This was the 2012 Mentor-Mentee Project developed by Jonathon Pope from Automotive Technology.


Every class in the automotive program has Lab Sheets for the students to perform their hands-on portion for the topic they are covering.  There are several different classes that use the same vehicle but have different electrical faults that are installed in them by the instructors for the students to use the lab sheets to diagnosis the problem.

The problem is we have switches that are wired into the harnesses of vehicles and they need to be activated to create the electrical issue. To do this right now we either tell the student’s to flip the switch or have them leave the room, or the faults are no longer labeled. This is really hard to make sure that every instructor knows what electrical issue is activated for that vehicle. Also, some students get into the vehicle and start flipping switches. This can make an automotive instructor’s day not to go as planned.

To fix this issue, my project is to create an Electrical Fault Box placed in one of the vehicles. The Electrical Fault Box will have switches that are labeled by numbers and a chart that will tell what circuit is affected. By having all the electrical switches in a central location it will make class time run more efficiently.

Slide1Organizing Electrical Faults

  • Over 20 different vehicles are used with electrical faults in them to have the students develop the knowledge and skill to diagnosis electrical systems on vehicles.
  • All of the instructors use the same vehicles for installing electrical faults for different classes.

Advantages of Installing Switches in Vehicles

  • Quick and efficient for the instructor to create a fault in the circuit and to bring the circuit back to its original state by flipping the switch.

Disadvantages of Electrical Switches

  • Students can accidentally stubble onto the fault instead of actually diagnosing the circuit.
  • Students start flipping a bunch of random switches.
  • Instructors do not know all the faults other instructors have put in the vehicles.
  • The switches are all over the vehicle


To fix this issue:

  • I went to radio shack and purchased 20 switches, box, and wire.
  • Made a template for the placement of the switches.
  • Drilled holes for each switch.
  • Soldered 2 wires to each electrical switch
  • Labeled each switch 1-20
  • 4 rows of 5 switches. Designed for 4 different classes to share this fault box.
  • The fault box is placed in the trunk.

Connecting the fault box to the vehicle:

  • Routed wire along with factory wire harness all the way to the trunk to connect the fault box.
  • For the wires that go from the engine compartment to the trunk it takes 20 feet of wire, which means 40 feet of wire per switch.

Student Success

  • With the fault box installed the learning outcome of the students is much higher than before.
  • Their diagnostic training is stronger.
  • The level of difficultly has been raised and the end result is student success.

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