Wednesday, 20 May 2015

How does a generator work?

Remember the age old joke. A professor asked an engineering student. How does a generator start? The student replies, “Drrrrrrrrrrr”. We still trip on this one. This is a blog for those who want to know how the ‘Drrrrrrrrr’ happens. Read on.

Fundamentally, a diesel generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. What it does it is converts the energy from motion into power. So basically, it is important to understand that a generator does not actually ‘create’ electrical energy. It uses the mechanical energy supplied to it to create a movement of electric charges in the wire of its windings through an external electric circuit. This flow of electric charges is now called electric current constitutes the output supplied by the generator.

The generator of today works on the principle of electromagnetic induction discovered by Michael Faraday. Faraday discovered by moving an electrical conductor in a magnetic field creates electric charges to flow, thus generating electric current.
The main components of an electric generator are

The engine is the source of the input mechanical energy to the generator.

The alternator produces the electrical output from the mechanical input supplied by the engine.

Fuel System
The fuel system keeps the generator operational (move the engine).

Voltage Regulator
This component regulates the output voltage of the generator.

Cooling & Exhaust Systems
Continuous usage of the generator causes components to heat up. It is essential to have a cooling and ventilation system to cool the heat down. Exhaust fumes emitted by a generator contain highly toxic chemicals that need to be properly managed. Hence, it is essential to install an efficient exhaust system to dispose of the exhaust gases. 

Lubricating System
Since the generator comprises moving parts in its engine, it requires lubrication to ensure durability and smooth operations for a long period of time.

Battery Charger
The start function of a generator is battery-operated. The battery charger keeps the generator battery charged by supplying it with a precise ‘float’ voltage.

Now that you know how the generator functions, check out some really cool ones at

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