Core Components of a Vehicle’s Electrical System

The electrical system of every vehicle is made up of four primary components. These parts include the battery, alternator, starter, and connectors. While a malfunction in any of these components can render a vehicle useless, there are some common problems that everyone should be aware of. Having a basic level of understanding relating to these problems could save you a trip to your local auto electrician.

The battery is the heart and soul of every vehicle. Without a functional battery, an automobile would not be able to store the electricity it needs in order to start and continue running. The point here is that a vehicle is completely useless without a battery that is operating well. If you have ever hopped in your car and turned the ignition switch only to find that the car does not respond at all then you have probably been the victim of a dead battery.

A dead battery can result from a variety of causes that everyone should be familiar with. First, a battery could have an internal malfunction that has occurred as a result of faulty production or because the battery has simply gotten old. In this case, the battery simply needs to be replaced. If you have a voltmeter, then you can quickly assess if the battery is maintaining a charge by placing the probes on the positive and negative leads. A healthy battery should have a charge of 10 to 12 volts.

When evaluating the battery, it is important to remember that many electrical malfunctions are caused by a problem with connecting wires. Before checking the charge in the battery, be sure to confirm that the connecting leads are secure and free of corrosion. A loose connection or a corroded wire could be the source of your dead battery. This makes for an easy repair and money saved.

Another reason the battery may have died is because of a faulty alternator. The alternator’s job is to maintain the electrical charge while the vehicle is operational. If the alternator is not functioning correctly, then the battery will lose its charge and will eventually die. Common signs of a deteriorating alternator are light dimming and stalling while stopped at a traffic light or stop sign. A voltmeter attached to the battery should read 12 to 14 volts while the vehicle is running if the alternator is working properly.

If your electrical system problem relates to an accessory such as a car stereo or is isolated to a series of lights then you may have a fuse that has been blown. Using your vehicle manual, you can easily locate the source of the problem in the fuse compartment and replace the bad fuse with a new one of equal amperage. This process should correct the problem for very low cost. If the new fuse burns out quickly, then you likely have a bigger problem on your hands that should be evaluated by your local auto electrician.

The common electrical problems discussed here can typically be assessed and repaired by the average consumer for very low cost. If you suspect that the malfunction involves anything more complex than the battery, the alternator, or a fuse, then you are probably better off seeking assistance from an expert. Attempting to repair a complex electrical problem on your own can lead to more damage and can end up costing a lot of money.

A detailed understanding of automotive systems can help you make more informed decisions about how to handle common malfunctions. The information provided here will give you a basic understanding of how the electrical system works so that you can engage in a more informed conversation with your local auto electrician. Most industry professionals are happy to help you understand your options when it comes to automotive service and repair.

Hybrid Electric Vehicle – Down to the Parts

With all the great news from the auto industry introducing another hybrid vehicle or another electric vehicle, this article explores a bit what such vehicles are made of. What are the differences with the conventional petrol car and what might the future hold for them?

The first difference you see these days is that both the electric vehicle and the hybrid vehicle come with a plug to charge it at home; the conventional vehicle has not. The conventional vehicle also has no electric engine to power the wheels or a large battery to power this engine. The conventional car of course does have a battery, but that is just used for starting the internal combustion engine and it acts as a buffer for the electrical systems used. Power in the conventional vehicle is generated by the combustion engine.

For an electric vehicle, there are two main components: the electric motor and the battery. The electric motor is the one to power the wheels of the vehicle and the battery is used to bring along energy for the trip. They almost all have the option of regenerative braking, which allows one to recover energy when slowing down and charging the battery a little while doing so. This is a great method to increase the overall efficiency for a vehicle! Further more there is often a special battery management system (BMS) which ensures the battery is kept at the right temperature and is not charged or discharged in a way that can damage the battery.

For a hybrid vehicle there are a few more main components: besides the electric motor and the battery, there is also an onboard power source like the conventional combustion engine (but also a fuel cell is used for example). Additionally, there is a system that somehow connects the power from the battery and the for example combustion engine and gets it to the wheels. There are many ways to do this last step, the simplest being that the combustion engine would be used as a generator to power the electric motor with electricity. Excess electricity is stored in the battery for future use. Another method is to have a special gear set combine the mechanical power from the combustion engine and the electric engine and get them to the wheels. There are also manufacturers who power one set of wheels with the combustion engine and the other set of wheels with the electric engine. A big advantage of the hybrid vehicle is that it can use the very efficient electric engine at lower speeds (for example urban areas) and the combustion engine for extra power on the highways or for extra range.

