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DC Generator: Types, Working Principle, Construction Applications

In this article, you’ll learn about what is D.C. generator and how it works with its working principle, parts, construction and types of DC generators, application and more

DC Generator and Types

An electrical DC generator is a machine which turns mechanical energy into electrical energy. Or in other words it is a machine which converts mechanical energy into a direct current.

Working Principle of DC Generator

The energy conversion takes place on the principle of the production of the dynamically induced e.m.f. i.e, whenever conduct cuts magnetic flux, dynamically e.m.f. is induced in it according to Faraday’s laws of electromagnetic induction. This induced e.m.f. provides a flow of current in a conductor if the circuit is closed.

Construction of D.C. Generator

Construction of D.C. Generator

The above figure represents the practical generator which consists of

  1. Magnetic frame or yoke
  2. Pole-cores and Pole-shoes
  3. Pole-coils and Field coils
  4. Armature windings or conductors
  5. Commutator
  6. Brushes and bearings.

The DC generator consists of a single-turn rectangular copper coil ABCD rotating about its own axis placed magnetic field provided by electromagnets and permanent magnet shown in the figure.

The ends of the coil are connected to the central shaft consisting of two slip rings that are insulated from each other. The two collecting brushes are pressed against slip rings, which are used to collect the current induced in the coil and to convey it to external load resistance ‘R’.

Read also: DC Motor: Types, Parts, Working Principle, Applications

Working of D.C. Generator

When the plane of the coil (ABCD) is at right angles to the line of flux i.e, when it is in position 1, then flux linked is maximum but the rate of change of flux linkages is minimum the sides of coil AB and CD do not cut the flux but they move parallel to them. Hence e.m.f induced is zero as shown in the figure.

Now the coil starts to rotate in clockwise direction, which changes the rate of flux linkages hence induced emf starts to increase, till coil is at position 3 (i.e 0 = 90°) i.e at this position flux linked is minimum but rate of change of flux linkages is maximum hence e.m.f induced is maximum as shown in fig (b).

When the coil starts rotating from 90° to 180°, the flux linked with the coil starts to increase so the rate of change of flux linkages decreases. Hence the emf induced decreases till the coil reaches position 5. At this position, emf becomes zero. Thus from position 1 to 5. the first half revaluation of the coil is completed and the direction of current flow is ABMLCD (fig. 1).

During the next half revaluation i.e, from 180° to 360°, the variations in emf induction remains the same as that of the above revaluation. In this half revaluation emf’s maximum in the coil position 7 and minimum in position 1. But the direction of current flow is DCLMBA fig (a),

Which is just reverse to that of the first half. Thus for both half revaluation current direction is opposite i.e., it generates an alternating current. To make the flow of current unidirectional in the external circuit, the split-rings fig. (b) are used

Due to the split-rings, the current flow is unidirectional i.e., during first half revaluation brush no. 1 is in constant with segment ‘a’ and it acts as (+)ve end of supply and ‘b’ acts (-) ve end similarly during second half revaluation, the direction of current is reversed and the segments ‘a’ and ‘b’ have reversed but brush no. 1 comes in contact with them which is (+)ve i.e., segment ‘b’.

Hence current in the load resistance flows from M to L only. Thus current becomes unidirectional as shown in the figure (5).

Types of D.C. Generators

Following are the types of DC generators:

  1. Separately excited generator
  2. Self-excited Generator
    1. Series wound self-excited generators.
    2. Shunt-wound excited generators.
    3. Compound wound excited generators.
      1. Short compound self-excited generators
      2. Long compound self-excited generators.

Read also: A.C Motors: Types, Working, Construction, Applications.

1. Separately Excited Generator

In the separately excited type, the field coil is reinforced with an autonomous external DC source.

2. Self-excited Generator

In the self-excited type, the field coil is reinforced by the field generated with the generator. Generation of the first electromotive force will arise due to the excellent magnetism within the field pole.

The electromotive force produced will cause a fraction of the current to be supplied to the field coil, so this will increase field flux as well as electromotive force generation. Furthermore, these types of DC generators can be classified into three types such as series-wound, shunt-wound and compound wound.

1. Series Wound Self-excited Generators

types of DC generators: Series Wound D.C. Generator

In this type of generator, field windings are coupled in series with armature conductors. The entire current flows through the coils as well as the load. As the series field winding flows full load current, it is designed with relatively few turns of thick wire. Therefore the electric resistance of series field winding is very low (about 0.5Ω).

2. Shunt Wound Excited Generator

In this types of DC generators, the field windings are coupled in parallel with the armature conductor, as shown in the figure. In shunt-wound generators, the voltage across the field is the same as the voltage across the terminal.

types of DC generators: Shunt Wound D.C. Generator

When IL is maximum the effective power across the load will be maximum. Therefore, it is necessary to keep the shunt field as small as possible. For this purpose, the resistance of shunt field winding is generally kept high (100 Ω) and a large number of windings are used for the desired EMF.

3. Compound Wound Excited Generator

In series-wound generators, the output voltage is directly proportional to the load current. In a shunt-wound generator, the output voltage is inversely proportional to the load current. The combination of these two types of generators can overcome the limitations of both. This combination of windings is termed as compound wound DC generator.

The compound wound generator has both series field winding and shunt field winding. One winding is arranged in series with the armature, and the other is arranged parallel to the armature. This types of DC generators is further classified into two types.

1. Short Compound Self-excited Generators
types of DC generators: Short compound wound D.C. generator

Short shunt compound wound DC generators shown in the above figure. These are generators where only the shunt field winding is parallel to the armature winding.

2. Long Compound Self-excited Generators

These are the generators where the shunt field winding is parallel to both the series field and armature windings, as shown in the figure.

types of DC generators: Long compound wound D.C. generator

In a compound wound generator, the shunt field is more robust than the series field. When the series field supports the shunt field, the generator is known as commutatively compound wound.

Commutative Compounding

If the series field opposes the shunt field, the generator is known as a differentially compound wound.

Differential Compounding

Applications of D.C. Generators

  1. Separately excited D.C. Generators: They are used:
    1. In mine hoists and steel mill drives.
    2. For papermaking machines.
    3. In diesel-electric locomotives etc.
  2. Series wound D.C. Generators
    1. Used in series are lighting.
    2. Used in series boosters.
  3. Shunt-wound D.C. Generators:
    1. With field regulators, these are used for light and power supply purposes.
    2. Used for charging batteries they can be made to give constant output voltage.
  4. Cumulative compound wound D.C. Generators:
    1. Used for lighting and power services.
  5. Differential compound wound D.C. Generators:
    1. It is used as an arc welding generator, it is a constant current generator.

That’s it, thanks for reading. I hope you find this article helpful then please share this with your friends. If you have any questions about “types of dc generators” ask in the comments I’ll respond to you.

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About Saif M

Saif M. is a Mechanical Engineer by profession. He completed his engineering studies in 2014 and is currently working in a large firm as Mechanical Engineer. He is also an author and editor at www.theengineerspost.com

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