Basic electrical question?


Asked by Aug 25, 2016 at 08:59 AM

Question type: General

So I just started at an automotive technical school
this week, and we just started to get into electrical
systems. I get that you have to have a power
source, some way to control the system, some
type of resistance (like a lamp), and then a ground.
I also know that manufacturers use thr Chassis as
the ground so they don't have to wire in a bunch of
ground return lines, and that makes sense to me.
What DOESN'T make sense is how the chassis can
serve as a ground for everything. In my mind, it just
seems like the electrical currents would interfere
with one another, almost if you had two bare wires
that accidentally touch or something? Am I just
missing something? Or what? Thanks!

2 Answers


One of the things that makes electricity hard to understand is that you can't see it. Also if you think of ground as "common" it may help you. Since the battery negative (negative ground system) is connected to the chassis, everything on the chassis is at negative battery potential. Usually there are several ground straps connected to the chassis, but they are all connected to the same thing, the negative battery post. the-chassis-used-as-ground-in-automotive-electrical-circuits


Thank you!

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