The Basic Parts of an Electric Generator…

This is a great article to supplement our generator buyer’s guides for power cords! We will talk about the very basic parts of a generator and how they work with a neat diagram to learn from. If you or someone you know has a generator, take a moment to learn a little about the power plan you are using. Keep Reading…


The Basic Parts of a Generator:
A generator is composed of five parts. The armature (1a) is made up of coils of wire wrapped around an iron core, and it is this armature that rotates when the generator pulley is turned. The brushes (1b) are the spring-loaded contacts that transfer current from the armature to the electrical system. The brushes actually rest against a segmented ring at one end of the armature called the commutator (1c). Inside the generator body are the field coils or field windings (1d). These consist of fine copper wire wrapped around the field poles, which are essentially pieces of soft iron.

It is the current in the field coils or windings that produces the magnetic field in which the armature rotates. When the engine is turning over, the armature (1a) is spun by the fan belt. In the presence of a magnetic field generated by the field coils (1d), a voltage is induced (created) in the armature windings.

When the voltage in the armature windings (1e) is greater than the rest of the system, current will flow from the armature windings (1e) through the commutator (1c), through the brushes (1b), finally arriving at the armature terminal (1e) of the generator (usually marked “D”). The current then flows through the wire running to the “D” terminal of the control box or voltage regulator.

An illustration of the parts of an electrical generator.

The basic parts of a Generator explained. Credits to: MossMotors for the image.

We have a lot of customers who damage their generators by not understanding how much power they are drawing nor the configuration of their generator.

These parts all work in unison to create the energy you are going to plug into. Now that you have a basic understanding of the parts of a generator, you can understand how it affects what power cord you need to buy. We have a great 2-Part series on: Buying the right generator power cords (Part 1) Check it out.

Credits for a large portion of this article goes to:

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Posted in Generator

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