What if I overcharge my air conditioner

alternator

The alternator - the power plant in the car

The alternator has several tasks. On the one hand, it converts the mechanically generated energy of the car into electrical energy when driving. This is stored in the car battery. On the other hand, it is used to power the car while driving. It ensures that there is enough power for the headlights, the car radio and the air conditioning.

One of the most dangerous situations for a car driver occurs when the alternator or regulator breaks while driving, if possible at night. In this case, no more energy can be generated and the vehicle draws all the electricity it needs from the battery. The visible consequence is that the lighting from the headlights becomes weaker and weaker, and in the end there is a risk of flying blind.

Where does the term alternator come from?

In the early days of automobiles, vehicles were still supported by a Magneto ignition started. Today this function is taken over by the electric starter. The task of the alternator was reduced to supplying the vehicle's headlights with electricity, similar to a dynamo on a bicycle. Some manufacturers therefore still speak of a dynamo.

How the alternator works

The energy generated mechanically by vehicle operation is converted into electrical energy by means of the wedge or V-ribbed belt. The energy not required for vehicle operation is stored in the car battery. Conversely, the vehicle draws the required current from the battery when the power of the alternator is not sufficient to serve all consumers in the vehicle. This is the case, for example, when the car is parked at traffic lights or in a traffic jam with the engine running.

On the other hand, there is theoretically the risk that the battery will be overcharged and broken during long motorway journeys with high energy generation. To prevent this from happening, alternators are equipped with a regulator that prevents the current from being fed into the battery as soon as it is fully charged.

Alternator defective - what now?

If the alternator or regulator is defective, only one thing helps: that Towing to the workshop. The causes of damage can be of various kinds, often it is the regulator that no longer works due to age and no longer enables the battery to be charged. However, it can also be that a slackened V-belt is no longer able to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy through clean concentricity.

But it can also be that a cable was destroyed by a marten bite. The resulting damage only occurs with a time delay if, for example, the battery was discharged while driving and no more electricity could be fed in. The costs for marten bites are usually covered by motor vehicle insurance or, more precisely, by partial comprehensive insurance. Policyholders are in a better position whose policy not only insures "consequential damage from marten bites", but also from bites caused by rodents in general.