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TRAINING TIPS &

TACTICS

Module 2 Electrical Principles

Contents

Introduction
About this
Pocket-guide

This guide is intended as a memory jogger for the


knowledge you have gained during your training course.
The guide includes a summary of the material covered in:
Module 2 - Electrical Principles.

AC/DC

Note that all the material in this guide relates to DC


circuits.

Danger, Warning,
Caution & Note

In this guide, risk of injury or damage is indicated by the


following headings:
DANGER - indicates a risk of serious personal injury or
death.
WARNING - indicates risk of personal injury, or severe
product damage.
CAUTION - indicates risk of product damage.
Note - draws attention to special methods or particular
features.

Pay attention to
these headings

Read and implement all DANGER, WARNING and


CAUTION instructions.

Replacement
parts

When replacement parts are required, it is essential that


only Volvo genuine parts are fitted. If Volvo genuine parts
are not used:
- safety features embodied in the vehicle or components
may be impaired.
- performance and/or operation of the vehicle or
components may be adversely affected
- Volvo warranty terms may be invalidated.

Specification

Volvo are constantly seeking ways to improve their


products, and alterations take place accordingly.
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the
accuracy of this guide, it should not be regarded as an
infallible guide to current specifications of any
particular product.
Neither Volvo, nor the supplier of this book shall, in any
circumstances, be held liable for inaccuracy or the
consequences thereof.

Copyright

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be


reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted or
copied without written permission from Volvo Truck &
Bus Ltd.

Volvo Truck & Bus Ltd 2004

Atoms
9

Electron

Proton
Neutron

Nucleus

Shell or
orbit

10

Matter

Element

Compound

Molecule

Matter is anything that occupies space and has weight.


Matter can be solid, liquid and gaseous.
An element is a substance which cannot be reduced to a
simpler substance by chemical means.
Examples are: gold, silver, iron, copper and oxygen.
There are approx.100 known elements, and everything
around us is made up of one or more of these elements.
When two or more elements are chemically combined, the
resulting mixture is called a compound.
A molecule is a chemical combination of two or more
atoms.
In a compound,the molecule is the smalest particle thsat
has all the characteristics of the compoond.

11

12

Atoms are
everywhere

Molecules are made up of atoms.


Atoms are extremely small - if one could be magnified a
million times, it would only just be the size of the full stop at
the end of this sentence.
An atom is the smallest particle of an element that retains
all the characteristics of the element.
The atoms of one element differ from the atoms of all other
elements
Atoms are made up of only three types of particle protons, electrons and neutrons.
All protons are exactly the same, all neutrons are exactly
the same and all electrons are exactly the same.
Since there are approx.100 known elements, so there are
approx.100 kinds of atom in the entire universe. Whether
these atoms make up water, ashes the air that we breathe,
trees or tyres depends on how they are put together - i.e.
the number and arrangement of the particles - their
structure.
13

Electron

Proton
Neutron

Nucleus

Shell or
orbit

14

Atoms, and their particles exist by nature in every kind of


material around us. Neither atoms nor their particles can be
manufactured or destroyed.
Nucleus

The neutrons and protons are in the centre of the atom in a


nucleus, which has by far the greatest mass of the atom.
Most of the atom is empty space.
Protons and neutrons have almost exactly the same mass.
Electrons have a mass about 1/1880 the mass of of a
proton - e.g. in a person of 150 lb weight, 149lb 15oz are
protons and neutrons, 1oz are electrons.

Positive
r
o
t
o
n

Protons have a positive electrical charge.

Neutrons have no electrical charge.

15

Electron

Proton
Neutron

Nucleus

Shell or
orbit

16

e
l
e
c
t
r
o
Negative

Electrons have a negative electrical charge. The charge on


every electron is equal and constant and remains with the
electron wherever it moves.
Although a proton has 1800 times the mass of an electron,
the charge on both is exactly the same, but opposite.
It is one of the fundamentals of nature that no known
physical process can produce a net change in electric
charge.
Electrons, with their charge, are the elementary particles of
electricity.
In a complete atom, the positively charged protons are
always balanced by an equal number of negatively charged
electrons - a complete atom is electrically neutral.
Electrons move around the nucleus in areas of space
called electron shells. Atoms can have up to seven
electron shells.

17

Hydrogen atom
Copper atom

18

The atoms of each different element have a different


number of neutrons, protons, electrons and electron shells.
- thats what makes them different.
A hydrogen atom, for example, has only one electron and
one proton. An copper atom has 29 electrons and 29
protons.
Each shell can hold only a certain number of electrons - the
innermost shell can hold only two electrons, the next up to
eight and - normally - the next up to eighteen and so on
(but there are exceptions).

19

20

Free electrons

Electrons in the outermost shell can become free of their


shell by application of an external force such as movement
through amagnetic field, friction or chemical action.
These are called free electrons.
Because they are largely responsible for the way atoms
bond together - and for the electrical properties of the
material - they are the most important.
A copper wire, for example, is full of atoms with free
electrons, which are rapidly moving at random in all
directions - even with no voltage applied.
When a voltage is applied, the electrons gain additional
velocity and start to flow in a uniform direction from
negative to positive.
This flow is commonly called electric current.

21

Copper wires good conductors

Nickel-chrome
heating element
- resistor

Insulators porcelain
bakelite/nylon

22

Conductors

In some atoms free electrons are less firmly attached than


in others.
Materials made from elements with such atoms are good
conductors of electrical current - e.g. most metals
especially silver and copper.

Insulators

Materials which have atoms with electrons so firmly


attached that they will not allow any current to flow through
them, are insulators - e.g. rubber, plastic, wood, porcelain.

Resistors

In between are certain materials which will allow some


current flow, but are not good conductors. Such materials
are resistors - e.g. the nickle-chrome heating element of
an electric fire.

