The schematic diagram shows, by means of graphic symbols, the electrical connections and functions of a specific circuit arrangement. The schematic diagram is used to trace the circuit and its functions without regard to the actual physical size, shape, or location of the component devices or parts. The schematic diagram is the most useful of all the diagrams in learning overall system operation.
Figure 3-10 is a schematic diagram of an automobile electrical system. The automobile electrical system uses the frame of the automobile as a conductor. The frame is called the ground side.
Figure 3-10 shows all the electrical components grounded on one side. The negative side of the battery is also grounded. Therefore, the frame is the negative conductor of the system. The opposite side of each of the components is connected through switches to the positive side of the battery. For the purpose of teaching schematic reading, we will discuss only the lighting system and engine instruments.
Figure 3-10 - Schematic diagram.
The positive side of the 12-volt battery is connected to the starter solenoid, then to terminal B of the voltage regulator, and then down to point (1). (It should be noted that points (1), (2), (3), and so on, normally are not indicated on the schematic. They are shown here only to help you follow the diagram.) Therefore, if no faults are in the system, point (1) has a 12-volt positive potential at all times. This positive potential can be traced through the fuse to the OFF position of the light switch. The dashed line indicates the mechanical linkage of the switch. When the switch is pulled to the first position (park), +12 volts are applied to point (2). It can now be seen that the tail lights (T), the tag light, the side panel lights, and the instrument lights have +12 volts applied. The opposite side of each light is grounded. The instrument panel lights are grounded through the dimming rheostat. This completes the path for current flow from the negative side of the battery, through all the light bulbs (lamps), back to the positive side of the battery. If no faults exist, the lamps will light.
When the light switch is pulled to the next position (on), the bar on the switch contacts the "off," "park," and "on" contacts of the switch. The lights that were illuminated before are still on, and the + 12 volt potential is now applied to the bright (B) side of the headlights through the dimmer switch. Since the headlights are also grounded on one side, there is now a complete path for current flow, and the headlights also light. If the dimmer switch is actuated, the positive potential is switched from the bright filament to the dim filament of the headlights, and the lights dim.
The brake-light switch has +12 volts applied from point (1), directly to the stop lights (not fused). If the brake pedal is pressed, the switch is actuated, and the +12 volts are applied to both stop lights (S). Because one side of each light is tied to ground, there is a path for current flow, and the lights will light. If the dimming rheostat for the instrument lights is turned in the direction that increases the resistance, more voltage is dropped across the rheostat, less across the lights, and the lights will get dimmer.
The +12 volts at point (1) are also supplied to the OFF position of the ignition switch. When the ignition switch is turned on, the +12 volts are felt at point (3). This is a common point to all the engine instruments.
The gas gauge is a galvanometer with the dial graduated according to the amount of fuel in the tank. The gas gauge tank unit is a rheostat mechanically linked to a float in the gas tank. When the tank is full, the float rises to its highest level and positions the movable arm of the rheostat to a position of minimum resistance. This allows maximum current flow through the galvanometer, and the dial rests at the "full" mark on the gas gauge. As fuel is used by the engine, the float lowers, increasing the resistance of the rheostat to ground. This reduces the current through the galvanometer, and the dial shows a lesser amount of fuel.
The oil-pressure light gets its ground through a normally closed pressure switch. (When no pressure is applied, the switch is closed.) When the engine is started, the oil pressure increases and opens the switch. This turns the light off by removing the ground.
The water-temperature gauge is a galvanometer like the gas gauge, except its dial is graduated in degrees of temperature. The water-temperature element is a thermistor with a negative temperature coefficient. (A thermistor is a semiconductor device whose resistance varies with temperature.) When the engine is cold, the resistance of the thermistor is at a maximum. This reduces the current through the galvanometer, and a low temperature is indicated on the dial. As the water temperature of the engine increases, the resistance of the thermistor decreases. This allows more current to flow from ground through the galvanometer, and the temperature on the dial shows an increase.
On the voltage regulator shown, the "T" terminal is grounded anytime the alternator does not have an output. This gives the alternator light a ground and causes it to illuminate.
Q.10 What type of diagram is the most useful in learning the overall operation of a