it is in fact a combination rectifier and regulator.. it rectifies the AC from the stator.. and by shunting excess energy to ground, regulates the DC output to 14 ish volts.
it does this by momentarily dumping ALL the energy produced by the stator to ground (creating heat in the regulator and stator)
the output of the R/R is actually pulsed DC, but with the battery attached, it averages out to the desired voltage.
This is a shunt style R/R, there are series style R/R's, in which the rectified output is actually regulated down internally and it outputs a relatively pure DC. With the series style regulator, the current in the stator is ONLY what is needed to produce the required output voltage. Shunt style regulators, the stator always has full current capacity flowing, with the wasted power being dumped as heat.
MOSFET regulators are more effecient than standard shunt style, and some may be series style. However, even the shunt style regulators are more effecient and generate less heat during operation.
Last edited by michiganteddybear; 01-14-2016 at 05:33 PM.