6-21, each module has its own microprocessor
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Chapter Six
Figure 6-21. The DaimlerChrysler EVIC system is an example of a vehicle data communications network
that allows separate computers to share data and communicate with each other through serial data transmission. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
connected to the data bus through the Chrysler
Collision Detection (CCD) integrated circuit,
which sends and receives data. The CCD circuit
acts like a traffic control officer at a four-way intersection. If the data bus is not in use, it allows unrestricted transmission from a module. However, if
one module is transmitting, it blocks the transmission of data from another module until the bus
(intersection) is clear. If two or more modules start
to transmit at the same time, or almost at the same
time, the CCD circuit assigns a priority to the messages according to the identification code at the
beginning of the transmission. If the CCD circuit
blocks a message, the module that originally sent it
retransmits the signal until it is successful.
Receivers work in one of two ways: they operate the electrical load directly, or they control a
relay in the circuit to operate the load indirectly.
They are not capable of making decisions on their
own, but only carry out commands from the transmitter. However, they can send a feedback signal
informing the transmitter that something is wrong
with the system.
links or fiber-optic cables for the peripheral serial
bus. The concept is the same, but light signals are
substituted for voltage signals. An optical data link
system operates with the transmitter and receivers
described earlier, but a light-emitting diode (LED)
in the transmitter sends light signals through the
fiber-optic cables to a photo diode in the receiver.
The light signals are decoded by the receiver,
which then performs the required control function.
Primarily Toyota and other foreign manufacturers
have used this form of multiplexing. Because it
uses light instead of voltage to transmit signals,
system operation is not affected by EMI, nor does
the system create interference that might have an
adverse influence on other electrical systems in
the vehicle.
Multiplex Advantages
Regardless of the type of multiplex system used,
such a circuit offers several advantages over conventional wiring circuits used in the past, as follows:
• The size and number of wires required for a
Optical Data Links
A variation of the serial data transmission
approach to multiplexing substitutes optical data
given circuit can be greatly reduced. As a
result, the complexity and size of wiring harnesses also are reduced.
• The low-current-capacity switches used in a
multiplex circuit allow the integration of
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various touch-type switches into the overall
vehicle design.
• The master computer or transmitter can be
programmed with timing functions for convenience features, such as locking doors
above a given speed or unlocking them when
the ignition is shut off.
ELECTRICAL
SYSTEM POLARITY
We discussed positive (+) and negative () electrical charges in Chapter 3. We learned that like
charges repel each other and unlike charges
attract each other. We also noted that the terminals
of a voltage source are identified as positive and
negative. In Chapter 2, we defined magnetic
polarity in terms of the north and south poles of a
magnet and observed that unlike poles of a magnet attract each other, just as unlike charges do.
Similarly, like poles repel each other.
The polarity of an electrical system refers to
the connections of the positive and negative terminals of the voltage source, the battery, to the
insulated and ground sides of the system. All
domestic cars and trucks manufactured since
1956 have the negative battery terminal connected to ground and the positive terminal connected to the insulated side of the system. These
are called negative-ground systems and are said
to have positive polarity.
Before 1956, 6-volt Ford and Chrysler vehicles had the positive battery terminal connected
to ground and the negative terminal connected
to the insulated side of the system. These are
called positive-ground systems and are said to
have negative polarity. Foreign manufacturers
used positive-ground systems as late as 1969. In
both kinds of systems, we say that current
leaves the hot side of the battery and returns
through the ground path to the grounded battery
terminal.
In your service work, it is very important to
recognize system polarity negative or positive
ground before working on the electrical system.
Some electrical components and test equipment
are sensitive to the system polarity and must be
installed with their connections matching those of
the battery. Reversing polarity can damage alternators, cause motors to run backwards, ruin electronic modules, and cause relays or solenoids to
malfunction.
103
COMMON
ELECTRICAL PARTS
Many common electrical parts are used in various
circuits in an electrical system. All circuits have
switches of some kind to control current flow.
Most circuits have some form of protective device,
such as a fuse or circuit breaker, to protect against
too much current flow. Various kinds of solenoids,
relays, and motors are used in many circuits, and
whatever their purpose, they operate in similar
ways wherever they are used.
Before we look at complete circuits and system
diagrams later in this next chapter, we should learn
about some of the common devices used in many
circuits.
Switches
Switches are used in automobile electrical systems to start, stop, or redirect current flow. They
can be operated manually by the driver or
remotely through mechanical linkage. Manual
switches, such as the ignition switch and the headlamp switch, allow the driver to control the operation of the engine and accessories. Examples are
shown in Figure 6-22; the driver or the passengers
control a remotely operated switch indirectly. For
example, a mechanical switch called a neutral
safety switch on automatic transmission gear
selectors will not let the engine start if the automobile is in gear. Switches operated by opening
and closing the doors control the interior lights.
For more information about switches, see the
“Copper Wiring Repair” section in Chapter 6 of
the Shop Manual.
Toggle Push-Pull Push Button
Switches exist in many forms but have common characteristics. They all depend upon physical movement
for operation. A simple switch contains one or more
sets of contact points, with half of the points stationary and the other half movable. When the switch is
operated, the movable points change position.
Switches can be designed so that the points are
normally open and switch operation closes them to
allow current flow. Normally closed switches allow
the operator to open the points and stop current
flow. For example, in an automobile with a seatbelt
warning buzzer, the switch points are opened when
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Figure 6-22. Many different types of switches are used in the
complete electrical system of a modern automobile.
Figure 6-23. These symbols for normally open
switches are used on electrical system diagrams.
the seatbelt is buckled; this stops current flow to the
buzzer. Figure 6-23 shows the electrical symbols
for some simple normally open switches.
A switch may lock in the desired position, or
it may be spring-loaded so that a constant pressure is required to keep the points out of their
normal position. Switches with more than one
set of contact points can control more than one
circuit. For example, a windshield wiper switch
might control a low, medium, and high wiper
speed, as well as a windshield washer device
(Figure 6-24).
Switches are shown in simplified form on electrical diagrams so that current flow through them
can easily be traced (Figure 6-25). Triangular contact points generally indicate a spring-loaded
return, with circular contacts indicating a lockingposition switch. A dashed line between the movable parts of a switch means that they are mechanically connected and operate in unison, as shown
in Figure 6-26.
In addition to manual switches, automotive
electrical circuits use a variety of other switch
designs. Switches may be operated by temperature
or pressure. Switches designed to sense engine
coolant temperature contain a bimetal arm that
flexes as it heats and cools, opening or closing the
switch contacts (Figure 6-26). Oil pressure and
vacuum switches respond to changes in pressure.
Mercury and inertia switches are motiondetector switches, that is, they open and close
circuits automatically when their position is disturbed. A mercury switch uses a capsule containing two electrical contacts at one end. The other
end is partially filled with mercury, which is a
good conductor (Figure 6-27).
When the capsule moves a specified amount
in a given direction, the mercury flows to the
opposite end of the capsule and makes a circuit
between the contacts. This type of switch often
is used to turn on engine compartment or trunk
lamps. It can also be used as a rollover switch to
open an electric fuel pump or other circuit in an
accident.
An inertia switch is generally a normally
closed switch with a calibrated amount of spring
pressure or friction holding the contacts together.
Any sharp physical movement (a sudden change
in inertia) sufficient to overcome the spring pressure or friction will open the contacts and break
the circuit. This type of switch is used to open the
fuel pump circuit in an impact collision. After the
switch has opened, it must be reset manually to its
normally closed position.
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Figure 6-24. The instrument panel switch in this two-speed windshield wiper circuit has two sets of contacts linked together, as shown by the broken line. The Park switch is operated by mechanical linkage from
the wiper motor armature. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 6-25. This starting and ignition switch has two
sets of contacts linked together by the dashed line.
Triangular terminals in the start (ST) position indicate
that this position is spring-Ioaded and that the switch
will return to RUN when the key is released.
Figure 6-26. A coolant temperature switch in
its normally open position.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Relays
A relay is a switch that uses electromagnetism to
physically move the contacts. It allows a small
current to control a much larger one. As you
remember from our introduction to relays in
Chapter 2, a small amount of current flow
through the relay coil moves an armature to open
or close a set of contact points. This is called the
control circuit because the points control the
flow of a much larger amount of current through
Figure 6-27. A mercury switch is activated by motion.
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Chapter Six
Figure 6-28. A relay contains a control circuit and a
power circuit.
Figure 6-30. Energizing a solenoid moves its core,
converting current flow into mechanical movement.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 6-29. When the horn button is pressed, low
current through the relay coil magnetizes the core. This
pulls the armature down and closes the contacts to
complete the high-current circuit from the battery to
the horn.
a separate circuit, called the power circuit
(Figure 6-28).
A relay with a single control winding is generally used for a short duration, as in a horn circuit
(Figure 6-29). Relays designed for longer periods
or continuous use require two control windings.
A heavy winding creates the magnetic field necessary to move the armature; a lighter second
winding breaks the circuit on the heavy winding
and maintains the magnetic field to hold the armature in place with less current drain.
Solenoids
A solenoid is similar to a relay in the way it operates. The major difference is that the solenoid
core moves instead of the armature, as in a relay.
This allows the solenoid to change current flow
into mechanical movement.
Solenoids consist of a coil winding around a
spring-loaded metal plunger (Figure 6-30).
When the switch is closed and current flows
through the windings, the magnetic field of the
coil attracts the movable plunger, pulling it
Figure 6-31. A starter solenoid mounted on
the starter motor. Solenoid movement engages
the starter drive with the engine flywheel gear.
against spring pressure into the center of the coil
toward the plate. Once current flow stops, the
magnetic field collapses and spring pressure
moves the plunger out of the coil. This type of
solenoid is used to operate remote door locks and
to control vacuum valves in emission control and
air conditioning systems.
The most common automotive use of a solenoid
is in the starter motor circuit. In many systems, the
starter solenoid is designed to do two jobs. The
movement of the plunger engages the starter motor
drive gear with the engine flywheel ring gear so that
the motor can crank the engine (Figure 6-31). The
starter motor requires high current, so the solenoid
also acts as a relay. When the plunger moves into
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Electrical Diagrams and Wiring
the coil, a large contact point on the plunger meets
a large stationary contact point (Figure 6-32).
Current flow across these contact points completes
the battery-to-starter motor circuit. The plunger
must remain inside the coil for as long as the starter
motor needs to run.
A large amount of current is required to draw the
plunger into the coil, and the starter motor also
requires a large amount of current. To conserve bat-
107
tery energy, starting circuit solenoids have two coil
windings, the primary or pull-in winding and the
secondary or hold-in winding (Figure 6-33). The
pull-in winding is made of very large diameter
wire, which creates a magnetic field strong enough
to pull the plunger into the coil. The hold-in winding is made of much smaller diameter wire. Once
the plunger is inside the coil, it is close enough to
the hold-in winding that a weak magnetic field will
hold it there. The large current flow through the
pull-in winding is stopped when the plunger is
completely inside the coil, and only the smaller
hold-in winding draws current from the battery. The
pull-in winding on a starter solenoid may draw
from 25 to 45 amperes. The hold-in winding may
draw only 7 to 15 amperes. Some starter motors do
not need the solenoid movement to engage gears;
circuits for these motors use a solenoid primarily as
a current switch. The physical movement of the
plunger brings it into contact with the battery and
starter terminals of the motor (Figure 6-34).
Buzzers and Chimes
Figure 6-32.
a relay.
A starter solenoid also acts as
Buzzers are used in some automotive circuits as
warning devices. Seatbelt buzzers and door-ajar
buzzers are good examples. A buzzer is similar in
construction to a relay but its internal connections
differ. Current flow through a coil magnetizes a core
to move an armature and a set of contact points.
However, in a buzzer, the coil is in series with the
armature and the contact points are normally closed.
Figure 6-33. A starter solenoid, showing the pull-in and
hold-in windings. (Delphi Corporation)
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Chapter Six
Figure 6-36.
Figure 6-34. When the Ford starter relay is
energized, the plunger contact disk moves against the
battery and starter terminals to complete the circuit.
The motor principle.
Most simple automotive buzzers are sealed
units and simply plug into their circuits. Some
buzzers are combined in a single assembly with a
relay for another circuit (Figure 6-35), such as a
horn relay. This application is used on some
General Motors cars. While mechanical buzzers
are still in use, they are comparatively heavy and
draw a relatively high current compared to the
lighter solid-state chimes and buzzers provided
by electronic technology and tone generators.
Motors
Figure 6-35.
Typical horn relay and buzzer circuits.
(Delphi Corporation)
When the switch is closed, current flow through
the buzzer coil reaches ground through the normally
closed contacts. However, current flow also magnetizes the buzzer core to move the armature and open
the contacts. This breaks the circuit, and current flow
stops. Armature spring tension then closes the contacts, making the circuit again (Figure 6-35). This
action is repeated several hundred times a second,
and the vibrating armature creates a buzzing sound.
The typical automotive electrical system includes
a number of motors that perform various jobs.
The most common is the starter motor (also called
a cranking motor), which rotates the automobile’s
crankshaft until the engine starts and can run by
itself. Smaller motors run windshield wipers,
power windows, and other accessories. Whatever
job they do, all electric motors operate on the
same principles of electromagnetism.
We explained the motor principle in terms of
magnetic field interaction in Chapter 4. When a
current-carrying conductor is placed in an external magnetic field, it tends to move out of a
strong field area and into a weak field area
(Figure 6-36). This motion can be used to rotate
an armature. Now we will see how automotive
electrical motors are constructed and used.
A simple picture of electric motor operation
(Figure 6-37) looks much like the operation of a
simple generator. Instead of rotating the looped
conductor to induce a voltage, however, we are
applying a current to force the conductor to rotate.
As soon as the conductor has made a half-revolution, the field interaction would tend to force it
back in the opposite direction. To keep the conductor rotating in one direction, the current flow
through the conductor must be reversed.
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This is done with a split-ring commutator,
which rotates with the conductor as shown in
Figure 6-37. Current is carried to the conductor
through carbon brushes. At the point where current direction must be reversed, the commutator
has rotated so that the opposite half of the split
ring is in contact with the current-feeding brush.
Current flow is reversed in the conductor and
rotation continues in the original direction. In
actual motors, many more conductor loops are
mounted on an armature (Figure 6-38).
Electric motors can be manufactured with several brushes and varying combinations of series
and parallel connections for armature windings
and electromagnetic field windings. The design
depends upon the use to which the motor will be
put. Electric motors generally use electromagnetic
field poles because they can produce a strong field
in a limited space. Field strength in such a motor
is determined by the current flow through the field
windings. The starter motor is the most common
automotive application of this design.
Figure 6-37.
109
Most small motors used in automotive applications, however, are built with permanent magnet
fields. These motors are inexpensive, lightweight,
can reverse direction of operation if necessary,
and can be equipped with up to three operating
speeds. They are ideal for constant light loads,
such as a small electric fan.
Regardless of how they are built, all motors
work on these principles. Understanding the
internal connections of a motor is essential for
testing and repair. Figure 6-39 shows the circuit
symbol for a motor.
WIRE COLOR
CODING
Figure 6-40 shows current flows through a simple
circuit consisting of a 12-volt battery for power, a
fuse for protection, a switch for control, and a lamp
as the load. In this example, each component is
labeled and the direction of current is marked.
Manufacturers use color coding to help technicians
follow wires in a circuit. We have explained how
most automotive wires are covered with a colored
polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or plastic, insulation. The
color of the insulation helps identify a particular
wire in the system. Some drawings of a circuit have
letters and numbers printed near each wire (Figure
6-41). The code table accompanying the drawing
A simple motor.
Figure 6-39. The electrical symbol for a motor.
Figure 6-38.
An electric motor. (Delphi Corporation)
Figure 6-40.
Diagram of a simple circuit.
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Figure 6-41.
Corporation)
110
Page 110
A Chrysler diagram showing circuits identified by number and wire color. (DaimlerChrysler
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Electrical Diagrams and Wiring
A
2
CIRCUIT INFORMATION
18
LB/YL
COLOR OF WIRE
(LIGHT BLUE WITH YELLOW TRACER)
GAUGE OF WIRE
111
the Toyota diagram in Figure 6-45 simply has the
color name printed on the wires; wire gauge is not
identified in this drawing.
For more information about wire color coding,
see the “Copper Wiring Repair” in Chapter 6 of
the Shop Manual.
(18 GAUGE)
PART OF MAIN CIRCUIT
(VARIES DEPENDING ON EQUIPMENT)
MAIN CIRCUIT IDENTIFICATION
WIRE COLOR CODE CHART
COLOR CODE
BL
BK
BR
DB
DG
GY
LB
LG
OR
PK
RD
TN
VT
WT
YL
*
COLOR
BLUE
BLACK
BROWN
DARK BLUE
DARK GREEN
GRAY
LIGHT BLUE
LIGHT GREEN
ORANGE
PINK
RED
TAN
VIOLET
WHITE
YELLOW
WITH TRACER
STANDARD
TRACER
COLOR
WT
WT
WT
WT
WT
BK
BK
BK
BK
BK or WT
WT
WT
WT
BK
BK
Figure 6-42. Chrysler circuit identification and wire
color codes. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 6-43. GM diagrams printed in color in the service manual include this table of color abbreviations.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
explains what the letters and numbers stand for. This
Chrysler diagram contains code information on wire
gauge, circuit numbers, and wire color. Circuit numbers are discussed later in this chapter. Figures 6-41,
6-42, 6-43, and 6-44 show how Chrysler, GM, and
Ford may present color-code information. Note that
THE LANGUAGE
OF ELECTRICAL
DIAGRAMS
In this chapter, illustrations from GM, Chrysler,
Ford, Toyota, and Nissan show how different manufacturers present electrical information. Note that
many component symbols and circuit identification
do not look exactly the same among different vehicle
manufacturers. Once you become familiar with the
diagrams, the differences become less confusing.
Circuit Numbers
If the wire is labeled with a circuit number, as in
Figures 6-41 and 6-44, those circuits are identified in
an accompanying table. The top half of Figure 6-42
shows the Chrysler method of identifying circuits
with a letter and number. Any two wires with the
same circuit number are connected within the same
circuit. Some General Motors service manuals contain current-flow diagrams developed by SPX Valley
Forge Technical Information Systems; However,
GM no longer uses these diagrams. Electrical circuit
diagrams are printed in color so the lines match the
color of the wires. The name of the color is printed
beside the wire (Figure 6-46). The metric wire gauge
may also be printed immediately before the color
name. Other GM drawings contain a statement that
all wires are of a certain gauge, unless otherwise
identified. If this is the case, only some wires in the
drawing have a gauge number printed on them.
The Ford circuit and table in Figure 6-44 are
for a heater and air conditioner electrical circuit.
The wire numbers are indicated by code numbers,
which are also circuit numbers. Again, no wire
gauges are identified in this example.
Wire Sizes
Another piece of information found in some electrical diagrams is the wire size. In the past, vehicles
built in the United States used wire sizes specified
by gauge. Gauge sizes typically vary from 2 for a
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112
Figure 6-44.
Chapter Six
The GM accessory circuit is color coded by circuit number. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
starter cable to 20 for a license plate lamp. Note that
gauge-size numbers are the reverse of physical wire
sizes: a lower gauge number for heavy wires and a
higher one for light wires. Figure 6-47 shows a typical circuit using 20-gauge wire.
Most vehicles built in recent years specify wire
sizes by their diameter in millimeters (mm). In
this case, a starter cable might be 32 mm while a
typical circuit might be 1 mm or 0.8 mm. The wire
size appears next to the color and on the opposite
side of the wire from the circuit number, as shown
in Figure 6-46. Note that the “mm” abbreviation
does not appear in the diagram. An advantage to
using the metric system is that wire size corresponds directly to thickness.
Component Symbols
It is time to add new symbols to the basic
component symbols list (Figure 6-48). Figures
6-49A and 6-49B show additional symbols for
many of the electrical devices on GM vehicles.
Figure 6-50 illustrates symbols used by
DaimlerChrysler Corporation. Nissan, like other
manufacturers, often includes the symbols with
its components, connector identification, and
switch continuity positions (Figure 6-51). Switch
continuity diagrams are discussed later in this
chapter. For more information about component
symbols, see the “Copper Wiring Repair” section
in Chapter 6 of the Shop Manual.
Figure 6-52 is a basic diagram of a Toyota
Celica sunroof control relay, which controls the
sunroof motor operation. Figure 6-53 shows how
the circuit is activated to tilt the sunroof open. The
current travels to the motor through relay number
one and transistor one when the “up” side of the
tilt switch is pressed.
DIAGRAMS
The color codes, circuit numbers, and symbols
just illustrated are combined to create a variety of
electrical diagrams. Most people tend to refer to
any electrical diagram as a “wiring diagram,” but
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Electrical Diagrams and Wiring
113
Figure 6-45. This Toyota diagram has no color code
table; wire color abbreviations are printed directly on the
drawing. (Reprinted by permission of Toyota Motor
Corporation)
Figure 6-46. General Motors Valley Forge schematics
are provided in color with the name of the color printed
beside the wire. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
there are at least three distinct types with which
you should be familiar:
• System diagrams (also called “wiring” dia-
grams)
• Schematic diagrams (also called “circuit”
diagrams)
• Installation diagrams (also called “pictorial”
diagrams)
Figure 6-47. In this example from Chrysler, the “X12”
in the wire code stands for the #12 part of the main circuit. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
System Diagrams
A system diagram is a drawing of the entire automobile electrical system. This may also properly
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Chapter Six
may not supply an entire system diagram for a
vehicle, but may instead illustrate all circuits
separately, as shown in Figure 6-57.
Schematic Diagrams
A schematic diagram, also called a “circuit
diagram” describes the operation of an individual
circuit. Schematics tell you how a circuit works
and how the individual components connect to
each other (Figure 6-55). Engineers commonly
use this type of diagram.
Figure 6-48. These electrical symbols are discussed
in the Classroom Manual.
be called a “wiring diagram.” System diagrams
show the wires, connections to loads, switches,
and the type of connectors used, but not how the
loads or switches work. Installation diagrams
express where and how the loads and wires are
installed. This is covered later in this chapter.
Figure 6-54 shows the same warning lamp circuit as Figure 6-55, but in a different format.
System diagrams may cover many pages of a
system and grounds are identified for all circuits.
The diagram is also organized by individual subsystems at the top. This variation on the grid
theme is another tool to quickly locate the
desired part of the diagram. A Chrysler
Corporation shop manual may not supply an
entire system diagram for a vehicle, but may
instead illustrate all circuits work. Figure 6-54
shows the same warning lamp circuit as
Figure 6-55 but in a different format. System
diagrams may cover many pages of a manual as
ground points are identified for all circuits
(Figure 6-56). The diagram is also organized
by individual subsystems at the top. This variation on the grid theme is another tool to
quickly locate the desired part of the diagram.
A DaimlerChrysler Corporation shop manual
Some schematics are Valley Forge diagrams,
which present current moving vertically. The
power source is at the top and the ground at the
bottom of the page (Figure 6-58). Figure 6-57
illustrates the circuit for a DaimlerChrysler radio
system. Some of the wires are fully identified with
two circuit numbers, wire gauge, and wire color.
Other wires, such as the two wires connected to
the front speaker, are identified only by wire gauge
and color. The “20LGN” indicates a 20-gauge,
light green wire. Figure 6-59 is the fuel economy
lamp circuit in a GM vehicle. Here, neither wire
gauge nor wire color is indicated. The “green” and
“amber” refer to the color of the lamp bulbs.
Figure 6-60 shows a Ford side marker lamp
circuit. Again, wire size and color are not identified. The numbers on the wires are circuit numbers. Note that the ground wires on the front and
rear lamps may not be present depending upon
the type of lamp socket used on the automobile.
Switches
Some manufacturers, such as Nissan, extend the
system diagram to include major switches, as in
the headlight circuit shown in Figure 6-53. This
illustration shows the current traveling from the
fuse block, through the switch, and to the headlights. If a switch does not work properly, it causes
a malfunction in the electrical system. Switch diagrams may take extra time to understand, but they
are indispensable in testing and diagnosis.
Each connection is shown as two circles joined
by a line. The grid diagram shows which individual circuits have power at each switch position.
A drawing of the headlight switch is included to
explain the meaning of OFF, 1ST, 2ND, A, B, and
C. Normally, a drawing of the switch action does
not accompany the system diagram. If the switch
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ENTIRE
COMPONENT
SHOWN
2 RED/YEL
WIRE INSULATION
IS RED WITH A
YELLOW STRIPE.
79
WIRE GAGE AND INSULATION
COLOR ARE LABELED.
PART OF A
COMPONENT
SHOWN
.5 RED
SPLICES ARE SHOWN
AND NUMBERED.
2
S200
PARK
BRAKE
SWITCH
CLOSED WITH
PARKING
BRAKE ON
NAME OF
COMPONENT
.5 RED
CIRCUIT NUMBER IS
SHOWN TO HELP IN
TRACING CIRCUITS.
2
DETAILS ABOUT
COMPONENT OR
ITS OPERATION
P100
COMPONENT CASE
IS DIRECTLY
ATTACHED TO
METAL PART
OF VEHICLE
(GROUNDED).
.5 RED
2
WIRE IS ATTACHED TO
METAL PART OF VEHICLE
(GROUNDED).
G103
SEE GROUND
DISTRIBUTION
PAGE 8A-14-0
GROUND IS NUMBERED
FOR REFERENCE ON
COMPONENT LOCATION LIST.
FUSIBLE
LINK
1 RED
WIRE IS INDIRECTLY
CONNECTED TO GROUND.
WIRE MAY HAVE ONE OR
MORE SPLICES OR CONNECTIONS
BEFORE IT IS GROUNDED.
G101
1 YEL
5
A
TO GENERATOR
PAGE 8A-30-8
FEMALE TERMINAL
C103
CONNECTOR REFERENCE
NUMBER FOR COMPONENT
LOCATION LIST
LIST ALSO SHOWS TOTAL
NUMBER OF TERMINALS
POSSIBLE. C103 (6 CAVITIES)
1 DK GRN
19
PASS THROUGH
GROMMET, NUMBERED
FOR REFERENCE.
A WAVY LINE
MEANS A WIRE IS
TO BE CONTINUED.
FUSIBLE LINK SIZE AND
INSULATION COLOR
ARE LABELED.
CURRENT PATH
IS CONTINUED
AS LABELED.
THE ARROW SHOWS
THE DIRECTION OF
CURRENT FLOW
AND IS REPEATED
WHERE CURRENT
PATH CONTINUES.
A WIRE WHICH
CONNECTS TO
ANOTHER CIRCUIT.
THE WIRE IS
SHOWN AGAIN
ON THAT CIRCUIT.
MALE TERMINAL
TO INSTRUMENT CLUSTER
PAGE 8A-51-3
CONNECTOR
ATTACHED TO
COMPONENT
GRY
CIRCUIT
BREAKER
8
SWITCH CONTACTS THAT
MOVE TOGETHER
CONNECTOR ON
COMPONENT
LEAD (PIGTAIL)
DASHED LINE SHOWS
A MECHANICAL
CONNECTION BETWEEN
SWITCH CONTACTS.
Figure 6-49A. Component symbols used by GM. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
115
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.5 LT BLU
.8 YEL
237
C216
A9
C1
Page 116
TWO TERMINALS
IN THE SAME
CONNECTOR
DASHED LINE SHOWS
A PHYSICAL
CONNECTION
BETWEEN PARTS
(SAME CONNECTOR).
AN INDICATOR
WHICH DISPLAYS
THE LIGHTED
WORD “BRAKE”
“BRAKE”
INDICATOR
(RED)
PCM CONNECTOR IDENTIFICATION
C1 - BLACK - 32 WAY
C2 - BLACK - 24 WAY
POWERTRAIN
CONTROL
MODULE (PCM)
5 VOLTS
INDICATES THIS CIRCUIT
CONTINUES WITHIN DEVICE;
I.E. OTHER BULBS
3 BLK
150
SEE GROUND
DISTRIBUTION
PAGE 8A-14-0
INDICATES THAT
THE CIRCUITRY IS
NOT SHOWN IN
COMPLETE DETAIL
BUT IS COMPLETE ON
THE INDICATED PAGE
G200
D4
C2
ELECTROSTATIC DISCHARGE
(ESD) SENSITIVE DEVICES
ARE INDENTIFIED. REFER TO
PAGE 8A-3-0 FOR HANDLING
AND MEASURING PROCEDURES.
1 ORN
40
GAUGES
C309
1 ORN
HEATING
ELEMENT
40
WIRE CHOICS
FOR OPTIONS
OR DIFFERENT
MODELS ARE
SHOWN AND
LABELED.
NO GAUGES
C309
.5 ORN
40
HEATACTUATED
CONTACT
HOT IN ACCY OR RUN
UNLESS NOTED,
THE RELAY WILL
BE SHOWN IN A
DE-ENERGIZED STATE
WITH NO CURRENT
FLOWING THROUGH
THE COIL.
WHEN CURRENT FLOWS
THROUGH COIL, CONTACT
WILL TOGGLE.
INDICATES THAT
POWER IS
SUPPLIED WITH
IGNITION SWITCH
IN “ACCY” AND
“RUN” POSITIONS
RADIO
FUSE
10 AMP
LABEL OF
FUSE BLOCK
CONNECTOR
CAVITY
FUSE
BLOCK
NORMALLY
CLOSED
CONTACT
NORMALLY
OPEN
CONTACT
DIODE
ALLOWS CURRENT
TO FLOW IN ONE
DIRECTION ONLY
FUSIBLE LINK
C210
B
M
D
FUSIBLE LINK
CONNECTS TO
SCREW TERMINAL.
SHOWN SEPARATED
Figure 6-49B. More component symbols used by GM. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
116
3 CONNECTORS ARE
SHOWN CONNECTED
TOGETHER AT A
JUNCTION BLOCK.
FOURTH WIRE IS
SOLDERED TO COMMON
CONNECTION ON
BLOCK.
NUMBER FOR TOTAL
CONNECTOR
LETTERS FOR EACH
CONNECTION TERMINAL
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+ BATTERY
IN-LINE
CONNECTORS
GENERATOR
STATOR
COILS
2
C123
2
C123
–
MULTIPLE
CONNECTOR
FUSIBLE
LINK
FUSE
BATT A0
CIRCUIT
BREAKER
(8W-30-10)
CHOICE
BRACKET
HOT BAR
PAGE
REFERENCE
8
5
GROUND
4
C123
C1
FEMALE
CONNECTOR
6
C3
ANTENNA
SINGLE
FILAMENT
LAMP
NPN
TRANSISTOR
CLOCKSPRING
2
MALE
CONNECTOR
DUAL
FILAMENT
LAMP
PNP
TRANSISTOR
TONE
GENERATOR
SCREW
TERMINAL
G101
OPEN
SWITCH
CLOSED
SWITCH
GANGED
SWITCH
WIRE
ORIGIN &
DESTINATION
SHOWN
WITHIN
CELL
A
A
EXTERNAL
SPLICE
INTERNAL
SPLICE
SLIDING
DOOR
CONTACT
WIRE
DESTINATION
SHOWN IN
ANOTHER CELL
LED
OXYGEN
SENSOR
PHOTODIODE
DIODE
GAUGE
RESISTOR
ZENER
DIODE
PIEZOELECTRIC
CELL
VARIABLE
RESISTOR
HEATER
ELEMENT
POTENTIOMETER
INCOMPLETE
SPLICE
(INTERNAL)
NON-POLARIZED
CAPACITOR
POLARIZED
+ CAPACITOR
VARIABLE
CAPACITOR
S350
M
ONE
SPEED
MOTOR
Figure 6-50.
M
TWO
SPEED
MOTOR
COIL
SOLENOID
M
SOLENOID
VALVE
REVERSIBLE
MOTOR
Component symbols used by DaimlerChrysler. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
117
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LIGHTING SWITCH POSITIONS
1ST = PARKING LIGHTS
2ND = DRIVING LIGHTS
A = HIGH BEAMS
B = LOW BEAMS
C = FLASH (HIGH BEAMS)
LIGHTING SWITCH CIRCUITS
5, 8 & 11 = POWER
6 & 9 = HIGH BEAMS
7 & 10 = LOW BEAMS
12 = PARKING LIGHTS (NOT SHOWN)
CONNECTOR
FROM LIGHT
SWITCH
LIGHTING SWITCH
INTERNAL CONNECTIONS
SWITCH
POSITIONS
INDIVIDUAL
CIRCUITS
{
{
OFF
1ST
2ND
A B C A B C A B C
5
6
7
10
9 6
8 5
7
8
9
10
11
12
Figure 6-51.
This diagram of a headlight circuit includes the headlight switch internal connections. (Courtesy of
Nissan North America, Inc.)
Figure 6-52. The advance computer technology
makes logic symbols like these a typical part of an
automotive wiring diagram.
118
Figure 6-53. This circuit uses logic symbols to
show how the sunroof motor operates to tilt the
mechanism open.
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Figure 6-54.
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A system diagram for a warning lamp circuit.
119
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Figure 6-55.
120
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A schematic diagram for a warning lamp circuit.
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Electrical Diagrams and Wiring
Figure 6-56.
121
Toyota system diagrams are organized by individual systems and include ground points. (Reprinted
by permission of Toyota Motor Corporation)
positions are not clear, find that information elsewhere in the electrical section of the manufacturer’s shop manual.
Installation Diagrams
None of the diagrams shown so far have indicated where or how the wires and loads are
installed in the automobile. Many manufacturers
provide installation diagrams, or pictorial diagrams that show these locations. Some original
equipment manufacturers (OEM) call these diagrams product description manuals (PDMs).
Figures 6-61 and 6-62 show different styles of
installation diagrams that help locate the general
harness or circuit.
The DaimlerChrysler installation diagram in
Figure 6-61 includes the wiring for radio speakers.
The circuit diagram for the speakers was shown in
Figure 6-57. Compare these two diagrams and
notice that the installation diagram highlights the
location of circuits while the circuit diagram gives
more of a detailed picture of the circuit.
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Figure 6-57.
Chapter Six
DaimlerChrysler radio circuit. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 6-62 is a GM installation diagram for the
fuel-economy indicator switch. The circuit diagram for this accessory was given in Figure 6-59.
Compare these two diagrams and note that the
installation diagram focuses on the harness and circuit location while the schematic diagram shows a
specific circuit current reading top to bottom.
Troubleshooting with
Schematic Diagrams
It is quicker and easier to diagnose and isolate
an electrical problem using a schematic diagram
than by working with a system diagram, because
schematic diagrams do not distract or confuse with
wiring that is not part of the circuit being tested.
A schematic diagram shows the paths that electrical
current takes in a properly functioning circuit. It is
important to understand how the circuit is supposed
to work before determining why it is malfunctioning. For more information about troubleshooting
with schematic diagrams, see the “Copper Wiring
Repair” section in Chapter 6 of the Shop Manual.
General Motors incorporates a special troubleshooting section in each shop manual for the
entire electrical system, broken down by individual circuits (Figures 6-48 and 6-60). Each
schematic contains all the basic information
necessary to trace the circuit it covers: wire size
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HOT IN RUN
HOT AT ALL TIMES
POWER
DISTRIBUTION
CELL 10
DEFOG/SEATS
CKT BRKR 12
30 A
B3
POWER
DISTRIBUTION
CELL 10
F2
I/P
FUSE
BLOCK
HVAC
FUSE 6
20 A
A3
E2
5 ORN
TO DRIVER POWER
SEAT SWITCH
CELL 140, 141
1240
1 BRN
241
1 BRN
241
3 ORN
S252
1240
.8 BRN
5 ORN
241
1240
TO HVAC CONTROL
SELECTOR SWITCH
CELL 63, 64
HVAC
CONTROL
C
A
C4
ORN 1240
PNK
3
4
REAR
DEFOGGER
TIMER/
RELAY
ON/OFF
INPUT
IGN
GRY
ON
INDICATOR
C5
(MOMENTARY
CONTACT)
C5
C5
DEFOG
ENABLE
2
BRN
293
C6
1
REAR DEFOGGER
SWITCH
241
C5
292
SOLID STATE
GROUND
PNK
241
C6
BLK
650
C6
BLK
PPL
650
293
B
CONV
3 PPL
293
3 PPL
293
A
A
3 PPL
COUPE
5 PPL
A
C330
C4
650
GROUND
DISTRIBUTION
CELL 14
293
S216
3 BLK
293
C320
D
.35 BLK
3 PPL
293
650
G200
S315
REAR
DEFOGGER
GRID
3 BLK
COUPE
A
GROUND
DISTRIBUTION
CELL 14
S420
1150
3 BLK
.5 BLK
CONVERTIBLE
3 BLK
1750
G320
1150 (W/ C49)
1150 (W/O C49)
P300
G310
Figure 6-58. This diagram shows a backlight/rear window/heater circuit. Power flows from top to bottom,
which is typical of a SPX-Valley Forge current flow diagram. Only components or information that belong to this
specific circuit are shown. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
123
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Chapter Six
and color, components, connector and ground
references, and references to other circuits when
necessary. In addition, a quick summary of system operation is provided to explain what should
happen when the system is working properly.
GM and includes a power distribution diagram
as one of the first overall schematics for troubleshooting (Figure 6-64). The power distribution
diagram represents the “front end” of the overall
electrical system. As such, it includes the battery,
starter solenoid or relay, alternator, ignition
switch, and fuse panel. This diagram is useful in
locating short circuits that blow fusible links or
fuses, because it follows the power distribution
wiring to the first component in each major circuit.
SUMMARY
Figure 6-59. GM fuel-economy lamp circuit. (GM
Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 6-60.
Many of the conductors in an automobile are
grouped together into harnesses to simplify the
electrical system. The conductors are usually
made of copper, stainless steel, or aluminum covered with an insulator. The conductor can be a
solid or single-strand wire, multiple or multistrand wire or printed circuitry. The wire size or
gauge depends on how much current must be carried for what distance. Wire gauge is expressed as
a number—the larger the number, the smaller the
wire’s cross-section.
GM Cadillac Deville side marker lamp circuit. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
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Electrical Diagrams and Wiring
125
Continues on
page 22-18
DASHBOARD WIRE HARNESS B
3
4
6
5
7
2
PASSENGER’S
UNDER-DASH
FUSE/RELAY
BOX
1
8
9
Figure 6-61.
DaimlerChrysler installation diagram.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
14
Figure 6-63.
13
12
11
10
Acura installation diagram. (Courtesy of
American Honda Motor Co., Inc.)
Figure 6-62.
GM installation diagram. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
Cars use some special types of wire, especially
in battery cables and ignition cables. Terminals
and connectors join different wires in the car;
these can join single wires or 40 or more wires.
Part of every automotive circuit is the ground path
through the car’s frame and body. The battery terminal that is connected to ground determines the
electrical system’s polarity. Most modem automobiles have a negative-ground system.
Multiplexing simplifies wiring by sending two
or more electric signals over a single channel.
Along with conductors, connectors and the
ground path, each automotive circuit has controlling or working parts. These include switches,
relays, solenoids, buzzers and motors.
There are three types of electrical circuit diagrams: system, schematic, and installation. System
diagrams typically present an overall view, while
schematic diagrams isolate a single circuit and are
Figure 6-64. A typical GM power distribution
schematic. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
more useful for troubleshooting individual problems. Installation diagrams show locations and
harness routing. To better understand these diagrams, a variety of electrical symbols are used to
represent electrical components. Other tools to aid
in successfully reading these diagrams are the
color coding and the circuit numbering of wires,
which identify the wire and its function.
Manufacturers publish diagrams of each vehicle’s
electrical systems, often using these color codes
and circuit numbers. A technician cannot service
a circuit without knowing how to read and use
these diagrams.
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Chapter Six
Review Questions
1. Which of the following is not considered
part of the primary wiring system of an
automobile?
a. Spark plug cables
b. Lighting circuits
c. Accessory wiring circuits
d. Power distribution circuits
2. Automotive wiring, or circuit conductors,
exist as all of the following, except:
a. Single-strand wire
b. Multistrand wire
c. Printed circuitry
d. Enameled chips
3. Which of the following wires are known as
suppression cables?
a. Turn signal wiring
b. Cables from the battery to the starter
motor
c. Cables from the distributor cap to the
spark plugs
d. Wiring harnesses from the fuse panel to
the accessories
4. High-resistance ignition cables are used to
do all of the following, except:
a. Reduce radio frequency interference
b. Provide extra resistance to reduce
current flow to the spark plugs
c. Provide more current to the distributor
d. Boost the voltage being delivered to the
spark plugs
5. One of the most common wear points in an
automobile electrical system is:
a. At the ground connecting side
b. The point where a wire has been bent
c. Where two connectors have been
joined
d. At a Maxifuse connection
7. Which of the following is not a term used to
describe an automobile wiring system?
a. Hot-return system
b. Single-wire system
c. Ground-return system
d. Negative-ground system
8. For easy identification, ground wires on
most automotive electrical systems are
color-coded:
a. Red
b. White
c. Black
d. Brown
9. Which of the following is not used to switch
current flow?
a. Relay
b. Solenoid
c. Transistor
d. Coil Windings
10. Two separate windings are used in starter
solenoids to:
a. Increase resistance in the circuit
b. Decrease resistance in the circuit
c. Increase current being drawn from the
battery
d. Decrease current being drawn from the
battery
11. Which of the following reverses the flow of
current through the conductor of a motor?
a. The armature
b. The terminals
c. The field coils
d. The commutator
12. The symbol shown below is for which of
these:
6. The symbol below indicates which of these:
a.
b.
c.
d.
a.
b.
c.
d.
Battery
Capacitor
Diode
Ground
Fuse
Relay
Motor
Resistor
13. Which of the following is NOT used to protect
a circuit from too much current flow?
a. Fuse
b. Buss bar
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Electrical Diagrams and Wiring
c. Fusible link
d. Circuit breaker
14. What usually causes a fuse to “blow”?
a. Too much voltage
b. Too much current
c. Too little voltage
d. Too little resistance
15. Fuses are rated by __________ capacity.
a. Current
b. Voltage
c. Resistance
d. Power
16. Which of the following is true of circuit
breakers?
a. Made of a single metal strip
b. Must be replaced after excess current
flow
c. Less expensive than fuses are
d. Used for frequent temporary overloads
17. This symbol represents which of these items:
127
c. Installation diagram
d. Alternator circuit diagram
20. Automobile manufacturers color-code the
wires in the electrical system to:
a. Help trace a circuit
b. Identify wire gauge
c. Speed the manufacturing process
d. Identify replacement parts
21. A wire in a Valley Forge (system) diagram is
identified as .8 PUR/623 which of the
following:
a. 8-gauge wire, power plant, circuit
number 623
b. 8-gauge wire, purple, vehicle
model 623
c. 0.8-mm wire, purple, circuit number 623
d. 0.8 points per length, vehicle model 623
22. Which of the following electrical symbols
indicates a lamp?
a.
b.
a.
b.
c.
d.
Circuit breaker
Variable resistor
Capacitor
Solenoid
c.
18. The following two symbols represent which
two devices?
d.
a.
b.
c.
d.
Zener diode and a PNP transistor
Zener diode and a NPN transistor
One-way diode and a PNP transistor
One-way diode and a NPN transistor
19. The electrical diagram that shows where the
wires and loads are physically located on
the vehicle is the:
a. Schematic diagram
b. Electrical system diagram
23. Two technician are discussing the meaning
of different types of wiring diagrams.
Technician A says schematic diagrams tell
you how a circuit works and how the
individual components connect to each
other and they are commonly used by
engineers. Technician B says a system
diagram is drawing of a circuit or any part of
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a circuit that shows circuit numbers, wire
size, and color-coding. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
24. Technician A says the battery cable
provides a connection from the vehicle
chassis to the battery. Technician B says
that automotive electrical systems are
called double-wire or positive return
systems. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
Chapter Six
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
25. Technicians are discussing wire
gauge sizes. Technician A says wire
size numbers are based on the crosssectional area of the conductor and
larger wires have lower gauge
numbers. Technician B says wire
cross-section is measured in circular rods.
Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
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7
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Automotive
Battery
Operation
KEY TERMS
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
•
•
•
•
•
Identify the purpose of the battery.
Describe battery operation.
Explain battery capacity.
Identify battery safety procedures.
Explain battery ratings.
Battery
Cell
Cold Cranking Amperes (CCA)
Cycling
Electrolyte
Element
Plates
Primary Battery
Secondary Battery
Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA)
Specific Gravity
State-of-charge Indicator
INTRODUCTION
The automotive battery does not actually store
electricity, as is often believed. The battery is a
quick-change artist. It changes electrical current
generated by the vehicle’s charging system into
chemical energy. Chemicals inside the battery store
the electrical energy until it is needed to perform
work. It is then changed back into electrical energy
and sent through a circuit to the system where it is
needed. We will begin our study of batteries by
listing their functions and looking at the chemical
action and construction of a battery.
Just as you are made up of a bunch of cells, so
is the battery in a car. Each battery contains a
number of cells made up of alternating positive
and negative plates. Between each plate is a separator that keeps the plates from touching, yet lets
electrolyte pass back and forth between it. The
separators are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
An automotive battery does the following:
• Operates the starter motor
• Provides current for the ignition system during
cranking
129
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Chapter Seven
• Supplies power for the lighting systems and
electrical accessories when the engine is not
operating
• Acts as a voltage stabilizer for the entire
electrical system
• Provides current when the electrical
demand of the vehicle exceeds the output of
the charging system
ELECTROCHEMICAL
ACTION
All automotive wet-cell batteries operate because
of the chemical action of two dissimilar metals in
the presence of a conductive and reactive solution
called an electrolyte. Because this chemical action
produces electricity, it is called electrochemical action. The chemical action of the electrolyte causes
electrons to be removed from one metal and added
to the other. This loss and gain of electrons causes
the metals to be oppositely charged, and a potential
difference, or voltage, exists between them.
The metal plate that has lost electrons is
positively charged and is called the positive plate.
The plate that has gained electrons is negatively
charged and is called the negative plate. If conductors and a load are connected between the two
plates, current will flow through the conductor
and the load (Figure 7-1). For simplicity, battery
current flow is assumed to be conventional
current flow ( + to ) through the external circuit
connected to the battery.
Primary and Secondary
Batteries
There are two general types of batteries: primary
and secondary. The action within a primary
battery causes one of the metals to be totally
destroyed after a period of time. When the battery has delivered all of its voltage to an outside
circuit, it is useless and must be replaced. Many
small dry-cell batteries, such as those for flashlights and radios, are primary batteries.
In a secondary battery, both the electrolyte
and the metals change their atomic structure as
the battery supplies current to an outside circuit.
This is called discharging. The action can be
reversed, however, by applying an outside current
to the battery terminals and forcing current
through the battery in the opposite direction. This
current causes a chemical action that restores the
battery materials to their original condition, and
the battery can again supply current. This is called
charging the battery. The condition of the battery
materials is called the battery’s state of charge.
Figure 7-1. The potential difference between the two plates of a
battery can cause current to flow in an outside circuit. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
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Automotive Battery Operation
Electrochemical Action
in Automotive Batteries
A fully charged automotive battery contains a
series of negative plates of chemically active
sponge lead (Pb), positive plates of lead dioxide
(PbO2) and an electrolyte of sulfuric acid
(H2SO4) and water (H2O2) (Figure 7-2). As the
battery discharges, the chemical action taking
place reduces the acid content in the electrolyte
and increases the water content. At the same time,
both the negative and the positive plates gradually
change to lead sulphate (PbSO4).
A discharged battery (Figure 7-2) has a very
weak acid solution because most of the electrolyte has changed to water. Both series of plates
131
are mostly lead sulfate. The battery now stops
functioning because the plates are basically two
similar metals in the presence of water, rather
than two dissimilar metals in the presence of an
electrolyte.
During charging (Figure 7-2) the chemical
action is reversed. The lead sulfate on the plates
gradually decomposes, changing the negative
plates back to sponge lead and the positive plates
to lead dioxide. The sulfate is re-deposited in the
water, which increases the sulfuric acid content
and returns the electrolyte to full strength. Now,
the battery is again able to supply current.
This electrochemical action and battery operation from fully charged to discharged and back to
fully charged is called cycling.
WARNING: Hydrogen and oxygen gases are formed during battery charging. Hydrogen gas is
explosive. Never strike a spark or bring a flame near a battery, particularly during or after charging. This could cause the battery to explode.
Battery Construction
There are four types of automotive batteries currently in use, as follows:
• Vent-cap (requires maintenance)
• Low-maintenance (requires limited main-
tenance)
Figure 7-2.
• Maintenance-free (requires no maintenance)
• Recombinant (requires no maintenance)
The basic physical construction of all types of
automotive batteries is similar, but the materials
used are not. We will look at traditional vent-cap
construction first and then explain how the other
battery types differ.
Battery electrochemical action from charged to discharged and back to charged.
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Chapter Seven
Figure 7-3. The grid provides a support for the plate
active material.
Figure 7-5. Two groups are interlaced to form a battery element.
Figure 7-4.
a group.
A number of plates are connected into
Vent-Cap Batteries
Battery construction begins with the positive and
negative plates. The plates are built on grids of conductive materials, as shown in Figure 7-3, which act
as a framework for the dissimilar metals. These dissimilar metals are called the active materials of the
battery. The active materials, sponge lead and lead
dioxide, are pasted onto the grids. When dry, the
active materials are very porous, so that the electrolyte can easily penetrate and react with them.
A number of similar plates, all positive or all
negative, are connected together into a plate
group (Figure 7-4). The plates are joined to each
other by welding them to a plate strap through a
process called lead burning. The plate strap has
a connector or a terminal post for attaching plate
groups to each other.
A positive and a negative plate group are interlaced so that their plates alternate, Figure 7-5.
The negative plate group normally has one more
plate than the positive group. To reduce the possibility of a short between plates of the two groups,
they are separated by chemically inert separators
(Figure 7-5). Separators are usually made of plastic or fiberglass. The separators have ribs on one
side next to the positive plates. These ribs hold
electrolyte near the positive plates for efficient
chemical action.
Other Secondary Cells
The Edison (nickel-iron alkali) cell and the silver cell
are two other types of secondary cells. The positive
plate of the Edison cell is made of pencil-shaped,
perforated steel tubes that contain nickel hydroxide.
These tubes are held in a steel grid. The negative
plate has pockets that hold iron oxide. The electrolyte used in this cell is a solution of potassium
hydroxide and a small amount of lithium hydroxide.
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Automotive Battery Operation
An Edison cell weighs about one-half as much
as a lead-acid cell of the same ampere-hour capacity. This cell has a long life and is not damaged
by short circuits or overloads. It is however, more
costly than a lead-acid cell. The silver cell has a
positive plate of silver oxide and a negative plate
of zinc. The electrolyte is a solution of potassium
hydroxide or sodium. For its weight, this cell has a
high ampere-hour capacity. It can withstand large
overloads and short circuits. It, too, is more expensive than a lead-acid cell.
A complete assembly of positive plates, negative plates, and separators is called an element. It
is placed in a cell of a battery case. Because each
cell provides approximately 2.1 volts, a 12-volt
battery has six cells and actually produces approximately 12.6 volts when fully charged. The
elements are separated from each other by cell partitions, and rest on bridges at the bottom of the case
that form chambers where sediment can collect.
These bridges prevent accumulated sediment from
shorting across the bottoms of the plates. Once
installed in the case, the elements (cells) are connected to each other by connecting straps that pass
over or through the cell partitions (Figure 7-6). The
cells are connected alternately in series (positive to
negative to positive to negative, and so on), and the
battery top is bonded onto the case to form a
watertight container.
Figure 7-6.
A cutaway view of an assembled battery.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
133
Vent caps in the battery top provide an opening
for adding electrolyte and for the escape of gases
that form during charging and discharging. The
battery is connected to the car’s electrical system
by two external terminals. These terminals are
either tapered posts on top of the case or internally
threaded connectors on the side. The terminals,
which are connected to the ends of the series of
elements inside the case, are marked positive ( + )
or negative ( ), according to which end of the
series each terminal represents.
Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA) Batteries
Most new batteries today are either partially
sealed, low-maintenance or completely sealed,
maintenance-free batteries. Low-maintenance
batteries provide some method of adding water
to the cells, such as the following:
• Individual slotted vent caps installed flush
with the top of the case
• Two vent panel covers, each of which
exposes three cells when removed
• A flush-mounted strip cover that is peeled
off to reveal the cell openings
Sealed lead-acid (SLA) batteries have only small
gas vents that prevent pressure buildup in the case.
A low-maintenance battery requires that water be
added much less often than with a traditional ventcap battery, while a SLA battery will never need to
have water added during its lifetime.
These batteries differ from vent-cap batteries primarily in the materials used for the plate grids. For
decades, automotive batteries used antimony as the
strengthening ingredient of the grid alloy. In lowmaintenance batteries, the amount of antimony is
reduced to about three percent. In maintenance-free
batteries, the antimony is eliminated and replaced
by calcium or strontium.
Reducing the amount of antimony or replacing
it with calcium or strontium alloy results in lowering the battery’s internal heat and reduces the
amount of gassing that occurs during charging.
Since heat and gassing are the principal reasons
for battery water loss, these changes reduce or
eliminate the need to periodically add water.
Reduced water loss also minimizes terminal corrosion, since the major cause of this corrosion is
condensation from normal battery gassing.
In addition, non-antimony lead alloys have better conductivity, so a maintenance-free battery
has about a 20 percent higher cranking performance rating than a traditional vent-cap battery of
comparable size.
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Chapter Seven
Recombinant Batteries
More recently, completely sealed maintenancefree batteries were introduced. These new batteries do not require—and do not have—the small
gas vent used on previous maintenance-free
batteries. Although these batteries are basically
the same kind of lead-acid voltage cells used
in automobiles for decades, a slight change in
plate and electrolyte chemistry reduces hydrogen
generation to almost nothing.
During charging, a vent-cap or maintenance-free
battery releases hydrogen at the negative plates and
oxygen at the positive plates. Most of the hydrogen
is released through electrolysis of the water in the
electrolyte near the negative plates as the battery
reaches full charge. In the sealed maintenance-free
design, the negative plates never reach a fully
charged condition and therefore cause little or no
release of hydrogen. Oxygen is released at the
positive plates, but it passes through the separators
and recombines with the negative plates. The overall effect is virtually no gassing from the battery.
Because the oxygen released by the electrolyte
recombines with the negative plates, some manufacturers call these batteries “recombination” or
recombinant electrolyte batteries.
Recombination electrolyte technology and
improved grid materials allow some sealed,
maintenance-free batteries to develop fully
charged, open-circuit voltage of approximately
2.1 volts per cell, or a total of 12.6 volts for a sixcell 12-volt battery. Microporous fiberglass separators reduce internal resistance and contribute to
higher voltage and current ratings.
In addition, the electrolyte in these new batteries is contained within plastic envelope-type
separators around the plates (Figure 7-7). The
entire case is not flooded with electrolyte. This
eliminates the possibility of damage due to sloshing or acid leaks from a cracked battery. This
design feature reduces battery damage during
handling and installation, and allows a more compact case design. Because the battery is not
vented, terminal corrosion from battery gassing
and electrolyte spills or spray is also eliminated.
The envelope design also catches active material
as it flakes off the positive plates during discharge.
By holding the material closer to the plates,
envelope construction ensures that it will be more
completely redeposited during charging. Although
recombinant batteries are examples of advanced
technology, test and service requirements are
basically the same as for other maintenance-free,
lead-acid batteries. Some manufacturers caution,
Figure 7-7. Many maintenance-free batteries have
envelope separators that hold active material near
the plates.
however, that fast charging at high current rates
may overheat the battery and can cause damage.
Always check the manufacturer’s instructions for
test specifications and charging rates before servicing one of these batteries.
BATTERY
ELECTROLYTE
For the battery to become chemically active, it
must be filled with an electrolyte solution. The
electrolyte in an automotive battery is a solution of
sulfuric acid and water. In a fully charged battery,
the solution is approximately 35 to 39 percent acid
by weight (25 percent by volume) and 61 to 65 percent water by weight. The state of charge of a battery can be measured by checking the specific
gravity of the electrolyte.
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135
WARNING: When lifting a battery, excessive pressure on the end walls could cause acid spill
through the vent caps, resulting in personal injury. Lift with a battery carrier or with your hands
at opposite corners. For more information, see the “Battery Safety” section in Chapter 7 of the
Shop Manual.
Specific gravity is the weight of a given
volume of liquid divided by the weight of an
equal volume of water. Since the acid is heavier
than water, and water has a specific gravity of
1.000, the specific gravity of a fully charged
battery is greater than 1.000 (approximately
1.260 when weighed in a hydrometer). As the
battery discharges, the specific gravity of the
electrolyte decreases because the acid is changed
into water. The specific gravity of the electrolyte
can tell you approximately how discharged the
battery has become:
•
•
•
•
•
1.265 specific gravity: 100% charged
1.225 specific gravity: 75% charged
1.190 specific gravity: 50% charged
1.155 specific gravity: 25% charged
1.120 specific gravity or lower: discharged
These values may vary slightly, according to
the design factors of a particular battery. Specific
gravity measurements are based on a standard
temperature of 80°F (26.7°C). At higher temperatures, specific gravity is lower. At lower temperatures, specific gravity is higher. For every change
of 10°F, specific gravity changes by four points
(0.004). That is, you should compensate for temperature differences as follows:
fallen below a minimum level, and it also functions as a go/no-go hydrometer.
The indicator shown in Figure 7-8 is a plastic
rod inserted in the top of the battery and extending
into the electrolyte. In the design used by Delco
(now Delphi), a green plastic ball is suspended in
a cage from the bottom of the rod. Depending
upon the specific gravity of the electrolyte, the ball
will float or sink in the cage, changing the appearance of the indicator “eye” from green to dark.
When the eye is dark, the battery should be
recharged.
