Electrical System – Alternator

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The alternator is a component that is fitted outside or around the front of the engine. It is a round component and has a fan belt connected to it. If the fan belt is connected tightly it will allow the alternator to charge somewhere between 13.8-14.2 volts. The alternator is designed to charge at this voltage to the battery. The alternator’s purpose is to keep the battery recharged..The alternator is not designed to fully charge the battery if the battery is flat. If the battery is flat have it recharged by an auto electrician and then the alternator will keep the battery recharged at its full capacity. The alternator may have an external voltage regulator or an internal regulator. Most have an internal voltage regulator which regulates the voltage. The internal voltage regulator may have brushes attached to it as a complete unit and this is the component that allows the battery to receive the charge.


The alternator should have a tight fan belt. If not, this will affect the charge rate. An alternator should also have a secured lead and terminal at the rear of the alternator. This is the main terminal that connects a heavy duty lead from the alternator to the battery. Alternators should be checked for the voltage across the terminals at the battery for 13.8-14.2 volts. If this isn’t the case, then check the voltage at the rear of the alternator on the positive terminal and the earth on the battery terminal. If this is a lower voltage, it is showing that the battery has got a voltage drop therefore an extra lead made up to go from the alternator to the positive battery is another way of ensuring a good charge rate to the battery.


Depending on the make and model , the alternator can cost around $150.00-$200.00 for a reconditioned alternator. Some alternators can be purchased new. Whether purchasing a reconditioned or new alternator, be sure to get a 12 months warranty. as alternators, depending on the make and model do fail. With reconditioned alternators, it depends on the auto electrician. Find a good auto electrician, preferrably one that is recommended.



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