Did you know that with a little know-how and perseverance, a car alternator may be converted into a generator? The purpose of the car alternator is to generate electricity for your vehicle. So, with a few tweaks, the alternator can generate enough electricity to power a house. It can be used to charge batteries as well as power small appliances or lights.
To generate electricity, how quickly does an alternator have to spin?
Until the alternator speed reaches around 2000 RPM, the alternator may not be able to generate enough charging voltage. Alternators’ full output is often rated at 6000 RPM, but they may spin up to 12,000 RPM or more without losing any power.
What is the maximum amount of electricity that an alternator can produce?
A decent alternator generates between 13.5 and 15 volts of electricity. When checking the voltage of your car’s alternator, make sure it’s at least 13. Many people underestimate the importance of a car’s alternator, which supplies the majority of the vehicle’s energy.
How does an alternator generate electricity?
You could believe that your car’s electrics are powered by the battery, but this is not the case. The starter motor requires electricity to start the car, which is provided by the battery. The alternator creates energy to feed the electrical system and charge the battery when the car is running. The alternator was once known as a generator, and it functions similarly. In this scenario, the internal combustion engine of a car spins pulleys under the hood, which rotates the alternator pulley and generates electricity.
The alternator and the battery work together to provide electricity to the vehicle’s electrical components. An alternator’s output is direct current (DC). Alternating current (AC) travels through a magnetic field and generates an electrical current when the alternator pulley is turned. After that, the rectifier converts it to DC.
Alternators have evolved dramatically in the last 50 years due to technological advancements. Alternators were originally exclusively used to generate current that was regulated by an external regulator. The warning light was used to excite the alternator and start the charging process until the introduction of a built-in regulator in the 1990s. With the emergence of smart charge systems and CANBUS systems, which are now extensively utilized, many new vehicles adopted a load request type charging system. The vehicle’s Engine Control Unit is in charge of these systems (ECU). The ECU sends a signal to the alternator requesting it to start charging when the vehicle demands more load. The alternator must modify its charge rate in response to changing electrical loads. If a charging problem occurs on the car these days, it is easy for these sorts of alternators to be misdiagnosed as malfunctioning, but more often than not, no fault is identified with the alternator.
Is the alternator an AC or DC generator?
What is the purpose of an alternator? The alternator, as we all know, produces the majority of your car’s electricity and aids in battery recharge. However, the alternator must first convert mechanical energy into electrical before it can do anything else.
How the alternator produces electricity
The engine is the first step in the production of electricity. Alternators are usually driven by a serpentine belt from the engine’s crankshaft, while older vehicles may have a separate pulley from the crankshaft to the alternator. The mechanical energy from the belt spins the alternator rotor at a high speed within the stator.
As the rotor spins, electricity is generated. The magnets around the rotor are strategically arranged to create a magnetic field as they travel over the copper wiring in the stator. 5 This magnetic field, in turn, generates voltage, which the stator captures. This power then travels to the voltage regulator, which distributes electricity to the vehicle while also controlling the amount of voltage delivered to the battery.
How does the alternator charge the battery?
Before the alternator’s power can be used by the battery, it must first be translated to a format that the battery can understand. This is due to the fact that electricity can flow in a variety of currents and directions. Car batteries use one-way direct current (DC) electricity, whereas alternators use alternating current (AC), which sometimes flows backwards. As a result, before reaching the voltage regulator, the power destined for the battery passes via a diode rectifier, which converts it to DC. The battery can then use the power to recharge after the conversion.
Your alternator, like any other automobile part, might wear out over time and need to be replaced. Learn how to change an alternator and what to do if your car breaks down while driving.
Is it possible to drive an electric motor with an alternator?
The common vehicle alternator has a fascinating secret. They are known for converting power from internal combustion into the energy needed to drive everything else, but they may also be utilized as an electric motor.
These devices are generally always 3-phase alternators with an electromagnet on the rotor supplying the magnetic component, as well as a rectifier and regulator pack to convert the higher AC voltage to 12V for the car electrical systems. They have three connections to the stator coils, which appear to be universally wired in a delta arrangement, and two connections to a set of brushes that supply the rotor coils through a set of slip rings on the inside. They have a surprising amount of capability, with estimates putting their motor capacities in the several horsepower range. Best of all, they’re easily available secondhand and shockingly inexpensive; the Ford Focus featured above was purchased from an eBay car breaker for $15 (about $20).
