What Is An Electric Generator?

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An electric generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy into an electric current.

Sources like combustion engines, steam turbines, wind turbines, water turbines, and hand cranks often generate the mechanical energy.

Solar panels are an exception to this process. These generators work through a different mechanism.

The ability to generate electricity yourself is useful in situations or locations where the power grid is not available.

What is a generator, the short answer?

In simple words, an electric generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into an electric current.

This mechanical energy typically comes from sources like combustion engines, steam turbines, wind turbines, water turbines, and hand cranks.

Electric generators are used for situations where there is no convenient access to the electricity from the power grid (which is also created by a type of generator).

What does a generator do?

A generator uses mechanical force to move a magnet and certain types of metal next to each other which generates an electric current.

A more specific way to describe how a portable generator works is that it uses controlled combustion in its engine to rotate a metal construction next to magnets.

This process produces electricity through Faraday’s Laws of Electromagnetic Induction.

The portable generator guides the electricity towards outlets where you can plug in your appliances and tools.

Other types of generators can use different mechanical forces but typically follow the same general principles after that.

A generator can power a house as long as you make it strong enough and follow the necessary safety principles.

Solar panels are an exception that generates electricity in a slightly different way.

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Author:

Mats is the founder and head editor of Generator Decision. With a combination of critical thinking, tireless research, and a healthy interest in electronics he helps people find the right generators and how to use these. At this point in the journey, Mats has done research on hundreds of portable generators.