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Does an alternator handle all the electrial load?

Posted by on October 24, 2008 3 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog Tags : ,

Here’s the question I received this morning from Jorge:

Hi could you please tell me if the alternator handles all of the electrical load?

It would have been easy to answer this question (yes) but I thought it would be fun to use a flash animation developed by MSAviation with some narration to demonstrate this point.  Here is your answer in full:

If you would like some more information about the flash animation used, or would like a copy of your own.  You can purchase aviation flash animations for pilots and flash animations for flight instructors using this link.  Aviation Flash Animations


  1. PlasticPilot on Oct 25, 2008

    Excellent explanation, tooling, and pedagogy. I have an extra question for your then:

    What shows the ammeter ? In some aircraft it has a +/- range, while in others it always shows positive values.

  2. instructor on Oct 25, 2008

    The ammeter in this diagram is shown here:

    In this example, the ammeter would sense the direction of current. Either current flowing from the battery (negative ammeter indication) or towards the battery (positive indication).

    If the ammeter was installed between the alternator terminal and the busbar then it would be sensing the current flow only from the alternator and the ammeter would be functioning as a loadmeter and always show a positive value (because current can only flow in one direction over the alternator).

  3. Bob Schoonover on Oct 30, 2008

    Great graphics on Aviation Flash Animation.

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