What Is Alternator Rewind? Definition, Meaning and Concept

An alternator is used to produce electrical current or power. In the case of the car, the alternator is powered by a drive belt that is attached to a pulley at the end of the engine's crankshaft, the shaft through the bottom of the engine that drives the entire engine as it spins. When the drive belt turns the alternator pulley, the alternator creates the electrical current that the car runs on; the battery is not used at all once the car is running and the alternator is running, except as a backup power source.

Inside the alternator casing is the stator, a ring that is wound with copper wire. As the drive belt turns the alternator pulley, the rotor, a magnet that spins inside the stator, turns. This rotating magnetic field generates electrical current within the wound stator. Most automotive alternators also contain brushes and slip rings, which also help generate and control current.

The winding of the alternator is the winding of the stator. The alternator winding can serve one of several purposes. Although it is more common for automotive alternator brushes to fail, rebuilding an automotive alternator may require rewinding the alternator. Alternator rewinding can also be used to upgrade the alternator to produce higher power output; Cars with powerful stereos or power-hungry aftermarket ignition systems may require an upgrade via rewinding the alternator to avoid placing a large load on the battery.

Another use for alternator rewind is the conversion of automotive alternators for other purposes, such as a wind generator. Applications like this require such different power outputs that alternator rewinding is necessary to use an automotive alternator. However, using an automotive alternator is so much cheaper than other alternatives that alternator rewinding is a price many are willing to pay.