23

Neutral charge

Negative charge

Positive charge

24

Electron flow

The movement - or flow - of electrons through a conductor


is what is commonly known as electricity, and refered to as
current.
Electrons do not move directly from one end of a conductor
to the other. They move from one atom to another - one
electron is attached, one is lost to another atom and so on.
To make electrons flow along a wire (produce an electrical
current), there must be a pressure difference - or potential
difference - between the ends of the wire.
A battery can produce a potential difference.
The chemical reactions in a battery cause electrons to
leave the positive pole, and pile up at the negative pole.
An excess of electrons creates a negative charge
A shortage of electrons creates a positive charge.

25

>

>

>
+

<

<

>

>

>

>

>

<

<

Current flow as originally assumed


- conventional flow

Actual electron flow

26

Direction of
current flow

Electrons negative to
positive

When scientists first new about what we now call electric


current, they didnt know about the structure and behaviour
of atoms and electrons.
The poles or sides of a circuit were given the names
positive and negative, with the reasonable assumption
that positive had a lot of electric charge and negative had
little or no charge.
On this basis, current flow was thought to be from positive
to negative.
Eventually, it was discovered that what was really moving
was electrons - from negative to positive.
However, the original positive to negative flow had become
a convention that would have been difficult to change.
Circuit diagrams today are often shown on the basis of
conventional flow.
Despite this, electrons flow from negative to positive - as
they always have.
Just be sure which type of flow you are looking at.

27

Free electrons moving from atom to atom


producing current

28

Current

The flow of electrons produced by connecting a battery is


called current and is measured in Amperes or Amps.
Smaller units in electronics are:
- milli-Amps mA (1/1,000th of an Amp) and
- micro-Amps uA (1/1,000,000th of an Amp).
An Amp is the number of electrons flowing past a given
point in one second.

29

2.0 mm

R = 2.5 ohms

1.0 mm

R = 5 ohms

Cross sectional area - thickness

< 0.5 m >


R = 5 ohms
< 1.0 m >
R = 10 ohms

Length

30

Resistance

Cross
sectional area
and length

Resistance = opposition.
In this case it is the opposition against electron flow in a
circuit.
Resistance is represented by the symbol R, and is
measured in Ohms The factors which determine the resistance of a conductor:
- cross sectional area (thickness).
- length.
- conductivity - or resistivity - of the material.
- temperature
As illustrated opposite - all other things remaining equal:
- resistance is doubled if the length of wire is doubled, or
the thickness is halved.
- resistance is halved if the length of wire is halved or the
thickness is doubled.

31

Chafed soild core

Severed multi-core strands

Good
connection - no
reduction of
cross sectional
area.

Poor
connection reduction of
cross sectional
area.

32

Changing the
length or
thickness

Working with established electrical circuits, it is unlikely that


we would deliberately change the thickness or length of a
wire.
However, mechanical faults - such as the examples below effectively reduce the thickness and, therefore, increase the
resistance:
- a wire solid core chafed or strands of a multi-strand core
severed.
- a dirty/corroded, loose or poor connection.
Such weak spots generate heat, and may cause a fire.

33

Resistivity or
Conductivity

Resistivity or conductivity - or - is an inherent property of a


material which depends on the behaviour and number of
free electrons. It has nothing to do with the dimensions or
shape of the material.
As we have seen, metals such as silver or copper have
many free electrons and therefore have low resistivity or
good conductivity.

Effect of
temperature

Temperature has an effect on resistivity.


Generally - in metals - an increase in temperature results in
an increase in resistivity - decrease in conductivity.
This is because heat adds energy causing the atoms to
vibrate erratically and obstruct the flow of electrons.
Conversely, a decrease in temperature results in a
decrease in resistivity. At very low temperatures some
metals exhibit virtually no resistance at all - they are
superconductors.

34

Using resistance

In some cases resistance is wanted - e.g:


- when the required result is light or heat.
The type of wire used for the filament of a light bulb or
electric fire is deliberately selected because of its high
resistivity.
- when a voltage lower than the source is required in part
or all of a circuit.
A resister is a component deliberately used to provide a
resistance in a circuit.
In all other cases, resistance is definitely not wanted - e.g.
- in a plain conductor such as copper wire, or in junctions/
connections/switches etc.

35

36

Ohms law

V=IxR

There is a relationship between voltage, current and


resistance. Understanding this relationship will help with
electrical diagnosis and repair.
Ohms law states: the current in a circuit is directly
proportional to the applied voltage, and inversely
proportional to the resistance.
This means:
- if voltage goes up, current goes up - and vice versa.
- if resistance goes up, current goes down - and vice versa.

Source
voltage

Voltage is not affected by either current or resistance. It is


either too low, too high or correct. If it is too low, current will
be low. If it is too high, current will be high.
If it is correct, current will be high if resistance is low, and
current will be low if resistance is high.

37

Current

Resistance

Current is affected by either voltage or resistance.


If voltage is high or resistance is low, current will be high.
If voltage is low or resistance is high, current will be low.
Resistance is not affected by either voltage or current.
It is either too low, too high or correct.
If it is low, current will be high at any voltage.
If it is too high, current will be low if voltage is correct.
When voltage stays the same - as in an automotive circuit current goes up as resistance goes down, and current goes
down as resistance goes up.
By passed devices reduce resistance, causing high
current.
Loose/dirty connections increase resistance, causing low
current

38

39

V
I R
V = Voltage (Volts)
R = Resistance (Ohm)
I = Current (A)

V
I R

V
I

V
I R

V=IxR

I=V
R

R=V
I

40

Ohms law
equations

An easy way to remember the equations is to arrange the


symbols in a triangle.
If you know any two values an equation will give you the
third.
Cover the symbol for the value you want, and what
remains uncovered is the equation.

