How Does a Generator Produce Electricity

How Does a Generator Produce Electricity

Generators are very useful, they help to supply electricity whenever there is a power outage. Or you get any outdoor activities and you need a power supply, a generator can be of help. These generators are of different configurations, so they supply power differently. The main principle of an electric generator is through electromagnetic induction. This how does a generator produce electricity article shows how a generator produces electricity.

How Does a Generator Produce Electricity?

The generator produces electricity by the principle of electromagnetic induction. When the generator is being supplied a fuel. The internal combustion chamber of the generator engine then obtains mechanical energy. Then the mechanical energy is being converted into electrical energy by actions of some components.

The supplied mechanical energy helps to move the electric charges in the conductor windings through an external electric circuit. The output current which is being supplied by the generator is produced from the flow of electric charges.

The major components of a generator can be listed as follows:

  • Engine
  • Alternator
  • Fuel System
  • Voltage Regulator
  • Cooling and Exhaust Systems
  • Lubrication System
  • Control Panel
  • Main Assembly / Frame

The Engine

This is the main part of the generator. It is the source of the generator’s mechanical energy. The power output of the generator depends on the size of its engine. The generator engine is the point of supply of mechanical energy. And its size is directly proportional to the maximum power output the generator can supply. The engine of the generator operates on different types of fuel.

The Alternator

This can also be called the head of the generator. This is where the supplied mechanical input of the generator is being converted to electrical output. It consists of a housing that encloses an assembly of the stationary and moving parts. These parts work together and cause a relative motion between the electric field and the magnetic field. The field they produced then helps to generate electricity. The stationary part contains some electrical conductors which are wound over the iron core. And the rotating part consists of parts that rotate and produced a magnetic field. The magnetic field is produced either by induction, by permanent magnets, or by the use of an exciter. The rotating component produces a magnetic field about the stationary components. So the voltage is induced in these conductor windings. Thereby, an alternating current is being generated as the output.

The Fuel System

The capacity of the fuel tank will determine for how long your generator operates. Some of the common features of the fueling system include:

  1. Connection of fuel pipe from the fuel tank to engine. It is through the fuel pipe the fuel enters into the engine from the fuel tank through the supply line. And back into the tank from the engine through the return line.
  2. Ventilation pipe for the fuel tank. The ventilation pipe helps to prevent pressure build-up when you re refilling the generator. It also prevents tank drainage.
  3. The overflow connection from the fuel tank to the drain pipe. Connecting the overflow helps to prevent the fuel from pouring out during refill.
  4. Fuel pump. This is operated electrically. Its work is to transfer fuel from the storage tank to the day tank to be used.
  5. Fuel Filter. This is responsible for the separation of the working fuel from foreign materials, such as water. This is to prevent contamination and corrosion.
  6. Fuel Injector. The fuel injector transfers the needed amount of the working fuel into the combustion chamber of the engine.

Voltage Regulator

This is a component of the generator that controls the output voltage. The cyclical process of the voltage regulator includes:

  • Conversion of AC Voltage to DC Current

A small portion of the AC output is being picked up by the voltage regulator and converts to DC. This DC is then fed into the windings of the stationary component.

  • Conversion of DC Current to AC Current

Once the DC reached the stationary (exciter) windings. Its function is now similar to the primary stator windings. Then a small AC will be generated. The windings of the exciter then get connected to the rotating rectifiers.

  • Conversion of AC Current to DC

The AC which was generated by the exciter windings is then rectified and is converted into DC. This DC then goes into the rotating components and an electromagnetic field is being created. The electromagnetic field created is an addition to the magnetic field of the rotating component.

  • Conversion of DC Current to AC Voltage

A larger AC voltage is then being induced by the rotating component through the windings of the stationary component. Thus, the larger output of AC voltage is being produced by the generator.

The generator will continue to produce output voltage. Therefore this cycle will continue so that the generator reaches its full operating capacity. An increase in the output of the generator will prevent the generator from producing more DC. And the voltage regulator will reach equilibrium when the generator is operating at full capacity. When there is a change in load on the generator, it affects the voltage produced. Then the cyclic operation of the voltage regulator starts again till the generator starts to operate at full capacity again.

Cooling and Exhaust System

When the generator heats up, it is necessary to keep the heat as minimum as possible. Coolants like fresh water and hydrogen are being used. It is good to always check the coolant level of the generator regularly. It is very important to fix a better exhaust system for the generator. This is to get rid of the exhaust gas.

Lubricating System

It is necessary to get the generator lubricated regularly. This is to make it operate smoothly for a long time. Keep the oil store pump to the required level.

Control Panel

This consists of, electric start and shut-down. Engine gauges, Generator gauges, Phase selector switch, frequency switch, and engine control switch (manual mode, auto mode) among others.


This serves as a shield. It protects the electrical and moving parts.


An emergency generator is a good appliance to have at home. It helps to keep the house light on and to power some essential appliances in the house.

It is, therefore, necessary to know how does a generator produces electricity. The major work of the electric conversion is done by the voltage regulator. This article has shown you how an electric generator produces electricity.

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