Yup, they're the same thing. To be technically correct, (something I strived for as a former instructor), the term "alternator" was copyrighted by Chrysler and first used on their 1960 models. GM followed around 1964 and Ford a little later, but to avoid copyright infringement, they called them a "dc generator". "Alternator" is the commonly accepted term but now the industry is trying to standardize terminology among manufacturers and they've chosen "dc generator". To us older people, anything with "generator" in it leads us to think about the pre-1960, very heavy, bulky, inefficient generators of the past. There's WAY more than you wanted to know!
There are other things that can cause your dash lights to flicker, but the generator is a real common problem. Your car also is full of computers that are susceptible to voltage spikes and fluctuatons. A Body Computer is involved, and there is some computer circuitry in the instrument cluster itself. The easist way to narrow it down is to unplug the generator so the car just runs on the steady voltage from the battery. If the flickering stops, the generator is the most likely suspect.
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 AT 11:43 AM