Electrical Systems

I.     Course Prefix/Number: ATA 111

       Course Name: Electrical Systems

       Credits: 4 (4 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Interview and consent of the department chair.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

The principles of automotive electrical systems are studied. Included are detailed operation and servicing of batteries, starts, generators, alternators and regulators. Emphasis is placed on the diagnosis and repair of the auto electrical system.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  • Define electricity
  • Explain the units of electrical measurement
  • Explain how magnetism is used in automotive applications Identify the parts of the electrical circuit
  • Clarify what Ohm’s Law is
  • Demonstrate how to calculate ohm’s law problems
  • Explain series, parallel, and series-parallel circuits
  • Describe the characteristics of and open, short-to-ground, and short-to-voltage in an electrical circuit
  • Trace out and repair an open wire, short-to-ground, and short-to-voltage that are introduced into a vehicle by the instructor. Also, the table top light boards  
  • Perform the basic solder joint used to connect wires
  • Execute a diagnostic check on the charging, starting, and battery circuits
  • Build and electrical circuit with the Multi-Sims 12 practice lab

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  • Weeks 1, 2, and 3: Chapters 14-18 Electrical Fundamentals, Circuits: (series, parallel, and series-parallel), Ohm’s Law, Circuit testers and Meters, Oscilloscope and Graphing Meters.
  • Weeks 4, 5, and 6: Chapters 19-24 Wiring and repair, Schematics and Circuit testing, Capacitors, Magnetism, Electronic Fundamentals, and CAN/Network Communications.
  • Weeks 7, 8, 9, and 10: Chapters 25-30 Batteries and testing/service, Cranking and Cranking Diagnosis, Charging and Charging Diagnosis/service.
  • Weeks 11, 12, and 13: Chapters 31-33 Lighting/Signal Circuits, Horns, Wipers and Blower Motor Circuits.
  • Weeks 14, 15, and 16: Chapters 34-36 Accessories circuits, Airbag Systems, and Audio Systems.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Course may be taught as face-to-face, media-based. There will be lectures and audiovisual presentations dealing with the functions of components.  There will also be demonstrations and audiovisual presentations dealing with the repair procedures of components. Class discussions based on field experience. Individual and small group instruction on component disassembly and reassembly procedures will be performed.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Reading: The student will be responsible for reading handouts and required assignments for class discussions.

Writing: The student should maintain a comprehensive notebook of lecture topics for reference during class discussions.

Course may be taught as face-to-face.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

At times the instructor will supply handouts. Manufacture specifications, shop manual references will be looked up by the student with the use of computer based Mitchell OnDemand. The student will supply his/her course book, paper and writing implement.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Students will be evaluated on class participation, tests/quizzes, lab participation (hands on work), lab sheets, and attendance.


Homework* 10%
Quizzes 10%
Attendance** 10%
Mid-term Test 20%
Final Test 20%
Lab 30%

* Homework: Late homework will count only 50%.

** Attendance: Student attendance is critical for satisfactory completion of course work. Each unexcused absence will reduce your grade by 2% with a maximum of 5 unexcused absences. Three unexcused tardiness equals one day missed.


90 – 100 A
80 – 89 B
70 – 79 C
60 – 69 D
0 – 59 F

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.