How much horsepower is required to power an alternator?
For every 25 Amps of power, an alternator consumes around 1 HP. A 100 Amp alternator will require approximately 4 HP at full output. Most alternators do not function at full output for a long time.
Is it possible to make a wind turbine out of an alternator?
If you’re new to the idea of making a wind generator out of repurposed parts, you’ve undoubtedly asked yourself a few questions like these:
- Why are automobile alternators suitable for wind energy?
- What adjustments are required to convert an automobile alternator into a functional wind generator?
- What is it about Delco-style alternators that makes them so popular?
- Which WindyNation blades work best with Delco-style PMA wind generators?
Perhaps we asked that last question ourselves! In any case, if you’ve ever wondered about repurposing automobile alternators, now’s your chance to learn everything you need to know.
Wind power enthusiasts are increasingly common around the world, taking advantage of excess supplies of alternators or motors that were originally intended for purposes other than generating electricity from the wind. Fisher & Paykel washing machine motors are quite popular in Australia and New Zealand, as these machines utilise big permanent magnet motors. Ametek, Inc. is best known in North America for their tape drive motors, which were once readily available and immensely popular for constructing wind generators.
However, when it comes to DIY modest wind power, the Delco brand of permanent magnet alternators is likely the most popular.
Why are Delco-style Alternators So Popular?
The Delco moniker is derived from Dayton Engineering Laboratories Co, a long-time supplier to General Motors. Delco had a long and illustrious history, which included the invention of the first practical battery ignition system. Hundreds of key components for American-made autos were manufactured by the enterprise, which was absorbed into a variety of larger mega-corporations. GM still uses the Delco brand name, especially for its ACDelco components division, but the corporation has come a long way since its early pioneering days.
Since the early 1980s, the American auto industry has had a lot of excess production capacity, which has often gone into generating a lot of components that don’t always wind up in automobiles. Even though these alternators didn’t find a place under a hood, they found a way to be useful. Delco has experienced a rebirth among wind power aficionados. For usage in small wind generators, repurposed vehicle alternators have become exceedingly popular and relatively cost-effective.
Most ACDelco generators that are sold specifically for use as a wind generator have been repurposed or rebuilt. The reason for this is that when a Delco automobile alternator is employed in a wind turbine, it operates under different conditions than a permanent magnet alternator.
What Modifications are Necessary?
The stator of an automobile alternator is wound to function at extremely high RPMs, owing to the alternator’s luxury of being turned by a powerful, high-rpm engine. The operating rpm of a Delco vehicle alternator is around three times that of the crankshaft of the car engine. The crankshaft of a car rotates between 1000 and 4000 revolutions per minute. As a result, a Delco automobile alternator is built to provide adequate charging voltage and amperage at 3000-12000 rpm.
In 25 mph wind, a modest wind turbine with a rotor diameter of about 60 inches may reach 850 revolutions per minute! The threshold for a normal Delco automobile alternator to even begin charging a 12 volt battery bank is 850 rpm!
When using a Delco automobile alternator as a wind generator, it is imperative that the alternator be modified to run at low RPMs. This is achieved by two complex modifications:
- The stator windings on a Delco vehicle alternator are replaced with a stator with more turns of lower gauge wire.
- On the rotor, high-powered Neodymium magnets are used, which produce more power than conventional magnets.
Where Can I Buy Quality Delco Alternators for Wind Turbines?
WindBlue manufactures high-quality Delco Permanent Magnet Alternators (PMAs), and they are ethical and transparent in their assessment and presentation of the PMAs’ expected power output. They generally achieve this by displaying a Power Curve that shows the output of their alternators under load. This is in contrast to some other re-sellers of modified Delco PMAs that only show open-circuit voltage readings, which are essentially useless indicators of a PMA’s output.
Have Reasonable Expectations
When it comes to Delco alternators, it’s critical to have realistic expectations for the amount of power these devices will provide. In other words, you shouldn’t anticipate a Delco PMA to produce a power production miracle because the amount of power a wind generator or alternator can produce scales with:
- The maximum amount of copper that can be crammed into a stator.
