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How they work
The alternator (& regulator) is driven by the engine, via the belt. It converts mechanical energy into electrical energy, and supplies the required power to the various electrical loads. When power supplied by the alternator does not match the required electrical load (when all the electrical equipments are in use, or when the engine speed is low during idling etc.), the battery temporarily supplies extra power to the electrical equipment. However, during normal driving the alternator re-charges the battery to the original strength.
The engine speed changes constantly according to the driving conditions. This means that the alternator speed also changes, with the generated voltage changing in tandem. It is the role of the regulator to control the generated voltage of the alternator, supplying the various electrical loads with the appropriate voltage. The regulator also makes sure that the battery is charged appropriately.