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Understanding alternating current generators

  • September 2003
  • Number of views: 509
  • Article rating: No rating

George Stratton 
G.E. Jones Electric Co., Inc. 
Amarillo, Texas 
Technical Education Committee Member 

We take so much for granted. The alarm clock buzzes and we make our way to the bathroom and turn on the light. We reach over and turn the water on and it’s there. We flip the switch on the electric razor. We really do take it all for granted. The en­ergy that flows through the wires to the switch that you flip comes from a device called an alter­nator. Yes, somewhere close to where you live is a power plant where that energy that makes the world go around is created.

Alternators come in all kinds of configura­tions. Your car or truck even has one. That’s right. An alternator is needed to charge the battery and provide electric power for your vehicle. If you have a recreational vehicle (my wife’s idea of really roughing it) you probably use a generator to power that air conditioner that would be tough to live without these days. This device is handy for watching TV, too.

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