It all starts with a few telltale problems: A dash light coming on for a brief moment, maybe dimmed headlights and a few flickering gauges. Perhaps there’s even an odd smell, or a growling sound coming from under the hood. These are all signs that your alternator is not working properly. At St. Amand Auto & Truck Repair in St. Catharines we are able to check your charging system to make sure that everything is running properly and you are getting a proper charge to try and avoid any issues that could occur and keep your vehicle running at its best.
How your alternator works:
The alternator continually charges the battery so that we never have to worry about running out of juice in your battery. Your battery is 12 volts, but to keep the battery 100% charged and run all of your vehicle’s electrical systems at the same time, the alternator has an output of between 13.5 and 14.8 volts. The alternator has three main components: The Stator, Rotor, Diode and a voltage regulator. When the alternator belt or V-belt spins the pulley on the alternator, the rotor inside spins. The rotor is basically a magnet or group of magnets that spin, with all that speed, inside a nest of copper wires. These wires are called the stator. The next step in the chain is a diode assembly that changes the electricity from AC to DC current that your battery can use. There is a final step in the chain, the voltage regulator. In modern alternators, this is a built-in component. The voltage regulator is basically a gatekeeper that will shut off the flow of juice to your battery if the voltage goes above a certain level, usually 14.5 volts. This keeps your battery from getting overcharged and cooked. As your battery is drained, current is allowed to flow back into it from the alternator and the cycle goes on and on.