What Does an Alternator Do?


Quick Answer

As of 2014, the alternator is used in vehicles to power the electrical system and charge the battery while the engine is running. It is used to create the power needed to operate the stereo, windows, locks and lights. The charging system inside the vehicle consists of three components that include the alternator, battery and voltage regulator. The alternator is used with the battery to create a flow of power.

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What Does an Alternator Do?
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Full Answer

The alternator is used to power the vehicle's exterior lights, interior lights and instrument panel. The term alternator refers to the alternating current inside the vehicle. Alternators are commonly located near the front of the engine and use the crankshaft to convert the up-and-down motion of the pistons into circular movement.

Simply put, the alternator converts mechanical energy generated from the engine into electrical power for the vehicle. The alternator generates alternating current power by using the stator and rotor to create electromagnetism. The alternator produces power through magnetism and uses an alternating spinning pattern in the rotor to create a magnetic field. Voltage is transferred to the stator, and the stator harnesses the power. Electricity is transferred to the battery, which powers the different components of the electrical system.

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