Other manufacturers use either the “Delco
Eye” under license, or one of several variations of
the design. One variation contains a red ball and
a blue ball side by side in the cage. When the
specific gravity is high, only the blue ball can
be seen in the “eye”. As the specific gravity falls,
the blue ball sinks in the cage, allowing the
red ball to take its place. When the battery is
recharged, the increasing specific gravity causes
the blue ball to move upward, forcing the red ball
back into the side of the cage.
Another variation is the use of a small red ball
on top of a larger blue ball. When the specific
gravity is high, the small ball is seen as a red spot
surrounded by blue. As the specific gravity falls,
the blue ball sinks, leaving the small ball to be
• For every 10°F above 80°F, add 0.004 to the
specific gravity reading.
• For every 10°F below 80°F, subtract 0.004
from the specific gravity reading
When you study battery service in Chapter 7 of
the Shop Manual, you will learn to measure specific gravity of a vent-cap battery with a hydrometer. See the section on “Inspection, Cleaning
and Replacement” for more information.
STATE-OF-CHARGE
INDICATORS
Many low-maintenance and maintenance-free
batteries have a visual state-of-charge indicator
or built-in hydrometer installed in the battery top.
The indicator shows whether the electrolyte has
Figure 7-8. Delco (Delphi) “Freedom” batteries have
this integral hydrometer built into their tops. (Delphi
Corporation)
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seen as a red spot surrounded by a clear area. The
battery then should be recharged.
If the electrolyte drops below the level of the
cage in batteries using a state-of-charge indicator,
the “eye” will appear clear or light yellow. This
means that the battery must be replaced because it
has lost too much electrolyte. For more information, see the “Battery Testing” section in Chapter 7
of the Shop Manual.
WET-CHARGED AND
DRY-CHARGED
BATTERIES
Batteries may be manufactured and sold as either
wet-charged or dry-charged batteries. Before
maintenance-free batteries became widely used,
dry-charged batteries were very common. A wetcharged battery is completely filled with an
electrolyte when it is built. A dry-charged battery
is shipped from the factory without electrolyte.
During manufacture, the positive and negative
plates are charged and then completely washed
and dried. The battery is then assembled and
sealed to keep out moisture. It will remain
charged as long as it is sealed, and it can be stored
for a long time in any reasonable environment.
A dry-charged battery is put into service by
adding electrolyte, checking the battery state of
charge, and charging if needed.
Even when a wet-charged battery is not in use,
a slow reaction occurs between the plates and the
electrolyte. This is a self-discharging reaction, and
will eventually discharge the battery almost completely. Because this reaction occurs faster at
higher temperatures, wet-charged batteries should
be stored in as cool a place as possible when not in
use. A fully charged battery stored at a room temperature of 100°F (38°C) will almost completely
discharge after 90 days. If the battery is stored at a
temperature of 60°F (16°C), very little discharge
will take place.
BATTERY CHARGING
VOLTAGE
Forcing current through it in the direction opposite from its discharge current charges a battery.
In an automobile, the generator or alternator
Chapter Seven
supplies this charging current. The battery
offers some resistance to this charging current,
because of the battery’s chemical voltage and
the resistance of the battery’s internal parts. The
battery’s chemical voltage is another form of
counterelectromotive force (CEMF) that you
studied in Chapter 4.
When a battery is fully charged, its CEMF is
very high. Very little charging current can flow
through it. When the battery is discharged, its
CEMF is very low, and charging current flows
freely. For charging current to enter the battery,
the charging voltage must be higher than the
battery’s CEMF plus the voltage drop caused by
the battery’s internal resistance.
Understanding this relationship of CEMF to the
battery state of charge is helpful. When the battery is
nearly discharged, it needs, and will accept, a lot of
charging current. When the battery is fully charged,
the high CEMF will resist charging current. Any additional charging current could overheat and damage
the battery materials. Charging procedures are explained in Chapter 3 of your Shop Manual. See also
the section on “Battery Testing” in Chapter 7 of the
Shop Manual.
The temperature of the battery affects the
charging voltage because temperature affects
the resistance of the electrolyte. Cold electrolyte
has higher resistance than warm electrolyte, so a
colder battery is harder to charge. The effects of
temperature must be considered when servicing
automotive charging systems and batteries, as we
shall see later in this chapter.
BATTERY SELECTION
AND RATING
METHODS
Automotive batteries are available in a variety of
sizes, shapes, and current ratings. They are called
“starting batteries” and are designed to deliver a
large current output for a brief time to start an
engine. After starting, the charging system takes
over to supply most of the current required to
operate the car. The battery acts as a system
stabilizer and provides current whenever the
electrical loads exceed the charging current
output. An automotive battery must provide good
cranking power for the car’s engine and adequate
reserve power for the electrical system in which it
is used.
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Automotive Battery Operation
Manufacturers also make 12-volt automotivetype batteries that are not designed for automotive
use. These are called “cycling batteries” and are
designed to provide a power source for a vehicle
or accessory without continual recharging.
Cycling batteries provide a constant low current
for a long period of time. They are designed for
industrial, marine, and recreational vehicle (RV)
or motor home use. Most of their current capacity
is exhausted in each cycle before recharging.
The brief high current flow required of a starting
battery is produced by using relatively thin plates,
compared to those used in a cycling battery. The
thicker plates of the cycling battery will provide
a constant current drain for several hours. Using
a starting battery in an application calling for a
cycling battery will shorten its life considerably, as
we shall see later in the chapter. The use of a
cycling battery to start and operate a car will cause
excessive internal heat from the brief but high current draw, resulting in a shorter service life.
Test standards and rating methods devised by
the Battery Council International (BCI) and
the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) are
designed to measure a battery’s ability to meet the
requirements of its intended service.
The BCI publishes application charts that list
the correct battery for any car. Optional heavy-duty
137
the ignition system until the engine starts. This
requires a high discharge over a very short time
span. Cold engines require more power to turn
over, but batteries have difficulty delivering
power when it is cold. Cold cranking amperes
(CCA) are an important measurement of battery capacity because they measure the discharge load, in amps, that a battery can supply
for 30 seconds at 0°F while maintaining a voltage of 1.2 volts per cell (7.2 volts per battery)
or higher. The CCA rating generally falls between 300 and 970 for most passenger cars; it
is identified as 300 CCA, 400 CCA, 500 CCA,
and so on. The rating is typically higher for
commercial vehicles. For more information
about cold cranking amps, see the section on
“Battery Testing” in Chapter 7 of the Shop
Manual. Some batteries are rated as high as
1,100 CCA.
Cranking Amps (CA)
Cranking amps (CA) represent the discharge load
(in amps) that a fully charged battery can supply
for 30 seconds at 32°F while maintaining a voltage of 1.2 volts per cell (7.2 volts per 12 volt
battery) or higher.
NOTE: CA (Cranking Amps) is nearly the same as CCA (Cold Cranking Amps), but the two ratings should not be confused. CCA is rated at 0°F. CA, on the other hand is measured at a temperature of 32°F. The difference in temperature will produce a considerable amount of additional current when measured as a CA rating.
batteries are normally used in cars with air conditioning or several major electrical accessories or in
cars operated in cold climates. To ensure adequate
cranking power and to meet all other electrical
needs, a replacement battery may have a higher rating, but never a lower rating, than the original unit.
The battery must also be the correct size for the car,
and have the correct type of terminals. BCI standards include a coding system called the group
number. BCI battery rating methods are explained
in the following paragraphs.
Cold Cranking Amperes (CCA)
The primary duty of the battery is to start the
engine. It cranks, or rotates, the crankshaft
while it maintains sufficient voltage to activate
Reserve Capacity Rating
Reserve capacity is the time required (in minutes) for a fully charged battery at 80˚F under a
constant 25-amp draw to reach a voltage of 10.5
volts. This rating helps determine the battery’s
ability to sustain a minimum vehicle electrical
load in the event of a charging system failure.
The minimum electrical load under the worst
possible conditions (winter driving at night)
would likely require current for the ignition, lowbeam headlights, windshield wipers, and the defroster at low speed. Reserve capacity is useful
for measuring the battery’s ability to power a vehicle that has small, long-term parasitic electrical
loads but enough reserve to crank the engine.
Battery reserve capacity ratings range from 30
to 175 minutes, and correspond approximately to
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the length of time a vehicle can be driven after the
charging system has failed. The reserve capacity
of a battery can be used to judge how much electrical drain in milliamperes could be acceptable using the reserve capacity in minutes divided by 4.
For example, a battery with an RC rating of 120
minutes should have a maximum battery drain of
30 mA (120 4 30).
Historical Ampere-Hour Rating
The oldest battery rating method, no longer used
to rate batteries, was the ampere-hour rating. This
rating method was the industry standard for
decades. It was replaced, however, years ago by
the cranking performance and reserve capacity
ratings, which provide better indications of a
battery’s performance. The ampere-hour method
was also called the 20-hour discharge rating
method. This rating represented the steady
current flow that a battery delivered at a temperature of 80°F (27°C) without cell voltage falling
below 1.75 volts (a total of 10.5 volts for a 12-volt
battery). For example, a battery that continuously
delivered 3 amperes for 20 hours was rated as a
60 ampere-hour battery (3 amperes × 20 hours =
60 ampere-hours).
Historical Watt-Hour Rating
Many years ago, batteries were rated in watt
hours. A watt hour is the drain of a battery equal
to one watt, which is one volt times one amp for a
period of one hour or any combination of wattage
and time. The watt hour rating of the battery was
measured at 0°F (18°C).
Chapter Seven
vehicle. There are several different types of holddowns including:
• Bracket over the top of the battery
• Bottom bracket that wedges into a notch at
the base of the battery
When selecting a battery, check the weight of
the battery in the size that fits the vehicle. A
heavier battery has more lead and is likely to out
perform a lighter battery of the same size and
type of construction.
Group Number
Manufacturers provide a designated amount of
space, usually in the engine compartment, to accommodate the battery. Since battery companies
build batteries of various current-capacity ratings
in a variety of sizes and shapes, it is useful to have
a guide when replacing a battery, because it must
fit into the space provided. The BCI size group
number identifies a battery in terms of its length,
width, height, terminal design, and other physical
features.
BATTERY
INSTALLATIONS
Most automobiles use one 6-cell, 12-volt battery
installed in the engine compartment. Certain factors influence battery location as follows:
• The distance between the battery and the alter-
Battery Size Selection
Battery size and weight are major factors for the
design engineer. A typical battery can weigh
about 50 pounds and takes space in the vehicle.
Powertrain and electronic design engineers want
the vehicle to have enough capacity for automatic
headlights, which remain on for several minutes
after the engine is turned off, as well as to provide
the electrical power to start the engine under all
extremely low temperature conditions. Due to vehicle packaging considerations, the battery can be
located under the hood, behind the front bumper,
under the rear seat, or in the trunk area. The battery selected must of course be able to fit into the
vehicle and use the same cable converter as the
original, as well as be able to be held down in the
nator or starter motor determines the length of
the cables used. Cable length is important
because of electrical system resistance. The
longer the cables, the greater the resistance.
• The battery should be located away from hot
engine components in a position where it
can be cooled by airflow.
• The battery should be in a location where it
can be securely mounted as protection
against internal damage from vibration.
• The battery should be positioned where it
can be easily serviced.
The decrease in size of late-model vehicles has resulted in lighter, smaller batteries with greater capacity. The use of new plastics and improved grid
and plate materials has contributed to the new battery designs.
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Automotive Battery Operation
Some older cars and a few new imported
and domestic models have the battery located
in the trunk. For example, the battery used
with the Ford Escort diesel is mounted in the
trunk beneath a trim cover and encased in a
protective bag (Figure 7-9). The bag will retain battery acid in case of an accident that
might damage it. A tube and seal assembly
connected to the battery vents allows gassing
to the atmosphere.
139
This venting device should be inspected
periodically and replaced, if necessary, because
proper venting is essential for safety. Such locations
require the use of long cables of heavy-gauge wire.
The size of such cables offsets their greater length
in keeping resistance manageable, but increases
cost and weight while reducing convenience.
Late-model GM diesel cars and Ford light
trucks use two 12-volt batteries connected in
parallel (Figure 7-10). Both battery positive
Figure 7-9. This Ford Escort diesel battery
is encased in a protective bag and housed in
the trunk.
Figure 7-10.
Diesel vehicles generally have two 12-volt batteries for better cranking with a 12-volt starter.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
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Chapter Seven
terminals are connected to each other and to the
positive battery cable attached to the starter motor
(GM) or to the relay (Ford). The battery terminals
are connected to each other in a similar manner,
and to the ground cable. The use of a parallel
installation doubles the current available for
starting the high-compression diesel without
increasing system voltage. If the batteries were
connected in series, the voltage would double.
Both batteries are charged simultaneously by
the alternator. For more information, see the
section on “Battery Changing” in Chapter 7 of the
Shop Manual.
BATTERY
INSTALLATION
COMPONENTS
Selecting and maintaining properly designed
battery installation components is necessary for
good battery operation and service life.
Connectors, Carriers,
and Holddowns
Battery cables are very large-diameter multistrand
wire, usually 0 to 6 gauge. Diesel engine vehicles
generally use the larger 0, while gasoline engine
vehicles use 6. A new battery cable should always
be the same gauge as the one being replaced.
Battery terminals may be tapered posts on the
top or internally threaded terminals on the side of
the battery. To prevent accidental reversal of battery
polarity (incorrectly connecting the cables), the
positive terminal is slightly larger than the negative
terminal. Three basic styles of connectors are used
to attach the battery cables to the battery terminals:
• A bolt-type clamp is used on top-terminal
batteries, Figure 7-11. The bolt passes
through the two halves of the cable end into
a nut. When tightened, it squeezes the cable
end against the battery post.
• A bolt-through clamp is used on side-terminal
batteries. The bolt threads through the cable
end and directly into the battery terminal,
Figure 7-12.
Figure 7-11. The most common type of top terminal battery clamp.
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141
Figure 7-12. The side terminal clamp is attached
with a bolt. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 7-14.
holddown.
A common type of battery carrier and
Figure 7-15.
Another common battery holddown.
Figure 7-13. The spring-type clamp generally is
found on non-domestic cars.
• A spring-type clamp is used on some top-
terminal batteries. A built-in spring holds the
cable end on the battery post (Figure 7-13).
Batteries are usually mounted on a shelf or tray
in the engine compartment, although some
manufacturers place the battery in the trunk, under
the seat, or else where in the vehicle. The shelf or
tray that holds the battery is called the carrier
(Figure 7-14). The battery is mounted on the carrier
with brackets called holddowns (Figures 7-14 and
7-15). These keep the battery from tipping over and
spilling acid. A battery must be held securely in its
carrier to protect it from vibration that can damage
the plates and internal plate connectors. For more
information, see the section on “Battery Cable
Service” in Chapter 7 of the Shop Manual.
WARNING: Don’t Pull The Plugs
Do you make a practice of removing the vent plugs
from a battery before charging it? Prestolite says
you shouldn’t, at least with many late-model batter-
ies. “A great number of batteries manufactured today will have safety vents,” says Prestolite. “If these
are removed, the batteries are open to external
sources of explosion ignition.” Prestolite recommends that, on batteries with safety vents, the vent
plugs should be left in place when charging.
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Chapter Seven
temperature, overcharging, deep cycling, and
recharging all factors in battery gassing and
resultant water loss.
With vent-cap batteries, and to some extent,
low- maintenance batteries, water is lost from the
electrolyte during charging in the form of hydrogen and oxygen gases. This causes the electrolyte
level to drop. If the level drops below the top of
the plates, active material will be exposed to the
air. The material will harden and resist electrochemical reaction. Also, the remaining electrolyte
will have a high concentration of acid, which can
cause the plates to deteriorate quickly. Even the
addition of water will not restore such hardened
plates to a fully active condition.
Figure 7-16. A molded heat shield that fits over the
battery is used by Chrysler and some other manufacturers. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Battery Heat Shields
Many late-model cars use battery heat shields
(Figure 7-16) to protect batteries from high
underhood temperatures. Most heat shields are
made of plastic, and some are integral with the
battery holddown. Integral shields are usually
large plastic plates that sit alongside the battery.
Heat shields do not require removal for routine
battery inspection and testing, but must be removed for battery replacement.
BATTERY LIFE AND
PERFORMANCE
FACTORS
All batteries have a limited life, but certain conditions can shorten that life. The important factors
that affect battery life are discussed in the following paragraphs.
Electrolyte Level
As we have seen, the design of maintenancefree batteries has minimized the loss of water
from electrolyte so that battery cases can be
sealed. Given normal use, the addition of water
to such batteries is not required during their
service life. However, even maintenance-free
batteries will lose some of their water to high
Parasitic Losses
Parasitic losses are small current drains required
to operate electrical systems, such as the clock,
that continue to work when the car is parked and
the ignition is off. The current demand of a clock
is small and not likely to cause a problem.
The advent of computer controls, however,
has made parasitic losses more serious. Many
late-model cars have computers to control
such diverse items as engine operation, radio
tuning, suspension leveling, climate control, and
more. Each of these microprocessors contains
random access memory (RAM) that stores information relevant to its job. To “remember,” RAM
requires a constant voltage supply, and therefore
puts a continuous drain on the car’s electrical
system.
The combined drain of several computer
memories can discharge a battery to the point
where there is insufficient cranking power after
only a few weeks. Vehicles with these systems
that are driven infrequently, put into storage, or
awaiting parts for repair will require battery
charging more often than older cars with lower
parasitic voltage losses.
Because of the higher parasitic current
drains on late-model cars, the old test of removing a battery cable connection and tapping
it against the terminal while looking for a spark
is both dangerous and no longer a valid check
for excessive current drain. Furthermore, every
time the power source to the computer is interrupted, electronically stored information,
such as radio station presets, is lost and
will have to be reprogrammed when the battery
is reconnected.
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143
On engine control systems with learning
capability, like GM’s Computer Command
Control, driveability may also be affected until
the computer relearns the engine calibration
modifications that were erased from its memory
when the battery was disconnected. For more
information, see the section on “Battery Testing”
in Chapter 7 of the Shop Manual.
in a constantly undercharged battery, it can crystallize and not recombine with the electrolyte.
This is called battery sulfation. The crystals are
difficult to break down by normal recharging
and the battery becomes useless. Despite the
chemical additives sold as “miracle cures” for
sulfation, a completely sulfated battery cannot
be effectively recharged.
Corrosion
Cycling
Battery corrosion is caused by spilled electrolyte
and by electrolyte condensation from gassing.
The sulfuric acid attacks and can destroy not only
connectors and terminals, but metal holddowns
and carriers as well. Corroded connectors increase
resistance at the battery connections. This reduces the applied voltage for the car’s electrical
system. Corrosion also can cause mechanical
failure of the holddowns and carrier, which can
damage the battery. Spilled electrolyte and corrosion on the battery top also can create a current leakage path, which can allow the battery to
discharge.
As we learned at the beginning of this chapter, the
operation of a battery from charged to discharged
and back to charged is called cycling. Automotive
batteries are not designed for continuous deepcycle use (although special marine and RV batteries are). If an automotive battery is repeatedly
cycled from a fully charged condition to an
almost discharged condition, the active material
on the positive plates may shed and fall into the
bottom of the case. If this happens, the material
cannot be restored to the plates. Cycling thus
reduces the capacity of the battery and shortens its
useful service life.
Overcharging
Temperature
Batteries can be overcharged either by the
automotive charging system or by a separate
battery charger. In either case, there is a violent
chemical reaction in the battery. The water in
the electrolyte is rapidly broken down into
hydrogen and oxygen gases. These gas bubbles
can wash active material off the plates, as
well as lower the level of the electrolyte.
Overcharging can also cause excessive heat,
which can oxidize the positive grid material and
even buckle the plates. For more information,
see the section on “Battery Changing” in
Chapter 7 of the Shop Manual.
Temperature extremes affect battery service life
and performance in a number of ways. High
temperature, caused by overcharging or excessive
engine heat, increases electrolyte loss and shortens battery life.
Low temperatures in winter can also harm a
battery. If the electrolyte freezes, it can expand
and break the case, ruining the battery. The freezing point of electrolyte depends upon its specific
gravity and thus, on the battery’s state of charge.
A fully charged battery with a specific gravity of
1.265 to 1.280 will not freeze until its temperature drops below 60°F ( 51°C). A discharged
battery with electrolyte that is mostly water can
freeze at 18°F (28°C).
As we saw earlier, cold temperatures make it
harder to keep the battery fully charged, yet this is
when a full charge is most important. Figure 7-17
compares the energy levels available from a fully
charged battery at various temperatures. As you
can see, the colder a battery is, the less energy
it can supply. Yet the colder an engine gets,
the more energy it requires for cranking. This
is why battery care is especially important in
cold weather.
Undercharging and Sulfation
If an automobile is not charging its battery,
either because of stop-and-start driving or a fault
in the charging system, the battery will be
constantly discharged. As we saw in the explanation of electrochemical action, a discharged
plate is covered with lead sulfate. The amount of
lead sulfate on the plate will vary according to
the state of charge. As the lead sulfate builds up
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Figure 7-17. Battery power decreases as temperature decreases.
Vibration
As mentioned earlier, a battery must be securely
mounted in its carrier to protect it from vibration.
Vibration can shake the active materials off the
plates and severely shorten a battery’s life.
Vibration can also loosen the plate connections to
the plate strap and damage other internal connections. Some manufacturers now build batteries
with plate straps and connectors in the center of
the plates to reduce the effects of vibration.
Severe vibration can even crack a battery case and
loosen cable connections.
See the section on “Jump Starting” in Chapter 7
of the Shop Manual.
SUMMARY
Automotive batteries are lead-acid secondary batteries containing a number of electrochemical
cells that can be recharged after discharging.
Batteries not only store power, they generate voltage and current through the electrochemical
action between dissimilar plates in the presence
of an electrolyte. Each lead-acid cell generates
about 2.1 volts regardless of the number of positive and negative plates. Cells are connected in
series, allowing six cells to produce about 12.6
volts in a fully charged 12-volt battery. Current
output of a cell depends upon the total surface
Chapter Seven
area of all the plates. Batteries with higher current
or capacity ratings have larger plate areas.
The battery state of charge is determined by
electrolyte specific gravity. In a fully charged battery, electrolyte should have a specific gravity of
1.260 to 1.265. Maintenance-free batteries contain calcium-alloy grids to reduce battery heat and
water loss. Since such batteries are sealed, their
electrolyte cannot be checked and water cannot
be added to their cells.
Automotive batteries are designed for starting
the engine, not for continual cycling from fully
charged to discharged and back to fully charged.
Batteries have cranking performance and reserve
capacity ratings, and BCI group numbers indicate
their size and physical characteristics. Battery
service life is affected by electrolyte level, corrosion, overcharging or undercharging, cycling,
vibration, and temperature variations.
How the Battery Got Its Name
The word “battery” means a group of like things
used together. An automobile battery is a group of
electrochemical cells connected and working together. Battery voltage is determined by the number of cells connected in series in the battery.
Early automobile batteries could be taken
apart for service. Cases were made of wood, and
the tops were sealed with tar or a similar material.
The top could be opened and the plate element
could be removed from a single cell and replaced
with a new one.
Deep-Cycle Service
Some batteries, like those in golf carts and
electric vehicles, are used for deep-cycle service.
This means that as they provide electrical current,
they go from a fully charged state to an almost
fully discharged state, and are then recharged
and used again.
Maintenance-free batteries should never be
used in deep-cycle service. Deep-cycle service
promotes shedding of the active materials from
the battery plates. This action drastically reduces
the service life of a maintenance-free battery.
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Review Questions
1. Which of the following occurs within an
automobile battery?
a. The positive plate gains electrons and is
positively charged.
b. The negative plate loses electrons and
is negatively charged.
c. The positive plate loses electrons
and the negative plate gains electrons.
d. The positive plate gains electrons
and the negative plate loses electrons.
2. Battery electrolyte is a mixture of water
and:
a. Lead peroxide
b. Sulfuric acid
c. Lead sulfate
d. Sulfur crystals
3. The plates of a discharged battery are:
a. Two similar metals in the presence of an
electrolyte
b. Two similar metals in the presence
of water
c. Two dissimilar metals in the presence of
an electrolyte
d. Two dissimilar metals in the presence
of water
4. Which of the following is true about
a “secondary” battery?
a. It can be recharged.
b. Neither the electrolyte nor the metals
change their atomic structure.
c. One of the metals is totally destroyed by
the action of the battery.
d. The action of the battery cannot
be reversed.
5. Which of the following does not occur
during battery recharging?
a. The lead sulfate on the plates gradually
decomposes.
b. The sulfate is redeposited in the water.
c. The electrolyte is returned to full
strength.
d. The negative plates change back
to lead sulfate.
6. Each cell of an automobile battery can
produce about ________ volts.
a. 1.2
b. 2.1
c. 4.2
d. 6
7. Which of the following is true of a 6-volt
automobile battery?
a. It has six cells connected in series.
b. It has three cells connected in series.
c. It has six cells connected in parallel.
d. It has three cells connected in parallel.
8. The correct ratio of water to sulfuric acid in
battery electrolyte is approximately:
a. 80 percent water to 20 percent
sulfuric acid
b. 60 percent water to 40 percent
sulfuric acid
c. 40 percent water to 60 percent
sulfuric acid
d. 20 percent water to 80 percent
sulfuric acid
9. At 80°F, the correct specific gravity of
electrolyte in a fully charged battery is:
a. 1.200 to 1.225
b. 1.225 to 1.265
c. 1.265 to 1.280
d. 1.280 to 1.300
10. A specific gravity of 1.170 to 1.190 at 80°F
indicates that a battery’s state of charge
is about:
a. 75 percent
b. 50 percent
c. 25 percent
d. 10 percent
11. Which of the following materials is not used
for battery separators?
a. Lead
b. Wood
c. Paper
d. Plastic
12. Batteries are rated in terms of:
a. Amperes at 65°F
b. Resistance at 32°F
c. Voltage level at 80°F
d. Cranking performance at 0°F
13. Maintenance-free batteries:
a. Have individual cell caps
b. Require water infrequently
c. Have three pressure vents
d. Use non-antimony lead alloys
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14. Which of the following statements is not true
of a replacement battery?
a. It may have the same rating as
the original battery.
b. It may have a higher rating than the
original battery.
c. It may have a lower rating than the
original battery.
d. It should be selected according to an
application chart.
15. An automobile battery with a cranking
performance rating of 380 can deliver
380 amps for:
a. 30 seconds at 0°F
b. 60 seconds at 0°F
c. 90 seconds at 32°F
d. 90 seconds at 0°F
16. The principal cause of battery water loss is:
a. Spillage from the vent caps
b. Leakage through the battery case
c. Conversion of water to sulfuric acid
d. Evaporation due to heat of the
charging current
17. Which of the following is not true of a
maintenance-free battery?
a. It will resist overcharging better than a
vent-cap battery.
b. It will lose water slower than a vent-cap
battery.
c. It will produce a greater voltage than
a vent-cap battery.
d. It has a greater electrolyte capacity than
a vent-cap battery.
18. The electrolyte in a fully charged battery will
generally not freeze until the temperature
drops to:
a. 32°F
b. 0°F
c. 20°F
d. 50°F
19. The grid material used in a maintenancefree battery is alloyed with:
a. Silicon
b. Antimony
c. Calcium
d. Germanium
20. Low-maintenance batteries:
a. Have no cell caps
b. Have a higher proportion of sulfuric acid
c. Have no gas-pressure vents
d. Require infrequent water addition
Chapter Seven
21. Recombinant batteries are:
a. Rebuilt units
b. Completely sealed
c. Vented to release gassing
d. Able to produce a higher cell voltage
22. Which of these parts of a battery hold the
electrical charge?
a. Side-post types
b. Positive and negative plates
c. Top-post type
d. Bottom plates
23. Technician A says that the battery term
ampere-hour refers to stored charge
capacity of a battery. Technician B says that
a 75-ampere-hour charge applied to a 200ampere-hour battery should turn the charge
indicator green. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
24. On a vehicle with the two battery 12-volt
system, the battery’s connection is which
one of the following?
a. Series circuit
b. Parallel circuit
c. DC circuit
d. AC circuit
25. During normal operation, the battery(s)
perform all of the following functions,
except:
a. Provides electrical energy for the
accessories when the engine is
not running
b. Acts as voltage storage for the truck
electrical system
c. Serves as the voltage source for starting
d. Provides voltage for the injection
solenoid when running
26. The subject of battery ratings is being
discussed. Technician A says reserve
capacity is a rating that represents the time in
minutes that a battery can operate a truck at
night with minimum electrical load. Technician
B says that cranking amps (CA) is basically
the same as cold cranking amps (CCA) but
at a temperature of 32°F. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
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8
Charging
System
Operation
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Identify charging system development and
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
principles.
Explain the operation of a DC generator.
Identify AC charging system components
and explain charging voltage.
Explain diode rectification.
Identify AC generator components and
explain their function.
Explain current production in an AC generator (alternator) operation.
Identify different OEM AC generators and
explain those differences.
Explain how voltage is regulated in an AC
generator.
Identify the different types of voltage regulators and explain how they operate.
KEY TERMS
AC Generators
Delta-Type Stator
Diode
Field Circuit
Full-Wave Rectification
Half-Wave Rectification
Output Circuit
Rotor
Sine Wave Voltage
Single-Phase Current
Single-Phase Voltage
Sliprings and Brushes
Stator
Three-phase Current
Voltage Regulator
Y-Type Stator
INTRODUCTION
The charging system converts the engine’s
mechanical energy into electrical energy. This
electrical energy is used to maintain the battery’s
state of charge and to operate the loads of the automotive electrical system. In this chapter we will
use the conventional theory of current: Electrons
move from positive to negative ( to ).
147
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During cranking, all electrical energy for the
vehicle is supplied by the battery. After the engine
is running, the charging system must produce
enough electrical energy to recharge the battery
and to supply the demands of other loads in the
electrical system. If the starting system is in poor
condition and draws too much current, or if the
charging system cannot recharge the battery and
supply the additional loads, more energy must be
drawn from the battery for short periods of time.
CHARGING SYSTEM
DEVELOPMENT
For many years, automotive charging systems used
only direct current (DC) generators to provide
electrical energy. Internally, generators produce an
alternating current voltage, which is mechanically
rectified by the commutator into direct current
voltage. Systems using DC generators are called
DC charging systems. Vehicles with DC generators
are very rare today.
AC generators or alternators also produce alternating current (AC), but there was no simple way
to rectify the current until semiconductor technology finally provided the answer in the form of
diodes, or one-way electrical valves. Since the
mid-1960s, virtually all new automobiles have
diode-rectified AC generators (alternators) in their
charging systems.
AC generators (alternators) replaced DC generators back in the late fifties, except for Volkswagen,
which used DC generators until 1975. In the automotive charging system, they have the following
advantages:
• Weigh less per ampere of output
• Can be operated at much higher speed
• Pass less current through the brushes with
only a few amperes of field current, reducing brush wear
• Govern their own maximum current output,
requiring no external current regulation
• Can produce current when rotated in either
direction, although their cooling fans usually are designed for one-way operation.
Chapter Eight
FIELD
LINES OF
FORCE
COMMUTATOR
WIRE LOOP
LAMINATED
CORE
CARBON BRUSH
OUTPUT
WAVE
Figure 8-1.
DC generator.
shown in Figure 8-1. A framework composed of
laminated iron sheets or other ferromagnetic
metal has a coil wound on it to form an electromagnet. When current flows through this coil,
magnetic fields are created between the pole
pieces, as shown. Permanent magnets could also
be employed instead of the electromagnet.
To simplify the initial explanation, a single wire
loop is shown between the north and south pole
pieces. When this wire loop is turned within the
magnetic fields it cuts the lines of force and a voltage is induced. If there is a complete circuit from the
wire loop, current will flow. The wire loop is connected to a split ring known as a commutator, and
carbon brushes pick off the electric energy as the
commutator rotates. Connecting wires from the carbon brushes transfer the energy to the load circuit.
When the wire loop makes a half-turn, the energy
generated rises to a maximum level and drops to
zero, as shown in Figure 8-1. If the wire loop completed a full rotation, the induced voltage would
reverse itself and the current would flow in the
opposite direction (AC current) after the initial halfturn. To provide for an output having a single polarity (DC current), a split-ring commutator is used.
Thus, for the second half-turn, the carbon brushes
engage commutator segments opposite to those
over which they slid for the first half-turn, keeping
the current in the same direction. The output waveform is not a steady-level DC, but rises and falls to
form a pattern referred to as pulsating DC. Thus, for
a complete 360-degree turn of the wire loop, two
waveforms are produced, as shown in Figure 8-1.
DC GENERATOR
CHARGING VOLTAGE
The principles of electromagnetic induction are
employed in generators for producing DC current. The basic components of a DC generator are
Although the automotive electrical system is called
a 12-volt system, the AC generator (alternator)
must produce more than 12 volts. A fully charged
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Charging System Operation
battery produces about 2.1 volts per cell; this means
the open-circuit voltage of a fully charged 12-volt
battery, which has six cells, is approximately
12.6 volts. If the AC generator cannot produce more
than 12.6 volts, it cannot charge the battery until the
system voltage drops under 12.6 volts. This would
leave nothing extra to serve the other electrical
demands put on the system by lights, air conditioning, and power accessories.
Alternating-current charging systems are generally regulated to produce a maximum output of
14.5 volts. Output of more than 16 volts will overheat the battery electrolyte and shorten its life. High
voltage also damages components that rely heavily
on solid-state electronics, such as fuel injection and
engine control systems. On the other hand, low
voltage output causes the battery to become sulfated. The charging system must be maintained
within the voltage limits specified by the manufacturer if the vehicle is to perform properly.
149
current produced in the conductor is rectified by
diodes for use by the electrical system.
• A voltage regulator, which limits the field
current and thus the AC generator (alternator) output voltage according to the electrical
system demand. A regulator can be either an
electromechanical or a solid-state device.
Some late-model, solid-state regulators are
part of the vehicle’s onboard computer.
• An ammeter, a voltmeter, or indicator warning lamp mounted on the instrument panel
to give a visual indication of charging system operation.
Charging System Circuits
The charging system consists of the following
major circuits (Figure 8-4):
• The field circuit, which delivers current to
the AC generator (alternator) field
AC Charging System
Components
• The output circuit, which sends voltage and
current to the battery and other electrical
components
The automotive charging system. (Figure 8-2)
contains the following:
• A battery, which provides current to initiate
the magnetic field required to operate the AC
generator (alternator) and, in turn, is charged
and maintained by the AC generator.
• An AC generator (alternator), which is beltdriven by the engine and converts mechanical
motion into charging voltage and current.
The simple AC generator (alternator) shown in
Figure 8-3 consists of a magnet rotating inside a
fixed-loop stator, or conductor. The alternating
Figure 8-2. Major components of an automotive charging system. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Single-Phase Current
AC Generators (alternators) induce voltage by
rotating a magnetic field inside a fixed conductor.
The greatest current output is produced when the
rotor is parallel to the stator with its magnetic field
at right angles to the stator, as in Figure 8-3. When
the rotor makes one-quarter of a revolution and is
at right angles to the stator with its magnetic field
parallel to the stator, as in Figure 8-5, there is no
Figure 8-3. An AC generator (alternator) is based on
the rotation of a magnet inside a fixed-loop conductor.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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Figure 8-4. The output circuit and the field circuit make
up the automotive charging system. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
Chapter Eight
Figure 8-6. These are the voltage levels induced
across the upper half of the conductor during one rotor
revolution. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
turns. The alternating current caused by a singlephase voltage is called single-phase current.
DIODE
RECTIFICATION
Figure 8-5. No current flows when the rotor’s magnetic
field is parallel to the stator. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
current output. Figure 8-6 shows the voltage levels induced across the upper half of the looped
conductor during one revolution of the rotor.
The constant change of voltage, first to a positive peak and then to a negative peak, produces a
sine wave voltage. This name comes from the
trigonometric sine function. The wave shape is
controlled by the angle between the magnet and
the conductor. The sine wave voltage induced
across one conductor by one rotor revolution is
called a single-phase voltage. Positions 1 through
5 of Figure 8-6 show complete sine wave singlephase voltage.
This single-phase voltage causes alternating current to flow in a complete circuit because the voltage switches from positive to negative as the rotor
If the single-phase voltage shown in Figure 8-6
made current travel through a simple circuit, the
current would flow first in one direction and then in
the opposite direction. As long as the rotor turned,
the current would reverse its flow with every half
revolution. The battery cannot be recharged with
alternating current. Alternating current must be rectified to direct current to recharge the battery. This
is done with diodes.
A diode acts as a one-way electrical valve. If a
diode is inserted into a simple circuit, as shown in
Figure 8-7, one-half of the AC voltage is blocked.
That is, the diode allows current to flow from X to
Y, as shown in position A. In position B, the current cannot flow from Y to X because it is blocked
by the diode. The graph in Figure 8-7 shows the
total current.
The first half of the current, from X to Y, was
allowed to pass through the diode. It is shown on
the graph as curve XY. The second half of the current, from Y to X, was not allowed to pass through
the diode. It does not appear on the graph because
it never traveled through the circuit. When the
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Charging System Operation
Figure 8-7. A single diode in the circuit results in halfwave rectification. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
151
voltage reverses at the start of the next rotor revolution, the current is again allowed through the
diode from X to Y.
An AC generator with only one conductor and
one diode would show this current output pattern.
However, this output would not be very useful
because half of the time there is no current available. This is called half-wave rectification, since
only half of the AC voltage produced by the AC
generator is allowed to flow as DC voltage.
Adding more diodes to the circuit, as shown in
Figure 8-8, allows more of the AC voltage to be
rectified to DC. In position A, current moves from
X to Y. It travels from X, through diode 2, through
the load, through diode 3, and back to Y. In position B, current moves from Y to X. It travels from
Y, through diode 4, through the load, through
diode I, and back to X.
Notice that in both cases current traveled
through the load in the same direction. This is
because the AC has been rectified to DC. The
graph in Figure 8-8 shows the current output of an
AC generator with one conductor and four diodes.
Figure 8-8. More diodes are needed in the circuit for full-wave
rectification. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
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Chapter Eight
There is more current available because all of the
voltage has been rectified. This is called full-wave
rectification. However, there are still moments
when current is at zero. Most automotive AC
generators use three conductors and six diodes to
produce overlapping current waves so that current
output is never at zero.
Heat Sinks
The term heat sink is commonly used to describe
the block of aluminum or other material in which
the AC generator diodes are mounted. The job of
the heat sink is to absorb and carry away the heat
in the diodes caused by electrical current through
them. This action keeps the diodes cool and prevents damage. An internal combustion engine is
also a heat sink.The engine is designed so that the
combustion and friction heat are carried away and
dissipated to the atmosphere. Although they are
not thought of as heat sinks, many individual parts
of an automobile—such as the brake drums—are
also designed to do this important job.
Figure 8-9.
Rotor. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
AC GENERATOR
(ALTERNATOR)
COMPONENTS
The previous illustrations have shown the principles of AC generator operation. To provide enough
direct current for an automobile, AC generators
must have a more complex design. But no matter
how the design varies, the principles of operation
remain the same.
The design of the AC generator limits its maximum output. To change this maximum value for
different applications, manufacturers change the
design of the stator, rotor, and other components.
The following paragraphs describe the major
parts of an automotive AC generator.
Rotor
The rotor carries the magnetic field. Unlike a DC
generator, which usually has only two magnetic
poles, the AC generator rotor has several north (N)
and south (S) poles. This increases the number of
flux lines within the AC generator and increases the
voltage output. A typical automotive rotor
(Figure 8-9) has 12 poles: 6 N and 6 S. The rotor
consists of two steel rotor halves, or pole pieces,
Figure 8-10. The flux lines surrounding an 8-pole
rotor. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
with fingers that interlace. These fingers are the
poles. Each pole piece has either all N or all S poles.
The magnetic flux lines travel between adjacent N
and S poles (Figure 8-10). Keep in mind that an
alternator is an AC generator; in some European
manufacturers’ service manuals, the AC generator
(alternator) is referred to as a generator.
Along the outside of the rotor, note that the flux
lines point first in one direction and then in the other.
This means as the rotor spins inside the AC generator,
the fixed conductors are being cut by flux lines, which
point in alternating directions. The induced voltage
alternates, just as in the example of a simple AC generator with only two poles. Automotive AC generators may have any number of poles, as long as they
are placed N-S-N-S. Common designs use eight to
fourteen poles.
The rotor poles may retain some magnetism
when the AC generator is not in operation, but this
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153
Figure 8-12. Exploded view of the parts of the complete rotor assembly. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 8-11. The magnetic field of the rotor is created by current through the rotor winding. (Reprinted by
permission of Robert Bosch GmbH)
residual magnetism is not strong enough to induce
any voltage across the conductors. Current produces the magnetic field of the rotor through the
rotor winding, which is a coil of wire between
the two pole pieces (Figure 8-11). This is also called
the excitation winding, or the field winding.
Varying the amount of field current through the
rotor winding varies the strength of the magnetic
field, which affects the voltage output of the AC
generator. A soft iron core is mounted inside the
rotor-winding (Figure 8-12). One pole piece is
attached to either end of the core; when field current
travels through the winding, the iron core is magnetized, and the pole pieces take on the magnetic
polarity of the end of the core to which they are
attached. Current is supplied to the winding through
sliprings and brushes.
The combination of a soft iron rotor core and
steel rotor halves provides better localization and
permeability of the magnetic field. The rotor pole
pieces, winding, core, and sliprings are pressed
onto a shaft. The ends of this shaft are supported by
bearings in the AC generator housing. Outside the
housing, a drive pulley is attached to the shaft, as
shown in Figure 8-13. A belt, driven by the engine
crankshaft-pulley, passes around the drive pulley
to turn the AC generator shaft and rotor assembly.
Stator
The three AC generator conductors are wound
onto a cylindrical, laminated core. The lamination prevents unwanted eddy currents from forming in the core. The assembled piece is called a
Figure 8-13. AC generator (alternator) and drive pulley. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
stator (Figure 8-14). The word stator comes
from the word “stationary” because it does not
rotate, as does the commutator conductor of a DC
generator. Each conductor, called a stator winding, is formed into a number of coils spaced
evenly around the core. There are as many coil
conductors as there are pairs of N-S rotor poles.
Figure 8-15 shows an incomplete stator with only
one of its conductors installed: There are seven
coils in the conductor, so the matching rotor
would have seven pairs of N-S poles, for a total
of fourteen poles. There are two ways to connect
the three-stator windings.
Housing
The AC generator housing, or frame, is made of
two pieces of cast aluminum (Figure 8-16).
Aluminum is lightweight and non-magnetic and
conducts heat well. One housing piece holds a
bearing for the end of the rotor shaft where the
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Figure 8-14.
An AC generator (alternator) stator.
Figure 8-15. A stator with only one conductor installed.
(Delphi Automotive Systems)
154
Figure 8-16. AC generator
encloses the rotor and stator.
(alternator)
housing
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Charging System Operation
Figure 8-17.
stator core.
AC generator (alternator) with exposed
drive pulley is mounted. This is often called the
drive-end housing, or front housing, of the AC generator. The other end holds the diodes, the brushes,
and the electrical terminal connections. It also
holds a bearing for the slipring end of the rotor
shaft. This is often called the slipring-end housing,
or rear housing. Together, the two pieces completely enclose the rotor and the stator windings.
The end housings are bolted together. Some stator cores have an extended rim that is held between
the two housings (Figure 8-17). Other stator cores
provide holes for the housing bolts, but do not
extend to the outside of the housings (Figure 8-18).
In both designs, the stator is rigidly bolted in place
inside the AC generator housing. The housing is
part of the electrical ground path because it is
bolted directly to the engine. Anything connected
to the housing that is not insulated from the housing is grounded.
Sliprings and Brushes
The sliprings and brushes conduct current to the
rotor winding. Most automotive AC generators
have two sliprings mounted on the rotor shaft.
The sliprings are insulated from the shaft and
from each other. One end of the rotor winding is
connected to each slipring (Figure 8-19). One
brush rides on each ring to carry current to and
155
Figure 8-18. AC generator (alternator) with the stator
core enclosed.
Figure 8-19. The sliprings and brushes carry current
to the rotor windings.
from the winding. A brush holder supports each
brush and a spring applies force to keep the brush
in constant contact with the rotating slipring. The
brushes are connected parallel with the AC generator output circuit. They draw some of the AC
generator current output and route it through the
rotor winding. Current through the winding must
be DC. Field current in an AC generator is usually
about 1.5 to 3.0 amperes. Because the brushes
carry so little current, they do not require as much
maintenance as DC generator brushes, which
must conduct all of the current output.
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156
For more information about generator maintenance, see the section on “Disassembly, Cleaning,
and Inspection” in Chapter 8 of the Shop Manual.
Diode Installation
Automotive AC generators that have three stator
windings generally use six diodes to rectify the
current output. The connections between the conductors and the diodes vary slightly, but each
conductor is connected to one positive and one
negative diode, as shown in Figure 8-20.
The three positive diodes are always insulated
from the AC generator housing. They are connected to the insulated terminal of the battery and
to the rest of the automotive electrical system.
The battery cannot discharge through this connection because the bias of the diodes blocks any
current from the battery. The positive diodes only
conduct current traveling from the conductors
toward the battery.
The positive diodes are mounted together on a
conductor called a heat sink (Figure 8-21). The
heat sink carries heat away from the diodes, just
as the radiator carries heat away from the engine.
Too much heat damages the diodes.
In the past, the three negative diodes were
pressed or threaded into the AC generator rear
housing. On high-output AC generators, they may
be mounted in a heat sink for added protection.
In either case, the connection to the AC generator
housing is a ground path; the negative diodes
Figure 8-20. Each conductor is attached to one positive and one negative diode.
Chapter Eight
conduct only the current traveling from ground
into the conductors. Each group of three or more
negative or positive diodes can be called a diode
bridge, a diode trio, or a diode plate. Some manufacturers use complete rectifier assemblies containing all the diodes and connections on a printed
circuit board. This assembly is replaced as a unit
if any of the individual components fail.
Each stator winding connects to its proper negative diode through a circuit in the rectifier. A
capacitor generally is installed between the output
terminal at the positive diode heat sink to ground at
the negative diode heat sink. This capacitor is used
to eliminate voltage-switching transients at the stator, to smooth out the AC voltage fluctuations, and
to reduce electromagnetic interference (EMI).
CURRENT
PRODUCTION IN
AN AC GENERATOR
After studying the principles of AC generator
operation and its components, the total picture of
how an automotive AC generator produces current becomes clear.
Three-Phase Current
The AC generator stator has three windings. Each
is formed into a number of coils, which are spaced
evenly around the stator core. The voltages
induced across each winding by one rotor revolution are shown in the graphs of Figure 8-22. The
Figure 8-21. Positive and negative diodes may be
mounted in a heat sink for protection.
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157
Figure 8-23.
Two types of stator windings. (Daimler-
Chrysler Corporation)
Stator Types
When the three conductors are completely
wound on the stator core, six loose ends remain.
The way in which these ends are connected to the
diode rectifier circuitry determines if the stator is
a Y-type or a Delta-type (Figure 8-23). Both
kinds of stators produce three-phase current and
the rectification produces DC output. However,
the voltage and current levels within the stators
differ.
Y-Type Stator Design
Figure 8-22. The single-phase voltages of three conductors create a three-phase voltage output. (Reprinted
by permission of Robert Bosch GmbH)
total voltage output of the AC generator is three
overlapping, evenly spaced, single-phase voltage
waves, as shown in the bottom graph of the illustration. If the stator windings are connected into a
complete circuit, the three-phase voltages cause
an AC output called three-phase current.
In the Y-type stator or Y-connected stator, one
end of each of the three windings is connected at a
neutral junction (Figure 8-23). The circuit diagram
of the Y-type stator (Figure 8-24) looks like the letter Y. This is also sometimes called a wye or a star
connection. The free end of each conductor is connected to a positive and a negative diode.
In a Y-type stator (Figure 8-24), two windings
always form a series circuit between a positive and
a negative diode. At any given instant, the position
of the rotor determines the direction of current
through these two windings. Current flows from
the negative voltage to the positive voltage. A complete circuit from ground, through a negative
diode, through two of the windings, and through a
positive diode to the AC generator output terminal,
exists throughout the 360-degree rotation of the
rotor. The induced voltages across the two windings added together produce the total voltage at the
output terminal. The majority of AC generators in
use today have Y-type stators because of the need
for high voltage output at low speeds.
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Chapter Eight
NEUTRAL JUNCTION
Figure 8-24.
Y-type stator circuit diagram. (Daimler-
Chrysler Corporation)
Unrectified AC Generators
Although the battery cannot be recharged
with AC, other automotive accessories can be
designed to run on unrectified alternator output.
Motorola has made AC generators with separate terminals for AC output. Ford has offered
a front-and-rear-window defroster that heats the
windows with three-phase, 120-volt AC. An
additional AC generator supplies the highvoltage current. This second AC generator is
mounted above the standard 12-volt AC generator and driven by the same belt.
The Ford high-voltage AC generator has a
Y-type stator. Field current draw is more than
4 amps, and there is no regulator in the field circuit. Output is 2,200 watts at high engine speed.
All of the wiring between the AC generator and
the defrosters is special, shielded wiring with
warning tags at all connectors. Ford test procedures use only an ohmmeter, because trying to
test such high output could be dangerous.
Some AC generators include a center tap lead
from the neutral junction to an insulated terminal
on the housing (Figure 8-25). The center tap may
control the field current, to activate an indicator
lamp, to control the electric choke on a carburetor, or for other functions.
+
–
+
–
+
–
CENTER TAP (SOME)
STATOR CONNECTION (1 OF 3)
Figure 8-25. A Y-type stator circuit diagram. The center
tap connects to the neutral junction of the Y-type stator of
some AC generators. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 8-26.
Circuit diagram of a delta-type stator.
(), a triangle. There is no neutral junction in a
delta-type stator. The windings always form two
parallel circuit paths between one negative and two
positive diodes. Current travels through two different circuit paths between the diodes (Figure 8-27).
The current-carrying capacity of the stator is double
because there are two parallel circuit paths. Deltatype stators are used when a high current output is
needed.
Delta-Type Stator Design
Phase Rectification
The delta-type stator or delta-connected stator
has the three windings connected end-to-end
(Figure 8-26). The circuit diagram of a delta-type
stator (Figure 8-26) looks like the Greek letter delta
The current pattern during rectification is similar in
any automotive AC generator. The only differences
are specific current paths through Y-type and deltatype stators as shown in Figures 8-27 and 8-28.
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159
Figure 8-29. The three-phase voltage from one revolution of the rotor. (Reprinted by permission of Robert
Bosch GmbH)
Figure 8-27. A typical current path during rectification in a delta-type stator. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 8-30. An AC generator (alternator) with six
pairs of N-S poles would produce the solid line voltage trace. The dashed line represents an alternator
with one pair. (Reprinted by permission of Robert Bosch
GmbH)
Figure 8-28. A typical current path during rectification in a Y-type stator. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Rectification with
Multiple-Pole Rotors
The three-phase voltage output used in the examples (Figure 8-29) is the voltage, which would
result if the rotor had only one N and one S pole.
Actual AC generator rotors have many N and S
poles. Each of these N-S pairs produces one complete voltage sine wave per rotor revolution, across
each of the three windings. One complete sine
wave begins at zero volts, climbs to a positive,
peak, drops past zero to a negative peak, then
returns to zero, or baseline voltage. In Figure 8-30,
the sine wave voltage caused by a single pole is
shown as a dashed line. The actual voltage trace
from one winding of a 12-pole AC generator is
shown as a solid line. The entire stator output is
three of these waves, evenly spaced and overlapping (Figure 8-31). The maximum voltage value
from these waves pushes current through the
diodes (Figure 8-32).
After rectification, AC generator (alternator)
output is DC voltage, which is slightly lower than
the maximum voltage peaks of the stator output.
The positive portion of the AC sine wave greater
than the DC output voltage is viewable on an
oscilloscope in what is called an AC generator
(alternator) ripple pattern (Figure 8-33).
Excitation Field Circuit
Field current through the rotor windings creates
the magnetic field of the rotor. Field current is
drawn from the AC generator output circuit once
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Figure 8-31. This is the total output of a three-winding,
multiple-pole AC generator.
Figure 8-33. AC generator (alternator) ripple is the AC
voltage exceeding DC output voltage.
the AC generator has begun to produce current.
However, there is not enough residual magnetism
in the rotor poles to induce voltage during start
up. An AC generator cannot start operation independently. Field current must be drawn from
another source in order to magnetize the rotor and
begin AC generator output.
The other source is the vehicle battery connected to the rotor winding through the excitation, or field, circuit. Battery voltage “excites”
the rotor magnetic field and begins output.
When the engine is off, the battery must be disconnected from the excitation circuit. If not, it
could discharge through the rotor windings to
ground. Some AC generators use a relay to control this circuit. Other systems use the voltage
regulator or a part of the ignition switch to control the excitation circuit.
Chapter Eight
Figure 8-32.
age values.
The diodes receive the maximum volt-
Figure 8-34. Some AC generators (alternators) have
additional diodes to rectify field current. (Reprinted by
permission of Robert Bosch GmbH)
Once the AC generator has started to produce
current, field current is drawn from the AC generator output. The current may be drawn after it
has been rectified by the output diodes. Some AC
generators draw field current from unrectified
AC output, which is then rectified by three additional diodes to provide DC to the rotor winding
(Figure 8-34). These additional diodes are called
the exciter diodes or the field diodes.
Circuit Types
AC generators (alternators) are designed with different types of field circuits. The two most common types are A-circuits and B-circuits. Circuit
types are determined by where the voltage regulator is connected and from where the field current is drawn.
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IGN
F
161
SWITCH
SENSING
VOLTAGE
REGULATOR
ALTERNATOR
Figure 8-35. An A-circuit. (Regulator is after the field.)
Figure 8-36. A B-circuit. (Regulator is before the field.)
A-Circuit
pletely stop any further increase in the AC generator’s current output. At this point, the AC generator
has reached its maximum current output. Therefore,
because the two voltages continue to increase as AC
generator speed increases, a method of regulating
AC generator voltage is required.
For more information about testing AC generators, see the following sections in Chapter 8 of
the Shop Manual: “Testing Specific Models,”
“Unit Removal,” “Disassembly, Cleaning, and
Inspection,” and “Bench Tests.”
The A-circuit AC generator (Figure 8-35) is also
called an externally grounded field AC generator.
Both brushes are insulated from the AC generator
housing. One brush connects to the voltage regulator, where it is grounded. The second brush connects to the output circuit within the AC generator,
where it draws current for the rotor winding. The
regulator connects between the rotor field winding
and ground. This type of circuit is often used with
solid-state regulators, which are small enough to
be mounted on the AC generator housing.
B-Circuit
The B-circuit AC generator (Figure 8-36) is also
called an internally grounded field AC generator.
One brush is grounded within the AC generator
housing. The other brush is insulated from the
housing and connected through the insulated voltage regulator to the AC generator output circuit.
The rotor field winding is between the regulator
and ground. This type of circuit is most often used
with electromagnetic voltage regulators, which
are mounted away from the AC generator housing.
Self-Regulation of Current
The maximum current output of an AC generator is
limited by its design. As induced voltage causes
current to travel in a conductor, a counter-voltage is
also induced in the same conductor. The countervoltage is caused by the expanding magnetic field
of the original induced current. The counter-voltage
tends to oppose any change in the original current.
The more current the AC generator puts out, the
greater this counter-voltage becomes. At a certain
point, the counter-voltage is great enough to com-
VOLTAGE
REGULATION
AC generator regulators limit voltage output by controlling field current. The location of the regulator in
the field circuit determines whether the AC generator is an A-circuit or a B-circuit. Voltage regulators
basically add resistance to field current in series.
AC generator output voltage is directly related
to field strength and rotor speed. An increase in
either factor increases voltage output. Similarly, a
decrease in either factor decreases voltage output.
Rotor speed is controlled by engine speed and cannot be changed simply to control the AC generator.
Controlling the field current in the rotor winding
can change field strength; this is how AC generator
voltage regulators work. Figure 8-37 shows how
the field current (dashed line) is lowered to keep
AC generator output (solid line) at a constant maximum, even when the rotor speed increases.
At low rotor speeds, the field current is at full
strength for relatively long periods of time, and is
reduced only for short periods (Figure 8-38A).
This causes a high average field current. At high
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Chapter Eight
Figure 8-39. Most regulators use a multiple-plug connector to ensure connections are properly made.
(Reprinted by permission of Robert Bosch GmbH)
Figure 8-37. Field current is decreased as rotor speed
increases, to keep AC generator (alternator) output voltage at a constant level.
into the AC generator or incorporated into the
powertrain control module (PCM).
Some solid-state regulators are mounted on the
inside or outside of the AC generator housing.
Remotely mounted voltage regulators often use a
multiple-plug connector (Figure 8-40) to ensure
all connections are properly made. This eliminates exposed wiring and connections, which are
prone to damage.
ELECTROMAGNETIC
REGULATORS
Figure 8-38. The field current flows for longer periods of time at low speeds (t1) than at high speeds (t2).
(Reprinted by permission of Robert Bosch GmbH)
rotor speeds, the field current is reduced for long
periods of time and is at full strength only for
short periods (Figure 8-38B). This causes a low
average field current.
On older vehicles, an electromagnetic regulator
controlled the field circuit. However, in the 1970s,
semiconductor technology made solid-state voltage regulators possible. Because they are smaller
and have no moving parts, solid-state regulators
replaced the older electromagnetic types in AC
charging systems. On newer vehicles, the solidstate regulator may be a separate component built
Electromagnetic voltage regulators, sometimes
called electromechanical regulators, operate the
same whether used with old DC generators or
more common AC generators. The electromagnetic coil of the voltage regulator is connected
from the ignition switch to ground. This forms a
parallel branch receiving system voltage, either
from the AC generator output circuit or from the
battery. The magnetic field of the coil acts upon
an armature to open and close contact points controlling current to the field.
