Cars are highly complex pieces of machinery, and the ways in which the parts work together to run the car smoothly is fascinating—if not essential—to know for the average driver. And one of the most essential parts of your car is the alternator, so here’s a quick rundown on how alternators work.
The alternator is the part of your car that continuously recharges your battery so that you don’t run out of juice. It puts out between 13.5 and 14.8 volts, enough to charge the 12-volt battery as well as run the other electrical parts of your car.
The three main parts of the alternator are the stator, rotor, and diode. The alternator belt spins the pulley on the alternator, which in turn spins the magnetic rotor inside it. The rotor spins inside the stator, a bundle of copper wires, which produces electricity, and the diode converts the electricity produced in the alternator into a type of electricity your battery can use.
The alternator also has a voltage regulator that shuts off the flow of electricity to the battery if the voltage gets above a certain level.