To sum it up, an electric vehicle consists of:

– Electric Engine
– Battery

A hybrid vehicle consists of:

– Electric Engine
– Battery
– Energy source (internal combustion engine, fuel cell, etc)

The disadvantages of the electric vehicle and the hybrid are mostly the cost. Compared to the conventional car they can cost more to purchase. This has two main reasons; the first being that the conventional car is mass-manufactured which makes it cheaper (compare one million units produces versus one thousand units produced) and the second is the current price of batteries. Batteries at the moment are the biggest cost within the vehicle, the larger your battery is, the larger the cost is in the total price of the vehicle.

Another disadvantage which currently mostly applies to the electric vehicle, is the range it can cover. Current vehicles are of such a weight and their batteries can only hold a certain amount of power. Comparing the electric vehicle to a conventional petrol car they can cover a lot less ground on a full charge or tank. The first argument to counter this disadvantage is that most people do not drive distances that can not be covered by an electric vehicle. Current electric vehicles can cover about double or four times the daily distance required by many people! However, there are three movements currently helping to overcome the range anxiety problem. The first is the battery manufacturer, which improves the technology so that the battery will weigh less and can contain more power. The second is the charging industry, where solutions are found in fast charging. Conventional charging can take up to eight hours to charge your vehicle. The goal is to reduce this to an acceptable amount of mere minutes. The third force is heading for battery swapping; much like a petrol station, an electric vehicle can swap the empty battery for a fully charged one.

For the future of the electric vehicle and the hybrid there are many options, the most popular ones are:

– Fuel Cells
– Fast Charging of batteries
– Better batteries that weigh less and hold more power
– Battery swapping stations
– New car design options

Lots to expect from the electric vehicle and the hybrid vehicle!

The Basic Technical Specification Of RC Electric Vehicles Simplified For Beginners

When you are browsing RC automobiles online and decide to check the details of an RC electric vehicle that you are interested in (let’s suppose it is an high speed on road racing car), this is what you will likely be presented with, if you are on a quality, customer-focussed website, that is:

– SP28404 brushless motor
– SP28405 brushless electronic speed control
– Anodized aluminium centre drive joint
– Compact front/rear differentials
– Suspension arms with adjustable Width
– Anodized aluminium radio tray
– Solid shock towers and front/rear bumper
– High quality on-road tires with chrome sprayed rims
– 7.2v 1100mah Ni-Mh battery power required
– 7.2v 1500mah Ni-Mh battery or 7.4v 1300mah lithium battery pack is optional
– Anodized aluminium motor heat guard
– High duty front bumper foam provides
– Vehicle length: 265 mm
– Vehicle Width: 140 mm
– Height: 80 mm
– Wheelbase: 174 mm
– Track Width: 77 mm (F/R)
– Gear Ratio: 10.6:1
– Ground Clearance: 8mm
– Net Weight: 790g
– Wheel Diameter: 49mm
– Wheel Width: 18mm

How do you make head or tail of this fairly detailed specification for your rc electric vehicle, without it resulting in your eyes glazing over? Help is at hand right here. Let us go through these features one by one and you will be overjoyed with enlightenment.

SP28404 brushless motor
This is the latest, more advanced, powerful type of motor, which is reflected in the overall (higher) starting price of the automobile in which it is fitted. The benefits to you are a potentially speedier, more dynamically efficient RC vehicle, with the added bonus that it should be simpler to maintain. RC automobiles with brushed motors however, are the classic, conventional types.

SP28405 brushless electronic speed control
The RC electric vehicle’s speed is regulated with an electronic speed controller (abbreviated to ESC). This is the component that controls the drive motor mentioned above, together with the general electronics. Most automobiles come integrated with the motor and ESC, but are separate purchases in the more enhanced set-ups.

Anodized aluminium centre drive joint
More commonly known as the RC electric vehicle’s drive shaft, this is the central rod that runs from the front to the rear of the automobile. Being made of aluminium makes it lighter without compromising on the vehicle’s overall stability and sturdiness.

Compact front/rear differentials
A differential is a device that in most cases incorporates gears and is designed to drive each pair of front and rear wheels with equal force, but still allows the wheels to rotate at different speeds. Differentials on good electric vehicles are high performance.

Suspension arms with adjustable Width
The suspension arms provide your RC vehicle with powerful cushioning, as in a conventional car. Being adjustable allows the vehicle to be driven at optimum suspension on different terrains, especially when running over bumpy or rocky ground and when turning corners.