Double-Contact Voltage
Regulator
At high rotor speeds, the AC generator may be
able to force too much field current through a
single-contact regulator and exceed the desired
output. This is called voltage creep, or voltage
drift. Single-contact regulators are used only with
low-current-output alternators. Almost all electromagnetic voltage regulators used with automotive
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AC generators are double-contact units (Figure 8-40).
When the first set of contacts opens at lower rotor
speeds, current passes through a resistor wired in
series with the field circuit. These contacts are
163
called the series contacts. The value of the regulating resistor is kept very low to permit high field
current when needed. At higher rotor speeds, the
coil further attracts the armature and a second set
of contacts is closed. This grounds the field circuit,
stopping the field current. These contacts are called
the shorting contacts because they short-circuit the
field to ground. The double-contact design offers
consistent regulation over a broad range of AC
generator speeds.
SOLID-STATE
REGULATORS
Figure 8-40. The circuit diagram of a double-contact
regulator. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
Solid-state regulators completely replaced the
older electromagnetic design on late-model vehicles. They are compact, have no moving parts,
and are not seriously affected by temperature
changes. The early solid-state designs combine
transistors with the electromagnetic field relay.
The latest and most compact is the integrated circuit (IC) regulator (Figure 8-41). This combines
all control circuitry and components on a single
Figure 8-41. An example of the latest integrated circuit regulator design, a Ford IAR
regulator and brush holder.
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Chapter Eight
silicon chip. Attaching terminals are added and
the chip is sealed in a small plastic module that
mounts inside, or on the back of, the AC generator. Because of their construction, however, all
solid-state regulators are non-serviceable and
must be replaced if defective. No adjustments are
possible.
Here is a review of most components of a
solid-state regulator:
•
•
•
•
•
Diodes
Transistors
Zener diodes
Thermistors
Capacitors
Diodes are one-way electrical check valves.
Transistors act as relays. A Zener diode is specially
doped to act as a one-way, electrical check valve
until a specific reverse voltage level is reached. At
that point, the Zener diode allows reverse current
to pass through it.
The electrical resistance of a thermistor, or thermal resistor, changes as temperature changes. Most
resistors used in automotive applications are called
negative temperature coefficient (NTC) resistors
because their resistance decreases as temperature
increases. The thermistor in a solid-state regulator
reacts to temperature to ensure proper battery
charging voltage. Some manufacturers, in order to
smooth out any abrupt voltage surges and protect
the regulator from damage, use a capacitor. Diodes
may also be used as circuit protection.
General Regulator Operation
Figure 8-42 is a simplified circuit diagram of a
solid-state regulator. This A-circuit regulator is contained within the housing. Terminal 2 on the AC
generator is always connected to the battery, but
battery discharge is limited by the high resistance of
R2 and R3. The circuit allows the regulator to sense
battery voltage.
When the ignition switch is closed in the circuit
shown in Figure 8-43, current travels from the battery to ground through the base of the TR1 transistor. This causes the transistor to conduct current
through its emitter-collector circuit from the battery to the low-resistance rotor winding, which
energizes the AC generator field and turns on the
warning lamp. When the AC generator begins to
produce current (Figure 8-44), field current is
drawn from unrectified AC generator output
and rectified by the diode trio, which is charging
Figure 8-42. Circuit diagram of a typical solid-state
voltage regulator. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
voltage. The warning lamp is turned off by equal
voltage on both sides of the lamp.
When the AC generator has charged the battery
to a maximum safe voltage level (Figure 8-45),
the battery voltage between R2 and R3 is high
enough to cause Zener diode D2 to conduct in
reverse bias. This turns on TR2, which shorts the
base circuit of TR1 to ground. When TR1 is
turned off, the field circuit is turned off at the
ground control of TR1.
With TR1 off, the field current decreases and
system voltage drops. When voltage drops low
enough, the Zener diode switches off and current is
no longer applied to TR2. This opens the field circuit ground and energizes TR1. TR1 turns back on.
The field current and system voltage increase. This
cycle repeats many times per second to limit the
AC generator voltage to a predetermined value.
The other components within the regulator perform various functions. Capacitor C1 provides
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165
Figure 8-43. Field current in a typical solid-state regulator during starting. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
Figure 8-44. Field current drawn from AC generator
(alternator) output. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
stable voltage across resistor R3. Resistor R4 prevents excessive current through TR1 at high temperatures. To prevent circuit damage, diode D3
bypasses high voltages induced in the field windings when TR1 turns off. Resistor R2 is a thermistor, which causes the regulated voltage to vary
with temperature. R5 allows the indicator lamp to
turn off if the field circuit is open.
For more information about voltage regulators,
see the “Voltage Regulator Service Section” in
Chapter 8 of the Shop Manual.
operation of these units. This is the integral regulator unit of the SI series AC generators. The 1 and
2 terminals on the housing connect directly to the
regulator. The 1 terminal conducts field current
from the battery or the AC Generator (alternator)
and controls the indicator lamp. The 2 terminal
receives battery voltage and allows the Zener
diode to react to it.
Unlike other voltage regulators, the multifunction IC regulator used with Delco-Remy CS-series
AC generators (Figure 8-46) switches the field
current on and off at a fixed frequency of 400 Hz
(400 times per second). The regulator varies the
duty cycle, or percentage of on time to total cycle
time, to control the average field current and to
regulate voltage. At high speeds, the on time might
be 10 percent with the off time 90 percent. At low
speeds with high electrical loads, this ratio could
be reversed: 90 percent on time and 10 percent off
time. Unlike the SI series, CS AC generators have
Specific Solid-State Regulator
Designs
GM Delco-Remy (Delphi)
The Delco-Remy solid-state automotive regulator
is used in Figures 8-43 to 8-46 to explain the basic
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Chapter Eight
Figure 8-46. GM CS AC generator (alternator) regulator circuit. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
Figure 8-45. When AC generator (alternator) output
voltage reaches a maximum safe level, no current is
allowed in the rotor winding. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
no test hole to ground the regulator for full-field
testing. The regulator cannot be tested with an
ohmmeter; a special tester is required.
Motorcraft
At one time, Motorcraft AC generators used both
remote-mounted and integral solid-state regulators. Motorcraft regulator terminals are designated as follows:
Ford began using a remote-mounted, fully solidstate regulator on its intermediate and large models in 1978. The functions of the I, A, 8, and F
terminals are identical to those of the transistorized regulator. On systems with an ammeter,
the regulator is color coded blue or gray, and the
T terminal is not used. On warning lamp systems,
the regulator is black, and all terminals can be
used. The two models are not interchangeable,
and cannot be substituted for the earlier solidstate unit with a relay or for an electromagnetic
regulator. However, Ford does provide red or
clear service replacement solid-state regulators,
which can be used with both systems.
The Motorcraft integral alternator/regulator
(JAR) introduced in 1985 uses an IC regulator,
which is also mounted on the outside of the rear
housing. This regulator differs from others because
it contains a circuit indicating when the battery is
being overcharged. It turns on the charge indicator
lamp if terminal A voltage is too high or too low, or
if the terminal 8 voltage signal is abnormal.
• A or A connects the battery to the field
DaimlerChrysler
relay contacts.
• S connects the AC generator output to the
field relay coil.
• F connects the field coil to the regulator
transistors.
• I connects the ignition switch to the field
relay and regulator contacts (only on vehicles with a warning lamp).
The DaimlerChrysler solid-state regulator depends
on a remotely mounted field relay to open and
close the isolated field or the A-circuit AC generator field. The relay closes the circuit only when the
ignition switch is turned on. The voltage regulator
(Figure 8-47) contains two transistors that are
turned on and off by a Zener diode. The Zener
diode reacts to system voltage to start and stop field
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167
Figure 8-48. DaimlerChrysler solid-state voltage regulator. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 8-47. DaimlerChrysler solid-state voltage regulator. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
current. The field current travels through what
DaimlerChrysler calls a field-suppression diode,
which limits current to control AC generator output. The regulator also contains a thermistor to
control battery charging voltage at various temperatures. The regulator has two terminals: One is
connected to the ignition system; the other is connected to the alternator field.
Computer-Controlled
Regulation
DaimlerChrysler Corporation eliminated the separate regulator by moving its function to the powertrain control module (PCM) in 1985. When the
ignition is turned on, the PCM logic module or logic
circuit checks battery temperature to determine the
control voltage (Figure 8-48). A pre-driver transistor in the logic module or logic circuit then signals
the power module or power circuit driver transistor
to turn the AC generator current on (Figure 8-49).
The logic module or logic circuit continually monitors battery temperature and system voltage. At the
same time, it transmits output signals to the power
module or power circuit driver to adjust the field
current as required to maintain output between 13.6
and 14.8 volts. Figure 8-50 shows the complete circuitry involved.
General Motors has taken a different approach
to regulating CS charging system voltage electronically. Turning the ignition switch on supplies voltage to activate a solid-state digital
regulator, which uses pulse-width modulation
(PWM) to supply rotor current and thus control
output voltage. The rotor current is proportional
to the PWM pulses from the digital regulator.
Figure 8-49. Battery temperature circuit of the DaimlerChrysler computer regulated charging system. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
With the ignition on, narrow width pulses are
sent to the rotor, creating a weak magnetic field.
As the engine starts, the regulator senses AC generator rotation through AC voltage detected on an
internal wire. Once the engine is running, the
regulator switches the field current on and off at
a fixed frequency of about 400 cycles per second
(400 Hz). By changing the pulse width, or on-off
time, of each cycle, the regulator provides a
correct average field current for proper system
voltage control.
A lamp driver in the digital regulator controls
the indicator warning lamp, turning on the bulb
when it detects an under- or over-voltage condition. The warning lamp also illuminates if the AC
generator is not rotating. The PCM does not
directly control charging system voltage, as in the
DaimlerChrysler application. However, it does
monitor battery and system voltage through an
ignition switch circuit. If the PCM reads a voltage
above 17 volts, or less than 9 volts for longer than
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Chapter Eight
Figure 8-50. DaimlerChrysler computer-regulated
charging system internal field control. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
10 seconds, it sets a code 16 in memory and turns
on the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL).
Figure 8-51.
GM ammeter. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
Ammeter
Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC)
On late-model DaimlerChrysler vehicles, the
onboard diagnostic capability of the engine control system detects charging system problems and
records up to five diagnostic trouble codes (DTC)
in the system memory. Some of the codes light a
MIL on the instrument panel; others do not.
Problems in the General Motors CS charging system cause the PCM to turn on the indicator lamp
and set a single code in memory.
CHARGE/VOLTAGE/
CURRENT
INDICATORS
A charging system failure cripples an automobile.
Therefore, most manufacturers provide some way
for the driver to monitor the system operation.
The indicator may be an ammeter, a voltmeter, or
an indicator lamp.
An instrument panel ammeter measures charging system current into and out of the battery and
the rest of the electrical system (Figure 8-51).
The ammeter reads the voltage drop of the circuit. When current is traveling from the AC generator into the battery, the ammeter moves in a
positive or charge direction. When the battery
takes over the electrical system’s load, current
travels in the opposite direction and the needle moves into the negative, or discharge, zone.
The ammeter simply indicates which is doing
the most work in the electrical system, the battery or the AC generator (alternator). Some
ammeters are graduated to indicate the approximate current in amperes, such as 5, 10, or 20.
Others simply show an approximate rate of
charge or discharge, such as high, medium, or
low. Some ammeters have a resistor parallel so
the meter does not carry all of the current, these
are called shunt ammeters. While the ammeter
tells the driver whether the charging system is
functioning normally, it does not give a good
picture of the battery condition. Even when the
ammeter indicates a charge, the current output
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Charging System Operation
may not be high enough to fully charge the battery while supplying other electrical loads.
Voltmeter
The instrument panels of many late-model vehicles contain a voltmeter instead of an ammeter
(Figure 8-52). A voltmeter measures electrical
pressure and indicates regulated generator voltage output or battery voltage, whichever is
greater. System voltage is applied to the meter
through the ignition switch contacts. Figure 8-53
shows a typical voltmeter circuit.
The voltmeter tells a driver more about the
condition of the electrical system of a vehicle than
an ammeter. When a voltmeter begins to indicate
lower-than-normal voltage, it is time to check the
battery and the voltage regulator.
Indicator Lamps
Most charging systems use an instrument panel
indicator, or warning lamp, to show general
Figure 8-52. Automotive voltmeter in instrument panel.
Figure 8-53.
A typical voltmeter circuit.
169
charging system operation. Although the lamp
usually does not warn the driver of an overcharged battery or high charging voltage, it lights
to show an undercharged battery or low voltage
from the AC generator.
The lamp also lights when the battery supplies
field current before the engine starts. The lamp is
often connected parallel to a resistor; therefore,
field current travels even if the bulb fails. The
lamp is wired so it lights when battery current
travels through it to the AC generator field. When
the alternator begins to produce voltage, this voltage is applied to the side of the lamp away from
the battery. When the two voltages are equal, no
voltage drops are present across the lamp and it
goes out. When indicator lamps are used, the regulator must be able to monitor when the AC generator is charging. One method is to use “stator”
or neutral voltage. This signal is present only
when the AC generator is charging, and is onehalf of charging voltage. When stator voltage is
about three volts, it energizes a relay to open the
indicator lamp ground circuit (Figure 8-53).
Figure 8-54 shows a typical warning lamp circuit installation. In figure 9-14, a 500-ohm resistor is used for warning lamp systems and a 420ohm resistor for electronic display clusters. In
Figure 8-54, a 40-ohm resistor (R5) is installed
near the integral regulator. In each case, the
grounded path ensures the warning lamp lights if
an open occurs in the field circuitry.
As previously discussed, indicator lamps can
also be controlled by the field relay. The indicator
lamp for a Delco-Remy CS system works differently than most others. It lights if charging voltage is either too low or too high. Any problem in
the charging system causes the lamp to light at
full brilliance.
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CHARGING SYSTEM
PROTECTION
If a charging system component fails or malfunctions, excessive current or heat, voltage surges,
and other uncontrolled factors could damage
wiring and other units in the system. To protect
the system from high current, fusible links are often wired in series at various places in the circuitry. Figure 8-55 shows some typical fusible
link locations.
COMPLETE AC
GENERATOR
OPERATION
Figure 8-54. GM warning lamp circuit. (GM Service and
Parts Operations)
Figure 8-55.
GM fusible links.
When the ignition is first switched from off to on,
before cranking the engine, a charge lamp comes
on. This indicates, of course, that the AC generator is not generating a voltage. At the same time,
battery voltage is applied to the rotor coil so that
when the rotor begins to spin, the magnetic fields
cut across the stator windings and produce current
(Figure 8-56).
After the engine starts, the rotor is spinning fast
enough to induce current from the stator. The current travels through the diodes and out to the battery and electrical system (Figure 8-57). Once the
IC regulator senses system voltage is greater than
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171
B
IG
STATOR COIL
B
IG
IGN.S/W
S
S
L
L
Tr2
F
Tr1
CHARGE
LAMP
Tr3
ROTOR COIL
P
E
E
IC REGULATOR
MONOLITHIC
INTEGRATED
CIRCUIT
Figure 8-56. When AC generator voltage is too high, the regulator momentarily cuts off current to the rotor coils, eliminating the magnetic field. The rotor continues to spin, but no voltage is generated. (Reprinted by permission of Toyota
Motor Corporation)
battery voltage, it redirects current to switch off
the charge lamp.
During normal operation, AC generator voltage
exceeds the typically specified 14.5 volts at times.
To protect the battery and delicate components in
the electrical system, the IC regulator shuts off current to the rotor, cutting AC generator output to zero
(Figure 8-58). Note that even though the AC generator is momentarily “turned off,” the charge lamp
does not come on. Within a split second, the IC regulator re-energizes the rotor again once output falls
below the minimum. The IC regulator switches battery voltage on and off this way to control output
and maintain system voltage at an ideal level.
AC GENERATOR
(ALTERNATOR)
DESIGN
DIFFERENCES
Original equipment manufacturers (OEM) use
various AC generator designs for specific applications. It has been noted that such factors as maxi-
mum current output and field circuit types affect
AC generator construction. The following paragraphs describe some commonly used automotive
AC generators.
Delphi (Delco-Remy) General
Motors Applications
Delphi, formerly the Delco-Remy division of
General Motors Corporation, is now a separate
corporation that supplies most of the electrical
devices used on GM vehicles, as well as those of
some other manufacturers. The trademark name
for Delco-Remy alternators was Delcotron generators. The alternator model number and current
output can be found on a plate attached to, or
stamped into, the housing.
DN-Series
The 10-DN series AC generator or alternator
uses an external electromagnetic voltage regulator. Six individual diodes are mounted in the
rear housing (Figure 8-59) with a capacitor for
protection. A 14-pole rotor and Y-type stator
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B
IG
STATOR COIL
B
IG
IGN.S/W
S
S
L
L
TR2
F
TR1
CHARGE
LAMP
TR3
ROTOR COIL
P
E
IC REGULATOR
E
MONOLITHIC
INTEGRATED
CIRCUIT
Figure 8-57. When the ignition is on and the engine is not running, the regulator energizes the rotor coil to build
a magnetic field in the stator. The regulator turns on the charge light, indicating that the AC generator is not generating a voltage. (Reprinted by permission of Toyota Motor Corporation)
B
IG
STATOR COIL
B
IG
IGN.S/W
S
S
L
L
TR2
F
TR1
CHARGE
LAMP
TR3
ROTOR COIL
P
E
E
IC REGULATOR
MONOLITHIC
INTEGRATED
CIRCUIT
Figure 8-58. After the engine is running, the AC generator generates a voltage greater than the battery. The
charge light goes out, indicating normal operation. (Reprinted by permission of Toyota Motor Corporation)
172
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Figure 8-60. A 10-SI series AC generator [Delcotron].
(Delphi Automotive Systems)
Figure 8-59. A 10-SI series AC generator (alternator).
(Delphi Automotive Systems)
provide current output. Field current is drawn from
rectified output and travels through a B-circuit.
The terminals on a 10-DN are labeled BAT, GRD,
R, and F. If the AC generator is used with an external electromagnetic regulator, the following
applies:
• BAT connects AC generator output to the
insulated terminal of the battery.
• GRD, if used, is an additional ground path.
• R, if used, is connected to a separate field
relay controlling the indicator lamp.
• F connects the rotor winding to the voltage
regulator.
Some 10-DN alternators are used with a
remotely mounted solid-state regulator. The voltage control level of this unit is usually adjustable.
The terminal connections are the same for electromagnetic and solid-state regulators.
SI Series
The 10-SI series AC generator uses an internally
mounted voltage regulator and came into use in
the early 1970s. The most common early model
Delcotron alternators are part of the SI series and
include models 10, 12, 15, and 27 as shown in
Figure 8-60. A 14-pole rotor is used in most models. The 10-SI and 12-SI models have Y-type
stators, and the 15-SI and 27-SI models have
delta-type stators. Two general SI designs have
been used, with major differences appearing in
the rear housing diode installation, regulator
appearance, field circuitry, and ground path.
Most SI models have a rectifier bridge that
contains all six rectifying diodes (Figure 8-61).
The regulator is a fully enclosed unit attached by
screws to the housing. Field current is drawn
from unrectified AC generator output and rectified by an additional diode trio. All SI models
have A-circuits, their terminals are labeled BAT,
No. 1, and No. 2.
• The BAT terminal connects AC generator
output to the insulated terminal of the battery.
• The No. 1 terminal conducts battery current
to the rotor winding for the excitation circuit
and is connected to the indicator lamp.
• The No. 2 terminal receives battery voltage
so the voltage regulator can react to system
operating conditions.
All SI models have a capacitor installed in the rear
housing to protect the diodes from sudden voltage
surges and to filter out voltage ripples that could
produce EMI. The 27-SI, which is intended principally for commercial vehicles, has an
adjustable voltage regulator (Figure 8-62). The
voltage is adjusted by removing the adjustment
cap, rotating it until the desired setting of low,
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Chapter Eight
Figure 8-61. The rear end housing of the later-model
10-SI. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
Figure 8-62. The Delco 27-SI alternator has an
adjustable voltage regulator. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
medium, medium-high, or high is opposite the arrow on the housing, and reinstalling it in the new
position. Repair or replace a 27-SI AC generator
only if it fails to pass an output test after the regulator has been adjusted.
CS Series
The smaller Delco-Remy CS series AC generators
introduced on some 1986 GM cars (Figure 8-63)
maintain current output similar to larger AC
generators. This series includes models CS-121,
CS-130, and CS-144. The number following the
CS designation denotes the outer diameter of the
stator lamination in millimeters. All models use a
delta-type stator. Field current is taken directly
from the stator, eliminating the field diode trio.
An integral cooling fan is used on the CS-121 and
CS-130.
Electronic connections on CS AC generators
include a BAT output terminal and either a one- or
two-wire connector for the regulator. Figure 8-64
shows the two basic circuits for CS AC generators,
but there are a number variations. Refer to the
vehicle service manual for complete and accurate
circuit diagrams. The use of the P, F, and S terminals is optional.
• The P terminal, connected to the stator, may
be connected to a tachometer or other such
device.
• The F terminal connects internally to field
positive and may be used as a fault indicator.
• The S terminal is externally connected to
battery voltage to sense the voltage to be
controlled.
Figure 8-63. Typical Delco-Remy CS series AC generator (alternator) construction. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
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terminal or side-terminal AC generator. These
charging systems are called external voltage regulator (EVR) systems to differentiate them from
integral alternator/regulator (IAR) systems.
Integral Alternator/Regulator Models
Figure 8-64. Two basic circuits for CS AC generators
(alternator). (Delphi Automotive Systems)
• The L terminal connects the regulator to the
indicator lamp and battery.
The indicator lamp in a CS charging system
works differently than in other Delco-Remy systems: Any defect causes it to light at full brilliance. The lamp also lights if charging voltage is
either too low or too high. If the regulator has an
I terminal, its wire supplies field current in addition to that applied internally, either directly from
the switch or through a resistor.
The Motorcraft IAR AC generators are rated at 40
to 80 amperes. The sealed rectifier assembly is attached to the slipring-end housing. On early models, the connecting terminals (BAT and STA) protruded from the side of the AC generator in a
plastic housing. Current models use a single pin
stator (STA) connector and separate output stud
(BAT). The brushes are attached to, and removed
with, the regulator. A Y-type stator is used with a
12-pole rotor. Some applications have an internal
cooling fan.
Turning the ignition on sends voltage to the
regulator I terminal through a resistor in the circuit. System voltage is sensed and field current is
drawn through the regulator A terminal until the
ignition is turned off, which shuts off the control
circuit.
If the vehicle has a heated windshield, output is
switched from the battery to the windshield by an
output control relay. This allows output voltage to
increase above the normal regulated voltage and
vary with engine speed. The regulator I circuit
limits the increase to 70 volts, which is controlled
by the heated windshield module during the approximate four-minute cycle of heated windshield
operation. When the cycle times out, the charging
system returns to normal operation.
Motorcraft
Motorcraft, a division of Ford Motor Company,
makes most of the AC generators used on domestic Ford vehicles. Model and current rating identifications for later models are stamped on the
front housing with a color code. Motorcraft AC
generators prior to 1985 are used with either an
electromechanical voltage regulator or a remotely
mounted solid-state regulator. One exception to
this is the 55-ampere model of 1969–1971, which
has a solid-state regulator mounted on the rear
housing. This model has an A-circuit; all others
are B-circuit. The Motorcraft integral alternator/regulator (IAR) model was introduced on
some front-wheel drive Ford models in 1985.
This AC generator (alternator) has a solid-state
regulator mounted on its rear housing. Some
Motorcraft charging systems continue to use an
external solid-state regulator with either a rear-
DaimlerChrysler
DaimlerChrysler Corporation manufactured all of the
AC generators for its domestic vehicles until the late
1980s, when it phased in Bosch and Nippondenso AC
generators for use on all vehicles.
DaimlerChrysler used two alternator designs
from 1972 through 1984. The standard-duty alternator, rated from 50 to 65 amperes, is identified
by an internal cooling fan and the stator core
extension between the housings. The heavy-duty
100-ampere alternator has an external fan and a
totally enclosed stator core. Identification also is
stamped on a color-coded tag on the housing.
All models have a 12-pole rotor and use a
remotely mounted solid-state regulator. The brushes
can be replaced from outside the housing. Individual
diodes are mounted in positive and negative heat
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Chapter Eight
BATTERY OUTPUT
TERMINAL
GROUND TERMINAL
FIELD TERMINALS
Figure 8-65. The terminals on a DaimlerChrysler
standard-duty AC generator (alternator). (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
sink assemblies, and are protected by a capacitor.
The terminals on the standard-duty AC generator are
labeled BAT, GRD, and FLD (Figure 8-65).
• The BAT terminal connects AC generator out-
put to the insulated terminal of the battery.
• The GRD terminal is the ground connection.
• The FLD terminals connect to the insulated
brushes. On the 100-ampere model, the FLD
terminal has two separate prongs that fit into
a single connector (Figure 8-66). The additional GRD terminal is a ground path.
DaimlerChrysler standard-duty AC generators
have a Y-type stator connected to six diodes.
Although both brush holders are insulated from
the housing, one is indirectly grounded through
the negative diode plate, making it a B-circuit.
The 100-ampere AC generator has a delta-type
stator. Each of the conductors is attached to two
positive and two negative diodes. These 12 diodes
create additional parallel circuit branches for
high-current output.
DaimlerChrysler eliminated the use of a separate
voltage regulator on most 1985 and later fuel injected and turbocharged engines by incorporating
the regulator function into the powertrain control
module (PCM), as shown in Figure 8-67.
The computer-controlled charging system was
introduced with the standard DaimlerChrysler AC
generator on GLH and Shelby turbo models. All
other four-cylinder engines used either a new
DaimlerChrysler 40/90-ampere AC generator or a
FIELD TERMINAL
(VOLT-REG)
FIELD TERMINAL
(IGNITION SWITCH)
Figure 8-66. The terminals on a 100-amp DaimlerChrysler AC generator (alternator). (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
modified Bosch 40/90-ampere or 40/100-ampere
model.
The DaimlerChrysler-built AC generator
uses a delta-type stator. The regulator circuit is
basically the isolated-field type, but field current is controlled by integrated circuitry in
the logic and power modules (Figure 8-68) or
the logic and power circuits of the singlemodule engine control computer (SMEC) or
single-board engine control computer (SBEC).
In addition to sensing system voltage, the logic
module or circuit senses battery temperature as
indicated by system resistance. The computer
then switches field current on and off in a duty
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177
cycle that regulates charging voltage, as in any
other system. The DaimlerChrysler computercontrolled charging system has the following
important features:
• It varies charging voltage relative to ambi-
ent temperature and the system voltage
requirements.
• A self-diagnostic program can detect charging system problems and record fault codes
in system memory. Some codes will light
the POWER LOSS, POWER LIMITED, or
MALFUNCTION INDICATOR lamp on
the instrument panel; others will not.
Figure 8-67. Typical DaimlerChrysler computer voltage regulation with DaimlerChrysler 40/90-ampere AC
generator (alternator). Circuit connections vary on different models. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Turning the ignition on causes the logic circuit
to check battery temperature to determine the
control voltage. A predriver transistor in the logic
module or logic circuit signals a driver translator
in the power module or power circuit to turn on
the AC generator field current (Figure 8-68). The
logic module or logic circuit constantly monitors
system voltage and battery temperature and signals the driver in the power module or power circuit when field current adjustment is necessary to
keep output voltage within the specified 13.6-to14.8-volt range.
Figure 8-68. DaimlerChrysler computer-regulated charging system internal field control. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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Chapter Eight
Figure 8-70. Nippondenso and Bosch AC generators used on DaimlerChrysler vehicles have identical
connections. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 8-69. Current DaimlerChrysler charging system. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Bosch AC Generators (Alternators)
Modified Bosch 40/90-ampere and 40/l00-ampere
AC generators (alternators) were introduced in
1985 for use with the DaimlerChrysler computercontrolled charging system. These Bosch dualoutput AC generators have a Y-type stator and
were modified by removing their internal voltage
regulators and changing the external leads. They
are fully interchangeable with DaimlerChrysler
dual-output AC generators of the same rating. Use
of dual-output AC generators was phased out in
favor of a single-output Bosch alternator when
DaimlerChrysler ceased manufacture of its own
alternators in 1989. Current DaimlerChrysler
charging systems with a Bosch AC generator (84
or 86 amperes) are essentially the same design as
those used with the dual-output AC generators
(Figure 8-69). However, an engine controller
replaces the separate logic and power modules.
Nippondenso AC Generators
Some current DaimlerChrysler vehicles use
Nippondenso AC generators with an output range
of 68 to 102 amperes. These are virtual clones of
the Bosch design, even to the external wiring connections (Figure 8-70). Charging system circuitry
is the same, as are test procedures.
Import Vehicle Charging
Systems
Many European vehicles have Bosch AC generators featuring Y-type stators. Bosch models with a
remote regulator use six rectifiers and have a
threaded battery terminal and two-way spade connector on the rear housing. Those with an integral
regulator contain 12 rectifiers and have a threaded
battery stud marked B and a smaller threaded
stud marked D. This smaller stud is used for
voltage from the ignition switch. Models with internal regulators also have a diode trio to supply
field current initially and a blocking diode to
prevent current from flowing back to the ignition
system when the ignition is turned off.
Several manufacturers such as Hitachi,
Nippondenso, and Mitsubishi provide AC generators for Japanese vehicles. While all function
on the same principles just studied, the design
and construction of some units are unique. For
example, Figure 8-71 shows a Mitsubishi AC
generator that uses an integral regulator with
double Y-stator and 12 diodes in a pair of rectifier assemblies to deliver high current with high
voltage at low speeds. A diode trio internally
supplies the field, and a 50-ohm resistor in the
regulator performs the same function as the
Bosch blocking diode.
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Charging System Operation
Figure 8-71.
179
Mitsubishi charging system. (Mitsubishi)
SUMMARY
The sine wave voltage induced across one AC
generator (alternator) conductor generates singlephase current. By connecting the AC generator
conductor diodes, the AC is fully rectified to DC.
In an actual automotive AC generator, there are
more than two magnetic poles and one conductor. Common AC generators have from 8 to 14
poles on a rotor, and three conductors wound to
create a stator. The rotor and stator are held in a
two-piece housing. Two brushes attached to the
housings, but often insulated from it, ride on
sliprings to carry current to the rotor winding.
The diodes are installed in the same end housing
as the brushes. Three positive diodes are insulated from the housing; three negative diodes are
grounded to the housing
Stators with three conductors produce threephase current. The three conductors may be connected to make a Y-type or a delta-type stator. The
rectification process is the same for both types,
although the current paths through the stators differ. Rectified output from a multiple-pole AC
generator is a rippling DC voltage.
Because the rotor does not retain enough magnetism to begin induction, an excitation circuit
must carry battery current to the rotor winding. The
rotor winding is part of an externally grounded
field, or A-circuit; or an internally grounded field,
or B-circuit.
Because a counter-voltage is induced in the stator windings, AC generator current output is selflimiting. Voltage regulation is still needed. Those
with integrated circuits have replaced electromagnetic voltage regulators. Voltage regulators now in
use are completely solid-state designs. They replaced
the electromagnetic type regulators in AC charging
systems because they are smaller and have no moving parts. Because of the construction of solid-state
regulators, they are non-serviceable and must be replaced if defective. Their function is the same: to
control AC generator output by modulating current
through the field windings of the AC generator.
Indicators allow the driver to monitor the performance of the charging system: These include
ammeters, voltmeters, or warning lamps. An
ammeter measures the charging system current
into and out of the battery and the entire electrical system. A voltmeter measures electrical
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pressure and indicates regulated AC generator
voltage output or battery voltage. Indicator
lamps illuminate on the instrument panel of the
vehicle and indicate to the driver general charging system operation status.
Wiring and other components in the charging
system may be damaged if the system fails or malfunctions due to excessive current or heat, voltage
surges, and other uncontrolled factors. Fusible
links are used in these circuits to protect the circuit
form high current.
Chapter Eight
Common AC generators used by domestic manufacturers include the Delco-Remy SI and CS series
used by OM; the Motorcraft IAR, rear-terminal, and
side-terminal models used by Ford; and the
DaimlerChrysler-built, Bosch, and Nippondenso
models used by DaimlerChrysler. Most European
imports use Bosch AC generators, while Asian
imports use alternators made by several manufacturers, including Hitachi, Nippondenso, and
Mitsubishi.
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181
Review Questions
1. Alternators induce voltage by rotating:
a. A magnetic field inside a fixed
conductor
b. A conductor inside a magnetic field
c. A stator inside a field
d. A spring past a stator
2. In an alternator, induced voltage is at its
maximum value when the angle between
the magnetic lines and the looped
conductor is:
a. 0 degrees
b. 45 degrees
c. 90 degrees
d. 180 degrees
3. The sine wave voltage induced across one
conductor by one rotor revolution is called:
a. Single-phase current
b. Open-circuit voltage
c. Diode rectification
d. Half-phase current
4. Alternating current in an alternator is
rectified by:
a. Brushes
b. Diodes
c. Slip rings
d. Transistors
5. An alternator with only one conductor and
one diode would show which of the
following current output patterns?
a. Three-phase current
b. Open-circuit voltage
c. Half-wave rectification
d. Full-wave rectification
6. An alternator consists of:
a. A stator, a rotor, sliprings, brushes,
and diodes
b. A stator, an armature, sliprings, brushes,
and diodes
c. A stator, a rotor, a commutator, brushes,
and diodes
d. A stator, a rotor, a field relay, brushes,
and diodes
7. A typical automotive alternator has how
many poles?
a. 2 to 4
b. 6 to 8
c. 8 to 14
d. 12 to 20
8. The three alternator conductors are wound
onto a cylindrical, laminated metal-piece
called:
a. Rotor core
b. Stator core
c. Armature core
d. Field core
9. Automotive alternators that have three
conductors generally use how many diodes
to rectify the output current?
a. Three
b. Six
c. Nine
d. Twelve
10. Which of the following is not true of the
positive diodes in an alternator?
a. They are connected to the insulated
terminal of the battery.
b. They conduct only the current
moving from ground into
the conductor.
c. They are mounted in a heat sink.
d. The bias of the diodes prevents the
battery from discharging.
11. A group of three or more like diodes may be
called:
a. Diode wing
b. Diode triplet
c. Diode dish
d. Diode bridge
12. Y-type stators are used in alternators that
require:
a. Low voltage output at high alternator
speed
b. High voltage output at low alternator
speed
c. Low voltage at low alternator speed
d. High voltage at high alternator speed
13. Which of the following is true of a delta-type
stator?
a. There is no neutral junction.
b. There is no ground connection.
c. The windings always form a series circuit.
d. The circuit diagram looks like a
parallelogram.
14. Delta-type stators are used:
a. When high-voltage output is needed
b. When low-voltage output is needed
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182
c. When high-current output is needed
d. When low-current output is needed
15. Which of the following is a commonly used
type of field circuit in automotive
alternators?
a. X-circuit
b. Y-circuit
c. Connected-field circuit
c. A-circuit
16. Alternator output voltage is directly related to:
a. Field strength
b. Rotor speed
c. Both field strength and rotor speed
d. Neither field strength nor rotor speed
17. Double-contact voltage regulators contain
all of the following except:
a. An armature
b. An electromagnet
c. Two sets of contact points
d. A solenoid
18. The shorting contacts of a double-contact
regulator:
a. Increase voltage creep
b. Increase field current
c. React to battery temperature changes
d. Short the field circuit to the alternator
Chapter Eight
21. Which of the following is used to monitor the
charging system?
a. Ammeter
b. Ohmmeter
c. Dynamometer
d. Fusible link
22. Warning lamps are installed so
that they will not light when the following
is true:
a. The voltage on the battery side of the
lamp is higher.
b. Field current is flowing from the battery
to the alternator.
c. The voltage on both sides of the lamp
is equal.
d. The voltage on the resistor side of the
lamp is higher.
23. Maximum current output in an alternator is
reached when the following is true:
a. It reaches maximum designed speed.
b. Electrical demands from the system are
at the minimum.
c. Induced countervoltage becomes great
enough to stop current increase.
d. Induced countervoltage drops low
enough to stop voltage increase.
19. Which of the following can not be used in a
totally solid-state regulator?
a. Zener diodes
b. Thermistors
c. Capacitors
d. Circuit breakers
24. The regulator is a charging system
device that controls circuit opening
and closing:
a. Ignition-to-battery
b. Alternator-to-thermistor
c. Battery-to-accessory
d. Voltage source-to-battery
20. Which of the following is used to smooth out
any abrupt voltage surges and protect a
regulator?
a. Transistor
b. Capacitor
c. Thermistor
d. Relays
25. Which of the following methods is used
to regulate supply current to the
alternator field?
a. Fault codes
b. Charge indicator lamp
c. Pulse-width modulation
d. Shunt resistor
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9
Starting
System
Operation
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Define the two circuits of the automotive
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
starting system.
Identify the basic starting systems parts and
explain their function in the system.
Define the different designs of starting
systems used by the different automotive
manufacturers.
Identify the internal components of an
automotive starter motor and explain their
operation.
Define the term magnetic repulsion and
explain how a DC starter motor operates.
Define the terms series, shunt (parallel),
and compound (series-parallel) as they
apply to starter motor internal circuitry.
Explain the operation of the armature and
fields.
Define starter motor drives and explain their
operation.
Define the different designs of starting
motors used by the different automotive
manufacturers.
Explain the operation of the overrunning
clutch.
KEY TERMS
Armature
Brushes
Clutch Start Switch
Compound Motor
Detented
Ignition Switch
Lap Winding
Magnetic Repulsion
Magnetic Switch
Overrunning Clutch
Pinion Gear
Series Motor
Shunt Motor
Solenoid
Solenoid-Actuated Starter
Starter Drive
Starting Safety Switch
Torque
183
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INTRODUCTION
The engine must be rotated before it will start and
run under its own power. The starting system is a
combination of mechanical and electrical components that work together to start the engine. The
starting system is designed to change electrical
energy that is being stored in the battery into
mechanical energy. To accomplish this conversion, a starter motor is used. This chapter will
explain how the starting system and it components operate.
STARTING SYSTEM
CIRCUITS
The starting system draws a large amount of
current from the battery to power the starter
motor. To handle this current safely and with a
minimum voltage loss from resistance, the
cables must be the correct size, and all connections must be clean and tight. The driver
through the ignition switch controls the starting
system. If the heavy cables that carry current to
the starter were routed to the instrument panel
and the switch, they would be so long that the
starter would not get enough current to operate
properly. To avoid such a voltage drop, the starting system has the following two circuits, as
shown in Figure 9-1:
• Starter circuit
• Control circuit
Chapter Nine
Starter Circuit
The starter circuit, or motor circuit, (shown as the
solid lines of Figure 9-1) consists of the following:
•
•
•
•
Battery
Magnetic switch
Starter motor
Heavy-gauge cables
The circuit between the battery and the starter
motor is controlled by a magnetic switch (a relay
or solenoid). Switch design and function vary
from system to system. A gear on the starter motor
armature engages with gear teeth on the engine
flywheel. When current reaches the starter motor,
it begins to turn. This turns the car’s engine, which
can quickly fire and run by itself. If the starter
motor remained engaged to the engine flywheel,
the starter motor would be spun by the engine at a
very high speed. This would damage the starter
motor. To avoid this, there must be a mechanism
to disengage the starter motor from the engine.
There are several different designs that will do
this, as we will see in this chapter.
Control Circuit
The control circuit is shown by the dashed lines in
Figure 9-1. It allows the driver to use a small
amount of battery current, about three to five
amperes, to control the flow of a large amount of
battery current to the starter motor. Control circuits usually consist of an ignition switch connected through normal-gauge wiring to the battery
and the magnetic switch. When the ignition switch
is in the start position, a small amount of current
flows through the coil of the magnetic switch.
This closes a set of large contact points within the
magnetic switch and allows battery current to
flow directly to the starter motor. For more information about control circuits, see the “Starter
Control Circuit Devices” section in Chapter 9 of
the Shop Manual.
BASIC STARTING
SYSTEM PARTS
Figure 9-1. In this diagram of the starting system, the
starter circuit is shown as a solid line and the control
circuit is shown as a dashed line. (Delphi Automotive
Systems)
We have already studied the battery, which is an
important part of the starting system. The other
circuit parts are as follows:
• Ignition switch
• Starting safety switch (on some systems)
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185
Figure 9-2. This ignition switch acts directly on the contact points. (Reprinted by permission of Robert Bosch GmbH)
• Relays or solenoids (magnetic switches)
• Starter motor
• Wiring
Ignition Switch
The ignition switch has jobs other than controlling
the starting system. The ignition switch normally
has at least four positions:
•
•
•
•
ACCESSORIES
OFF
ON (RUN)
START
Switches on late-model cars also have a LOCK
position to lock the steering wheel. All positions
except START are detented. That is, the switch
will remain in that position until moved by the
driver. When the ignition key is turned to START
and released, it will return to the ON (RUN) position. The START position is the actual starter
switch part of the ignition switch. It applies battery voltage to the magnetic switch.
There are two types of ignition switches in use.
On older cars, the switch is mounted on the instrument panel and contains the contact points (Figure
9-2). The newer type, used on cars with locking
steering columns, is usually mounted on the steering column. Many column-mounted switches operate remotely mounted contact points through a rod.
Other column-mounted switches operate directly
on contact points (Figure 9-3). Older domestic and
imported cars sometimes used separate push-button
switches or cable-operated switches that controlled
the starting system separately from the ignition
switch.
Starting Safety Switch
The starting safety switch is also called a neutral
start switch. It is a normally open switch that
prevents the starting system from operating when
the automobile’s transmission is in gear. If the car
has no starting safety switch, it is possible to spin
Figure 9-3. Column-mounted switches act directly
on the contact points.
the engine with the transmission in gear. This
makes the car lurch forward or backward, which
could be dangerous. Safety switches or interlock
devices are now required by law with all automatic and manual transmissions.
Starting safety switches can be connected in two
places within the starting system control circuit.
The safety switch can be placed between the ignition switch and the magnetic switch, as shown in
Figure 9-4, so that the safety switch must be closed
before current can flow to the magnetic switch. The
safety switch also can be connected between the
magnetic switch and ground (Figure 9-5), so that
the switch must be closed before current can flow
from the magnetic switch to ground. Where the
starting safety switch is installed depends upon the
type of transmission used and whether the gearshift
lever is column-mounted or floor-mounted.
Automatic Transmissions/
Transaxles
The safety switch used with an automatic transmission or transaxle can be either an electrical
switch or a mechanical device. Electrical/electronic switches have contact points that are closed
only when the gear lever is in PARK or NEUTRAL,
as shown in Figure 9-4. The switch can be mounted
near the gearshift lever, as in Figures 9-6 and 9-7, or
on the transmission-housing, as in Figure 9-8. The
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Figure 9-4.
Chapter Nine
This starting safety switch must be closed before battery current can reach the magnetic switch.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 9-5. The clutch switch must be closed before
battery current can flow from the magnetic switch to
ground. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
contacts are in series with the control circuit, so that
no current can flow through the magnetic switch
unless the transmission is out of gear.
Mechanical interlock devices physically
block the movement of the ignition key when the
transmission is in gear, as shown in Figures 9-9
and 9-10. The key can be turned only when
the gearshift lever is in PARK or NEUTRAL.
Some manufacturers use an additional circuit in
the neutral start switch to light the backup lamps
Figure 9-6. An electrical safety switch installed near
the floor-mounted gearshift lever. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
when the transmission is placed in REVERSE
(Figures 9-7 and 9-8).
Ford vehicles equipped with an electronic
automatic transmission or transaxle use an additional circuit in the neutral safety switch to inform
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Figure 9-7. Column-mounted neutral safety switch near gearshift tube. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 9-8.
Transmission-mounted safety switch.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 9-9. A mechanical device within the steering
column blocks the movement of the ignition switch.
the microprocessor of the position of the manual
lever shaft. This signal is used to determine the
desired gear and electronic pressure control. The
switch is now called a manual lever position
switch (MLPS).
General Motors has done essentially the same
as Ford, renaming the PARK/NEUTRAL switch
used on its 4T65E and 4T80E transaxles. It
now is called either a PRNDL switch or a
PARK/NEUTRAL position switch and provides
input to the PCM regarding torque converter
clutch slip. This input allows the PCM to make
the necessary calculations to control clutch apply
and release feel.
Manual Transmissions/
Transaxles
The starting safety switch used with a manual
transmission on older vehicles is usually an electrical switch similar to those shown in Figures 9-7
and 9-8. A clutch start switch (also called an
interlock switch) is commonly used with manual
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Chapter Nine
• A solenoid, which uses the electromagnetic
field of a coil to pull a plunger into the coil
and close the contact points
Figure 9-10. A lever on the steering wheel blocks the
movement of the ignition key when the transmission is
in gear.
In addition to closing the contact points, solenoidequipped circuits often use the movement of the solenoid to engage the starter motor with the engine
flywheel. We will explain this in Chapter 10. The terminology used with relays and solenoids is often
confusing. Technically, a relay operates with a
hinged armature and does only an electrical job; a
solenoid operates with a movable plunger and usually does a mechanical job. Sometimes, a solenoid
is used only to open and close an electric circuit;
the movement of the plunger is not used for any
mechanical work. Manufacturers sometimes call
these solenoids “starter relays.” Figure 9-12 shows a
commonly used Ford starter relay. We will continue
to use the general term magnetic switch, and will tell
you if the manufacturer uses a different name for the
device.
For more information about magnetic switches,
see the following sections in Chapter 9 of the Shop
Manual: “Inspection and Diagnosis,” “Starter
Control Circuit Devices,” and “Unit Removal.”
Wiring
The starter motor circuit uses heavy-gauge wiring
to carry current to the starter motor. The control
circuit carries less current and thus uses lightergauge wires.
Figure 9-11. The clutch pedal must be fully depressed
to close the clutch switch and complete the control
circuit.
SPECIFIC STARTING
SYSTEMS
transmissions and transaxles on late-model vehicles. This is an electric switch mounted on the
floor or firewall near the clutch pedal. Its contacts
are normally open and close only when the clutch
pedal is fully depressed (Figure 9-11).
Various manufacturers use different starting system components. The following paragraphs briefly
describe the circuits used by major manufacturers.
Relays and Solenoids
A magnetic switch in the starting system allows
the control circuit to open and close the starter
circuit. The switch can be either of the following:
• A relay, which uses the electromagnetic field
of a coil to attract an armature and close the
contact points
Delco-Remy (Delphi)
and Bosch
Delco-Remy and Bosch starter motors are used
by General Motors. The most commonly used
Delco-Remy and Bosch automotive starter motor
depends upon the movement of a solenoid both to
control current flow in the starter circuit and to
engage the starter motor with the engine flywheel.
This is called a solenoid-actuated starter. The
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Figure 9-12.
189
The Ford starter relay or magnetic switch.
(FWD) cars with automatic transmissions, the
PARK/NEUTRAL or PRNDL switch is an electrical switch mounted on the transaxle case manual
lever shaft (Figure 9-14). GM cars with floor-shift
manual transmissions use a clutch pedal-operated
safety switch. With column-shift manual transmissions, an electric switch is mounted on the column.
Ford Motorcraft
Figure 9-13.
GM Starter circuit. (Delphi Automotive
Systems)
solenoid is mounted on, or enclosed with, the
motor housing (Figure 9-13).
The type and location of starting safety switches
vary within the GM vehicle platforms. Larger-size
GM cars use a mechanical blocking device in the
steering column (Figure 9-9). The intermediate and
smaller cars with automatic transmissions have electrical switches mounted near the shift lever. These
are either on the column, as shown in Figure 9-7, or
on the floor (Figure 9-6). On front-wheel-drive
Ford has used three types of starter motors, and
therefore has several different starting system
circuits. The Motorcraft positive engagement
starter has a movable-pole shoe that uses electromagnetism to engage the starter motor with the
engine. This motor does not use a solenoid to move
anything, but it uses a solenoid to open and close the
starter circuit as a magnetic switch (Figure 9-15).
Ford calls this solenoid a starter relay.
The Motorcraft solenoid-actuated starter is very
similar to the Delco-Remy unit and depends upon
the movement of a solenoid to engage the starter
motor with the engine. The solenoid is mounted
within the motor housing and receives battery current through the same type of starter relay used in
the positive engagement system. Although the
motor-mounted solenoid could do the job of this
additional starter relay, the second relay is installed
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Chapter Nine
switch. Front-wheel-drive (FWD) models with
manual transaxles have a clutch interlock switch.
If a Ford car with an automatic transmission has a
column-mounted shift lever, a blocking interlock
device prevents the ignition key from turning
when the transmission is in gear. If the automatic
transmission shift lever is mounted on the floor,
an electrical switch prevents current from flowing
to the starter relay when the transmission is in
gear. The switch may be mounted on the transmission case or near the gearshift lever.
DaimlerChrysler
Figure 9-14. GM PRNDL/Park-neutral switch on a GM
Transaxle. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 9-15. The Ford starting system circuit with the
positive engagement starter.
on many Ford automobiles to make the cars easier
to build. Motorcraft solenoid-actuated starters
were used on Ford cars and trucks with large V8
engines. The Motorcraft permanent magnet gearreduction (PMGR) starter is a solenoid-actuated
design that operates much like the Motorcraft
solenoid-actuated starter previously described.
However, the starter circuit may or may not use a
starter relay, depending on the car model.
Rear-wheel-drive (RWD) Ford automobiles
with manual transmissions have no starting safety
Chrysler uses a solenoid-actuated starter motor.
The solenoid is mounted inside the motor housing and receives battery current through a
starter relay, as shown in Figure 9-16. Chrysler
starter relays used prior to 1977 have four
terminals, as shown in Figure 9-17A. In 1977, a
second set of contacts and two terminals were
added (Figure 9-17B). The extra contacts and
terminals allow more current to flow through
the relay to the ignition system and to the
exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) timer. This has
no effect on the operation of the relay within the
starting system. These starter relays generally
were mounted on the firewall.
Current Chrysler starting systems use a standard
five-terminal Bosch relay (Figure 9-18) but only
four terminals are used in the circuit (Figure 9-19).
The relay is located at the front of the driver’s-side
strut tower in a power distribution center or cluster.
Chrysler automobiles with manual transmissions have a clutch interlock switch, as shown
in Figure 9-20. Current from the starter
relay can flow to ground only when the clutch
pedal is fully depressed. Cars with automatic
transmissions have an electrical neutral start
switch mounted on the transmission housing
(Figure 9-21). When the transmission is out of
gear, the switch provides a ground connection
for the starter control circuit.
Toyota and Nissan
Toyota and Nissan use a variety of solenoidactuated direct drive and reduction-gear starter
designs manufactured primarily by Hitachi and
Nippondenso, as shown in Figures 9-22 and 9-23.
The neutral start switch (called an inhibitor
switch by the Japanese automakers) incorporates
a relay in its circuit.
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Typical DaimlerChrysler starting system. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 9-17. Comparison of the terminals on a pre1977 starter relay (A) and a 1977 or later relay (B).
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 9-18. DaimlerChrysler starting system with a
five-terminal relay. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
191
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Chapter Nine
Figure 9-22. Typical Nissan starting system used on
gasoline engines. (Courtesy of Nissan North America, Inc.)
Figure 9-19. Only four of the five relay terminals are
used when the Bosch relay is installed. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
Figure 9-23.
A typical Nissan diesel starting system.
(Courtesy of Nissan North America, Inc.)
STARTER MOTORS
Starter Motor Purpose
Figure 9-20.
DaimlerChrysler clutch switch.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
The starter motor converts the electrical energy
from the battery into mechanical energy for
cranking the engine. The starter is an electric
motor designed to operate under great electrical
loads and to produce very high horsepower. The
starter consists of housing, field coils, an armature, a commutator and brushes, end frames, and
a solenoid-operated shift mechanism.
FRAME AND FIELD
ASSEMBLY
Figure 9-21. When the automatic transmission is in
PARK or NEUTRAL, a transmission lever touches the
contact and completes the control circuit to ground.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
The frame, or housing, of a starter motor
(Figure 9-24) encloses all of the moving motor
parts. It supports the parts and protects them
from dirt, oil, and other contamination. The part
of the frame that encloses the pole shoes and
field windings is made of iron to provide a path
for magnetic flux lines (Figure 9-25). To reduce
weight, other parts of the frame may be made of
cast aluminum.
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Figure 9-26.
Figure 9-24.
Brush end and end housing.
Starter motor housing.
Figure 9-27. Pole shoes and field windings in housing.
Figure 9-25.
The motor frame is a path for flux lines.
One end of the housing holds one of the two
bearings or bushings in which the armature shaft
turns. On most motors, it also contains the
brushes that conduct current to the armature
(Figure 9-26). This is called the brush, or commutator, end housing. The other end housing
holds the second bearing or bushing in which the
armature shaft turns. It also encloses the gear
that meshes with the engine flywheel. This is
called the drive end housing. The drive end
housing often provides the engine-to-motor
mounting points. These end pieces may be made
of aluminum because they do not have to conduct magnetic flux.
The magnetic field of the starter motor is
provided by two or more pole shoes and field
windings. The pole shoes are made of iron and
are attached to the frame with large screws
(Figure 9-27). Figure 9-28 shows the paths of
magnetic flux lines within a four-pole motor.
The field windings are usually made of a heavy
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Chapter Nine
are related. As speed increases in most automotive
starter motors, torque and current draw decrease.
These motors develop maximum torque just before
the engine begins to turn. Once the engine begins
to turn, the motor speed increases and torque
decreases. The maximum amount of torque produced by a motor depends upon the strength of its
magnetic fields. As field strength increases, torque
increases.
DC STARTER MOTOR
OPERATION
Figure 9-28.
Flux path in a four-pole motor.
Figure 9-29. Pole shoe and field winding removed
from housing.
copper ribbon (Figure 9-29) to increase their
current-carrying capacity and electromagnetic
field strength. Automotive starter motors usually
have four-pole shoes and two to four field windings to provide a strong magnetic field within
the motor. Pole shoes that do not have field
windings are magnetized by flux lines from the
wound poles.
Torque is the force of a starter motor, a force
applied in a rotary, or circular direction. The
torque, speed, and current draw of a motor
DC starter motors (Figure 9-30) work on the
principle of magnetic repulsion. This principle
states that magnetic repulsion occurs when a
straight rod conductor composed of the armature,
commutator, and brushes is located in a magnetic
field (field windings) and current is flowing
through the rod. This situation creates two separate magnetic fields: one produced by the magnet
(pole shoes of the magnetic field winding) and
another produced by the current flowing through
the conductor (armature/commutator/brushes).
Figure 9-30 shows the magnet’s magnetic field
moving from the N pole to the S pole and the conductor’s magnetic field flowing around the conductor. The magnetic lines of force have a
rubber-band characteristic. That is, they stretch
and also try to shorten to minimum length.
Figure 9-30 shows a stronger magnetic field
on one side of the rod conductor (armature/
commutator/brushes) and a weak magnetic field
on the other side. Under these conditions, the
conductor (armature) will tend to be repulsed by
the strong magnetic field (pole shoes and field
winding) and move toward the weak magnetic
field. As current in the conductor (armature) and
the strength of the magnet (field windings)
increases, the following happens:
• More lines of magnetism are created on the
strong side.
• More repulsive force is applied to the con-
ductor (armature).
• The conductor tries harder to move toward the
weak side in an attempt to reach a balanced
neutral state.
• A greater amount of electrical heat is
generated.
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195
NOTE: The combination of the U-shaped conductor loop and the split copper ring are called
the commutator because they rotate together. Together they become the armature.
Current flows from the positive ( ) battery
terminal through the brush and copper ring
nearer the N pole, through the conductor (armature) to the copper ring and brush nearer the
S pole and back to the negative () battery terminal. This electrical flow causes the portion of
the loop near the S pole to push downward and
the N pole to push upward. With a strong field
on one side of the conductor and a weak field on
the other side, the conductor will move from the
strong to the weak. Put another way, the weaker
magnetic field between the S and N poles on
one side of the conductor is repulsed by the
stronger magnetic field on the other side of the
conductor. The commutator then rotates. As it
turns, the two sides of the conductor loop
reverse positions and the two halves of the
split copper ring alternately make contact with
the opposite stationary brushes. This causes the
flow direction of electrical current to reverse
(alternating current) through the commutator
and the commutator to continue to rotate in the
same direction.
In order to provide smooth rotation and to
make the starter powerful enough to start the
engine, many armature commutator segments are
used. As one segment rotates past the stationary
magnetic field pole, another segment immediately takes its place.
When the starter operates, the current passing
through the armature produces a magnetic field in
each of its conductors. The reaction between the
magnetic field of the armature and the magnetic
fields produced by the field coils causes the armature to rotate.
Motor Internal Circuitry
Figure 9-30.
Motor principle.
Because field current and armature current flow
to the motor through one terminal on the housing,
the field and armature windings must be connected in a single complete circuit. The internal
circuitry of the motor (the way in which the field
and armature windings are connected) gives the
motor some general operating characteristics.
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Chapter Nine
Figure 9-32. Torque output characteristics of series,
shunt, and compound motors.
Figure 9-31.
Basic motor circuitry.
Figure 9-31 shows the three general types of
motor internal circuitry, as follows:
• Series
• Shunt (parallel)
• Compound (series-parallel)
All automotive starter motors in use today are
the series type or the compound type. The series
motor (Figure 9-31A) has only one path for
current. As the armature rotates, its conductors
cut magnetic flux lines. A counter-voltage is
induced in the armature windings, opposing the
original current through them. The countervoltage decreases the total current through both
the field and the armature windings, because
they are connected in series. This reduction of
current also reduces the magnetic field strength
and motor torque. Series motors produce a
great amount of torque when they first begin to
operate, but torque decreases as the engine
begins to turn (Figure 9-32). Series motors work
well as automotive starters because cranking an
engine requires a great amount of torque at first,
and less torque as cranking continues.
