Alternator vs Generator

Alternators and generators are particular types of devices that are used to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy.

It’s important to note that the main difference between these two types of electrical devices is that the generator can be regarded as any device that is used to convert mechanical energy into useful electrical-energy. On the contrary, the alternator is a special type of generator that is used to produce alternating currents.

Alternators are regarded as a more efficient energy source as when compared to their counterparts the generators. According to Wikipedia.com, the alternators are used to conserve energy by using only the required amount of energy, while the generators use the energy that is produced. The alternators have a better output as when compared to their counterparts the generators.

Alternator vs Generator

The generator

Broadly speaking, the generator is a unique device that is used to convert mechanical energy into useful power. In most cases, the generator can be used to produce AC or even DC as well. By the same token, the generators often comprise of special coils of wire that form what is referred to as the rotor. This rotor is positioned in the interior section of the magnetic field that is produced by the use of polarized magnets. The mechanical energy is then used to rotate the rotor, and since the wire is in constant motion, the magnetic field that runs on the wires keeps on changing. In fact, after each individual half cycle of the rotor, the current often alternates its general direction as well. As a result, this leads to the production of alternating current running through the wire. However, if the exterior circuit necessitates the use of alternating current, then it’s simple for users to connect the generator to the external circuit.

The alternator

An alternator is a regarded as a special type of generator, which can be used to convert mechanical energy into electrical power that is often produced as alternating current. In most cases, the alternators often comprise of individual wires that are stationary and unique mechanical energy is used to move the magnet. As a result, the magnetic field passes through a conductor and an electrical current is produced.

Main differences

Generators and alternators are two devices that are used to generate electricity. In most cases, the alternator is often classified as a generator. While both of these devices may have similar functionalities, they vary in various aspects. For instance, the alternator is used as a special charging mechanism for cars to produce electricity. The generators are a common tool in the realms of the energy production world. Besides that, the alternators and generators are primarily used in the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy. It’s important to note that the primary difference between these two devices refers to the components that spins and the elements that remain stationary. To be specific, the alternator can only produce electricity when the magnetic flux turns in the interior section of the stator. On the contrary, the generator comprises of special winding of wire that is positioned permanently on a magnetic field to produce electricity. As a result, the generators are used to generate voltage only when needed while the generators are used to produce energy continuously.

When it comes to polarization, the generators and alternators have different characteristics. Although the generators have to be polarized after installation, it doesn’t necessitate the need for polarization in the alternators. Besides that, the alternator brushes are more durable than the generators. This is because the brushes in the alternator are only used for transferring current to operate the rotor and the slip rings used are also smooth in texture.

The other notable difference between these two components Is that the alternators and generators tend to differ when it comes to charging. To be specific, the alternator can not be used to charge a dead battery and lack of sufficient charge may lead to long term damage. On the contrary, the generator can be used to charge dead batteries as well. Another notable difference in the tools is the size of the alternator in both units. While alternators are compact in size, the generators tend to have a larger size than their counterparts.