: How did the Enigma motors work?


I read a lot of content online and I understand the parts, the flow of current and all of that. But can someone please give the example with one single letter encryption? The whole path. Every article online gives an example up until the 2nd rotor, and then says “and so on…” I feel very stuck.

I understand the plugging part and the reflecting part, not the rotor encryption.
Assume three rotors, and skip plugs for ease.
Just one letter complete encryption example.

Edit : ‘Enigma rotors’ in title

In: 1


Inside the gears are wires that arbitrarily connect contacts around the gear, and all three gears form a path that makes no logical sense. The electricity will go in one side of the gear and come out at a different random contact, and go into the next gear to do the same thing. The last gear’s contacts are connected to the wires that go to the light lightbulbs. So when you press a key, it shifts all the gears in the same way that a clock does; the right gear has to turn all the way around to make the middle gear shift, which in turn has to go all the way around to make the left gear move one notch. Then the electricity goes through the path the gears form and lights up a random lightbulb corresponding with a letter.

Let’s say you press ‘O’ the electricity will go into the first gear and get diverted out a random contact and go into the second gear, which will also switch up what point it exits at. So now it’s going into the third gears along a random zig zag path, and going to get diverted one more time and exit at random output, which, based on the current positions of the gears, happens to be wired to the ‘W’ light bulb. And so that’s what gets written down.

As a side note, as is n*zi tradition, to make the machine even more ridiculously complicated: there’s also the plug board, which lets you add a cipher layer on top, by swapping the places of letters. So when you press ‘A’ if it’s wired to ‘Y’ the Enigma will treat it as if you had pressed ‘Y’ and send the electricity down that wire. And then before it gets to the light it does it again. If the gears sent it down the path to ‘R’ it will first go through the plug board again and actually end up lighting up the ‘J.’

The advantage the Enigma had was that it wasn’t using a traditional cipher or algorithm, it was as close to random as you could get. Essentially being the mechanical equivalent of a one time pad.