Generators are apparatuses capable of producing electrical power through the transformation of mechanical power. While some generators may be the main power source of a building, vehicle, etc., there are many cases in which they act as a backup when the main source of power goes down for any reason. When one is exploring the market for a backup generator, they will quickly realize that all options are broken up into two major groups, those of which are AC and DC generators. While AC generators produce alternating current, DC generators produce DC current. If you are unfamiliar with these current types and/or which is best for your own operations, read on to learn more.
Whether you choose an AC or DC generator, both will function by transforming mechanical power into electrical power through the process of electromagnetic induction. Such induction occurs when an electrical current passes through a shifting magnetic field, resulting in the transformation of energy. While both generator types follow this basic process, the method in which they do so differs. Additionally, while an AC generator creates current that periodically reverses direction, DC generators produce a current that only flows in a single direction.
With an AC generator, the coil in which current passes through is an unmoving object while the magnet rotates. Due to the north and south poles having opposite magnetic effects, the current will flow in opposite directions. This is why AC generators produce alternating current. On the other hand, DC generators feature a fixed magnetic field where the coil itself is rotated instead. Additionally, both ends of the coil are attached to a commutator, ensuring that the input and output charges are balanced so that there is no alternation in direction.
With this basic understanding of each generator type, one may wonder how they can determine which is best for their particular needs. As AC and DC generators produce a different type of current output, they will perform different roles. With an AC generator, various electrical devices and systems can be powered, including computers, food and drink appliances, etc. Meanwhile, DC generators are relied on for powering large electric motors that support major transportation systems like subways and other applications.
Beyond what applications or operations each generator serves, there are also a number of advantages that each type presents. For example, AC generators are known for being cost-effective, have low maintenance requirements, and are optimal for the powering of smaller appliances in a business, home, or other type of space. With a DC generator, one is treated to a single design, smooth voltages, and the ability to operate large motors that may be crucial for continuing standard operations in the instance of a major power loss.
For most, an AC generator is the perfect backup system, as a majority of businesses will not be operating large motors. Nevertheless, the choice will always come down to one’s individual power needs. As such, having a better understanding of what each generator does and what it can power will ensure that you are better prepared during the purchasing process.
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