It is a common misconception that all the electric components and features in our automobile such as lights, radio, air-conditioning system and power window are powered by the battery. It is actually the alternator that gives life to all these electric components including the battery. The alternator is the device used for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.

The alternator is composed of several smaller parts such as the rotor, the stator, the diode packs and the voltage regulator. The magnet that rotates around the stator is the rotor while the stator is a core of iron wrapped with copper wires. The alternating current is generated by the rotor and the stator. The alternating current will then be converted to a direct current by the diode packs. To charge the battery and power the electrical components in the vehicle the alternating current (AC) has to be converted to a direct current (DC). It is the job of the voltage regulator to control and maintain the amount of voltage given off by the alternator. The alternator powers the battery as well as other electrical and electronic components set up inside the vehicle. The battery has enough reserve that even when the alternator fails the vehicle will still run on that reserve power. But, if the battery is not recharged then the reserve power will not be enough and the truck would eventually stop.

It is important to regularly maintain your alternator in perfect condition but determining if the alternator is damaged or defective is hard. Signs of alternator problems such as loud noise and blinking headlights are things that should guide you to have the alternator checked by qualified personnel. Damage to the components of the alternator though is not repairable. Only damage to the belt is repairable.

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