Hi, all. I’m not much of a car guy or an engineer, and I have what I thought would be a couple of pretty simple questions, but apparently they are not so simple, because I can’t seem to find a straight forward, reliable answer. I am confused as to how an alternator works along with the battery. After doing a little research, here is what I’ve concluded: (correct me if I am wrong)
- The alternator essentially generates an A/C and then converts it into D/C and as a result, charges the battery.
- The alternator also powers the electrical components of the vehicle.
Here is where I am confused:
I have always heard that the battery basically helps start the car and once the car is on, the alternator takes over and creates the energy to power the electrical components. That is, the battery does not serve a true function once the car is running because the alternator takes over. I have also read that in older cars, this is true and once started, the batteries could even be taken out of the vehicle and it would still drive. But from what I understand, the newer cars need the battery to help the alternator function, but I am confused because I thought that the alternator was powered by mechanical energy resulting from the engine.
So in essence I am asking:
- Where does the alternator get its energy from? The battery or the engine?
- What is the function of the battery (if anything) when the car is running?