What Are All These Terms?

Portable Generator Glossary

Alternation Current (AC) - Current which varies from zero to a positive maximum to zero to a negative maximum to zero, a number of times per second, the number being expressed in cycles per second of Hertz (HZ).

Alternator - A device for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy.

Amperage - The strength or intensity of an electric current, measured in amperes (AMPS).

Battery Charge Rectifier - A component which changes AC voltage from the battery charge windings (within the STATOR) to DC voltage. This voltage could be used to charge a battery.

Brush - A conducting element, usually graphite and/or copper, which maintains sliding electrical contact between a stationary and a moving element.

Conductor - A wire or cable designed for the passage of electrical current.

Contactor - A contactor is an electrically operated switch usually used in control circuits and whose contacts are considered high amperage compared to a relay.

Core - The laminations in the generator constituting the magnetic structure thereof.

Cradle - The metal frame that surrounds and protects the generator/engine.

Current -The flow rate of electricity.

Cycle - One complete reversal of alternating current of voltage, from zero to a positive maximum to zero to a negative maximum back to zero. The number of cycles per second is the frequency, expressed in Hertz (HZ).

Diode - A solid-state device which allows current to pass in one direction only. Since it allows only one-half cycle of an alternating current pass, its output will be unidirectional and it may be considered a rectifying element.

Direct Current (DC) - An electric current flows in one direction only. DC is produced by chemical action (i.e. a storage battery) or by electromagnetic induction.

Dynamo - A machine for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy by electromagnetic induction - a generator.

Electro-Motive Force (EMF) - The force which causes current to flow in a conductor; in other words, the voltage potential.

Full Power Outlet - Enables you to draw the full power of the generator out of one outlet.

Generator - A general name for a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The electrical energy may be direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC).

Ground - A connection, intentional or accidental, between an electrical circuit and the earth or some conduction body serving in the place of the earth.

Idle Control - A system that controls the idle speed of the engine in direct relation to the electrical load.

Ignition Coil - A device used to supply DC voltage to the spark plugs.

Magneto- An alternator with permanent magnets used to generate current for ignition in an internal combustion engine.

Ohm- Unit of electrical resistance. One volt will cause a current of one flow through a resistance of one ohm.

Phase - The uniform periodic change in amplitude or magnitude of an alternating current. Three-phase alternating current consists of three different sine wave current consists of three different sine wave current flows, different in phase by 120 degrees from each other.

Power Transfer System - A system to safely wire your generator to your home's electrical system.

Rated Speed - Revolutions per minute at which the set is designed to operate.

Rated Voltage -- The rated voltage of an engine generator set is the voltage at which it is designed to operate.

Rear Bearing Carrier - The casting which houses the rotor bearing which supports the rotor shaft.

Rectify - A device that converts AC to DC.

Relay - An electrically operated switch usually used in control circuits and whose contacts are considered low amperage, compared to a contactor.

Resistance - Opposition to the flow of current

Rotor - The rotating element of a generator.

Single Phase - An AC load, or source of power normally having only two input terminals if a load or two output terminals if a source.

Stator - The stationary part of a generator.

Vibration Mount - A rubber device located between the engine or generator and the cradle to minimize vibration.

Volt - The unit of electromotive force. That electromotive force which when steadily applied to a conductor whose resistance is one ohm will produce a current of one ampere.

Voltage - Electrical potential difference expressed in volts.

Voltage Regulator - A component which automatically maintains proper generator voltage by controlling the amount of DC exitation to the rotor.

Watt - Unit of electrical power. In DC equals volts times amperes. In AC equals effective volts times effective amps times power factor times a consistent dependent on the number of phases. 1 kilowatt - 1,000 watts.

Winding -All the coils of a generator. Stator winding consists of a number of stator coils and their interconnections. Rotor windings consist of all windings and connections on the rotor poles.