What is an Alternator

by MOU YONG HONG on December 01, 2021

Ask an off-the-cuff car enthusiast what an alternator is, and you’ll get one among the subsequent five responses:

1)“It’s a kind of battery.”

2)“It powers the car.”

3)“It runs one among those belts inside the engine.”

4)“Isn’t that an equivalent thing as a battery?”

5)“To be honest, I even have no idea.”

Technically speaking, only #3 is correct. you'll argue #1 has some truth thereto. and therefore the most accurate account most of the people is perhaps #5. Despite what they THINK it's, even so-called weekend mechanics can’t identify the alternator’s main function. albeit the alternator sits at the front of a car engine, usually in plain sight for everybody to ascertain, it still is widely misunderstood. And as a result, it’s often confused with the battery when trying to diagnose power-related problems.

If there’s one engine component that’s doesn’t need extra ambiguity, it’s the alternator. From our perspective here at VEPDIESEL.COM, the simplest thanks to describing an alternator are to divide the task into 3 different questions: what it's, what's does, and the way it relates to other car components.

The Alternator: Main Definition

The alternator is your engine’s true powerhouse, its energy source for all the electrical components. many of us think the battery is liable for keeping your lights on, the radio blaring, and therefore the turn signals working properly, and that’s partially true. The battery indeed runs your car’s electrical system.

But without the alternator supplying a continuing charge, your battery would last only a couple of minutes – even a fully-charged, new battery. Differently to define the alternator is to know its name. The component creates an “alternating” electrical current from an engine crankshaft, then sends this electricity to the battery.

The Alternator: Function

If you were reading between the lines within the last section, you almost certainly already know the alternator’s principal function. during a nutshell, the alternator’s primary job is to charge the battery while the engine is running. The alternator achieves this by converting the engine’s energy into electricity.

Let’s take a glance inside the standard alternator. the 2 primary interior components are the rotor and therefore the stator. When the rotor is spinning (thanks to the engine crankshaft), it interacts with the stator to supply electrical AC (alternating current) power, which is then transferred to the battery. Well, indirectly to the battery – a transformer plays the “middle man” to make sure the battery isn’t overloaded with an excessive amount of power. The AC power is additionally converted back to DC (direct current) energy.

As a stimulating historical side note, alternators were referred to as “generators.” These generators produced DC (direct current) electricity. But within the past 30-40 years, most cars have used alternators, as AC power is best suited to handle the fashionable automobile’s considerable power requirements, like heated mirrors, power windows, more robust air con systems, navigation components, and far more.

Classic car owners are conversant in the term “DC dynamo generators” or “DC dynamos.” Practically every car produced up until the 1950s didn’t have alternators – they used DC dynamo generators instead. Modern autos still utilize DC power, but the conversion of AC to DC power helps everything run more efficiently; within the good ole’ days, no AC power was generated inside car engines.

The Alternator: reference to Car & Engine Components

An engine-powered crankshaft gets the alternator up and running. this is often the “mechanical energy” a part of the conversion equation we discussed above (mechanical energy --> electricity --> power necessary to charge the battery). The engine drive belt is employed to power the alternator’s rotor – when the engine crankshaft spins, the belt likewise spins to maneuver the rotor. this is often basically the right response #3 we talked about at the start of the blog.

A device called a regulator closely monitors the facility going from the alternator to the battery. If the battery has enough power, the regulator will lessen the alternator power. Conversely, when the battery requires a touch more juice, the regulator increases the alternator output.

Indirectly, the alternator impacts the car’s entire electrical system. This includes, but isn't limited to:

•Windshield wipers


•Power mirrors


•Ignition switch


•Navigation system


•Seat heaters

•A/C system

•And far more

As you'll see, the alternator may be a crucial component to form everything in your car operate efficiently – or to be more precise, make everything in your car run, period.

Without an alternator, your car is quickly on the road to nowhere; it can only run on battery power for therefore long. (Not long in the least, actually.) If you would like an alternator, VepDiesel.com is that the only source you would like. Our OEM-quality, affordable alternators offer exceptional performance characteristics at the proper price.


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