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Old 04-27-2006, 06:29 PM
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*glossary Of Basic Electrical Terms*

*************************GLOSSARY OF ELECTRICAL TERMS**************************

The Following is a Glossary of BASIC Electrical terms as it applies to Vehicles..

If your not sure of a proper name , to Avoid confusion, look it up here. It is here to Aid you in your postings, and make your meaning clear to those attempting to offer help.

If you have something to ADD that I missed, OR you feel is in error.. PM me with it and the definition and I will add it to the list!

************************************************** ************************
  • ALTERNATOR: a device for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy
  • AMMETER: An Instrument Calibrated in AMPERES, used to measure the flow of current in an electrical circuit. Ammeters are ALWAYS connected in SERIES with the circuit under test.
  • AMPERE: The rate of flow of electrical current present when one volt of electrical pressure is applied against one ohm of electrical resistance.
  • ANALOG COMPUTER: Any microprocessor that uses similar (Analogous) electric signals to make it's calculations.
  • ARMATURE: A laminates soft iron core wrapped by a wire that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy, as in a motor or relay. When rotated in a magnetic field, It changes mechanical energy into electrical energy as in a generator.
  • BAKELITE: A heat resistant, plastic insulator material commonly used in printed circuit boards and transistorized Components.
  • BALLAST RESISTOR: A resistor in the primary ignition circuit that lowers the voltage after the engine is started to reduce wear on the ignition components.
  • BI METAL TEMPERATURE SENDER: Any sensor of switch made of two dissimilar types of metal that bend when heated or cooled due to the different expansion rates of the alloys. These types of sensors usually act as on/Off switches.
  • CAPACITANCE: The property of a capacitor or other device to hold a charge. It is measured in Farads.
  • CAPACITOR: A device that stores an electrical charge.
  • CIRCUIT: Any unbroken path through which an electrical current can flow.
  • CIRCUIT BREAKER: A switch which protects an electrical circuit from overload by opening the circuit when the current flow exceeds a predetermined level.Some circuit breakers must be reset manually, while most reset automatically.
  • COIL IGNITION: A transformer in the ignition circuit which steps up the voltage provided to the spark plugs.
  • CONDENSER: An electrical device which acts to store an electrical charge, preventing surges.
  • CONDUCTOR Any material through which an electrical current may be transmitted easily.
  • CONTINUITY:Continuous or complete circuit. Can be checked with an Ohm meter.
  • DIODE: An electrical device that will allow current flow in one direction only.
  • ELECTRONIC CONTROL UNIT: Ignition module, module,amplifier or igniter.
  • ELECTRONIC IGNITION: A system in which the timing and firing of the spark plugs is controlled by an electronic control unit, usually called a module. These systems have no points or condenser.
  • FUSE; a protective device in a circuit which protects circuit overload by breaking the circuit when a specific amperage is present. The device is constructed around a strip of wire of a lower amperage rating than the circuit it is designed to protect. When an amperage higher than the rated fuse is present in the fuse in the circuit the strip of wire melts, opening the circuit.
  • GENERATOR: A device which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
  • INDUCTION: A means of transferring electrical energy in the form of a magnetic field. Principle used in the ignition coil to increase voltage.
  • MODULE; Electronic control unit, amplifier or igniter of a solid state or integrated design which controls the current flow in the ignition primary circuit based on input from the pickup coil. When the module opens the primary circuit , high secondary voltage is induced in the coil.
  • OHM:The unit used to measure the resistance of a conductor to electrical flow . One ohm is the amount of resistance that limits current flow to one ampere in a circuit of one volt pressure.
  • OHMMETER: An instrument used in measuring the resistance in ohms in an electrical circuit.
  • OXYGEN SENSOR: used with the feedback system to sense the presence of oxygen in the exhaust gas and signal the computer which can reference the voltage signal to an air fuel ratio.
  • PRIMARY CIRCUIT: The low voltage side of the ignition switch, ballast resistor, resistor wire,bypass coil, electronic control unit and pickup coil, as well as the connecting wires and harnesses.
  • REGULATOR: A device which maintains the amperage and/or Voltage levels of a circuit at predetermined values.
  • RELAY: A switch which automatically opens and/or closes a circuit.
  • RESISTANCE: The opposition to the flow of current through a circuit or electrical device, and measured in ohms.Resistance is equal to the voltage divided by the amperage.
  • RESISTOR:A device, usually made of wire, which offers a predetermined amount of resistance in an electrical circuit.
  • ROTOR:A device mounted on top the distributer shaft which passes current to the distributer cap tower contacts.
  • SECONDARY CIRCUIT: The high voltage side of the ignition system, usually above 20,000 Volts. The secondary includes the Ignition coil , coil wire, distributer cap, rotor, spark plug wires and spark plugs.
  • SENDING UNIT:A mechanical, Electrical , hydraulic, or electro~magnetic device which transmits information to a gauge.
  • SENSOR:A device designed to measure engine operating conditions or ambient pressures and temperatures. Usually electronic in nature and designed to send a voltage signal to an on-board computer, Some sensors may operate as a simple on/off switch or they may provide a variable range of voltage signal (like a potentiometer) as conditions of measured parameters change.
  • SOLENOID: A coil used to produce a magnetic field The result of which, is used to do useful mechanical work.
  • SPARK PLUG: A device screwed into the combustion chamber of a spark ignition engine. The basic construction is a conductive core inside a ceramic insulator, mounted in an outer conductive base An Electrical Charge from the spark plug wire travels along the conductive core and jumps across a preset air gap to a grounding point or points at the end of the conductive base. The resultant spark ignites the air/Fuel mixture in the combustion chamber.
  • TACHOMETER: A device used to measure the rotary speed of an engine, shaft, gear, Etc., Usually in revolutions per minute.
  • THERMOSTAT: A valve located in the cooling system of an engine, which is closed when cold and gradually opens in response to engine heating, controlling the temperature of the coolant and the rate of coolant flow.
  • TRANSDUCER: A device used to change a force into an electrical signal.
  • TRANSISTOR: a semi~conductor component which can be actuated by a small voltage to perform a voltage switching function.
  • TUNE~UP: A regular maintenance function usually associated with the replacement and adjustment of parts and components in the electrical and fuel systems of a vehicle for the purposes of obtaining optimum performance.
  • VOLTMETER: An instrument used for measuring electrical force in units called volts. Voltmeters are always connected in parallel with the circuit being tested.
  • WATTS: The standard unit of measurement of electrical power. One watt is one ampere of current flowing at one volt. Watts are typically rated as AMPS x VOLTS or VOLT-AMP (V-A). However, this rating is only equivalent to watts when it applies to devices that absorb all the energy, such as electric heating coils or incandescent light bulbs. With computer power supplies, the actual watt rating is only 60% to 70% of the VOLT-AMP rating.

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Old 04-28-2006, 07:21 PM
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Thanks for glossary. Good job.

I hope they use it.

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Old 04-28-2006, 07:27 PM
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Doc here,


I hope It will aid in knowing what to ask for in a post to avoid Confusion.

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