In automobiles, charging system maintains the charge in the vehicle's battery, which provides the main source of electrical energy when engine is running. In an automobile, energy is supplied to the battery by charging system from where it is distributed to the other parts like ignition system, lighting system and other important systems. The two main essential parts of charging system are alternator and voltage regulator. |
• Alternator Alternator produces current by electromagnetism. The principle behind is, when a strong magnet passes through a wire, that wire will generate a small voltage. And if we multiply the wire to a number of times, amount of current produced will be more. The main components of an alternator are:
> Stator Stator is a stationary part in the alternator which consists of 3 sets of wiring having many loops on each that are evenly distributed to form three phase system. The ends of the wires are connected to the rectifier assembly. > Rotor Rotor is a rotating part of alternator which is surrounded by the stator. Rotor has a powerful magnet that passes close to wire loops of stator. When the rotor rotates, the magnetic field in the rotor cuts the wire loops of stator which result in an electric field generation in wire loops of stator. The magnet in the rotor is not a permanent magnet but an electro-magnet which enables the control of output from the alternator. > Rectifiers Rectifier is an electrical device which converts alternating current (AC) into direct current (DC). The current produced in stator is an AC, so a rectifier is used to convert AC current into DC current. > Diodes Diode is a semiconductor which allows current in only one direction. In alternator diodes are used to carry the current from rectifier to the battery of the automobile.
• Voltage regulator A voltage regulator is used to control the field of current applied to rotating rotor inside alternator. When there is no current applied to the rotor, then there is no voltage produced in the alternator. When voltage exceeds a maximum required level, the regulator will stop voltage supply to rotor and alternator will stop working. Similarly, when the voltage drops below the level required, regulator supplies current to the rotor in alternator. Is some cases voltage regulator is present inside the alternator.
• Warning lamp It is a simple voltmeter or an ammeter which is mounted on dash board of an automobile. This is used to warn the driver if something is wrong with the charging system. When an automobile is running and if there is a warning, then there might be a problem with the alternator.
Working The rotor of the alternator is driven by the belt drive from the crank shaft of the automobile. Rotor is surrounded by stator which has multiple number of wire loops. The electro-magnet of the rotor produces a magnetic field and it is cut by the wire loops of the stator. This results in an small electrical potential development in the stator wires. The ends of the stator wires are joined to the rectifier which convert produced AC to DC. From here the current is passed to the diodes and then to the battery of the automobile. From battery electrical energy is distributed to the required system of the automobile.
Charging system provides the necessary electrical energy, while starting an automobile. Ignition system and lighting system obtain energy from the battery which is supplied by the charging system.
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