An equation wheel - which also includes power (Watts)


and other combinations - can be found inside the back
cover.

41

+
12V

4
Ohms

+
12V

What is the current flow in this circuit ?

42

Application of
Ohms law Current

As an application of Ohms law, any voltage, current or


resistance can be calculated if the other two values are
known. This can help in fault diagnosis if, for some reason
or other, actual measurement any one value is difficult.
In the circuit above, current is unknown, voltage is supplied
by 2 x 12 volt batteries, and resistance is 4 Ohms.

V
I
I=V
R

Current = 24
4

Answer = 6 A

43

>

3A

12V

?
+
12V

What is the Resistance in this circuit ?

44

Application of
Ohms law -

In the circuit above resistance is unknown, voltage is


supplied by 2 x 12 volt batteries, and current is 3 Amps.

resistance

V
I
R=V
I

Resistance = 24
3

Answer = 8 R

45

>

+
4A

?
3
Ohms

+
?

What is the Voltage in this circuit ?

46

Application of
Ohms law -

In the circuit above voltage is unknown, resistance is 3


Ohms,and current is 4 Amps.

voltage

V
I R
V=IxR

Voltage = 4 x 3

Answer = 12 V

47

W
I V
W = Power - Watts
I = Current (A)
V = Voltage - Volts

W
I V

W
I

W
I

W=AxV

V=W
A

A=W
V

48

Energy and
Power

Electricity is a form of energy, and energy can do work.


Electric power refers to the rate at which a source of
electricity produces energy, or the rate at which an
electrical device converts electrical energy into some other
form of energy - e.g. heat or light.
Work done over a period of time is called Power, and is
measured in Watts.
Because a Watt is a small unit, power is often expressed
per thousand Watts;
1 kilowatt (kW) = 1000 watts

Watts law

Power = Volts x Amps:


so - increasing either the current or the voltage increases
the power.
The various equations can be shown using an Ohms law
type triangle.

49

>

+
3A

12V

?
+
12V

What power will be consumed by the bulb in this circuit ?

50

In the circuit above voltage is supplied by 2 x 12 volt


batteries, and current is 3 amps.

W
I V
W=IxV

Watts = 3 x 24

Answer = 72 W

51

+
6V

100 W

+
6V

How much current is required to get 100


Watts out of the bulb in this circuit ?

52

In the circuit above voltage is supplied by 2 x 6 volt


batteries, and power is 100 W.

W
I V
I=

P
V

Amps = 100
12

Answer = 8.33 A

53

+
12V

100 W

+
12V

54

Higher voltage
= lower
current

If we repeat the example above, but use 2 x 12 volt


batteries ?
Amps = 100
P
Answer = 4.16 A
24
V
So this circuit produces the same power, but with half the
current - there is an advantage to this.
Resistance in wires consumes power.
The consumed power increases as current flow increases,
as illustrated by the equation:
I=

Increased
current =
increased
power

P = I2 x R
This confirms an increase in consumed power with an
increase in resistance, but shows a much higher increase in
consumed power with an increase in current.
So reducing current by using a higher voltage can increase
the efficiency of electrical systems.

55

56

Electrical Circuits
Note: All circuits are drawn using the electrical symbols you will find on Volvo
wiring diagrams

57

+
2

Basic circuit

58

Circuit
requirements

Electrons must flow from and return to the power source,


so an unbroken circuit must exist.
The basic components needed for a useful circuit are used
in the diagram above:
1 Power source to produce the electron flow - battery,
alternator.
2 Conductors to provide a path to and from the power
source - wires, earth return.
3 A load which converts electricity into work - bulb, motor,
heating element.
4 A control to allow the circuit to be opened or closed switch, relay.
5 A protection device to prevent circuit or component
damage - fuse, circuit breaker.

59

Body/frame - earth return

60

Automotive
circuits

In automotive circuits the body/frame of the vehicle is used


as a conductor.
One end of the wire from each load is connected to the
body/frame, so current can flow back to the battery.
To ensure integrity of the circuit, earth straps are often
used to make a connection from the body to the frame,
and from major components - such as the engine - to the
body or frame.

61

<

+
12V

+
12V

Series Circuit

62

Series circuit

A series circuit is the simplest circuit.


All the components are connected with only one path to
ground for current flow, so the electrons must flow through
each component to get back to ground.
The resistance of each component can be different.
The current through each - and at any point in the circuit will be the same.
The voltage across each each will be different.
If the path is broken, no current flows - if one bulb blows,
the other goes out.
In the circuit above, electron flow is - A >B > C> D >A

63

<
+

I=?

12V
R1 = 2
Ohms

R2 = 4
Ohms

12V

64

Resistance in a
series circuit

The total resistance in a series circuit is - the sum of all the


resistances in the circuit. So, adding resistors increases
the total resistance.
In the above circuit the total is R1 + R2 = 6 Ohms

Current in a
series circuit

In a series circuit, current is the same wherever in the


circuit it is measured.
In the circuit above, current is unknown, voltage is
supplied by 2 x 12 volt batteries.

V
I
I=

V
R1 + R2

Current = 24
6

Answer = 4 A

65

OV

OV

<
+

10 A

12V
8V

16V

12V

66

Voltage drop

Voltage drop is the amount of voltage - or electrical


potential - that is used or lost as current passes through the
loads.
All voltage is used up in the circuit.
When there is more than one load in a circuit, the voltage
divides and is shared between the loads.
The sum of all voltage drops (8V + 16V) must equal the
supply voltage (24V).
If the resistance of each load differs, so will the voltage drop
- the higher the resistance, the greater the voltage drop.
Voltage drop is measured at a point just before the load,
and a point just after the load.

67

<
+
12V
R1 = 2
Ohms

R2 = 4
Ohms

12V

68

In the circuit above voltage is supplied by 2 x 12 volt


batteries. The voltage drop across R1 and R2 can be found
as follows.
Total resistance 2 Ohms + 4 Ohms = 6 Ohms.

