“Do motorcycle have alternator?” is something that you might be wondering if you are riding a sleek bike and want to check the engine. Whether a motorcycle has an alternator is tricky, especially since the engine system is different from that of a car.
Many motorcycle drivers might want to upgrade or modify their motorcycle engines, and it’s important to know the parts involved. In this article, we would let you know whether motorcycles have alternators and other questions you might have in mind.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- 1 Do Motorcycles Have Alternators?
- 2 How Does a Motorcycle Alternator Work?
- 3 Where Is the Bike Alternator Located?
- 4 What Is the Difference Between an Alternator on a Car and Motorcycle?
- 5 Why Do Motorcycles Use a Different Alternator?
- 6 What Does the Motorcycle Battery Do?
- 7 What Happens if the Motorcycle Alternator Doesn’t Work?
- 8 How Can You Maintain Your Bike Alternator?
- 9 Conclusion
Do Motorcycles Have Alternators?
Yes, motorcycles have alternators, but not all of them. Most motorcycles have alternators, but those that don’t usually work with a generator. Whether your motorcycle has an alternator or not depends on the make, model and year it was manufactured.
The motorcycles that don’t have an alternator might be an older model, an these are usually designed with a generator. With these older bikes, you have to kickstart it for it to move. But with a motorcycle that has an alternator, it is easier to start and drive. The alternator that is found on a motorcycle is different from the one that functions in a car.
The electrical system in a motorcycle is an alternator, but it is usually called a stator. The stator or bike alternator is smaller and simpler than the car alternators, which is why it’s mostly found on motorcycles. The stator usually comes with a rectifier or regulator.
How Does a Motorcycle Alternator Work?
A motorcycle alternator works with three basic parts, which are the rotor or flywheel, field coil and the stator. The alternator creates mechanical energy to electrical energy, and has a less complicated system than a general car alternator. Most vehicles have a form of alternator or the other.
The stator works in a non-complicated manner. The flywheel would rotate around the stator while the bike is running, and it creates alternating current or AC. The spokes are designed with copper coils around them, and it is arranged around the stator. Then, a magnetism process creates the electric current.
The stator is designed with two sets of magnets, one is fixed in place and the other one is connected to the flywheel and rotates around the stator. When this process happens, it creates a current that is delivered to the battery, sustaining the voltage. There is also a rectifier or regulator connected to the stator.
The rectifier turns the AC into DC or direct current. It also ensures that the right amount of voltage is sent to the battery without causing overheating. While the regulator is part of the bike alternator, it is usually found near the air stream so it is cooled down while working.
Where Is the Bike Alternator Located?
The bike alternator is located on the right side of the motorcycle, and it is usually a part of the engine or on the frame of the motorcycle. It is found near the back wheel of the bike. You can also find it opposite the carburetor or air intake.
If you didn’t find the alternator, you should consult the owner’s manual. The exact location can differ based on the model and make of the motorcycle. When looking for it, you should check the bottom or side of the engine case. You can also check near the gearbox or the back of the engine.
Alternators are a part of the engine and so if you want to repair or replace it, you would end up taking the engine apart. It does not sit separately like in a car’s system. If you’re unsure about touching your bike engine, you should work with a mechanic.
What Is the Difference Between an Alternator on a Car and Motorcycle?
The difference between an alternator on a car and motorcycle is the construction and size. The difference is that motorcycle alternators are much smaller and connected to the engine of the car. But with a car alternator, it is bigger and has a separate component.
Alternators on motorcycles and cars have the same function, which is to convert mechanical energy to electricity and power the electrical system in the car. But, motorcycles have a smaller engine than other vehicles, as expected, and so they don’t need a lot of power to run. Also, bike manufacturers focus on reducing the weight of their motorcycles.
Due to this, they use smaller and lighter components in making motorcycles. Also, a car alternator has its components in one big and bulky unit which you can find under the hood. But, a stator has small parts that have been scattered around the motorcycle.
There is also a slight difference in the electromagnetic induction system in both alternators. In a car or truck, the alternator receives its rotating mechanism indirectly from the engine. But in a motorcycle, the stator is generated with direct current in from the engine, as it is connected by a series of chains or belts, since it’s a part of the engine.
Why Do Motorcycles Use a Different Alternator?
Motorcycles use a different alternator because of size. Even if all alternators have the same function, motorcycles are designed to be fast and lightweight. Because of this, they work with smaller engine components, including the alternator. A bike can’t accommodate the large alternator found in cars.
