Diodes are a small but vital component of your diesel generator. Within an alternator, a generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. A magnetic field (moved by mechanical energy) inside the alternator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. They are used to direct current in an electrical circuit and permit current to flow freely in one direction but not in the other. When a diode is connected into a circuit in such a way that current can flow through it, it is said to be forward-biased; when the diode prevents current from flowing through, it is said to be reverse-biased. “A diode can be thought of as a switch: ‘closed’ when forward-biased and ‘open’ when reverse-biased,” according to All About Circuits.
Diodes are employed in the rectification process, which converts an alternating current flow into a direct current flow. Because diodes only allow current to flow in one way, this is conceivable. AC, or alternating current, is a current that flows both forward and backward to produce a full sine wave. Direct current, or DC, can only flow in one direction. Diodes effectively convert current to DC power by blocking half of the sine wave of alternating current. The diodes of an automatic voltage regulator are organized into a group known as rectifier diodes. There is an equal number of diodes that are based forward and reverse. This allows generators to employ both sides of the sine wave of alternating current. When power flows in one way, it passes through forward-biased diodes. The reverse-based diodes carry the other half of the current’s sine wave. The rectifier diodes work together to allow the magnetic field to generate energy using all of the alternating current power rather than just half of it.
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