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Automotive Electrical Diagnosis: Establishing a Process


Recommendations for Integration:

It is entirely possible to integrate this assignment from electrical diagnosis to other areas of automotive repair.  Being the website used is an automotive listserv; engine, transmission, brakes and suspension courses could prosper by utilizing the current email messages with real world problems.  Once the basic foundational information is covered earlier in the course by the instructor, the class could move into diagnosing these particular areas.  Minor modifications to the student worksheet would be necessary. 

As with any learning object, it is good process for the instructor to review the first emailed electrical problem with the class.  After explaining the step by step process you would use for repair, discuss the electrical tests you would perform, and render two or three possible causes utilizing the electrical schematics for the vehicle.  Upon obtaining other repair suggestions from the students, review the final fix for the problem.  Now you can handout a different emailed electrical problem as a homework assignment. 

It is imperative the instructor does not establish a standard process, but works with the student to see consistency and rationale behind the steps they take to repair electrical problems.  The student is developing a technique for problem solving.  The goal is for the student to establish their own method for repair. 

The foundation for problem solving is developed first.  The focus should not be on whether or not the student is able to determine the exact fix for the vehicle.  Student work on actual vehicles later in the semester will focus on actually fixing electrical problems. 


The email listserv must be available to the instructor on a daily basis to obtain the real life problems, and their fixes, from automotive mechanics.  To circumvent intermittent problems that may occur in email systems, it is advisable to collect a number of problem emails and file them away for future use.  It is best to store a number of these problems and their fixes on a backup flash drive, and have associated hard copies ready for hand out to the class.