Reddit reviews: The best automotive electrical systems books

We found 15 Reddit comments discussing the best automotive electrical systems books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 8 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

Top Reddit comments about Automotive Electrical Systems:

u/WageSlaveEscapist · 2 pointsr/vandwellers

I wanna do that stuff too. Not unrealistic at all, you can do a lot with 500w of solar and alternator charging. You could get 400ah of costco golf cart batteries, or two 8D batteries on craigslist. Or lithium if you have 3 grand.

As for the computer, even with a DC-DC PSU, a desktop pc just aint happening without a generator or a real long van chock full of non-stealthed panels. Even very efficient dc-dc desktop PSU's draw around 50 amps dc, too much. A gaming laptop can draw around 180w, or 7.5a-15 amps dc.

For the solar panels I went with the renogy eclipse 100w panels for stealth, but if you don't care about stealth check out http://hurriedyear.com/2016/12/20/i-replaced-the-solar-panels/ for 1000w on a 158" sprinter. The panels are longer than the width of the van so it's not stealth but it does maximize power.

For a charge controller yeah you can scale it if you start with a powerful MPPT that can handle the maximum amperage you will eventually upgrade to, I got the victron 100/50 MPPT but that's only good for 500w, see the hurried year blog for 1000w. But I've only got one solar panel for now, later I'll at more in series, so yeah it's scalable. For more than 500W I'd need a second CC.

"how do I wire a system that has multiple and varied charging inputs "

Well you have an isolator or ACR for the alternator, you have a charge controller going straight to the battery for the solar and or wind, and you have an inverter charger for shore or generator power (That's one method).

I recommend starting with a solid understanding of DC electricity, wire gauge, fusing, and solenoids/relays. Try a book at the library or a PDF for automotive technicians. https://www.amazon.com/Principles-Electricity-Electronics-Automotive-Technician/dp/1428361219

How to: van electrical:

Try searching for "van wiring electrical schematic build blog"


Book I find real helpful is the sprinter rv conversion sourcebook. I wasn't able to find it for free but it was worth the money.

u/fistful_of_ideals · 6 pointsr/Fixxit

The trickery in those systems is not in their electrical wiring, but in that they're increasingly computerized. ABS and EFI in particular. With increasing model-specific complexity also comes increasing variety, so you're going to need a model-specific service manual.

If you're unfamiliar with 12V electrical systems in general, I'd probably start by reading the generic automotive electrical books. Haynes would probably suffice to get you up to speed, so that terminology used in the service manual makes more sense.

The main differences you'll find will be in charging systems and accessory wiring (both covered in a model-specific service manual), but pretty much everything else follows a similar (+)->Distribution/Fuse->Device->Ground circuit.

Where it gets complex is the ECU. I know a few bikes use a variation of OBD-II (Triumph comes to mind), but the rest are completely proprietary, requiring their own set of scantools and protocols. Pretty much all EFI and ABS diagnostic procedures will be done with one of these scantools (or at least pricey cable and software) if you want live or freeze frame data where supported.

The same trend continues in the automotive world as well. ABS and electronically-controlled transmissions were a big deal when they first hit the market (pre OBD-II), and now they're adding drive-by-wire and hybrid technologies to the mix. The only thing standard between manufacturers and even model years is engine management data (emissions). Airbags, ABS, SRS, and body electrical control data still require dealer scantools to access. They don't make their PIDs public knowledge, so these scantools are often priced out of reach of all but the big shops.

Finally, not that you're gonna botch anything, but electrical is only worth doing if it's done right, so take pride in your work! No half-ass duct tape and twist splice crap. I've had tons of vehicles come to me in sorry shape after being "fixed" with electrical tape and prayers, many of which have required a new harness ($$$, time, patience, sanity). Doing it right takes skill and patience, but it's worth the reward when your car/house/bike doesn't burn down in the course of normal operation :)

Sorry, that was long.

TL;DR: It's not much different from cars; computers are weird

u/sstunt · 2 pointsr/ECE

My sister-in-law is an MD. She started out in oncology and switched to palliative care. Her bachelor's degree is in Anthropology. She had to take some extra courses in medical school, but she did just fine.

If you really want hands-on EE stuff, and if you're sure you want to be an MD, then I'd suggest that you research what undergrad-level coursework you need to be accepted into an MD program, and what you need to graduate. Then either get an EE degree with extra chemistry and biology mixed in, or get a BME with extra EE mixed in, and then get your MD.

Alternatively, consider the life story of my friend Chris, who got a BME a good long time ago. He worked at a pacemaker company for a while, got tired of the regulations. From there (because he was an avid drag racer) he went into making high performance ignition systems (pacemaker, electronic ignitions -- same thing, right?). He went from there to consulting, and now he's running a company that makes a high-tech (and, according to the company) absolutely coolest automatic lancing device.

