Central Locking for your Car

Cars are very impressive machines- yes their main purpose is to get you from one place to your destination. However taking a moment to look at some of the finer details and you will find that your car is an absolutely fascinating machine! We at Want Driving Lessons are not only focused on helping each and everyone of our students pass their driving test with flying colors  We also find cars themselves interesting- perhaps we are a little on the geeky side when it comes to cars!

One of the most impressive features that a car has is it’s central locking system. Have you ever wondered how it works? You just press the button on your key and it all magically opens with a little bleep or two! Well contrary to popular belief it is not magic but a very clever electronic system that has been installed in your car! The central locking system is controlled by a very clever electronic device called the central locking control unit.

Why is it so useful? Well it makes life easier for a start, safer too! In the days before the Central Locking System there would be the chore of opening each door manually by flicking up the latch. Getting a large group of people in a car would take longer: first the driver would unlock the car with his or her keys. They would then sit in the car and have to awkwardly reach round and unlock each door in turn. Once the front passenger door was unlocked it was time for the rear passenger doors to be unlocked. This whole process could often take several agonizing minutes. Now its simple to unlock the car with a simple push of the button. There is also the added protection of the ‘child-lock’ a safety feature to stop adventurous young children from opening the door and causing an accident.

How is works: For those of you who remember a little from your design and electronics classes- the system basically works on a simple ‘relay’. There are four wires, each wire is connected to a door. The other end of the wire is connected to the locking mechanism itself and the actual ‘Central Locking System’. These wires transport messages to the system telling it when the doors are open and when they are closed.

Two of the wires are connected to what is called the ‘Actuator’, this is a kind of motor or a powerful electromagnetic device. This is how the ‘locking’ and ‘unlocking’ actually happen. Using the magnet, it will go in one direction to lock the doors and in another to undo this action. Now that’s the basic jist of it, most cars on the roads today will have some very technologically advanced versions of this simple mechanism. For example there will not be a sensor attached to the car that can tell you when the key fob is around. (the Key fob obviously gives off a signal to the car letting it know its there- usually by Infrared)

The clever thing is in the coded signal that the key fob has, it is only recognizable to your car. If this were not the case then chaos could ensue with people being able to open more than one car with their keys!

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