How-to: Rebuild an Alternator in Africa

Bernard took me to see Stephan, an auto mechanic who is a master of fixing things with very few tools or supplies. Stephan is truly amazing, an example of an African who uses his ingenuity to solve problems that would seem insurmountable to others.

One of the things Stephan has done, is figured out a way to rebuild alternators with limited materials. Below are some pictures and a video that discuss how he does it. Supplies needed:

Rebuilt Alternator   newish alternator

  • 17 gauge copper wire
  • plastic sheet
  • bamboo
  • broken alternator

Here’s the video showing how it’s done:

Author: Erik Hersman

Erik is the owner of White African, a blog about technology and Africa. He is the co-founder of Zangu, a new web and mobile phone application that he hopes will change communication in Africa. AfriGadget is another web project of his, not that he doesn't have enough of those already...

48 thoughts on “How-to: Rebuild an Alternator in Africa”

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  2. My father did this back in the 60’s he ran a machine shop/junkyard, but he made his real money rebuilding alternators and starters. Of course this was in Alabama not Africa.

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  4. In all of my years I have never had an alternator die because of the coils. I have had brushes burn out, I have had bearings go bad. I had one expensive jap one die because the integrated regulator took a dump, but the coils themselves seem like a pretty rare failure, at least to me. Perhaps in africa they have less raw junk to pick nad choose from, but if I had to choose one to rebuild, I would go for one with a simpler problem like brushes. Use the one with the bad coils as a parts doner. Then again looking at the video, it seemed he had both the stator and a coil of wire he pulled from something.

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  6. “african ingenuity”..? interesting term, but where i come from we have a better name for it: “nigger-rigging.” and it’s only good for one thing– COMEDY.

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  10. The question remains, what exactly makes these things “African” despite of the fact that they are made in Kenya (or any other African country).

    Good story, though, Hash — nice. Especially since you managed to upload the video from Nairobi – considering the speed of their inetconnections it is just awesome.

    Let me pls work on sometthing I would like to add here in future (some jua kali stuff I learned in Kenya and that I’ll need to blog hapa soon).

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  12. Eric thanks for all this.

    Abit off topic:how can I share my idea with you here on the technology we Have in the North?
    I have failed to post it but I need to help in that.

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  14. Undeniably imagine that that you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be at the internet the simplest factor to consider of. I say to you, I certainly get irked at the same time as other folks consider concerns that they plainly do not understand about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as outlined out the whole thing without having side effect , folks can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

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