Automotive Electrical System Basics – EricTheCarGuy

Automotive Electrical System Basics – EricTheCarGuy


hello earth car out here and this episode of Eric our guy is brought to you by BBB industries and they manufacture alternators and starters to meet or exceed OEM and function check them out link in the description anyway on to business today we’re going to be discussing the basic components or the major players in the automotive electrical system we’re going to be talking a little bit about the battery the alternator and the starter and the kit and the cables and connections that connect everything together are the bridge between all of them so why don’t we get started with the I would say the heart of the system which would be the battery now the beginning in the end of the automotive electrical system is the battery this guy is the Alpha and the Omega and the heart of the system some aren’t so easy to find some are up underneath fenders under back seats but the idea is that it is where the electrical system begins and ends that’s what I want you to walk away with now there are two large cables that are connected to it over here we have the positive battery cable in the back here and over here we have a negative battery cable for the purposes of this and videos in the future we are going to discuss the flow of electricity from positive to negative and I know there’s other theories out there about how that works but for the purposes of a discussion that’s what we’re going to do we’re going to talk about the flow of electricity from the positive side of the battery back to the negative the point is is electricity has to make a loop in order to do anything electricity is making a loop and the beginning and the end of that big loop in the automotive system starts here at the battery so where is that loop starting in I’ll stop saving on the battery you will have two cables you have the positive cable and you have the negative cable the negative cable is connected to a couple of places it’s normally run to the engine block and a lot of times there’s another cable that comes off of it that runs to some part of the body because in essence the body of the vehicle is really used as part of the ground circuit this cable runs right down here and attaches to the body just below the battery cable itself and then the positive cable the big cable normally goes down to the starter because the starter is going to use most of the amp draw in the system the battery is going to have to work its hardest when it’s starting the engine there’s a lot of mechanical resistance to overcome temperature also plays a factor both hot and cold so the thing that’s going to work the battery the most is hot and cold temperatures the next thing I’d like to talk about is the alternator and it is normally driven off an accessory belt on the front of the engine which is driven by the crankshaft so that belt is turned by the crankshaft and through whatever routing and everything turns the alternator the spinning of the alternator actually equates the production of electricity we’ll get more in depth into that in the future but for now we’ll just know that the alternator is basically there to produce electricity for the vehicle while it’s running it’s also there to recharge the battery while the vehicle is running but do not consider the alternator a battery charger so don’t think because you’ve got a dead battery that you can just run the vehicle and charge it up that way if you have a dead battery you really need to charge the battery up separately and don’t make the alternator do the work voltage is regulated a lot of times these days by the ECU tells you how much how much voltage it should be putting out that kind of thing depending upon the load that’s on the vehicle so the computer monitors what kind of electrical loads are on the system many times and controls what is referred to as the voltage regulator inside of the alternator itself which basically says how much juice it’s going to put out and in turn how much of a load it’s going to put onto the engine because as the alternator produces electricity it actually puts a load on to the engine a mechanical load so keep that in mind but this guy right here alternator the next guy we’re going to talk about is the starter and what the starter does is it gets everything started I know that sounds silly but that’s really what it does and it is basically an electric motor that is connected to the battery and the ignition switch to where when you turn the key it turns the engine over spins it around to start the combustion and reaction and for this one we’ve had a crawl up under the car to get a look at it that’s where you get a look at what that guy is fortunately on this car this one’s in a place that’s easy to find so it’s right up here on the front of the engine and easy to get to I can say that this may not always be the case in fact some starters may be located up underneath intake manifolds or and otherwise difficult to access locations but this one thankfully is right where we can see it and what you’ll see when you’re looking at the starter is you’ll get the one big wire coming down from the battery that’s this red one here and then you get this other wire single wire going to this other little cylinder on top which is referred to as the cell noise when you turn the key what it does is it energizes the solenoid and the solenoid basically completes the circuit between the big cable from the battery and the starter itself and the ground connection is actually right here at the engine block so the starter actually grounds to the engine block itself so when you turn the key electricity flows from the battery through this cable into the starter once this solenoid is energized so it completes the circuit and then flows back into the engine block and this whole thing spins the engine over so that is the starter we can’t have a discussion about the electrical system of the vehicle without discussing the cables and the wires without them electricity would just go anywhere in fact it wouldn’t go where we told it to go so those cables and wires are things that direct the electricity from one place to another we tell it where we want it to go make it do the work we want it to do and everybody’s happy at the ends of these wires our connectors and those wires are connected to those connectors in many different ways and also fasteners things that are fastened like the negative battery cable to the body of the vehicle wires are fastened in all kinds of ways sometimes plastic connectors sometimes so metal fasteners just really depends on what kind of circuit it is and what it involves but don’t forget about the wires and connectors because the reason why I mentioned this is because many of the automotive electrical problems that I run into are often not necessarily the result of a component failure but a connection failure and if the component does fail many times it’s a connection within that component so keep in mind that in order for electricity to flow from one place to another it needs a conductor which we’re going to call a cable or a wire it also needs to be connected and a clean connection to its component because if it doesn’t have a clean connection to its component well problems can happen and we’ll get into that in more detail further on in the future as I said connectors come in all shapes and sizes this is a mechanical connector that we have on the battery and over here there is a another plastic connector that’s just sort of clipped in so connectors can look like this they can look like this here’s another electrical connector this one houses many different wires and here is a wiring harness wearing harness is something that has many different wires within it that carries current to several different places so depending upon what is done like this one starts out they they’re like branches on a tree or roots they just go through and flow from one place to another so here’s the ECU on the vehicle then here are some connectors that are connected to it then it flows into this larger trunk and those wires are dispersed throughout the engine to the different places that they need to be so wiring and connections very important without them we wouldn’t be able to get our electricity from one place to another right and that wraps up our synopsis our summary of the automotive electrical system we covered the battery and how it stores electricity did we talk about it what stores electricity I hope we talked about how it stores electricity all right the battery stores electricity for the automotive electrical system and it also is the beginning and the end of the automotive electrical system so everything starts and ends with the battery and it also stores electro for the automotive system okay we got that next on our list we went and talked about the alternator and how it supplies voltage while the vehicles running and we also spoke about the starter and how that helps initiate the combustion reaction by turning the engine over and moving those Pistons and everything up and down so that we can get combustion started so we get our engine running we also talked about all the cables and connections that go in between all these different components and how important they are to the operation of those circuits if there is a problem with those cables or connections it can just as easily cause those things not to work so remember don’t condemn those parts right off you want to make sure that you check those connections and the that cabling and wires or whatever it is that connects those components to make sure that that is also sound in ready to go and in future videos we’ll cover more specific things about the batteries alternators and starters but for now we’re just going to go up give a little hand shake move on anyway i’m eric the car guy you can always visit me at eric carr gomm or you can follow me on facebook and twitter in addition to that I’d like to thank bb-be industries for sponsoring this video really thankful to those guys for helping me out with this electrical side of things so thanks to BBB industries for helping us out with our electrical videos anyway i’m eric the car guy and i’m going to remind you to be safe have fun and what is it yes stay dirty I know this is a brand new car and it’s not really easy to get dirty but you need to go out stay dirty until next time see you


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