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Name: holly s vaughn
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1993

I was wondering if I could get a very simplified (almost elementary) description of how generators and alternators work.

Hopefully this information will still be useful to you. I must qualify the answers that I will give by saying that I am a mechanical engineer and thus may not have as strong an understanding of alternators and generators as my electrical counterparts, however, I will do my best. As I understand it, alternators and generators both work basically the same except that the alternating current produced naturally in a rotating machine is rectified in a DC alternator within the commutator or brushes. What you are trying to do with an alternator is generate electricity from shaft power. Either you provide a magnetic field in field windings (the stator) by passing current through the windings or you provide the magnetic field with magnets attached to the rotor. Because of the mutual inductance that occurs as a conductor moves relative to a magnetic field, the motion of the rotor can be used to essentially "push" the electrons along, thereby inducing a current. When you attach the alternator to a load (bank of resistors, starter motor, batteries for charging, etc.) then current begins to flow and does work. At times like this, I wish that I could draw you a picture. Just remember that mutual inductance between the magnetic field and a current carrying conductor that is moving relative to the field is at the heart of it.

david r munoz

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