So there are interesting things you can do with a BME degree, particularly if you're planning on using it as a springboard for an MD.

u/Jcj1610 · 1 pointr/FSAE

This might sound trivial and silly, but really the best place to start when it comes to familiarizing yourself with all the systems that go into specifically an electric FSAE car is the rule book. Recruit a bunch of students with an EE/Mechatronics/Software/Computer Science background into your team, study the EV section of the rules, and brainstorm. As with the rest of the car, you as a team are completely free to choose how to implement your electronics so long as you are rule compliant. Other than that, this book, this book and/or this book might help (haven't read them myself).

u/tuctrohs · 4 pointsr/AskEngineers

The efficiency of a typical alternator is on the order of 50%. If you take energy from the engine using an alternator and then feed it back into the drivetrain with a motor, you'll have less power and less efficiency.

Hybrids don't magically get higher efficiency just by randomly sloshing energy back and forth between mechanical and electrical. They do it by using the combination for very specific goals, and by paying attention to the efficiency of every component.

Two excellent books on this:



u/drew_a_blank · 2 pointsr/vandwellers

I purchased this book and it was an amazing resource. I had 0 knowledge/experience in anything more complex than switching a lightbulb and it helped me safely and confidently design and build out the electrical for my van

u/remindme_later · 12 pointsr/vandwellers

Best thing you can do is something, I spent years whining about how I need to meet a mentor, or figure out how to start out. I then pulled myself out of my pity pile, stopped wasting my time on stupid shit and got down to business. The bottom two are good places to start.

  1. Managing 12volts, a good book I am reading which helps highlight electrical systems pretty well.

  2. Handybobsolar very good blog with a lot of knowledge of solar. Read it a few times and you'll start to understand it. Don't expect yourself to understand it on the first walk through.

u/peanuts_abc · 3 pointsr/vandwellers

These two were recommended. I like to look at how sailors work things out. Very simple and dependable, vibration resistant, waterproof setups. Certainly can be $$$$ but it is kind of setting a standard for durability. Marine solar, Marine 12 volt TV. Or for example, ice chests with 6-8" of XPS foam are common instead of 12 volt fridge. Works /Won't break.

These two were recommended:

Weems & Plath The 12 Volt Doctor's Practical Handbook 5th Edition


Managing 12 Volts: How to Upgrade, Operate, and Troubleshoot 12 Volt Electrical Systems 2 Updated Edition


u/charliex2 · 7 pointsr/ECU_Tuning

i personally wouldn't tune for knock, the power should be a bell curve so as you hone in on the best settings power should rise then fall after maximum power is reached, then start to drop off before it knocks.

so that is what i'd tune for. at worst knock tuning would be a disaster on some engines, and on others you're likely loosing power . at the dyno i've often seen people say tune to knock then back off a whatever a good number/% they've heard is.

you have to know a lot of about the math of specific engine you're tuning for to do proper calcs to get you base maps that are close, so since not all that is available, VE being the most useful, it often does become iterative and you just get a feel for it.

dynos aren't that complex, they just measure torque. the manual for them usually has the operation procedure in them, or the rep shows you. but basically you just do a pull on it while it measures rpm/tq and AFR then it plots an HP/TQ graph usually with some compensation for loss, or which conversion factor to use, SAE etc (where a lot of the online battles take place on dyno figures)

i prefer dynapak's myself, mostly since theyre a lot safer and i don't walk over the roller when concentrating on the laptop, and i've felt they're more controllable/repeatable but YMMV

https://www.dynomitedynamometer.com/dyno-dynamometer-article.htm has a good overview of the different styles.

these are some of the books i have



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0837611083 (general motronic overview)



https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1932494421 good starter book


https://www.amazon.com/Auto-Math-Handbook-HP1554-Calculations (updated ver)

u/mantra · 1 pointr/ECE

I have a couple of books like Automotive Electronics Handbook which describe exactly what most automotive electronics is used and how usually implemented.

In terms of economics and performance advantages, the above book or its equivalents usually provide at least qualitative data but less so quantitative details. You can back into some numbers from that however.

Also found the Automotive Electronics Council website which may be helpful. Some of the marketing literature will likely provide some information on their value propositions for automotive electronics.

E.g. Delphi

u/Gift_of_Intelligence · 1 pointr/MechanicAdvice

Here's a good primer.

When you start getting much more complex than that, it starts getting manufacturer specific... So unless you have a specific manufacturer picked out, I'd just learn all you can about electricity in general. You'd be surprised how many problems can be fixed with five minutes and a soldering torch that would take most mechanics a hundred dollars in new parts.