Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Electrical System -> Alternator/Generator Differences
From David (Our beloved 4-Toes):
It works but isn't terribly efficient and there are wear problems with both the commutator and the brushes. Because of the low efficiency there wasn't much current at idle speeds.
An alternator produces Alternating Current. It uses slip rings (without segments) to transfer from rotating to stationary output. Copper wipers ride on the slip rings to transfer the power. The whole setup is simpler, more efficient and less prone to wear. The AC is then converted to DC by solid state rectifiers which are usually contained within the alternator. This was all made practical by the development of solid state power devices and other advances in metallurgy and manufacturing.
The '60 Valiant had an all new engine and I am sure it was a good time to make the change.
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