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EFI Tuning Fundamentals: Fundamental Electronics

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Fundamental Electronics

04.34

00:00 - I'll start this section of the course by saying that this isn't an electronics course and you definitely don't need to be an electronics engineer in order to be able to tune an engine.
00:09 In a perfect world everything that we do as engine tuners can be done from the comfort of a laptop keyboard.
00:15 But in reality this isn't always the case.
00:18 Often we'll encounter problems with the engine or ECU we're tuning and from time to time we need to actually stop, put down the laptop, fault find and diagnose these problems.
00:28 This wasn't such an ordeal back in the day of the carburetor because the tuner already had their hands dirty and the tuning process required the use of normal mechanics tool kit.
00:38 With EFI we have the advantage of sitting in the comfort of the driver's seat with our laptop.
00:43 This, however, can breed laziness on the part of the tuner.
00:47 When something isn't quite right we tend to try and fix it with the laptop, not wanting to abandon our cosy station and get our hands dirty.
00:55 This mindset can however end up wasting a lot of time when the issue needs mechanical attention.
01:02 In my experience, nine times out of 10 the sort of problems that we need to diagnose and fix while we have a car on the Dyno are a result of wiring issues or sensor faults and in this case a basic understanding of electronics can be useful.
01:17 The three terms that you need to understand in this module are Voltage, Current and Resistance.
01:23 So let's discuss each of these in detail.
01:26 Voltage is measured in Volts and has the symbol V.
01:30 Voltage is defined as the electrical potential difference between two points in a circuit.
01:35 Which sounds confusing.
01:37 I like to think of Voltage as the electrical pressure in a circuit.
01:41 This pressure gives a circuit the potential to move an electrical current between two points.
01:46 The higher the Voltage, the easier it is to move the charge through the circuit.
01:51 Current is measured in Amps and has the symbol I.
01:55 Current represents the flow of electrical charge through the circuit.
02:00 The Current in a circuit depends on the Voltage and the Resistance, but we'll look at this interaction shortly.
02:06 Resistance is measured in Ohms and has the symbol Ω.
02:11 Resistance is defined as the opposition to flow of an electrical charge through a circuit.
02:16 So the more Resistance a circuit has, the less current will flow.
02:20 Since these terms can be difficult to get your head around I find it's easier to think of them using an analogy that's a little easier to understand.
02:28 Let's think of our electrical circuit as a simple garden hose and examine the different components and how they fit into this example.
02:36 Firstly, we have the Voltage.
02:39 This could be thought of as the tap.
02:41 The more the tap is opened, the higher the Voltage and the more water will flow through the hose.
02:46 The flow of water through the hose is the Current in our circuit.
02:50 And the diameter of the hose is the Resistance of the circuit.
02:54 Now we've defined these terms you can better understand how changing one part will affect the others.
02:59 Let's consider what happens when the tap is opened further.
03:02 This is the same as increasing the Voltage in the circuit.
03:05 More water will obviously flow through the hose, which means the Current increases.
03:10 Alternatively we could've left the tap alone and attached a hose with a larger diameter.
03:15 Which is the same a reducing the Resistance.
03:18 This larger hose would also allow more water to flow.
03:21 Clearly Voltage, Current and Resistance are tied closely together and changing one will affect the others.
03:28 The interaction between them is described by Ohms Law which is shown here.
03:33 V is the Voltage, I is the Current and R is the Resistance in the circuit.
03:38 One of the most important parts to keep in mind is that the flow of Current through a wire or a circuit produces heat.
03:45 The higher the Current, the more heat is produced.
03:47 This heat has some potential bad side effects in an electrical system though, as it can cause components to melt and fail if it gets high enough.
03:56 So at this point you should now understand what the terms Voltage, Current and Resistance mean, what their symbols are nnd how they relate to each other through Ohms Law.
04:05 This section is a very basic overview of electronics and we can't do justice to the entire topic inside this course.
04:13 If you want a more detailed understanding of the wiring of a modern EFI system, I'd recommend checking out our Wiring Fundamentals course and from there you can move onto our club level or professional motorsport practical wiring courses to learn how to put all of that knowledge to use.