Does my '65 ('64) Series 75 have an alternator or generator?  I searched all the forums and I believe my car has an alternator, even though the manual refers to it as a generator and the warning light reads "generator".  Am I correct?  Thanks  Jim

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It is an alternator. They still referred to it as a generator...even into the late 60's. Cadillacs used the older style generators through the 1962 model year, then switched over to the Alternator in 1963.

I think it stems from the fact that the name "Alternator" was actually a Chrysler trademarked name (1960) for their alternating current generator but the term was used generically by mechanics.  GM officially called them "Delcotron generators".  Obviously, that was kind of a ridiculous name so they referred to them as "generator" in the service manuals as they had done since the advent of the shop manual.

That was so many years ago and so many people just referred to them as "alternator" that it became the common name for the alternating current generator that exists to this day in modern cars. 

Kind of a silly piece of trivia for you at your next cocktail party or car club gathering but it answers the question as to why the shop manual lists it as a generator. 

You have to consider how a name gains acceptance and continues to be used even if it is still not exactly correct. For example I still call that tall building in Chicago the Sear Tower! LOL As far as the generator / alternator, regardless if it is alternating or direct current, that device does generates current and could see the continues use of the term.

It is also interesting to note that actually both Generators and Alternators produced AC current initially then converted to DC current. The methods of conversion are different, however, as seen from this explanation I picked up from Wikipedia:

"Despite their names, both 'DC generators' (or 'dynamos') and 'alternators' initially produce alternating current. In a so-called 'DC generator', this AC current is generated in the rotating armature, and then converted to DC by the commutator and brushes. In an 'alternator', the AC current is generated in the stationary stator, and then is converted to DC by the rectifiers (diodes)."

And we all call it Kleenex regardless of what kind of facial tissue it may be. 

I love the look on the part's guys face at Autozone when I ask for a Delcotron for my '64 Cadillac.  Priceless

I and we kept our food in a Frigidaire, and we used Sheetrock on our walls, ... list probably goes on and on.  Speaking of the Frigidaire (refrigerator), many continued to call it an "ice box" long after the days of actual ice being used to keep it cool!

Geeezzz
I remember when the ice man came to put a large block of ice in --our ice box --about
1946 or so ( now thats a blast from the past )

Micheal
Really enjoyed you genorator alternator History story A lot
Cleared that up for me
Never knew the current changed from ac to dc internally but that explains the term alertnating current --i do see

Enjoy

You are reminding me of the many years ( 63 and before for GM cars ) when all the cars had generators only
They were sure to fail i would say in 2-3 years and have to be replaced with rebuilt units which was the practice then
Usually messing up charging system when it acted up or broke on you to often
Required a lot more maintenance and did a very much poorer job of keeping the battery in good working form
I do think batteries were shorter lived then
The altertnator reduced charging system maintenance and charging system failure big time ( which is always APITA )so very much for the better
The entire charging system gained an advanced sence of long term reliability we did not have before the alternator showed up
How quickly we forget what was required to do in the past as technology marches on

Enjoy

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