Main Alternator and Generator Differences You Ought to Know About

Alternator vs Generator

Many people seem to struggle when it comes to comparing Alternator Vs Generator. And this is understandable considering it may take some time before you clear your doubts regarding this topic especially when learning for the very first time. Nevertheless, you can still get through it provided you understand what is expected.

Fortunately, we are here to offer a helping hand. But before we jump into the difference between Alternator and Generator, it is important to understand what they are. In a nutshell, an alternator is a device that converts mechanical energy into alternating current (AC) electrical energy. A generator, on the other hand, converts mechanical energy to either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) electrical energy. Now that you know the definition of these two, let’s jump straight into Generator and Alternator Difference.


One of the most notable difference between these two is how they are used. Alternators are widely relied upon in the automobile industry as charging system for the battery. If this is not enough, they come in handy in commercial electric power plants thanks to their mechanical simplicity.  Generators are, however, widely used to produce large-scale electricity. In fact, generators provide multiple services when compared to alternators.

One thing you ought to keep in mind is that you can use an alternator as a DC motor. But how is this even possible in the first place? All you have to do is apply power to the shaft before removing it in turn acting as a generator.  For those who would rather want to use an alternator in the conversion of AC to DC, then you have to make do with extra circuitry.

Power Generation

Aside from their usage, there is also a huge difference in terms of how these two generate power. Of course, they both rely on the principle of Faraday law of electromagnetic induction. However, the alternator tends to be more efficient when generating power when compared to a generator. In addition, a generator relies on the wining of wires spinning inside a magnetic field to create current whereas the magnetic field in an alternator is spun inside a winding of wires. No wonder alternators are capable of producing more power at lower speeds.

The Bottom Line

These are just but some of the Generator Alternator Difference you ought to know about. Other differences touch on energy conservation, energy efficiency, voltage generation, charging of a dead battery, polarization of installation to mention a few. Be sure to spend some time understanding these difference if you are to clear you mind off any doubts.

If you are still undecided on what to choose between Alternator and Generator, then you should consider seeking the help of experts. Alternatively, you can go through the Advantage of Alternator Vs Generator. Fortunately, the internet will prove beneficial in this regard thus making sure you find every information you need at any time of the day without moving a muscle.

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