V
I

Current

I=V
R

Voltage drop across R1

V=IxR
V = 4 x 2 = 8V

Voltage drop across R2

V=IxR
V = 4 x 4 = 16V

V
I

I = 24 = 4 A
6

69

<

+
12V
R1

R2

+
12V

Parallel Circuit

70

Parallel circuit

A parallel circuit has more than one current path called a


branch
The voltage is the same along each branch.
If the load in each branch is the same, the current will be
the same.
If the load in each branch is different, the current will be
different.
If one branch is broken, current will still flow in the other
branch.
In the circuit above there are two current branches:
-A>B>E>F>A
-A>B>C>D>E>F>A

71

<
+
R2

12V

R3

R1

+
12V

72

Resistance in a
parallel circuit

All
resistances
are the same
value

The total resistance in a parallel circuit is always less than


the smallest resistance in the circuit.
This is because the current has more than one path.
So, adding resistors decreases the total resistance.
If all resistances are the same value - e.g R1, R2 and R3
are all 90 Ohms:
Divide the resistance value by the number of resistances:
90
3

total resistance = 30 Ohms

73

<
+
R2

12V
R1

+
12V

74

Two
resistances
with different
values

If there are only two resistances, each with a different value


- e.g. R1 = 5 Ohms, R2 = 15 Ohms:
Use product over sum:
R1 x R2
R1 + R2

5 x 15
5 + 15

75
20

Answer 3.75 Ohms

75

<
+
R2

12V

R3

R1

+
12V

76

More than
two
resistances
with different
values

If there are more than two resistances, each with a different


value - e.g. R1 = 5 Ohms, R2 = 15 Ohms, R3 = 25 Ohms:
Use:

1
1
1
R1 + R2 + R3
1
5 +

1
15 +

1
25

0.20 + 0.06 + 0.04

1
0.20 + 0.06 + 0.04
1
0.3

Answer = 3.3 Ohms

77

78

Components
79

Conductor:
Diam - mm
Cross sectional area - mm2

80

Wires

In a vehicle, wires are the main conductors of electric


current, connecting one component to another.
Wires act as a paths or pipes through which free electrons with their charge - can flow.
Wires are full of movable charge - always.
Wires distribute power from the battery to many devices
located all over the vehicle.
Wires also transmit signals to and from electronic control
units and sensors.
This means that there are many different types and
thicknesses of wire in a vehicle.
The diameter of a wire (mm), or cross sectional area
(mm2) is an indication of how much current it carries - the
larger the diameter, the more current it can carry e.g. the wires connected to the battery are very thick.

81

Twisted pair

Co-axial
shielding

Multi-strand copper wires

82

The thickness of the insulation is an indication of the


voltage in the wire - thick insulation means high voltage e.g. spark plug wires.
Sensor
signals

Multi-strand

Signals to and from sensors - often digital in form - are


extremely susceptable to interference and corruption from
external forces. Wires carrying such signals are normally
shielded from interference by being arranged as a twisted
pair, or by having a co-axial braided shield between the
outer insulation and the insulation around the inner
conductor.
Almost all vehicle wires are made of copper, and are multistranded. Generally, the finer the strands, the lower the
resistance and the more current the wire can carry.
Multi-stranded wire is also more flexible and easier to
handle.

83

_
- -- ---

+
----- -

_
+
84

Batteries
Circuit symbol

This symbol indicates a single battery cell of,


nominally, 2V. A 12V battery symbol will have
six such cells or, may be shown by two cells
linked by dotted line.

A battery does not store electricity. It stores chemical


energy and converts this to electrical energy when
required.
A battery does not make electrical charge, electrons or any
other particle. The electrons - with their charge - are there
by nature in the conductors.
All conductors are full of movable charge - always.
A battery acts as a pump which causes electric charge to
flow.
In the simple single cell above, there is a positive plate cathode - and a negative plate - anode.
They are immersed in electrolyte.
Electrolyte is a solution which is capable of conducting an
electric charge.

85

>

>

_
--

+
---

Electron flow in external circuit - battery supplying current

86

The chemical reactions between the different composition


of the plates, and the electrolyte causes electrons to leave
the cathode and move to the anode.
The cathode now has an excess positive charge, and the
anode has an excess negative charge.
This results in an electrical difference - or potential
difference - between the anode and cathode.
This difference can be considered an unstable distribution of
electrons, which can be rebalanced only by the excess
electrons at the anode returning to the cathode.
Note that electrons cannot move from one pole to another
within the battery without a chemical reaction occuring.
The only way they can return - from negative to positive - is
via an outside circuit formed when a wire is attached to both
terminals. In doing so, an electrical current - which can light
a lamp - is created.

87

--

>

<
+

---

Electron flow in external circuit - battery receiving current

88

However, as the battery discharges current, the plates


become more chemically alike, and the electrolyte is diluted
to mostly water. The transfer of electrons stops. There is
now no potential difference to cause a current flow.
Fortunately, in the type of battery used on vehicles, the
chemical process can be reversed - it can be recharged.

Recharging

Whenever the engine is running, the alternator is


recharging the battery by driving current into the battery in
the opposite direction to the discharge flow.
This charging continues until the plate coatings have been
converted back to their original composition, and the
electrolyte has been converted back to a solution of acid
and water.

89

12V

+
2V 2V

2V

2V

2V 2V

+ - + - + - + - + - + -

90

Lead acid
battery

Automotive batteries are a type called lead acid. The


plates are made of lead. In a charged battery, the positive
plate is coated with lead peroxide, and the negative plate is
coated with sponge lead.
The electrolyte is a mixture of approx. 35% sulphuric acid
and 65 % water
The chemical reaction between these materials and the
electrolyte can produce approx. 2 V per cell.
To obtain a nominal 12V, six cells are connected in series.

