Producing energy, such as electricity is essential in our fast-paced and rapidly changing world. We now run more electrical devices than ever, from TVs, to computers, to telephones, servers and many more. But while we can often rely on our electrical output at home and at work, it can be very difficult to get energy outside, especially if you are far from a city, and it can be even harder to restore electricity to a building.
However, generators can fantastic inventions that are able to create mechanical energy into electrical energy, which basically means that they can produce electricity. While many people are probably used to seeing generators at outdoor events, such as music festivals like T in the Park, Glastonbury and Bestival, they are also a common site at other outdoor events that require extra power, such as at weddings, to power the band and lighting in external extensions, like a wedding marquee.
But how does it do it? Well, to put it simply, an electric generator is a device or piece of equipment that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. To do this, the generator uses electrons, and forces them to flow through an electrical circuit, which is usually external, our outside the generator itself. The mechanical energy that creates the electrical energy is usually created by an internal energy inside the generator, be it an internal combustion engine, a wind turbine, compressed air, or even a hand crank that has to be manually turned by a person in order to generate mechanical power.
A generator is made up of several parts, both mechanical and electrical. The mechanical parts of the generator are known as the rotor and the stator; the rotor is, as the name suggestions, the rotating part, and the stator is the still or stationary part of the device. The electrical parts of the generator are the armature, which is the component that produces electricity, and can be found either on the rotor or the stator, and the field, which is a magnetic field that can be created by either electromagnets or other, permanent magnets that can be found on either the rotor or the stator.
While this is the basic structure of many electric generators, dome use what’s known as field coils, and not permanent magnets, but the field coils need to be powered in order for them to work. If they aren’t powered, the device will not work properly, and this will lead to the rotor in the generator spinning without producing electricity, which means that it will be spinning for no reason, so always make sure that the field coils are powered. However, some smaller generators are known as ’self-excited‘ generators‘, which means that the aforementioned field coils are powered by the current produced by the generator, and the field coils are connected with the armature wiring.
So, that was a very brief explanation of what a generator is and how it works, and know you know the very basics of a generator, you can always find a little bit more out about them, or even look into generator hire later on if you so wish.