What Does a Condenser Do for an Alternator?

by Lyle Burwell

Alternators produce an electrical field that can interfere with radio reception. An alternator condenser corrects this problem. Automobile alternators are necessary to recharge the car battery and to run the car electrical systems without using the battery.

Alternator

An alternator converts the mechanical energy of the engine into electrical energy in the form of alternating current. It makes this conversion by spinning wire brushes at high speed near copper coils to create an electrical field. The electrical current the alternator produces is the discharge of this field.

Condenser

The word condenser has been replaced largely by the word capacitor when referring to the type of device used as an alternator condenser. A capacitor or condenser has no moving parts. It consists of an insulator connected to two conductors.

Alternator Condenser

Alternator condensers are seen mainly in older automobiles. Modern car radios are designed largely with a built-in shield against alternator-generated static. When a condenser is used, one of the leads connects to the alternator and one connects to ground. When a difference in voltage exists between the leads, a field is generated. Excess energy stores in the insulator, shielding the radio from the interference that would otherwise be discharged.

References

About the Author

Lyle Burwell has been writing professionally since 1978. His “Call Centers in the New Millennium” (ICM Global Intelligence (1999)) was the most checked out volume in the AT&T corporate library in 2000. His areas of expertise include business strategy and telecommunications. He has a diploma in broadcasting from Algonquin College.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera New car petrol engines image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com