Battery
capacity

Battery capacity can be expressed in several ways, but


either way it depends on the construction.
Capacity is roughly proportional to the total surface area of
the plates - thats why batteries have several thin plates
instead of a less number of thick plates.
Note that temperature affects capacity. Because the
chemical reactions are faster,capacity increases with
temperature.
91

92

Cold
cranking
Amps

The function of an automotive battery is to provide a high


current, to operate the starter motor, for a short time.
The capacity measure of cold cranking Amps is,
therefore one of the most important ratings.
Cold cranking Amps is defined as the current that a battery
will give at - 18 C for a given time and end voltage;
Standard
BS
DIN
SAE

Reserve
capacity

Time
60 sec.
30 sec.
30 sec.

End voltage
8.4
9.0
7.2

This is defined as the time in minutes a fully charged


battery at 25 C can supply 25A before the terminal voltage
falls below 10.5 V .

93

94

Ampere
hour rating

This is defined as the amount of current, in Ampere hours,


a fully charged battery at 27 C can supply for 20 hours
before the terminal voltage falls below 10.5 V.
Example: a battery labelled as 50Ah should deliver 2.5
Amps for 20 hours.
Note that when two batteries are connected in series, the
voltage doubles, but the Ah capacity remains the same.
Conversely, when two batteries are connected in parallel,
the Ah capacity doubles, but the voltage remains the same.

95

3
1

5
2

96

Alternator

An alternator is a machine that converts mechanical energy


into electrical energy.
The alternator does not create electrons: it simply sets up
the conditions for electrons, already in the conductors, to
be made to flow.
All conductors are full of movable charge - always.
The main components are:

Rotor - 1

Two claw shaped iron pole pieces, each with six poles,
enclose a copper wire coil (2) wound on a former. The coil
is fed with a magnetising (exitation) current via the slip
rings.
The assembly is mounted on shaft, and acts as rotating
electromagnet.

Slip-rings - 3

Collect the magnetising current from the carbon brushes


(5). One slip ring is connected to one end of the rotor coil,
and the other to the other end of the coil.
97

3
1

5
2

98

Stator - 4

Rectifier/
regulator - 5

Voltage output
control

Three sets of copper wire coils are wound around a


laminated iron core.
The stator is attached to the alternator main housing.

The rectifier is a series of diodes.


The main diodes are connected so that the AC current,
produced by the alternator, is converted - rectified - to DC
for the vehicle systems.
Three auxilliary diodes convert AC to DC for the rotor coil
magnetising current.
The regulator senses the battery voltage, and adjusts the
amount of magnetising current applied to the rotor coil.
This varying current controls the output voltage, and keeps
it at fairly constant level.
Maximum charging voltage is controlled at approx. 28.5 V.
Without regulation, the output would rise and fall with
engine speed.

99

N S

N
S

S N

N
S

N S

N
S

+
_
C

<
0

90

180

>
270

360

450

100

Alternating
current

Frequency

Mechanical energy is converted to electrical energy using


the principle of magnetic induction.
This principle is based on the fact that whenever a
conductor is moved within a magnetic field, so that the
conductor cuts across the magnetic lines of force, voltage
is generated in the conductor.
The illustration above shows a simple coil which is cut by
the magnetic north and south poles of a rotating magnet.
The voltage generated in the coil changes direction as the
poles pass by - N > S > N > S.
If the coil is connected to a complete external circuit, the
current will change direction at the same rate, or frequency,
at which the poles rotate.
This is alternating current - AC.
The number of revolutions per second of the magnet
corresponds to the frequency of cycles (C) of the current
wave.
Frequency is expressed in Hertz (Hz).
E.g. 50 rps = 50 Hz.
101

B
Y

+
Vo
_
0O

R
Y
B

360O

102

Electromagnet

In an alternator, the simple permanent magnet is replaced


by an electromagnet - the rotor. The rotor is magnetised
using a portion of the rectified DC output, which is collected
by the slip rings from the brushes.

Three-phase
output

To improve efficiency, and output, most alternators use


three sets of six stator coils.
Because the coils overlap, at least two coils are generating
current at any instant. The three AC outputs are called
phases, and generally referred to as red, blue and green.
An 18-pole three-phase alternator and output wave is
shown above.
Each phase is generated separately from every third stator
coil. The three phase voltages are plotted against time, or
rotor angle.

103

D+

R
B

R
Y

B+

0
-

D-

104

Rectification

Alternator
drive

In a three-phase alternator, a pair of diodes for each phase


rectifies both the positive and negative half cycles.
This does not produce a perfectly flat DC line, as would be
obtained from a battery.
However, because the wave forms of the three phases
overlap, the rectified DC current has very small pulsations,
with a high average voltage level, and this is acceptable for
most vehicle applications.

The mechanical rotational energy of the engine is


transferred to the alternator by a belt driven from the
crankshaft pulley - so the ultimate energy source - on the
vehicle - is the diesel fuel.

105

2
4

106

Starter motor

The starter motor is a high power sliding gear motor.


This type of motor operates in two stages to ensure that full
power is not applied until the drive pinion is fully meshed
with the flywheel ring gear.
The main components are:

Field windings

Armature

There are two sets of field windings (1). The main winding
is connected in series with the armature winding.
The shunt winding connection with the armature can be
switched from parallel connection to series connection.
The armature (2) has a hollow shaft, through which passes
an engagement rod (3). The rod is actuated by a solenoid,
and pushes the drive spindle (4) and pinion (5) forward
during the first stage of motor actuation.

107

2
4

108

Control relay

The control relay (6) controls current supply to the field


winding and solenoid windings.

Solenoid

When energised, the solenoid (7) armature moves forward


and pushes the engagement rod forward.

