If you are contemplating owning a lawnmower, one of the most common questions that will always pop in your mind is: do riding lawn mowers have alternators? While push lawn mowers do not have alternators, riding mowers have one. Push mowers do not need alternators. They rely on manpower to push them because they have no engine.
Riding mowers are powered by engines, and all engines have alternators that help in moving the mower. The work of the alternator is to keep the lawnmower battery level constant. Riding mowers also come with an oil reservoir for lubrication as well as a gas tank. The charging system of the lawnmower (the alternator) works just like that of a vehicle. Once you ignite the engines, the alternator charges the battery. Without this piece of equipment, your unit will run out of power quickly. Different riding mowers come in different sizes and shapes.
How does the lawnmower charging system work?
Lawnmowers typically have two types of charging systems to maintain the battery of your lawnmower. The first and most common charging system is that of the belt-driven alternator. It is attached to the engine. Whenever the alternator turns, it generates power and supplies it to the battery. This way, the alternator can charge the battery.
The second type of charging system involves a stator. What is a stator? A stator is a metallic cylinder with one hole at the center. It is situated under the flywheel and surrounded by coil wires attached to prongs.
Why Alternators are very important
The alternator is one of the most crucial components of any lawnmower. In fact, without an alternator, a lawnmower cannot function. So this is the reason why most problems associated with lawnmowers have to do with alternators. For example, if your rigging lawnmower is no longer as powerful as it used to be, chances are that its alternator has a problem. Fixing the alternator will most likely solve the problem. Sometimes, you will have to replace the alternator altogether if it is damaged.
Testing and knowing when you need to fix your alternator is crucial. Riding mowers cover more ground than push mowers. For that reason, they require more energy than their pusher counterparts.
Overheating is a common problem among riding lawn mowers. So the first rule of thumb to observe is to make sure that your alternator is not overheating. Try to allow more time for cooling in between the mowing. Rather than cut the grass continuously, segment the process into shorter sessions. Overheating causes inner parts to get damaged, including the alternator itself. Bear in mind that the alternator is the most expensive component of your lawnmower. Just make sure that the temperature of your alternator is within acceptable levels, and you will never have a problem with the alternators.
How to test your alternator
Learning how to test whether your alternator is still working is critical. The simplest way of testing whether your alternator is working is to switch on the lawn mower’s headlights and then switch off the engine.
If you notice that the lights become dim as soon as you turn off the engine, then it means that the alternator is working. However, if the lights remain unchanged even when you switch the engine on, it means that there is something wrong with the alternator.
If you don’t like this option, there are other testing alternatives you can try. The common alternative is to use a multimeter
How to check a lawnmower alternator using a multimeter
You can attach a multimeter to your engine. The type of alternator your engine is using determines the type of meter you are using.
Use the colors of the wire to find out whether the alternator is working. To test the direct current being produced by your lawnmower, set the multimeter’s knob to DC AMPs. Look at the lawn mower’s manual and product specification to determine the output capacity of the mower.
Locate the COM port in the alternator and connect the black wire of the multimeter. The other end of the black wire should then be connected to the positive terminal of the battery. This is indicated as (+).
Now take the multimeter’s red wire and connect it to the AMPS port. The other end of the wire is connected to the alternator’s output. Once you have connected, turn the engine on and let it run for a while, and check the readings. If the readings are lower than those indicated in the mower’s manual, then it means that there is something wrong with the alternator.
Another issue and one you need to check is the connecting cables. Sometimes you might find that the cables connecting the battery are loose. This puts a lot of strain on the battery, making to work harder than necessary. So you end up having a battery that loses power so fast. So instead of condemning the alternator, check your cables and ensure that they are tightly connected. Tighten the connections in addition to cleaning them. This will improve the battery’s ability to hold power.
Do I need to change the alternator
If you notice that your alternator is having frequent problems, this could be the time to change it. Sometimes what appears to be a problem with the battery may actually be the alternator. If you have checked your charging system and noticed that there is a problem, you have to change the alternator.
Where is the alternator located? You need to know where the alternator is located before you can replace it. It is located below the engine flywheel. Remove it and replace if necessary.
Learning to maintain and keep your alternator safe will make the difference between making endless trips to the repair and service specialist and keeping your lawn in excellent condition for a long time. Riding lawnmowers have alternators which must be well maintained to improve the longevity of the lawn mowers. You should also ensure that the cables connecting the battery and the alternator are clean and tight.