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Do Jet Skis Have a Charging System? Is it an Alternator? [Video]

Home/News/Do Jet Skis Have a Charging System? Is it an Alternator? [Video]

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When it comes to jet ski’s electrical system and battery, there are many questions out there:

Do jet skis have a charging system? Do jet skis have alternators? What is stator on a jet ski? And so on.

To dispel some myths, we, at JetDrift, have gathered the answers to the most common questions!

Do Jet Skis Have a Charging System?

Yes, jet skis have a charging system, however, it’s not the same system as in a car, as it can’t fully charge the battery in a jet ski. Instead, it can only maintain the current charge in your battery! This means if you start your ride with a weak battery, you can’t expect the jet ski to fully charge it.

That’s why it is so important to keep your eyes on your battery’s condition and charge it properly when needed.

Even if you can start the engine, if you notice your battery is weak, the best you can do is to delay your ride. A weakly charged battery can leave you stranded, which can be dangerous on the water!

Are you wondering why your jet ski can’t fully charge their batteries like cars? Find out the answer!

Does a Jet Ski Have an Alternator?

Does a jet ski have an alternator? Unlike cars, jet skis don’t have alternators, but instead they have other types of charging systems that feature a fixed stator with a spinning flywheel around it. Although stators also generate electricity,they can only maintain the battery’s charge.

Are you wondering why jet skis don’t have alternators?

It’s mainly because compared to larger vehicles like trucks or cars, jet skis have many fewer electronics components. No power steering and windows, lights, and many other electric-consuming features.

Even if you can find on a jet ski with a large LCD dashboard, (or even regular gauges on older models)brake systems, or even smaller speakers, these don’t require much electricity.

That’s why car batteries have much higher amperage, typically 48 amps, while jet ski batteries range from 12 amps up to 30 amps.

This is one of the main reasons you shouldn’t jump start a jet ski with your car!

What Is a Stator on a Jet Ski?

If you look into a jet ski’s charging system, you can see two main parts, the stator and the flywheel.

What is a stator on a jet ski? The stator is the main static part of the jet ski’s charging system.  Simply said, it’s a bunch of electromagnetic coils which generate electricity for the jet ski. This power is used for two main purposes; it feeds the ignition system and charges the battery.

Surprisingly, the stator looks like an airplane’s star engine in miniature size, but instead of cylinders, it features many small electromagnetic coils.

These coils are divided into two groups, one set of them (known as the exciter) generates electricity for the spark plugs, while the other set (the charging coils) charge the battery.

But how can a stator generate electricity? The key is the flywheel!

The flywheel on a jet ski is the moving part of the charging system, powered with the engine. It’s a spinning metal wheel that features a heavy metal rim full of magnets and designed to store rotational energy. The electricity is generated while the magnets in the flywheel rotate around the stator, as the mechanical energy is converted into electrical energy.

Alternator vs. Jet Ski Charging System – What is The Difference?

The amount and variety of technical terms can be confusing. Is a jet ski stator a generator? What is the difference between alternators and stators? Let’s clarify these terms in a nutshell!

Stator: The static part in the jet ski’s charging system which includes many electromagnetic coils. It generates the electricity while the flywheel rotates around it.

Flywheel: The other main part of the system, it’s a metal wheel full of magnets rotating around the stator. Known as the rotor or magneto flywheel as well.

Generator: The term generator has many meanings, but when it comes to vehicles, it’s a device which is designed to generate electricity. It works like an electric motor but in the opposite direction. You don’t have to feed it with electricity to make it rotate; if you rotate it, itgenerates electricity.

Alternator: Alternators are a kind of generator, as both of them have the same function, however, they work differently.

The Difference Between Alternators and a Jet Ski’s Charging System

Both cars’ and jet skis’ charging systems generate electricity from mechanical energy, but the differences between their design is where you can find the spinning magnetic field.

The jet ski features a rotating magnetic flywheel around the stator, while in the alternator, the magnetic field spins inside a stator (known as stator winding). Alternators are also more powerful as they can fully charge a battery, while a jet ski’s charging system offers only a “maintenance charge”.

How Do You Test a Jet Ski Stator?

If your jet ski’s charging system has problems, it’s always recommended to start the inspection with the stator.

Just like any other electrical parts, stators can sometimes break down, e.g. stators are prone to corrosion when some water leaks inside the hull.

How can you test it in case of malfunctions?

You can test a jet ski stator with a multimeter, but it’s recommended to do a static as well as a dynamic output test with a running engine. Beyond these, a visual check is also recommended, but for this you have to remove the flywheel cover.

For additional details, we can recommend this helpful tutorial video, and also don’t forget to refer to the owner’s manual for appropriate maintenance steps.

What Does a Rectifier Do On a Jet Ski?

The jet ski charging system features five main parts: the stator, flywheel, battery and the rectifier.

What does a rectifier do on a jet ski? The rectifier is a device that changes the AC (alternating current) voltage to DC (direct current). As the stator generates AC voltage, it needs rectification to make it appropriate to the jet ski’s electrical system.

Conclusion – What Charges a Jet Ski Battery?

Contrary to popular belief, jet skis don’t have alternators.

Although every jet ski features a charging system, it contains only a stator and a flywheel around it. The main disadvantage of these devices is that they can generate less power and only maintain the jet ski battery’s current charge.

It means if you have a weak battery, you have to recharge it before your ride. For this, you may want a smart jet ski battery charger with a capacity of 2 amp maximum.

Moreover, it’s highly recommended to remove the battery from the jet ski if you want to charge or maintain it.

It’s very important to NEVER jump start the jet ski with a car or with a jump pack! It can destroy the jet ski’s (or even the car’s) electronic parts, or can lead to many other problems.

If your battery has to be replaced, it’s best if you choose a sealed AGM jet ski battery, which is not just more durable, but maintenance-free as well.

When it comes to winterization, don’t forget about your battery as it needs care and attention during the winter months.

This was our short compilation about the basics of jet ski charging systems; we hope you found it useful!

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Related Articles:

How To Store and Maintain a Jet Ski Battery Over the Winter
The Best Jet Ski Battery [Buying Guide]
How To Locate and Remove a Jet Ski Battery [Video Guide]
How Do You Charge a Jet Ski Battery? [Video Guide]
Can You Jump Start a Jet Ski With a Car? [Full Guide]

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