Understanding Types of Car Alternator

Autos & TrucksMaintenance

  • Author Hou Huanhuan
  • Published May 12, 2023
  • Word count 601

An internal combustion engine requires a power source to generate a spark and convert its chemical energy into mechanical energy. Most people often mistakenly think of a battery as a source of electricity, however a battery is only used to store an electrical charge. It is the car alternator that actually generates and provides continuous power to the engine.

In this guide, we will cover the types of car alternators to help you gain a more complete understanding of this device.

Function of Car Alternators

The purpose of a car alternator is to provide electrical current, but it also has a role in many important processes in the operation of a car. Here are some of the main functions of an alternator.

-It charges the battery in order to provide power to other parts of the vehicle.

-The self-starting motor, an important part of the ignition system, is also powered by the alternator's current.

-It continuously generates an electrical charge to power the vehicle while driving.

Types of Car Alternator

The type of car alternator usually varies depending on the current it produces and its manufacturing design. The differences in the various types depend on the needs of the car. The following are the types of car alternators based on design and output power.

On the Basis of Design

Depending on the design, there are three basic types of car alternators.

-Brushed Alternators. Brushed alternators were the first type of alternators to be developed and are still in use today. As the name implies, these alternators use brushes to transfer electrical energy from the stator to the rotor. They are relatively simple in design, with a fixed stator and a rotor that rotates. Brush alternators are durable and reliable, but they do require periodic maintenance to replace the brushes.

-Brushless Alternators. Brushless alternators are a newer type of alternator that do not use brushes to transfer power from the stator to the rotor. Instead, they use a magnetic field system to generate power. Brushless alternators are more efficient and require less maintenance than brushed alternators. They are also more reliable and last longer.

-Permanent Magnet Alternators. Permanent magnet alternators use permanent magnets rather than electromagnets to produce the magnetic field needed to generate electricity. These alternators are very efficient, producing high output at low speeds. Permanent magnet alternators are commonly used in hybrid and electric vehicles where efficiency is a key factor.

On the Basis of Output

Depending on the current produced and the power output, the types of car alternators can be classified as follows.

-Single-phase. It produces a single AC voltage continuously for the vehicle.

-Two-phase. It contains two windings to produce different amounts of current. These windings work alternately to provide a continuous source of current.

-Three phase: It contains three windings, each one positioned 120° apart.

On the Basis of Applications

-Alternators. An alternator is an alternator that produces alternating current (AC) rather than direct current (DC). These alternators are typically used in older vehicles and are not as efficient as modern DC alternators.

-Dual Alternators. Dual alternators are used in vehicles that require a lot of power, such as RVs, emergency vehicles and heavy trucks. These vehicles are fitted with two alternators, one dedicated to charging the battery and powering the vehicle's electrical system, while the other is used to power additional equipment and accessories.

We hope this article on types of car alternator has been helpful to you. If you have any questions about car starters and generators, feel free to contact us. Hebei Changli is always happy to help.


As a manufacturer of OEM auto alternators, we understand the importance of high-quality and reliable components in the automotive industry. With our own factory and patents, we're able to design, manufacture, and distribute some of the best OEM auto alternators on the market.



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