Apart from the main charging, starting and ignition circuits, there are other circuits that power lights, electric motors, the sensors and gauges of electrical instruments, heating elements, magnetically operated locks, the radio and so on. All Circuits are opened and closed either by switches or by relays - remote switches operated by electromagnets.
This is called a negative earth system, and when buying an electrical accessory a radio, for example check that it is of a type suitable for your car system. Fitting a radio with the incorrect polarity will damage the set, but most car radios have an external switch for setting the polarity to suit that of the car. Switch to the correct setting before fitting.
Electricity flows from a battery in one direction only, and some components work only if the flow through them is in the correct direction. This acceptance of a one-way flow is called polarity. On most cars the negative () battery terminal is earthed and the positive (+) one feeds the electrical system.
Printed circuits are plastic sheets on which copper tracks have been printed. Components are plugged directly into the tracks. A few modern cars have flexible printed circuits. The copper tracks are printed in ribbons of flexible plastic, which replace the whole wiring system.