Do You Know the Difference between AC Genset and DC Genset? Here’s the Crux!
What is a genset? Well, it mainly comprises of engine and an alternator. However, most of the commercial machines and equipment that you come across is AC genset. But, commercial DC gensets are commonly founded in electromagnetic applications. Some are also used in traction applications like subways and trains. Moreover, some DC motor gensets provide the field currents for large commercial power AC generators as seen in hydro-electric dams.
Working Principle of Generator
A generator works by moving electrical conductors through a magnetic field. If your generator does not have magnets, it won’t be able to produce electricity. But how is this magnetic field created? It is created by taking some of the generator output voltage and converting it into DC and feeding it to a coil to make it an electro magnet. Simply put, the process of converting energy is achieved with the help of electromagnetic induction. There are also two types of generators and they produce currents that might differ in the manner in which they move.
All electric generators no matter AC or DC largely depend on the principle of magnetic induction irrespective of their size. In a DC genset, the armature is always the rotor. However in alternators, the armature might be either the rotor or the stator. Although both generators produce current using the similar process, but still they have different design, mechanisms, uses, output connection and types.
First- Design Differences
As mentioned earlier, both the AC and DC generators produce currents via electromagnetic induction. In AC generators, the coil through which the current flows is specific, and the magnet is moving. The north and south poles of the magnet make the current to flow in the opposite direction, thus producing an alternating current. With DC generators, the coil through which the current flows actually rotates in a specified field.
You must know that both AC and DC generators follow the principles of electromagnetism, and still these two gensets come with different ways of collecting and transferring induced electromotive forces into the external circuit. And as the connection of external circuit and armature differs with these two types of generators, this perhaps explains the difference in how electromotive forces are collected and then transferred.
AC generators comprise of two commutators while DC gensets have only one. The slip ring comprises of two semi-circular metal rings and is also insulated from each other. AC generators produce an output voltage called the alternators. But on the other hand, DC generators provide a steady output voltage.
Primary Uses of AC and DC Gensets
AC and DC generators come with different uses. AC generators are used to provide power to small motors and common electrical appliances at home. Such appliances that can be operated using the AC generators comprise of vacuum cleaners, juicers and electrical fixtures. However, DC generators are quite functional in supplying power to big electric motors- like those required for subway systems. Moreover, DC gensets provide a reliable and efficient energy supply that can charge banks of batteries used for mobile and off-grid uses.
In the alternator used in AC generator, the generated AC is subjected to the load unchanged by means of slip rings. In the DC generator, the emf generated in the armature windings is converted from AC to DC with the help of commutator.
The types of AC generators are rotating armature alternator and rotating field alternator. Single phase AC generator produces 25KW or even less. However, in single phase it generates power at a fixed voltage. But when it comes to polyphaser, it generates two or more AC voltages usually 2, 3 or 6 phases.