The Alternator System

The alternator system inside of a car is part of the overall charging system that allows the car to maintain its battery charge. The alternators function is to the charge the car battery and power the vehicles electrical system. A failed alternator in a car would result in the inability of the car to hold it charge, which would mean that even if your car was jump started, the boost wouldn’t last. To fully understand how and alternator works we need to get down to the overall nuts and bolts (pun intended). The alternator creates currents through electromagnetism. The two main parts that make up the alternator are the stator and rotor.

If you were trying to create a small primitive version of an alternator, all you would have to do is get a good magnet and pass it across a wire. By doing so the wire would create a small amount of voltage. The alternator pretty much works in the same way. The stator contains three sets of well placed wires that form a three part system. The rotor houses the powerful magnets that passes close by many of the stator’s wire loops. The rotor is also connected to the alternator pulley which is connected to the drive belt.

The drive belt in the motor vehicle spins the alternator pulley which in turn spins the rotor. Also the magnets housed in the rotor are always electromagnetic so that the voltage can be controlled to prevent the possibility of having a voltage overload and have the circuits frying. Because every magnetic technically has a north pole and south pole, the magnets in the rotor arranged so that different south and north poles evenly facing the outside of the rotor. The alternator first produces alternating current or AC that is then converted to direct current or DC within the system. The alternate current is created through spinning the rotor inside the stator. The north and south pole magnets move pass the three wire loops in the stator which creates a voltage in the three wires.

This voltage is then converted into direct current through using 6 diodes in the rectifier assembly. The diodes only allow current to flow in one specific direction and prevent it from flowing elsewhere which also the alternated current created from the rotor to be converted to direct current. In situations where the alternator warning light pops up on a car it is because voltage from the L connection in the alternator or voltage in from the ignition switch isn’t present. For the warning light to not come on, the L connection and the ignition switch must present equal and positive voltage. Unfortunately the warning light isn’t fault proof and there are some situations where there is still a malfunction but the warning light isn’t triggered. The best and most accurate way to detect an alternator malfunction is to use a voltmeter.

This post was graciously sponsored by one of our generous site donors, the Greenville Mobile Detailers. Their company specializes in mobile detailing in Greenville SC. If your live in the area just type in Greenville SC Auto Detailing.

The Brake System

One of the most important systems a car can have is its break system. Breaks are responsible for preventing thousands upon thousands of accidents per year and are instrumental in the overall safety of the driver and passengers alike. But have you ever wondered how it worked and how breaks are able to do what they do? Well wonder no more my friends. If we were to look at this from theory, the car, when in motion, produces kinetic energy. In order to stop the car or motion the breaks produce friction on the road which then converts the energy from kinetic into heat energy. When you go to stop the car and push the breaks, mechanically there is a lever that pushes down a piston in the cylinder that is full of hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic fluid flow outs through a system of pipes which then flows out to other cylinders that are positioned next to the breaks on each wheel. Because of this hydraulic system, force by your foot is multiplied, allowing the car to be able to come to a swift and clean stop.

In most cars there are two types of popular brakes, disc brakes and drum brakes. Most modern cars are equipped with disc brakes on the front wheels and drum brakes on the back wheels. Many luxury cars or higher end cars often have disc brakes on all four wheels. Older vehicles and small cars will sometimes have drum brakes on all the wheels. Because the disco brake is more prevalent and popular, we will break down how this particular brake works. If your car has disco brakes, when you push down on the brake in the car, the hydraulic fluid pushes the brake caliber into the brake pad which pushes into the brake disc.When the brake pad and the brake disc push into each other this creates the friction that we discussed and described about earlier. Friction naturally produces heat energy which is the result converted from the kinetic energy of the moving car. Depending on how fast your car was traveling a lot heat energy can end up being created and if the brakes are pressed on too hard they will start to smoke.

Sometimes the temperature of the bakes can go as high as 950 degrees F when trying to stop a fast moving vehicle. Because of the possibility of generating high temperature, brakes are usually composed of high temp resistant materials such as alloys. ceramics and composites. As for drum brakes they are composed of a brake drum and a brake shoe. When you go to stop a car with drum brakes, the hydraulic cylinder pushes the brake shoe into the brake drum surface. The brake shoe has friction lining to help create enough friction energy to slow the down the wheels of the car until it reaches a complete stop.

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The Windshield Wiper System

Perhaps one of the most overlooked safety features in an automobile is the windshield wipers. When the windshield wiper system is in place and functioning well it is easy to overlook but as soon as it stops working it can potentially be a huge visibility impairment or handicap. Windshield wipers have evolved slowly over time going from being cranked by hand, to being turned on by a switch to eventually having intermittent feature that we all know and love today. At its core windshields work by a motor being placed in the base of window that controls and moves the wiper blades. From there styles can vary, from having wipers on the front windshield and back windshield(popular in suvs), or having one full wiper blade instead two (popular in Subaru and Fiats) or evening having both wipers move at the same exact time next to each other. But all windshield wiper systems are made up of six main parts: wiper blades, wiper arm, wiper transmission, wiper motor, windshield wiper fluid pump and windshield wiper interior controls.

The wipers blades have the pretty self explanatory function of removing moisture from the windshield. The wiper arm acts as a connector between the wiper blade and wiper transmission, which allows the wiper blades to be able to reach large stretches of the car window. The wiper transmission then obviously is responsible for controlling the movement of the wiper arm. The windshield wiper fluid system( this includes tanks and tubes as well) is responsible for spraying out windshield wiper fluid to remove dirt, dead bugs, etc from the window so that the driver’s visibility is increased. The windshield wiper interior controls are basically what allows the user or driver to operate the windshield wipers in the first place. Nowadays the wiper controls are typically by the steering wheel and there are usually speed settings that the wiper can be defaulted to as well as controls and settings for any possible back windshield wipers.

Over time as with anything, windshield wiper blades will eventually need to be replaced and we advise that you you thoroughly evaluate your options, as sometimes the cheapest option doesn’t provide the best quality or utility. The way that I see it is that the three main things that you definitely don’t want to go cheap on is tires, breaks and windshield wipers. I especially recommend this if your living in a cold climate that often faces snow or inclement weather, as there are special winter wiper blades that can easily cleave through snow and ice to make your drive and life a whole lot easier. They are also typically longer lasting as blades because the rubber of the blade generally has a protective covering on it to protect it from extreme temperature.

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