Essentials of an Alternator

The alternator is an essential part of a vehicle’s systems that turn mechanical energy into electrical energy, which powers electrical systems in the car. Most importantly, the alternator charges the battery, so when this part develops a complication; the vehicle itself cannot even start. Whether a user wants to buy a new alternator or replace the old one, here are some of the top characteristics to consider, notably when looking for a high performance alternators

Alternator Rating

Alternators have rates according to the voltage they produce and the maximum current they can provide. The maximum current and alternator can supply depends upon the maximum heating loss sustained in the armature. This heating regression (which is an I2R power loss) acts to heat the conductors, and if excessive, destroys the insulation. Thus, alternators are rated in terms of this current and terms of the voltage output — the alternator rating in small units is in volt-amperes; in large units, it is kilovolt-amperes.

An alternator usually leaves the factory to perform or handle a specific job. The speed at which it will rotate the voltage it will produce, the current limits, and other operating characteristics are built-in. The manufacturers usually stamp this information on a nameplate on the case to know the limitations.

Alternator Voltage or Ac Voltage Control:

An alternator’s armature windings induce an alternating voltage when magnetic fields of alternating polarity pass across these windings. The amount of voltage induced in the windings depends mainly on three things: the number of conductors in series per winding, the speed (alternator rpm) at which the magnetic field cuts the winding, and the magnetic strength field. Any of these three factors can control the amount of voltage induced in the alternator windings.

The Number of Windings

The alternators, of course, come with an already-fixed number of windings right from the manufacturer. If the output frequency is required to be of a constant value, then the rotating field’s speed must be stable. In the end, this prevents the use of the alternator rpm as a means of controlling the voltage output. Thus, the only practical method for obtaining voltage control is to control the rotating magnetic field’s strength. It is possible to vary this electromagnetic field’s power by changing the field coil’s current flow rate.

Case Size and Brackets

The case size of an alternator correlates to the output of the alternator. For example, an 80-amp alternator will have a much smaller case size than a 200-amp unit for the same application will. This means that when a user needs a high-performance alternator for the vehicle, it will be synonymous with bracket compatibility. In many cases, the bracket may be a suitable mounting point for an alternator, but there are many reasons why the original frames may not work. The mounting points may differ in such a way that it gets challenging to utilize the bracket. It could also have an interference fitment problem with other components such as the engine block, power steering pump, or air conditioning compressor.