The shunt motor (Figure 9-31B) does not
follow the increasing-speed/decreasing-torque
relationship just described. The counter-voltage
within the armature does not affect field current,
because field current travels through a separate
circuit path. A shunt motor, in effect, adjusts its
torque output to the imposed load and operates
at a constant speed. Shunt motors are not used
as automotive starters because of their low
Figure 9-33. Actual relationships of field and armature windings in different types of motors.
initial torque (Figure 9-32), but are used to
power other automotive accessories.
The compound motor, shown in Figure 9-31C,
has both series and shunt field windings. It combines both the good starting torque of the seriestype and the relatively constant operating speed of
the shunt-type motor (Figure 9-32). A compound
motor is often used as an automotive starter.
Figure 9-33 shows the actual relationships of field
and armature windings in different types of motors.
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Figure 9-34.
197
Motor armature.
ARMATURE AND
COMMUTATOR
ASSEMBLY
The motor armature (Figure 9-32) has a laminated core. Insulation between the laminations
helps to reduce eddy currents in the core. For
reduced resistance, the armature conductors are
made of a thick copper wire. Motor armatures are
connected to the commutator in one of two ways.
In a lap winding, the two ends of each conductor
are attached to two adjacent commutator bars
(Figure 9-35). In a wave winding, the two ends of
a conductor are attached to commutator bars that
are 180 degrees apart (on opposite sides of the
commutator), as shown in Figure 9-36. A lapwound armature is more commonly used because
it offers less resistance.
The commutator is made of copper bars insulated
from each other by mica or some other insulating
material. The armature core, windings, and commutator are assembled on a long armature shaft. This
shaft also carries the pinion gear that meshes with
the engine flywheel ring gear (Figure 9-37). The
shaft is supported by bearings or bushings in the end
housings. To supply the proper current to the armature, a four-pole motor must have four brushes riding on the commutator (Figure 9-38). Most
automotive starters have two grounded and two
insulated brushes. The brushes are held against the
commutator by spring force.
Figure 9-35.
Armature lap winding. (Delphi Automotive
Systems)
PERMANENTMAGNET FIELDS
The permanent magnet, planetary-drive starter
motor is the first significant advance in starter
design in decades. It was first introduced on some
1986 Chrysler and GM models, and in 1989 by
Ford on Continental and some Thunderbird models.
Permanent magnets are used in place of the electromagnetic field coils and pole shoes. This eliminates
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Figure 9-36.
Chapter Nine
Armature wave winding.
Figure 9-38.
A four-brush motor. (Delphi Automotive
Systems)
The magnetic field of the starter motor is provided by four or six small permanent magnets.
These magnets are made from an alloy of iron and
rare-earth materials that produces a magnetic field
strong enough to operate the motor without relying
on traditional current-carrying field coil windings
around iron pole pieces. Removing the field circuit
not only minimizes potential electrical problems,
the use of permanent-magnet fields allows engineers to design a gear-reduction motor half the size
and weight of a conventional wound-field motor
without compromising cranking performance.
See Chapter 9 of the Shop Manual for service
and testing.
Figure 9-37. The pinion gear meshes with the flywheel ring gear.
the motor field circuit, which in turn eliminates the
potential for field wire-to-frame shorts, field coil
welding, and other electrical problems. The motor
has only an armature circuit. Because the smaller
armature in permanent magnet starters uses reinforcement bands, it has a longer life than the armature in wound-field starter motors.
STARTER MOTOR
AND DRIVE TYPES
Starter motors, as shown in Figure 9-39 are
direct-current (DC) motors that use a great
amount of current for a short time. The starter
motor circuit is a simple one containing just the
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Figure 9-39.
199
Starter motor cutaway.
starter motor and a solenoid or relay. This circuit
is a direct path for delivering the momentary
high current required by the starter motor from
the battery.
The starter motor cranks the engine through a
pinion gear that engages a ring gear on the
engine flywheel. The pinion gear is driven
directly off the starter armature (Figure 9-39) or
through a set of reduction gears (Figure 9-40)
that provides greater starting torque, although at
a lower rpm.
For the starter motor to be able to turn the
engine quickly enough, the number of teeth on the
flywheel ring gear, relative to the number of teeth
on the motor pinion gear, must be between 15 and
20 to 1 (Figure 9-41).
When the engine starts and runs, its speed
increases. If the starter motor were permanently
engaged to the engine, the motor would be spun
at a very high speed. This would throw armature
windings off the core. Thus, the motor must be
disengaged from the engine as soon as the engine
turns more rapidly than the starter motor has
cranked it. This job is done by the starter drive.
Figure 9-40. The Chrysler reduction-gear starter
motor. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Four general kinds of starter motors are used in
late-model automobiles:
•
•
•
•
Solenoid-actuated, direct drive
Solenoid-actuated, reduction drive
Movable-pole shoe
Permanent-magnet, planetary drive
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Figure 9-41. The ring-gear-to-pinion-gear ratio is
about 20 to 1.
Figure 9-43. The solenoid has a heavy-gauge pull-in
winding and a lighter-gauge hold-in winding. (Delphi
Automotive Systems)
Figure 9-42.
A typical solenoid-actuated drive.
Solenoid-Actuated,
Direct Drive
The main parts of a solenoid-actuated, directdrive starter (Figure 9-42), are the solenoid, the
shift lever, the overrunning clutch, and the starter
pinion gear. The solenoid used to actuate a starter
drive has two coils: the pull-in winding and the
hold-in, or holding, winding (Figure 9-43). The
pull-in winding consists of few turns of a heavy
wire. The winding is grounded through the motor
armature and grounded brushes. The hold-in
winding consists of many turns of a fine wire and
is grounded through the solenoid case.
When the ignition switch is turned to the start
position, current flows through both windings.
The solenoid plunger is pulled in, and the contacts
are closed. This applies battery voltage to both
ends of the pull-in winding, and current through it
stops. The magnetic field of the hold-in winding is
enough to keep the plunger in place. This circuitry
reduces the solenoid current draw during cranking, when both the starter motor and the ignition
system are drawing current from the battery.
The solenoid plunger action, transferred
through the shift lever, pushes the pinion gear into
mesh with the flywheel ring gear (Figure 9-44).
When the starter motor receives current, its
armature begins to turn. This motion is transferred through the overrunning clutch and pinion
gear to the engine flywheel.
The teeth on the pinion gear may not immediately mesh with the flywheel ring gear. If this happens, a spring behind the pinion compresses so that
the solenoid plunger can complete its stroke. When
the motor armature begins to turn, the pinion teeth
line up with the flywheel, and spring force pushes
the pinion to mesh.
The Delco-Remy MT series, as shown in
Figure 9-45, is the most common example of this
type of starter motor and has been used for
decades on almost all GM cars and light trucks.
While this motor is manufactured in different sizes
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Figure 9-44. The movement of the solenoid plunger
meshes the pinion gear and the flywheel ring gear.
RETURN SPRING
RUBBER
GASKET
PLUNGER
SOLENOID
GROMMET
SHIFT LEVER
BUSHING
PINION
STOP
ASSIST
SPRING
ARMATURE
FIELD
COIL
OVERRUNNING
CLUTCH
Figure 9-45. The Delco-Remy solenoid-actuated drive
motor. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
for different engines (Figure 9-46), the most common application is a four-pole, four-brush design.
The solenoid plunger action, in addition to
engaging the pinion gear, closes contact points
to complete the starter circuit. To avoid closing
the contacts before the pinion gear is fully
engaged, the solenoid plunger is in two pieces
(Figure 9-47). When the solenoid windings are
magnetized, the first plunger moves the shift
lever. When the pinion gear reaches the flywheel, the first plunger has moved far enough to
touch the second plunger. The first plunger con-
Figure 9-46. Delco-Remy provides differently connected starter motors for use with various engines.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
tinues to move into the solenoid, pushing the
second plunger against the contact points.
A similar starter design has been used by Ford
on diesel engines and older large-displacement
V8 gasoline engines. It operates in the same way
as the starter just described. The solenoid action
closes a set of contact points.
Because Ford installs a remotely mounted
magnetic switch in all of its starting circuits, the
solenoid contact points are not required to control the circuit. The solenoid contact points are
physically linked, so that they are always
“closed.”
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Chapter Nine
Figure 9-48. Circuit diagram of a system using a
movable-pole-shoe starter.
Figure 9-47. The Delco-Remy solenoid plunger is in
two pieces. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
In the early 1970s, Chrysler also manufactured
fully enclosed direct-drive starter motor. It works in
the same way as the solenoid-actuated starters previously described. The solenoid plunger closes contact points to complete the motor circuitry, but the
system also has a remotely mounted starter relay.
Reduction-drive starters are usually compound
motors. Most Bosch and all Japanese starter motors
operate on the same principles.
Solenoid-Actuated,
Reduction Drive
The Chrysler solenoid-actuated, reduction-drive
starter uses a solenoid to engage the pinion with the
flywheel and close the motor circuit. The motor
armature does not drive the pinion directly, however; it drives a small gear that is permanently
meshed with a larger gear. The armature-gearto-reduction-gear ratio is between 2 and 3.5 to 1,
depending upon the engine application. This allows
a small, high-speed motor to deliver increased
torque at a satisfactory cranking rpm. Solenoid and
starter drive operation is basically the same as a
solenoid-actuated, direct-drive starter.
Movable-Pole-Shoe Drive
Manufactured by the Motorcraft Division of Ford,
the movable-pole-shoe starter motor is used on
most Ford automobiles (Figure 9-48). One of the
motor-pole shoes pivots at the drive end housing.
The field winding of this shoe also contains a
holding coil, wired in parallel and independently
grounded. When the starter relay is closed, battery
current flows through the field windings and the
holding coil of the pole shoe to ground. This creates a strong magnetic field, and the pole shoe is
pulled down into operating position. The motion is
transferred through a shift lever, or drive yoke, to
mesh the pinion gear with the ring gear.
When the pole shoe is in position, it opens a set
of contacts. These contacts break the ground connection of the field windings. Battery current is
allowed to flow through the motor’s internal circuitry, and the engine is cranked. During cranking, a small amount of current flows through the
holding coil directly to ground to keep the shoe
and lever assembly engaged.
An overrunning clutch prevents the starter
motor from being turned by the engine. When the
ignition switch moves out of the start position,
current no longer flows through the windings of
the movable pole shoe or the rest of the motor.
Spring force pulls the shoe up, and the shift lever
disengages the pinion from the flywheel.
Permanent-Magnet
Planetary Drive
The high-speed, low-torque permanent-magnet
planetary-drive motor operates the drive mechanism through gear reduction provided by a simple
planetary gearset. Figure 9-49 shows the Bosch
gear reduction design, which is similar to that
used in Chrysler starters. Figure 9-50 shows the
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Figure 9-49. Bosch permanent-magnet gearreduction starter components. (Reprinted by permission
of Robert Bosch GmbH)
Figure 9-51. Field coils and permanent-magnet
starters use the same electrical wiring.
Figure 9-50. Delco-Remy permanent-magnet, gearreduction starter components. (Delphi Automotive
Systems)
gear reduction design used in the Delco-Remy
permanent-magnet, gear-reduction (PMGR)
starter. All PMGR starter designs use a solenoid
to operate the starter drive and close the motor
armature circuit. The drive mechanism is identical to that used on other solenoid-actuated starters
already described. Some models, however, use
lightweight plastic shift levers.
The planetary gearset between the motor armature and the starter drive reduces the speed and
increases the torque at the drive pinion. The compact gearset is only 1/2 to 3/4 inch (13 to 19 mm)
deep and is mounted inline with the armature and
drive pinion. An internal ring gear is keyed to the
field frame and held stationary in the motor. The
armature shaft drives the sun gear for the planetary gearset. The sun gear meshes with three planetary pinions, which drive the pinion carrier in
reduction as they rotate around the ring gear. The
starter driveshaft is mounted on the carrier and
driven at reduced speed and increased torque.
This application of internal gear reduction
through planetary gears delivers armature speeds
in the 7,000-rpm range. The armature and driveshaft ride on roller or ball bearings rather than
bushings.
Permanent-magnet, planetary-drive starters
differ mechanically in how they do their job, but
their electrical wiring is the same as that used in
the field-coil designs (Figure 9-51).
Although PMGR motors are lighter in weight
and simpler to service than traditional designs,
they do require special handling precautions. The
material used for the permanent magnet fields is
quite brittle. A sharp impact caused by hitting or
dropping the starter can destroy the fields.
OVERRUNNING
CLUTCH
Regardless of the type of starter motor used, when
the engine starts and runs, its speed increases. The
motor must be disengaged from the engine as
soon as the engine is turning more rapidly than
the starter motor that has cranked it. With a
movable-pole-shoe or solenoid-actuated drive,
however, the pinion remains engaged until power
stops flowing to the starter. In these applications,
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Chapter Nine
the starter is protected by an over-running clutch
(Figure 9-52).
The overrunning clutch consists of rollers
that ride between a collar on the pinion gear and
an outer shell. The outer shell has tapered slots
for the rollers so that the rollers either ride freely
or wedge tightly between the collar and the shell.
Figure 9-53 shows the operation of an overrunning clutch. In Figure 9-53A, the armature is
turning, cranking the engine. The rollers are
wedged against spring force into their slots. In
Figure 9-53B, the engine has started and is turning faster than the motor armature. Spring force
pushes the rollers so that they float freely. The
engine’s motion is not transferred to the motor
armature. These devices are sometimes called
one-way clutches because they transmit motion
in one direction only.
Figure 9-52.
Cutaway view of an overrunning clutch.
Figure 9-53.
The operation of an overrunning clutch.
Once the engine starts, the ignition switch is to
be released from the start position. The solenoid
hold-in winding is demagnetized, and a return
spring moves the plunger out of the solenoid. This
moves the shift lever back so that the overrunning
clutch and pinion gear slide away from the flywheel. For more information about overrunning
clutches, see the following sections of Chapter 9
in the Shop Manual, “Bench Tests” and “Starter
Motor Overhaul Procedure.”
SUMMARY
Electrical starting systems consist of a highcurrent starter circuit controlled by a low-current
control circuit. The ignition switch includes contacts that conduct battery current to the magnetic
switch. The magnetic switch may be a relay or a
solenoid and may have other jobs besides controlling the starter circuit current flow. The
starter motor and connecting wires are also
included in the system. Variations are common
among the starting systems used by the various
manufacturers. Magnetic repulsion occurs when
a straight-rod conductor composed of the armature, commutator, and brushes is located in a
magnetic field (field windings) and current is
flowing through the rod.
When the starter operates, the current passing
through the armature produces a magnetic field in
each of its conductors. The reaction between the
magnetic field of the armature and the magnetic
fields produced by the field coils causes the armature to rotate.
Traditional starter motors have pole pieces
wound with heavy copper field windings attached
to the housing. A new design, the permanentmagnet planetary drive, uses small permanent
magnets to create a magnetic field instead of pole
pieces and field windings.
One end housing holds the brushes; the other
end housing shields the pinion gear. The motor
armature windings are installed on a laminated
core and mounted on a shaft. The commutator
bars are mounted on, but insulated from, the shaft.
The solenoid-actuated drive uses the movement of a solenoid to engage the pinion gear with
the ring gear. Delco-Remy, Chrysler, Motorcraft,
and many foreign manufacturers use this type of
starter drive. The movable-pole-shoe drive, used
by Ford, has a pivoting pole piece that is moved
by electromagnetism to engage the pinion gear
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with the ring gear. In the planetary-gear drive
used by Chrysler, Ford, and GM, an armatureshaft sun gear meshes with the planetary pinions,
which drive the pinion carrier in reduction as
they rotate around the ring gear. The starter
205
driveshaft is mounted on the carrier and driven at
reduced speed and increased torque. An overrunning clutch is used with all starter designs to prevent the engine from spinning the motor and
damaging it.
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Chapter Nine
Review Questions
1. All of these are part of the control circuit
except:
a. A starting switch
b. An OCP thermostat
c. A starting safety switch
d. A magnetic switch
2. Which of the following is a component of a
starting circuit?
a. Magnetic switch
b. Ballast resistor
c. Voltage regulator
d. Powertrain control module (PCM)
3. Two technicians are discussing the
operation of a DC automotive starter.
Technician A says the principle of magnetic
repulsion causes the motor to turn.
Technician B says the starter uses a
mechanical connection to the engine that
turns the armature. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
4. All of these are part of a starter motor
except:
a. An armature
b. A commutator
c. Field coils
d. A regulator
5. The starting system has _________ circuits
to avoid excessive voltage drop.
a. Two
b. Three
c. Four
d. Six
6. The starter circuit consists of which of the
following?
a. Battery, ignition switch, starter motor,
large cables
b. Battery, ignition switch, relays or
solenoids, large cables
c. Battery, magnetic switch, starter motor,
primary wiring
d. Battery, magnetic switch, starter motor,
large cables
7. Which of the following is not part of the
starter control circuit?
a. The ignition switch
b. The starting safety switch
c. The starter relay
d. The starter motor
8. The ignition switch will not remain in which
of the following positions?
a. ACCESSORIES
b. OFF
c. ON (RUN)
d. START
9. The starting safety switch is also called a:
a. Remote-operated switch
b. Manual-override switch
c. Neutral-start switch
d. Single-pole, double-throw switch
10. Safety switches are most commonly used
with:
a. Automatic transmissions
b. Imported automobiles
c. Domestic automobiles
d. Manual transmissions
11. Starting safety switches used with manual
transmissions are usually:
a. Electrical
b. Mechanical
c. Floor-mounted
d. Column-mounted
12. Which of the following is not true of
solenoids?
a. They use the electromagnetic
field of a coil to pull a plunger into
the coil.
b. They are generally used to engage
the starter motor with the engine
flywheel.
c. They operate with a movable
plunger and usually do a
mechanical job.
d. They send electronic signals to the
control module and have no
moving parts.
13. Starter motors usually have how many pole
shoes?
a. Two
b. Four
c. Six
d. Eight
14. The rotational force of a starter motor is:
a. Polarized
b. Rectified
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c. Torque
d. Current
207
c. One-half as many
d. Three times as many
15. Which of the following is true of a shunt
motor?
a. It has high initial torque.
b. It operates at variable speed.
c. It has only one path for current flow.
d. It is not often used as a starting motor.
16. Which of the following is true of a
compound motor?
a. It has low initial torque.
b. It operates at variable speeds.
c. It has only one path for current flow.
d. It is often used as a starting motor.
17. In a lap-wound motor armature, the
two ends of each conductor are
attached to commutator segments
that are:
a. Adjacent
b. 45 degrees apart
c. 90 degrees apart
d. 180 degrees apart
18. Most automotive starters have ________
grounded and ________ insulated
brushes.
a. 2, 2
b. 2, 4
c. 4, 4
d. 4, 8
19. The ratio between the number of teeth on
the flywheel and the motor pinion gear is
about:
a. 1:1
b. 5:1
c. 20:1
d. 50:1
20. The overrunning clutch accomplishes which
of the following?
a. Separates the starter motor from the
starter solenoid
b. Brings the starter motor into contact with
the ignition circuit
c. Lets the starter motor rotate in either
direction
d. Protects the starter motor from spinning
too rapidly
21. A starting motor must have ____________
brushes as poles.
a. The same number of
b. Twice as many
(Delphi Automotive Systems)
22. The preceding illustration shows a:
a. Permanent-magnet planetary-gear
starter
b. Movable-pole-shoe starter
c. Direct-drive, solenoid-actuated starter
d. Reduction-gear drive, solenoid-actuated
starter
23. Which type of starter drive is not used on
late-model cars?
a. Direct drive
b. Bendix drive
c. Reduction drive
d. Planetary drive
24. A solenoid uses two coils. Their windings
are called:
a. Push-in and pull-out
b. Pull-in and push-out
c. Push-in and hold-out
d. Pull-in and hold-in
25. Which of the following is true of a reduction
drive?
a. The motor armature drives the pinion
directly.
b. The sun gear is mounted on the
armature shaft.
c. The overrunning clutch reduces battery
current.
d. The small gear driven by the armature
is permanently meshed with a larger
gear.
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26. The planetary drive starter uses:
a. Permanent magnets
b. Field coils
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
Chapter Nine
27. Which of the following is not required of a
permanent magnet starter?
a. Brush testing
b. Commutator testing
c. Field circuit testing
d. Armature testing
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10
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Identify the basic types and construction of
•
•
•
Automotive
Electronics
•
•
•
•
solid-state devices used in automotive electronic circuits.
Identify an ESD symbol and explain its use.
Explain the use and function of diodes in an
automotive circuit.
Explain forward-biased diodes and reversebiased diodes.
Explain the use and function of transistors and
the different types used in automotive circuits.
Explain the operation of a silicon-controlled
rectifier (SCR).
Identify and explain the operation of photonic semiconductors.
Identify and explain the term integrated circuit and how one uses electronic signals.
KEY TERMS
Anode
Cathode
Diode
Doping
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)
Field-Effect Transistor (FET)
Forward Bias
Integrated Circuit (ICs)
Light-Emitting Diode (LED)
N-Type Material
P-Type Material
PN Junction
Photonic Semiconductors
Rectifier
Reverse Bias
Semiconductors
Silicon-Controlled Rectifier (SCR)
Transistor
Zener Diode
INTRODUCTION
This chapter will review the basic semiconductors
and the electronic principles required to understand how electronic and computer-controlled
systems manage the various systems in today’s
209
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vehicles. A technician must have a thorough grasp
of the basis of electronics, it has become the single
most important subject area, and the days when
technicians could avoid working on an electronic
circuit throughout an entire career are long past.
This course of study will begin with semiconductor components.
Chapter 3 examined the atom’s valence ring,
the outermost electron shell. We learned that elements whose atoms have three or fewer electrons
in their valence rings are good conductors because
the free electrons in the valence ring readily join
with the valence electrons of other, similar atoms.
We also learned that elements whose atoms have
five or more electrons in their valence rings are
good insulators (poor conductors) because the
valence electrons do not readily join with those of
other atoms.
Chapter Ten
excellent insulator, because there are no free
electrons to carry current flow. Selenium, copper
oxide, and gallium arsenide are all semiconductors, but silicon and germanium are the most commonly used. Pure semiconductors have tight
electron bonding; there’s no place for electrons to
move. In this natural state, the elements aren’t useful for conducting electricity.
Other elements can be added to silicon and
germanium to change this crystalline structure.
This is called doping the semiconductor. The
ratio of doping elements to silicon or germanium
is about 1 to 10,000,000. The doping elements are
often called impurities because their addition to
the silicon or germanium makes the semiconductor materials impure.
Semiconductor Doping
SEMICONDUCTORS
Elements whose atoms have four electrons in their
valence rings are neither good insulators nor good
conductors. Their four valence electrons cause
special electrical properties, which give them the
name semiconductors. Germanium and silicon
are two widely used semiconductor elements.
Semiconductors are materials with exactly four
electrons in their outer shell, so they cannot be classified as insulators or conductors. If an element
falls into this group but can be changed into a useful conductor, it is a semiconductor.
When semiconductor elements are in the form
of a crystal, they bond together so that each atom
has eight electrons in its valence ring: It has its
own four electrons and shares four with surrounding atoms (Figure 10-1). In this form it is an
Figure 10-1. Crystalline silicon is an excellent insulator.
(Delphi Automotive Systems)
Pure silicon has four electrons in the outer orbit,
which makes it a semiconductor. However, the
silicon must be very pure without any impurities
that can affect its electrical properties. Pure silicon is a crystal that can be created by heating silicon in an electric oven called silicon crystal
growers. See Figure 10-2. To make this pure silicon useful for electronic devices, a controlled
amount of impurities are added to the pure silicon
during the growing process. The amount of the
impurities is extremely small. The process of
adding impurities to pure silicon is called doping.
If an element that has only three electrons in the
outer orbit, such as boron, is combined with the
silicon, the result is a molecule that has an opening, called a hole. While the resulting semiconductor is still electrically neutral, this vacant area
is a place where an electron could fill. This type
of material is called P-type material. If the pure
silicon is doped using an element with five electrons in its outer orbit, such as phosphorus, the
resulting semiconductor material is called N-type
material.
HISTORICAL NOTE: While the properties of
semiconductors have been known since
the late 1800s, it was not until the 1930s that
silicon and germanium could be produced
pure enough to allow accurate control of
the doping process. An electric oven is
used because it does not use any fuel, and
there are no impurities from the heating fuel
that could affect the process.
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211
P- and N-Type Material
If there is an excess of free electrons, the semiconductor is N-type material, where N stands for
negative. If there is a shortage of free electrons,
the semiconductor is P-type material, where
P stands for positive. Figure 10-3 shows P- and
N-type materials together. In a conductor, we
describe current flow as the movement of electrons, in a semiconductor, something else is going
on. Just as in a conductor, there is a movement of
free electrons, but at the same time, there is a
movement of “holes.”
Besides silicon, another semiconductor material, germanium, can be used and doped the same
way as silicon.
If silicon or germanium is doped with an element such as phosphorus, arsenic, or antimony,
each of which has five electrons in its valence
ring, there will not be enough space for the ninth
Si
electron in any of the shared valence rings. This
extra electron is free (Figure 10-4). This type of
doped material is called negative or N-type material because it already has excess electrons and
will repel additional negative charges.
Doping of a semiconductor material, using an
element with three electrons in its outer shell
called trivalent, results in P-type material. Using
an element with five electrons in its outer orbit,
called pentavalent, results in N-type material.
If silicon or germanium is doped with an element such as boron or indium, each of which has
only three electrons in its outer shell, some of the
atoms will have only seven electrons in their
valence rings. There will be a hole in these
valence rings (Figure 10-5). This type of doped
material is called positive or P-type material,
because it will attract a negative charge (an electron). In different ways, P-type and N-type silicon crystals may permit an electrical current
flow: In the P-type semiconductor, current flow
SHARED
ELECTRONS
Si
Si
Si
_
+
Figure 10-4. N-type material has an extra, or free,
electron. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
Figure 10-2. Germanium atom in a crystallized cluster
with shared electrons.
P-TYPE
Material
excess
holes (+)
Figure 10-3.
P- and N-type material.
N-TYPE
Material
excess
electrons (-)
Figure 10-5. P-type material has a “hole” in some of
its valence rings. (Delphi Automotive Systems)
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Chapter Ten
is occasioned by a deficit of electrons, while in
the N-type semiconductor, current flow is occasioned by an excess of electrons.
PN-Junction
When the two semiconductor materials are
brought together, as shown in Figure 10-6,
something happens at the area where the two
touch. This area is called the PN junction. You
chemically join P- and N-type materials either
by growing them together or fusing them with
some type of heat process. Either way they join
together as a single crystal structure. The
excess electrons in the N-type material are
attracted to the holes in the P-type material.
Some electrons drift across the junction to
combine with holes. As an electron combines
with a hole, both effectively disappear.
Whenever a voltage is applied to a semiconductor, electrons will flow towards the positive terminal and the holes will move towards the
negative terminal. The electron is no longer free
and the hole no longer exists. Because of the
cancellation of charges, the material at the junction assumes a positive charge in the N-type
material and a negative charge in the P-type
material; PN-junctions become diodes.
As long as no external voltage is applied to the
semiconductors, there is a limit to how many electrons will cross the PN junction. Each electron that
crosses the junction leaves behind an atom that is
missing a negative charge. Such an atom is called
a positive ion. In the same way, each hole that
crosses the junction leaves behind a negative ion.
As positive ions accumulate in the N-type material,
they exert a force (a potential) that prevents any
more electrons from leaving. As negative ions
accumulate in the P-type material, they exert a
potential that keeps any more holes from leaving.
Eventually, this results in a stable condition that
leaves a deficiency of both holes and electrons at
the PN junction. This zone is called the depletion
region. The potentials exerted by the negative and
positive ions on opposite sides of the depletion
region are two unlike charges. Combining unlike
charges creates voltage potential. The voltage
potential across the PN junction is called the
barrier voltage. Doped germanium has a barrier
voltage of about 0.3 volt. Doped silicon has a barrier voltage of about 0.7 volt.
Free Electrons and Movement
of Holes
In P-type semiconductor material, there is a
predominance of acceptor atoms and holes. In
N-type material, there is a predominance of
donor atoms and free electrons. When the two
semiconductors are kept separate, holes and
electrons are distributed randomly throughout
the respective materials. A hole is a location
where an electron normally resides but is currently absent. A hole is not a particle, but it
behaves like one (Figure 10-7).
Because a hole is the absence of an electron, it
represents a missing negative charge. As a result,
a hole acts like a positively charged particle.
Electrons and holes occur in both types of semi-
Movement of
Marbles / Electrons
Movement of Holes
Figure 10-7.
Figure 10-6.
PN junction.
Movement of holes. (GM Service and
Parts Operations)
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Automotive Electronics
conductor material. In P-type material, we
describe current flow as holes moving. In N-type
material, we describe current flow as electrons
moving. Holes cannot actually carry current.
When we talk about current flow in terms of holes
moving in one direction, we’re actually describing the movement of the absent electrons moving
in the opposite direction.
ELECTROSTATIC
DISCHARGE (ESD)
An electrostatic charge can build up on the surface of your body. If you touch something your
charge can be discharged to the other surface.
This is called electrostatic discharge (ESD).
Figure 10-8 shows the ESD symbol indicating
that the component is solid-state. Some service
manuals use the words solid-state instead of
the ESD symbol. Look for these indicators and
take the suggested ESD precautions when you
work on sensitive components.
DIODES
Now that you’ve learned what a semiconductor is,
let’s look at some basic examples. The simplest
kind of semiconductor is a diode (Figure 10-9). It’s
made of one layer of P-type material and one of
N-type material. The diode is the simplest semiconductor device that allows current to flow in only one
213
direction. A diode can function as a switch, acting
as either conductor or insulator, depending on the
direction of current flow. Diodes turn on when the
polarity of the current is correct and turn off when
the flow has the wrong polarity. The suffix -ode literally means terminal. For instance, it is used as the
suffix for cathode and anode. The word diode
means literally, having two terminals.
Previous sections discussed how both P-type
and N-type semiconductor crystals can conduct
electricity. Either the proportion of holes or surplus of electrons determines the actual resistance
of each type. When a chip is manufactured using
both P- and N-type semiconductors, electrons
will flow in only one direction. The diode is used
in electronic circuitry as a sort of one-way check
valve that will conduct electricity in one direction
(forward) and block it in the other (reverse).
Anode/Cathode
If current flows from left to right in Figure 10-9,
it’s correct to place a positive plus sign to the left
and a negative minus sign to the right of the diode.
The positive side of the diode is the anode and the
negative side is the cathode. Associate anode
with A (it’s the positive side) and cathode with
C (the negative side). The cathode is the end
with the stripe. Basically, the following types of
diodes are used in automotive applications:
• Regular diodes (used for rectification, or
changing AC to DC)
• Clamping diodes (to control voltage spikes
and surges that could damage solid-state
circuits)
• LEDs (light emitting diodes, used as
indicators)
• Zener diodes (voltage regulation)
• Photodiodes
PN _
+
ANODE
Figure 10-8.
Operations)
CATHODE
ESD symbol. (GM Service and Parts
Figure 10-9.
Diode.
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(+)
Chapter Ten
Anode
Cathode
(_)
Current
Figure 10-10. Diode triangle.
Diodes allow current flow in only one direction.
In Figure 10-10, the triangle in the diode symbol
points in the direction current is permitted to flow
using conventional current flow theory. Inside a
diode are small positive (P) and negative (N)
areas, which are separated by the thin boundary
area called the PN Junction. When a diode is
placed in a circuit with the positive side of the circuit connected to the positive side of the diode,
and the negative side of the circuit connected to
the negative side of the diode, the diode is said to
have forward bias. As an electrical one-way
check valve, diodes will permit current flow only
when correctly polarized. Diodes are used in AC
generators (alternators) to produce a DC characteristic from AC and are also used extensively in
electronic circuits.
Forward-Biased Diodes
A diode that’s connected to voltage so that current
is able to flow has forward bias. Bias refers to
how the voltage is applied. In Figure 10-11, the
negative voltage terminal is connected to the
N side of the diode, and the positive voltage terminal is connected to the P side.
If you cover up the P-type material in the
diode, you can think of this as any other circuit.
Electrons are repelled from the negative voltage
terminal through the conductor and towards the
diode. The electrons at the end of the conductor
repel the electrons in the N-type material. If there
weren’t a barrier voltage, the movement of electrons would continue through the conductor
towards the positive terminal.
Now think about the P-type material. The positive voltage terminal repels the electron holes in
the P side of the diode. This means that both electrons and electron holes are being forced into the
depletion zone.
Unlike electrical charges are attracted to each
other and like charges repel each other. Therefore,
Figure 10-11. Forward-biased diode. (GM Service and
Parts Operations)
the positive charge from the circuit’s power supply
is attracted to the negative side of the circuit. The
voltage in the circuit is much stronger than the
charges inside the diode and causes the charges
inside the diode to move. The diode’s P conductive
material is repelled by the positive charge of the
circuit and is pushed toward the N material,
and the N material is pushed toward the P. This
causes the PN junction to become a conductor,
allowing the circuit’s current to flow. Diodes may
be destroyed when subjected to voltage or current
values that exceed their rated capacity. Excessive
reverse current may cause a diode to conduct in
the wrong direction and excessive heat can melt
the semiconductor material.
Reverse-Biased Diode
A diode that’s connected to voltage so that current
cannot flow has reverse bias (Figure 10-12). This
means the negative voltage terminal is connected
to the P side of the diode, and the positive voltage
terminal is connected to the N side. Let’s see what
happens when voltage is applied to this circuit.
The electrons from the negative voltage terminal
combine with the electron holes in the P-type
material. The electrons in the N-type material are
attracted towards the positive voltage terminal.
This enlarges the depletion area. Since the holes
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215
Figure 10-13. Zener diode.
the case usually uses a heat sink to dissipate the
heat to help protect the diode from damage.
Zener Diodes
Figure 10-12. Reverse-biased diode. (GM Service and
Parts Operations)
and electrons in the depletion area don’t combine,
current can’t flow.
When reverse bias is applied to the diode, the
P and N areas of the diode are connected to opposite charges. Since opposites attract, the P material moves toward the negative part of the circuit
whereas the N material moves toward the positive
part of the circuit. This empties the PN junction
and current flow stops.
Diode Types
Diodes are constructed to serve many uses in the
automotive electronic circuits, such as:
Small-Signal Diodes
Small-signal diodes are used throughout many
automotive circuits and are used to rectify AC to
DC as well as for spike or voltage clamping, such
as in relays and solenoids.
Power Transistors
Power transistors, also called power rectifiers, are
designed to handle more current than small-signal
type diodes. To be able to handle higher currents,
In 1934, Clarence Melvin Zener invented a diode
that can be used to control voltage. Zener diodes
(Figure 10-13) work the same way as regular
diodes when forward biased, but they are placed
backwards in a circuit. When the Zener voltage is
reached, the Zener diode begins to allow current
flow but maintains a voltage drop across itself.
The Zener diode is designed to block reverse-bias
current but only up to a specific voltage value
between 2 and 200 volts. When this reverse
breakdown voltage (V2) is attained, it will conduct the reverse-bias current flow without damage to the semiconductor material. The major
difference between a Zener diode and a conventional diode is that the Zener diode is more heavily doped and is therefore able to withstand being
operated in reverse bias without harm.
PHOTONIC
SEMICONDUCTORS
Photonic semiconductors, like the photodiode in Figure 10-14, emit and detect light or
photons. Photons are produced when certain
electrons excited to a higher-than-normal energy level return to a more normal level. Photons
act like waves, and the distance between the
wave nodes and anti-nodes (wave crests and
valleys) is known as wavelength. Electrons are
excited to higher energy levels and photons with
shorter wavelengths than electrons are excited
to lower levels. Photons are not necessarily visible, and it is important to note that they may
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Chapter Ten
LED
LENS
Light Emitting Diode
SIGNAL
DISC
ANODE
LED
CATHODE
DISTRIBUTOR
SHAFT
PHOTO-ELECTRIC
CELL
Figure 10-14. Nissan optical signal generator works
by interrupting a beam of light passing from the LED to
a photodiode. (Courtesy of Nissan North America, Inc.)
only truly be described as light when they
are visible. Photodiodes are designed specifically to detect light. These diodes are constructed with a glass or plastic window through
which the light enters. Often, photodiodes have
a large, exposed PN junction region. These
diodes are often used in automatic headlamp
control systems.
The Optical Spectrum
All visible light is classified as electromagnetic
radiation. The specific wavelength of light rays
will define its characteristics. Light wavelengths
are specified in nanometers, which are billionths of
a meter. The optical light spectrum includes ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation. Photonic
semiconductors can emit or detect near-infrared
radiation, so near-infrared is usually referred to
as light.
Figure 10-15. Light-emitting diode (LED).
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
All diodes release energy in operation, usually in
the form of heat. Diodes can be constructed from
gallium arsenide phosphide to release light when
current flows across the P-N junction. These are
known as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) (Figure
10-15). They are much the same as regular diodes
except that they emit light when they are forward
biased. LEDs are very current-sensitive and can be
damaged if they are subjected to more than 50 milliamps. LEDs also require higher voltages to turn on
than do regular diodes; normally, 1.5 to 2.5 volts are
required to forward-bias an LED to cause it to light
up. LEDs also offer much less resistance to reversebias voltages. High reverse-bias voltages may cause
the LED to light or cause it to burn up.
A seven-segment LED is capable of displaying
letters and numbers and is very efficient at producing light from electrical energy. In complex
electrical circuits, LEDs are an excellent alternative to incandescent lamps. They produce much
less heat and need less current to operate. They
also turn on and off more quickly. LEDs are also
used in some steering wheel controls.
Photodiode
Solar Cells
A solar cell consists of a PN or NP silicon semiconductor junction built onto contact plates. A
single silicon solar cell may generate up to 0.5 V
in ideal light conditions (bright sunlight), but output values are usually lower. Like battery cells,
solar cells are normally arranged in series groups,
in which case the output voltage would be the
sum of cell voltages, or in parallel, where the output current would be the sum of the cell currents.
They are sometimes used as battery chargers on
vehicles.
An LED produces light when current flows
through the P-N junction, releasing photons of
light. LEDs can also produce a voltage if light is
exposed to the P-N junction. Diodes that incorporate a clear window to allow light to enter are
called photodiodes.
RECTIFIER CIRCUITS
A rectifier (Figure 10-16) converts an undulating
(alternating current voltage) signal into a singlepolarity (direct current voltage) signal. Rectifiers
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change alternating current (AC) to direct current
(DC). Several diodes are combined to build a
diode rectifier, which is also called a bridge rectifier. Bridge rectifiers comprise a network of four
diodes that converts both halves of an AC signal.
AC Generator (Alternator)
The most common use of a rectifier in today’s
automotive systems is in the AC generator. The
AC generator produces alternating current (AC).
Because automotive electrical systems use direct
current, the generator must somehow convert the
AC to DC. The DC is provided at the alternator’s
output terminal. Figure 10-17 shows how a diode
rectifier works inside a generator.
Full-Wave Rectifier
Bridge Operation
Think about this example in terms of conventional theory (Figure 10-16). First you must
understand that the stator voltage is AC. That
means the voltage at A alternates between positive and negative. When the voltage at A is positive, current flows from A to the junction
between diodes D1 and D2. Notice the direction
of the diode arrows. Current can’t flow through
D1, only through D2. The current reaches another
junction. It can’t flow through D4, so current
must pass through the circuit load. The current
continues along the circuit until it reaches the
junction of D1 and D3.
217
Even though the voltage applied to D1 is forward biased, current can’t flow because there’s
positive voltage on the other side of the diode.
Current flows through D3 to ground at B. When the
stator voltage reverses so that point B is positive,
current flows along the opposite path. Whether the
stator voltage at point A is positive or negative, current always flows from top to bottom through the
load (R1). This means the current is DC.
The rectifiers in generators are designed to
have an output (positive) and an input (negative)
diode for each alternation of current. This type of
rectifier is called a full-wave rectifier. In this type
of rectifier, there is one pulse of DC for each pulse
of AC. The DC that’s generated is called fullwave pulsating DC. Figure 10-16 is an illustration
of full-wave pulsating DC.
This example is simplified to include only one
stator and four diodes. In a real AC generator,
there are three stator coils and six diodes. The
diodes are mounted inside two heat sinks. The heat
sinks are cooled by air to dissipate the heat generated in the six diodes. The combination of the six
diodes and the heat sink is called a rectifier bridge.
TRANSISTORS
Transistors (Figure 10-18) are semiconductor
devices with three leads. A very small current or
voltage at one lead can control a much larger current flowing through the other two leads. This
means that transistors can be used as amplifiers
and switches. There are two main families of transistors: bipolar transistors and field-effect transistors. Many of their functions are either directly or
Figure 10-16. Rectifier bridge. (GM Service and Parts
Figure 10-17. AC to DC rectification. (GM Service and
Operations)
Parts Operations)
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Chapter Ten
either the collector or the emitter on either side.
The base is the central unit that uses a low amount
of current to turn on and off the emitter-collector
current.
When the base of an NPN Transistor is
grounded (0 volts), no current flows from the
emitter to the collector—the transistor is off. If the
base is forward-biased by at least 0.6 volt, the current will flow from the emitter to the collector—
the transistor is on. When operated in only these
two modes, the transistor functions as a switch
(Figure 10-19). If the base is forward biased, the
emitter-collector current will follow variations in
a much smaller base current. The transistor then
functions as an amplifier. This discussion applies
to a transistor in which the emitter is the ground
connection for both the input and output and is
called the common-emitter circuit. Diodes and
transistors share several key features:
• The base-emitter junction (or diode) will not
Figure 10-18. Transistors.
Figure 10-19. Transistor operation.
indirectly associated with circuit switching, and
in this capacity they can be likened to relays in
electrical circuits.
conduct until the forward voltage exceeds
0.6 volt.
• Too much current will cause a transistor to
become hot and operate improperly. If a
transistor is hot when touched, disconnect
the power to it.
• Too much current or voltage may damage or
permanently destroy the “chip” that forms a
transistor. If the chip isn’t harmed, its tiny
connection wires may melt or separate
from the chip. Never connect a transistor
backwards!
Examples of Bipolar
Transistors
Just as with diodes, transistors are available for
many different applications.
Small-Signal Switching Transistors
Bipolar Transistors
Add a second junction to a PN junction diode
and you get a three-layer silicon sandwich
(Figure 10-19). The sandwich can be NPN or
PNP. Either way, the middle layer acts like a
faucet or gate that controls the current moving
through the three layers. The three layers of a
bipolar transistor are the emitter, base, and collector. The center section is what determines how
the transistor will function. The base material is
constructed thinner and with less doping than
A transistor used for amplifying signals is
designed specifically for switching, while others
can also amplify signals.
Power Transistors
Power transistors are used to switch on and off
units that require up to one ampere of current or
more, depending on the design. All power transistors use a heat sink to dissipate heat generated by
the voltage drop that occurs across the PN junction of the transistors. Power transistors are also
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called driven because they control current of output devices, such as solenoids.
High Frequency Transistors
High frequency transistors are specifically
designed for rapid switching by using a very thin
base material.
Transistor Operation
219
combine with the base, are attracted through the
base to the holes in the collector. The free electrons
from the emitter are moved by the negative forward bias toward the base, but most pass through
the base to the holes in the collector, where they are
attracted by a positive bias. Reverse current flows
in the collector-base output circuit, but the overall
current flow in the transistor is forward.
A slight change in the emitter-base bias causes
a large change in emitter-to-collector current flow.
This is similar to a small amount of current flow
controlling a large current flow through a relay. As
the emitter-base bias changes, either more or
fewer free electrons are moved toward the base.
This causes the collector current to increase or
decrease. If the emitter-base circuit is opened or
the bias is removed, no forward current will flow
through the transistor because the base-collector
junction acts like a PN diode with reverse bias
applied.
The input circuit for a NPN transistor is the emitterbase circuit (Figure 10-20). Because the base is
thinner and doped less than the emitter, it has fewer
holes than the emitter has free electrons.
Therefore, when forward bias is applied, the
numerous free electrons from the emitter do not
find enough holes to combine with in the base. In
this condition, the free electrons accumulate in the
base and eventually restrict further current flow.
The output circuit for this NPN transistor is
shown in Figure 10-21 with reverse bias applied.
The base is thinner and doped less than the collector. Therefore, under reverse bias, it has few
minority carriers (free electrons) to combine with
many minority carriers (holes in the collector).
When the collector-base output circuit is reversebiased, very little reverse current will flow. This
is similar to the effect of forward-biasing the
emitter-base input circuit, in which very little forward current will flow.
When the input and output circuits are
connected, with the forward and reverse biases
maintained, the overall operation of the NPN transistor changes (Figure 10-22). Now, the majority of
free electrons from the emitter, which could not
Figure 10-21. Reverse-biased transistor operation.
Figure 10-20. Forward-biased transistor operation.
Figure 10-22.
interaction.
Transistor input/output current
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Tran(sfer) + (Re)sistor
The word transistor was originally a business
trademark used as a name for an electrical part
that transferred electric signals across a resistor.
Two scientists, John Bardeen and Walter H.
Brattain, at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1948,
invented the point-contact transistor. In 1951,
their colleague, William Shockley, invented the
junction transistor. As a result of their work,
these three men received the 1956 Nobel Prize
for physics.
Field-Effect Transistors (FETs)
Field-effect transistors (FET) have become
more important than bipolar transistors. They
are easier to make and require less silicon
(Figure 10-23). There are two major FET families, junction FETs and metal-oxide-semiconductor FETs. In both kinds, a small input
voltage and practically no input current control
an output current.
Junction FETs (JFETs)
Field effect transistors are available in two designs:
an N-channel and a P-channel. The channel acts
like a resistance path between the source and the
drain. The resistance of the channel is controlled by
the voltage (not the current) at the gate. By varying
the voltage at the gate, this design transistor can
perform switching and amplification. The higher
the voltage at the gate, the more the conductive
path (channel) is increased in resistance.
Current can be completely blocked if the voltage at the gate is high enough.
Figure 10-23. Field-effect transistor (FET).
Chapter Ten
Since JFETs are voltage-controlled, they have
the following important advantages over currentcontrolled bipolar transistors:
• The gate-channel resistance is very high
and therefore has very little effect on any
other circuits that could be connected to
the gate.
• The gate circuit has such a high resistance
that current flow is almost zero. The high
resistance is present because the gate and
channel effectively form a reversed-biased
diode. If a diode is reversed biased, the
resistance will be high.
Like bipolar transistors, JFETs can be damaged or
destroyed by excessive current or voltage.
Metal-Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect
Transistors (MOSFETs)
Most electronic devices today use metal-oxide
semiconductor FETs (MOSFETs). Most microcomputer and memory integrated circuits are
arrays of thousands of MOSFETs on a small
sliver of silicon. MOSFETs are easy to make,
they can be very small, and some MOSFET circuits consume negligible power. New kinds of
power MOSFETs are also very useful. The input
resistance of the MOSFET is the highest of any
transistor. This and other factors give MOSFETs
the following important advantages:
• The gate-channel resistance is almost infi-
nite. This means the gate pulls no current
from external circuits.
• MOSFETs can function as voltage-controlled
variable resistors. The gate voltage controls
channel resistance.
Like other field-effect transistors (FETs),
MOSFETs can be classified as P-type or N-type.
In a MOSFET, the gate is electrically isolated
from the source and the drain by a silicon oxide
insulator. When the voltage at the gate is positive,
the resistance of the channel will increase, reducing current flow between the source and the drain.
The voltage level at the gate determines the resistance of the path or channel allowing MOSFET
device to act as either a switch or a variable resistor. The gate-channel has such high resistance that
little, if any, current is drawn from an external circuit that may be connected to the gate.
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Unijunction Transistor (UJT)
A unijunction transistor is a simple electronic
switch, which is not capable of amplification. A
UJT has been described as a three-terminal diode
that uses either base I or base II as output terminal. Like a diode, it requires a certain voltage
level to cause the UJT to be conductive and once
this level is reached, allows current to flow
between base I and base II.
Darlington Pairs
A Darlington pair consists of two transistors
wired together. This arrangement permits a very
small current flow to control a large current flow.
The Darlington pair is named for Sidney
Darlington, an American physicist for Bell
Laboratories from 1929 to 1971. Darlington
amplifier circuits are commonly used in electronic ignition systems, computer engine control
circuits, and many other electronic applications.
See Figure 10-24.
221
SILICONCONTROLLED
RECTIFIERS (SCRs)
A silicon-controlled rectifier, as shown in Figure
10-25, is an electrical switch that is used to control DC current. SCRs use four layers of semiconductor materials with three P-N junctions or
similar to two diodes connected end-to-end. Like
a diode, the P-N junction becomes forward biased
when the voltage is higher at the anode compared
to the cathode. The difference between a diode
and an SCR is that not only must the anode be
more positive than the cathode, but the voltage at
the gate allows the second set of P-N junctions to
be forward biased and therefore, causes current to
flow. SCRs are used for switching in ignition and
other electronic circuits.
A TRIAC consists of two SCRs in parallel and
is used to control either AC or DC current flow.
The internal construction of a TRIAC results in
the gate being more remote from the current-carrying region, enabling the TRIAC to switch high
current when gate current is present.
Thyristor
Thyristors are a type of SCR that has three terminals and acts as a solid-state switch. A
thyristor is a controlled rectifier where the current flow from an anode to a cathode is controlled by a small signal current that flows from
the gate to the cathode. Thyristors are electronic
switches, which can be either on or off and can
switch either AC or DC current. Thyristors are
Figure 10-24. Darlington pairs.
Figure 10-25. Silicon-controlled rectifiers (SCR).
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Chapter Ten
used in electronic circuits along with other
devices and usually are not a discrete (individual) replaceable component.
INTEGRATED
CIRCUITS
An integrated circuit (abbreviated IC) is a section of silicon semiconductor material on which
thousands of diodes, resistors, and transistors are
constructed. See Figure 10-26. Integrated circuits
are created by etching the circuits in a clean room.
Integrated circuits work by using the presence or
absence of voltage with little, if any, current flow.
The integrated circuits are small and are usually
encased in plastic with terminals arranged so that
it can be installed in a circuit board. A common
type of integrated circuit package uses two rows
of pins and is called a DIP (dual in-line package). DIPs were commonly used until the mid
1990s as PROM chips in vehicle computers.
USING ELECTRONIC
SIGNALS
off. For example, a cooling fan motor can be varied in speed by controlling the percentage of time
that current is allowed to flow to the motor. This
action of variable control is called pulse-width
modulation.
Some electrical signals are analog, such as
those from magnetic sensors, and must be converted into digital on-and-off signals for use by
a digital computer. Most of these signals are
weak and can be affected by electromagnetic
interference, often called electronic noise.
MOSFETS are particularly sensitive to electronic interference. To reduce the possibility of
interference, components containing MOSFETs
are usually isolated physically from sources of
high voltage, such as secondary ignition system
components.
HISTORICAL NOTE: The integrated circuit
was invented by two people at about the
same time in two different companies. The
two credited for the invention of a circuit
on a chip in 1959 are Jack Kilby of Texas
Instruments and Robert Noyce of
Fairchild. The two companies agreed to
grant license to each other since both
conceded that each had some right to the
invention.
Electronic signals are simply on and off voltage
pulses that are used by other electronic devices,
such as power transistors to turn something on or
P Type
N Type
Poly
Contact
Metal
Figure 10-26. Integrated circuits. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
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SUMMARY
Semiconductors are, by definition, elemental
materials with four electrons in their outer shells.
Silicon is the most commonly used semiconductor material. Semiconductors must be doped to
provide them with the electrical properties that
can make them useful as electronic components.
After doping, semiconductor crystals may be
classified as having N or P electrical properties.
Diodes are two-terminal semiconductors that
often function as a sort of electrical one-way
check valve. Zener diodes are commonly used in
vehicle electronic systems; they act as voltagesensitive switches in a circuit.
Transistors are three-terminal semiconductor
chips. Transistors can be generally grouped into
bipolar and field effect types. Essentially a transistor is a semiconductor sandwich with the middle
223
layer acting as a control gate, a small current flow
through the base-emitter will ungate the transistor
and permit a much larger emitter-collector current
flow. Many different types of transistor are used in
vehicle electronic circuits, but their roles are primarily concerned with switching and amplification.
The optical spectrum includes ultraviolet, visible,
and infrared radiation. Optical components conduct, reflect, refract, or modify light. Vehicle electronics are using increased amounts of fiber optics
components.
Integrated circuits consist of resistors, diodes,
and transistors arranged in a circuit on a chip of
silicon. A common integrated circuit chip package used in computer and vehicle electronic systems is a DIP with either 14 or 16 terminals. Many
different chips with different functions are often
arranged on a primary circuit board also known as
a motherboard.
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Chapter Ten
Review Questions
1. Semiconductors are made into good
conductors through which of these
processes:
a. Electrolysis
b. Purification
c. Ionization
d. Doping
2. In an electrical circuit, a diode functions as a:
a. Timing device
b. Switch
c. Resistor
d. Energy storage device
3. What is the purpose of a diode rectifier
circuit?
a. To convert AC voltage to DC
b. To convert DC voltage to AC
c. To smooth out voltage pulsations
d. To convert DC voltage to AC
4. The positive terminal of a diode is correctly
called an:
a. Electrode
b. Cathode
c. Anode
d. Emitter
5. Semiconductors are elements that have
how many electrons in their valence rings?
a. Two
b. Four
c. Six
d. Eight
6. A diode is a simple device which joins:
a. P-material and N-material
b. P-material and P-material
c. N-material and N-material
d. P-material and a conductor
7. Which of the following is not true of forward
bias in a diode?
a. Free electrons in the N-material and
holes in the P-material both move
toward the junction.
b. N-material electrons move across the
junction to fill the holes in the P-material.
c. Negatively charged holes left behind in
the N-material attract electrons from the
negative voltage source.
d. The free electrons which moved into the
P-material continue to move toward the
positive voltage source.
8. When reverse bias is applied to a simple
diode, which of the following will result?
a. The free electrons will move toward the
junction.
b. The holes of the P-material move toward
the junction.
c. No current will flow across the junction.
d. The voltage increases.
9. Under normal use, a simple diode acts to:
a. Allow current to flow in one direction only
b. Allow current to flow in alternating
directions
c. Block the flow of current from any
direction
d. Allow current to flow from either direction
at once
10. “Breakdown voltage” is the voltage at which
a Zener diode will:
a. Allow reverse current to flow
b. Stop the flow of reverse current
c. Sustain damage as a result of current
overload
d. Stop the flow of either forward or reverse
current
11. Which of the following combinations of
materials can exist in the composition of a
transistor?
a. NPN
b. PNN
c. ABS
d. BSA
12. To use a transistor as a simple solid-state
relay:
a. The emitter-base junction must be
reverse-biased, and the collector-base
junction must be forward-biased.
b. The emitter-base junction must be
forward-biased, and the collector-base
junction must be reverse-biased.
c. The emitter-base junction and the
collector-base junction both must be
forward-biased.
d. The emitter-base junction and the
collector-base junction both must be
reverse-biased.
13. Which of the following is not commonly
used as a doping element?
a. Arsenic
b. Antimony
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c. Phosphorus
d. Silicon
14. The display faces of digital instruments are
often made of:
a. Silicon-controlled rectifiers
b. Integrated circuits
c. Light-emitting diodes
d. Thyristors
15. All of the following are parts of a field-effect
transistor (FET), except the:
a. Drain
b. Source
225
c. Base
d. Gate
16. All of the following are characteristics of an
integrated circuit (IC), except:
a. It is extremely small.
b. It contains thousands of individual
components.
c. It is manufactured from silicon.
d. It is larger than a hybrid circuit.
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11
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
will be able to:
• Explain the process of mutual induction in
the ignition coil.
• List the components in the primary ignition
circuit.
• Describe the differences between electronic
and distributorless ignition systems.
The Ignition:
Primary and
Secondary
Circuits and
Components
• Have knowledge of the different solid-state
triggering devices.
• Describe the operation of the secondary ig-
nition system.
• List the secondary ignition components.
• List conditions that cause high resistance in
the secondary circuit.
• Explain the various design features of spark
plugs.
KEY TERMS
Available Voltage
Bakelite
Breaker Points
Burn Time
Capacitive-Discharge
Ignition System
Current Limiting Hump
Distributor Ignition
(DI) System
Dwell
Dwell Time
Electronic Ignition
(EI) Systems
Extended-Core
Spark Plug
Firing Line
Firing Voltage
Fixed Dwell
Hall Effect Switch
Heat Range
Inductive-Discharge
Ignition System
Ionize
Magnetic Pulse
Generator
Magnetic Saturation
Mechanical Ignition
Systems
No-Load Oscillation
Optical Signal
Generator
Reach
Required Voltage
Resistor-Type Spark
Plugs
Self-Induction
Spark Voltage
Television-RadioSuppression (TVRS)
Cables
Variable Dwell
Voltage Decay
Voltage Reserve
227
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Chapter Eleven
INTRODUCTION
The primary ignition circuit is considered to be the
heart of the ignition system. The secondary ignition circuit cannot function efficiently if the primary ignition circuit is damaged. This chapter
explains components of the low-voltage primary
ignition circuit and how the circuit operates.
Breaker points opened and closed the low-voltage
primary circuit until the 1970s when solid-state
electronic switching devices took their place.
Whether breaker points or electronic switches are
used, the principles of producing high voltage by
electromagnetic induction remain the same.