Multi-disc
clutch

The multi-disc clutch (8) provides the connection between


the armature and the drive spindle which carries the drive
pinion.

Actuation stage 1

When the starter switch is closed, the control relay is


energised and directs current to the shunt field winding and
to the solenoid windings.
The shunt winding is now in series with the armature
winding. The weak magnetic field established by the shunt
winding causes the armature to rotate slowly.
At the same time, the solenoid pushes the pinion forward
via the engagement rod.

109

110

The slowly rotating pinion eventually meshes with the ring


gear.
Just before the pinion is fully in mesh:
Actuation stage 2

- a mechanical trip lever allows closure of another contact


in the control relay, and current is fed to the armature main
field winding.
- a finger on the solenoid actuates a microswitch, and
switches the shunt winding from a series connection with
the armature to a parallel connection.
Full current now flows through the shunt winding, and
through the main filed winding, and the the torque
developed by both windings is applied to the pinion to crank
the engine.
The pressure of the pinion, pushing against the ring gear,
presses the clutch plate together, allowing full torque to be
applied.
111

Spade or Blade fuse

Glass fuse

112

Fuses
Circuit symbol
Rating

Used for

Fuse rating is designated in Amps, and marked on the


fuse.
Fuses are used to protect wiring and components from
damage due to current overload.
Fuses are a special type of wire conductor in a self
contained connector.
The conductor is a metal similar to solder, which has a
melting point lower than the attached wires.
The diameter of the conductor is selected very carefully so
that when the rated current is reached, enough heat is
rapidly generated to melt the conductor and break the
circuit.

113

Colour

Rating - A

Purple
Pink
Orange

3
4
5

Brown
Red
Blue
Yellow
White
Green

7.5
10
15
20
25
30

114

Because different circuits carry widely differing amounts of


current, several different fuse ratings are needed.

Like for like

!WARNING!
A replacement fuse must be exactly the same rating as the
old one.

115

86
30

87
85
85
87a
30

86

87a
Contact
numbering

87

116

Relays

A relay is a simple electromechanical, remote control


switch.
Relays have the following parts:
- electromagnet
- armature, that can be attracted by the electromagnet
- spring
- set of electrical contacts

Contact
numbering

Note that there is a strict convention for numbering the


contacts:
86 Electromagnet winding supply
85 Electromagnet winding ground
30 Load power supply - input
87 Load power supply output, electromagnet energised 30 and 87 have continuity
87a Load power supply output, electromagnet deenergised - 30 and 87a have continuity

117

86
30

87
85
85
87a
30

86

87a
Contact
numbering

87

118

When the electromagnet is de-energised, the return spring


in the relay ensures that contacts 30 > 87a are normally
closed (NC).
Therefore, contacts 30 > 87 are normally open (NO).
Normally, the load supply circuit is to be closed when the
electromagnet is energised, so the load is connected to
87.
Because current will be flowing whenever the relay is deenergised, it is not normal for the load to be connected to
87a.
However, a load may be connected to 87a - and to 87 when the relay is being used as a changeover relay, to
switch power from one circuit to another.

119

87a

20 - 50
Amps

87
30
86

0.25
amps

85

120

Application

Operation

In general, the use of a relay is to allow a small amount of


current to switch a much larger amount of current.
For example: a switch - and the wires - to handle the
current needed for say, a heater element, would be quite
large and heavy.
It would be impractical to have such switches on the
dashboard. So, a small lightweight switch, mounted on the
dashboard, controls a remote relay.
A relay has two separate and independent circuits.
One circuit energises the electromagnet when the
lightweight switch is closed.
Once energised, the armature is attracted to the
electromagnet, and acts as a heavy duty switch to close
the load circuit.
The lightweight switch, controlling the electromagnet, may
be switching e.g. 0.25 Amps.
The armature, controlling the load, may be switching 20 50 Amps.
121

122

Resistors
Circuit symbol
Rating

Used for

Resistors are rated by two main characteristics:


- Resistance in Ohms
- Power disipation in Watts
Resistors are used to limit current or voltage.
The resistor is the most basic electronic component. In a
circuit, the resistor opposes the flow of current through
itself.
It does this by absorbing some of the electrical energy
applied to it, and disipating that energy as heat.
Therefore, the resistor provides a way of limiting, or
controlling, the amount of current that can pass through the
circuit.
A resistor is a piece of material deliberately put into a
circuit to produce a resistance of a specific value.

123

RESISTORS
Fixed

Carbon/metal oxide

Variable

Wire wound

Rheostats

Potentiometers

Thermisters

>

>

>

Symbol

124

Fixed
resistors

Carbon resistors are generally in two forms:


Carbon film resistors are formed by coating a ceramic slug
with a carbon film. The resistance value is adjusted by
cutting a helical groove in the film - the width of cut
determines the resistance.
In carbon composition resistors, carbon is mixed with a
binder - the more carbon, the lower the resistance.
typical resistors have a power rating of 0.125 - 2 W
For metal oxide resistors, a chemical like tin-chloride is
applied to a ceramic slug. These resistors often have better
temperature stability, and are typically used for the 1 - 2 W
range.

125

7W

1W

10W

0.5W

2W

0.25W

50W for heat sink mounting

0.125W

126

Fixed
resistors cont.

Power
handling

In wire wound resistors, a continuous length of resistance


wire is either wound around a former, or encased in
ceramic.
These resistors are accurate and heat stable, and are
generally used for higher power circuits, typically 2 - 50 W.
Resistors absorb power and generate heat.
The power handling of a resistor is generally determined by
its ability to disipate that heat. Maximum operating
temperatures are determined by the materials used to
make the resistor. To avoid damage, the temperature must
be kept below the maximum value by heat disipation.
If the resistor is not mounted on a heat sink, its physical
size generally determines the power rating. Larger resistors
have more surface area, and can disipate more heat than
smaller resistors.
Even large size resistors sometimes need heat disipation
improving by mounting them on a large heat sink.

