Generator: What is it and how does it work?

November 29, 2021
These power equipment are compact and efficient devices that convert fuel into electricity for small-scale operations. In this post, we will look at how generator sets work so you can better understand their benefits and risks.

A generator is a machine that produces energy from an external power source. The generator converts this power into electricity, which can be used to operate any device or appliance that has the appropriate plug. Generators are not self-contained units; they require access to outside sources of fuel and electric current in order to produce energy.

These power equipment are compact and efficient devices that convert fuel into electricity for small-scale operations. In this post, we will look at how generator sets work so you can better understand their benefits and risks.

What are the Functions of a Generator?

Electricity is the lifeblood of modern society. To function effectively, virtually every company and house requires a steady supply of power.

However, with electricity being vulnerable to different types of disasters, a generator setup can be an alternative power solution. Such difficulties underscore the importance of a generator's primary purpose: to provide primary or backup power.

This is all because we use electricity to light our homes and computers, as well as our air conditioners. We also need power to fuel our vehicles and appliances, which is why generator sets are important pieces of equipment for any business.

Aside from powering homes and businesses, industrial generators can be used in the construction industry to provide electricity at remote job sites where no other supply exists. In addition, generator sets can function as backup supplies during natural disasters or emergencies that result in a loss of power.

generator setup and backup generator

What are the Benefits of a Generator Setup?

Many homes and enterprises, such as hospitals, medical centers, computer and data centers, and construction sites, rely on generators. The following are a few of the frequent advantages:

In some cases a generator may not be necessary; however, in many circumstances it can prove useful beyond its initial purpose.

How Does a Generator Work?

A generator works by converting kinetic energy into electrical current through the process of induction, which occurs when you move a magnetic field next to an electric conductor such as copper wire or a coil.

When metal rotates inside the generator its magnetic field cuts across wires in coils on each side of the generator.

This movement creates an ebb and flow in the current, which is then converted into direct electrical energy through a transformer to be supplied to your home or work site.

A generator works similarly to a car, and the mechanical components function in much the same way. A generator uses a heavy-duty, recharging battery to start and maintain its basic level of energy, just like your everyday car.

The generator's battery then begins to send electricity to the generator. The generator uses this power, along with a large flywheel and magnets, to produce electric current it sends out into the world via cables that can be plugged in by you or others.

Generators usually create alternating-current (AC) energy; however there are some generators which can produce direct-current (DC) energy.

Parts of a generator

The generator has a few parts that work together to produce the power.

From top-to bottom, these include:

Generator head

The generator head contains all the important components like the engine and alternators which are responsible for powering appliances with electricity. The generator head is kept away from weather conditions as it houses most of the generator's sensitive parts.

Generator enclosure

The generator is enclosed in a metal case which acts as a shield to protect from dust, water and any other external damage. It houses the generator head and generator engine safely behind sturdy doors or panels made of tough material like steel.

Fuel tank

A generator needs fuel for its operation so it has a separate fuel tank. This generator has a large, eight-gallon fuel tank that holds enough gas for several hours of continuous operation depending on the model and load level.

Generator engine

A generator head houses an actual generator which is basically an electric motor with its magnetic coils wired in such a way as to produce alternating current when spun. The generator engine is powered by fuel like gasoline and runs at a high RPM (revolutions per minute).


An alternator is the generator's electric generator component. It produces AC electricity which can be used for powering appliances, tools etc. The generator engine spins its rotor inside an electromagnetic field created by wires coiled around an insulated core. The generator head houses the generator engine, alternator and other components like capacitor etc.

How to Set Up a Generator Without Risk of Fire or Explosions?

It is important to make sure that the generator is being used safely and properly. When a generator is hooked up improperly, it can be harmful or even deadly. This includes knowing how to set up your generator without risk of fire or explosions which will keep you safe on the job site before we get into some popular questions about generators in general.

There are two main components to generator use and safety.

The first is to connect the generator properly to prevent sparks in two ways: electricity flowing from your generator can cause a spark and gas fumes may also ignite if they come into contact with an ignition source such as a flame, spark or cigarette. To avoid this problem it is important that generators be placed at least 20 feet from any gas cans, propane tanks or other fuel containers.

Connecting the generator to properly power your equipment is also important so that you do not risk creating a spark and causing an explosion by hooking up the generator improperly. Your generator should only be connected to circuits with automatic shut-off devices such as those found in most homes. It should never be connected directly to a household outlet.

If you do not have an automatic shut-off device, use generator transfer switches which are designed for the generator and load center combination in order to avoid putting your home at risk of damage from surges or spikes that can occur when starting large appliances like AC units on generators.

Another generator set up for safety concern is the generator itself. This includes keeping a generator's fuel tank at least half full so that it does not run out of gas and create an explosion hazard.

The generator set up process may seem complicated, but by following these few safety precautions you will ensure your generator is ready to power the job site.

power equipment generator

Generator maintenance

Generator maintenance is crucial to the generator's durability. To make sure that the generator works properly, generator maintenance is necessary. If you don’t maintain the generator regularly and carefully, the generator might break down causing serious damage to your home appliances or even harm yourself.

It is also important that generators should be maintained by trained professionals such as industrial electricians provided by a trusted electrical contractor, who can do proper generator testing for safety reasons.

Here is a preventive generator maintenance checklist that generator users should follow:

If you follow this checklist, it can help extend the life of your generator and save you money by improving its efficiency.

In Conclusion

A generator setup is a great solution to have a backup electrical load. It is also important to secure a backup generator, just in case. This backup power equipment has many functions, and it is important to set it up safely to avoid accidents. These powerful generators work like an automobile in that they need to be started before being turned on, with fuel provided by the gas tank or propane tanks. In order to ensure you're getting the most out of your investment, make sure you get help from a professional electrical contractor who can provide maintenance services as well as installation services if needed! Reach out today if you're in need of industrial electrician assistance!