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Old 04-06-2017, 12:44 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: North-central Virginia
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Possible to use a alternator/generator without a battery?

Been dreaming about a project truck powered by a mechanical diesel with an air starter. It would be a thoroughly stripped 4x4, where anything non-essential is gone.

Is there any feasible way for some sort of generator or alternator to self-excite upon engine start-up, regulate it's output within reason, and die when the engine quits turning?

The only demands on the electrical system would be headlights, other exterior lights, gauges, gauge lights, and trailer brake controller. No horn, starter, stereo, or AC.

I've heard of permanent magnet alternators, but I don't think they've ever been used in automotive applications. Does anyone know if this, or some other method would accomplish what I want?
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Old 04-06-2017, 02:01 PM   #2
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Location: wheaton IL
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Re: Possible to use a alternator/generator without a battery?

i have a old diesel tractor, year unknown but believed to be late 70s or early 80s. but there is no electrical needed what so ever when running. the fuel system is all mechanical so you kill it by idling the tractor all the way down which kills the fuel.

it did come with a alternator due to the head lights on it but i never use them. i just make sure to charge it after or before each use

alternators even on newer cars will still keep the car running when you disconnect the battery though the lights seem to flicker. i wonder if you can just use some kind of capacitor or really small battery.
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Old 04-07-2017, 08:25 PM   #3
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Re: Possible to use a alternator/generator without a battery?

A one wire alternator might do what you want. Unless the thing is going to be parked for long periods of time, might be easier to find a spot for a deep cycle lawn tractor type battery. That way you could install a small capacity normal alternator. Some of the early 10SI versions came in 30~40 amp outputs. And you would have some power for lights if your truck ever needed repair in the dark away from home.
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