127

<
+
R1

12V

LOAD

12V

128

Varying
current and
voltage
Resistors as
current
limiters

The vehicle batteries deliver a fixed voltage and current,


but not all components or circuits require - or can withstand
- full voltage or current.
Resistors can be used to limit current flow, and match it to
the load requirement.
As we have seen - Ohms law - increasing resistance
reduces current flow.
Example: battery voltage is 24 V, load requires a current of
1.5 Amps:
R = V/ I

V
I

R = 24/1.5

R = 16

To limit the current through the load to 1.5 A, R1 needs to


have a resistance of 16 Ohms.

129

<
+
R1

12V

LOAD

R2

12V

130

Resistors as
voltage
droppers

Some circuits or components may require a voltage


different from the battery output. In most cases the voltage
required is less than battery voltage.
A single resistor in series with the supply voltage will cause
a volt drop.
However, because resistors are available in specific
resistance values and tolerances, a single resistor of the
right value to obtain the required volt drop may not be
available.
A solution to this problem is to use two resistors in series R1 and R2, and use the voltage appearing across one of
them. Because this arrangement divides the battery
voltage into two parts, it is called a voltage divider.

131

<
+
R1
1000Ohms

12V

+
12V

LOAD

R2
1000 Ohms

132

Voltage drop

The voltage drop across all resistors in a series circuit will


always be equal to the supply voltage.
If R1 and R2 both have a value of 1000 Ohms, the voltage
drop across each is the same. Each resistor drops half the
supply voltage - 12V.
If there were three resistors of equal value, each would
drop one third of the supply voltage - 8V.
So, a load connected between A - the junction of the two
resistors - and B would receive a voltage of 12V.
In this case the resistors are being used to divide the
supply voltage. By selecting the correct value resistors,
voltages, different from the supply voltage, can be obtained
at the required point in the circuit.

133

Colour
Black
Brown
Red
Orange
Yellow
Green
Blue
Violet
Grey
White
Gold
Silver

1st digit
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

2nd digit
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9

Zeros
1
10
100
1,000
10,000
100,000
1,000,000
10,000,000
100,000,000
1,000,000,000
x 0.1
x 0.01

Tolerance %
+/-1%
+/-2%

+/-5%
+/-10%

134

Fixed resistor
colour codes

The reistance value of fixed resistors is indicated by a


series of coloured bands around the resistor.
There are commonly four bands, but some high precision
resistors may have five bands.
Bands one and two give the digit or number value.
Band three gives the number of zeros to be put behind the
number.
Band four gives the tolerance value as a percentage of the
given resistance.

Example

Yellow Violet
4
7

Orange
000

Gold
5%

A resisitor with this colour banding has a resistance of:


47,000 Ohms or 47k, and a tolerance of 5%.
The resisitance range is, therefore: 44.6k - 49.3k.

135

2
1

136

Variable
resistors

Variable resistor is common term used to cover a variety


of devices whose resistance can be varied, usually by
mechanical rotary or linear movement.
They have a resistance track (1), with a connection at both
ends, and a wiper (2) which moves along the track, and
also has a connection.
The track may made from carbon, a ceramic /metal
compound, a plastics material or a coil of wire.
Such devices are called rheostats or potentiometers
(pots). The terms are sometimes mixed, and the
construction and appearance may be the same, but they
are used in different ways.

Rheostats

Although all mechanical variable resistors may have three


terminals, rheostats use only two - the wiper and one end
of the track.
Rheostats control resistance and, therefore, control current
flow.

137

BRIGHT

DIM
1

138

Variable
resistors

Before solid state electronic circuits became the norm,


rheostats were typically used for lamp dimming.
Terminal - (1) is connected to the fixed end of a resistor,
and (2) to a sliding contact on the resistor.
Moving the slider towards BRIGHT places a short length of
the resistor in series with the lamp, and the lamp is bright.
Moving the slider towards DIM places a longer length of
the resistor in series with the lamp, and the lamp is
dimmer.

139

5V REF
SIGNAL

GROUND
G
Throttle position
sender
Engine control module

140

Variable
resistors
Potentiometers

Potentiometers use all three terminals.


One end of the track is fed a reference voltage, and the
other end is connected to ground.
The wiper connection carries the signal voltage collected
from the track.
Unlike a rheostat, a pot is used to vary the voltage in a
circuit.
Pots are used to measure changes in position - e.g. the
position of the throttle pedal in an electronic engine
management system.
Current flows from R, along the track to G.
The wiper measures the changing signal voltage as it
moves, and transmits this voltage to the ECM.
The closer to R the wiper is, the higher is the measured
voltage.

141

Thermister

142

Variable
resistors
Thermisters

Thermisters are resistors that change resistance as the


temperature changes.
Typical uses are - measuring coolant/oil/ air temperature.

Negative
temperature
coefficient

NTC thermisters: as temperature goes up, resistance goes


down. NTC thermisters are commonly used in automotive
applications.

Positive
temperature
coefficient

PTC thermisters: as temperature goes up, resistance goes


up.

143

5V
R2
VM

R1

Temperature sender

Engine control module

144

In the example circuit above, a regulated 5V is fed to one


connection of thermister pellet R1, via R2.
As the engine warms up, the resistance of NTC thermister
R1 goes down.
This results in a decreased volt drop across R1, and an
increased volt drop across R2 - R2 now uses more voltage.
The increased volt drop across R2 results in a lower
voltage - VM - measured by the monitor circuit, which is
seen by the ECM as an increase in engine temperature.

