There are six major parts to an automotive charging system. They include the alternator, the voltage regulator, the alternator drive belt, the charge indicator, the charge system wiring harness and the battery. The alternator drive belt transfers power from the engine to drive the alternator, which is an AC generator. After the engine starts, the alternator supplies all the current used by the car and keeps the battery at full charge. Problems with any of these components will show up in various ways.
The charging system of a car is one system that can really make it obvious when there's a problem. An automotive charging system is responsible for supplying current to the car's circuits and for keeping the battery at full charge. Read on to discover the fundamental parts of the automotive charging system, as well as the various problems that can occur and the symptoms that accompany such problems.
Kia automotive electrical service training manual, Automotive charging systems a short course on download rising 2nd grade summer work / download automotive charging systems a short course on how they,.
Some automotive charging system designers prefer lower absorption voltages, for example 13.8 VDC, to reduce water consumption and wet Low Maintenance (Sb/Ca) starting batteries to reduce cost. Over time, this combination tends to undercharge the battery and to cause electrolyte stratification which causes the battery to gradually loose capacity due to an accumulation of lead-sulfate or premature failures. One solution is to periodically recharge the battery with an external charger to remove the sulfation or to increase the absorption voltage output to the battery as described by Chris Gibson on . Other solutions are to use an adjustable or "smart" voltage regulator, add resistance to the "sense" lead to the regulator (if equipped), or equalize the battery. Increasing the absorption voltage or equalizing will increase water consumption in wet batteries, so the electrolyte levels will need to be checked more often.
Figure 25 Identification of the components utilized in a typical automotive charging system.