The Vehicle’s Electrical System ‚ö°ūüöô

por | Ago 10, 2023

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Operation and Components of the Vehicle’s Electrical System


The Vehicle's Electrical System

The Vehicle’s Electrical System. Electronic control unit



The vehicle’s electrical system is essential for the operation of the vehicle. It consists of a set of elements and systems that provide electrical energy to any other system or sensor requiring this type of energy for its operation. It also manages the engine control module or ECU (Electronic Control Unit).

The vehicle’s electrical system is responsible for distributing power throughout the car, without which the vehicle cannot start or the lights cannot be turned on. It consists of:

      • Electronic Control Unit (ECU)
      • Generation and Storage System.
      • Ignition System.
      • Starter Motor.
      • Gasoline Injection System.
      • Lighting System.
      • Control Instruments.


1-Electronic Control Unit (ECU)


ECU electronic control unitECU electronic control unit from 1996

ECU electronic control unit ECU electronic control unit from 1996

ECUs are small devices distributed throughout the vehicle that control specific functions of the vehicle. A car can have over 100 installed ECUs.

Electronic Control Units receive inputs from various vehicle elements depending on their function. In this case, they communicate with actuators and perform a specific action based on the input received. For example, the ECU controlling the airbag receives inputs from crash sensors and seat occupancy sensors to determine which seats are occupied by passengers. At that moment, the unit communicates with the actuators and decides which airbag to deploy based on the occupied seats, giving the command to deploy them.

Electronic Control Units of the Electromotive Electrical System have various functions:

      • Essential controls: for the engine and power steering
      • Access and security: controls door locks or innovative keyless entry systems.
      • Comfort systems: electric windows, seat and mirror adjustments, etc.
      • Passive safety systems: control of airbags, seat belt pretensioners, etc.
      • Active safety systems like ADAS (predictive braking, lane assist, etc.)


2. Generation and Storage System


Sistema electrico del vehiculo

This subsystem of the vehicle’s electrical system commonly consists of four components: the generator, the voltage regulator, which can be an independent element or included in the generator, the accumulator battery, and the generator’s excitation switch.

The negative terminal of the accumulator battery is connected to the ground to close all the system’s circuits through this pathway. From the positive terminal, a thick conductor leads to the generator’s output. This conductor carries the battery charging current produced by the generator. In modern generators, this current can be around 100 amperes. From this cable, another one leads to the battery charge indicator on the instrument panel, usually a voltmeter in current vehicles. This indicator shows the driver the system’s working status. The ignition switch is also fed from the battery’s positive terminal through a fuse.

When this switch is turned on, the generator’s excitation current is established, and the engine starts. The excitation current is regulated to ensure a preset and stable value in the generator’s output voltage. This preset value corresponds to the maximum value of the accumulator’s nominal voltage during charging. This way, when the battery is fully charged, high current doesn’t flow through it, protecting it from overload.


3. Ignition System


It’s the necessary and independent system capable of igniting the fuel-air mixture inside the cylinder in gasoline or LPG engines, also known as spark ignition engines, as diesel engines ignite due to the nature of mixture formation.


4. Starter Motor


Currently, all automobiles are equipped with an electric starter motor, which offers exceptional performance. The starter motor’s electrical circuit consists of a battery, starter switch, switch, and motor.


5. Gasoline Injection


Although the carburetor, developed over time into a complex assembly of hundreds of parts that refined and made the air-fuel mixture preparation for the automobile engine durable in the entire working range, it couldn’t withstand the pressure exerted by emission limitation rules set by developed countries’ governmental entities. It gradually gave way to gasoline injection, which began in the 60s and 70s mainly in Germany but only became technologically achievable when miniaturized electronics were sufficiently developed.


6. Lighting System


Lighting control.Electromotive electrical system.

Lighting control. Electromotive electrical system.

The use of electronic control circuits in the vehicle’s lighting system is becoming more common. In modern cars, the high beams might automatically turn off if the driver forgets to do so, or cabin lights might have timers to keep them on for a while after the doors are closed. These circuits are all fused to prevent cable overheating in case of potential short circuits.



7. Control Instruments


Electromotive electrical system. Electronic Control UnitElectromotive electrical system.

Electromotive electrical system. Electronic Control Unit Electromotive electrical system.

In all cars, certain control instruments or indicators on the dashboard are necessary, within sight, allowing the driver to monitor their operation safely and comply with current traffic regulations. Although the operating mode and the number of indicators can vary from one vehicle to another, they can generally be classified into four groups:

  • IInstruments for controlling technical operating indexes of the car.
  • Indicators for traffic index indication.
  • Alarm signals.
  • Alert signals.


Original video:


El sistema eléctrico de un vehículo



Home 9 MATERIAL COMPLEMENTARIO 9 Conocimiento 9 The Vehicle’s Electrical System ‚ö°ūüöô

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