A computer is an electronic device that stores and processes data. It is also capable of controlling other devices. This chapter introduces the basic theory and operation of the digital computer used to control many of the vehicle’s accessories. Hie use of computers on automobiles has expanded to include control and operation of several functions, including climate control, lighting circuits, cruise control, antilock braking, electronic suspension systems, and electronic shift transmissions. Some of these are functions of what is known as a body computer module (BCM). Some body computer-controlled systems include direction lights, rear window defoggers, illuminated entry, intermittent wipers, and other systems once thought of as basic.
Note: When computer controls were first installed on the automobile, the aura of mystery surrounding these computers was so great that some technicians were afraid to work on them. Most technicians coming into the field today have grown up around computers and the fear is not as great. Regardless of your comfort level with computers, knowledge is key to understanding their function. Although it is not necessary to understand all of the concepts of computer operation in order to service the systems they control, knowledge of the digital computer will help you feel more comfortable when working on these systems.