When it comes to things like lawn mowers, the way in which they work can vary from product to product and sometimes this can get a little confusing, especially when they stop working or appear to be broken.
Alternators generate electricity that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy and typically this type of engineering is found in cars which helps to keep your headlamps on and your radio playing – but is this the same for lawn mowers?
Well, the short answer is that it depends on what type of lawn mower you have. Lawn mowers that are “riding lawn mowers” will generally have an alternator, whereas the push lawn mower will likely not have an alternator.
Of course, there’s a lot more to know about this, so we’ve written this guide that covers what you need to know.
Ready to find out more? Then read on and learn the answers!
Essentially, the only lawn mowers that will use alternators are the ones that you ride along the lawn with, otherwise known as ride-on or ride along lawn mowers.
This is because these types of lawn mowers use an electrical system which uses a gas engine.
Conversely, push lawn mowers do not use alternators because they use rechargeable batteries or a combustion engine and therefore they do not need to create any extra energy.
Generally speaking, modern lawn mowers are becoming more reliant on electricity as a way to reduce carbon emissions, but the vast majority of lawn mowers will work as we have described at the moment.
Where Do You Find An Alternator?
In order to locate your lawn mower’s alternator (assuming your lawn mower has one), you will need to find the rest of the engine and its components. However, the actual location and what the alternator will look like differs depending on its type.
Typically, there are two main types of alternator. One is belt driven alternators and the other is stators.
This is important to know if you are planning to gain access to your alternator because stators usually have many more parts that require to be removed first.
Let’s take a look at both of these types in more detail.
Belt Driven Alternators
We’ll start with belt driven alternators. These are located in the engine compartment which is attached to the main engine.
It works by using a belt that operates via a pulley system which is fixed on the outer layer of the alternator’s housing.
Most of the time, you will find the alternator fixed to the side of your engine rather than the top or the bottom.
When it comes to identifying this type of lawn mower alternator, you need to look at the pulley system on the outside and look out for the aluminum housing, which has open ridges right the way around the area.
The other most common type is stators and these charging systems are found in the engine’s compartment too.
However, you will normally find it underneath the flywheel – which can be problematic when you want to get access to it.
This is because you will need to remove a whole host of different parts, including things like:
- Air filters
- Flywheel fan
- The blower housing
Indeed, if you want to replace or remove your stator, you are going to need to remove your flywheel – and this is why it is important to know where exactly you are looking for and what you should be looking out for.
When you are trying to identify your lawn mower’s stator, you’re looking for a metal ring which is about an inch thick and about five inches in diameter.
Typically, it will have a covering of copper wire wrapped around the edges.
However, despite the fact that these characteristics make it quite easy to identify it, there is another method which some people may find a little easier. You simply need to take a look at the wiring.
You will notice that the wiring leads away from the alternator, and connected to the stator there will be two wires joined side by side.
What Is The Point Of An Alternator?
Alternators play a key role in the way in which a lawn mower will operate. They are the main inclusion that charges the battery.
As ride along lawn mowers have many things like headlights, clutches and even ignition – an alternator is critical to its performance.
Essentially, without an alternator, many things like the headlights and battery would simply cut off in no time at all – so as we can see, they are integral for the overall operation of the lawn mower.
Indeed, even starting this type of lawn mower, the alternator will provide electricity to the engine using spark plugs – and if these are not receiving electric power, the fuel cannot be ignited and therefore the engine will not start or function.
My Riding Lawn Mower Isn’t Starting – Do I Need To Replace The Alternator?
It’s possible that you do, but you will not be able to make this assessment until you inspect the alternator – which is why we explained what to look out for earlier in this guide.
If you are able to access the alternator and you notice a problem, you may be able to replace it and see if this fixes your problem. However, many other factors can cause a lawn mower to cease functioning.
This could be a debris build up, an old battery, broken parts or simply not firing it up frequently enough. It’s a good idea to contact a professional if you are unsure of the problem or how to fix it.
Yes, some lawn mowers have alternators but push lawn mowers will not have them. If you find you have a problem with your alternator, consider contacting a professional.