NEED FOR HIGH
VOLTAGE
Energy is supplied to the automotive electrical
system by the battery. The battery supplies about
twelve volts, but the voltage required to ignite the
air-fuel mixture ranges from about 5,000 to more
than 40,000 volts, depending upon engine operating conditions.
High voltage is required to create an arc across
the spark plug air gap. The required voltage level
increases when the:
•
•
•
•
Spark plug air gap increases
Engine operating temperature increases
Air-fuel mixture is lean
Air-fuel mixture is at a greater pressure
Battery voltage must be greatly increased to meet
the needs of the ignition system. Engine operating
temperature increases the required voltage because
resistance increases with greater temperature. A
lean air-fuel mixture contains fewer volatile fuel
particles, so resistance increases. More voltage is
needed when the air-fuel mixture is at a greater
pressure because resistance increases with an increase in pressure. The ignition system boosts voltage using electromagnetic induction.
HIGH VOLTAGE
THROUGH
INDUCTION
Any current-carrying conductor or coil is surrounded by a magnetic field. As current in the coil
increases or decreases, the magnetic field expands
or contracts. If a second coiled conductor is placed
within this magnetic field, the expanding or contracting magnetic flux lines will cut the second
coil, causing a voltage to be induced into the second coil. This transfer of energy between two unconnected conductors is called mutual induction.
Induction in the Ignition Coil
The ignition coil uses the principle of mutual induction to step up or transform low battery voltage to high ignition voltage. The ignition coil,
Figure 11-1, contains two windings of copper
wire wrapped around a soft iron core. The primary
winding is made of a hundred or so turns of heavy
wire. It connects to the battery and carries current.
The secondary winding is made of many thousand
turns of fine wire. When current in the primary
winding increases or decreases, a voltage is induced into the secondary winding, Figure 11-1.
The ratio of the number of turns in the secondary
winding to the number of turns in the primary winding is generally between 100:1 and 200:1. This ratio is the voltage multiplier. That is, any voltage
induced in the secondary winding is 100 to 200
times the voltage present in the primary winding.
Several factors govern the induction of voltage. Only two of these factors are easily controllable in an ignition system. Induced voltage
increases with:
• More magnetic flux lines
• More rapid movement of flux lines
More magnetic flux lines produce a stronger magnetic field because there is a greater current. The
rapid movement of flux lines results in a faster
collapse of the field because of the abrupt end to
the current.
Voltage applied to the coil primary winding
with breaker points is about nine to ten volts.
However, at high speeds, voltage may rise to
twelve volts or more. This voltage pushes from
one to four amperes of current through the primary winding. Primary current causes a magnetic
field buildup around the windings. Building up a
complete magnetic field is called magnetic saturation, or coil saturation. When this current stops,
the primary winding magnetic field collapses. A
greater voltage is self-induced in the primary
winding by the collapse of its own magnetic field.
This self-induction creates from 250 to 400 volts
in the primary winding. For example, in a typical
electronic ignition system, when the switching
device turns ON, the current in the primary ignition circuit increases to approximately 5.5 amps.
As the magnetic field builds in the primary cir-
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229
Figure 11-1. The ignition coil produces high-voltage current in the secondary winding when current is cut off in
the primary winding.
cuit, the magnetic flux lines cross over into the
secondary windings of the coil and induce an
even greater voltage charge. The amount of voltage in the primary circuit builds up to 240 volts.
The secondary windings meanwhile are building
200 times the primary voltage, or 48,000 volts.
This is enough voltage to ignite the air-fuel mixture under most operating conditions.
This collapsing magnetic field can be observed
on an oscilloscope as a primary waveform pattern
and is often referred to as the firing line. The voltage fluctuations vary by manufacturer, but most
ignition systems range in amplitude between 250
to 400 volts. The secondary windings within the
ignition coil are much thinner and have between
100 to 200 times the amount of windings. The
voltage induced by the collapsing magnetic field
is in the kilovolt (1000 X) range.
This kind of ignition system, based on the
induction of a high voltage in a coil, is called
an inductive-discharge ignition system. An
inductive-discharge system, using a battery as
the source of low-voltage current, has been the
standard automotive ignition system for about
eighty years.
BASIC CIRCUITS
AND CURRENT
The ignition system consists of two interconnected circuits:
• The low-voltage primary circuit
• The high-voltage secondary circuit
When the ignition switch is turned on, battery
current travels:
• Through the ignition switch or the primary
resistor if present
• To and through the coil primary winding
• Through a switching device
• To ground at the negative and the grounded
terminal of the battery
Low-voltage current in the coil primary winding
creates a magnetic field. When the switching device interrupts this current:
• A high-voltage surge is induced in the coil
secondary winding.
• Secondary current is routed from the coil to
the distributor.
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Chapter Eleven
• Secondary current passes through the dis-
tributor cap, rotor, across the rotor air gap,
and through another ignition cable to the
spark plug.
• Secondary current creates an arc across the
spark plug gap, as it travels to ground.
PRIMARY CIRCUIT
COMPONENTS
The primary circuit contains the:
•
•
•
•
•
Battery
Ignition switch
Pickup coil in the distributor
Coil primary winding
Ignition control module
Battery
The battery supplies low-voltage current to the ignition primary circuit. Battery current is available
to the system when the ignition switch is in the
START or the RUN position.
Ignition Switch
The ignition switch controls low-voltage current
through the primary circuit. The switch allows
current to the coil when it is in the START or the
RUN position. Other switch positions route current to accessory circuits and lock the steering
wheel in position.
Manufacturers use differing ignition switch
circuitry. The differences lie in how battery current is routed to the switch. Regardless of variations, full system voltage is always present at the
switch because it is connected directly to the
battery.
General Motors automobiles draw ignition current from a terminal on the starter motor solenoid.
Ford Motor Company systems draw ignition current from a terminal on the starter relay, Figure 112. In Chrysler Corporation vehicles, ignition
current comes through a wiring splice installed
between the battery and the alternator, Figure 113. Imported and domestic automobiles may use
different connections. Ignition current is drawn
through a wiring splice between the battery and
the starter relay to simplify the circuitry on some
systems, Figure 11-4.
SWITCHING AND
TRIGGERING
All ignition systems regardless of design use a
switching device usually called an ignition control
module (ICM) or igniter that contains a power
Figure 11-2. Ford products draw ignition current from a terminal on the starter relay. (Courtesy of Ford Motor Company)
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The Ignition: Primary and Secondary Circuits and Components
STANDARD IGNITION SWITCH
STARTER SOLENOID
SPLICE "A"
ACC
231
RED
OFF
RUN
TO
ALTERNATOR
IGN
RED W/TR 6 CYL
RED 6 CYL
RED V8
START
STARTER
J1 12R
ACC
BATTERY
OFF
-
RUN
+
START
START
S2 14Y
ACC
+
OFF
ACC
BATTERY
-
RUN
J10
12P
IGN
START
IGNITION SWITCH
START
ON
OFF
B1
LOCK
ACC
ACC
ACC
B2
OFF
RUN
START
INDICATOR
LIGHT
START
IGN
B3
INDICATOR
LIGHTS
Figure 11-3. Chrysler products draw ignition current from a wiring splice between the battery and the
alternator.
Figure 11-4. The ignition current is drawn from a
wiring splice between the battery and the starter relay.
transistor that turns the primary current on and off
through the ignition coil. In some systems, such as
some coil-on-plug (COP) designs, the powertrain
control module (PCM) does the actual switching.
Triggering is the term used to describe the
sensor that activates (trips) the primary coil circuit. This triggering device determines when the
power transistor turns the coil primary current on
and off. When the switch turns off the primary
coil current, a high-voltage spark occurs from the
secondary winding of the coil.
The trigger wheel is made of steel with a low
reluctance, which cannot be permanently magnetized. Therefore, it provides a low-resistance path
for magnetic flux lines. The trigger wheel has as
many teeth as the engine has cylinders.
As the trigger wheel rotates, its teeth come near
the pole piece. Flux lines from the pole piece concentrate in the low-reluctance trigger wheel, increasing the magnetic field strength and inducing
a positive voltage signal in the pickup coil. When
the teeth and the pole piece are aligned, the magnetic lines of force from the permanent magnet
are concentrated and the voltage drops to zero.
The reluctor continues and passes the pole
piece, but now the voltage induced is negative,
creating an ac voltage signal, Figure 11-5. The
pickup coil is connected to the electronic control
module, which senses this AC voltage, converts
the signal to DC voltage and switches the primary
current off, Figure 11-6. Each time a trigger wheel
tooth comes near the pole piece, the control module is signaled to switch off the primary current.
Solid-state circuitry in the module determines
when the primary current is turned on again.
Figure 11-7 shows the typical construction of a
pulse generator for an 8-cylinder engine. These
generators produce an AC signal voltage whose
frequency and amplitude vary in direct proportion
to rotational speed.
The terms “trigger wheel” and “pickup coil”
describe the magnetic pulse generator. Various
manufacturers have different names for these
components. Other terms for the pickup coil are
pole piece, magnetic pickup, or stator. The trigger
wheel is often called the reluctor, armature, timer
core, or signal rotor.
A Hall Effect switch also uses a stationary
sensor and rotating trigger wheel, Figure 11-8.
Unlike the magnetic pulse generator, it requires a
small input voltage in order to generate an output
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Chapter Eleven
PULSE SHAPER
AND PULSE
AMPLIFIER
PICKUP
COIL
MAGNETIC
FIELD
INCREASES
+
ELECTRONIC
CONTROL UNIT
POWER
TRANSISTOR
POSITIVE
SIGNAL
VOLTAGE
POLE
PIECE
SIGNAL 0
VOLTAGE
AIR GAP
DECREASES
IGNITION
SWITCH
BATTERY
+ -
RELUCTOR
(ARMATURE)
+ BALLAST
RESISTOR
DISTRIBUTOR
SPARK
CAP
PLUG
IGNITION
COIL
PICKUP
COIL
STRONG
MAGNETIC
FIELD
+
Figure 11-6. Schematic of a typical magnetic pulse
generator ignition system.
NARROW
AIR GAP
0
ZERO SIGNAL
VOLTAGE
IGNITION
MAGNETIC
FIELD
REVERSES
+
AIR GAP
WIDENS
0
NEGATIVE
SIGNAL
VOLTAGE
-
Figure 11-5. The pickup coil generates an AC voltage signal as the reluctor moves closer and then away
from the magnetic field.
or signal voltage. Hall Effect is the ability to generate a small voltage signal in semiconductor material by passing current through it in one
direction and applying a magnetic field to it at a
right angle to its surface. If the input current is
held steady and magnetic field fluctuates, the
output voltage changes in proportion to field
strength.
Most Hall Effect switches in distributors have a
Hall element or device, a permanent magnet, and a
ring of metal blades similar to a trigger wheel.
Some blades are designed to hang down. These are
typically found in Bosch and Chrysler systems,
Figure 11-9, while others may be on a separate ring
on the distributor shaft, typically found in GM and
Figure 11-7. A magnetic pulse generator installed in
the distributor housing. (Courtesy of Ford Motor Company)
Ford distributors. When the shutter blade enters the
gap between the magnet and the Hall element, it
creates a magnetic shunt that changes the field
strength through the Hall element, thereby creating
an analog voltage signal. The Hall element contains
a logic gate that converts the analog signal into a
digital voltage signal. This digital signal triggers
the switching transistor. The transistor transmits a
digital square waveform at varying frequency to
the powertrain control module (PCM).
The Hall Effect switch requires an extra connection for input voltage; however, its output voltage does not depend on the speed of the rotating
trigger wheel. Therefore, its main advantage over
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TRIGGER
WHEEL
233
LED
SIGNAL
DISC
HALL EFFECT
DEVICE
WINDOW
SHUTTER
DISTRIBUTOR
SHAFT
PERMANENT
MAGNET
PERMANENT HALL EFFECT
DEVICE
MAGNET
OUTPUT = ZERO VOLTS
PHOTOELECTRIC
CELL
Figure 11-10. This Nissan optical signal generator
works by interrupting a beam of light passing from the
LEDs to photodiodes.
OUTPUT = BATTERY VOLTAGE
CMP SIGNAL
OR SYNC
Figure 11-8. Hall Effect ignition systems use a reference voltage to power the Hall device.
CKP SENSOR SLOTS
OUTER SLOTS
(HIGH DATA RATE)
Figure 11-11. Each row of slots in this Chrysler optical distributor disc acts as a separate sensor, creating
signals used to control fuel injection, ignition timing,
and idle speed.
Figure 11-9. Shutter blades rotating through the Hall
Effect switch air gap bypass the magnetic field around
the pickup and drop the output voltage to zero.
the magnetic pulse generator is that it generates a
full-strength output voltage signal even at slow
cranking speeds. This allows precise switching
signals to the ignition primary circuit and accurate
and fine adjustments of the air-fuel mixture.
The optical signal generator uses the principle
of light beam interruption to generate voltage signals. Many optical signal distributors contain a
pair of light-emitting diodes (LED) and photo
diodes installed opposite each other, Figure 11-10.
A disc containing two sets of chemically etched
slots is installed between the LEDs and photo
diodes. Driven by the camshaft, the disc acts as a
timing member and revolves at half engine speed.
As each slot interrupts the light beam, an alternating voltage is created in each photo diode. A hybrid integrated circuit converts the alternating
voltage into on-off pulses sent to the PCM.
The high-data-rate slots, or outer set, are
spaced at intervals of two degrees of crankshaft
rotation, Figure 11-11. This row of slots is used
for timing engine speeds up to 1,200 rpm. Certain
slots in this set are missing, indicating the crankshaft position of the number one cylinder to the
PCM. The low-data-rate slots, or inner set, consist of six slots correlated to the crankshaft topdead-center angle of each cylinder. The PCM
uses this signal for triggering the fuel-injection
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Chapter Eleven
system and for ignition timing at speeds above
1,200 rpm. This way, the optical signal generator
acts both as the crankshaft position (CKP) sensor
and engine speed (RPM) sensor, as well as a
switching device.
MONITORING
IGNITION PRIMARY
CIRCUIT VOLTAGES
An ignition system voltage trace, both primary
and secondary, is divided into three sections: firing, intermediate, and dwell. Deviations from a
normal pattern indicate a problem. In addition,
most scopes display ignition traces in three different patterns. Each pattern is best used to isolate
and identify particular kinds of malfunctions. The
three basic patterns are superimposed pattern, parade pattern, and stacked, or raster, pattern.
In a superimposed pattern, voltage traces for
all cylinders are displayed one on top of another
to form a single pattern. This display provides a
quick overall view of ignition system operation
and also reveals certain major problems. The parade pattern displays voltage traces for all cylinders one after another across the screen from left
to right in firing order sequence. A parade display
is useful for diagnosing problems in the secondary circuit. A raster pattern shows the voltage
traces for all cylinders stacked one above another
in firing order sequence. This display allows you
to compare the time periods of the three sections
of a voltage trace.
All ignition waveforms contain a vast amount
of information about circuit activity, mechanical
condition, combustion efficiency, and fuel mixture. Electronic ignition system waveform patterns vary with manufacturer and ignition types;
therefore, it is important to be able to recognize
the normal waveform patterns and know how
they relate to the particular system. The differences between the scope trace of breaker point
and electronic ignition systems occur in the intermediate and the dwell sections, Figure 11-12. The
most noticeable difference is that no condenser
oscillations are present in the intermediate section of the waveform trace on electronic ignition
systems. Also, the beginning of the dwell section
in the breaker point system is the points closing,
while on electronic ignition systems it is the current on signal from the switching device. Another
difference is that the current limiting devices on
Figure 11-12. The primary superimposed pattern
traces all the cylinders, one upon the other.
electronic ignition systems often display an
abrupt rise in dwell voltage called a current limiting hump. These and other waveform characteristics are used to diagnose many primary circuit
malfunctions.
With ignition scope experience and knowledge
of waveform data, primary ignition traces are categorized according to the particular features of the
ignition system. The GM HEI ignition system is capable of producing 30,000 volts of secondary voltage at the spark plug. The primary firing line
measures approximately 250 volts, Figure 11-13.
As the secondary firing voltage goes up or down, it
performs the same in the primary firing voltage.
Ford TFI systems display a dwell line with
4.25 milliseconds between the primary turn-on and
the current limiting hump, Figure 11-14. The lowresistance coil of a TFI system produces current acceleration to about 6 amps before the current
limiting restricts the current. Early electronic ignition systems display features not particular to the
newer, more efficient ignition systems.
Observing Triggering Devices
and Their Waveforms
The ignition scope has its place in diagnosing
many primary ignition system malfunctions. Because the primary circuit deals with low voltage
values, the lab scope is the best tool for diagnosing primary ignition system problems. A lab
scope has greater resolution, which provides
more clarity than an ignition scope. Many digital
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HOLD SPIKE
SELECT
CH1 CH2 REF
1
MANUAL
CH 1 DC
50V
10ms
POS
15%
Figure 11-13. The firing line on Ford electronic distributorless ignition system (EDIS) should be approximately 342 volts for the primary circuit.
:
4.25 V
CH 1
10V
M 2.5ms
Figure 11-14. Ford thick film integrated (TFI) ignition
systems use low-resistance coils that allow current acceleration and produce a distinct current limiting hump
in the dwell trace.
scopes are capable of storing waveform patterns
for future review and comparison. Lab scopes are
convenient because they observe other activity on
the ignition primary circuit. The various primary
circuit-switching devices also display voltage
fluctuations during their prescribed trigger cycle
that can be observed and diagnosed.
Magnetic pulse generators provide an AC voltage signal easily observed using a lab scope. The
GM HEI ignition system magnetic pickup coil applies this ac symmetrical sine wave signal voltage
to the “P” and “N” terminals on the HEI module,
Figure 11-15. The solid-state circuitry inside the
ignition module converts the AC signal to a DC
square wave that peaks at 5.0 volts. These AC and
DC voltage fluctuations are observed separately.
While the engine is cranking, the AC voltage signal from the pickup coil is accessed from terminal
235
“P,” Figure 11-16. The square-wave signal HEI
reference signal, is accessed from terminal “R.” A
dual-trace scope simultaneously displays the primary circuit voltage and the reference signal voltage, Figure 11-17.
A Hall Effect switching device requires a threewire circuit: power input, signal output, and ground.
The Hall element receives an input voltage from the
ignition switch or PCM, Figure 11-18. As the shutter blade opens and closes, so does the input signal
ground circuit. This opening and closing transmits a
digital square-wave signal to the PCM. Many ignition systems are designed with the Hall Effect
square waves peaking at 5.0 volts. Others may use
7.0, 9.0, or some other voltage.
More complex Hall Effect ignition systems
require more details. The Hall Effect TFI ignition system on many Ford vehicles uses a
camshaft position (CMP) sensor, which is a Hall
Effect device inside the distributor. The CMP
sensor produces a digital profile ignition pickup
(PIP) signal. The shutter blade passes over a
smaller vane, which identifies the number one
cylinder for fuel injector firing. This signal is
called the Signature PIP. The PIP signal is sent
from the CMP sensor to the PCM and the ignition control module (ICM). The computer uses
this signal to calculate the spark angle data for
the ignition control module to control ignition
coil firing. The ICM acts as a switch to ground
in the primary circuit. The falling edge of the
SPOUT signal controls the battery voltage applied to the primary circuit. The rising edge of
the SPOUT signal controls the actual switch
opening, Figure 11-19. The PCM uses the inductive voltage spike when the primary field collapses and converts it into an ignition diagnostic
monitor signal (IDM), Figure 11-20. This diagnostic monitor signal is used by the computer to
observe the primary circuit. Because the ICM
mounts on the exterior of the distributor, the various voltage waveforms are observed on a scope.
Optical ignition systems create distinct voltage signals. The Chrysler Optical ignition system
on the 3.0L engine uses two photocells and two
LEDs with solid-state circuitry to create two 5.0volt signals. The inner set, or low data, of slots
signals TDC for each cylinder while the outer
slots (high data) monitor every two degrees of
crankshaft rotation, Figure 11-21. When observing the waveforms, if the low data rate or the high
data rate signals fail on the high section, then the
LED is most likely malfunctioning. If the signals
fail on the low section, then the PCM is most
likely not delivering the 5.0-volt reference signal.
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Chapter Eleven
ECM
MODULE
5
EST SIGNAL
WHITE
E
BYPASS VOLTAGE
TAN AND BLACK
B
7
6
8
3
4
HEI REFERENCE
PURPLE AND WHITE
R
2
1
ECM IGNITION
GROUND
G
N
+
P
C
DEFINITIONS:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
5 VOLT REGULATOR
SIGNAL CONVERTER, ALSO CONTAINS BIAS
COUNTER / MULTIPLEXER
CLOCK OSCILLATOR, KEEPS DATA SYNCHRONIZED
CPU (CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT)
PROM
SOLID-STATE BYPASS RELAY
CURRENT LIMITING MONITOR
+
-
+
PICK-UP
TERMINAL VOLTAGE VALUES:
C
PRIMARY IGNITION PATTERN
G
LESS THAN 100 Mv (DC VOLTAGE)
+
BATTERY VOLTAGE
R
5 VOLT OR 12 VOLT SQUARE WAVE
N
GROUND SIDE OF PICK-UP COIL
B
APPROPRIATE GROUND
P
PICK-UP COIL WAVEFORM
E
LESS THAN .5 VOLT SQUARE WAVE
BAT
COIL
-
Figure 11-15. Schematic of the GM HEI magnetic pulse generator ignition system.
If the low data signal is lost, the engine normally
starts. If the high data signal is lost, the engine
starts, but on default settings from the PCM,
Figure 11-22.
PRIMARY AND
SECONDARY
CIRCUITS
The general operation of the ignition primary circuit and some of the system components have already been covered.
The secondary circuit must conduct surges of
high voltage. To do this, it has large conductors
and terminals, and heavy-duty insulation. The
secondary circuit in a distributor ignition system,
Figure 11-23, consists of the:
•
•
•
•
Coil secondary winding
Distributor cap and rotor
Ignition cables
Spark plugs
The secondary circuit in a distributorless ignition
system (DIS), Figure 11-24, consists of the:
• Coil packs
• Ignition cables, where applicable
• Spark plugs
The secondary circuit in a coil over plug DIS consists of the same components as a DIS system except that each cylinder has its own separate coil
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237
:
5.92 V
POWER SUPPLY
OR
8 VOLTS OR 9 VOLTS
POWER BOARD
SIGNAL LINE
LOGIC BOARD
HALL
EFFECT
GY
SENSOR RETURN
1
SAME
HOUSING
ON SMEC
AND SBEC
COMPUTER
SENSES
HERE
BK/LB
T
COMPUTER
CH 1
2V
M 10ms
Figure 11-16. A lab scope displays an AC since
wave during cranking on HEI Terminal “P.”
T
1
CH 1
2V
CH 2
5V
Figure 11-18. The lab scope displays the Hall Effect
output signal transmitted to the PCM.
Coil Secondary Winding
and Primary-to-Secondary
Connections
CH 1 5V
CH 2 10 V M 2.5ms
Figure 11-17. The HEI primary circuit voltage trace is
displayed on the top and the square-wave reference
signal is displayed on the bottom of the scope screen.
and there are usually no ignition wires to the spark
plugs, Figure 11-25. Also, the coil over plug system fires each cylinder sequentially rather than
using the waste spark method.
IGNITION COILS
The ignition coil steps up voltage in the same way
as a transformer. When the magnetic field of the
coil primary winding collapses, it induces a high
voltage in the secondary winding.
Two windings of copper wire compose the ignition coil. The primary winding of heavy wires
consists of 100 to 150 turns; the secondary winding is 15,000 to 30,000 turns of a fine wire. The
ratio of secondary turns to primary turns is usually between 100 and 200. To increase the
strength of the magnetic field, the windings are
wrapped around a laminated core of soft iron,
Figure 11-26.
The coil must be protected from the underhood
environment to maintain its efficiency. Four coil
designs are used:
• Oil-filled coil
• Laminated E-core coil
• DIS coil packs
• Coil over plug assemblies
Oil-filled Coil
In the oil-filled coil, the primary winding is
wrapped around the secondary winding, which is
wrapped around the iron core. The coil windings
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DISTRIBUTOR IGNITION SCHEMATIC EXAMPLE
DISTRIBUTOR IGNITION SCHEMATIC (5.8./7.5. E AND F SERIES)
OFF
SYSTEM: REMOTE MOUNTED
DISTRIBUTOR,COMPUTER CONTROLLED
DWELL (CCD)
RUN
TO B+
OFF
(DISTRIBUTOR BASE
IS THE GROUND SOURCE)
START
PIP
CMP PWR
GND
PIP B
SPOUT
IDM (FTO)
ICM PWR
COIL GND
ICM
IGN GND
SHIELD
CLOSED
BOWL
DISTRIBUTOR
(SEALED)
SPOUT IN-LINE
CONNECTOR
PCM
PIN 50
PIN 49
PIN 23
E-CORE
IGNITION COIL
PIN 48
B+
REMOTE IGNITION CONTROL MODULE
MOTORCRAFT
6
PIP
5
SPOUT
4
IDM
3
ICM PWR
2
COIL
1
GND
Figure 11-19. Schematic of the Ford TFI CCD ignition system on late-model trucks. (Courtesy of Ford Motor Company)
ICM WAVEFORM EXAMPLES
(DISTRIBUTOR IGNITION)
DWELL
IDM (FTO)
SPOUT
SIGNATURE PIP
PIP
Figure 11-20. The IDM, SPOUT, and PIP signals are monitored to check power input, power output, and ground.
238
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239
OR
GY/BK
5V CKP
TN/YL
BK/LB
5V HIGH DATA RATE
(SYNC OR CMP)
SIGNAL GROUND
COMPUTER
Figure 11-21. In a Chrysler Optical Ignition system, the low data rate square wave looks different than the high
data rate square wave.
ted in plastic, much like a small transformer,
Figure 11-28. The coil is so named because of the
“E” shape of the laminations making up its core.
Because the laminations provide a closed magnetic path, the E-core coil has a higher energy
transfer. The secondary connection looks much
like a spark plug terminal. Primary leads are
housed in a single snap-on connector that attaches to the coil’s blade-type terminals. The Ecore coil has very low primary resistance and is
used without a ballast resistor in Ford TFI and
some GM HEI ignitions.
2
T
1
DIS Coil Packs
CH 1 2V CH 2
5V M
10ms
Figure 11-22. The primary circuit voltage trace of a
Chrysler Photo Optical Ignition system is displayed on
the top while the CKP square wave is displayed on the
bottom of the scope screen.
are insulated by layers of paper and the entire case
is filled with oil for greater insulation. The top of
the coil is molded from an insulating material
such as Bakelite. Metal inserts for the winding
terminals are installed in the cap. Primary and
secondary terminals are generally marked with a
and , Figure 11-27. Leads are attached with
nuts and washers on some coils; others use pushon connectors. The entire unit is sealed to keep
out dirt and moisture.
Laminated E-Core Coil
Unlike the oil-filled coil, the E-core coil uses an
iron core laminated around the windings and pot-
Distributorless ignitions use two or more coils in a
single housing called a coil pack, Figure 11-29. Because the E-core coil has a primary and secondary
winding on the same core, it uses a common terminal. Both ends of the E-core coil’s primary winding
connect to the primary ignition circuit; the open
end of its secondary winding connects to the center
tower of the coil, where the distributor high-tension
lead connects.
Coil packs are significantly different, using a
closed magnetic core with one primary winding
for each two high-voltage outputs. The secondary circuit of the coil pack is wired in series.
Each coil in the coil pack directly provides secondary voltage for two of the spark plugs, which
are in series with the coil secondary winding.
Coil pack current is limited by transistors called
output drivers, which are located in the ignition
module attached to the bottom of the pack. The
output drivers open and close the ground path of
the coil primary circuit. Other module internal
circuits control timing and sequencing of the output drivers.
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Figure 11-23. Typical early Chrysler electronic ignition system with a distributor, cap, and rotor.
Coil Over Plug Coil Assemblies
Each cylinder has its own separate coil and there
are no ignition wires to the spark plugs on all coil
over plug ignition systems. Each cylinder is fired
only on its compression stroke.
Coil Voltage
A coil must supply the correct amount of voltage
for any system. Since this amount of voltage
varies, depending on engine and operating conditions, the voltage available at the coil is generally
greater than what is required by the system. If it is
less, the engine may not run.
Available Voltage
The ignition coil supplies much more secondary
voltage than the average engine requires. The
peak voltage that a coil produces is called its
available voltage.
Three important coil design factors determine
available voltage level:
• Secondary-to-primary turns ratio
• Primary voltage level
• Primary circuit resistance
The turns ratio is a multiplier that creates high secondary voltage output. The primary voltage level
that is applied to a coil is determined by the ignition
circuit design and condition. Anything affecting
circuit resistance such as incorrect parts or loose or
corroded connections, affects this voltage level.
Generally, a primary circuit voltage loss of one volt
may decrease available voltage by 10,000 volts.
If there were no spark plug in the secondary circuit, the coil secondary voltage would have no place
to discharge quickly. That is, the circuit would remain open so there is no path to ground for the current to follow. As a result, the voltage oscillates in
the secondary circuit and dissipates as heat. The
voltage is completely gone in just a few milliseconds. Figure 11-30 shows the trace of this no-load,
open-circuit voltage. This is called secondary voltage no-load oscillation. The first peak of the voltage trace represents the maximum available voltage
from that particular coil.Available voltage is usually
between 20,000 and 50,000 volts.
Required Voltage
When there is a spark plug in the secondary circuit,
the coil voltage creates an arc across the plug air
gap to complete the circuit. Figure 11-31 compares
a typical no-load oscillation to a typical secondary
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241
Figure 11-24. Typical Ford EDIS ignition system with a coil pack and separate spark plug wires for the secondary
system. (Courtesy of Ford Motor Company)
firing voltage oscillation. At about 15,000 volts,
the spark plug air gap ionizes and becomes conductive. This is the ionization voltage level, also
called the firing voltage, or required voltage.
As soon as a spark has formed, less voltage is
required to maintain the arc across the air gap.
This reduces the energy demands of the spark
causing the secondary voltage to drop to the much
lower spark voltage level. This is the inductive
portion of the spark. Spark voltage is usually
about one-fourth of the firing voltage level.
Figure 11-32 shows the entire trace of the spark.
The spark duration or burn time of the trace indicates the amount of resistance and efficiency of the
spark voltage. Burn time on most ignition systems
is between 1.6 and 1.8 milliseconds. The traces
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Figure 11-25. Typical coil over plug ignition system on a V-8 with a separate coil/spark plug assembly for each
cylinder.
Figure 11-27. Many oil-filled coils are marked with
the polarity of the primary leads.
Figure 11-26. The laminated iron core within the coil
strengthens the coil’s magnetic field.
shown are similar to the secondary circuit traces
seen on an oscilloscope screen. High secondary resistance causes the spark voltage to increase and a
quick burn time, or short spark duration. This occurs as the secondary system overcomes the resis-
tance by reducing current and increasing voltage.
This section of the waveform trace indicates secondary efficiency. When the secondary voltage
falls below the inductive air-gap voltage level, the
spark can no longer be maintained. The spark gap
becomes nonconductive. The remaining secondary
voltage oscillates in the secondary circuit, dissipating as heat. This is called secondary voltage de-
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243
Figure 11-28. The E-core coil is used without a ballast resistor.
Figure 11-30. A secondary circuit no-load voltage
trace.
Figure 11-29. Typical DIS coil packs used on cylinder engines.
cay. At this time, the primary circuit closes and the
cycle repeats, Figure 11-33.
It is a good idea to memorize the three most typical firing voltages and their respective air-gap settings. The firing voltage on the spark plug of 0.035
inch is about 6 to 8 kV; 0.045-inch air gap is 8 to 10
kV; and 0.060 air gap is 10 to 12 kV. There are many
more plug air-gap settings but it is important to
know the three most popular spark plug gap settings
and their kilovolt requirements to compare to other
systems. The scope pattern for the secondary circuit
quickly shows the firing voltage, Figure 11-34.
Secondary ignition component failure due to
wear is a common problem that results in high circuit resistance. Whether caused by a damaged
plug wire, worn distributor cap, or excessive
spark plug gap, this additional resistance disrupts
current and alters the scope trace. Higher voltage,
which is required to overcome this type of resistance, reduces current. The energy in the coil dissipates more rapidly than normal. As a result, high
circuit resistance produces a high firing spike followed by high, short spark line.
Firing voltage for the DIS exhibits a slightly different waveform pattern than distributor ignition
systems because of the design of the “waste spark”
secondary system. Distributorless ignition systems
pair two cylinders, called companion cylinders, and
fire both spark plugs at the same time. One cylinder
fires on the compression stroke, while the other
cylinder fires on the exhaust stroke. The spark
plugs are wired in series. One fires in the conventional method, from center electrode to ground
electrode, while the other fires from ground electrode to center electrode. Every other cylinder has
reverse polarity, Figure 11-35. The cylinder on the
compression stroke requires more voltage to fire
the air-fuel mixture than the other cylinder. The exhaust waste spark, or stroke pattern, shows less
voltage because there is much less resistance across
the spark plug gap of the waste spark, Figure 11-36.
Also, the DIS fires once per engine revolution as
opposed to every other revolution in a distributor
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Chapter Eleven
Figure 11-33. As the primary circuit opens and
closes, the ignition cycle repeats.
Figure 11-31. The dashed line shows no-load voltage; the solid line shows the voltage trace of firing voltage and spark voltage.
tance. The secondary waveform patterns include
data for resistance in three areas: the electrical resistance (air gaps and secondary circuit), the cylinder compression resistance (mechanical), and the
combustion resistance (air-fuel ratio performance).
The resistance expended by faulty secondary ignition wires, excessive spark plug and rotor air gaps,
weak compression, incorrect valve timing, or poor
air-fuel mixing may be detected on the secondary
waveform pattern.
Some other conditions of high resistance that
cause required voltage levels to increase are:
• Eroded electrodes in the distributor cap, ro•
•
•
•
tor, or spark plug
Damaged ignition cables
Reversed plug polarity
High compression pressures
Lean air-fuel mixture that is more difficult
to ionize
Voltage Reserve
Figure 11-32. The voltage trace of an entire secondary ignition pulse.
engine. As a result, DIS plugs wear twice as fast as
distributor ignition plugs.
Secondary waveform patterns should be viewed
first to gather the most complete list of ignition and
engine driveability problems. The secondary system clearly indicates the operating resistance—or
the systems that are expending too much resis-
The physical condition of the automotive engine
and ignition system affects both available and required voltage levels. Figure 11-37 shows available and required voltage levels in a particular
ignition system under various operating conditions. Voltage reserve is the amount of coil voltage available in excess of the voltage required.
Under certain poor circuit conditions, there may
be no voltage reserve. At these times, some spark
plugs do not fire and the engine runs poorly or not
at all. Ignition systems must be properly maintained to ensure that there is always some voltage
reserve. Typically, an ignition system should have
a voltage reserve of about 60 percent of available
voltage under most operating conditions.
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RPM
TIME/DIV
SECONDARY WAVEFORM
734
15.5 ms
GRID
ON
ON/OFF
245
1
CURSORS
OFF
ON/OFF
4
WAVEFORM
SIZE SELECT
2
FROZEN
5
3
WAVEFORM
POSITION
6
KV
10
VOLTS/DIV 4 KV
SINGLE
PARADE
Figure 11-34. Normal secondary firing voltages for the secondary system with an 0.045-inch air gap.
DEFICIENCY OF
ELECTRONS
EXCESS OF
ELECTRONS
-
+
CURRENT
NEGATIVE
FIRING
POSITIVE
FIRING
WASTE
SPARK
CURRENT
IGNITION
SPARK
CURRENT
Figure 11-35. Although the current in the secondary
windings of the DIS coil does not reverse, one spark
plug fires with normal polarity, while the other spark
plug fires with reverse polarity.
Coil Installations
Ignition coils are usually mounted with a bracket
on a fender panel in the engine compartment or on
the engine, Figure 11-38.
Some ignition coils have an unusual design
and location. The Delco-Remy high energy ignition (HEI) electronic ignition system has a coil
mounted in the distributor. The coil output terminal is connected directly to the center electrode of the distributor cap. The connections to
the primary winding are made through a multiplug connector.
Many ignition systems manufactured in Asia
have the coil inside the distributor along with the
pickup coil, rotor, and module. Toyota mounts the
ignition coil inside the distributor, Figure 11-39,
but positions the module (igniter) on the bulkhead
or shock tower for cooling purposes.
Distributorless ignitions use an assembly containing one or more separate ignition coils and an
electronic ignition module, Figure 11-40. Control
circuits in the module discharge each coil separately in sequence, with each coil serving two
cylinders 360 degrees apart in the firing order.
In any system, the connections to the primary
winding must be made correctly. If spark plug polarity is reversed, greater voltage is required to
fire the plug. Plug polarity is established by the
ignition coil connections.
One end of the coil secondary winding is connected to the primary winding, Figure 11-41, so
the secondary circuit is grounded through the ignition primary circuit. When the coil terminals are
properly connected to the battery, the grounded
end of the secondary circuit is electrically positive. The other end of the secondary circuit, which
is the center electrode of the spark plug, is electrically negative. Whether the secondary winding
is grounded to the primary or [] terminal depends on whether the windings are wound clockwise or counterclockwise.
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Figure 11-36. The cylinder with the greatest resistance (compression) exhibits high firing voltage while the cylinder with the least resistance (waste) exhibits the lower firing voltage.
Figure 11-38. A typical distributorless ignition system coil pack may be mounted on the engine in a location that provides easy access.
Figure 11-37. Available and required voltage levels
under different system conditions.
The secondary circuit must have negative polarity, or positive ground, for two main reasons.
First, electrons flow more easily from negative to
positive than they do in the opposite direction.
Second, high temperatures of the spark plug center
electrode increase the rate of electron movement,
or current. The center electrode is much hotter than
the side electrode because it cannot transfer heat to
the cylinder head as easily. The electrons move
quickly and easily to the side electrode when the
air-fuel mixture is ignited. Although the secondary
operates with negative polarity, it is a positive
ground circuit.
If the coil connections are reversed, Figure 1142, spark plug polarity is reversed. The grounded
end of the secondary circuit is electrically negative.
The plug center electrode is electrically positive,
and the side electrode is negative. When plug polarity is reversed, 20 to 40 percent more secondary
voltage is required to fire the spark plug.
Coil terminals are usually marked BAT or ,
and DIST or []. To establish the correct plug polarity with a negative-ground electrical system,
the terminal must be connected to the positive
terminal of the battery through the ignition
switch, starter relay, and other circuitry. The []
coil terminal must be connected to the ignition
control module.
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247
Figure 11-40. The Buick C31 distributorless ignition
uses a single coil pack with three coils, each of which
serves two cylinders 360 degrees apart in the firing
order.
-
-
GROUND
SIDE
POSITIVE (+)
+
BATTERY
-
+
-
CENTER
ELECTRODE
NEGATIVE (-)
-
COIL
SPARK
PLUG
TO
CONDENSER
IGNITION
MODULE
BREAKER
POINTS
Figure 11-41. When coil connections are made
properly, the spark plug center electrode is electrically
negative.
Figure 11-39. Toyota mounts the ignition coil inside
the distributor.
The rotor mounts on the distributor shaft and rotates with the shaft so the rotor electrode moves
from one spark plug electrode to another in the
cap to follow the designated firing order.
DISTRIBUTOR CAP
AND ROTOR
Distributor Rotor
The distributor cap and rotor, Figure 11-43, receive high-voltage current from the coil secondary winding. Current enters the distributor cap
through the central terminal called the coil tower.
The rotor carries the current from the coil tower
to the spark plug electrodes in the rim of the cap.
A rotor is made of silicone plastic, bakelite, or a
similar synthetic material that is a very good insulator. A metal electrode on top of the rotor conducts
current from the carbon terminal of the coil tower.
The rotor is keyed to the distributor shaft to
maintain its correct relationship with the shaft and
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Chapter Eleven
Figure 11-44. Typical distributor rotors.
Figure 11-42. When coil connections are reversed,
spark plug polarity is reversed.
Figure 11-45. A Hall Effect triggering device attached
to the rotor. (Courtesy of DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
a plug-on or push-on distributor rotor. Most other
rotors are pressed onto the shaft by hand. The rotor in a Chrysler optically triggered distributor is
retained by a horizontal capscrew.
Rotors used with Hall Effect switches often
have the shutter blades attached, Figure 11-45,
serving a dual purpose: In addition to distributing
the secondary current, the rotor blades bypass the
Hall Effect magnetic field and create the signal
for the primary circuit to fire.
Figure 11-43. A distributor rotor and a cutaway view
of the distributor cap.
the spark plug electrodes in the cap. The key may
be a flat section or a slot in the top of the shaft.
Delco-Remy V-6 and V-8, shown at the left in
Figure 11-44, are keyed in place by two locators
and secured by two screws. On the right is shown
Rotor Air Gap
An air gap of a few thousandths of an inch, or a
few hundredths of a millimeter, exists between
the tip of the rotor electrode and the spark plug
electrode of the cap. If they actually touch, both
would wear very quickly. Because the gap cannot
be measured when the distributor is assembled, it
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249
CABLES
AND LOOMS
COVER
DISTRIBUTOR
CAP
COIL
Figure 11-46. Many Delco-Remy HEI electronic ignition systems used on V-6 and V-8 engines have a coil
mounted in the distributor cap.
is usually described in terms of the voltage required to create an arc across the electrodes. Only
about 3,000 volts are required to create an arc
across some air gaps, but others require as much
as 9,000 volts. As the rotor completes the secondary circuit and the plug fires, the rotor air gap
adds resistance to the circuit. This raises the plug
firing voltage, suppresses secondary current, and
reduces RFI.
Distributor Cap
The distributor cap is also made of silicone plastic, Bakelite, or a similar material that resists
chemical attack and protects other distributor
parts. Metal electrodes in the spark plug towers
and a carbon insert in the coil tower provide electrical connections with the ignition cables and the
rotor electrode. The cap is keyed to the distributor
housing and is held on by two or four springloaded clips or by screws.
Delco-Remy HEI distributor caps with an integral coil, Figure 11-46, are secured by four springloaded clips. When removing this cap, ensure that
all four clips are disengaged and clear of the housing. Then lift the cap straight up to avoid bending the
carbon button in the cap and the spring that connects
it to the coil. If the button and spring are distorted,
arcing can occur that will burn the cap and rotor.
Figure 11-47. Chrysler 4 cylinder distributors have
used positive locking terminal electrodes as part of the
ignition cable since 1980. (Courtesy of DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
Positive-engagement spark plug cables are
used with some Chrysler and Ford 4-cylinder ignition systems. There are no electrodes in distributor caps used with these cables. A terminal
electrode attached to the distributor-cap end of
the cable locks inside the cap to form the distributor contact terminal. The secondary terminal of
the cable is pressed into the cap, Figure 11-47.
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Chapter Eleven
for the past 30 years. Several nonmetallic conductors may be used, such as carbon, and linen
or fiberglass strands impregnated with graphite.
The nonmetallic conductor acts as a resistor in
the secondary circuit and reduces RFI and spark
plug wear due to high current. Such cables are
often
called
television-radio-suppression
(TVRS) cables, or just suppression cables.
When replacing spark plug cables on vehicles
with computer-controlled systems, ensure that the
resistance of the new cables is within the original
equipment specifications to avoid possible electromagnetic interference with the operation of the
computer.
Figure 11-48. Spark plug cable installation order for
Ford V-8 EEC systems. (Courtesy of Ford Motor Company)
Terminals and Boots
Ford distributors used with some electronic engine control (EEC) systems have caps and rotors
with the terminals on two levels to prevent secondary voltage arcing. Spark plug cables are not
connected to the caps in firing order sequence, but
the caps are numbered with the engine cylinder
numbers, Figure 11-48. The caps have two sets of
numbers, one set for 5.0-liter standard engines, and
the other for 5.7-liter and 302-cid high-performance
engines. Cylinder numbers must be carefully
checked when changing spark plug cables.
Distributor caps used on some late-model Ford
and Chrysler vehicles have a vent to prevent the
buildup of moisture and reduce the accumulation
of ozone inside the cap.
Secondary ignition cable terminals are designed
to make a strong contact with the coil and distributor electrodes. They are, however, subject to corrosion and arcing if not firmly seated and
protected from the elements.
Positive-engagement spark plug cable terminals, Figure 11-49, lock in place inside the distributor cap and cannot accidentally come loose.
They can only be removed when the cap is off the
distributor. The terminal electrode is then compressed with pliers and the wire is pushed out of
the cap.
The ignition cables must have special connectors, often called spark plug boots, Figure 11-50.
The boots provide a tight and well-insulated contact between the cable and the spark plug.
IGNITION CABLES
SPARK PLUGS
Secondary ignition cables carry high-voltage current from the coil to the distributor and from the distributor to the spark plugs. They use heavy
insulation to prevent the high-voltage current from
jumping to ground before it reaches the spark plugs.
Ford, GM, and some other electronic ignitions use
an 8-mm cable; all others use a 7-mm cable.
Spark plugs allow the high-voltage secondary
current to arc across a small air gap. The three basic parts of a spark plug, Figure 11-51, are:
• A ceramic core, or insulator, that insulates the
center electrode and acts as a heat conductor.
• Two electrodes, one insulated in the core
and the other grounded on the shell.
• A metal shell that holds the insulator and
Conductor Types
Spark plug cables originally used a solid steel or
copper wire conductor. Cables manufactured
with these conductors were found to cause radio
and television interference. While this type of
cable is still made for special applications such
as racing, most spark plug cables have been
made of high-resistance, nonmetallic conductors
electrodes in a gas-tight assembly and has
threads to hold the plug in the engine.
The metal shell grounds the side electrode against
the engine. The other electrode is encased in the
ceramic insulator. A spark plug boot and cable are
attached to the top of the plug. High-voltage current travels through the center of the plug and arcs
from the tip of the insulated electrode to the side
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251
Figure 11-49. Positive locking terminal electrodes
are removed by compressing the wire clips with pliers
and removing the wire from the cap.
Figure 11-51. A cutaway view of the spark plug.
Figure 11-50. Ignition cables, terminals, and boots
work together to carry the high-voltage secondary
current.
electrode and ground. This spark ignites the airfuel mixture in the combustion chamber to produce power.
The burning gases in the engine can corrode
and wear the spark plug electrodes. Electrodes are
made of metals that resist this attack. Most electrodes are made of high-nickel alloy steel, but
platinum and silver alloys are also used.
Spark Plug Firing Action
The arc of current across a spark plug air gap provides two types of discharge:
• Capacitive
• Inductive.
When a high-voltage surge is first delivered to the
spark plug center electrode, the air-fuel mixture in
the air gap cannot conduct an arc. The spark plug
acts as a capacitor, with the center electrode storing a negative charge and the grounded side electrode storing a positive charge. The air gap
between the electrodes acts as a dielectric insulator. This is the opposite of the normal negativeground polarity, and results from the polarity of
the coil secondary winding.
Secondary voltage increases, and the charges in
the spark plug strengthen until the difference in potential between the electrodes is great enough to
ionize the spark plug air gap. That is, the air-fuel
mixture in the gap is changed from a nonconductor
to a conductor by the positive and negative charges
of the two electrodes. The dielectric resistance of
the air gap breaks down and current travels between
the electrodes. The voltage level at this instant is
called ionization voltage. The current across the
spark plug air gap at the instant of ionization is the
capacitive portion of the spark. It flows from negative to positive and uses the energy stored in the
plug itself when the plug was acting as a capacitor,
before ionization. This is the portion of the spark
that starts the combustion process within the engine.
The ionization voltage level is usually less than
the total voltage produced in the coil secondary
winding. The remainder of the secondary voltage
(voltage not needed to force ionization) is dissipated as current across the spark plug air gap. This
is the inductive portion of the spark discharge,
which causes the visible flash or arc at the plug. It
contributes nothing to the combustion of the air-fuel
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Chapter Eleven
mixture, but is the cause of electrical interference
and severe electrode erosion. High-resistance cables and spark plugs suppress this inductive portion
of the spark discharge and reduce wear.
SPARK PLUG
CONSTRUCTION
Spark Plug Design Features
Spark plugs are made in a variety of sizes and
types to fit different engines. The most important
differences among plugs are:
•
•
•
•
Reach
Heat range
Thread and seat
Air gap
These are illustrated in Figure 11-52.
Reach
The reach of a spark plug is the length of the
shell from the seat to the bottom of the shell, including both threaded and unthreaded portions. If
an incorrect plug is installed and the reach is too
short, the electrode will be in a pocket and the
spark will not ignite the air-fuel mixture very
well, Figure 11-53.
If the spark plug reach is too long, the exposed
plug threads could get hot enough to ignite the airfuel mixture at the wrong time. It may be difficult
to remove the plug due to carbon deposits on the
plug threads. Engine damage can also result from
interference between moving parts and the exposed plug threads.
Figure 11-52. The design features of a spark plug.
Heat Range
The heat range of a spark plug determines its ability to dissipate heat from the firing end. The length
of the lower insulator and conductivity of the center
electrode are design features that primarily control
the rate of heat transfer, Figure 11-54. A “cold”
spark plug has a short insulator tip that provides a
short path for heat to travel, and permits the heat to
rapidly dissipate to maintain a lower firing tip temperature. A “hot” spark plug has a long insulator tip
that creates a longer path for heat to travel. This
slower heat transfer maintains a higher firing tip
temperature.
Engine manufacturers choose a spark plug with
the appropriate heat range required for the normal or
expected service for which the engine was designed.
Figure 11-53. Spark plug reach.
Proper heat range is an extremely important factor
because the firing end of the spark plug must run hot
enough to burn away fouling deposits at idle, but
must also remain cool enough at highway speeds to
avoid preignition. It is also an important factor in the
amount of emissions an engine will produce.
Current spark plug designations use an alphanumeric system that identifies, among other
factors, the heat range of a particular plug. Spark
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253
Figure 11-54. Spark plug heat range.
plug manufacturers are gradually redesigning and
redesignating their plugs. For example, a typical
AC-Delco spark plug carries the alphanumeric
designation R45LTS6; the new all-numeric code
for a similar AC spark plug of the same length and
gap is 41-600. This makes it more difficult for
those who attempt to correct driveability problems by installing a hotter or colder spark plug
than the manufacturer specifies. Eventually, it no
longer will be possible for vehicle owners to affect emissions by their choice of spark plugs.
Thread and Seat
Most automotive spark plugs are made with one
of two thread diameters: 14 or 18 millimeters,
Figure 11-55. All 18-mm plugs have tapered seats
that match similar tapered seats in the cylinder
head. The taper seals the plug to the engine without the use of a gasket. The 14-mm plugs are
made either with a flat seat that requires a gasket
or with a tapered seat that does not. The gaskettype, 14-mm plugs are still quite common, but the
14-mm tapered-seat plugs are now used in most
late-model engines. A third thread size is 10 millimeters; 10-mm spark plugs are generally used
on motorcycyles, but some automotive engines
also use them; specifically, Jaguar’s V-12 uses
them as well.
The steel shell of a spark plug is hex-shaped
so a wrench fits it. The 14-mm, tapered-seat
plugs have shells with a 5/8-inch hex; 14-mm
gasketed and 18-mm tapered-seat plugs have
shells with a 13/16-inch hex. A 14-mm gasket
plug with a 5/8-inch hex is used for special applications, such as a deep recessed with a small
diameter opening.
Figure 11-55. Spark plug thread and seat types.
Air Gap
The correct spark plug air gap is important to engine performance and plug life. A gap that is too
narrow causes a rough idle and a change in the exhaust emissions. A gap that is too wide requires
higher voltage to jump it; if the required voltage
is greater than the available ignition voltage, misfiring results.
Special-Purpose Spark Plugs
Specifications for all spark plugs include the design characteristics just described. In addition,
many plugs have other special features to fit particular requirements.
Resistor-Type Spark Plugs
This type of plug contains a resistor in the center
electrode, Figure 11-56. The resistor generally
has a value of 7,500 to 15,000 ohms and is used
to reduce RFI. Resistor-type spark plugs can be
used in place of nonresistor plugs of the same
size, heat range, and gap without affecting engine
performance.
Extended-Tip Spark Plugs
Sometimes called an extended-core spark plug,
this design uses a center electrode and insulator
that extend farther into the combustion chamber,
Figure 11-57. The extended-tip operates hotter
under slow-speed driving conditions to burn off
combustion deposits and cooler at high speed to
prevent spark plug overheating.
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Chapter Eleven
Figure 11-56. A resistor-type spark plug.
Figure 11-58. A long-reach, short-thread spark plug.
Figure 11-57. A comparison of a standard and an
extended-core spark plug.
inum center electrode increases electrical conductivity, which helps prevent misfiring with lean
mixtures and high temperatures. Since platinum
is very resistant to corrosion and wear from combustion chamber gases and heat, recommended
plug life is twice that of other plugs.
Wide-Gap Spark Plugs
The electronic ignition systems on some late-model
engines require spark plug gaps in the 0.045- to
0.080-inch (1.0- to 2.0-mm) range. Plugs for such
systems are made with a wider gap than other plugs.
This wide gap is indicated in the plug part number.
Do not try to open the gap of a narrow-gap plug to
create the wide gap required by such ignitions.
Long-Reach, Short-thread Spark Plugs
Some late-model GM engines, Ford 4-cylinder engines, and Ford 5.0-liter V-8 engines use 14-mm,
tapered-seat plugs with a 3/4-inch reach but have
threads only for a little over half of their length,
Figure 11-58. The plug part number includes a suffix that indicates the special thread design, although
a fully threaded plug can be substituted if necessary.
Copper-Core Spark Plugs
Many plug manufacturers are making plugs with
a copper segment inside the center electrode. The
copper provides faster heat transfer from the electrode to the insulator and then to the cylinder head
and engine coolant. Cooper-core plugs are also
extended-tip plugs. This combination results in a
more stable heat range over a greater range of engine temperatures and greater resistance to fouling and misfire.
Platinum-Tip Spark Plugs
Platinum-tip plugs are used in some late-model
engines to increase firing efficiency. The plat-
Advanced Combustion Igniters
This extended-tip, copper-core, platinum-tipped
spark plug was introduced by GM in 1991. It combines all the attributes of the individual plug designs
described earlier and uses a nickel-plated shell for
corrosion protection. This combination delivers a
plug life in excess of 100,000 miles (160,000 km).
No longer called a spark plug, the GM advanced
combustion igniter (ACI) has a smooth ceramic insulator with no cooling ribs. The insulator is coated
with a baked-on boot release compound that prevents the spark plug wire boot from sticking and
causing wire damage during removal.
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The Ignition: Primary and Secondary Circuits and Components
SUMMARY
Through electromagnetic induction, the ignition
system transforms the low voltage of the battery
into the high voltage required to fire the spark
plugs. Induction occurs in the ignition coil where
current travels through the primary winding to
build up a magnetic field. When the field rapidly
collapses, high voltage is induced in the coil secondary winding. All domestic original-equipment
ignitions are the battery-powered, inductivedischarge type.
The ignition system is divided into two circuits: primary and secondary. The primary circuit
contains the battery, the ignition switch, the coil
primary winding, a switching device, and signal
devices to determine crankshaft position.
For over sixty years, mechanical breaker points
were used as the primary circuit-switching device.
Solid-state electronic components replaced breaker
points as the switching device in the 1970s. The two
most common solid-state switching devices are the
magnetic pulse generator and the Hall Effect switch.
The breaker points are a mechanical switch
that opens and closes the primary circuit. The
time period when the points are closed is called
the dwell angle. The dwell angle varies inversely
with the gap between the points when they are
open. As the gap decreases, the dwell increases.
The ignition condenser is a capacitor that absorbs
primary voltage when the points open. This prevents arcing across the points and premature
burning.
Three types of common ignition electronic signal devices are the magnetic pulse generator, the
Hall Effect switch, and the optical signal generator. The magnetic pulse generator creates an ac
voltage signal as the reluctor continually passes
the pole piece, changing the induced voltage to
negative. The Hall Effect switch uses a stationary
255
sensor and rotating trigger wheel just like the
magnetic pulse generator. Its main advantage
over the magnetic pulse generator is that it can
generate a full-strength output voltage signal
even at slow speeds. The optical signal generator
acts both as the crankshaft position CKP sensor
and TDC sensor, as well as a switching device. It
uses light beam interruption to generate voltage
signals.
The ignition secondary circuit generates the
high voltage and distributes it to the engine to ignite the combustion charge. This circuit contains
the coil secondary winding, the distributor cap
and rotor, the ignition cables, and the spark plugs.
The ignition coil produces the high voltage necessary to ionize the spark plug gap through electromagnetic induction. Low-voltage current in the
primary winding induces high voltage in the secondary winding. A coil must be installed with the
same primary polarity as the battery to maintain
proper secondary polarity as the battery to maintain
proper secondary polarity at the spark plugs.
Available voltage is the amount of voltage the
coil is capable of producing. Required voltage is
the voltage necessary to ionize and fire the
spark plugs under any given operating condition. Voltage reserve is the difference between
available voltage and required voltage. A welltuned ignition system should have a 60-percent
voltage reserve.
The spark plugs allow the high voltage to arc
across an air gap and ignite the air-fuel mixture in
the combustion chamber. Important design features of a spark plug are its reach, heat range,
thread and seat size, and the air gap. Other special
features of spark plugs are the use of resistors, extended tips, wide gaps, and copper cores. For efficient spark plug firing, ignition polarity must be
established so that the center electrode of the plug
is negative and the ground electrode is positive.