Also, motorcycles have a simpler system than cars, so they can operate with simpler technology. Stators are smaller and don’t need complicated parts, which is why they can be found in bikes.
Bikes used to operate with generators or a magneto, and the latter could be seen as the primitive version of the stator. But technology has evolved since then and most manufacturers use a stator in their motorcycles. They provide the best of both worlds from alternators and magnetos while remaining lightweight.
What Does the Motorcycle Battery Do?
The motorcycle battery provides power to start the motorcycle and also provides some electrical power to the stator. The stator might be the one generating power, but it needs the bike to be on first, which is where the battery comes in.
The battery works by delivering power to the spark plug, which would create a spark that combusts the fuel-to-air mixture. This mix is delivered by the fuel injector or carburetor depending on the make and model of your car. Once the engine comes on, the stator takes over the electrical components.
Most bike owners get confused about the purpose of a battery on their motorcycle when they have an alternator. But, both components cannot function without each other. The stator cannot generate power until the bike comes on, and it’s the battery than provides some electrical power to the bike.
Once the battery turns the bike on, the stator takes care of the rest. When you start your bike, it takes some power from the battery. But while you’re riding your motorcycle, the stator ensures that the battery is fully charged so next time you want to ride, it’s ready to do its job. If your bike doesn’t come on, your stator or battery might be the culprit.
What Happens if the Motorcycle Alternator Doesn’t Work?
If the motorcycle alternator doesn’t work, your battery would not hold a charge and your bike won’t start. If it does start, it would be sluggish and your headlights would be dim. It can also die down while in the middle of the ride.
Your motorcycle can’t function without the alternator. So if it’s acting sluggishly, it means all the power is coming from the battery alone. The battery has some current stored, but it’s not enough to give you the usual performance of your bike. So, the motorcycle charging power will be low.
Another sign that you have a bad alternator is that your bike would find it hard to stay in or get into a high RPM. You won’t be able to rev your engine or accelerate your bike, as it would die immediately. You might also hear a whirring sound coming from the engine.
You can cross check that the bike stator is the culprit by inspecting it yourself. Read your owner’s manual to find the location of the stator and remove the side cover from the engine. Then, inspect the stator for melted parts, burn marks and frayed copper wires. You can also use a multimeter to determine how much voltage the stator is giving.
How Can You Replace the Motorcycle Stator?
You can replace the motorcycle stator by disconnecting the battery and any other coverings, removing the old alternator, and installing the new one. You should only attempt this if you have mechanical knowledge, as this is best handled by experts.
Here are the steps to replace the bike alternator:
- Place the motorcycle on a stable surface, use something to block the rear tire, and engage the parking brake.
- Disconnect the battery cables, negative first then positive using a wrench to loosen the bolts.
- The alternator would probably have covers over it. You can use a screwdriver or wrench to remove the screws or bolts holding it in place.
- Then, loosen the bolts that keep the alternator secure with a wrench. Ensure you remove the alternator carefully, although you might need a bit of force to get it out.
- Install the new alternator and tighten the bolts. Also reinstall the covers.
- Reconnect the battery cables and test your new alternator by going for a ride. You can also use a multimeter to test both sides of the engine, and if one side has significantly less voltage than the other, the alternator is still faulty.
How Can You Maintain Your Bike Alternator?
You can maintain your bike alternator by keeping the area around it free from debris and clean. When cleaning and maintaining your bike, don’t neglect the alternator if you want it to function properly. You should also test the alternator regularly to catch any problems early.
The belt or chain that connects the alternator to the engine can also get worn out or damaged. You should inspect it regularly to ensure it is tight and still in good condition. If the belt is damaged or loose, you should replace it immediately.
It’s important to regularly check your bike alternator because neglecting it can cause further damage. If the alternator is not working, the battery will slowly die and you would have to replace it. It can also affect your engine performance and damage other components. Riding with a faulty alternator can lead to an accident if the bike stops abruptly.
With our guide answering the question, “do motorcycle have alternator?: you now know how your bike’s stator works and how to maintain it. Here’s a summary of our informative article:
- Motorcycles have alternators, although some older models come with a generator instead.
- Bike alternators work with three components, the flywheel, field coil and stator.
- It is not a separate component but connected to the engine of the bike, and is light with simple components.
- The bike stator is different from the car alternator due to its size, location, and the electromagnetic induction system.
- If the bike stator is not working, the bike might not start or would move sluggishly and can stop abruptly.
If you notice a problem with your bike alternator, it’s best to visit a mechanic or use your motorcycle insurance. Since this is part of the engine, you might end up causing further damage if you touch it.
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