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Glossary of terms you will come across during your Phase 2 training.



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When we look at a vehicle lighting system in operation, what we commonly think of as light, is actually heat coming from the bulbs in the system. When we pass elcectrical current through the filament of a bulb, this electricity can have one of the 3 effects of electricity on that filament:

  1. Chemical change.
  2. Heat.
  3. Magnetism.

The effect of electricity we are interested in here is heat. The electricity heats the filament up to white hot, and the filament becomes incandescent, or glows.

The term incandescent heat simply means glowing heat, and this is what we are seeing when we switch on a vehicle's headlamps.

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In the context of computers, low-intensity describes the laser used to burn information onto a cd.
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Sometimes, course participants may feel they can add more to an explanation given in this glossary. In cases like this, they can add comments. See the comment at the bottom of this entry. (Please note: comments are only visible to registered users who are logged in.)
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 In the context of plant machinery, electronic control units: the "black boxes" that contain the electronic control circuitry that communicates with sensors throughout the vehicle, receives and processes information from those sensors, and based on the results of that processing, may send electronic instructions back to that or other sensors on the vehicle.
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Foras Áiseanna Saothair: Irish for Training and Employment Authority.

FÁS is Ireland's National Training and Employment Authority.

FÁS Training Centre, Cabra.

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An electromagnet is formed by wrapping a conductor around a metal such as soft iron. When an electrical current is passed through the conductor, the magnetic field set up causes the soft iron to become magnetic. When the current is switched off, the soft iron looses its magnetism.

The strength of this magnet depends on:

  • The number of turns in the windings: the more turns, the stronger the magnet.
  • The amount of current in the windings: the more current, the stronger the magnet. 

An electromagnet.

Points to note:

A relay or a solenoid is an example of an electromagnet at work.

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Electrical device similar to the alternator, that is used to generate electicity in a plant vehicle. They are becoming rare in plant vehicles. They are not as efficient as alternators, because instead of spinning the electromagnet as is the case with alternators, dynamos keep the magnet stationary, and spin the heavy conducting wires. This puts a limit on how fast we can drive the dynamo, which means it will not charge the system at low engine speeds.

Other disadvantages are that dynamos make use of mechanical devices such as electromagnetic relays, and contact breaker points to control voltage and limit current. They also use a mechanical switching arrangement to rectify the alternating current output of the dynamo to direct current.

Alternators do not require current regulators, and make use of solid state devices to regulate voltage and rectify output.

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Term used to describe electronic switching devices such as transistors. They have no moving parts, and so are said to be in a "solid state".
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A device that generates electricity. In the context of CP Fitting, it can refer to the generator attached to an engine which supplies all the electrical loads of that vehicle: the vehicle alternator.

It can also mean generators that are used on site to supply electricity at 110V or 220V.

Probing the output of a generator with a voltmeter.

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The word digit can refer to your fingers or "digits".

Digits also refers to numbers: 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 in the denary system,

and 0,1 in the binary system. 0 and 1 are binary digits, or bits. (See bit)


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