145

Polarity sensitive capacitors - large values, 1uF +


+
+
+

10uF
63V

220uF
25V

Electrolytic

10u

Tantalum bead

Non polarity sensitive capacitors - small values , up to 1uF


0.1 M

0.1 uF

102

1st number = 1st digit


2nd number = 2nd digit
3rd number = number of 0s

1000 pF

146

Capacitors
Circuit symbol

Polarity
sensitive

Non polarity
sensitive

Rating

Capacitors are rated by capacitance and voltage.


Capacitance is expressed in Farads, but a farad is a very
large value of capacitance, so most common values are
expressed as fractions of a farad:
- e.g. one millionth of farad is a micro-farad shown
as 1 uF

Used for

Capacitors are used:


- to smooth varying DC supplies - voltage peaks are
absorbed, and voltage dips are filled.
- with resistors in timing circuits.
- in filter circuits because capacitors easily pass AC
signals, but block DC signals.
- to store charge for instantaneous release - e.g. a camera
flash.

147

148

In a way, a capacitor is similar to a small battery - they both


store energy. A battery stores chemical energy: a capacitor
stores electrical energy.
Like a battery, a capacitor has two terminals.
Inside the capacitor, the terminals are connected to two
metal plates. The plates are separated by an insulating
material called a dielectric. The dielectric can be air,
plastic, paper or anything that does not conduct electricity.
In the circuit above, a capacitor is connected to a battery via
a switch. At the instant the switch is closed, electrons are
attracted from the positive plate to the battery positive. The
same number are pushed into the negative plate from the
battery negative terminal.

149

DANGER

Although not usually found in automotive applications,


large capacitors can store a potentially lethal charge, which
can be dumped instantaneously if certain components or
connections are touched.
Such large capacitors are found in flash units and TV sets,
and warning labels usually warn against inexpert handling.

150

The initial charging rate is very fast, but slows down the
more the capacitor is charged.
In small capacitors, the complete charging process
happens almost instantaneously.
Enough electrons move into and out of the capacitor to
make the voltage equal to the battery voltage.
The positive plate now has a shortage of electrons, and the
negative plated has an excess of electrons - the capacitor
is now charged.
Because there is no current path between the plates, the
charge remains on the plates even after the switch is
opened.
If the capacitor is now removed from the circuit, and the
terminals connected together, the stored charge will be
released in a fraction of a second.

151

+
C1

C2

C3

Four capacitors in parallel

C1

C2

C3

C4

C4

Four capacitors in series

152

The total capacitance of capacitors in parallel and series


circuits is the opposite of that for resistors.

Capacitors in
parallel

The total capacitance of capacitors in parallel is the sum of


all capacitors:
C total = C1 + C2 + C3 + C4

Capacitors in
series

The total capacitance of capacitors in series is the sum of


the reciprocals of all capacitors:
C total =

1 +
C1

1
+ 1 +
C2
C3

1
C4

153

154

Diodes

>

Circuit symbol
<

Used for

permitted direction of <


electron flow

Note - that the arrow


head points against the
direction of electron flow,
but in the direction of
conventional current
flow.

Diodes are used for:


- protection against incorrect polarity connections.
- changing - rectifying - AC current to DC current, e.g. in
an alternator.
- protection against voltage spikes, e.g. connected to a
relay to prevent arcing when contacts open.
The most common type of diode is the semiconductor
diode, made from silicon.

155

>
+

>

< permitted direction <


of electron flow

< permitted direction <


of electron flow

+
+

Current flows - diode is


forward biased

Current cannot flow - diode is


reverse biased

156

Forward/
reverse bias

One way valve

A diode in a simple battery/lamp circuit will either allow or


prevent current flow - depending on the polarity of supply
voltage.
When the supply voltage polarity is arranged so that
electrons can flow from the negative terminal of the battery
through the diode in the permitted direction, the diode is
forward biased, and allows current flow.
When the supply voltage polarity is reversed, the diode is
reverse biased, and no current can flow.
Diodes can be regarded as one-way valves or check
valves.
Like check valves, diodes are essentially pressure
operated devices - voltage being the operating pressure.

157

0.7 V

>

>

>

>

>

>

24 V

+
12V

12V

<

<

+
0.0 V

23.3 V

<

<

12V

12V

Forward biased

Reverse biased

158

The essential difference between forward bias and reverse


bias is the polarity of the voltage dropped across the diode.
When the diode is forward biased and conducting current,
a small amount of voltage is dropped across it - this being
the voltage expended to push the current through the diode
- approx 0.7 V.
So, most of the voltage is dropped across the lamp.

Diode marking

When the diode is reverse biased, it drops all of the voltage


and leaves none for the lamp.
Cathode
Anode

>

The cathode end of the diode is marked by a stripe, spot or


raised marker.
Some diodes may have code of coloured stripes, which can
be used to identify the device type from an identification
system for semiconductors.

159

160

Measurements & Tests


161

Multimeter
Display

Push buttons

Rotary switch

Input terminals

162

Using a
multimeter

Display

Push buttons

Rotary switch

Input terminals

Multimeters - like the model used and recommended by


Volvo Technical Training - can be set to measure several
types of electrical signal.
The result of the measurement is shown on the display.

Push buttons select different functions.

The rotary switch is used to select the type of signal to be


measured.
The probe connecting leads are plugged into the input
terminals, according to the signal to be measured.

163

164

Wire sizing chart

165

Multipliers
Tera
Giga
Mega
Kilo

T
G
M
K

-----

(Unit)

milli
micro
nano
pico

m
u
n
p

1,000,000,000,000
1,000,000,000
1,000,000
1,000

1/1,000
1/1,000,000
1/1,000,000,000
1/1,000,000,000,000

166

Formula
wheel

VxI
2

V
R
I2 x R
IxR

PxR

V
R

P
V
P
R

Watts Amps
P
I
R
V
Volts Ohms

P
I

P
I2

V2
P
V
I
167

168