Most are wired through the ignition switch, so that they work only when the ignition is switched on. This prevents you accidentally leaving something switched on which might cause the battery to go flat.
Some ancillary components can be operated without the ignition turned on by turning the switch to the auxiliary position. A radio is usually wired through this switch, so that it can be played with the engine off.
When an electrical component stops working the fault may be in the component, in the electrical circuit or in the fuse that protects them. Because the fuse is a likely cause, and the easiest to check, look at it first.
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.