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Chapter Eleven
Review Questions
Choose the letter that represents the best
possible answer to the following questions:
1. The voltage required to ignite the air-fuel
mixture ranges from:
a. 5 to 25 volts
b. 50 to 250 volts
c. 500 to 2,500 volts
d. 5,000 to 40,000 volts
2. Which of the following does not require
higher voltage levels to cause an arc across
the spark plug gap?
a. Increased spark plug gap
b. Increased engine operating temperature
c. Increased fuel in air-fuel mixture
d. Increased pressure of air-fuel mixture
3. Voltage induced in the secondary winding
of the ignition coil is how many times
greater than the self-induced primary
voltage?
a. 1 to 2
b. 10 to 20
c. 100 to 200
d. 1,000 to 2,000
4. The two circuits of the ignition system are:
a. The “Start” and “Run” circuits
b. The point circuit and the coil circuit
c. The primary circuit and the secondary
circuit
d. The insulated circuit and the ground
circuit
7. The voltage delivered by the coil is:
a. Its full voltage capacity under all
operating conditions
b. Approximately half of its full voltage
capacity at all times
c. Only the voltage necessary to fire the
plugs under any given operating
condition
d. Its full voltage capacity only while
starting
8. The voltage reserve is the:
a. Voltage required from the coil to fire a plug
b. Maximum secondary voltage capacity of
the coil
c. Primary circuit voltage at the battery
side of the ballast resistor
d. Difference between the required voltage
and the available voltage of the
secondary circuit
9. Which of the following are basic parts of a
spark plug?
a. Plastic core
b. Paper insulator
c. Fiberglass shell
d. Two electrodes
10. In the illustration below, the dimension
arrows indicate the:
5. Which of the following components is part of
both the primary and the secondary
circuits?
a. Ignition switch
b. Distributor rotor
c. Switching device
d. Coil
6. Which of the following is true of the coil
primary windings?
a. They consist of 100 to 150 turns of very
fine wire.
b. The turns are insulated by a coat of
enamel.
c. The negative terminal is connected
directly to the battery.
d. The positive terminal is connected to the
switching device and to ground.
a.
b.
c.
d.
Heat range
Resistor portion of the electrode
Extended core length
Reach
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12
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Identify and explain the operation of most
•
•
•
Automotive
Lighting
Systems
•
•
•
automotive headlight systems.
Identify the common bulbs used in automotive lighting systems.
Define the taillamp, license plate lamp, and
parking lamp circuits.
Identify the components and define the stop
lamp and turn signal circuits.
Define the hazard warning lamp (emergency flasher) circuit.
Identify the components and explain the
operation of the backup light, side marker,
and clearance lamp circuits.
Identify the components and explain the
operation of the instrument panel lighting.
KEY TERMS
Asymmetrical
Backup Lamps
Clearance Markers
Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
Dimmer Switch
Flasher Units
Halogen Sealed-Beam Headlamps
Hazard Warning Lamp
Headlamp Circuit
High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamp
Potentiometers
Rheostats
Sealed-Beam Headlamps
Side Marker Lamps
Stop Lamps
Symmetrical
Turn Signal Switch
INTRODUCTION
Automotive lighting circuits include important
safety features, so they must be properly understood and serviced. Lighting circuits follow general
patterns, according to the devices they serve,
although slight variations appear from manufacturer to manufacturer.
257
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HEADLAMP CIRCUITS
high-beam filaments. Lamp types are explained
in more detail later in this chapter.
The headlamp circuit is one of the most standardized automotive circuits, because headlamp
use is regulated by laws that until recently had
seen little change since the 1940s. There are two
basic types of headlamp circuits, as follows:
Switches and Circuit Breakers
• Two-lamp circuit
• Four-lamp circuit
Manufacturers select the type of circuit on the
basis of automotive body styling. Each circuit
must provide a high-beam and a low-beam light,
a switch or switches to control the beams, and a
high-beam indicator.
Circuit Diagrams
The three operating conditions of a headlamp circuit are as follows:
• Off—No current
• Low-beam—Current through low-beam
filaments
• High-beam—Current through both the
low-beam and the high-beam filaments
One or two switches control these current
paths; the switches may control other lighting circuits as well. Most domestic cars have a main
headlamp switch with three positions, as shown in
Figure 12-5.
Most often, the headlamps are grounded and
switches are installed between the lamps and the
power source, as shown in Figure 12-1. Some circuits have insulated bulbs and a grounded switch,
as shown in Figure 12-2. In both cases, all lamp
filaments are connected in parallel. The failure of
one filament will not affect current flow through
the others.
A two-lamp circuit (Figure 12-3) uses lamps
that contain both a high-beam and a low-beam filament. A four-lamp circuit (Figure 12-4) has two
double-filament lamps and two lamps with single,
Figure 12-2. Some headlamp circuits use grounded
switches and insulated bulbs. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
Figure 12-1. Most headlamp circuits have insulated
switches and grounded bulbs.
Figure 12-3. A two-lamp headlamp circuit uses two
double-filament bulbs.
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Figure 12-5. The main headlamp switch controls
both the headlamp circuit and various other lighting
circuits. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 12-4. A four-lamp headlamp circuit uses two
double-filament bulbs and two single-filament bulbs.
• First position—Off, no current.
• Second position—Current flows to parking
lamps, taillamps, and other circuits.
• Third position—Current flows to both the
second-position circuits and to the headlamp circuit.
The headlamp switch is connected to the battery whether the ignition switch is on or off. A twoposition dimmer switch is connected in series
with the headlamp switch. The dimmer switch
controls the high- and low-beam current paths. If
the headlamps are grounded at the bulb, as shown
in Figure 12-6, the dimmer switch is installed
between the main headlamp switch and the bulbs.
If the headlamps are remotely grounded, as shown
in Figure 12-2, the dimmer switch is installed
between the bulbs and ground.
The dimmer switch on older cars and most lightduty trucks is foot operated and mounted near the
pedals. On late-model cars, it generally is mounted
on the steering column and operated by a multifunction stalk or lever, as shown in Figure 12-7.
Some imported and late-model domestic cars use a
Figure 12-6. Most dimmer switches are insulated and
control current flow to grounded bulbs. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
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Chapter Twelve
Figure 12-7. Late-model dimmer switches are operated by a steering column-mounted multifunction stalk
or lever and control other lamp circuits. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 12-8. Headlamp switches may be mounted on
the steering column and operated by a stalk or lever.
single switch to control all of the headlamp circuit
operations. The following basic types of headlamp
switches are used:
Figure 12-9. Push-pull headlamp switches are
mounted on the instrument panel.
• Mounted on the steering column and operated
by a lever (Figure 12-8)
• A push-pull switch mounted on the instru-
ment panel (Figure 12-9)
• A rocker-type switch mounted on the instru-
ment panel (Figure 12-10)
All systems must have an indicator lamp for
high-beam operation. The indicator lamp is
mounted on the instrument panel. It forms a parallel path to ground for a small amount of highbeam current and lights when the high-beam
filaments light.
Because headlamps are an important safety feature, a Type 1, self-setting circuit breaker protects
the circuitry. The circuit breaker can be built into
the headlamp switch, as shown in Figure 12-5, or
it can be a separate unit, as shown in Figure 12-1.
Figure 12-10. Rocker-type headlamp switches usually have a separate rotary rheostat control. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
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Figure 12-11. A cutaway view of a conventional
sealed-beam headlamp.
Headlamps
Until 1940, a small replaceable bulb mounted
behind a glass lens was used to provide light for
night driving. Safety standards established in the
United States in 1940 made round, sealed-beam
units mandatory on domestic cars. Repeated
attempts to modify the standards after World War II
were only partially successful, beginning with the
introduction of rectangular sealed-beam units in the
mid-1970s. The first major change in headlight
design came with the rectangular halogen headlamp, which appeared on some 1980 models.
Since that time, considerable progress has been
made in establishing other types, such as composite headlamps that use replaceable halogen bulbs.
Figure 12-12. The glass lens design determines
whether the beam is symmetrical or asymmetrical.
Halogen filled
inner bulb
Lens
Filament
Conventional Sealed-Beam
Headlamps
A sealed-beam headlamp is a one-piece, replaceable unit containing a tungsten filament, a reflector,
a lens, and connecting terminals, as shown in
Figure 12-12. The position of the filament in front
of the reflector determines whether the filament
will cast a high or a low beam. The glass lens is
designed to spread this beam in a specific way.
Headlamps have symmetrical or asymmetrical
beams, as shown in Figure 12-12. All high beams
are spread symmetrically; all low beams are spread
asymmetrically.
Halogen Sealed-Beam
Headlamps
Halogen sealed-beam headlamps (Figure 12-13)
first appeared as options on some 1980 domestic
cars. Their illumination comes from passing current
Hermetically
sealed
housing
Figure 12-13. Halogen sealed-beam headlamps.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
through a filament in a pressure-filled halogen
capsule, instead of through a filament in a conventional evacuated sealed-beam bulb. Halogen lamps
provide brighter, whiter light than conventional
headlamps.
Service and adjustment procedures are the same
for halogen sealed-beam lamps as they are for conventional sealed-beams. Early bulb-type halogen
lamps were not interchangeable with conventional
sealed-beam headlamps, but today halogen sealedbeam lamps can often be used as direct replacements for their conventional counterpart. Halogen
lamps are manufactured of glass or plastic. Glass
lamps carry an “H” prefix; plastic lamps have an
“HP” prefix. Plastic lamps are less susceptible to
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Chapter Twelve
stone damage and also weigh considerably less
than glass lamps.
Historical Headlamp Control Levers
Late-model cars are not the first to have a columnmounted lever controlling the headlamp circuit.The
headlamps on the 1929 REO Wolverine Model B
were turned on and off by a lever mounted to the
left of the horn button on the steering wheel. This
lever also controlled the high-low beam switching.
The REO instruction book pointed out that,
because each headlamp filament produced
twenty-one candlepower, the headlamps should
not be used when the car was standing still, to
avoid draining the battery.
Figure 12-14. A replaceable halogen bulb is installed
through the rear of the reflector and held in place with a
retaining ring. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Halogen sealed-beam lamps are manufactured in the same sizes and types as conventional sealed-beams, with one additional type,
as follows:
• Type 2E lamps contain both a high-beam
and a low-beam inside a rectangular,
4 × 6 1/2-inch (102 × 165-mm) housing.
Like conventional sealed-beams, the type
code and aiming pads are molded into the lens of
the bulb.
Composite Headlamps
Composite headlamps first appeared on some
1984 models as a part of the aerodynamic
styling concept that has characterized car
design since the mid-1980s. Composite headlamp design uses a replaceable halogen headlamp bulb that fits into a socket at the rear of the
reflector, as shown in Figure 12-14. Since the
headlamp housing does not require replacement
unless damaged, it can be incorporated as a permanent feature of automotive styling. The housing can be designed to accept a single bulb or
dual bulbs.
Composite headlamps can be manufactured
by two different methods. In one, polycarbonate
plastic is used to form the lens portion of the
headlamp housing, as shown Figure 12-15, and
the inside of the housing is completely sealed.
In the other, a glass lens cover is permanently
bonded with a reflector housing to form a single
unit. Because this type of composite headlamp
is vented to the atmosphere, water droplets may
Figure 12-15. Composite headlights use a polycarbonate lens and form a permanent part of the car’s
styling. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
form on the inside of the glass lens cover when
the headlamps are off. Such condensation disappears rapidly when the lights are turned on
and does not affect headlamp performance.
Replacement halogen bulbs may contain both
high- and low-beam filaments for use in twoheadlamp systems, and individual high- or lowbeam filaments for use in four-headlamp
systems. The halogen bulbs have a quartz surface
that can be easily stained when handled. For this
reason, the bulbs are furnished in protective plastic covers that should not be removed until the
bulb has been installed. If the quartz surface is
accidentally touched with bare hands, it should
be cleaned immediately with a soft cloth moistened with alcohol.
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Figure 12-16. Common sealed-beam headlamps and replaceable halogen bulbs. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Replacing the halogen bulb in a composite
headlamp does not normally disturb the alignment of the headlamp assembly. There should be
no need for headlamp alignment unless the composite headlamp assembly is removed or
replaced. If alignment is required, however, special adapters must be used with the alignment
devices. Figure 12-16 describes the automotive
headlamps currently in use.
High-Intensity Discharge
(HID) Lamps
The latest headlight development is the highintensity discharge (HID) lamp (Figure 12-17).
These headlamps put out three times more light
and twice the light spread on the road than
conventional halogen headlamps. They also use
about two-thirds less power to operate and will
last two to three times as long. HID lamps produce
light in both ultraviolet and visible wave-lengths,
LEAD-IN
INSULATOR
ELECTRODES
LAMP
BODY
DISCHARGE
CHAMBER
Figure 12-17. High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps.
causing highway signs and other reflective materials to glow.
These lamps do not rely on a glowing element for light. Instead the HID lamp contains a
pair of electrodes, similar to spark plug electrodes, surrounded by gas. The electrode is the
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end of an electrical conductor that produces a
spark. Light is produced by an arc that jumps
from one electrode to another, like a welder’s
arc. The presence of an inert gas amplifies the
light given off by the arcing. More than 15,000
volts are needed to jump the gap in the electrodes. To provide this voltage, a voltage
booster and controller are required. Once the
gap is bridged, only 80 volts is needed to keep
the current flow across the gap. The large light
output of the HID allows them to be smaller in
size. HIDs will usually show signs of failure
before they burn out.
Chapter Twelve
Headlamps are mounted so that their aim can
be adjusted. Most circular and rectangular
lamps have three adjustment points, as shown in
Figure 12-19. The sealed-beam unit is placed in
an adjustable mounting, which is retained by
a stationary mounting. Many cars have a decorative bezel that hides this hardware while
still allowing lamp adjustment, as shown in
Figure 12-20. Composite headlamps use a similar two-point adjustment system, as in Figure
12-21, but require the use of special adapters
with the alignment devices.
Headlamp Location
and Mounting
State and federal laws control the installation of
headlamps. Automotive designers must place
headlamps within certain height and width
ranges. In addition, two- or four-lamp systems
must follow one of the patterns shown in
Figure 12-18.
Figure 12-19. Most sealed-beam headlamps have
vertical and horizontal adjusting screws. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
Figure 12-18. The law requires that headlamps be
arranged in one of these patterns. The same requirements apply to rectangular lamps.
Figure 12-20. Headlamps are held in an adjustable
mounting which is generally concealed by a decorative bezel.
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Automotive Lighting Systems
Concealed Headlamps
Another automotive styling feature is concealed
headlamps, either stationary lamps behind movable
doors, as in Figure 12-22, or lamps that move in and
out of the car’s bodywork as in, Figure 12-23. The
doors can be metal or clear plastic.
Electric motors or vacuum actuators operate
headlamp-concealing mechanisms. Electrically
operated systems usually have a relay controlling current flow to the motor. Vacuum-actuated
systems work with engine vacuum stored in a
reservoir.
Federal law requires that the main headlamp
switch control the concealing mechanisms on
late-model cars and that “pop-up” headlamps that
rise out of the hood must not come on until they
have completed 75 percent of their travel.
Switches used with electrically operated headlamp doors have additional contacts to activate
Figure 12-21. Composite headlamps also have vertical and horizontal adjustments. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
265
the relay (Figure 12-24). Vacuum-actuated systems usually have a vacuum switch attached to
the headlamp switch. Some older cars may have a
separate switch to control the door. All concealed
headlamp systems also must have a manual opening method, such as a crank or a lever, as a backup
system.
Some 1967 and earlier cars have a clear plastic lens cover, or fairing, over the sealed-beam
unit. These are not legal on later-model cars.
Automatic Headlamp Systems
Photocells and solid-state circuitry are used to
control headlamp operation in many vehicles
today. A system can turn the lamps on and off; on
past models they controlled the high- and lowbeam switching. Some parts can be adjusted, but
defective parts cannot be repaired. All automatic
Figure 12-22. Headlamps can be concealed by a
movable door. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 12-23. Headlamps can be concealed by moving them
into and out of the car’s bodywork.
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Chapter Twelve
Figure 12-24. The main headlamp switch must operate the concealing mechanism. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
systems have manual switches to override the
automatic functions.
On-Off Control
The photocell or ambient light sensor used in this
system may be mounted on top of the instrument
panel (Figure 12-25) facing upward so that it is
exposed to natural outside light. In some older
applications it may be mounted to the rearview
mirror assembly facing outward for exposure to
outside light. The photocell voltage is amplified
and applied to a solid-state control module.
Photocell voltage decreases as outside light
decreases. Most photocells are adjustable for earlier or later turn-on. At a predetermined low light
and voltage level, the module turns the headlamps
on. The module often contains time-delay circuitry, so that:
• When the vehicle is momentarily in dark or
light, such as when passing under a bridge
or a streetlamp, the headlights do not flash
on or off.
• When the automobile’s ignition is turned
off, the headlights remain on for a specified
length of time and then are turned off.
Twilight Sentinel
GM luxury vehicles use a system called Twilight
Sentinel. The twilight delay switch in the headlamp switch assembly is supplied a 5 volt reference from the instrument panel integration
module (IPM) as shown in Figure 12-26. The
Figure 12-25. This photocell or ambient light sensor
is mounted near the center of the dash panel and
reacts to outside light to control the headlight on-off
operation. The instrument panel integration module
(IPM), which is the system amplifier is also shown. (GM
Service and Parts Operations)
IPM also provides ground to the twilight delay
switch. The switch is a potentiometer in which
the resistance varies as the switch is moved. The
IPM receives an input voltage proportional to the
resistance of the potentiometer through the twilight delay signal circuit. The IPM sends a class
2 message to the dash integration module (DIM)
indicating the on/off status and delay length for
the twilight sentinel. With the twilight sentinel
switch in any position other than OFF, the DIM
will turn the headlamps on or off according to the
daytime/nighttime status sent by the IPM. The
DIM uses the twilight delay signal in order to
keep the headlamps and park lamps on after the
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Figure 12-26. GM twilight sentinel.
ignition switch transitions from ON to OFF during nighttime conditions.
Daytime Running Lights
Daytime running lights (DRL) have been mandated for use in Canada and several other countries since 1990 and are included as standard
equipment on General Motors vehicles since 1996
(Figure 12-27). The basic idea behind these lights
is that dimly lit headlights during the day make the
vehicle more visible to other drivers, especially
when the sun is behind the vehicle during sunset
or after dawn. Generally, when the ignition is on
and it is not dusk or dark, the daytime running
lights will be on. When it is dusk, the system operates like an automatic headlamp system.
The DRL systems use an ambient light sensor,
a light-sensitive transistor that varies its voltage
signal to the body control module (BCM) in
response to changes to the outside (ambient) light
level. When the BCM receives this signal it will
either turn on the DRL or the headlight relay for
auto headlamp operation. Any function or condition that turns on the headlights will cancel the
daytime running lamps operation. The DRL are
separate lamps independent of the headlamps.
With the headlight switch in the OFF position, the
DRL will either be turned on or off after an
approximately 8-second delay, depending on
whether daylight or low light conditions are
sensed. The DRL 10-amp fuse in the engine wiring
harness junction block supplies battery positive
voltage to the DRL relay switch contacts. The
ignition 10-amp fuse in the engine wiring harness
junction block supplies ignition positive voltage to
the DRL relay coil. When the BCM energizes the
DRL relay in daylight conditions, the current
flows to both DRL lamps and to ground. The DRL
will operate when the ignition switch is in the
RUN position, the gear selector is not in the PARK
position, and the parking brake is released. When
these conditions have been met and the ambient
light sensor indicates daytime conditions, the
DRL will illuminate.
Some systems channel the headlamp current
through a resistor and reduce the current and
power to the lights to reduce their daytime intensity. Others use pulse-width modulation (PWM)
through a separate control module that modulates
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Chapter Twelve
Figure 12-27. Daytime running lights. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
the voltage to the headlights and reduces the daytime intensity.
COMMON
AUTOMOTIVE BULBS
Sealed-beam and composite headlamps are very
specialized types of lamp bulbs. The other bulbs
used in automotive lighting circuits are much
smaller and less standardized. Each specific bulb
has a unique trade number that is used consistently
by all manufacturers.
Most small automotive bulbs are clear and are
mounted behind colored lenses. Some applications, however, may call for a red (R) or an amber
(NA) bulb.
Small automotive bulbs use either a brass or a
glass wedge base. Bulbs with a brass base fit into
a matching socket. The single or double contacts
on the base of the bulb are the insulated contacts
for the bulb’s filaments. A matching contact in
the socket supplies current to the bulb filament
(Figure 12-28). A single-contact bulb contains
one filament; a double-contact bulb has two
filaments. The ground end of the bulb filament is
connected directly to the base of the bulb, which
Figure 12-28. Automotive bulbs and sockets must
be matched.
is grounded through contact with the socket.
In many cases, a separate ground wire leads from
the socket to a ground connection. All doublecontact bulbs are indexed so that they will fit into
the socket in only one way. This is called an
indexed base.
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Figure 12-29. Wedge-base bulbs are increasingly used for
interior lighting applications.
Historical Fact: Gas Lighting
Headlamps that burned acetylene gas were used
on early cars, trucks, and motorcycles. The acetylene gas came from a prefilled pressurized container or from a “gas generator.”
One type of acetylene gas generator used a drip
method. A tank filled with water was mounted above
another tank containing calcium carbide. A valve
controlled the dripping of water onto the calcium
carbide. When water was allowed to drip onto the
calcium carbide, acetylene gas formed. The gas
was routed through a small pipe to the headlamps.
The headlamps were lit with a match or by an electric spark across a special lighting attachment.
Wedge-base bulbs generally have been used for
instrument cluster and other interior lighting applications. The base and optical part of the bulb are a onepiece, formed-glass shell with four filament wires
extending through the base and crimped around
it to form the external contacts (Figure 12-29). The
design locates the contacts accurately, permitting
direct electrical contact with the socket, which contains shoulders to hold the bulb in place. The bulb
is installed by pushing it straight into its socket,
with no indexing required.
Wedge-base 2358 bulbs with a new socket
design were introduced in 1987 as replacements
for the brass-base 1157 and 2057 bulbs for exterior
lighting applications. The wires of the low-profile
plastic socket exit from the side instead of the rear
(Figure 12-30). This reduces the possibility of wire
damage and permits the socket to be used in more
Figure 12-30. Wedge-base bulbs with plastic sockets
are used for some external lighting applications.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
confined areas. Since the introduction of this basesocket design, a series of these bulbs has been
made available in both clear and amber versions.
TAILLAMP, LICENSE
PLATE LAMP, AND
PARKING LAMP
CIRCUITS
The taillamps, license plate lamps, and parking
lamps illuminate the car for other drivers to see.
Circuit Diagram
These lamps usually share a single circuit because
the laws of some states require that they be lit at the
same time. Figure 12-31 shows a typical circuit
diagram. Since the main headlamp switch controls
the lamps, they can be lit whether the ignition
switch is on or off.
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Figure 12-31. A taillamp, license plate lamp, and parking lamp circuit diagram. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Switches and Fuses
These lamps are controlled by contacts within the
main headlamp switch. They can be lit when the
headlamps are off (Figure 12-32). A fuse (usually
20 amperes) protects the circuit.
Bulbs
The bulb designs most commonly used as taillamps
and parking lamps are the G-6 single-contact bayonet and the S-8 double-contact bayonet. The tail and
parking lamps may each be one filament of a
double-filament bulb. License plate lamps are usually G-6 single-contact bayonet or T-3 1/4-wedge
bulbs.
STOP LAMP AND
TURN SIGNAL
CIRCUITS
Stop lamps, also called brake lamps, are always
red. Federal law requires a red center highmounted stop lamp (CHMSL), on 1986 and later
Figure 12-32. Contacts in the main headlamp switch
provide current to the taillamps, license plate lamps,
and parking lamps. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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models. Turn signals, or directionals, are either
amber or white on the front of the car and either
red or amber on the rear.
Circuit Diagram
A typical circuit diagram with stop and turn lamps
as separate bulbs is shown in figure 12-38A.
When the brakes are applied, the brake switch is
closed and the stop lamps light. The brake switch
receives current from the fuse panel and is not
affected by the ignition switch.
When the turn signal switch is moved in either
direction, the corresponding turn signal lamps
receive current through the flasher unit. The
flasher unit causes the current to start and stop
very rapidly, as we will see later. The turn signal
lamp flashes on and off with the interrupted current. The turn signal switch receives current
through the ignition switch, so that the signals
will light only if the ignition switch is on.
In many cars, the stop and turn signals are
both provided by one filament, as shown in
Figure 12-33B and Figure 12-34. When the turn
signal switch is closed, the filament receives
interrupted current through the flasher unit. When
the brakes are applied, the filament receives a
steady flow of current through the brake switch
and special contacts in the turn signal switch. If
271
both switches are closed at once, brake switch
current is not allowed through the turn signal
switch to the filament on the signaling side. The
signaling filament receives interrupted current
through the flasher unit, so it flashes on and off.
The filament on the opposite side of the car
receives a steady flow of current through the
brake switch and the turn signal switch, so it is
continuously lit. Figure 12-34 shows the integration of the single-filament CHMSL in a typical
stop-and-turn signal circuit.
Switches, Fuses, and Flashers
Several units affect current flow through the stop
lamp and turn signal circuits. The ignition
switch is located between the battery and the
turn signal switch (Figure 12-35), so the current
cannot flow through the turn signal switch if the
ignition switch is off. The ignition switch does
not control the brake switch; it is connected
directly to battery voltage through the fuse panel
(Figure 12-35).
Before the mid-1960s, the brake switch was
often located within the brake hydraulic system
and operated by hydraulic pressure. Because of
changes in braking system design, this type of
switch is no longer commonly used. On latemodel cars, the brake switch is usually mounted
Figure 12-33. Stop lamp and turn signal circuits. The basic drawing (A) has separate bulbs for each function. The
alternate view of the rear lamps (B) has single bulbs with double filaments. One filament of each bulb works for stop
lamps and for turn signals. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
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Chapter Twelve
Figure 12-34. A typical rear lighting circuit diagram showing the inclusion of the center high-mounted stop lamp
(CHMSL) mandated by law on 1986 and later models. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 12-35. The ignition switch controls current to
the turn signal switch, but does not affect current to the
brake switch.
on the bracket that holds the brake pedal. When
the pedal is pressed, the switch is closed.
The turn signal switch is mounted within
the steering column and operated by a lever
(Figure 12-36). Moving the lever up or down
Figure 12-36. The turn signal switch includes various springs and cams to control the contact points.
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Figure 12-37. When the stop lamps and turn signals
share a common filament, stop lamp current flows
through the turn signal switch.
closes contacts to supply current to the flasher
unit and to the appropriate turn signal lamp. A
turn signal switch includes cams and springs that
cancel the signal after the turn has been completed. That is, as the steering wheel is turned in
the signaled direction and then returns to its normal position, the cams and springs separate the
turn signal switch contacts.
In systems using separate filaments for the stop
and turn lamps, the brake and turn signal switches
are not connected. If the car uses the same filament
for both purposes, there must be a way for the turn
signal switch to interrupt the brake switch current
and allow only flasher unit current to the filament
on the side being signaled. To do this, brake switch
current is routed through contacts within the turn
signal switch (Figure 12-37). By linking certain
contacts, the bulbs can receive either brake switch
current or flasher current, depending upon which
direction is being signaled.
For example, Figure 12-38 shows current flow
through the switch when the brake switch is
closed and a right turn is signaled. Steady current
through the brake switch is sent to the left brake
lamp. Interrupted current from the turn signal is
sent to the right turn lamps.
Flasher units supply a rapid on-off-on current to
the turn signal lamps. To do this, they act very much
like Type 1 self-setting circuit breakers. Current
flows through a bimetallic arm (Figure 12-39),
heating the arm until it bends and opens a set of
273
Figure 12-38. When a right turn is signaled, the turn
signal switch contacts send flasher current to the righthand filament and brake switch current to the left-hand
filament.
Figure 12-39.
signal flasher.
The internal components of a turn
contact points. When the current stops, the arm
cools and the contact points close again. This cycle
occurs rapidly so that the turn signal lamps flash on
and off about once every second. Flasher units usually are installed in the wiring harness beneath the
instrument panel or in the fuse panel.
Some manufacturers use two flashers, one for
the turn signals and one for the hazard warning
lamps. Other manufacturers use a single flasher
that controls both the turn signals and the hazard
warning lamps. This type of flasher is called a
combination flasher.
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Switch the Bulbs, Not the Switch
Have you ever been stumped by a turn signal
problem where the lamps on one side flashed
properly, but those on the other side lit and burned
steadily without flashing? The flasher checks out
okay, and the panel indicator lights but doesn’t
flash. Both bulbs, front and rear, light; power is
getting to the sockets. Sounds like trouble with the
switch? Maybe it is. However, before you tear into
the steering column, try swapping the front and
rear bulbs from one side to the other. Sometimes,
a little corrosion on a socket and the resistance of
an individual bulb can add up to cumulative resistance that unbalances the circuit and prevents
flashing. Swapping the bulbs or cleaning the contacts can reduce the resistance to within limits,
restore equilibrium, and get the system working
correctly again.
The turn signal circuit must include one or
more indicators to show the driver that the turn
signals are operating. These indicators are small
bulbs in the instrument panel that provide a
parallel path to ground for some of the flasher
unit current. Most systems have separate indicators for the right and left sides, although some
cars use only one indicator bulb for both sides.
On some models, additional indicators are
mounted on the front fenders facing the driver.
Two separate fuses, rated at about 20 amperes,
usually protect the stop lamp and turn signal
lamp circuits.
Chapter Twelve
Circuit Diagram
The hazard warning lamp circuit uses the turn
signal lamp circuitry, a special switch, and a heavyduty flasher unit. The switch receives battery current through the fuse panel. When the switch is
closed, all of the car’s turn signal lamps receive current through the hazard flasher unit. An indicator
bulb in the instrument panel provides a parallel path
to ground for some of the flasher current.
Switches, Fuses, and Flashers
The hazard warning switch can be a separate
unit or it can be part of the turn signal switch
(Figure 12-40). In both cases, the switch contacts route battery current from the fuse panel
through the hazard flasher unit to all of the turn
signal lamps at once. In most systems, the hazard warning switch overrides the operation of
the turn signal switch. A 15- to 20-ampere fuse
protects the hazard warning circuit.
The hazard warning flasher looks like a turn
signal flasher when assembled, but it is constructed
differently and operates differently, in order to
control the large amount of current required to
flash all of the turn signal lamps at once.
The flasher consists of a stationary contact, a
movable contact mounted on a bimetallic arm, and
a high-resistance coil (Figure 12-41). The coil is
connected in parallel with the contact points, which
are normally open. When the hazard warning switch
Bulbs
The bulb types traditionally used as stop or turn
signal lamps are the S-8 single- and double-contact
bayonet base, although the 2358 wedge-base bulbs
are being used more frequently. The stop and turn
filaments may be part of a double-filament bulb.
HAZARD WARNING
LAMP (EMERGENCY
FLASHER) CIRCUITS
All motor vehicles sold in the United States since
1967 have a hazard warning lamp circuit. It is
designed to warn other drivers of possible danger
in emergencies.
Figure 12-40. The hazard warning switch is often a
part of the turn signal switch. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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Figure 12-41. The hazard flasher is constructed to
control a large amount of current.
275
Figure 12-42. A typical backup lamp circuit.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
is closed and current flows to the flasher, the high
resistance of the coil does not allow enough current
to light the lamps. However, the coil heats up and
causes the bimetallic strip to close the contacts. The
contacts form a parallel circuit branch and conduct
current to the lamps. Decreased current flow
through the coil allows it to cool and the bimetallic
strip opens the contacts again. This cycle repeats
about 30 times per minute.
BACKUP LAMP
CIRCUITS
The white backup lamps light when the car’s
transmission or transaxle is in reverse. The lamps
have been used for decades, but have been
required by law since 1971. Backup lamps and
license plate lamps are the only white lamps
allowed on the rear of a car.
Figure 12-43. The backup lamp switch can be
mounted on the transmission housing. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
Circuit Diagram
A typical backup lamp circuit diagram is shown in
Figure 12-42. Figure 12-43 shows integration of
the backup lamp with the stop, taillamp, and turn
signals in a typical rear lighting diagram. When the
transmission switch is closed, the backup lamps
receive current through the ignition switch. The
lamps will not light when the ignition switch is off.
Switches and Fuses
The backup lamp switch generally is installed
on the transmission or transaxle housing (Figure
12-43), but it may be mounted near the gear
Figure 12-44. The backup lamp switch can be
mounted near the gearshift lever. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
selector lever (Figure 12-42) on some vehicles.
The backup switch may be combined with the
neutral safety switch. A 15- to 20-ampere fuse,
which often is shared with other circuits, protects the circuit.
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Bulbs
The bulb designs most commonly used for
backup lamps are S-8 single-contact bayonet and
double-contact indexed.
Chapter Twelve
marker lamp circuitry. Clearance lamps face forward or rearward. Like side markers, front clearance lamps are amber; rear lamps are red.
Circuit Diagrams
SIDE MARKER AND
CLEARANCE LAMP
CIRCUITS
Side marker lamps are mounted on the right and
left sides toward the front and rear of the vehicle
to indicate its length. Side marker lamps are
required on all cars built since 1969 and are found
on many earlier models as well. Front side markers are amber; rear side markers are red. On some
vehicles, the parking lamp or taillamp bulbs are
used to provide the side marker function.
Clearance markers are required on some
vehicles, according to their height and width.
Clearance lamps, if used, are included in the side
Side marker lamps can be either grounded or
insulated. Figures 12-45 shows a GM Cadillac
Seville circuit with independently grounded side
markers. Figure 12-46 shows a circuit that has
the ground path for current through the turn signal bulb filaments. When the headlamp switch is
off and the turn signal switch is on, both the turn
signal and the side marker on the side being signaled will flash. When the headlamp switch is on,
only enough current flows to light the side
marker. The turn signal lamp does not light until
the turn signal switch and flasher are closed; then
the turn signal lamp will light. The side marker
lamp will not light, because 12 volts are applied
to each end of the filament. There is no voltage
drop and no current flow. When the turn signal flasher opens, the turn signal lamp goes out.
Figure 12-45. Side marker lamps can be independently grounded. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
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277
Also, for a weak spring, if the wires going to the
socket are given slack, you may be able to gently
stretch the spring.
INSTRUMENT PANEL
AND INTERIOR LAMP
CIRCUITS
Instrument Panel
Figure 12-46. Side marker lamps can be grounded
through the turn signal filaments.
Normal headlamp circuit current lights the side
marker lamp. This sequence makes the two
lamps flash alternately—one is lit while the other
is not.
The lamps within the instrument panel can be
divided into three categories: indicator lamps,
warning lamps, and illumination lamps. We have
seen that some circuits, such as high-beam headlamps and turn signal lamps, include an indicator
mounted on the instrument panel. Warning
lamps, which alert the driver to vehicle operating
conditions, are discussed in Chapter 13. Lamps
that simply illuminate the instrument panel are
explained in the following section.
Circuit Diagram
All late-model automobiles use a printed circuit
behind the instrument panel to simplify connections
and conserve space. The connections can also be
made with conventional wiring (Figure 12-47).
Switches and Fuses
Side marker lamps are controlled by contacts
within the main headlamp switch. Their circuit is
protected by a 20-ampere fuse, which usually is
shared with other circuits.
Bulbs
The G-6 and S-8 single- and double-contact bayonet base bulbs commonly are used for side
marker lamps.
Installing New Bulbs
If you replace a bulb in a parking light, turn signal,
stop lamp, or taillamp, you may find that the bulb
will not light unless you hold it against the socket.
This may be due to weakened springs or flattened
contacts. To solve the problem, apply a drop of
solder to the contact points at the base of the bulb.
Add more solder if necessary or file off the
excess. The result will be a good solid connection.
Switches and Rheostats
The rheostat may be a separate unit in the panel
lamp circuit. Current to the panel lamps is controlled by contacts within the main headlamp
switch (Figure 12-48). The instrument panel
lamps receive current when the parking and taillamps are lit and when the headlamps are lit.
Rheostats and potentiometers are variable
resistors that allow the driver to control the
brightness of the panel lamps. The rheostat or the
potentiometer for the panel lamps can be a separate unit (Figure 12-46) or it can be a part of the
main headlamp switch.
Bulbs
The T-3 1/4 bulb with a wedge or miniature bayonet base is a design commonly used in instrument panel illumination.
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Chapter Twelve
Figure 12-47. Multistrand wiring can be used behind the instrument panel. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 12-49. The rheostat may be a separate unit in
the panel lamp circuit. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Circuit diagram
Figure 12-48. The panel lamps receive current
through the main headlamp switch, which may also
contain a rheostat to control the current. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
Interior Lamps
Interior (courtesy) lamps light the interior of the car
for the convenience of the driver and passengers.
Interior lamps receive current from the battery
through the fuse panel. Switches at the doors
control this current and light the lamps when one
of the doors is opened. Many manufacturers
install the bulbs between the power source and
the grounded switch (Figure 12-50). Others,
including Ford and Chrysler, install the switches
between the power source and the grounded bulb
(Figure 12-51).
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279
Figure 12-52. Interior lamps are controlled by switches
at the door jambs. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 12-50. The interior (courtesy) lamp circuit
may have insulated bulbs and grounded switches.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
Switches
The switches used in courtesy lamp circuits are
push-pull types (Figure 12-52). Spring tension
closes the contacts when a door is opened.
When a door is closed, it pushes the contacts
apart to stop current flow. When any one switch
is closed, the circuit is complete and all lamps
are lit.
Accessory Lighting
Figure 12-51. The interior lamps may be grounded
and also have insulated switches.
Courtesy lamp circuits also may contain lamps
to illuminate the glove box, trunk, and engine
compartment. Additional switches that react to
glove box door, trunk lid, or hood opening control
current through these bulbs.
Every car manufacturer offers unique accessory
lighting circuits. These range from hand-controlled
spotlights to driving and fog lamps. Each additional accessory circuit requires more bulbs, more
wiring, and possibly an additional switch.
For example, cornering lamps can be mounted
on the front sides of the car to provide more light
in the direction of a turn. When the turn signal
switch is operated while the headlamps are on,
special contacts in the turn signal switch conduct
a steady flow of current to the cornering lamp on
the side being signaled.
One or more of the interior lamps may have a
manually controlled switch to complete the circuit, (Figure 12-53). This switch allows the driver
or passengers to light the bulb even when all the
doors are closed.
Bulbs
The S-8 bulbs are used for trunk and engine compartment lamps, with T-3 1/4 wedge and T-3 3/4
double-end-cap bulbs used as courtesy lamps.
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Figure 12-53. Interior lamps often have a manual
switch to override the automatic operation. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
SUMMARY
Headlamp circuits must provide low- and highbeam lights for driving, and a high-beam indicator
lamp for driver use. Two or four lamps may be
used. Most often, the lamps are grounded, but
some circuits have insulated lamps and grounded
switches. The main headlamp switch also controls
other lamp circuits. The main switch sometimes
controls high-low beam switching, but a separate
dimmer switch usually controls this. A circuit
breaker protects the headlamp circuit.
Conventional sealed-beam headlamps use a
tungsten filament; halogen sealed-beam lamps
pass current through a pressure-filled halogen
capsule. Halogen headlamps provide a brighter
light with less current. Sealed-beam headlamps
Chapter Twelve
have either a high-beam filament (Type 1) or
both a high- and low-beam filament (Type 2).
Headlamps are always connected with multipleplug connectors.
Changes in federal lighting standards have permitted sealed-beam headlamps made of plastic
instead of glass. Plastic headlamps weigh considerably less and are more damage-resistant than
glass. The changes also have resulted in the use of
a composite headlamp in place of sealed-beams.
The composite headlamp consists of a polycarbonate lens housing and a replaceable halogen
bulb that contains a dual filament. Since the lens
housing is not replaced, it has been integrated into
vehicle styling.
Headlights are mounted so that their aim can
be adjusted vertically and horizontally. Some cars
have concealed headlamps with doors or mountings that are operated by vacuum or by electric
motors. The main headlamp switch controls these
mechanisms, and there also is a manual control
provided to open and close the mechanisms if
necessary.
Photocells and solid-state modules are used
to control headlamp on-off switching, beam
switching operation, and daytime running lights
(DRL) on many late-model vehicles. Bulbs used
in other lighting circuits are smaller than sealedbeam units and must be installed in matching
sockets. These other lighting circuits include
the following:
• Taillamp, license plate lamp, and parking
•
•
•
•
•
lamp circuits
Stop lamp and turn signal circuits
Hazard warning (emergency flasher) circuit
Backup lamp circuit
Side marker and clearance lamp circuit
Instrument panel and interior lamp circuits
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Review Questions
Choose the single most correct answer.
1. Which of the following is true concerning
headlamp circuits?
a. The circuits can have totally insulated
bulbs and grounded switches.
b. The lamp filaments are connected in
series.
c. All circuits use lamps that contain both a
high beam and a low beam.
d. The headlamps receive power through
the ignition switch.
2. Because headlamps are an important safety
feature, they are protected by:
a. Heavy fuses
b. Fusible links
c. Type-I circuit breakers
d. Type-II circuit breakers
3. All high beams are spread:
a. Symmetrically
b. Asymmetrically
c. Either A or B
d. Neither A nor B
4. All types of headlamps have _____ that are
used when adjusting the beam.
a. Connecting prongs
b. Aiming pads
c. Filaments
d. Reflectors
5. Concealed headlamps can be operated by
all of the following methods, except:
a. Electric motor
b. Vacuum actuator
c. Manually
d. Accessory belt
6. Which of the following is not true of
automatic headlamp systems?
a. Can turn headlamps on or off
b. Can control high- and low-beam
switching
c. Are easily repaired when defective
d. Can be adjusted to fit various conditions
7. On small automobile bulbs that have only
one contact, the contact is:
a. Insulated
b. Indexed
c. Grounded
d. Festooned
8. Double-contact bulbs that are designed
to fit into the socket only one way are
called:
a. Miniature bayonet base
b. Single-contact bayonet
c. Double-contact indexed
d. Double-contact bayonet
9. The taillamps, license plate lamps,
and parking lamps are generally
protected by:
a. A Type-I circuit breaker
b. A Type-II circuit breaker
c. A 20-amp fuse
d. Three fusible links
10. Turn signal flasher units supply a rapid onoff-on current flow to the turn signal lamps
by acting very much like:
a. Circuit breakers
b. Fuses
c. Zener diodes
d. Transistorized regulators
11. Which of the following is not part of the
hazard warning lamp circuit?
a. Turn signal lamps
b. Brake lamps
c. Flasher unit
d. Instrument panel
12. The only white lamps allowed on the rear of
a car are:
a. Backup lamps and turn signal lamps
b. Backup lamps and license plate lamps
c. License plate lamps and turn signal
lamps
d. Turn signal lamps and backup lamps
13. Brightness of the instrument panel lamps is
not controlled by:
a. Diodes
b. Rheostats
c. Potentiometers
d. Variable resistors
14. The switches used in courtesy lamp
circuits are:
a. Compound switches
b. Push-pull switches
c. Three-way switches
d. Rheostats
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15. Which of the following is not true of
composite headlamps?
a. Use replaceable bulbs
b. Are part of the car’s styling
c. Have a polycarbonate lens
d. May be red or amber
Chapter Twelve
16. Halogen sealed-beam lamps:
a. Are not as damage-resistant as glass
b. Produce 30 percent less light
c. May be made of plastic
d. Have been used since the 1940s
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13
Gauges,
Warning
Devices, and
Driver
Information
System
Operation
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Identify and explain the operation of elec-
•
•
•
•
tromagnetic instrument circuits, including
gauges and sending units.
Explain the operation of malfunction indicator lamps (MIL).
Explain the operation of a simple mechanical
speedometer.
Identify and explain the operation of driver
information systems (electronic instrument
circuits).
Explain the operation of the head-up display
(HUD).
KEY TERMS
Air Core Gauge
Bimetallic Gauge
D’Arsonval Movement
Driver Information Center (DIC)
Driver Information System (DIS)
Gauges
Ground Sensor
Head-up Display (HUD)
Instrument Panel Cluster (IPC)
Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL)
Menu Driven
Nonvolatile RAM
Three-Coil Movement
Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD)
Warning Lamps
INTRODUCTION
This chapter covers the operation and common
circuits of gauges, warning devices, and driver
information systems. These systems include cooling fans, electromagnetic instrument circuits
(sending and receiving gauges), and electronic
instrument circuits (driver information systems).
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ELECTROMAGNETIC
INSTRUMENT
CIRCUITS
Gauges and warning lamps allow the driver to
monitor a vehicle’s operating conditions. These
instruments differ widely from car to car, but all
are analog. Digital electronic instruments are
explained in the “Electronic Instrument Circuits”
section in this chapter. Warning lamps are used
in place of gauges in many cases because they are
less expensive and easier to understand, although
they do not transmit as much useful information
as gauges do. The following paragraphs explain
the general operation of analog gauges, lamps,
and the sending units that control them.
Chapter Thirteen
Electromagnetic Gauges
The movement of an electromagnetic gauge
depends on the interaction of magnetic fields. The
following kinds of movements are commonly used:
• D’Arsonval movement
• Three-coil or two-coil movement
• Air core design
A D’Arsonval movement has a movable electromagnet surrounded by a permanent horseshoe
magnet (Figure 13-2). The electromagnet’s field
opposes the permanent magnet’s field, causing the
electromagnet to rotate. A pointer mounted on the
Gauge Operating Principles
Common gauges use one of the following three
operating principles:
• Mechanical
• Bimetallic (thermal-type)
• Electromagnetic
Mechanical gauges are operated by cables,
fluid pressure, or fluid temperature. Because they
do not require an electrical circuit, they do not fit
into our study. The cable-driven speedometer is
the most common mechanical gauge.
Bimetallic Gauges
A bimetallic gauge works by allowing current to
flow through the bimetallic strip and heat up one
of the metals faster than the other, causing the
strip to bend. A typical gauge (Figure 13-1) has
U-shaped bimetallic piece anchored to the gauge
body at the end of one arm. The other arm has a
high-resistance wire (heater coil) wound around
it. Current flow through the heater coil bends the
free bimetallic arm. Varying the current changes
the bend in the arm. A pointer attached to the
moving arm can relate the changes in current to a
scale on the face of the gauge.
Ambient temperature could affect the gauge, but
the U-shape of the bimetallic strip provides temperature compensation. Although ambient temperature bends the free arm in one direction, the fixed
arm is bent in the other direction and the effect is
cancelled.
Figure 13-1. The bimetallic gauge depends upon
the heat of current flow bending a bimetallic strip.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 13-2. The D’Arsonval movement uses the
field interaction of a permanent magnet and an
electromagnet.
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Figure 13-3. In a three-coil gauge, the variable
resistance-sending unit affects current flow through
three interacting electromagnets. (GM Service and
Parts Operations)
electromagnet relates this movement to a scale on
the face of the gauge. The amount of current flow
through the electromagnet’s coil determines the
electromagnet’s field strength, and therefore the
amount of pointer movement.
A three-coil movement depends upon the field
interaction of three electromagnets and the total
field’s effect on a movable permanent magnet.
This type of gauge is used in GM and some latemodel Ford vehicles.
The circuit diagram of a typical three-coil
movement (Figure 13-3) shows that two coils are
wound at right angles to each other. These are the
minimum-reading coil and the maximum-reading
coil. Their magnetic fields will pull the permanent
magnet and pointer in opposite directions. A third
coil is wound so that its magnetic field opposes
that of the minimum-reading coil. This is called
the bucking coil.
The three coils are connected in series from the
ignition switch to ground. A fixed resistor forms a
circuit branch parallel to the minimum-reading coil.
The variable-resistance-sending unit forms a circuit branch to ground, parallel to the bucking and
minimum-reading coils.
When sending resistance is high, current flows
through all three coils to ground. Because the
magnetic fields of the minimum-reading and the
bucking coils cancel each other, the maximumreading coil’s field has the strongest effect on the
permanent magnet and pointer. The pointer moves
to the maximum-reading end of the gauge scale.
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As sending unit resistance decreases, more
current flows through the minimum-reading coil
and the sending unit to ground than flows through
the bucking and maximum-reading coils. The
minimum-reading coil gains a stronger effect
upon the permanent magnet and pointer, and the
pointer moves to the minimum-reading end of the
gauge scale.
Specific three-coil gauges may have slightly
different wiring, but the basic operation remains
the same. Because the circular magnet is carefully
balanced, it will remain at its last position even
when the ignition switch is turned off, rather than
returning to the minimum-reading position, as
does a bimetallic gauge.
The design of two-coil gauges varies with the
purpose for which the gauge is used. In a fuel
gauge, for example, the pointer is moved by the
magnetic fields of the two coils positioned at
right angles to each other. Battery voltage is
applied to the E (empty) coil and the circuit
divides at the opposite end of the coil. One path
travels to ground through the F (full) coil; the
other grounds through the sender’s variable resistor. When sender resistance is low (low fuel), current passes through the E coil and sender resistor
to move the pointer toward E on the scale. When
sender resistance is high (full tank), current flows
through the F coil to move the pointer toward F
on the scale.
When a two-coil gauge is used to indicate
coolant temperature, battery voltage is applied to
both coils. One coil is grounded directly; the other
grounds through the sending unit. Sender resistance
causes the current through one coil to change as the
temperature changes, moving the pointer.
In the air-core gauge design, the gauge
receives a varying electrical signal from its sending unit. A pivoting permanent magnet mounted
to a pointer aligns itself to a resultant field
according to sending unit resistance. The sending
unit resistance varies the field strength of the
windings in opposition to the reference windings.
The sending unit also compensates for variations
in voltage.
This simple design provides several advantages beyond greater accuracy. It does not create
radiofrequency interference (RFI), is unaffected
by temperature, is completely noiseless, and does
not require the use of a voltage limiter. Like the
three- and two-coil designs, however, the air-core
design remains at its last position when the ignition switch is turned off, giving a reading that
should be disregarded.
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Instrument Voltage Regulator
On early-model cars and imported vehicles,
except for the air core electromagnetic design,
gauges required a continuous, controlled amount
of voltage.This is usually either the system voltage
of 12 volts or a regulated 5–6 volts. An instrument
voltage regulator (IVR) supplied that regulated
voltage. The IVR can be a separate component
that looks much like a circuit breaker or relay; it
can also be built into a gauge. Its bimetallic strip
and vibrating points act like a self-setting circuit breaker to keep the gauge voltage at a specific level. Gauges that operate on limited voltage
can be damaged or give inaccurate readings if
exposed to full system voltage.
Warning Lamp Operating
Principles
Warning lamps alert the driver to potentially hazardous vehicle operating conditions, such as the
following:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
High engine temperature
Low oil pressure
Charging system problems
Low fuel level
Unequal brake fluid pressure
Parking brake on
Seat belts not fastened
Exterior lighting failure
Warning lamps can monitor many different functions but are usually activated in one of the following four ways:
•
•
•
•
Voltage drop
Grounding switch
Ground sensor
Fiber optics
will light. This method is often used to control
charging system indicators, as we learned in
Chapter 8.
Grounding Switch
A bulb connected to battery voltage will not light
unless the current can flow to ground. Warning
lamps can be installed so that a switch that reacts
to operating conditions controls the ground path.
Under normal conditions, the switch contacts are
open and the bulb does not light. When operating
conditions change, the switch contacts close.
This creates a ground path for current and lights
the bulb.
Ground Sensor
A ground sensor is the opposite of a ground
switch. Here, the warning lamp remains unlit as
long as the sensor is grounded. When conditions
change and the sensor is no longer grounded, the
bulb lights. Solid-state circuitry generally is used
in this type of circuit.
Fiber Optics
Strands of a special plastic can conduct light
through long, curving runs (Figure 13-4). When
one end of the fiber is installed in the instrument
panel and the other end is exposed to a light, the
driver will be able to see that light. Changing
operating conditions can cause the fiber to change
from light to dark, or from one color to another.
Fiber optics are usually used for accessory warning lamps, such as coolant level reminders and
exterior bulb monitors.
The first three methods are used to light a bulb or
an LED mounted on the dash panel. Fiber optics
is a special application of remote light.
Voltage Drop
A bulb will light only if there is a voltage drop
across its filament. Warning lamps can be
installed so that equal voltage is applied to both
bulb terminals under normal operating conditions. If operating conditions change, a voltage
drop occurs across the filament, and the bulb
Figure 13-4. Light-carrying fibers can be used in
accessory instruments.
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287
Specific Instruments
Many different instruments have appeared in automobiles, but certain basic functions are monitored
in almost all cars. Normally, a car’s instrument
panel will contain at least the following:
• An ammeter, a voltmeter, or an alternator
warning lamp
• An oil pressure gauge or warning lamp
• A coolant temperature gauge or warning lamp
• A fuel level gauge
The following paragraphs explain how these specific instruments are constructed and installed.
Charging System Indicators
Ammeter, voltmeter, and warning lamp installations are covered in Chapter 8. Ammeters usually
contain a D’Arsonval movement that reacts to
field current flow into the alternator and charging
current flow into the battery. Many late-model
cars have a voltmeter instead of an ammeter. A
voltmeter indicates battery condition when the
engine is off, and charging system operation
when the engine is running. Warning lamps light
to show an undercharged battery or low voltage
from the alternator. Lamps used on GM cars with
a CS charging system will light when the system
voltage is too high or too low.
Chrysler rear-wheel-drive (RWD) cars from
1975 on that have ammeters also have an LED
mounted on the ammeter face. The LED works
independently to monitor system voltage and lights
when system voltage drops by about 1.2 volts. This
alerts the driver to a discharge condition at idle
caused by a heavy electrical load.
Oil Pressure Gauge
or Warning Lamp
The varying current signal to an oil pressure gauge
is supplied through a variable-resistance sending
unit that is exposed to engine oil pressure. The
resistor variation is controlled by a diaphragm that
moves with changes in oil pressure, as shown in
Figure 13-5.
An oil pressure-warning lamp lights to indicate low oil pressure. A ground switch controls
the lamp as shown in Figure 13-6. When oil
pressure decreases to an unsafe level, the switch
diaphragm moves far enough to ground the
Figure 13-5. The oil pressure sending unit provides
a varying amount of resistance as engine oil pressure
changes.
Figure 13-6. This oil pressure grounding switch has
a fixed contact and a contact that is moved by the
pressure-sensitive diaphragm.
warning lamp circuit. Current then can flow to
ground and the bulb will light. Oil pressure warning lamps can be operated by the gauge itself.
When the pointer moves to the low-pressure end
of the scale, it closes contact points to light a bulb
or an LED.
Temperature Gauge
or Warning Lamp
In most late-model cars, the temperature gauge
ending unit is a thermistor exposed to engine
coolant temperature, as shown in Figure 13-7. As
coolant temperature increases, the resistance of
the thermistor decreases and current through the
gauge varies.
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Figure 13-7. Coolant temperature gauge. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
Figure 13-9. The fuel tank sending unit has a float
that moves with the fuel level in the tank and affects a
variable resistor.
perature (Figure 13-8B) but open during normal
operating temperature. The low-temperature circuit usually lights a different bulb than does the
high-temperature circuit.
A temperature warning lamp or an LED also
can be lit by the action of the temperature gauge
pointer, as explained for the oil pressure gauge.
Fuel Gauge or Warning Lamp
Figure 13-8. Temperature grounding switches
expose a bimetallic strip to engine coolant temperature to light a high-temperature lamp or both high- and
low-temperature warning lamps.
Temperature warning lamps can alert the
driver to high temperature or to both low and high
temperature. The most common circuit uses a
bimetallic switch and reacts only to high temperature, as shown in Figure 13-8A. A ground switch
has a bimetallic strip that is exposed to coolant
temperature. When the temperature reaches an
unsafe level, the strip bends far enough to ground
the warning lamp circuit. If the circuit also reacts
to low temperature, the bimetallic strip has a second set of contacts. These are closed at low tem-
All modern cars have a fuel level gauge. Some
have an additional warning lamp or an LED to
indicate a low fuel level. A variable resistor in the
fuel tank provides current control through the
fuel gauge. The fuel tank sending unit has a float
that moves with the fuel level, as shown in Figure
13-9. As the float rises and falls, the resistance of
the sending unit changes. If a low-fuel-level indicator is used, its switch may operate through a
heater or bimetallic relay to prevent flicker. Fuellevel warning lamps are operated by the action of
the fuel gauge pointer, as explained for an oil
pressure gauge.
Tachometer
In addition to the other instrument panel displays, some cars have tachometers to indicate
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engine speed in revolutions per minute (rpm).
These usually have an electromagnetic movement. The engine speed signals may come from
an electronic pickup at the ignition coil (Figure
13-10). Voltage pulses taken from the ignition
system are processed by solid-state circuitry
into signals to drive the tachometer pointer. The
pointer responds to the frequency of these signals, which increase with engine speed. A filter
is used to round off the pulses and remove any
spikes.
Late-model vehicles with an engine control
system may control the tachometer through an
electronic module. This module is located on
the rear of the instrument cluster printed circuit
board and is the interface between the computer
and tachometer in the same way the solid-state
circuitry processes the ignition system-totachometer signals described earlier.
289
MALFUNCTION
INDICATOR
LAMP (MIL)
Vehicles with electronic engine control systems generally have a computer-operated warning lamp on
the instrument panel to indicate the need for service.
In the past, this was called a Check Engine, Service
Engine Soon, Power Loss, or Power Limited lamp,
according to the manufacturer, as shown in the sample instrument cluster in Figure 13-11. To eliminate
confusion, all domestic manufacturers now refer to
it as a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL).
The MIL lamp alerts the driver to a malfunction
in one of the monitored systems. In some vehicles
built before 1995, the MIL is used to retrieve the
faults or trouble codes stored in the computer
memory by grounding a test terminal in the diagnostic connector. Like other warning lamps, the
MIL comes on briefly as a bulb check when the
ignition is turned on.
Seatbelt-Starter Interlocks
During 1974 and early 1975, U.S. federal safety
standards required a seatbelt-starter interlock
system on all new cars. The system required frontseat occupants to fasten their seatbelts before the
car could be started. This particular standard was
repealed by an act of Congress in 1975. Now,
most interlock systems have been disabled so that
only a warning lamp and buzzer remain.
