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Electronics in modern vehicles enable us to travel comfortably and safely. We no longer turn the window crank to open a window, but we press a button. When accelerating, we don't have to advance the ignition system manually: the engine computer does this itself. We switch on the windscreen wipers with a switch and in the event of an accident, the airbags protect us as much as possible against injury. The emissions of vehicles are reduced with the help of electrically controlled components, making them more environmentally friendly than in the era when people drove with a carburettor (petrol engine) or in-line pump (diesel engine) and emitted much more harmful exhaust gases. For zero-emissions, we will see more and more electrified powertrains in all vehicles on public roads in the coming years. In short, we have been unable to do without electronics for decades.

To gain insight into what electronics means, the basic concepts, such as voltage, current and resistance, which can be calculated with Ohm's law, have been included under the category "basic electronics". The components that we find in ECU printed circuit boards and that are part of a larger whole can be found on the “components and connections” page. Components such as the starter motor, the crankshaft position sensor or the stepper motor can be found under the other categories.

The ECU (Electronic Control Unit) can be seen as a computer. A modern vehicle is full of computers: between 10 and 80 computers is not uncommon. The computers obtain analog or digital sensor information and process it to control an actuator. The control principles can be found in the overview of “ECU and digital electronics”. In addition, the ECUs communicate with each other via, among other things, the popular CAN bus (overview: communication and networks).

Basic electronics