Magnetic clutches have many applications, but as far as a vehicle is concerned, it is used primarily for the air conditioning compressor. The principal will remain the same for different applications. On the front of an air compressor, there is a set of coils wound in a circular fashion and located in a housing. Around the outside circumference of this housing there is a pulley which rides on a set of ball bearings and race that is pressed onto the outside of the magnetic coil housing. The front of this housing has a flat surface facing forward and serves the same purpose as a flywheel. This whole unit rotates around the compressor driven by a belt.
The driveshaft for the compressor protrudes through the center of the flat surface or flywheel. Attached to the driveshaft is a round disc. This disc acts like a clutch in a car. This clutch disc is in very close proximity to the flat bearing surface and held away by the use of metallic springs on the forward side of the clutch disc. When power is applied to the compressor clutch, it causes an electromagnetic field in the coils