What Role Does an Alternator Play in a Diesel Generator?

A diesel generator needs more than just fuel to operate properly – an alternator plays an essential role in providing clean electricity for powering equipment safely and efficiently.

What Is an Alternator?

An alternator works with the diesel generator to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.

The purpose of an alternator is to keep the engine running at peak efficiency while providing consistent levels of electricity to the load. This helps reduce fuel consumption and minimise wear and tear on the engine. An alternator also helps regulate voltage by ensuring that there is no imbalance between incoming and outgoing currents and prevents any surges or drops in voltage levels.

In addition to regulating voltage levels, an alternator plays a role in protecting against overloading or underloading, which can cause damage to your diesel generator if not addressed properly. Overload protection prevents your generator from being overloaded with too much current while underload protection keeps it from drawing too little current due to low demand from the load. This helps prevent short-circuiting and overheating which could eventually lead to system failure if left unchecked for too long.

How Does an Alternator Work?

The alternator works by converting mechanical energy from the diesel engine into electrical energy through magnetism. This process begins with the spinning of the rotor, which creates a magnetic field inside the stator. When current flows through this magnetic field, electricity is generated and sent out through the terminals on the alternator.

Why Is Maintenance important?

Regular maintenance is essential in ensuring that you get the most out of your investment and maximises the lifespan of your generator. Neglecting your generator maintenance can lead to your generator failing or needing more serious repairs or replacements.

Here are our top tips for keeping the health of your generator in check in between maintenance visits:

  • Undertake a visual inspection – Problems with your generator can be uncovered with a thorough visual inspection – check parts like hoses and belts for any leaks and signs of wear. Also check your fuel, oil, and coolant levels.
  • Use high quality fluids – Your generator will run best with high quality coolant, oil, and fuel. Avoid contaminants and build-up that interfere with a generator’s performance by choosing high-quality fluids and testing the fuel regularly to ensure it is not degrading.
  • Run your generator regularly – Low usage of your generator can cause wet stacking’ or build up in the engine exhaust and air in your fuel system, leading to damage to the internal parts of your generator. It’s important to run your generator regularly for a short period of time to avoid any issues.
  • Only use Original Equipment Management (OEM) parts – OEM parts, including air filters, fuel filters and oil filters that are endorsed by the generator manufacturer can extend the life expectancy of your diesel generator and provide a predictable expense for your business.

At Shanahan Power, our Asset Care Management service guarantees that you won’t get left in the dark with regular maintenance by our service engineers, and access to our 24/7/365 Breakdown Assist facility. Contact us to find out more!