Generators are essential providers of energy for both households and companies during a power cut-off. They keep the important machines powered and ensure the continuity of daily activities that require electrical power. It is for this reason that most companies have electric generators, but residential generators are not often found yet. A generator is, however, an important tool during a lingering blackout or a disaster.
Before purchasing a generator, find out what it does, how it works, and what kinds of generators are available by reading this article.
What Does an Electric Generator Do?
An electric generator converts energy from an external source into electrical energy. Generators can be quite useful for both companies and households, as it ensures that daily activities can go on if there is a disturbance in the regular power supply. For example, hospitals use generators as an alternative power source in case their normal energy supply is interrupted. Without a generator, machines, such as oxygen machines, couldn’t function in case of a power cut-off. Well-known are Predator generators.
Unlike what many people think, a generator does not actually produce energy. Instead, generators force the movement of electric charges present in the wire of its windings through the means of mechanical energy. This provides enough energy for appliances to keep working during a power cut-off.
The way that electrical generators create energy is by taking the power of movement and turning it into electricity. They do this by forcing electrons from external sources through an electrical circuit. This process can be compared with a water pump: a water pump makes water flow but does not actually produce the water that flows through it.
Generators are divided into two classes, based on how they function. There are AC and DC generators. AC stands for Alternating Current. These kinds of generators are also referred to as Alternators. They provide energy based on the electromagnetic induction principle.
AC generators are specified in two kinds, namely induction generators and synchronous generators. AC generators have no brushes and are therefore low in maintenance. The size of this kind of generator is also much smaller, making them suitable as backup generators for households or as portable generators, such as those seen on building sites.
DC generators are more suitable for industrial purposes. They are much bigger and rarely portable. There are three categories of DC generators: permanent-magnet generators, separately-excited generators, and self-excited generators. The output voltage is smoother because the generator forces the energy through coils around its armature.
Nowadays, there are many kinds of fuel available that can function as an energy source for generators. The most used fuel for generators is diesel. Diesel is cheap and can be bought at almost every gas station. Residential generators usually make use of propane or natural gas. Some smaller, portable generators use diesel, gasoline, or propane. There are also bi-fuel systems available, but they are more commonly found in the industry than for residential use. These generators can run on both diesel fuel and gasoline.
Components of a Generator
A standard generator has nine parts that all have essential roles in the production of mechanical energy. The engine supplies the energy to the generator and determines how much energy it can supply. The alternator changes mechanical energy into electrical energy. Fuel is the main source and makes it possible for the generator to produce energy. It consists of a fuel tank, a fuel pump, a pipe connecting the tank to the engine, and a return pipe. The voltage regulator regulates the voltage of the electricity and can convert AC energy into DC.
The cooling and exhaust, and lubrication systems do not have a function in the production of energy but make sure that the generator is kept cool and lubricated. This is essential for the generator to work well. A battery charger starts up the generator, while the control panel is used to operate it. The main assembly is the outside of the generator and holds all the parts together.