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Ford Escort ZX2
The Difference Between

How does an alternator produce different amps?


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November 01, 2007 6:04PM

It depends on the load and the voltage. In an automobile, a battery will typically have a voltage of about 12 Volts. If the engine is not running and you turn on the lights, the lights will start drawing current from the battery and the voltage will drop by a volt or so, depending on how strong a charge the battery has.

An alternator will produce in the neighborhood of 15 Volts. If it is trying to push current into a system with a fully charged battery, it will only be able to push a few amps. If the voltage in the battery drops, the alternator will be able to push more amps. A completely dead battery will draw the most current (amps).