A vehicle’s charging system is one of the most significant departments on an automobile. This is because it is the one that makes sure that the electrical system is sufficiently supplied with power and recharge the battery as well.
One component that makes this possible is the alternator, which generates electricity. Back in the good old days, a lot of people believed that running faster will also charge the battery a lot faster than usual. Does that thought has some truth in it?
Does revving the engine charge the battery? YES! That thought people had on the good old days is logically true back then as it is true today and will remain valid. Revving a car’s engine turns the crankshaft faster, accelerating the movement of the alternator belt.
That eventually turns the rotor within the alternator faster, enabling it to generate more power, which means more current for the electrical and automotive battery systems.
Remember that the way the charging system is responsible for allocating the current that the alternator provides.
First, it supplies the amount of power needed for the car’s basic electrical components, and then the remaining current is used to recharge the battery. On that note, the larger the amount of current the alternator generates, the more current will be allocated for the electrical, and more will be left for charging the battery.
The fact that you are here reading my article tells me that you are eager to learn more about how the charging system of a vehicle works. Perhaps you have a problem regarding this automotive aspect like a battery doesn’t charge or anything related.
Understanding the Anatomy of a Car’s Charging System
The charging system of a car has three major components: the alternator, voltage regulator, and battery. Apart from these, it also includes a few supporting parts playing essential roles for the whole system’s function.
These supporting parts include the alternator belt, crankshaft, and the rotor, which is a part of the alternator. All of these components work together to generate the current car needs.
If any of the elements mentioned above wore down, there’d be a significant impact on the car’s performance. This may lead to difficulties in starting or, worse, prevents the vehicle from starting. Any problem with the charging system will significantly reduce the amount of current the car will receive, rending some of its components dysfunctional.
To understand what I was talking about above, let’s take a closer look at the entire charging system and know how it works.
How the Charging System Works
The charging system generates current from a series of connected components or parts. It starts with the crankshaft, which is connected with the engine. And linking the crankshaft with the rotor within the alternator is the serpentine belt.
The alternator is then connected with the voltage regulator, which is then connected with the battery and the electrical system.
When the engine runs, it causes the crankshaft to turn, and as the engine revvs up, the faster it will turn. It will then simultaneously create a motion that moves the alternator belt linked to the rotor.
The rotor will rotate, enabling the alternator to generate current, passed through the voltage regulator. From here, the regulator allocates the power between the battery and the electrical system.
As you can see, all of them are connected like a network that works as a single unit through a systematic motion. When all of them are in prime condition, the efficiency of the system will be remarkable. However, taking out one of them will crash the entire system since the elements are chained together.
This also implies that revving up the engine will lead to a more substantial amount of current generated by the alternator. This is due to the chain reaction that will begin with the high RPM of the crankshaft, increasing the RPM of the alternator’s rotor.
With more current to allocate, the chance of having more excess current is great, which will charge the battery faster.
Revving Up the Engine Charges the Battery Faster, Doing It Properly
Earlier, as we’ve gone through the details, it was established that revving the engine does help yo charge the battery faster. However, you can’t just go on and slam your feet on the gas pedal when you get the chance to speed up the battery’s charging process. You have to understand that it doesn’t work like that, and it doesn’t need to revv the engine too high.
You see. Alternators are engineered to have a sufficient range of output, which is around 14.4 volts to 14.6 volts generated by about 1800 RPM to 2000 RPM, which is adequate enough to charge a car battery.
An alternator can produce even more in theory, but exceeding that value is bad for the car’s electrical wirings and the battery. That’s where the regulator comes in, limiting the voltage to the adequate amount.
The way to do this theory of revving up to the engine to quicken the pace of charging the battery is to get the alternator to generate the peak voltage. You can do this by getting the engine to work a little and getting it up from the idle state.
Basically, this theory means by revving the engine is to work the alternator to consistently produce the peak voltage output to charge the battery faster.
Will Revving the Engine Help When Providing a Jump-Start?
Now that you understand how the charging system of a car works and you also learned how revving the engine helps to charge the battery faster. You also are probably thinking if that also works in jump-starting a dead car battery.
Perhaps you are asking yourself if revving the car engine that will do the jump (car with full battery) will help. The answer is another yes.
It is true that the voltage output of an alternator is regulated and actually maintained within the range of 14.4 volts to 14.6 volts. You have to keep in mind that voltage is the force that drives the current through the circuit, in this case, wires. Amperage, on the other hand, is the measure of the amount of current that flows through the circuit.
Viewing this metaphorically and taking the wires as a hose, where the voltage represents the water pressure and the amperage stand for the water.
Revving the engine on the car doing the jump is like increasing the water pressure, ensuring that there’s enough current goes to the dead battery receiving the jump. Car experts even recommend holding the alternator at about 1200 RPM for a steady flow.
Impractical to Revv the Engine to Charge a Dead Cell Quicker
Theoretically and logically, it is true that revving the engine can increase the rate of charging the car battery. And how the charging system of a vehicle works is a compelling fact that supports this theory.
However, doing this just to recharge your car battery faster is impractical and not recommended by mechanics and car experts, especially for dead or weak car batteries.
Think about it! Just by merely starting your engine and leaving your car idle with a running engine is enough to allow the alternator to fully recharge the battery. There’s no need to pressure the gas pedal to get the alternator to produce more power in exchange for burning petrol from your gas tank.
It is an uneconomical way of recharging a car battery, especially if you are to do it for a cell with a low charge, let alone a dead one. I’d instead buy a dedicated battery charger than burn fuel and wear down the alternator for charging.
To understand this better and get a clear picture, let me show you the situation from an economic perspective.
You can purchase a good and reliable battery charger for as low as $20 today. Regardless of its brand, this device can easily recharge your battery to its fully charged state overnight. This may cost you a little around 30 to 50 cents a charging cycle. Compare it to charging a low or dead battery by revving the engine.
Doing it this way will shed you at least $5 to $9 for gasoline, just to work your alternator produce the peak voltage. Not to mention that it will take a lot of toll on the alternator treating it like a workhorse just to recharge the battery. Same as to the other components like the belt, replacing them will be more costly.
However, if you need to go somewhere, taking the trip while recharging the battery will be a great decision. But then again, it will be best opting to get a battery charger, especially the ones that can also be used as a jump starter.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope you find it informational and helpful to your cause. Just to wrap things up, it is true that revving the engine charges the battery quicker because it works the alternator to generate the peak voltage.
With this, the amount of current that goes to the battery is higher. However, considering it just to recharge a battery with a low state of charge or a dead one is not recommended.