Electrical generator

device that converts other energy to electrical energy

A generator usually means a machine that makes electrical energy. It has a generator head with wires, spinning inside a magnetic field. The resulting electromagnetic induction makes electricity flow through the wires. Hybrid electric vehicles carry a generator powerful enough to make them go. The biggest generators don't go anywhere; they stay in power stations.

A portable generator

Different things can be used to make the generator head spin. Some small ones are cranked by someone's arms or legs. Bigger ones are connected to an engine. The biggest ones use a steam turbine or hydroelectric water power. Some use wind power. Whatever makes it turn, the generator converts this energy into electrical energy.

Some portable generators have an internal combustion engine. They are harmful when used indoors because they make carbon monoxide.



Simple generators have:

  • a rotor, which is the moving part of the generator
  • an axle
  • a magnet
  • brushes

Some kinds have:

  • a commutator, which is a switch that reverses the current
  • a power supply to start the generator