Vehicle electrical systems can be found on boats, airplanes, ships, house trailers and light/heavy duty vehicles and machinery. It embraces all kind of electrical installations, wiring and cables, as well as the battery, generator and starter.
A vehicle electrical system powers everything from the ignition, starting, and fuel systems to various accessories such as radio electronics, headlights and wipers. The electrical system is in turn powered by the engine via the alternator and battey. These are the three key components to the electrical system:
When the vehicle engine is off, the battery provides the required power for radio presets, the clock, and computer memory. It also provides power for the starter to crank the engine when starting. Depending on the ampere rating of the alternator, the battery may also supplement the power from the charging system during periods of high demand.
- Charging System
This is the heart of the electrical system. The charging system is a belt-driven alternator. The alternator is designed to supply enough current to power all the electrical accessories in the vehicle and simultaneously produce enough extra current to keep the battery fully charged.
- Starting System
This system requires high short time electrical power on start up of the vehicle. The starting system consists of three components which work in tandem: the ignition switch, the starter relay or solenoid, and the starter motor. The ignition switch controls the starter solenoid, which in turn activates the starter motor. The starter motor then turns the engine until the vehicle starts.