Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering - Leading Process and Product Improvement

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IME 3250 - Automotive Electrical Systems

Catalog Description:

The study and simulation of electrical power production, regeneration, storage, use, and control in current and alternative automobiles and trucks. Focus on the wide variety of electronic operational enhancements as they aid vehicle, safety, comfort, with the reduction of emission, fuel consumption, driver effort, and skill. The manufacture of components and systems, interaction with other systems, efficiency, on-board and off-board diagnostics, and life cycle testing.

Prerequisites & Corequisites: Prerequisites: Recommended, IME 1220 and ECE 1010.

Credits: 3 hours

Lecture Hours - Laboratory Hours: (2 to 3)

Prerequisites by Topic:

  1. Mathematics that includes the understanding of algebra, geometry and basic calculus
  2. Physics that include the understanding and measurement of energy including electricity light, acceleration and speed
  3. Materials that include the understanding of physical and thermal properties as well as manufacturing techniques used with these materials
  4. Chemistry that includes the understanding of chemical relationships used in production of materials including insulators, conductors, magnets and non-magnets
  5. Computers that include the use of software packages for simulation, problem solving and record keeping
  6. Technical writing that includes the ability to report scientific observations and performance results
  7. Technical illustration that includes the use of computers to report graphical information and manufacturing process and records
  8. Statistics and metrology of the determination of manufacturing tolerances and accuracy of process control
  9. IME 1220 Automobile in Society, The technological and sociological challenges of the automobile
  10. ECE 1000, Fundamentals of Electricity or equivalent

Course Objectives:

By the end of the semester the student should be able to:

  1. Use schematics to identify historical and current vehicle electrical systems functions. Systems may be power, communication, engine/transmission management, body function management, information or safety.
  2. Use schematics and test equipment to understand and test and vehicle bus information transmission.
  3. Use schematics to describe, assemble and diagnose systems such as power development, traction/starting power storage and power use including
    12/24/42 /150 and 300 volt systems.
  4. Explain the operation, assembly and diagnosis of DC and AC motors used in starting, regeneration, driving, power assist and accessory systems.
  5. Calculate and recommend conductor sizing when given operational characteristics and loads.
  6. Explain, and test solid state control devices such as pulse width/duty cycle modulator controllers.
  7. Identify and understand electro magnetic compatibility (EMC) problems both onboard and outside vehicles and be able to suggest solutions.

Performance Criteria:

  1. Read and write electrical system schematics such as used in current and contemporary automotive information and communication systems.
  2. Assemble and troubleshoot systems using logic, schematics, oscilloscopes, meters and other electrical test equipment.
  3. Using schematics and specifications will be able to assemble, wire, and control DC and AC motors used in 12/24/42/150/300 volt systems of modern and contemporary automobiles.
  4. Using schematics and specifications determine and apply wire size, terminations and circuit safety devices.
  5. Assemble and trouble shoot alternators and generators/regenerators, connecting controls and circuits.
  6. Build and apply pulse width modulators and duty cycle controls for motors and
  7. Identify and apply controls to sources and controls of EMC problems.


Bosch, Robert GmbH (2004), Automotive Handbook, 6th Ed., Stuttgart (Distributed by the Society of Automotive Engineers International, ISBN0-7680-1513-8


Bosch, Robert GmbH (1999), Gasoline-Engine Management, Stuttgart (Distributed by the Society of Automotive Engineers International

Bosch, Robert GmbH (1999), Diesel-Engine Management, Stuttgart (Distributed by the Society of Automotive Engineers International

Bosch, Robert GmbH (1999), Driving Safety Systems, Stuttgart (Distributed by the Society of Automotive Engineers International

Ribbens, William B. (1998), Understanding Automotive Electronics, Warrendale (Society of Automotive Engineers International)

Denton, Tom (2000), Automobile Electrical and Electronic Systems, Warredale (Co-published by the Society of Automotive Engineers International and Edward Arnold

SAE Handbook, Warrendale, Published by the Society of Automotive Engineers International

Jurgen, R. K. (1999), Automotive Electronics Handbook, McGraw-Hill, (Distributed by the Society of Automotive Engineers International

Crompton, T. R. (1996), Battery Reference Book, Warrendale, Co-published by the Society of Automotive Engineers and Butterworth-Heinemann

Reasbech, P and Smith, J. G. (1997), Batteries for Automotive Use, John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Distributed by the Society of Automotive Engineers International

Electronics Reliability Handbook, AE-9 (1987), Warrendale

Subscription to: SAE Transactions and Technical Papers, 1950 to 2006, (Paper/Microfiche), Warrendale (Society of Automotive Engineers International)

SAE Digital Library on line at WMU Libraries, Data Bases, SAE Digital from your home or on campus computer.  If full text is not available on line a request to the library will give 2-3 day service.

SAE, (1999), SAE Energy Transfer System for Electric Vehicles Parts 1 and 2, Warrendale

SAE, (1999), SAE Surface Vehicle Electromagnetic Compatibility Standards Manual, Warrendale

USCAR, (1997), Standards for Automotive Electrical Connection Systems, Warrendale

Course Coordinator:

James VanDePolder
Western Michigan University
F-230 Parkview Campus
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49008-5336
Phone: 276-3378

Revision Date: Spring 2011


Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5336 USA
(269) 276-3350 | (269) 276-3353 Fax

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