Fuel Level Gauge
The fuel level gauge informs the driver of the amount of fuel left in the vehicle's fuel tank. The gauge uses a sending unit, which goes from the fuel tank to a bimetallic strip which it is either wrapped around, or located nearby. The sending unit is located on the top of the vehicles fuel tank, and contains a float which is also connected to a metal rod. The metal rod is attached to a resistor, which is an electrical device that resists the flow of electricity. Also connected to the sending unit is the wiper, which slides along the resistive material strip, on the resistor. As the fuel level drops, the float drops, therefore causing the wiper to experience more resistance, sending a low amount of current back to the gauge. When the fuel tank is nearly full of fuel, the resistor and wiper rest on their side, indicating that the resistance is small which sends a relatively large amount of current through the fuel gauge. The resistance being sent from the sending unit then goes to the heating coil, which is attached to a bimetallic strip which is hooked up to the needle of the gauge. As the resistance increases, less current passes through the heating coil which cools the bimetallic strip. As the bimetallic strip cools it straightens out, which pulls the gauge needle from full to empty.
Newer automobiles use a microprocessor, instead of sending the current directly to the gauge. The microprocessor reads the output of the resistor in the tank, and communicates with another microprocessor in the dashboard. The microprocessor systems also triggers a fuel light,in order to signal the driver when the fuel level is getting low, as well as moving the gauge needle to empty. The microprocessor also prevents the needle from moving quickly in either direction when the fuel sloshes around, due to hills, and turning.
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