Antilock Brake System (ABS)
Warning Lamp
Figure 13-10. This GM HEI (high energy ignition)
distributor has a special connector for a tachometer.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
Vehicles with ABS have a computer-operated
amber antilock warning lamp (Figure 13-12) in
addition to the MIL and the standard red brake
Figure 13-11. Malfunction indicator lamp in the instrument panel. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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Figure 13-12. ABS lights. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
lamp. The antilock lamp serves the same functions for the ABS that the MIL lamp does for
engine control systems as follows,
• Lights to warn of a system problem that
inhibits ABS operation
• Retrieves trouble codes in the same way as
the MIL lamp (specific vehicles only)
• Lights briefly at the beginning of an ignition
cycle as a bulb check and to notify the driver that self-diagnostics are taking place
Buzzers, Tone Generators,
Chimes, and Bells
Buzzers are a special type of warning device.
They produce a loud warning sound during certain operating conditions, such as the following:
•
•
•
•
Figure 13-13. Current will flow through this warning
buzzer only when both switches are closed—when the
door is open and the key is in the ignition switch.
Seatbelts not fastened
Door open with key in ignition
Lights left on with engine off
Excessive vehicle speed
A typical buzzer (Figure 13-13) operates in the
same way as a horn. Instead of moving a
diaphragm, the vibrating armature itself creates
the sound waves. In Figure 13-13, two conditions
are required to sound the buzzer: The door must be
open, and the key must be in the ignition. These
conditions close both switches and allow current
to flow through the buzzer armature and coil.
Most warning buzzers are separate units
mounted on the fuse panel or behind the instrument panel. GM vehicles may have a buzzer built
into the horn relay (Figure 13-14). When the ignition key is left in the switch and the door is
opened, a small amount of current flows through
Figure 13-14. GM cars may have a buzzer built into
the horn relay. Here, the buzzer is activated because
both the door switch and the key switch are closed.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
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the relay coil. The magnetic field is strong enough
to operate the buzzer, but it is not strong enough
to close the horn contacts.
Grounding switches usually activate buzzers.
A timing circuit can be built into the buzzer by
winding a heater coil around an internal circuit
breaker (Figure 13-15) and connecting the
heater coil directly to ground. When current
flows to the buzzer, a small amount of current
flows through the heater coil to ground. When
the coil is hot enough, it will open the circuit
breaker and keep it open. Current through the
buzzer will stop even though the grounding
switch is still closed.
Some typical buzzer warning circuits are shown
in Figures 13-16 and 13-17. Figure 13-17 includes
291
a prove-out circuit branch with a manual-grounding
switch that the driver can close to check that the
bulb and buzzer are still working. Some prove-out
circuits operate when the ignition switch is at
START, to show the driver if any bulbs or buzzers
have failed.
Tone generators, chimes, and bells are mechanical devices that produce a particular sound when
voltage is applied across a sound bar. Various
sounds are obtained by varying the voltage. Like
buzzers, they are replaced if defective.
The circuit shown in Figure 13-18 is the circuit
diagram for an electronic temperature gauge.
The coolant temperature sensor is an NTC thermistor with high resistance at low temperatures
and low resistance at high temperatures. When a
cold engine is first started, the sensor’s resistance
is very high, resulting in a low voltage output to
the gauge display, which translates into a low
Figure 13-15. This buzzer will sound for only a few
seconds each time it is activated, because of the
circuit breaker and heater coil built into the unit.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 13-17. This warning buzzer will be activated
if engine coolant temperature rises above a safe level.
Figure 13-16. In this circuit, one buzzer responds
both to excessive speed and to driver door position.
Figure 13-18. GM’s electronic temperature gauge
circuit is similar to that of an analog gauge. (GM Service
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
and Parts Operations)
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Figure 13-19. Mechanical speedometer.
Figure 13-20. Mechanical odometer.
coolant temperature reading on the display. As
coolant temperature increases, sensor resistance
decreases. This results in a higher voltage output
to the gauge display, which translates into a
higher coolant temperature reading.
SPEEDOMETER
A mechanical speedometer uses a flexible
cable, similar to piano wire, that is encased in
an outer cover (Figure 13-19). One end of the
cable connects to the transmission and the other
end connects to the back of the speedometer. As
the vehicle moves, the cable begins to rotate.
The speed that the cable rotates is proportional
to the speed of the vehicle; in other words, the
faster the vehicle moves, the faster the cable
will turn.
The indicator needle is attached to a metal
drum in the speedometer. As the cable turns, so
does a magnet inside the drum. The spinning
magnet creates a rotating magnetic field around
the drum, causing the drum to rotate and
move the indicator needle along the scale. The
faster the magnet spins, the more the drum moves.
The speedometer gears drive a mechanical
odometer. The gears are driven by a worm gear
mounted on the same shaft as the permanent magnet of the speedometer (Figure 13-20). The gears
reduce the speed of the odometer cable driven by
the transmission.
ELECTRONIC
INSTRUMENT
CIRCUITS
Electronic instruments or driver information system (DIS) used on late-model cars have same purpose as the traditional analog instruments: The DIS
displays vehicle-operating information to the driver and includes all guage and speedometer information. The primary difference between the DIS
and traditional systems is the way in which the
information is displayed. The Driver Information
Center (DIC) is a type of DIS used by many of the
automotive manufacturers. The DIS and DIC are
basically the same item.
Digital instrumentation is more precise than
conventional analog gauges. Analog gauges display an average of the readings received from the
sensor; a digital display will present exact readings. Most digital instrument panels provide for
display in English or metric values. Drivers select
which gauges they wish to have displayed. Most
of these systems will automatically display the
gauge to indicate a potentially dangerous situation. For example, if the driver has chosen the oil
pressure gauge to be displayed and the engine
temperature increases above set limits, the temperature gauge will automatically be displayed to
warn the driver. A warning light and/or a chime
will also activate, to get the driver’s attention.
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Most electronic instrument panels contain selfdiagnostics. The tests are initiated through a scan
tool or by pushing selected buttons on the instrument panel. The instrument panel cluster also initiates a self-test every time the ignition switch is
turned to ACC or RUN. Usually the entire dash
is illuminated and every segment of the display is
lighted; ISO symbols generally flash during this
test. At the completion of the test, all gauges will
display current readings. A code is displayed to
alert the driver if a fault is found.
Like analog instruments, electronic instruments receive inputs from a sensor or a sending
unit. The information is displayed in various
ways. Depending upon the gauge function and the
manufacturer’s design, the display may be digital
numbers or a vertical, horizontal, or curved bar
(Figure 13-21). The following paragraphs give
three examples of how electronic instruments
function.
Electronic Speedometer
Figure 13-22A shows a GM speedometer that can
be either a quartz analog (swing needle) display or
a digital readout. The speed signal in this system
originates from a small AC voltage generator with
four magnetic fields called a permanent magnet
(PM) generator. This device usually is installed at
the transmission or transaxle speedometer gear
293
adapter and is driven like the speedometer cable
on conventional systems.
As the PM generator rotates, it generates an AC
voltage of four pulses per turn, with voltage and
frequency increasing as speed increases. The unit
pulses 4,004 times per mile of travel (2,488 times
per kilometer) with a frequency output of 1.112
oscillations per second (hertz) per mile per hour of
travel (0.691 hertz per kilometer per hour of
travel).
Since the PM generator output is analog, a buffer
is used to translate its signals into digital input for
the processing unit. The processing unit sends a
voltage back to the buffer, which switches the voltage on and off and interprets it as vehicle speed
changes. If the instrument cluster has its own internal buffer as part of the cluster circuitry, the PM
generator signal will go directly to the speedometer.
On some systems, the buffer may contain more
than one switching function, as shown in Figure
13-22B, as it handles the ECM and cruise control
systems. These secondary switching functions
run at half the speed of the speedometer switching
operation, or 0.556 Hz/mph (0.3456 Hz/km/h).
If the instrument cluster uses a quartz analog
display (Figure 13-23), the gauge is similar to the
two-coil electromagnetic gauge discussed earlier.
This type of gauge is often called a swing needle
or air-core gauge and does not return to zero when
the ignition is turned off. When the car begins to
move, the buffered speed signal is conditioned
Figure 13-21. Toyota’s electronic display is a digital combination meter, which uses a colored liquid crystal display (LCD) panel. (Reprinted by permission of Toyota Motor Corporation)
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and sent to the central processing unit (CPU). The
CPU processes the digital input using a quartzcrystal clock circuit and sends it to a gain-select
circuit, where it is transferred to a driver circuit.
The driver circuit then sends the correct voltages
to the gauge coils to move the pointer and indicate
the car’s speed.
Virtually the same process is followed when a
digital display is used (Figure 13-24), with the
following minor differences in operation:
• The CPU can be directed to display the infor-
mation in either English or metric units. A
select function sends the data along different
circuits according to the switch position.
• The driver circuit is responsible for turning
on the selected display segments at the correct intensity.
Figure 13-22. GM’s electronic speedometer uses
a permanent magnet (PM) generator instead of an
optical sensor. In A, the buffer translates the PM
generator analog signals into digital signals for the
processor, which activates the display driver to
operate an analog or a digital display. In B, the buffer
toggles voltage on and off to interpret vehicle
speed to the electronic cluster. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
Figure 13-23. The buffered signal passes to a signal
conditioner, which transmits it to the CPU where a
quartz clock circuit ensures accuracy. After processing, the signal goes to a gain-select circuit, which
sends it to the driver circuit for analog display.
The odometer used with electronic speedometers
can be electromechanical, using a stepper motor
(Figure 13-25A), or an IC chip using nonvolatile
RAM (Figure 13-25B).
The electromechanical type is similar to the conventional odometer, differing primarily in the way
in which the numbers are driven. A stepper motor
takes digital-pulsed voltages from the speedometer
circuit board at half the buffered speed signal discussed earlier. This provides a very accurate
accounting of accumulated mileage.
The IC chip retains accumulated mileage in its
special nonvolatile RAM, which is not lost when
Figure 13-24. The digital cluster circuit is similar to
the analog circuit, but an output-logic circuit is used
instead of a gain-select circuit.
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current is removed. Since its memory cannot be
turned back, the use of this chip virtually eliminates one of the frauds often associated with the
sale of used cars.
Electronic Instrument Panel
The GM electronic instrument panel cluster
(IPC) contains the following indicators:
• The ABS indicator
• The Air Bag indicator
• The Brake indicator
Figure 13-25. Electronic odometers may use a stepper motor or a nonvolatile RAM chip for mileage display. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
The Cruise indicator
The Charge indicator
The Engine Coolant indicator
The Engine Oil Pressure indicator
The Fasten Belts indicator
The Security indicator
The Service Engine Soon indicator (MIL)
Indicators and Warning
Messages
Average Fuel Economy
The average fuel economy is a function of distance traveled divided by fuel used since the parameter was last reset. When the average fuel
economy is displayed in the IPC, pressing the
Info Reset button on the DIC will reset the average fuel economy parameter. The average fuel
economy parameter is only displayed on the DIC.
The average fuel economy displays either miles
or kilometers, as requested, by briefly pressing
the Eng/Met button on the DIC.
Engine Coolant Temperature Gauge
The IPC displays the engine coolant temperature, as
determined by the PCM. The IPC receives a Class 2
Figure 13-26. GM electronic instrument panel schematic. (Courtesy of GM Service and Parts
Operations)
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message from the PCM indicating the engine
coolant temperature. The engine coolant temperature gauge defaults to C if the following is true:
• The PCM detects a malfunction in the engine
coolant temperature sensor circuit.
• The IPC receives a Class 2 message indicat-
ing the park position and the column park
switch indicates a position other than park.
• The IPC detects a loss of Class 2 communications with the PCM.
• The IPC detects a loss of Class 2 communi-
cations with the PCM.
Fuel Gauge
The IPC displays the fuel level, as determined by
the PCM. The IPC receives a Class 2 message from
the PCM indicating the fuel level percentage. The
fuel gauge defaults to empty if the following is true:
• The PCM detects a malfunction in the fuel
level sensor signal circuit.
• The IPC detects a loss of Class 2 communi-
cations with the PCM.
Fuel Range
The fuel range is the estimated distance that the
vehicle can travel under the current fuel economy
and fuel level conditions. The driver cannot reset
the fuel range parameter. “LO” is displayed in the
fuel range display when the range is calculated to
be less than 64 km (40 miles). The fuel range displays either miles or kilometers, as requested, by
briefly pressing the Eng/Met button on the DIC.
Odometer
The IPC contains a season odometer and two trip
odometers. The IPC calculates the mileage based
on the vehicle-speed signal circuit from the PCM.
The odometer will display “Error” if an internal IPC
memory failure is detected. The odometer displays
either miles or kilometers, as requested, by briefly
pressing the Eng/Met button on the DIC. Pressing
the Reset Trip A/B button for greater than 2 seconds
will reset the trip odometer that is displayed.
PRNDL Display
The IPC displays the selected automatic transmission/transaxle gear position determined by the
PCM, as sensed by the gear position selected by
the driver. The IPC receives a Class 2 message
from the PCM indicating the gear position. The
PRNDL for the transmission gear position display
blanks if the following is true:
• The PCM detects a malfunction in the trans-
mission range switch signal circuit.
Speedometer
The IPC displays the vehicle speed based on the
information received from the PCM. The PCM
converts the data from the vehicle speed sensor
to a 4,000-pulses/mile signal. The IPC uses the
vehicle-speed signal circuit from the PCM in order
to calculate the vehicle speed. The speedometer
defaults to 0 km/h (0 mph) if a malfunction in
the vehicle speed signal circuit exists. The speedometer displays either miles or kilometers, as
requested, by briefly pressing the Eng/Met button
on the DIC.
The speedometer display configuration can
be changed by using the Dspl Mode button. The
speedometer can be configured in one of the following formats:
• Analog display only
• Analog and digital displays
• Digital display only
Tachometer
The IPC displays the engine speed based on information received from the PCM. The PCM converts
the data from the engine to a 2-pulses-per-enginerevolution signal. The IPC uses the engine-speed
signal circuit from the PCM to calculate the engine
speed. The tachometer defaults to 0 rpm if a malfunction in the engine-speed signal circuit exists.
Voltmeter
The IPC displays the system voltage.
Driver Information
Center (DIC)
The DIC vehicle information displays vehicle
operation parameters that are available to the driver when the ignition is in the RUN position. On
many applications, the driver can navigate
through the various parameters displayed on the
DIC using the Info Up and Info Down buttons.
Some parameters can be reset by briefly pressing
the Info Reset button.
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297
Figure 13-27. GM Driver Information Center (DIC) Schematic. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
NOTE: The Driver Information Center (DIC) is also know as a Driver Information System (DIS).
Some parameters require information from
other modules. If the IPC has not received data for
a parameter when the time has come to display the
parameter, the IPC will blank the display on the
DIC. If the IPC has determined that a Class 2
communication failure with one of the modules
exists when the time has come to display the parameter, the IPC will display dashes on the DIC.
The vehicle information display parameters are
displayed in the following order:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
OUTSIDE TEMP
RANGE
MPG AVG
MPG INST
FUEL USED
AVG MPH
TIMER
BATTERY VOLTS
9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
TIRE PRESSURE
TACHOMETER
ENGINE OIL LIFE
TRANS FLUID LIFE
PHONE
FEATURE PROGRAMMING
When the Info Up button is pressed, the DIC will
display the next parameter on the list. When the
Info Down button is pressed, the DIC will display
the previous parameter on the list.
Body Control Module
(BCM) Computers
When more than one computer is used on a vehicle, it is often desirable to link their operations.
The body control module (BCM) used on many
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Figure 13-28. Sophisticated electronic systems are
composed of several computers and use a central
computer (GM calls it a body control module) to manage the system. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 13-29. Selective application of voltage
through the diodes composing a light-emitting diode
(LED) results in an alphanumeric display. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
GM cars is an example. The BCM manages the
communications for the multiple computer system (Figure 13-28) using a network of sensors,
switches, and other microprocessors to monitor
vehicle-operating conditions. Certain components also provide the BCM with feedback signals; these tell the BCM whether the components
are responding to the BCM commands properly.
Like the powertrain control module (PCM),
which operates the engine control system, the
BCM has built-in diagnostics to help locate and
correct a system malfunction.
Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
The light-emitting diode (LED) is a diode that
transmits light when electrical current is passed
through it (Figure 13-29). An LED display is composed of small dotted segments arranged to form
numbers and letters when selected segments are
turned on. The LED is usually red, yellow, or green.
LEDs have the following major drawbacks:
• Although easily seen in the dark, they are
difficult to read in direct sunlight.
• They consume considerable current relative
to their brightness.
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
A liquid crystal display (LCD) uses sandwiches
of special glass containing electrodes and polarized fluid to display numbers and characters.
Figure 13-30. Light passes through polarized fluid to
create the liquid-crystal display. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
Light cannot pass through the polarized fluid until
voltage is applied. The display is very dense,
however, and the various special filters used to
provide colors create even more density. For this
reason, halogen lights are generally placed behind
the display (Figure 13-30). Although LCDs perform slowly in cold ambient temperatures,
require proper alignment, and are very delicate,
they have the following big advantages:
• They consume very little current relative to
their brightness.
• They can be driven by a microprocessor
through an interfacing output circuit.
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Vacuum Fluorescent
Display (VFD)
This is the most commonly used display for automotive electronic instruments, primarily because
of its durability and bright display qualities. The
vacuum fluorescent display (VFD) generates
light similar to a television picture tube, with free
electrons from a heated filament striking phosphor material that emits a blue-green light
(Figure 13-31).
The anode segments are coated with a fluorescent material such as phosphorous. The filament is resistance wire, heated by electrical
current. The filament coating produces free
electrons, which are accelerated by the electric
field generated by the voltage on the accelerating grid. High voltage is applied only to the
anode of those segments required to form the
characters to be displayed. Since the anode is at
a higher voltage than the fine wire-mesh grid,
the electrons pass through the grid. The phosphors on the segment anodes impressed with
high voltage glow very brightly when struck by
electrons; those receiving no voltage do not
glow. The instrument computer determines the
segments necessary to emit light for any given
message and applies the correct sequences of
voltage at the anodes.
VFD displays are extremely bright, and their
intensity must be controlled for night viewing.
This can be done by varying the voltage on the
accelerating grid: the higher the voltage, the
brighter the display. Intensity can also be controlled by pulse-width dimming, or turning the
display on and off very rapidly while controlling
the duration of on-time. This is similar to the
pulse-width modulation of a carburetor mixture
299
control solenoid or a fuel injector. The on-off
action occurs so rapidly that it cannot be detected
by the human eye.
Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
Another display device used in automotive
instrumentation was the cathode-ray tube
(CRT), as used in the 1986–1996 Buick Riviera
Buick Reatta. The CRT is essentially the same
as the display used in an oscilloscope or a television set. CRTs function with an electron beam
generated by an electron gun located at the rear
of the tube. The CRT consists of a cathode that
emits electrons and an anode that attracts them.
Electrons are “shot” in a thin beam from the back
of the tube. Permanent magnets around the outside neck of the tube and plates grouped around
the beam on the inside of the tube shape the
beam. A tube-shaped anode that surrounds the
beam accelerates it as it leaves the electron gun.
The beam has so much momentum that the
electrons pass through the anode and strike a
coating of phosphorus on the screen, causing
the screen to glow at these points. The control
plates are used to move the beam back and forth
on the screen, causing different parts of it to illuminate. The result is a display (oscilloscope) or a
picture (television).
The automotive CRT has a touch-sensitive
Mylar switch panel installed over its screen. This
panel contains ultra-thin wires, which are coded
by row and column. Touching the screen in designated places blocks a light beam and triggers
certain switches in the panel, according to the
display mode desired. The switches in turn send
a signal to the control circuitry, which responds
by displaying the requested information on
the CRT screen. In principle, this type of instrumentation combines two personal computer
attributes: It has touch-screen control and is
menu driven.
HEAD-UP DISPLAY
(HUD)
Figure 13-31. In a vacuum fluorescent display, voltage applied selectively to segment anodes makes the
fluorescent material glow. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
The head-up display (HUD) is a secondary display system that projects video images onto the
windshield. It is an electronic instrumentation
system (Figure 13-32) that consists of a special
windshield, a HUD unit containing a computer
module, and a system-specific dimmer switch.
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Figure 13-32. A wiring schematic of the HUD system as used by GM. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
300
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The HUD unit processes various inputs that are
part of the instrument cluster and projects frequently used driver information on the windshield area for viewing from the driver’s seat.
The dimmer switch provides system power for
the computer module, varies the intensity of the
display unit, and can change the vertical position
of the display image through a mechanical cable
drive system. When the ignition is turned on, the
HUD unit performs a self-check routine and projects the following image (Figure 13-33) for
approximately 3.5 seconds:
•
•
•
•
•
Turn signal indicators
High-beam indicator
Check gauges indicator
Speed (km/h or mph) indicator
All segments of the digital speedometer
After completing the self-check, the system
begins normal operation. The ECM provides
vehicle speed information for HUD operation by
completing a ground path to the HUD unit 4,000
times per mile. Each time the HUD unit recognizes a voltage drop at terminal J, it counts one
pulse. By counting the pulses per second, the
HUD unit can determine vehicle speed and project the corresponding figure on the windshield
display.
Night Vision Head-Up
Display (HUD)
The night vision system (Figure 13-34) used on
the 2002–2003 Cadillac Deville is a monochromatic (single-color) option available to improve
the vision of the driver beyond the scope of the
headlamps.
301
The night vision operates only under the following conditions:
• The ignition is on.
• The front fog lamps or the headlamps are
on during low light conditions. The night
vision system uses the signal from the ambient light sensor to determine when low-light
conditions exist.
• The night vision system is on.
The night vision system contains the following
components:
• The head-up display (HUD)
• The head-up display (HUD) switches
• The night vision camera
Head-Up Display (HUD)
Night vision uses a HUD to project the night vision
video images onto the windshield. The HUD projects the detected object images onto the windshield based on the video signals from the night
vision camera.
Head-Up Display Switches
• On/Off and Dimming Switch: This turns the
HUD display and the night vision system on
or off. When the HUD is turned on, the system warm-up logo is displayed for a period of
approximately 45 seconds. The on/off and
dimming switch is also used to adjust the
brightness of the video image. Moving the
switch up will increase the HUD video image
brightness. Moving the switch down will
decrease the HUD video image brightness.
• Up/Down Switch: The HUD in the night
vision system has an electric tilt adjust
motor that adjusts the video image to the
preferred windshield location of the driver.
Pressing the Up/Down switch directs the tilt
motor to adjust the night vision video image
up or down, within a certain range.
Night Vision Camera
Figure 13-33. The HUD system display image. (GM
Service and Parts Operations)
The night vision camera senses the heat given off by
objects that are in the field of view of the camera.
Warmer objects, such as pedestrians, animals, and
other moving vehicles, appear whiter on the displayed image. Colder objects, such as the sky, signs
and parked vehicles, appear darker on the displayed
image. The night vision camera sends the detected
object image information to the HUD via the high
video signal circuit and the low video signal circuit.
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Chapter Thirteen
Figure 13-34. GM night vision HUD system schematic. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
SUMMARY
Instruments include gauges and warning lamps.
There are various types of gauges, including
mechanical, bimetallic, electromagnetic, and electronic. A voltage drop, a grounding switch, a
ground sensor, or fiber optics can light warning
lamps. Late-model vehicles may have a digital display instead of traditional analog gauges. Digital
displays can be individual or they can be part of a
more elaborate vehicle electronic system, such as a
trip computer or message center. Electronic instruments or driver information systems (DISs) have
the same purpose as the traditional analog instruments: The DIS displays vehicle-operating information to the driver and includes all gauge and
speedometer information. The primary difference
between the electronic (DIS) and traditional systems is the way in which the information is dis-
played. The DIS is also called a driver information
center (DIC). Body control module (BCM) computers act as managers of other computers in a
comprehensive vehicle system.
Electronic displays may use a light-emitting
diode (LED), a liquid-crystal display (LCD), a
vacuum fluorescent display (VFD), or a cathoderay tube (CRT) to transmit information. Some
instrumentation is menu-driven, giving the user
an opportunity to select the information to be displayed. Touch-sensitive screens similar to those
on personal computers are used instead of keyboards or pushbuttons on some late-model systems. A head-up display (HUD) is a secondary
display system that projects video images onto
the windshield. The GM night vision system is a
head-up display (HUD) system that projects useful vehicle information in front of the driver near
the windshield.
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303
Review Questions
1. Which of the following is not a reason why
warning lamps have replaced gauges in
automobiles?
a. Cheaper to manufacture
b. Cheaper to install
c. More accurate
d. Easier to understand
2. Temperature compensation in bimetallic
gauges is accomplished by:
a. Current flow through the heater coil
b. The shape of the bimetallic strip
c. An external resistor in the circuit
d. Hermetically sealing the unit
3. Gauges with three-coil movements are most
often used by:
a. General Motors
b. Ford
c. DaimlerChrysler
d. Toyota
4. An oil pressure warning lamp is usually
controlled by:
a. Voltage drop
b. Ground switch
c. Ground sensor
d. Manual switch
5. The sending unit in the fuel gauge uses a:
a. Fixed resistor
b. Zener diode
c. Float
d. Diaphragm
6. Buzzers are a special type of warning
device that are activated by:
a. Voltage drop
b. Ground switches
c. Diaphragms
d. Optical fibers
7. Two technicians are discussing driver
information systems. Technician A says
the head-up display (HUD) is a
secondary display system that projects
video images onto the windshield.
Technician B says that a liquid-crystal
display (LCD) is an indicator in
which electrons from a heated filament
strike a phosphor material that emits light.
Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
8. In GM BCM computer-controlled electric fan
circuits:
a. The BCM switches the control line
voltage on/off with pulse-width
modulation.
b. The fan control module switches the
ground on/off.
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
9. Electromagnetic gauges do not use a:
a. Mechanical movement
b. D’Arsonval movement
c. Air core movement
d. Two- or three-coil movement
10. Which type of gauge does not use an
instrument voltage regulator (IVR)?
a. D’Arsonval movement
b. Air core movement
c. Two-coil movement
d. Three-coil movement
11. Technician A says GM’s electronic
speedometer interprets vehicle speed by
using a buffer to switch the voltage on/off.
Technician B says GM’s electronic
speedometer uses a buffer to translate the
analog input of the PM generator into digital
signals. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
12. Technician A says an electronic
speedometer cannot use a stepper motor to
provide the display. Technician B says the
use of nonvolatile RAM prevents the
odometer from being turned back. Who is
right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
13. An electronic display device using
electrodes and polarized fluid to create
numbers and characters is called:
a. LCD
b. LED
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c. VFD
d. CRT
14. Which electronic display device is most
frequently used because it is very bright,
consumes relatively little power, and can
provide a wide variety of colors through the
use of filters?
a. LCD
b. LED
Chapter Thirteen
c. VFD
d. CRT
15. Which electronic display device is difficult to
read in daylight and consumes considerable
power relative to its brightness?
a. LCD
b. LED
c. VFD
d. CRT
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14
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Horns, Wiper,
and Washer
System
Operation
KEY TERMS
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Explain the operation of an automotive horn.
• Identify the different types of wiper systems
and explain their operation.
• Identify the different types of windshield
washer systems and explain their operation.
Automobile Horn
Depressed Park Position
Horn Relay
Horn Switch
Washer Pumps
Wiper Switch
INTRODUCTION
This chapter introduces you to the operation of an
automotive horn and washer/wiper circuits. It will
further show how various original equipment manufacturers apply technology to their horn and
washer/wiper systems. Chapter 14 of the Shop
Manual shows you how to diagnose horn and
wiper/washer system concerns.
HORN CIRCUITS
An automobile horn is a safety device operated by
the driver to alert pedestrians and other motorists.
Some states require two horn systems, with different sound levels for city and country use.
Circuit Diagram
Some early automobiles used a simple series horn
circuit, as shown in Figure 14-1A. Battery current
is supplied to the horn circuit through the fuse
panel, or from a terminal on the starter relay or
solenoid. The normally open horn switch is
installed between the power source and the
grounded horn. When the driver pushes the horn
button, the horn switch closes and current flows
through the circuit to sound the horn. If the car has
more than one horn (Figure 14-1B), each horn
will form a parallel path to ground.
305
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Figure 14-1. A simple circuit with a single horn in
series with the switch (A), or two horns in parallel with
each other and in series with the switch (B).
Figure 14-3. The horn switch is mounted in the steering column. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 14-2. Many horn systems are controlled by a
relay. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Most horn circuits include a horn relay
(Figure 14-2). The normally open relay contacts
are between the power source and the grounded
horn. The horn switch is between the relay coil
and ground. When the horn switch is closed, a
small amount of current flows through the relay
coil. This closes the relay coil and allows a
greater amount of current to flow through the
horns.
Horn Switches, Relays,
and Fuses
The horn switch is normally installed in the
steering wheel or steering column (Figure 14-3).
Contact points can be placed so that the switch
will be closed by pressure at different points on
the steering wheel (Figure 14-4). Some cars have
a button in the center of the wheel; others have a
number of buttons around the rim of the wheel, or
a large separate horn ring. Many imported cars
and some domestic cars have the horn button on
Figure 14-4. Horn buttons can be placed at various
locations around the steering wheel.
the end of a multifunction lever or stalk on the
steering column. All of these designs operate in
the same way: Pressure on the switch causes contacts to close. When the pressure is released,
spring tension opens the contacts.
Horn relays can be mounted on the fuse panel
(Figure 14-5). They also can be attached to the
bulkhead connector or mounted near the horns in
the engine compartment. The relay is not serviceable, and must be replaced if defective. The horn
circuit often shares a 15- to 20-ampere fuse with
several other circuits. It may also be protected by
a fusible link.
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307
The History from the Bell to the
Electric Horn
Many types of signal alarms have been used on
cars as follows:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Figure 14-5. The horn relay can be mounted on the
fuse panel. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Horns
Except for Chrysler’s air horn, which uses air
pressure from the compressor, automobile horns
use electromagnetism to vibrate a diaphragm and
produce sound waves. A typical horn contains
normally closed contact points in series with
a coil. One of the contact points is mounted on a
movable armature to which the horn diaphragm
is connected.
The horn coil is in series with the horn switch
or horn relay contacts. When the horn switch or
horn relay contacts close, current flows through
the horn coil to ground. The electromagnetic field
created by the coil attracts the armature, also
moving the diaphragm. The armature movement
opens the contact points, which open the coil
circuit. With no magnetic field to hold them, the
armature and diaphragm move back to their
normal positions. The points are again closed,
allowing current to flow through the coil. This
making and breaking of the electromagnetic
circuit causes the horn diaphragm to vibrate.
Since this cycle occurs very rapidly, the resulting rapid movements of the diaphragm create
sound waves. The speed or frequency of the
cycling determines the pitch of the sound created.
This can be adjusted by changing the spring tension on the horn armature to increase or decrease
the electromagnetic pull on the diaphragm.
Mechanical bell
Bulb horn
Compression whistle
Exhaust horn
Hand-operated horn (Klaxon)
Electric horn
The mechanical bell was used on very early cars;
the driver operated the bell with a foot pedal. The
bulb horn, similar to that on a child’s bicycle, proved
to be inconvenient and unreliable.The compression
whistle was most often used in cars with no battery
or limited battery capacity; a profiled cylinder provided the whistle’s power. Exhaust horns used
gases from the engine exhaust; they, too, were footoperated. The hand-operated Klaxon horn amplified a grating sound caused by a metal tooth riding
over a metal gear. This did not work well, because
the horn had to be near the driver rather than at the
front of the car. Over the years, the electric horn has
been the most popular type of signal alarm.
WINDSHIELD WIPERS
AND WASHERS
Federal law requires that all cars built in, or
imported into, the United States since 1968 have
both a two-windshield wiper system and a windshield washer system. Wiper systems on older
vehicles may be operated by engine vacuum or by
the power steering hydraulic system.
Modern wiper systems are operated by electric
motors. The washer system can be manually operated, or it can have an electric pump. Many vehicles also have a single-speed wiper and washer
for the rear window. This is a completely separate
system, but it operates in the same way as the
windshield wiper and washer system.
Circuit Diagram
A typical two-speed wiper system circuit diagram
is shown in Figure 14-6. The motor fields are permanent magnets. The wiper switch controls both
the wiper motor speeds and the washer pump. The
park switch within the wiper motor ensures that
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Chapter Fourteen
Figure 14-7.
Figure 14-6.
Low-speed current flow.
A simple two-speed wiper circuit.
when the wiper switch is turned off, the motor
will continue to turn until the wiper arms have
reached the bottom edge, or park position, of the
windshield. The circuit shown has a circuit
breaker built into the wiper switch. The circuit
breaker also can be a separate unit, or it can be
mounted on the wiper motor.
Figure 14-7 shows low-speed current flow
through the simple circuit. Current flows through
the wiper switch contacts, the low-speed brush L,
and the common (shared) brush C to ground.
During high-speed operation, the current flows
through the high-speed brush H and the common
brush to ground. When the wiper switch is turned
to park, or off, the park switch comes into the
circuit.
The park switch is a two-position, camoperated switch within the wiper motor. It moves
from one position to the other during each motor
revolution. When the wiper arms are at their park
Figure 14-8. The park switch allows the motor to
continue turning until the wiper arms reach their park
position.
position, the park switch is at the P contact, as
shown in Figure 14-8. No current flows through
the park switch. At all other wiper arm positions,
the park switch is held against spring tension
at the other contact. If the wiper switch is turned
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Figure 14-10. Many late-model
depressed-park wiper position.
309
cars
have
a
Figure 14-9. This three-speed wiper system controls
motor speed by routing field current flow through various resistors. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
off while the wiper arms are not at their park position current will flow through the park switch to
the low-speed brush. The motor will continue to
turn until the wiper arms reach their park position.
At that point, the park switch moves to the P contact and all current stops.
When extra features are added to the wiper system, the circuits become more complex. For example, many manufacturers offer three-speed wiper
systems. These systems use electromagnetic motor
fields. The switch contacts route field current
through resistors of various values (Figure 14-9) to
vary the wiper motor speed. Some GM two-speed
wiper circuits also use this type of motor.
Many late-model vehicles have wiper arms
that retreat below hood level when the switch
is turned off (Figure 14-10). This is called a
depressed park position and is controlled by the
park switch. When the wiper switch is turned off,
the park switch allows the motor to continue turning until the wiper arms reach the bottom edge of
the windshield. The park switch then reverses
current flow through the wiper motor, which
makes a partial revolution in the opposite direction. The wiper linkage pulls the wiper arms down
Figure 14-11. Low-speed current flow in a
depressed-park system. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
below the level of the hood during this motor
reversal. The motor reversal also opens the park
switch to stop all wiper motor current flow.
A depressed-park wiper system is shown in
Figure 14-11. During normal operation, current
flows through either brush A or common brush B
to ground. When the wiper switch is turned off
(Figure 14-12), current flows through the park
switch, into brush B, and through low-speed
brush A to ground. This reverses the motor’s rotation until the wiper arms reach the depressed park
position, the park switch moves to the grounded
position, and all current stops.
Many wiper systems have a low-speed intermittent or delay mode. This allows the wiper
arms to sweep the windshield completely at intervals of three to 30 seconds. Most intermittent,
or delay, wiper systems route current through a
solid-state module containing a variable resistor
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Figure 14-12. The park switch reverses current flow
through the motor so that the wiper arms are pulled
down into the depressed-park position. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
Chapter Fourteen
Figure 14-14. The intermittent wipe governor or
module is installed between the wiper switch and the
wiper motor.
charge, and therefore the interval between the
wiper arm sweeps.
SCR Intermittent Wipers
On some imported cars, the intermittent or delay
mode is sensitive to vehicle speed and varies from
approximately 15 seconds (at low road speed) up
to the wipers’ normal low speed (at moderate road
speed) as vehicle speed changes. The intermittent
mode can be cancelled by pressing a cancel
switch, and wiper speed can be set manually with
the wiper switch. Intermittent wiper control circuitry on many cars is contained in a separate
module that is installed between the wiper switch
and the wiper motor, as shown in Figure 14-14.
Switches
Figure 14-13. An SCR in the solid-state intermittent
wiper module or control unit triggers the wiper motor
for intermittent wiper arm sweeps. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
and a capacitor (Figure 14-13). Once the current passing through the variable resistor has
fully charged the capacitor, it triggers a siliconcontrolled rectifier (SCR) that allows current
flow to the wiper motor. The park switch within
the motor shunts the SCR circuit to ground.
Current to the motor continues, however, until
the wiper arms reach their park position and the
park switch is opened. The driver through the
variable resistor controls the capacitor rate of
The wiper switch is between the power source
and the grounded wiper motor. The wiper switch
does not receive current unless the ignition switch
is turned to the Accessory or the Run position.
The wiper switch may be mounted on the instrument panel, or it can be mounted in the steering
column and controlled by a multifunction lever or
stalk (Figure 14-15).
If the system has an electric washer pump, the
pump is generally controlled by contacts within
the wiper switch. The washer is usually operated
by a spring-loaded pushbutton that is part of the
wiper switch (Figure 14-16). Moving the switch
to its wash position or pressing the pushbutton
will operate the washer pump as long as the
switch is held in position or is pressed.
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311
Figure 14-15. The washer switch is usually a spring-loaded pushbutton mounted on the instrument panel
or on a multifunction lever. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Motors
Figure 14-16. In this system, the high-speed brush is
set directly opposite the common brush. The common
brush is insulated, and the two speed-control brushes
are grounded through the wiper switch.
Most two-speed wiper motors use permanent
ceramic magnets as pole pieces. Three brushes
ride on the motor’s commutator. One brush is a
common, or shared, brush and conducts current
whenever the wiper motor is operating. The other
brushes are placed at different positions relative
to the motor armature. Current through one brush
produces a different motor speed than current
through the other brush. The wiper switch contacts route current to one of these two brushes,
depending upon which wiper motor speed the driver selects.
In many wiper motors, the high-speed brush is
placed directly opposite the common brush
(Figure 14-16). The low-speed brush is offset to
one side. This placement of the low-speed brush
affects the interaction of the magnetic fields
within the motor and makes the motor turn
slowly. The placement of the high-speed brush
causes the motor to turn rapidly. Chrysler and
some GM two-speed motors vary from this pattern (Figures 14-13 and 14-17). The low-speed
brush is directly opposite the common brush and
the high-speed brush is offset. A resistor wired in
series with the low-speed brush reduces the
motor’s torque at low speed. This extra resistance
in the low-speed circuit results in a lower motor
speed even with the reversed brush position.
The common brush can be grounded and the
two speed-control brushes can be insulated, as
shown in Figure 14-17. Other motors have the
speed-control brushes grounded through the
wiper switch contacts and the common brush
insulated, as shown in Figure 14-17.
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Chapter Fourteen
Some two-speed and all three-speed wiper
motors have two electromagnetic field windings
(Figure 14-18). One field coil is in series with a
motor brush and is called the series field.
The other field coil is a separate circuit branch
Figure 14-17. This motor has an extra resistor in the
low-speed circuit, and so the low-speed brush is
placed directly across from the common brush. The
common brush is grounded, and the two speedcontrol brushes are insulated.
directly to ground and is called the shunt
field. The two coils are wound in opposite directions, so that their magnetic fields oppose
each other.
The wiper switch controls current through
these two field coils. At low speed, about the
same amount of current flows through both coils.
Their opposing magnetic fields result in a weak
total field, so the motor turns slowly. At medium
speed (three-speed motor), current to one coil
must flow through a resistor. This makes the
coil’s magnetic field weaker and results in a
stronger total field within the motor. The motor
revolves faster. At high speed, current to the coil
must flow through a greater value resistor. The
total magnetic field of the motor is again
increased, and the motor speed increases. The
resistors can act on either the shunt coil or the
series coil to reduce current flow and thereby
increase the motor’s total field strength and
speed. In Figure 14-18, the resistors act on the
shunt field. Many wiper motors can be serviced
to some extent, as shown in the Shop Manual,
Chapter 14.
Figure 14-18. In this motor with two electromagnetic fields, the motor speed is controlled by the
amount of current through one of the fields. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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313
Figure 14-19. The washer pump is often mounted on the fluid reservoir. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Washer Pumps
Windshield washer pumps (Figure 14-19) draw
a cleaning solution from a reservoir and force it
through nozzles onto the windshield. The unit can
be a positive-displacement pump or a centrifugal
pump that forces a steady stream of fluid, or it can
be a pulse-type pump that operates valves with a
cam to force separate spurts of fluid.
The washer pump is generally mounted in or
on the fluid reservoir (Figure 14-19). Some GM
pulse pumps are mounted on the wiper motor
(Figure 14-20). Washer pumps are not usually
serviceable, so they are replaced if they fail.
SUMMARY
An automotive horn circuit can be a simple
series circuit, or it can use a relay to control current through the horns. The horn switch is a
normally open push-pull switch that is operated by the driver. Horns use electromagnetism to vibrate a diaphragm and to produce
sound waves.
Windshield wiper and washer circuits have
many variations. They can include a permanent
magnet motor or one with electromagnetic
Figure 14-20. Some GM systems have a washer
pump mounted on the wiper motor. (GM Service and
Parts Operations)
fields. The park position can be at the bottom
edge of the windshield or below the bottom
edge. An intermittent wipe feature can be driveror speed-controlled. Each of these variations
requires slightly different circuitry. Washer
pumps can be mounted at the cleaner reservoir
or on the wiper motor. Pumps are not serviced,
but are replaced.
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Chapter Fourteen
Review Questions
1. Horn relays are sometimes included in the
horn circuit to:
a. Allow the use of two horns in the circuit
b. Decrease the amount of current needed
to activate the horn
c. Increase the amount of current needed
to activate the horn
d. Allow the horn button to be placed on
the end of a stalk on the steering column
2. Horn circuits are generally protected by a:
a. Fuse
b. Fusible link
c. Either A or B
d. Neither A nor B
3. The ________ within the wiper motor
ensures that when the motor is turned off,
the wiper arms will be brought to the bottom
position.
a. Wiper switch
b. Park switch
c. Recycle relay
d. Park/neutral switch
4. Two-speed wiper motors generally use
________ to achieve the two speeds.
a. Cams
b. Reduction gears
c. Speed-control brushes
d. Gear reduction
5. All three-speed wiper motors have ________
fields.
a. Electromagnetic
b. Permanent magnet
c. Two-series
d. Two-shunt
6. Technician A says that when the driver
pushes the horn button, electromagnetism
moves an iron bar inside the horn, which
opens and closes contacts in the horn
circuit. Technician B says that many vehicle
horn circuits include a relay. Who is right?
a.
b.
c.
d.
A only
B only
Both A and B
Neither A nor B
7. Which of the following do automotive horns
use to operate?
a. Electromagnetic induction
b. Magnetic repulsion
c. Magnetic resonance
d. Electromagnetism
8. The wiper park switch is which of the
following?
a. Three-position cam-operated switch
b. Four-position rotary switch
c. Two-position toggle switch
d. Two-position cam-operated switch
9. Technician A says the windshield washer
pump draws a cleaning solution from a
reservoir and forces it through nozzles onto
the windshield. Technician B says the unit
can be a positive-displacement pump or a
centrifugal pump. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
10. Two technicians are discussing horn
operation. Technician A says when
the horn switch or horn relay contacts
close, current flows through the horn coil
to ground. The electromagnetic field
created by the coil attracts the armature,
also moving the diaphragm. Technician
B says the armature movement closes
the contact points, which opens the coil
circuit. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
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15
Body
Accessory
Systems
Operation
LEARNING
OBJECTIVES
Upon completion and review of this chapter, you
should be able to:
• Identify the components of the automo-
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
tive HVAC (Heater Ventilator and Air Conditioning System) and explain the operation.
Identify radio and/or entertainment system
components and explain their operation.
Explain the operation of the rear window
defroster/defogger and heated windshields.
Explain the operation of power windows
and seats.
Explain the operation of Power Door Locks,
Trunk Latches, and Seat Back Releases.
Identify the different types of REMOTE/
Keyless Entry Systems and explain their
operation.
Identify the different types of Theft Deterrent
Systems and explain their operation.
Explain the operation of cruise control systems.
Explain the operation of the Supplemental
Restraint System (SRS).
KEY TERMS
Air Bag Module
Automatic Door Lock (ADL)
Data Link
Defroster
Heater fan
Inflator Module
Igniter Assembly
Safing sensor
Servomotor
Servo Unit
Transducer
INTRODUCTION
Electrical accessories provide driver and passenger comfort, convenience, and entertainment.
New electrical accessories are introduced every
year, but some systems have been common for
many years. Such systems increasingly are being
automated with computer control. This chapter
will explain the electrical operation of some common accessory systems.
315
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Chapter Fifteen
HEATING AND
AIR-CONDITIONING
SYSTEMS
Although heating and air-conditioning systems rely
heavily on mechanical and vacuum controls,
a good deal of electrical circuitry also is involved.
Since the late 1970s, air-conditioning systems
have become increasingly “smart,” relying on solidstate modules or microprocessors for their operation. This also has complicated the job of servicing
such systems.
is turned to its low position, voltage is applied
across all of the resistor coils and the motor runs
at a low speed. Moving the switch to the next
position bypasses one of the resistor coils. This
allows more current to the blower motor, increasing its speed. When the switch is set to the highest position, all of the resistors are bypassed and
Heater Fan
Heating systems use a heater fan attached to a
permanent-magnet, variable-speed blower motor
to force warm air into the passenger compartment
(Figure 15-1). The higher the voltage applied to
the motor, the faster it runs. A switch mounted on
the instrument panel controls the blower operation (Figure 15-2). In most heating systems, the
switch controls blower speed by directing the
motor ground circuit current through or around
the coils of a resistor block (Figure 15-3) mounted
near the motor.
When the switch is off, the ground circuit is
open and the blower motor does not run. (Some
systems used in the 1970s, however, were wired
so that the blower motor operated on low speed
whenever the ignition was on). When the switch
Figure 15-2. The fan control switch routes current
through paths of varying resistance to control motor
speed. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 15-1.
An electric motor drives the heater fan.
Figure 15-3. Blower motor resistors are installed on
a “block” near the motor. Some resistor blocks have
a thermal limiter.
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full current flows to the motor, which then operates at full speed.
In some GM systems, a relay is used between
the high switch position and the blower motor.
Ford incorporates a thermal limiter in its resistor
block, as shown in Figure 15-3. Current flows
through the limiter at all blower speeds. If current
passing through the limiter heats it to 212F
(100C), the limiter opens and turns off the
blower motor. When this happens, the entire
resistor block must be replaced.
Air-Conditioning Fan
and Compressor Clutch
Air-conditioning fan controls are similar to heater
controls. In most cars that have both heating and
air-conditioning systems, the same blower motor
is shared by both systems (Figure 15-4). One or
Figure 15-4.
317
more switches route current through different
resistors to control the blower motor speed.
In addition to the fan switch, the control
assembly in the passenger compartment contains
a driver-controlled air-conditioning clutch
switch and an integral clutch switch activated
when the function selector lever is set to the
defrost position. These switches are used to operate the belt-driven compressor. A compressor that
operates constantly wastes energy. To use energy
more efficiently, the compressor has an electromagnetic clutch (Figure 15-5). This clutch locks
and unlocks the compressor pulley with the compressor shaft. The compressor will operate only
when the clutch switch is closed and the electromagnetic clutch is engaged.
Most recent air-conditioning systems use a
clutch-cycling pressure switch or a pressurecycling switch to control compressor clutch
operation. This pressure-operated electric switch
generally is wired in series with the clutch field
The AC system and heater system share the same fan. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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coil. The switch closes when the pressure on
the low side of the refrigerant system rises to
a specified value, engaging the clutch. When
system pressure drops to a predetermined value,
the switch opens to shut off the compressor.
The switch operates to control evaporator core
pressure and prevent icing of the evaporator
cooling coils.
Air-conditioning systems may also use lowand high-pressure switches as safety devices,
as follows:
• The low-pressure switch is closed during
normal compressor operation and opens
only when refrigerant is lost or ambient temperature is below freezing.
• The high-pressure switch is normally
closed to permit compressor operation.
However, if system pressure becomes
excessive (generally 360–400 psi or
2,480–2,760 kPa), the switch acts as a relief
valve and opens to shut off the compressor.
Once pressure drops to a safe level, the
switch will close again and permit the compressor to operate.
Chapter Fifteen
• A pressure relief valve on the compressor
high-pressure side may be used instead of a
high-pressure switch. Some systems have a
diode installed inside the compressor clutch
connector to suppress any voltage spikes
that might be produced by clutch circuit
interruption.
Other compressor clutch controls may include the
following:
• A power-steering pressure or cutout switch
to shut the compressor off whenever high
power-steering loads are encountered, as
during parking. The switch senses line pressure and opens or closes the circuit to the
compressor clutch accordingly.
• A wide-open throttle (WOT) switch on the
throttle body or accelerator pedal to open
the circuit to the compressor clutch during
full acceleration.
• A pressure-sensing switch in the transmission to override the WOT switch when the
transmission is in high gear.
Temperature Control
The basic electrical components of most airconditioning systems have already been described.
As we have seen, they provide input to, and
protection for, the refrigeration system.
Figure 15-5. The electromagnetic clutch in this airconditioning compressor prevents the compressor
from wasting energy.
Figure 15-6. Manual air conditioning system block
diagram. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
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All input to the air-conditioning system begins
with the control assembly mounted in the instrument panel. Temperature control can take the following forms:
• Manual control
• Semiautomatic control (programmer con-
trolled)
• Fully automatic control (microprocessor or
body computer controlled)
319
electrically operated. Selecting the mode does not
directly control the actuator; it creates an electrical
input to an independent module or programmer
(Figure 15-7). On Chrysler vehicles, the electronic
servomotor performs the programmer function
(Figure 15-8). Two sensors are added to inform the
programmer of ambient temperature and in-car
temperature (Figure 15-9). The programmer calculates the resistance values provided by the temperature dial setting and the two additional sensors
A manual temperature control system does
not provide a method by which the system can
function on its own to maintain a preset temperature. The user, through the mechanical control
assembly, must make system input. Once the
air-conditioning switch is turned on, the temperature selection made, and the blower speed
set, the system functions with vacuum-operated
mode door actuators and a cable-actuated airmix door. Figure 15-6 is a block diagram of
such a system.
Automatic Temperature
Control (ATC)
With a semiautomatic temperature control system,
the user still selects the mode but the actuators are
Figure 15-7. Semiautomatic AC systems use an electronic programmer to translate mechanical control
movement into actuator signals. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
Figure 15-8. An electronic servomotor takes the place of a programmer in DaimlerChrysler’s semiautomatic AC
system. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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Chapter Fifteen
the programmer to operate the system. Electric
servomotors are used as actuators to send a
feedback signal to the electronic control assembly (Figure 15-10). This lets the control assembly monitor the system and make whatever
adjustments are required to maintain the desired
system temperature.
Since the control assembly is constantly monitoring the system, it knows when a malfunction
occurs and can transmit this information to the
service technician.
Semiautomatic Control
(Programmer Controlled)
Figure 15-9. Resistance values from in-car and ambient temperature sensors are coupled with the resistance
provided by the control assembly temperature dial to
direct the programmer. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 15-10. The actuators used in fully automatic
AC systems provide feedback signals that allow the
control assembly to monitor system operation. (GM
The GM C61 system is representative of a semiautomatic control system. Once the user
has selected the mode and temperature, the system automatically controls blower speed, air
temperature, air delivery, system turn-on, and
compressor operation. It does this with a programmer inserted between the control assembly
and the actuators (Figure 15-7), as well as two
temperature sensors. The ambient sensor
installed in the programmer is exposed to ambient airflow through a hole in the module wall;
the in-car sensor is located under the instrument
panel top cover. Figure 15-9 shows the sensor
locations. Both sensors are disc-type thermistors
that provide a return voltage signal to the programmer based on variable resistance. The programmer is built into the air-conditioning
control assembly (Figure 15-11) and contains
the following:
• A DC amplifier that receives a weak electri-
Service and Parts Operations)
•
and adjusts cables or vacuum selector valves to
maintain the preset temperature. The semiautomatic temperature control system differs from a
manual system primarily in the use of the programmer; actuators and doors are still moved by
mechanical linkage and cables.
In a fully automatic temperature control
system, the control assembly is electronic
instead of manual. The user selects the mode
and the temperature. The control assembly
microprocessor sends the appropriate signals to
•
•
•
cal signal from the sensors and control
assembly and sends a strong output signal
proportional to the input signal it receives
A transducer that converts the amplifier
signal to a vacuum signal that actuates the
vacuum motor
A vacuum checking relay that has a check
valve to maintain a constant vacuum signal
to the vacuum motor and the rotary vacuum
valve
A vacuum motor to actuate the rotary shaft
that drives the air-mix door link
A rotary vacuum valve to route vacuum to
control the mode doors and operate the heater
water valve; this valve does the same job as a
vacuum selector valve in a manual system
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Figure 15-11. Components of the programmer used
in GM’s C61 AC system. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
• A feedback potentiometer to inform the pro-
grammer of system corrections required by
changing temperature demands
A circuit board electrical switch is mounted on the
base of the control assembly. The rotary switch
contacts are positioned by the mode-select lever
to provide the correct electrical path to the compressor clutch. The temperature dial varies the
resistance of a wire-wound rheostat installed
directly above it. The programmer uses the total
resistance provided by the temperature dial and
temperature sensors to calculate how the system
should function.
To use this type of system, the driver need only
set the control assembly in the auto mode and
select a temperature. From this point on, the programmer controls the system operation by automatically setting the mode and blower speed and
adjusting the air-mix doors to maintain the desired
air temperature. Note that we have added nothing
to the underhood portion of the air-conditioning
system; we have only modified the operation of
the control system by adding a device to maintain
temperature within a selected narrow range.
Fully Automatic Control
(BCM Controlled)
The electronic climate control (ECC) system used
by Cadillac (Figure 15-12) is similar to the ETCC
system just described. When used with a body
321
control computer (BCM), the control assembly
contains an electronic circuit board, but the BCM
acts as the microprocessor. The BCM is constantly in touch with the climate control panel on
the control assembly through a data link, or
digital signal path (serial data line) provided for
communication. The panel transfers user requests
to the BCM, which sends the correct data to the
panel for display.
Like the other semiautomatic and fully automatic systems we have looked at, the user
selects the mode and temperature. The system
automatically controls blower speed, air temperature, air delivery, system turn-on, and compressor operation. Although the ECC system
functions similarly to the ETCC system, there
are differences in compressor cycling methods.
In a system without BCM control, the compressor clutch is grounded through the low-pressure
switch. The power module thus cycles power
to the compressor clutch (Figure 15-14A). In a
BCM-controlled system, the compressor clutch
current is received through a fuse and the power
steering cutout switch or diode; the power module cycles the ground circuit for the compressor,
Figure 15-14B.
The electronic comfort control (ECC) system
used by Oldsmobile is BCM controlled and
can be used as either a fully automatic or a
manual system. When used manually, the driver
can control blower speed and air delivery
mode, but the system will continue to control
temperature automatically. In addition to the
BCM, power module, programmer, and control
panel assembly used in other BCM-controlled
systems, the ECC system uses inputs from the
engine (electronic) control module (ECM). This
allows the BCM to check several engine
and compressor conditions before it turns the
compressor on.
The BCM communicates with the ECM, the
ECC panel, and the programmer on the serial
data line to transmit data serially (one piece after
another). The serial data line acts like a party
telephone line; while the BCM is communicating
with the ECM, the programmer and the ECC
panel can “hear” and understand the conversation. They also can process and use the information communicated, but they cannot cut in on the
transmission. For example, suppose the ECM is
sending engine data to the BCM. The ECC panel
computer, which needs to display engine rpm to
the driver, “listens” in on the conversation, picks
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Chapter Fifteen
Figure 15-12. BCM-controlled HBAC system schematic. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
up the data it needs, and displays it on its panel.
When the ECM is finished, it momentarily transmits a 5-volt signal to declare the line idle and the
BCM opens a conversation with the next device
it needs to talk with.
The programmer controls air delivery and temperature on instructions from the BCM, using a
series of vacuum solenoids that control the mode
door operation. The programmer also has a motor
that controls the air-mix door position to regulate
temperature. When directed to change blower
speed by the BCM, the programmer sends a variable voltage signal to the power module, which
sends the required voltage to the blower motor.
The ECC system is the most complex of the
ones we’ve discussed, and this is reflected in the
diagnostic sequence designed into the overall
system network. When any subsystem exceeds
its programmed limits, the system sets a trouble
code and in some cases provides a backup function. The instrument panel cluster and the ECC
panel (Figure 15-13) are used to access and control the self-diagnostic features. When the technician accesses the diagnostic mode, any stored
BCM and ECM codes are displayed, along
with various BCM and ECM parameters, discrete inputs and outputs, and any BCM outputoverride information.
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323
Figure 15-13. Non-BCM-controlled ECC systems ground the compressor clutch through the lowpressure switch and provide power through the power module (A). BCM-controlled ECC systems send
power through a fuse and a power steering cutout switch, and cycle the ground through the power module (B). (GM Service and Parts Operations)
CLASS 2 IPMCONTROLLED HVAC
SYSTEMS
GM Electronically Controlled
Blower Motor
HVAC Module
Most of the luxury model cars, including GM,
have automatic heating, ventilating, and air
conditioning (HVAC) systems that are computer
controlled (Figure 15-14). The HVAC control
module is a computer device that interfaces
between the operator and the HVAC system
to maintain air temperature and distribution settings. The control module sends switch input
data to the instrument panel module (IPM) and
receives display data from the IPM through signal
and clock circuits. The control module does not
retain any HVAC DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes)
or settings.
