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CHARGING SYSTEM
Related Terms
��Alternator
��Ampere
��Battery

Definition: The charging system includes the alternator, voltage regulator which is often a part of the alternator itself), the battery, and the indicator gauge or warning light on the dash (See Alternator, Battery and Voltage Regulator). The charging system's job is to generate enough current to keep the battery fully charged, and to satisfy the demands of the ignition and electrical systems. The voltage regulator senses the demands on the electrical system, and controls alternator output so sufficient current is produced. A loose V-belt, or a defective alternator or voltage regulator can cause the dash warning light to glow red (or the amp gauge to show and steady discharge). If the problem isn't corrected, the battery will run down and eventually go dead.

Related Resources:

Electrical Troubleshooting: Part 1
What tools you'll need to have and how to do it successfully.

Electrical Troubleshooting: Part 2
What tools you'll need to have and how to do it successfully.

DIY: Replacing Your Battery
A battery can last four to five years with proper care, although battery failure can occur in as little as three years in very cold or hot climates

The Charging System - Part 1: The Battery
A look at the charging system, the parts and how they work.

The Charging System - Part 2: The Alternator
A look at the charging system, the parts and how they work.

Power Shortage
Will the cars of the future have all the electrical power they need to operate efficiently?

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