In every vehicle, there are generally two types of energy being produced: mechanical energy to power the various mechanical components of the vehicle, and electrical energy to power the vehicle's various comfort and convenience features and other electrical components. We are well aware that the engine, with the use of fuel, is the main component responsible for creating mechanical power. Not everybody knows, however, that the same component is basically responsible for the majority of the electrical power generated in the vehicle, although in a less direct manner. Specifically, the engine powers the alternator, which in turn converts the mechanical energy produced by the engine into electrical energy while the engine is running.

An alternator is a type of generator that produces alternating current by converting mechanical energy to electrical energy. There are many types of alternators and they find use in many electromechanical machines and applications. These components, however, are more popular for their application in automobiles. Since the 1960s, alternators have replaced DC generators as the electrical power generators used in vehicles. The simplicity, lightness and rigidity of alternators, as well as the wide availability of low-cost diodes, have made them more advantageous than DC generators for automotive applications.

In your Dodge vehicle, the Dodge alternator performs two things: (1) it charges the battery and (2) it powers all other electrical and electronic components in the vehicle while the engine is running. But don't these components require DC power rather than the AC power produced by alternators? The answer is yes, but the whole Dodge alternator assembly is equipped with components that allows for the conversion between these two types of electric currents. Aside from the alternator's rotor-stator pair that actually generates the current, it is also equipped with diode-packs that convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). Dodge alternators are also equipped with a voltage regulator that keeps the alternator voltage at steady levels.

Your Dodge alternator is the main link between the engine and the various electrical parts. Without it, it is simply impossible to keep the battery charged and to power the various electrical components while the vehicle is running. Sadly, many essential drive train and power train components in modern vehicles would also rely on electricity. The ignition system, electronic injection system, and various other semi-electric automotive systems would simply not work if the alternator is not working properly. This gives you reason enough to take good care and to regularly check for the condition of your Dodge alternator.

In case of alternator failure, it is wise that you let your mechanic check your vehicle first. If the alternator belt is causing the failure, then it can be easily replaced with a new one. However, if it is the stator, rotor, voltage regulator or diode packs that are in trouble, then you may have no other option but to replace the entire alternator unit. Finding a replacement Dodge alternator unit, however, has become easier now, thanks to reliable online auto parts sources like Parts Train.