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Difference Between Alternator & Generator
Difference Between Alternator & Generator

The major difference between the alternator and the generator is that in alternator
the armature is stationary and the field system rotates whereas in the generator
armature rotates and field is stationary. The armature of the alternator is mounted
on the stationary element called stator and field winding on a rotating element.
While the connection of a generator is just the reverse of it. The other
differences between them are shown below in the comparison chart.

The alternator and generator both works on the principle of Faraday law of
electromagnetic induction. The generator induces both the alternating and direct
current and the alternator produces only alternating current. The rotor of the
generator is placed inside the stationary magnetic field. The stationary magnetic
field is produced by the magnetic poles. The rotor moves inside the magnetic field,
intersects the magnetic line of force which induces the current in the wire.

Every half rotation of rotor changes the direction of the current which causes the
alternating current. For getting the alternating current, the ends of the circuit
is directly connected to the load. But for producing the direct current, the ends
of the wire is connected to the commutator. The commutator converts the alternating
current into direct current.
Content: Alternator Vs Generator

Comparison Chart
Key Differences

Comparison Chart

Basis for Comparison Alternator Generator

Definition A machine that converts the mechanical energy into AC electrical power.
A machine that changes mechanical energy into electrical energy (AC or DC).
Current Induces alternating current Generate both AC & DC.
Magnetic Field Rotating Stationary
Input Supply Takes from stator. Takes from rotor.
Armature Stationary Rotatory
Output EMF Alternating Constant
RPM (Rotation per minute) Wide Range Narrow Range
Dead Battery Do not charge charge

Higher Lower

Definition of an Alternator

The synchronous generator or Alternator is a machine for converting the mechanical

power from a prime mover to an AC electrical power at a specific voltage and
frequency. Three-phase alternators are used because it has several advantages of
distribution, generation, and transmission. For bulk power generation large
alternator is used in the thermal, hydro and nuclear power station.


The magnetic pole of the rotor is excited by the direct field current. When the
rotor rotates, the magnetic flux cut the stator conductor, and hence EMF induces in
them. As the magnetic pole alternating rotating N and S, they induce an EMF and
current in armature conductor which first rotate in a clockwise direction and then
in an anti-clockwise direction. Thus, generates the alternating current.
Definition of Generator

The generator converts the mechanical energy into electrical energy or power. The
working of the generator is based on the principle of Faraday laws of
electromagnetic induction, i.e., whenever the conductors cut the magnetic flux EMF
induces. This EMF causes the current to flow if the conductor is closed. The
magnetic field and conductors are the two essential parts of generators.


The generator has a rectangle rotating coil which is rotating in the magnetic field
around its axis. The magnetic field is provided by either permanent magnet or by an
electromagnet. The ends of the coil are joined by two slip rings. The slip ring
collects the current induced in the coil and transfers it to external load
resistance R. The rotating coil is called armature which is made of copper.
Key Differences Between Alternator & Generator

An alternator is a machine which converts the mechanical energy from a prime

mover into the AC, whereas the generator converters the mechanical energy from the
prime mover into an AC or DC.
The alternator induces the AC, whereas the generator causes both the AC and DC
power. The generator produces the alternating current which is converted into DC by
the help of the commutator.
The alternator has a rotating magnetic field, whereas the generator has a
rotating magnetic field for the high voltage generation and low voltage stationary
magnetic field is used.
The alternator takes input supply from the stator whereas the generator takes
input supply from the rotor.
The armature of an alternator is stationary, and in the case of the generator,
it is rotating.
The output EMF of the alternator is variable, and the output voltage of the
generator is constant.
The alternator has a wide range of RPM whereas the generator has a narrow range
of RPM (rotation per minute).
The alternator does not charge the completely dead battery whereas the
generator charges the dead battery.
The output of the alternator is higher than that of the generator.
The alternator is smaller in size and requires less space whereas the generator
requires large space.
Related terms:

Synchronous Generators
Difference Between AC and DC Motor
Difference Between Stator & Rotor
Generation of Alternating Voltage
Difference Between Motor and Generator


masoudi October 11, 2017 at 5:01 am Reply

Thanks alots
Neelakanta Reddy October 24, 2018 at 4:59 am Reply

Please arrange a newsletter subscription for this website, this website helps
students a lot.
Md ASHRAF December 7, 2018 at 5:39 am Reply

very helpful and nice explanation. Thanks circuit globe.

Sai sahoo January 23, 2019 at 1:11 am Reply

Thankyou mam
Sai kumar January 23, 2019 at 1:12 am Reply

Tq mam

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