A Simple Guide to the Difference Between Motor and Generator

difference between motor and generator

Today motors and generators have become a common electrical tool used in almost every electrical appliance. They both are electric devices that change one form of energy to another and have evolved through a large number of changes. Although their hardware requirements are similar, motors and generators differ in their operational behavior. In this article, we will take a closer look at the difference between motor and generator. Keep on reading this new blog in Linquip to learn more about them.

What is a motor?

A motor is a form of electrical machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. Electric motors take power either from direct currents (DC) sources, such as from batteries, motor vehicles, or rectifiers, or from alternating current (AC) sources, such as a power grid, inverters, or electrical generators.

The motor components and working principles are as follows.

  • Stator
  • Rotor 
  • Shaft
  • Commutator
  • Brushes 

When the power is switched on, the brushes supply current to the commutators. These commutators are attached to the rotating coils, one to each end. Current passes from commutators into the coil, placed in between the poles of permanent magnets, stator. When current moves in the coil, the magnetic field is induced around the coil.

difference between motor and generator

This magnetic field comes in contact with the magnetic field of the permanent magnets and due to the characteristic of the magnetism, poles repel each other and unlike poles attracts, the coil starts to rotate. When the rotor rotates the shaft attached to it also rotates thereby converting the applied electrical energy into mechanical energy.

What is a generator?

A generator operates with a reversed flow of power, converting mechanical energy into electrical energy. The hardware requirements of the generator are the same but the working principle differs. Here when the mechanical energy is applied to the shaft, the rotor rotates and this movement of the rotor between the permanent magnets starts generating electricity inside the coils of the rotor. This electricity is collected by the brushes.

The difference between motor and generator

There is a description of the difference between motor and generator by considering several factors. The following factors show the main differences between these two in the table below.

Parameter Motor  Generator
Function It converts Electrical energy into Mechanical Energy It converts Mechanical energy to Electrical energy
Working Principle The working principle of a motor is based on the current-carrying conductor that experiences a force when it is kept in the magnetic field. The working principle of the generator is based on electromagnetic induction.
Rule  Fleming’s left-hand rule Fleming’s right-hand rule
Driving force for shaft The shaft of an electric motor is driven by a magnetic force which is developed between the armature and field. The shaft of an electric generator is connected to the rotor which is driven by a mechanical force.
Electricity It uses electricity. It generates electricity.
Current Usage In a motor, the current is supplied to the armature winding. In a generator, the current is produced in the armature winding.
Source of energy Power grids, electrical supply steam turbines, water turbines, internal combustion engines
EMF The electric motor gives outback emf to the circuit The generator gives emf to the load connected.
Application Automobiles, elevators, fans, pumps, etc. In power supply chains in industries, testing purposes in the laboratory, general lighting, powering of batteries, etc.
Example Ceiling fans, cars, bikes, etc. In power stations, a generator is used to generate electricity.

 

The difference between motor and generator is mentioned below.

  • The Motor converts electric energy into mechanical energy, whereas the generator does the opposite.
  • The motor operates based on the current-carrying conductor that experiences a force when it is kept in the magnetic field. However, the working principle of the generator is based on electromagnetic induction.
  • Motor follows Fleming’s Left-hand rule while Generator follows Fleming’s Right-hand rule.
  • The Shaft of the motor is driven by the magnetic force developed between armature and field windings whereas, in the case of the Generator the Shaft is attached to the rotor and is driven by mechanical force.
  • Electricity is used in the motor, but the generator produces electricity.
  • The current is to be supplied to the armature windings in case of a Motor, and in Generator, the current is produced in the armature windings.
  • Motors take power from Power grids and electrical supply while generators take power from steam turbines, water turbines, and internal combustion engines.
  • The electric motor gives outback EMF to the circuit while the generator gives EMF to the load connected.
  • Motors are used in automobiles, elevators, fans, pumps, etc. whereas, generators are used in power supply chains in industries, testing purposes in the laboratory, general lighting, powering of batteries, etc.
  • An example of a Motor is an electric car or bike where electric current is supplied to the machine or device, and it gets converted into mechanical motion and, as a result, the car or bike moves. An example of a generator is that in power stations the turbine is used as a device that converts mechanical energy of force of water falling from the dam to generate electric energy.

difference between motor and generator

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