Been Reading Issue 22

I know loads of custom and rod builders who can work absolute magic with metal. They can turn sheet steel into beautiful bodywork, turn a boat-anchor engine into a fire breathing powerhouse, fabricate anything out of anything… but ask them to tackle the wiring, and they’ll look at you as if you’ve just asked them to summon the devil.

Here’s a book that plenty of us could use. It starts off nice and easy with the real Ladybird book stuff, the sort of stuff most of us would have learned in early secondary school – simple circuits, switches, volts/watts/amps and that sort of lark. Then it progresses to fuses, relays and so on and so forth.

This was brilliant, and I was aglow with learning and new knowledge as I read through the book… right up until page 55. I’d got the hang of digital versus analogue signals and pulse width modulation when suddenly, from out of nowhere, I was ambushed by ‘data bus signals’. My happy little brain suddenly panicked, kicked the door shut and went back to thinking about doughnuts and shiny things.

I did read through the rest of the book – though I confess I skipped the bit about diesel engine management – and a great deal of useful information achieved retention, but I never really recovered from the shock of data bus systems, and far too much info slipped off like water from a duck’s back. I shall have to read through it again.

Whether you’re an electrical imbecile or you apprenticed at NASA, there’s got to be a great deal of worthwhile reading in here. It can at least demystify some of the more seemingly complex areas of elec-trickery, with helpful photographs, circuit diagrams and project ideas. It’s a very good book to have on the shelf, but, if you’re on a par with me, just pick away at it; don’t try reading it all at once unless you want to know what it feels like when your brain melts and trickles out of your earholes.

Car Electrical And Electronic Systems by Julian Edgar is published in softback by Veloce ( with a RRP of £19.99.