- The number and size of powerful neodymium magnets that can be used on the rotor.
Because a Delco automobile alternator is about the size of a cantaloupe fruit, the amount of copper and magnets it can hold is limited.
A automobile alternator, maybe more importantly, was designed to be installed under the hood of a vehicle. This is not meant to be a criticism of their quality or even their suitability as wind generators. It is a basic reality that the specs for a car alternator and a wind generator are vastly different. A car alternator, for example, will not be weather-proof because it is normally protected from rain and mist because it is located under the hood. Second, the stator must be rewound in order to provide a voltage adequate for battery charging, as we’ve just mentioned. Third, because it is turned by the automobile’s engine, which may produce at least 100 horsepower (76000 Watts! ), a car alternator does not need to be particularly efficient at generating energy.
Great Way to Learn How to Build a Wind Generator
Nonetheless, we are heartened by the thousands of people who have learned the foundations of wind power via Delco PMAs and are now using them to generate significant amounts of electricity.
We’ve put WindyNation blades through their paces on a variety of WindBlue alternators, and we prepared this section to serve as a resource for consumers considering WindyNation aluminum wind turbine blades in conjunction with a WindBlue alternator.
On the WindBlue 540 and 520 series PMAs, we tested numerous sets of our blades. The load for all of the experiments was a 12 volt battery bank.
Three of our 28-inch HyperSpin blades performed admirably with the WindBlue 540. In 11-13 mph winds, we measured 2-4 Amps of power into a 12 volt battery bank. We measured roughly 10 amps of output into a 12 volt battery bank in very high gusts (20-25 mph). The 540 is ideally suited for the HyperSpins. The 540 PMA is wound for high voltages at low RPMs, allowing it to charge in low to medium winds. As a result, the unit’s Amperage output suffers slightly.
The WindBlue 520 worked best with the 5-blade HyperSpin set, which offers a good balance of torque and speed. This alternator produces more amps than the 540, but it takes a steady 9 mph wind to start charging a 12-Volt battery. The alternator was able to produce 3-5 amps in a 12 mph wind. The 540 produced 12-17 amps in 20-25 mph wind, which is a reasonable amount of power for a little PMA.
Overall, we were impressed with WindBlue’s alternator’s performance. If you’re dead set on employing a Delco for your wind turbine project, we recommend the WindBlue. If you’re looking for something a little more powerful, we recommend the Windtura 500 PMA.
Anyone can see the appeal of modified Delco automobile alternators for do-it-yourself wind power: LOW COST.
Thousands of DIYers utilize these devices to build modest, low-cost wind turbines all around the world. It’s critical to have realistic expectations regarding how much power a Delco-style alternator will produce when acquiring one. Furthermore, because the Delco alternator must be “rebuilt” for use in a wind turbine, it is critical that you obtain a Delco alternator from a reliable and honest company. A Delco car alternator that has been adjusted by an inexperienced person or a company that takes shortcuts will have poor performance, cogging, and will most likely fail on you.
Is it possible to power an inverter using an alternator?
The inverter’s work is done entirely by the batteries. Solar, shore power, alternator, or generator can all be used to charge batteries. The inverter will work perfectly as long as the battery voltage does not dip too low.
In an alternator, what converts AC to DC?
The claw pole design creates a more efficient rectified AC waveform than a sine wave.
Both ‘DC generators’ (or ‘dynamos’) and ‘alternators’ produce alternating current at first, despite their nomenclature. This AC current is generated in the rotating armature of a ‘DC generator,’ and then converted to DC by the commutator and brushes. The stationary stator generates AC current, which is then converted to DC by the rectifiers in a ‘alternator’ (diodes).
Lundahl or ‘claw-pole’ field architecture is used in most passenger car and light truck alternators. This uses a rotor with a shaped iron core to create a multi-pole field from a single coil winding. The rotor’s poles resemble the fingers of two hands that are interlaced. The field current is supplied by slip rings and carbon brushes, and the coil is positioned axially inside this. The field and stator windings of these alternators are cooled by axial airflow generated by an external fan mounted to the drive belt pulley.