Spark Plugs, Fuses, and Other Electrical Components

 
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One of the key aspects of a motor vehicle is its electrical components. Without functional parts like spark plugs, fuses, starters, and batteries, there would be no ignition or movement of the vehicle whatsoever. These parts working in tandem with the mechanical and chemical aspects of a car’s machinery is what makes everything work. These mechanical aspects can be a little difficult to understand. But don’t worry, LoanMart is here to give a brief rundown of some of these parts, and how they work.

Fuses

A fuse is a small device that is used to protect the wiring and other electrical equipment that is inside the engine of the vehicle. They are usually rated for circuits that are no higher than 32 volts direct current, but there are some types of fuses that are rated for 42-volt electrical systems. Automotive fuses are some times used in non-automotive electrical products as well.

In most cases, a vehicle will have two fuse panels. The fuse panel that is in the engine compartment will hold the fuses for important devices such as the anti-lock brake pump, cooling fans, and the engine control unit. These fuses are all located in the engine compartment. The other fuse panel (which tends to be located in the dashboard by the knees of the driver) holds fuses for all of the switches and devices that are located in the passenger side compartment.

Spark Plugs

A spark plug is a device that is designed to deliver an electric current from the vehicle’s ignition system to the combustion chamber of a spark-ignition engine. The electric current ignites the compressed fuel/air mixture by way of an electric spark while managing to contain the combustion pressure inside the engine.

Essentially, the spark plug is the key part in getting your car started and on the move. It starts the chemical reaction that brings an engine to life. Without it, you are not able to be go anywhere at all.

Battery

The automotive battery is a rechargeable battery that will give an electrical current to the vehicle. The main purpose of the battery is to feed the starter, which starts the vehicle’s engine. From there, the power is supplied to the systems of the vehicle by way of the alternator.

Usually, starting a vehicle will discharge less than 3% of the capacity of the battery. Because of this, automotive batteries are designed to give maximum current for a short amount of time. These kinds of batteries are, from time to time, referred to as SLI batteries (Starting, Lighting, and Ignition). SLI batteries are not meant for deep discharging, as  a full discharge can reduce the lifespan of the battery.

Alternator

An alternator (which gets its name from the term “alternating current”) is a component that is used in modern vehicles to power the electrical system when the engine is running. It is used to supply power to the vehicle, instead of the battery, once it has been started and is steadily running.

The alternator will generate power for many of the electrical components of the vehicle, such as the exterior and interior lights, as well as the instrument panel. Alternators are usually found near the front of the engine and are driven by the crankshaft. This converts the up and down movement of the pistons into a circular movement which generates power.

Starter

The battery might be what supplies power to the vehicle when it is started, but it is the starter that actually gets the engine moving and ready to go. The battery of the vehicle gives the starter motor power, so it rotates the flywheel,  which then turns the crankshaft and makes the pistons of the engine start moving. The starter is one of the most important vehicle parts to  keep in good working order. It is another key component that makes a vehicle’s engine start.

Voltage Regulator

A vehicle’s voltage regulator is a system that automatically maintains a constant level of voltage. It can be found in or outside of the housing of the alternator. The voltage regulator is a small modern microelectronic part that will control the electric field current that is being given to the spinning rotator inside the alternator. If there is presently no electric current being given to the field, there will be no voltage whatsoever produced from the alternator. If the voltage goes down below 13.5 volts, the regulator will give an electric current to the field, and the alternator will begin charging.

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