Car Ulternator Problem — ::

Nowadays cars, pick up trucks, trucks, and other vehicles are highly equipped with just about any comfort bringing driving more closer than ever to chilling in your armchair at home. All these features along side with the engine require a load of power to work. So where does all the power come from? This continuous power flow is provided by a simple contraption called an alternator. This is the short version for “alternating current generator”. Because of the alternator, which basically is a dynamo, your car is able to generate its own power and conserve it by charging the car battery. Therefore the pressurized energy coming from combusted fuel is transformed into electrical energy. The average efficiency of the alternator is around 60%.

It is imperative that you check the functionality of your alternator or you might end up in the middle of nowhere with not a drop of energy in your battery.

It functions, creating electricity, on the basic law of electromagnetism that by changing a magnetic field an electric field can be created. For the alternator to achieve this, it is composed of two important parts: the rotor and the stator. The rotor is basically a device formed out of three sets of electromagnets that are placed facing each other and their poles are opposite. They are fixed on a circular disk. The stator is the stationary part located on the center of the disk.

Car Ulternator Problem

The rotor is connected to the rest of the engine with a transmission belt. So while the engine is alive and running, the crankshaft rotates and with it, because of the transmission belt, the alternator rotor. When the rotor is rotating, it creates a magnetic field that induces a charge in the fixed stator. Therefore a current is generated by each of the magnets. The output terminals attached to the stator are the ones separating windings at every phase.

Ok now let’s talk about some of the problems that might appear related to the alternator.

Just like any peace if mechanical and electrical equipment, it is going to break down after much use, especially if it’s not maintained properly. Constant friction forces will make sure that happens, especially if the components are not lubricated to run as smooth as possible. Keeping an eye on the alternator and do a little maintenance is quite simple. Let’s see some of the usual techniques used.

First of all take a look at the frontal panel. There is a light that always glows (or should glow) when the car is started. That is the indicator that shows when the voltage needed by the alternator is being applied. If that LED is not glowing, either the LED is busted or the connection from the battery to the alternator is messed up. If so, you need to check the battery terminals and the alternator rotor.

The alternator is designed to run in three operating stages and each of them gives a separate voltage output. So even if one or two stages fail, it may slip you since some amount of voltage is going into the battery, so the effects are not that noticeable. Or in case you’re not using the car’s appliances therefore not using the battery much, the car still can work with the charge from the battery, despite the alternator has failed.

Checking this problem is very simple, set the engine on idle and check if you’re getting at least 14V of output. If it drops below that than you’re dealing with a stage fail. If you get 14V constant than maybe the battery needs checking.

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