Anodized aluminium radio tray
This is tray that houses the in-built radio receiver in your RC vehicle. Being anodized gives it increased corrosion and wear resistance, making it harder than bare aluminium.

Solid shock towers and front/rear bumper
Integrated with the suspension system, the shock towers provide a damping effect on the overall vehicle suspension.

High quality on-road tires with chrome sprayed rims
The specification for this RC electric vehicle relates to an on road racing car. The makeup of the tires is important here. It is like differentiating between a mountain bike, with its thick, knobbly, high-friction tires and a road bike, with its slimmer, low-friction tires and a less prominent tread. It all comes down to performance requirements on the terrain that the RC vehicle was designed/intended to run on. The chrome rims adds a splash of quicksilver that finishes off the wheels nicely.

7.2v 1100mAh Ni-Mh battery power (required), 7.2v 1500mah Ni-Mh battery or 7.4v 1300mah lithium battery pack (optional)
7.2-volt nickel cadmium batteries are standard power sources, often referred to as battery packs. Although they are identical in size, they differ in capacities ranging up to 3700mAh typically. As the battery pack is extra, it is advisable to go for the largest capacity that you can afford, if you desire more running time (the downside is that you’ll need more time to charge it up).

Anodized aluminium motor heat guard
Unsurprisingly, your RC electric vehicle’s motor will get very hot. The guard thankfully provides protection against heat, which results from high speed running.

High duty front bumper foam
As with conventional, real-world automobiles, the front foam bumper needs to deliver maximum protection to your RC vehicle against impacts.

Vehicle dimensions
Length, width, height, ground clearance, net weight, wheel diameter and wheel width are self-explanatory.
Your RC electric vehicle’s wheelbase will be the length from the leading edge of its front wheels to the trailing edge of its rear wheels.

Track
Track refers to track width, the distance between the center of the left tire and the center of the right tire.

Gear Ratio
This is the relationship between the numbers of teeth on two gears that are meshed or two sprockets connected with a common roller chain, or the circumferences of two pulleys connected with a drive belt.

So, there you have it. We’ve just covered some of the basic technical terms that you are likely to come across when you are enjoying your time shopping for your future RC electric vehicles. Whatever you do, don’t be fazed by these terms – think of it as an educational experience, a journey of discovery that is a part of your enjoyment of RC electric vehicles.

What is an Electric Vehicle Conversion Specialist

Electric vehicle conversion refers to the modification of a conventional internal combustion engine or the ICR driven vehicle to one that is battery electric propulsion, thus creating a battery electric vehicle.

The career outlook for an Electric Vehicle Conversion Specialist is good. They make on average $39-$59 thousand a year. Electric vehicles are quickly becoming a mainstay in the auto arena.

Many major automobile manufacturers in the US have started performing ICE conversions, but due to lack of consumer demand, the programs had been terminated. However, a few re-builders specializing in electric car conversion have started offering new or remanufactured conversion to satisfy the limited demand. One major reason for the rather low demand is the high price of completed vehicles, which can double the price of a comparable ICE vehicle.

Why It’s Green

People who have owned and used electric vehicles points out that the ranges of these cars are adequate, and that it is more convenient to simply plug the car for charging rather than driving to get some gas. Aside from these, electric vehicles are also quiet if not totally silent and they are non-polluting because they use renewable energy rather than gas, which produces air pollutants.

Professional and Personal Qualities

Generally, people without experience or modest knowledge in mechanics and electrical devices should not attempt to maintain or operate a ‘home made’ electric vehicle.

A career as Electric Vehicle Conversion Specialist is hard to come by in most states due to the lack of demand for electric vehicles. But in some places, and where companies manufacture electric vehicles, an electric car conversion specialist may be highly demanded.

Skills and Trainings

If you are planning to become an electric vehicle conversion specialist, you need a wide range of skills to be able to perform your duties. For instance, you’d need to have knowledge on automobile surveying and be able to identify problems in potential conversion vehicles. Such skill will be required to identify and purchase a good used ICE vehicle and will come handy especially when the conversion is done by another builder.

Aside from that, basic mechanics knowledge is also required as a builder should be able to manufacture small brackets for mounting sensors, switches and relays. Some other required skills and training for would-be electric car conversion specialists should include machine shop skills, welding, automotive mechanics, basic electric skills, as well as basic electronic skills.