Alternators, Generators, Oh My!

Hello and welcome back to our mini-series on automotive tips and how to guides for the average Joe.
This is a great series of articles if you are new to auto mechanics or maybe you just want to understand a little more about what all goes on under the hood of your car.
We've spent a lot of time on tools, but in today's article I'm going to go over your car's alternator.
This will just be a brief overview so let's get to it without any further delay.
Once your engine is started, it will spin it's crankshaft pulley which in turn spins a belt on the front of your engine.
That belt is used to turn several accessories, one of which being your alternator.
The alternator produces electric current to allow your car's electrical system to remain active and to provide power to all the little gizmo's like power locks and windows just to name a few.
Now some older cars, mostly built before 1964, have generators and not alternators.
The difference between the two is pretty simple.
The generator produces DC current, just like your battery while an alternator produces AC current which is then internally converted to direct current.
Either way, don't get too tied on the names as they both do the same thing so just go on calling it an alternator.
When the alternator is produce energy it's called being in a state of charging.
When it's not producing energy, it's said to be in a state of discharging.
When charging, it should always be producing about 13.
5 to 14.
5 volts.
And now you know the basics about your car's alternator.
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