Instrument Panel Module (IPM)
A function of the IPM operation is to process
HVAC system inputs and outputs. Also, the IPM
acts as the HVAC control module’s Class 2 interface. The battery positive voltage circuit provides power that the IPM uses for Keep-Alive
Memory (KAM). If the battery positive voltage
circuit loses power, then all HVAC DTCs and
settings will be erased from KAM. The ignition
voltage circuit provides a device on signal. The
IPM supports the following features:
• Driver set temperature
• Passenger set temperature
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Chapter Fifteen
Figure 15-14. Cadillac Deville electronically controlled blower motor schematic. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
• Mode
• Blower motor speed
• A/C compressor request, auto ON or A/C
• The air temperature switch must be in any
other position besides 60 or 90 degrees.
• The mode switch must be in the AUTO
position.
OFF
This information will be stored inside the HVAC
control module (IPM) memory. When a different
driver identification button is selected, the HVAC
control module will recall the appropriate driver
settings. When the HVAC control module (IPM) is
first turned on, the last stored settings for the current driver will be activated, except for the rear
defrost and heated seat settings.
In automatic operation, the HVAC control
module will maintain the comfort level inside of
the vehicle by controlling the A/C compressor
clutch, the blower motor, the air temperature actuators, the mode actuator, and recirculation.
To place the HVAC system in automatic mode,
the following is required:
• The blower motor switch must be in the
AUTO position.
Once the desired temperature is reached, the
blower motor, mode, recirculation, and temperature actuators will automatically adjust to maintain the temperature selected (except in the
extreme temperature positions). The HVAC control module performs the following functions to
maintain the desired air temperature:
•
•
•
•
•
Regulate blower motor speed
Position the air temperature actuator
Position the mode actuator
Position the recirculation actuator
Request A/C operation
When the warmest position is selected in
automatic operation, the blower speed will increase gradually until the vehicle reaches normal
operating temperature. When normal operating
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temperature is reached, the blower will stay on
high speed and the air temperature actuators will
stay in the full heat position. When the coldest
position is selected in automatic operation, the
blower will stay on high and the air temperature
actuators will stay in the full cold position.
In cold temperatures, the automatic HVAC
system will provide heat in the most efficient
manner. The vehicle operator can select an
extreme temperature setting but the system will
not warm the vehicle any faster. In warm temperatures, the automatic HVAC system will also
provide air conditioning in the most efficient
manner. Selecting an extreme cool temperature
will not cool the vehicle any faster.
RADIOS AND
ENTERTAINMENT
SYSTEMS
Entertainment radios (Figure 15-15) are available in a wide variety of models. The complexity of systems varies from the basic AM radio to
the compact disc (CD) player with high power
amplifiers and multiple speakers. However, the
overall operation of the radio itself, electrically,
is basically the same. The major components in
a basic AM system are a radio receiver and
speaker. In the more complex stereo systems,
the major components are an AM/FM radio
receiver, a stereo amplifier, a sound amplifier
switch, several speakers, and possibly a power
antenna system.
In addition, many of the newer designs utilize
a control module to aid in system diagnostics,
memory presets, and other advanced features.
The use of a scan tool and the appropriate service
Figure 15-15. Radio face panel.
325
manual will enable the technician to determine
the correct repair.
The inner circuitry of radios, tape players, CD
players, power amplifiers, and graphic equalizers
is beyond the scope of this text. However, a technician must understand the external circuitry of
sound systems in order to troubleshoot them.
Most sound units and speakers are grounded. In a
few four-speaker systems, the speakers are insulated from their mountings. Current flows from
the sound unit, through all of the speakers, and
back to ground.
Entertainment System
Diagnostics
Internal diagnostic examination of the radio
should be left to the authorized radio service center. However, the automotive technician should
be able to analyze and isolate radio reception
conditions to the area of the component causing
the condition. All radio conditions can be isolated
to one of five general areas:
•
•
•
•
•
Antenna system
Radio chassis (receiver)
Speaker system
Radio noise suppression equipment
Sound system
Radio Operation
Operation of the AM radio requires only that
power from the fuse panel be available at the
radio. The radio intercepts the broadcast signals
with its antenna and produces a corresponding
input to the system speaker. In addition, some
radios have built-in memory circuits to ensure
that the radio returns to the previously selected
station when the radio or ignition switch is turned
off and back on again. Some of these memory circuits require an additional power input from the
fuse panel that remains hot at all times. The current draw is very small and requires no more
power than a clock. However, if battery power is
removed, the memory circuit has to be reset.
The service manual and owner’s guide for the
vehicle contain detailed information concerning
radio operation. If the radio system is not working, check the fuse. If the fuses are okay, refer
to the service manual. Remember, the radio chassis (receiver) itself should only be serviced by
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a qualified radio technician or specialty radio service shop. If you determine that the radio itself is
the problem, remove the radio and send it to a
qualified radio technician.
Antitheft Audio Systems
Most radio systems have built-in devices that
make the audio system soundless if stolen. If the
power source for the audio system is cut, the
antitheft system operates so that even if the power
source is reconnected, the audio system will not
produce any sound. Some systems require an ID
number selected by the customer to be entered.
When performing repairs on vehicles equipped
with this system, the customer should be asked for
the ID number prior to disconnecting the battery
terminals or removing the audio system. After the
repairs, the technician or customer must input the
ID number to regain audio system operation.
Other systems sense a specific code from the
control module to allow the audio system to operate. This means the radio will not operate unless
it is installed in the correct vehicle. Always refer
to the vehicle service manual before removing a
stereo to determine if it is equipped with any
antitheft devices and the procedures for removal.
Figure 15-16. RFI capacitors can be installed inside
the alternator. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 15-17. An RFI capacitor may be installed
near the radio. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Noise Suppression
The vehicle’s ignition system is a source of radio
interference. This high-voltage switching system
produces a radio frequency electromagnetic field
that radiates at AM, FM, and CB frequencies.
Although components have been designed into the
vehicle to minimize this concern, the noise is more
noticeable if the radio is turned slightly off channel
when listening to FM programs. Vehicle electrical
accessories and owner add-on accessories may
also contribute to radio interference. Furthermore,
many noise sources are external to the vehicle,
such as power lines, communication systems, ignition systems of other vehicles, and neon signs.
In addition to resistance-type spark plugs and
cables, automobiles use capacitors and ground
straps to suppress radio static or interference caused
by the ignition and charging systems. Capacitors
may be mounted as follows:
• Inside the alternator (Figure 15-16)
• Behind the instrument panel, near the radio
(Figure 15-17)
• At the ignition coil with the lead connec-
ted to the coil primary positive terminal
(Figure 15-18A)
• In a module mounted at the wiper motor and
connected in series between the motor and
wiring harness (Figure 15-18B)
Ground straps are installed to conduct small,
high-frequency electrical signals to ground. They
require a large, clean, surface-contact area. Such
ground straps are installed in various locations
depending upon the vehicle. Some common locations are as follows:
•
•
•
•
Radio chassis to cowl
Engine to cowl
Across the engine mounts
From air-conditioning evaporator valve to
cowl
The small bulb that lights the sound unit
controls may be part of the instrument panel
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327
Figure 15-20. The motor of an electrically extended
radio antenna is usually installed inside the wheel
well under a protective cover. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
Figure 15-18. RFI capacitors may be installed
on the ignition coil or wiper motor. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
Figure 15-21. A separate switch can control power
antennas. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 15-19. The radio illumination bulb is controlled by the IP light circuit. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
circuitry (Figure 15-19) or part of the sound
unit’s internal circuitry. Some cars use electrically extended radio antennas (Figure 15-20).
The antenna motor may be automaticalIy activated when the radio is turned on, or a separate
switch (Figure 15-21) may control it. A relay
may control current to the antenna motor.
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Figure 15-22. Defroster circuit with grid. (Daimler-
Chapter Fifteen
Figure 15-23. Late-model system with a solid-state
timing module that turns off the defroster current automatically. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Chrysler Corporation)
REAR-WINDOW
DEFOGGER AND
DEFROSTER
Some older vehicles have a rear-window defogger, which is a motor-driven fan similar to that
used in the heating system but mounted behind
the rear seat near the rear window. It is controlled
by a separate switch that routes current through
circuits of varying resistance (like a heater fan) to
change motor speed. Heat is provided electrically
by a length of resistance wire in the defogger unit.
The resistance heater is connected in parallel with
the motor so that it heats when the motor is running at either high or low speed.
Rear Window Defroster
A defroster is a grid of electrical heating conductors that is bonded to the rear window glass
(Figure 15-22). The defroster grid is sometimes
called a defogger. Current through the grid may
be controlled by a separate switch and a relay
(Figure 15-22) or by a switch-relay combination
(Figure 15-23). In both designs, when the switch
is closed, the relay is energized and an indicator
lamp is lit. The relay contact points conduct current to the rear window grid.
Most late-model systems have a solid-state
timing module that turns off the defroster current automatically. In the system shown in
Figure 15-23, the switch ON position energizes
the relay’s pull-in and hold-in coils. The switch
NORMAL position keeps the hold-in coil energized so that the relay points remain closed.
Cleaning the inside rear glass should be done
carefully to avoid scratching the grid material
and causing an open in the circuit.
POWER WINDOWS
Car doors can contain motors to raise and lower
the window glass (Figure 15-24). The motors usually are the permanent-magnet type and are insulated at their mounting and grounded through the
control switch (Figure 15-25) or the master
switch. Each control switch operates one motor,
except for the driver’s door switch. This is a master switch that can control any of the motors.
Some systems have a mechanical locking device
that allows only the driver’s switch to control any
of the motors.
The single-motor control switches each have
one terminal that is connected to battery voltage.
Each of the other two switch terminals is con-
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329
Figure 15-24. The motor in this door can raise and lower the window. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
nected to one of the two motor brushes. The window is moved up or down by reversing the direction of motor rotation. Motor rotation is
controlled by routing current into one brush or the
other. Each individual window switch is connected in series with the driver’s master switch.
Current from the motor must travel through the
master switch to reach ground.
POWER SEATS
Electrically adjustable seats can be designed to
move in several ways, as follows:
• Two-way systems move forward and back-
ward.
• Four-way systems move forward, back-
ward, and front edge up and down.
• Six-way systems, used in most late-model
applications, move the entire seat forward,
backward, up, and down; tilt the upper cushion forward and backward, and move the
lower cushion front edge up and down, and
rear edge up and down.
GM makes a typical two-way power seat system, as shown in Figure 15-26. The seriesconnected motor has two electromagnetic field
windings that are wound in opposite directions.
One winding receives current from the forward
switch position. The second winding receives
current from the rear switch position. Current
through one winding will make the motor turn in
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Chapter Fifteen
one direction; current through the opposite winding will make the motor turn in the opposite direction. The motor armature is linked to the seat
mounting by a transmission that translates this
rotary motion into seat motion.
Ford and GM have made four-way power
seat systems that contain two reversible motor
armatures in one housing. Ford’s motors have
permanent-magnet fields, while GM’s motors
have series-connected electromagnetic fields.
One motor is linked to a transmission that
moves the seat forward and backward. The
other motor’s transmission tilts the front edge
of the seat. A single four-position switch controls both motors. The switch contacts shift current to different motor brushes (Ford) or to
different field windings (GM) to control motor
reversal.
Early GM six-way power seat systems use one
reversible motor that can be connected to one of
three transmissions. Transmission hookup is controlled by three solenoids (Figure 15-27). The
control switch is similar to that used by Ford and
Chrysler, but the circuitry differs. Current must
flow through one of the solenoids to engage a
transmission, then through a relay to ground. The
relay points conduct current to the motor
brushes. Additional switch contacts conduct current to the electromagnetic motor windings.
Chrysler, Ford, and late-model GM six-way
power seat systems use three reversible motor
Figure 15-25. Typical power window control circuit.
(DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Figure 15-26. A GM two-way power seat has a motor
with electromagnetic fields; current through the fields
determines the direction of the motor and thus the
movement of the seat. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 15-27. GM’s early six-way power seat systems use one reversible motor that can be connected
to one of three transmissions. Transmission hookup is
controlled by three solenoids. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
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Body Accessory Systems Operation
331
armatures in one housing (Figure 15-28). The
control switches have two two-position knobs
that control edge tilt and a four-position knob that
controls forward, backward, up and down seat
movement. The switch contacts shift the current
to different motor brushes to control motor reversal. The permanent-magnet motors are grounded
through the switch and may contain an internal
circuit breaker.
HEATED SEATS
Most manufacturers of premium cars and SUVs
offer heated front seats, and in some cases back
seats as well (Figure 15-29). Most vehicle heated
seat systems consist of four heated seats: two in the
front and two in the rear. Figure 15-30 shows a typical heated seat system schematic. Most heated seat
systems consist of the following components:
•
•
•
•
Figure 15-28. Chrysler, Ford, and late-model GM sixway power seat systems use three reversible motor
armatures in one housing. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Heated seat module or controller
Heated seat switch
Seat back heating element
Seat cushion heating element
The rear integration module (RIM), driver
door module (DDM), left rear door module
2
3
4
1
(1) Heated Seat Switch - Driver
(2) Heated Seat Switch - Front Passenger
(3) Console Trim Plate
(4) Traction Control Switch
Figure 15-29. Heated seat controls. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
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Chapter Fifteen
Figure 15-30. Heated seat circuit. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
(LRDM), and right rear door module (RRDM) are
also involved in the operation of the heated seats.
The system is functional only with the ignition
switch in the ON position.
Power and Grounds
Battery positive voltage is supplied to the front
and rear heated seat module through the ignition
3 voltage circuit and the IGN 3 fuse located in the
rear fuse block. This voltage is used to power up
the module. Battery positive voltage is also supplied at all times to all four heated seat modules
from the fuses located in the rear fuse block.
The modules to apply voltage to the seat heating elements use this battery voltage. The left and
right front heated seat modules are grounded
through the module ground circuit and G302. The
left and right rear heated seat modules are
grounded through the module ground circuit and
G301. The left and right front heated seat
switches are grounded through the switch ground
circuit and G200. The left and right rear heated
seat switches are grounded through the switch
ground circuit provided by the associated door
module.
Temperature Regulation
The heated seat system is designed to warm the
seat cushion and seat back to approximately 42C
(107.6F) when in the high position, and 37C
(98.6F) when in the low position. The heated seat
module monitors the seat temperature through the
temperature sensor signal circuit and the temperature sensor (thermistor) that is located in the seat
cushion. The temperature sensor is a variable
resistor: its resistance changes as the temperature
of the seat changes. When the temperature sensor
resistance indicates to the heated seat module that
the seat has reached the desired temperature, the
module opens the ground path of the seat heating
elements through the heated seat element control
circuit. The module will then cycle the element
control circuit open and closed in order maintain
the desired temperature.
Front Heated Seat Operation
When the heated seat switch is first pressed, the
heated seat high/low signal circuit of the heated
seat module is momentarily grounded through
the HI/LO switch contacts, indicating a high heat
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command. In response to this signal, the heated
seat module applies battery positive voltage to
the seat cushion/back heating elements, setting
the temperature level to high heat. When the
heated seat switch is pressed a second time, the
heated seat high/low signal circuit of the heated
seat module is again momentarily grounded
through the HI/LO switch contacts, indicating a
low heat command. In response to this second
signal, the heated seat module then sets the temperature level to low heat. When the heated seat
switch is pressed a third time, the heated seat
high/low signal circuit of the heated seat module
is again momentarily grounded through the
HI/LO switch contacts, indicating a heat off command. In response to this signal, the heated seat
module removes battery voltage from the seat
heating elements.
Front Heated Seat Switch
Indicators
When the heated seat is off and the front heated
seat switch is pressed once, the heated seat temperature is set to high heat. The heated seat module applies 5 volts through the heated seat high
temperature indicator control circuit to the heated
seat switch, illuminating the high temperature
indicator. When the switch is pressed a second
time the heated seat temperature is set to low heat.
The heated seat module applies 5 volts through
the heated seat low temperature indicator control
circuit to the heated seat switch, illuminating the
low temperature indicator. After the switch is
pressed a third time, the heated seat is turned off,
and the front heated seat module removes the
voltage from the low temperature indicator.
Rear Heated Seat Operation
When the heated seat switch is first pressed,
the heated seat switch signal circuit of the rear
door module is momentarily grounded through
the switch contacts, indicating a high heat command. The rear door module then sends a simple
buss interface (SBI) message to the driver’s
door module (DDM), indicating the high heat
command. The DDM then sends out a Class 2
message to the rear integration module (RIM),
indicating the high heat command. The RIM
momentarily sends a 35-millisecond one-shot
333
pulse signal that is pulled low through the heated
seat switch signal circuit of the rear heated seat
module, indicating the high heat command.
In response to this signal, the heated seat module
will then apply battery positive voltage to the seat
cushion/back heating elements, setting the temperature level to high heat.
When the switch is pressed a second time, the
heated seat switch signal circuit of the rear door
module is again momentarily grounded, indicating a low heat command. The rear door module
then sends out a SBI message to the DDM,
indicating the low heat command. The DDM then
sends out a Class 2 message to the RIM, indicating the low heat command. The RIM again
momentarily sends a 35-millisecond one-shot
pulse signal that is pulled low through the heated
seat switch signal circuit of the heated seat module, indicating the low heat command. In
response to this signal, the heated seat module
then sets the temperature level to low heat.
After the switch is pressed a third time, the
heated seat switch signal circuit of the rear door
module is again momentarily grounded, indicating a heat off command. The rear door module
then sends out a SBI message to the DDM, indicating the heat off command. The DDM then
sends out a Class 2 message to the RIM, indicating the heat off command. The RIM again
momentarily sends a 35-millisecond one-shot
pulse signal that is pulled low through the heated
seat switch signal circuit of the heated seat module, indicating the heat off command. In response
to this signal, the heated seat module then
removes the battery voltage from the seat heating
elements, turning off the heated seats.
Rear Heated Seat Switch
Indicators
When the heated seat is off and the rear heated
seat switch is pressed once, the heated seat temperature is set to high heat. The rear door module
applies battery positive voltage through the
heated seat high temperature indicator control circuit to the heated seat switch, illuminating the
high temperature indicator. When pressed a second time, the heated seat temperature is set to low
heat. The rear door module the applies battery
positive voltage through the heated seat low temperature indicator control circuit to the heated
seat switch, illuminating the low temperature
indicator. After the switch is pressed a third time,
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the heated seat is turned off, and the rear door
module removes the battery voltage from the low
temperature indicator.
Load Management
Three levels of load management are controlled
by the DIM. The DIM sends the status of the load
management to the RIM via a Class 2 message.
The ON/OFF status of the heated seats is reported
to the RIM through the status-signal circuit of
each heated seat module. The RIM inhibits the
heated seat function for the heated seats through
the heated seat module inhibit-signal circuit,
according to the level of load management.
During load shed level 00, the RIM leaves the
heated seat inhibit-signal circuit open so that each
heated seat module is in the normal mode of operation. During load shed level 01, the RIM will
cycle the signal from High to Low every 0.25 second to set the heat level to the low setting. During
load shed level 02, the RIM will supply a constant
ground through the heated seat module inhibitsignal circuit to the heated seat modules. In
response to this signal, the heated seat module
then removes the battery voltage from the seat
heating elements. The instrument cluster will display a Battery Saver Active message.
Chapter Fifteen
switches mounted near the driver. Door-jamb
switches usually control seat-back latches.
In some GM door lock systems, current
flows through a solenoid winding to ground
(Figure 15-31) when the driver closes the
switch. The solenoid core movement either
locks or unlocks the door, depending upon
which switch position is selected. Some Ford
and Chrysler electric door locks use a relaycontrolled circuit as shown in Figure 15-32.
Current from the control switch flows through
the relay coil, closing the relay contacts. The contacts route current directly from the fuse panel to
the solenoid windings. Other Ford, Chrysler, and
GM power door locks use an electric motor to
move the locking mechanism. The electric motor
receives current through a relay (Figure 15-32)
Power trunk latches use an insulated switch
and a grounded solenoid coil (Figure 15-33).
Power seat-back releases can be automatically
controlled by grounding door-jamb switches
(Figure 15-34). Opening one of the front doors
energizes a relay; the relay contacts conduct current to solenoids, which unlatch both seat backs.
POWER DOOR
LOCKS, TRUNK
LATCHES, AND SEATBACK RELEASES
Solenoids and motors are used to control door,
trunk, and seat-back latches, and locks. Door and
trunk systems are usually controlled by separate
Figure 15-31. GM power door lock system. (GM
Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 15-32. DaimlerChrysler power door lock system. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
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335
Figure 15-33. Typical power trunk lid latch system. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
AUTOMATIC DOOR
LOCK (ADL) SYSTEM
General Motors and Ford both use an automatic
door lock (ADL) system in the power door lock
system on some of their models, as a safety and
convenience feature. Ford ADL systems are an integral part of the keyless entry system, while General
Motors ADL systems are available on vehicles
regardless of whether they have keyless entry.
On GM vehicles with automatic transaxles,
placing the gear selector in Drive automatically
locks all vehicle doors when the ignition is ON.
All doors unlock automatically when the gear
selector is returned to the Park position.
Individual doors can be unlocked manually from
the inside, the front doors can be unlocked with
the key from outside, or all the doors can be
unlocked electrically while in Drive.
System Operation
The ADL feature may be a function of the chime
module, an ADL controller, or a multifunction
alarm module, depending on the vehicle model.
In a typical General Motors ADL circuit, voltage
is applied to the chime module, ADL controller,
or alarm module. When the doors are closed, the
ignition is in the Run position, and the gear selector is placed in Drive, the module or controller
sends current to ground through the lock relay
coil in the ADL relay (Figure 15-35). Current
passes through the relay, door lock motors, and
unlock relay to ground, locking the doors. The
module or controller then removes current from
the relay coil to prevent damage to the lock
motors. When the vehicle stops and the gear
selector is returned to Park, voltage is sent to the
unlock relay coil in the ADL relay. The doors are
unlocked by current passing through the relay,
door lock motors, and lock relay to ground.
REMOTE/KEYLESS
ENTRY SYSTEMS
In the late 1970s, Ford developed the first keyless
entry system used on domestic vehicles. Chrysler
and GM both offer keyless entry options on some
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• Locks all doors from outside the vehicle
when the required keypad buttons are
depressed simultaneously
• Turns on the interior lamps and the illuminated keyhole in the driver’s door
• Automatically locks all doors when they are
closed, the driver’s seat is occupied, the
ignition switch is on, and the gear selector is
moved through the reverse position.
Figure 15-34. Power seat back releases can be
automatically controlled by grounding door-jamb
switches. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
current models. Since their applications differ
substantially in design, concept, and operation,
we will look at the Ford version first.
Ford
Ford’s keyless entry system has remained substantially unchanged since its introduction. It provides
a convenient entry method when the vehicle keys
have been forgotten, or accidentally locked inside.
The system consists of a five-button keypad
secured to the outer panel on the driver’s door, a
microprocessor-relay control module, and connecting wiring.
The keyless entry system incorporates two
additional subsystems: one for illuminated entry
and the other for automatic door locks. Operating as a single system, it performs the following functions:
• Unlocks the driver’s door
• Unlocks other doors or the deck lid when a
specific keypad button is depressed within
five seconds after unlocking the driver’s door
A linear keypad using calculator-type buttons
is installed in the driver’s door and used to input
a numerical code to the control module. The fivekeypad buttons are numbered 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8,
and 9-0 from left to right. The numerical code
used to open the door, however, is a derivative of
a five-digit keypad code stamped on the control
module and printed on a sticker attached to the
inside of the deck lid. This code refers to the location of the five buttons on the keypad, not the keypad button number. For example, if the module
number is 23145, the doors will unlock only if
the keys are depressed in that order. If the module
requires replacement, a sticker bearing the new
module number is applied over the old sticker on
the deck lid.
The control module’s program operates the
keyless entry, illuminated entry, and ADL systems. Two 14-pin connectors (one brown and one
gray) connect the wiring harness to the control
module; the brown connector also connects the
keypad harness to the module. The following
components provide inputs to the control module:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Keypad buttons
Door handles
Courtesy lamp switch
Driver’s seat sensor
Transmission backup lamp switch
Ignition switch
Door lock and unlock switches
Door-ajar switch
The following components receive output signals from the control module:
•
•
•
•
•
Keypad lamps
Interior courtesy lamps
Door lock LEDs
Deck-lid-release solenoid
Door lock solenoids
Ford added a remote keyless entry feature on
some models, which uses a handheld radio transmitter with three buttons for door lock control
from outside the vehicle. If the vehicle is equipped
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Figure 15-35. ADL (automatic door lock) circuit diagram. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
337
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with the Ford antitheft system, a four-button transmitter is used. The additional button is marked
“Panic” and allows the driver to activate the alarm
in an emergency. The system operates essentially
the same as the Delco RKE system described in
the following section.
GM Keyless Entry Systems
In 1993, GM introduced a Passive Keyless Entry
(PKE) system on the Corvette. In this system, a
key-fob transmitter locks the doors as the person
carrying it walks away from the car, and unlocks
them when the carrier comes close to the car again.
The owner does not even need to push a button.
Other GM vehicles use the Delco Remote
Keyless Entry (RKE) or Remote Lock Control
(RLC) system. The key fob contains a radio
transmitter with three buttons (Figure 15-36)
that allow the driver to lock or unlock the doors
and trunk lid from outside the car. The transmitter contains a random 32-bit access code stored
in a PROM; the same code is stored in a receiver
module located in the trunk. This receiver
detects and decodes UHF signals from the trans-
Chapter Fifteen
mitter within a range of approximately 33 feet
(10 meters).
Depressing the DOOR button on the transmitter sends a signal to the receiver. If the signal contains a valid access code (VAC), the receiver
supplies battery voltage to the lock relay coil.
This energizes the lock relay, which sends current
to the door lock motors. The LH door lock motor
is grounded through receiver terminal B and
internal contacts; all other motors are grounded
through the unlock relay contacts in the door lock
relay (Figure 15-37). When the lock function is
used, the receiver grounds circuit 156, turning on
the interior lights for two seconds to indicate that
the doors are locked.
If the transmitter UNLOCK button is depressed
once, the receiver sends battery voltage to the LH
door lock motor, which is grounded through the
lock relay contacts in the door lock relay, and only
the LH door is unlocked. To unlock all doors, the
UNLOCK button must be depressed twice. At this
signal, the receiver also sends battery voltage to
the unlock relay coil in the door lock relay. This
energizes the unlock relay, which sends current to
the other three door lock motors. The lock relay
contacts in the door lock relay provide ground for
the motors, which unlock the doors. When the
unlock function is used, the receiver also grounds
circuit 156 to turn on the interior lights for approximately 40 seconds, or until the ignition switch is
turned to the RUN position.
Depressing the trunk lid release button on the
transmitter signals the receiver to supply battery
voltage at terminal H. This current energizes the
trunk lid release solenoid, allowing the trunk lid
to be opened. However, if the ignition is on
and the transaxle position switch is not in Park,
battery voltage is not supplied and the trunk lid
cannot be opened.
Current 2002-2003 GM Keyless
Entry Systems
The keyless entry system (Figure 15-38) is a supplementary vehicle entry device; use the keyless
entry system in conjunction with a door lock key.
Radio frequency interference (RFI) or discharged
batteries may disable the system.
Keyless entry allows you to operate the following components:
Figure 15-36. Delco Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) or
Remote Lock Control (RLC) system radio transmitter.
(Delphi Automotive Systems)
• The door locks
• The rear compartment lid release
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Figure 15-37. GM Remote keyless entry system. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
• The illuminated entry lamps
• The fuel door release
The keyless entry system has the following main
components:
• The transmitters
• The remote control door lock receiver
(RCDLR)
When you press a button on a transmitter, the
transmitter sends a signal to the RCDLR. The
RCDLR interprets the signal and activates the
requested function via a Class 2 message over
the serial data line.
Unlock Driver’s Door Only
Momentarily press the UNLOCK button in order
to perform the following functions:
• Unlock the driver’s door only.
• Illuminate the interior lamps for approxi-
mately 40 seconds or until the ignition is
turned ON.
• Flash the exterior lights, if selected ON in
personalization.
• Disarm the content theft deterrent (CTD)
system, if equipped.
• Deactivate the CTD system when in the
Alarm Mode.
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Chapter Fifteen
Figure 15-38. 2002 GM Cadillac Seville keyless entry system schematic. (GM Service
and Parts Operations)
Unlock All Doors—Second Operation
Rear Compartment Lid Release
Momentarily press the UNLOCK button a second
time, within four seconds of the first press, in
order to perform the following functions:
If the vehicle transaxle is in Park or Neutral and
the ignition is in the OFF position, a single press
of the rear compartment release button will open
the rear compartment lid. The interior lamps will
not illuminate.
• Unlock the remaining doors.
• Illuminate the interior lamps for approxi-
mately 40 seconds or until the ignition is
turned ON.
• Flash the exterior lights, if selected ON in
personalization.
• Chirp the horn, if selected ON in personalization.
Fuel Door Release
If the vehicle transaxle is in PARK or NEUTRAL
and the ignition is in the OFF position, a single
press of the fuel-door release button will open the
fuel door.
Lock All Doors
Keyless Entry Personalization
Press the LOCK button in order to perform the
following functions:
The exterior lamps and horn chirp may be personalized for two separate drivers as part of the
remote activation verification feature.
• Lock all of the doors and immediately turn
off the interior lamps.
• Flash the exterior lights, if selected ON in
personalization.
• Chirp the horn, if selected ON in personalization.
• Arm the content theft deterrent (CTD)
system.
Rolling Code
The keyless entry system uses rolling code technology. Rolling code technology prevents anyone
from recording the message sent from the transmitter and using the message in order to gain
entry to the vehicle. The term rolling code refers
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to the way that the keyless entry system sends and
receives the signals. The transmitter sends the
signal in a different order each time. The transmitter and the remote control door lock receiver
(RCDLR) are synchronized to the appropriate
order. If a programmed transmitter is out of
synchronization, it sends a signal that is not in the
order that the RCDLR expects. This will occur
after 256 presses of any transmitter button that is
out of range of the vehicle.
Automatic Synchronization
The keyless entry transmitters do not require a
manual synchronization procedure. If needed, the
transmitters automatically resynchronize when
any button on the transmitter is pressed within
range of the vehicle. The transmitter will operate
normally after the automatic synchronization.
DaimlerChrysler Keyless
Entry Systems
The DaimlerChrysler keyless entry system also uses
a key fob-style radio transmitter, (Figure 15-39) to
unlock and lock the vehicle doors and deck lid. This
multipurpose system is similar to many aftermarket
theft-deterrent systems, since it turns on the interior
lamps, disarms the factory-installed antitheft system, and chirps the horn whenever it is used.
The transmitter attaches to the key ring and
has three buttons for operation within 23 feet
(7 meters) of the vehicle module receiver. The
transmitter has its own code stored in the module
memory. If the transmitter is lost or stolen, or an
341
additional one is required, a new code must be
stored in module memory. Figure 15-40 shows
the integration of the keyless entry, illuminated
entry, vehicle theft security, and power door lock
systems with the BCM.
THEFT DETERRENT
SYSTEMS
Antitheft systems are usually aftermarket installations, although in recent years, some manufacturers have offered factory-installed systems on
the luxury vehicles in their model line. Basic
antitheft systems provide a warning when a
forced entry is attempted through the car doors or
the trunk lid. A starter interlock feature is incorporated on some models.
System functioning relies on strategically
located switches installed in the door jambs, the
door lock cylinders, and the trunk lock cylinder
(Figure 15-41). After the system is armed, any
tampering with the lock cylinders or an attempt to
open any door or the trunk lid without a key
causes the alarm controller to trigger the system.
Once a driver has closed the doors and armed
the system, an indicator lamp in the instrument
cluster comes on for several seconds, and then
goes out. The system is disarmed by unlocking a
front door from the outside with the key or turning the ignition on within a specified time. If the
alarm has been set off, the system can be disarmed by unlocking a front door with the key.
Delphi (Delco) UTD System
Figure 15-39. DaimlerChrysler keyless entry system
key fob-style radio transmitter. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
The Delphi universal theft deterrent (UTD)
system was introduced on some 1980 GM models
and offered as an option until it was superseded
by the personal automotive security system
(PASS). The circuitry, logic, and power relays
that operate the system are contained within a
controller module.
When the system is armed by the driver, a
security system warning lamp in the instrument
panel glows for four to eight seconds after the
doors have been closed, then shuts off. The system can be disarmed without sounding the alarm
by unlocking a front door from the outside with a
key, or by turning the ignition switch on. If the
alarm has sounded, it can be shut off by unlocking one of the front doors with a key.
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Figure 15-40. DaimlerChrysler keyless entry system schematic. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
If the system is armed and a door is opened
forcibly, a two-terminal doorjamb switch activates
the alarm through one terminal. The other switch terminal operates the interior lights. On vehicles with
power door locks, the circuits are separated by a
diode. Tamper switches are installed in all door locks
and the trunk lid lock (Figure 15-42). The switches
are activated by any rotation or in-and-out movement
of the lock cylinders during a forced entry. A disarm
switch in the LH door cylinder (Figure 15-43) allows
the owner to deactivate the system without sounding
the alarm before entering the vehicle. All tamper
switches should be kept clean, as corrosion can cause
the system to activate without apparent reason.
Exact wiring of the UTD system depends on the
particular vehicle and how it is equipped. To understand just how the system works on a given vehicle,
you must have the proper wiring diagram.
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Figure 15-41. System functioning relies on strategically located switches installed in the door jambs, the
door lock cylinders, and the trunk lock cylinder. (GM
Service and Parts Operations)
343
Figure 15-43. The UTD disarm switch is part of the
LH door lock cylinder. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 15-44. Delphi (Delco) VATS system. (GM
Service and Parts Operations)
• Starter enable relay
• PCM
• Wiring harness
Figure 15-42. Tamper switches are installed in all
door locks and the trunk lid lock. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
Delphi (Delco) VATS/PASS-Key
II™ System
The Delco (Delphi) vehicle antitheft system
(VATS), introduced as standard equipment on the
1986 Corvette (Figure 15-44) functions as an
ignition-disable system. It is not designed to prevent a forced entry, but to protect the steering column lock if an intruder breaks into the vehicle.
When used on Corvettes with the UTD system, the
combination is called the forced entry alarm system
(FES). When used on other GM vehicles, VATS is
called PASS-Key II™. The system (Figure 15-45)
consists of the following components:
• Resistor ignition key
• Steering column lock cylinder with resistor-
sensing contact
• VATS or PASS-Key II™ decoder module
A small resistor pellet embedded in the ignition
key contains one of 15 different resistance values.
The key is coded with a number that indicates
which resistor pellet it contains. Resistor pellet
resistance values vary according to key code and
model year. To operate the lock, the key must
have the proper mechanical code (1 of 2,000); to
close the starter circuit, it must also have the correct electrical code (1 of 15).
Inserting the key in the ignition lock cylinder
brings the resistor pellet in contact with the resistor
sensing contact. Rotating the lock applies battery
power to the decoder module (Figure 15-45). The
sensing contact sends the resistance value of the key
pellet to the decoder module, where it is compared
to a fixed resistance value stored in memory. If the
resistor code and the fixed value are the same, the
decoder module energizes the starter enable relay,
which closes the circuit to the starter solenoid and
allows the engine to crank. At the same time, the
module sends a pulse-width modulated (PWM)
cranking fuel-enable signal to the PCM.
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Chapter Fifteen
Figure 15-45. PASS-Key circuit diagram. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
If the key resistor code and the module’s fixed
resistance value do not match, the module shuts
down for two to four minutes. Repeating the
attempt to start the vehicle with the wrong key
will result in continued module shutdowns.
During vehicle operation, the key resistor pellet
inputs are continually read. If the module sees an
open, short, or incorrect resistance value for
60 consecutive seconds, a Security indicator lamp
comes on and remains lighted until the fault is
corrected. The lamp also comes on for five seconds when the ignition is first turned on. This
serves as a bulb check and indicates that the system is functioning properly.
DaimlerChrysler Antitheft
Security System
This passive-arming theft-deterrent system
(Figure 15-46) is factory installed on high-line
Chrysler models and functions like many aftermarket alarm installations. When combined with
the Remote Keyless Entry (Figure 15-40), the
system becomes an active arming system. Once
armed, the doors, hood, and trunk lid all are monitored for unauthorized entry.
The system is passively armed by activating the
power door locks before closing the driver’s door;
it will not arm if the doors are locked manually.
The system is actively armed if the doors are
locked with the RKE transmitter. A SET lamp in
the instrument cluster flashes for 15 seconds during the arming period. If a forcible entry is
attempted while the system is armed, it responds
by sounding the horn, flashing the park and taillamps, and activating an engine kill feature.
The system is passively disarmed by unlocking
either front door with the key, or actively disarmed by using the RKE transmitter. If the alarm
has been activated during the driver’s absence,
the horn will blow three times when the vehicle is
disarmed as a way of informing the driver of an
attempted entry or tampering.
Ford Antitheft System
This antitheft system bears many similarities to
the Delco UTD theft-deterrent system. It is
installed on luxury models, uses many of the
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Figure 15-46. DaimlerChrysler antitheft security system. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
same components, and functions in essentially
the same way. Once the system is armed, any
tampering with the doors, hood, or trunk lid
signals the control module. Once triggered, the
system flashes the low-beam headlamps, the
parking lamps, and alarm indicator lamp on
and off; sounds the horn; and interrupts the
starter circuit. The system is composed of the following components:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Antitheft control module
Antitheft warning indicator
Door-key unlock switches
Hood switch
Trunk-lid lock-cylinder tamper switch
Ignition-key lock-cylinder sensor
It also incorporates the following components
from other systems:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Power door lock switches
Door-ajar switches
Horn relay
Low-beam headlamps
Parking lamps
Keyless entry module
Starter relay
CRUISE CONTROL
SYSTEMS
The cruise control system is one of the most popular electronic accessories installed on today’s
vehicles. During open-road driving it can maintain
a constant vehicle speed without the continued
effort of driver. This helps reduce driver fatigue
and increases fuel economy. Several override features built into the cruise control system allow the
vehicle to be accelerated, slowed, or stopped.
Problems with the system can vary from no operation, to intermittent operation, to not disengaging.
To diagnose these system complaints, today’s
technicians must rely on their knowledge and ability to perform an accurate diagnosis. Most of the
system is tested using familiar diagnostic procedures; build on this knowledge and ability to diagnose cruise control problems. Use system
schematics, troubleshooting diagnostics, and
switch continuity charts to assist in isolating the
cause of the fault.
Most vehicle manufacturers have incorporated
self-diagnostics into their cruise control systems.
This allows some means of retrieving trouble codes
to assist the technician in locating system faults.
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On any vehicle, perform a visual inspection of
the system. Check the vacuum hoses for disconnects, pinches, loose connections, etc. Inspect all
wiring for tight, clean connections. Also, look for
good insulation and proper wire routing. Check
the fuses for opens and replace as needed. Check
and adjust linkage cables or chains, if needed.
Some manufacturers require additional preliminary checks before entering diagnostics. In addition, perform a road test (or simulated road test)
in compliance with the service manual to confirm
the complaint.
ter or sides of the steering wheel. There are usually
several functions on the switch, including off-on,
resume, and engage buttons. The switch is different for resume and non-resume systems.
The transducer is a device that controls
the speed of the vehicle. When the transducer is
engaged, it senses vehicle speed and controls a
vacuum source (usually the intake manifold). The
vacuum source is used to maintain a certain position on a servo. The speed control is sensed from
the lower cable and casing assembly attached to
the transmission.
CAUTION: When servicing the cruise control system, you will be working close to the air bag
and antilock brake systems.The service manual will instruct you when to disarm and/or depressurize these systems. Failure to follow these procedures can result in injury and additional
costly repairs to the vehicle.
When engaged, the cruise control components
set the throttle position to the desired speed. The
speed is maintained unless heavy loads and steep
hills interfere. The cruise control is disengaged
whenever the brake pedal is depressed. The common speed or cruise control system components
function in the following manner.
Cruise Control Switch
The cruise control switch (Figure 15-47) is located
on the end of the turn signal lever or near the cen-
Figure 15-47. Cruise control switch.
The servo unit is connected to the throttle by a
rod or linkage, a bead chain, or a Bowden cable.
The servo unit maintains the desired car speed by
receiving a controlled amount of vacuum from
the transducer. The variation in vacuum changes
the position of the throttle. When a vacuum is
applied, the servo spring is compressed and the
throttle is positioned correctly. When the vacuum
is released, the servo spring is relaxed and the system is not operating.
Two switches are activated by the position of
the brake pedal. When the pedal is depressed,
the brake-release switch disengages the system.
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347
From fuse
panel
Speed
control
switch
assembly
On
Resume
Off
Stop light
switch
From fuse
panel
From fuse
panel
Speed
control
amplifier
Speed
sensor
Coast
Set
Accelerate
Speed
control
servo
Actuator
Connects ot
throttle linkage
Figure 15-49. Cruise control system component circuit. (GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 15-48. Cruise control system schematic. (GM
Service and Parts Operations)
A vacuum-release valve is also used to disengage the system when the brake pedal is
depressed.
Electrical and Vacuum Circuits
Figure 15-48 shows an electrical and vacuum circuit diagram. The system operates by controlling
vacuum to the servo through various solenoids
and switches.
Electronic Cruise Control
Components
Cruise control can also be obtained by using
electronic components rather than mechanical
components. Depending on the vehicle manufacturer, several additional components may
be used.
The electronic control unit is used to control
the servo unit. The servo unit is again used to
control the vacuum, which in turn controls the
throttle. The vehicle speed sensor (VSS) buffer
amplifier is used to monitor or sense vehicle
speed. The signal created is sent to the electronic
control module. A generator speed sensor may
also be used in conjunction with the VSS. The
clutch switch is used on vehicles with manual
transmissions to disengage the cruise control
when the clutch is depressed. The accumulator is
used as a vacuum storage tank on vehicles that
have low vacuum during heavy load and high
road speed.
Figure 15-49 shows how electronic cruise
control components work together. The servo
unit controls the throttle position, using a vacuum working against spring pressure to operate
an internal diaphragm. The controller controls
the servo unit vacuum circuit electronically.
The controller has several inputs that help
determine how it will affect the servo, including
a brake-release switch (clutch-release switch),
a speedometer, a buffer amplifier (generator speed sensor), a turn signal lever mode
switch, and speed-control switches on the steering wheel.
SUPPLEMENTAL
RESTRAINT SYSTEMS
A typical supplemental inflatable restraint
(SIR) or air bag system (Figure 15-50) includes
three important elements: the electrical system,
air bag module, and knee diverter. The electrical
system includes the impact sensors and the electronic control module. Its main functions are
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Figure
Chapter Fifteen
15-50. SRS
components.
(DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
cuits and energizes the system readiness indicator during prove-out and whenever a fault
occurs. System electrical faults can be detected
and translated into coded indicator displays. If a
certain fault occurs, the microcomputer disables
the system by opening a thermal fuse built into
the monitor. If a system fault exists and the indicator is malfunctioning, an audible tone signals
the need for service. If certain faults occur, the
system is disarmed by a firing circuit disarm
device incorporated within the monitor or diagnostic module.
Trouble codes can be retrieved through the use
of a scan tool or flash codes, and on some models
through the digital panel cluster (if equipped). As
CAUTION: When servicing the air bag system, the service manual will instruct you when and
how to disarm the system. Failure to follow these procedures can result in injury and additional
costly repairs to the vehicle.
to conduct a system self-check to let the driver
know that it is functioning properly, to detect
an impact, and to send a signal that inflates the
air bag. The air bag module is located in the
steering wheel for the driver and in the dash
panel for passengers; it contains the air bag and
the parts that cause it to inflate. The knee
diverter cushions the driver’s knee from impact
and helps prevent the driver from sliding under
the air bag during a collision. It is located
underneath the steering column and behind the
steering column trim.
Electrical System Components
The electrical system generally has the following
parts:
Diagnostic Monitor Assembly
The diagnostic monitor contains a microcomputer that monitors the electrical system components and connections. The monitor performs a
self-check of the microcomputer internal cir-
with all diagnostics, consult the appropriate service manual for the correct procedures.
An air-bag-system backup power supply is
included in the diagnostic monitor to provide air
bag deployment power if the battery or battery
cables are damaged in an accident before the
crash sensors close. The power supply depletes its
stored energy approximately one minute after the
positive battery cable is disconnected.
Sensors
The sensors detect impact (Figure 15-51) and
signal the air bag to inflate. At least two sensors
must be activated for the air bag to inflate. There
are usually five sensors: two at the radiator support, one at the right-hand fender apron, one at
the left-hand fender apron, and one at the cowl in
the passenger compartment. However, a few systems use only two sensors—one in front of the
radiator and another in the passenger compartment. There is an interlock between the sensors,
so two or more must work together to trigger the
system. Keep in mind that air bag systems are
designed to deploy in case of frontal collisions
CAUTION: The backup power supply energy must be depleted before any air bag component
service is performed. To deplete the backup power supply energy, disconnect the positive battery cable and wait one minute.
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CAN
BATTERY (+)
GROUND (-)
AIR BAGS
SAFING
SENSOR
CRASH
SENSORS
O-RINGS SEALS
Figure 15-52. Safing sensor. (GM Service and Parts
SENSING MASS
ELECTRICAL
CONTACTS
Operations)
BIAS MAGNET
FRONT OF CAR
MOUNTING
PLATE
Wiring
Shield
Steering
Wheel
Figure 15-51. SRS sensors. (DaimlerChrysler Corporation)
Retainer
Ring
only. Although the design of individual systems
varies, the vehicle must be traveling a minimum
of 12–28 mph before the system is armed and
ready for deployment.
All the sensors use some type of inertia switching mechanism that provides for the breakaway of
a metal ball from its captive magnet. This function
causes a signal to activate a portion of the deployment program set up in the control processor. The
system is still capable of directly applying battery
power to the squib or detonator. At least two sensors, one safing sensor and one front crash sensor,
must be activated to inflate the air bag.
Safing Sensors
An integrated version of this network includes a
safing sensor (Figure 15-52), sometimes attached
to the original crash sensor. This device confirms
the attitude and magnitude of the frontal deceleration forces and offers the microprocessor a second opinion before actual deployment. This is all
it takes to complete the firing sequence, and the
bag will deploy.
Wiring Harness
The wiring harness connects all system components into a complete unit. The wires carry the
electricity that signals the air bag to inflate. The
harness also passes the signals during the selfdiagnosis sequence.
Inflater
Igniter
Mounting
Assembly
Plate
Figure 15-53.
Module
Liner
Trim
Cover
Assembly
Bag
Assembly
Air bag module. (DaimlerChrysler
Corporation)
SIR or Air Bag Readiness Light
This light lets the driver know the air bag
system is working and ready to do its job. The
readiness lamp lights briefly when the driver
turns the ignition key from OFF to RUN. A malfunction in the air bag system causes the light
to stay on continuously or to flash, or the light
might not come on at all. Some systems have
a tone generator that sounds if there is a problem in the system or if the readiness light is
not functioning.
Air Bag Module
The bag itself is composed of nylon and is
sometimes coated internally with neoprene. All
the air bag module (Figure 15-53) components
are packaged in a single container, which is
mounted in the center of the steering wheel or
in the dash panel on the passenger side. The
entire assembly must be serviced as one unit
when repair of the air bag system is required.
The air bag module is made up of the following
components.
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Igniter and
Housing Assembly
Intensifier
Assembly
Steering Wheel
Clock Spring
Electrical
Connector
Generant
Housing
Air Bag
Module
Elastomeric
Seal
Steering
Column
Vibration Damper
FWD Automatic
Transmission Only
Filter/Cooling
Media
Generant
Figure 15-55. Liner and steering wheel trim cover.
(GM Service and Parts Operations)
Figure 15-54. Igniter assembly. (GM Service and Parts
Operations)
Igniter Assembly (Figure 15-55)
Inflation of the air bag is caused by an explosive
release of gas. For the explosion to occur, a
chemical reaction must be started. The igniter
assembly does this when it receives a signal
from the air bag monitor. Actually, the igniter is
a two-pin bridge device: When the electrical
current is applied, it arcs across the two pins,
creating a spark that ignites a squib (canister
of gas) that generates zirconic potassium perchlorate (ZPP). This material ignites the propellant. Some newer model air bags now use solid
propellant and argon. This gas has a stable
structure, cools more quickly, and is inert as
well as non-toxic.
systems. In addition, a certain degree of facial
protection against flying objects is obtained just
when it is needed.
It is important to remember that only the tandem
action of at least one main sensor and a safing sensor initiates safety restraint system activation. The
micro-controller also provides failure data and
trouble codes for use in servicing various aspects
of most systems.
Mounting Plate and Retainer Ring
The mounting plate and retainer ring attach the
air bag assembly to the inflator. They also keep
the entire air bag module connected to the steering wheel.
Inflator Module
The inflator module contains the ZPP. Once it
triggers the igniter, the propellant charge is progressive, burning sodium azide, which converts
to nitrogen gas as it burns. It is the nitrogen gas
that fills the air bag.
Almost as soon as the bag is filled, the gas is
cooled and vented, deflating the assembly as the
collision energy is absorbed. The driver is cradled in the envelope of the supplemental restraint
bag instead of being propelled forward to strike
the steering wheel or be otherwise injured by
follow-up inertia energy from seat belt restraint
Liner and Steering Wheel Trim Cover
(Figure 15-56)
The liner houses the air bag; the trim cover goes
over the exterior of the steering wheel hub.
Passenger-side air bags are very similar in design
to the driver’s unit. The actual capacity of gas
required to inflate the bag is much greater because
the bag must span the extra distance between the
occupant and the dashboard at the passenger seating location. The steering wheel and column
make up this difference on the driver’s side.
WARNING: When the air bag is deployed, a great deal of heat is generated. Although the heat
is not harmful to passengers, it may damage the clock spring electrical connector.When replacing a deployed air bag module, examine all of the electrical connections for signs of scorching
or damage. If damage exists, it must be repaired.
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SUMMARY
Heating and air-conditioning systems share a
motor-driven fan. The motor speeds usually are
controlled by varying the resistance in the motor
circuit. Air-conditioning systems also have an
electromagnetic clutch on the compressor. The
clutch is energized by the air-conditioning system
control switch. A clutch-cycling pressure switch
turns the compressor clutch on and off as needed
to maintain desired evaporator pressure and temperature. Other switches are used in the clutch circuit to protect the system from high or low
pressure, or to shut the clutch off under certain
conditions, such as wide-open throttle.
Older vehicles may use a fan and motor as a
rear-window defogger; this system is similar to
the heating system. A rear-window defroster or
defogger on late-model vehicles is a grid of conductors attached to the rear window. A relay usually controls current to the conductors. Ford’s
heated windshield system uses current directly
from the alternator.
The parts of a sound system that concern most
service technicians include the way the sound unit
and the speakers are mounted, interference capacitors, panel illumination bulbs, and power antennas.
Power windows are moved by a reversible motor.
Motor direction is controlled by current through
different brushes. The driver’s-side master switch
controls all of the windows, because each individual
switch is grounded through the master switch.
Power seats can be moved by one, two, or three
motors and various transmission units. Permanentmagnet motors or electromagnetic field motors can
be used. Current to the motors sometimes is controlled by a relay.
Power door locks, trunk latches, and seat-back
releases can be moved by solenoids or motors.
Relays are often used to control current to the
solenoid or motor.
ADL systems are a safety feature integrated
with the power door locks. They automatically
lock all doors before the vehicle is driven. Keyless
entry systems are both convenience and safety features: They allow a driver access to a vehicle by
entering a code through a keypad on the driver’s
door, or by depressing a button on a key chain
transmitter.
Theft-deterrent systems such as the Delco
UTD and Ford Antitheft System are factory
installed on luxury cars. Such systems use other
vehicle systems to sound an alarm when the car is
tampered with. The Delco VATS/PASS-Key II™
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system uses a resistor ignition key that is “read”
by the lock cylinder when inserted. If the resistance and the memory value do not match, the
system shuts down the ignition and the starter.
When engaged, the cruise control components
set the throttle position to the desired speed. The
speed is maintained unless heavy loads and steep
hills interfere. The cruise control is disengaged
whenever the brake pedal is depressed. The cruise
control switch is located on the end of the turn
signal lever or near the center or sides of the steering wheel. There are usually several functions on
the switch, including off-on, resume, and engage
buttons. The switch is different for resume and
non-resume systems.
The transducer is a device that controls the
speed of the vehicle. When the transducer is
engaged, it senses vehicle speed and controls a
vacuum source (usually the intake manifold). The
vacuum source is used to maintain a certain position on a servo. The speed control is sensed from
the lower cable and casing assembly attached to the
transmission. The servo unit is connected to the
throttle by a rod or linkage, a bead chain, or a
Bowden cable. The servo unit maintains the
desired car speed by receiving a controlled
amount of vacuum from the transducer. The variation in vacuum changes the position of the throttle. When a vacuum is applied, the servo spring is
compressed and the throttle is positioned correctly. When the vacuum is released, the servo
spring is relaxed and the system does not operate.
Two switches are activated by the position of
the brake pedal. When the pedal is depressed, the
brake release switch disengages the system. A
vacuum release valve is also used to disengage
the system when the brake pedal is depressed.
The Supplemental Inflatable Restraint (SIR) or
air bag system includes three important elements.
The electrical system includes the impact sensors
and the electronic control module. Its main functions are to conduct a system self-check to let the
driver know that it is functioning properly, to
detect an impact, and to send a signal that inflates
the air bag. The air bag module is located in the
steering wheel for the driver and in the dash panel
for passengers. It contains the air bag and the
parts that cause it to inflate. The knee diverter
cushions the driver’s knee from impact and helps
prevent the driver from sliding under the air bag
during a collision. It is located underneath the
steering column and behind the steering column
trim. Newer vehicles contain SIR systems in the
side panels and headliner or curtains.
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Chapter Fifteen
Review Questions
1. Technician A says an electronic climate
control (ECC) system with BCM control
cycles the power to the compressor clutch.
Technician B says an electronic climate
control (ECC) system without BCM control
cycles the ground circuit to the compressor
clutch. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
2. Technician A says Ford’s heated windshield
system uses a conductive grid bonded to
the outside surface of the glass. Technician
B says the conductive grid is applied to
the back of the outer glass layer before it
is laminated to the inner glass layer. Who
is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
3. Constant operation of the compressor in
automotive air-conditioning systems is
prevented by:
a. A solenoid
b. A servomagnet
c. An electromagnetic clutch
d. A one-way clutch
4. Individual switches on automobile power
window circuits must be connected in
______ with the driver’s side master switch.
a. Series
b. Shunt
c. Parallel
d. Series-parallel
5. The air-conditioning compressor clutch can
be controlled by:
a. A power steering cutout switch
b. A pressure cycling switch
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
6. Technician A says the user selects the
mode in a semiautomatic temperature
control system, but the actuators are
electrically operated. Technician B says a
semiautomatic temperature control system
uses in-car and ambient temperature
sensors. Who is right?
a.
b.
c.
d.
A only
B only
Both A and B
Neither A nor B
7. Technician A says the body control module
(BCM) talks to other computers in an ECC
system on a serial data line. Technician B
says the ECC system programmer activates
the actuators on a serial data line. Who is
right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
8. GM power seat system motors use:
a. Permanent-magnet fields
b. Electromagnetic fields
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
9. The Delphi (Delco) vehicle antitheft system
(VATS) uses a _________ in the ignition key.
a. Thermistor
b. Potentiometer
c. Magnet
d. Resistor
10. Power window systems use:
a. Unidirectional motors
b. Reversible motors
c. Stepper motors
d. Servomotors
11. Technician A says Ford’s heated windshield
system will work only if the in-car
temperature is above 40˚F (4˚C). Technician
B says the heated windshield module can
control the EEC-IV module under certain
circumstances. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
12. Technician A says a keyless entry system
incorporates the function of an illuminated
entry system. Technician B says moving
the gear selector into Drive with the
ignition on activates an ADL system.
Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
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Body Accessory Systems Operation
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
13. Technician A says the Delco Remote
Keyless Entry (RKE) and the Remote Lock
Control (RLC) are different keyless entry
systems. Technician B says the RKE and
RLC systems are subsystems of the VAT
and PASS systems. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
14. Technician A says if the resistance value of
the ignition key in the PASS system does not
match the UHF value stored in the receiver’s
memory, the vehicle will not start.
Technician B says a factory-installed theftdeterrent system is a complex multiplecircuit system. Who is right?
a. A only
b. B only
c. Both A and B
d. Neither A nor B
15. In a cruise control system, which
component controls the amount of vacuum
that is applied to the servo unit?
a. The throttle body
b. The cruise control switch
c. The transducer
d. The brake pedal position switch
16. Which of the following actions will
deactivate cruise control operation?
a. Applying the accelerator pedal
b. Applying the brake
353
c. Driving up a steep hill
d. Releasing the accelerator pedal
17. In an electronically controlled cruise control
system, what component is used to monitor
vehicle speed?
a. Wheel speed sensor
b. Generator speed sensor
c. Turbine speed sensor
d. Vehicle speed sensor
18. What enables an air bag to deploy in an
accident, even if the battery becomes
disconnected during the crash?
a. A mechanical push-arm igniter
b. A backup power supply
c. The velocity versus solid object sensor
d. A “sudden stop” signal received from
the vehicle speed sensor
19. Though different manufacturers have
different specifications, how fast must a
vehicle be moving before the air bag
system is armed and ready to deploy if
needed?
a. Any speed above zero
b. Between 3 and 10 mph
c. Between 12 and 28 mph
d. At least 45 mph
20. When servicing an air bag, what is the first
step you should take?
a. Disconnect the battery negative cable.
b. Disconnect the clockspring electrical
connector.
c. Take resistance measurements at all
electrical connectors.
d. Disconnect the impact sensors.
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