Automotive Electrical System

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The electrical system consist of the generator (alternator), the regulator, the battery, the starter, and of course all the necessary wiring.

Generator (alternator)- The generator converts the mechanical energy, which it obtains from the crackshaft through a pulley and belt system, into the electrical energy needed for ignition, lights, and all other electric accessories the vehicla contains. It also recharges the battery. The generator consist of two basic parts: the Field Coils which create the magnetic field and the Armature Winding which rotates in the magnetic field producing a flow of current. It's common to have a fan attached to the generator to help cool the system.

Regulator- The regulator controls the generator's output according to the needs of the electrical system.

Battery- The battery stores electrical energy for starting the engine and the operating electrical units when the output produced by the generator is not sufficient. It principle is to convert chemical energy into electrical energy. Batteries are built in a series of cells, each producing approximately 2 volts. A 6 volt battery will then have 3 cells and a 12 volt battery will have 6 cells. The cells are all connected in series.

Starting Motor (starter)- This is a special type of an electrical motor designed to crank the engine at a speed high enough to permit it to start. It is capable of operating under heavy overload and creates great power, but only for a short time. When the starter is engaged, the driving pinion gear, which is attached to its shaft, is thrust forward to engage the teeth of the flywheel. The flywheel rotates the crankshaft to which is mounted, thus cranking the engine. As soon as the engine starts up, the driving pinion is automatically disengaged from the flywheel.

The ignition system is designed to transform the low voltage from the battery or generator to the high tension voltage required to produce the sparks that ignite the compressed mixture of air and fuel in the combustion chamber. This system consist of the ignition coil, the distributor, the spark plugs, and high and low tension wires.

Ignition Coil- This is a transformer designed to step up the 6 or 12 volts from the battery to approximately 20,000 volts.

Distributor- The distributor which is driven by the camshaft, sends the high tension current it recieves from the ignition coil to the proper spark plug at the correct instant that the corresponding piston reaches the top of the compression stroke.

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