Do not confuse the functions of a car battery and alternator; the battery provides the electricity to power your Volvo on but the alternator feeds the electrical system and charges the battery when the car is running. Without Volvo alternator, even a brand-new battery will not be able to last beyond 30 minutes, depending if the other functions such as headlights or radio is being utilized. Alternator is also known as generators, it works similarly to how the hydroelectric dam spins the wheels to generate energy.
How Alternators Work To Create Electricity
As you have understood from above, alternator is different from battery and that without the use of alternator, battery will not be able to power the vehicle for more than 30 minutes. So what does an alternator do to feed the electrical system and charges the battery, allowing us to drive a Volvo for extended hours?
The alternator comprises of a voltage regulator and three main components namely, rotor, stator and diode. The alternator belt spins the pulley on the alternator causing the rotor inside of the alternator to spin at a very fast speed when the battery powers up the car. Rotor is made up of a group a magnets situated in stator, which is a nest of copper wires. Electromagnetism occurs when the magnets spin at high speed along a set of copper wires and electricity harnessed this way is conducted through the copper wires to diode which transforms AC to DC which is also the current the car battery uses. An inbuilt component on modern alternator which is similar to a gatekeeper will then cut off the flow of power to the battery if the voltages exceeds a certain level preventing the battery from being overcharged. As the Volvo battery is being drained, current is allowed to flow back into the battery from the alternator and the cycle repeats, this process is also how the alternator earned its name.
Although some electricity is taken directly from the battery, the alternator powers nearly every part of the electrical system. The components that receive electricity include the engine’s cooling fan, ignition coils, wipers, headlights, radio, power steering, power windows and fuel injection system components. An alternator may seem like a simple and small component within your car, but it does big things for your Volvo and play a very critical role in powering the car.
If you suspect that your alternator is not working effectively, waste no time and using the least amount of electricity, head down to your workshop or learn to change your alternator. Some ways to reduce electricity while driving is to turn off the air-conditioner, headlights, radios or wipers. Of course, do so during the day so that it would get you to your destination safely to get your alternator fixed.