The Car Alternator performs the function to charge the battery and to give power to the electrical system while the engine is in the running position. Due to increasing headlights and other accessories, the usage of car alternator is very much. The old generators were not efficient. It was a separate battery charging system for the car then alternator changed this system by providing spark and battery functionality by itself. The life of Car Alternator can be 8-12 years without any repairs or major maintenance. The generator is attached to the engine and it is a maintenance free unit as well. Today’s car generator (Car Alternator ) is very light weight, cheaper and more rugged with improved and enhanced functionality of many new features. Hybrid cars have separate alternators and they are combined with one or more alternators that provide the mechanical power to the wheel and charge a large storage battery as well as start the internal combustion engine.
The primary principle of the car alternator is to produce electricity that produces the magnetism and the magnetism produces the electricity. The electrical contact segments are attached to the armature that are known as the commutator. The Car Alternator produces the AC current that is generated by the rotating armature in the stationary stator and the stator is the series of windings around the laminated iron rings. After that, AC current is converted into the DC current with the help of the commutator and brushes. The generator produces the DC current and less efficient than car alternator. Although the alternator produces AC current that is not used directly in the car but converted to the DC but an alternator is light weight and cheaper with good efficiency of producing the current. The improper installation of the generator can be the cause of the failure.
You can see the symptom of the problem with your vehicle charging system or the battery shaped warning light but you also need to check for the other main issues also. Your mechanic can test the condition of your charging system with the help of battery and charging system tester to get further information of your alternator health. When car alternator is weak , car headlights and dash lights become dim, but with the higher RPM, the lights get brighter.
How to check Car Alternator?
Alternator testing is very useful for your car and it’s battery. Although, there are many ways to test the alternator but the easiest way to check the alternator is by using voltmeter. Some modern vehicles have computer controlled charging system and it would require extra testing. If you see that alternator is not working properly, then keep in mind that the origin of the problem can be elsewhere. You may have a bad relay, wiring, defective voltage regulator or the blown fuse. For example, if it is very cold outside and before you start your car, turn on the headlights for two minutes and turn them off again to warm the battery because a warm battery will start a cold car.
There are different ways to check the alternator but I will discuss two main methods here.
1: Using a Voltmeter
In the market, expensive and cheap voltmeters are available but I recommend you to purchase the cheap one because the functionality of both the voltmeters is same and multi-meter can also be used. Check the battery first and battery assist alternator to be charged.
1: Turn off engine and open the hood to connect the voltmeter to the battery.
2: After attaching the voltmeter, read the voltmeter.
3: If the reading is above the 12.2 then it is good but if it is less, then get your battery charged.
4: Start the engine and rev it to 2000 RPM. It will take battery power .
5: Keep the engine running and retest the battery again.
6: Your engine is not working properly if the voltage doesn’t fluctuate between 13-14 volts and decreases or remains constant after varying RPMs.
2: Monitor your alternator
Take a voltmeter with you and Run engine at 2000 rpm and turn blower fan on with good strain on the engine and test it with the gauge. Alternator should be charging if the voltmeter is higher during engine running position. Listen to the sound coming from front of the car. If you hear a squealing sound it mean there is a problem.
Is There Any Difference Between Alternator and Generator?
The functionality of both the devices is same but an Car Alternator produce electricity and is a charging system while a generator produces electricity in the large scale. Car Alternator is the type of the generator. An Alternator produces electricity when the magnetic field spins inside the stator. In a generator, the windings of wire spin inside the fixed magnetic field to produce the electricity.
Alternator is more efficient than the generator and use the energy when it is needed, while the generator uses all the energy that is produced. Generator needs to be polarized after the installation but the car alternator does not. The brushes in the Car Alternator last longer than the generator. Car Alternator cannot charge the dead battery while the generator can charge the dead battery also. The size of the alternator is small while the size of the car generator is large.
How to save the Car Alternator?
Testing of the car alternator should be proper to check the health of the alternator. If you are going to replace the battery, keep in your mind that the terminals of the battery are the source to transfer the current and if the terminals are not working properly, before replacing the battery, you should have to clean them with baking soda and water, after removing the negative and positive terminal of the battery and make sure battery should be disconnected.