Alternators are responsible for converting mechanical energy to electrical power. They are found in cars, generators, power stations, and heavy equipment such as earth moving machinery, farm equipment or construction machinery. The failure of the alternator has dire effects; electrical systems cease to work entirely. A number of problems can cause alternator problems. Read on to see what they are, how to detect them and what causes them.
1. Loose wiring
The alternator is connected to the battery, to which it provides power. If the wiring between the two is damaged, the power from the alternator will not reach the intended parts, thereby causing an electrical stall. Often, this can be confused as a battery problem. However, a battery voltage check can quickly eliminate the battery as the problem. A visual inspection can also ascertain where the loose connection has occurred.
2. Voltage regulator repairs
The voltage regulator is responsible for converting AC current from the motor/engine to DC current. When the regulator is damaged, this conversion is not successful. The alternator then continues to function but the power output is nil. This can be rectified by replacing the voltage regulator.
3. Worn belt
A worn or loose belt disconnects the alternator from the engine/motor. This causes the alternator to stop functioning. This is in most cases caused by normal belt wear. Belt problems can be foretold when there is a slapping noise coming from the engine. A visual inspection should verify if the belt is intact or not.
If the alternator is forced to overwork, either due to a failing battery, poor alignment or loose wiring, it can overheat. This is a serious problem that often causes malfunctioning of the alternator. Overheating can be discerned if you detect a burning smell coming from the alternator. Often, the wiring is most affected by this. Overheating is repaired by carrying out a rebuild, a rewind, or replacing the unit is the damage is dire.
5. Bearings replacement
The roller bearings in the alternator should be replaced regularly to ensure that the unit functions perfectly. Worn bearings cause friction around the rotor and may cause its wear. If the problem persists without getting a repair, the alternator may vibrate during operation. The problem can be detected through noisy function caused by the vibration.
6. Incorrect pulley alignment
The pulley is the primary point of contact between the belt and the alternator. If the pulley is not attached correctly, it can cause premature belt wear or a whining noise during operation. In some cases, the incorrectly installed pulley can apply pressure in the rotor, causing overheating.
Is your equipment experiencing power problems or won't work at all? Enlist the help of an alternator repair person to weed out any of the above problems.