May 11, 2023

AC Generator vs. DC Generator: What You Need to Know

A large yellow electric generator for backup inside a facility.

If your business needs a backup generator, you may wonder whether an AC generator or a DC backup generator is the right choice. Unless you have experience with generators, you may be unsure how a generator works and what the differences are between AC and DC generators. While both types of generators use a process known as electromagnetic induction to convert mechanical energy into electric energy by passing an electric current through a magnetic field, there are distinct differences between AC and DC power. Learn more about each type of generator and which one meets your business's needs.

What is an AC Generator? 

An AC generator is an electric generator that converts mechanical energy into alternating current (AC) with a frequency of 50 or 60 HZ. One of the features that distinguishes an AC generator from a DC generator is that the electrical current reverses direction periodically. AC power is produced by rotating a magnetic field that contains a stationary conductor.

What is a DC Generator?

A DC generator is a machine that converts mechanical energy into direct current (DC) electricity. Alternatively to an AC generator, a DC generator produces a pulsating direct current that does not change direction. Dating a conducting coil in a static magnetic field creates DC power.

What Are the Main Similarities and Differences Between AC and DC Generators?

The main similarity between an AC and DC generator is that they both convert mechanical energy into electrical energy using electromagnetic induction that relies on the relative motion of a coil and a magnetic field. However, since the magnet in an AC generator moves around the coil, the south and north poles of the magnet make the current flow in opposite directions, causing the direction of the current to change. Since the magnetic field in a DC generator is stationary, the current created does not change directions. Because the current does not change direction in a DC generator, its power output is often steady, while an AC generator's output voltage varies in time and amplitude.

What Are the Uses of AC and DC Generators?

Due to the varying nature of an AC generator's voltage, these generators are typically used to power home electrical appliances and small motors like juicers, vacuum cleaners, and food mixers. Alternatively, since DC generators create a more steady power supply, they are used to power large electric motors such as those used in subway systems. Ultimately, whether you should choose an AC or DC backup generator will depend on your budget and power needs. While AC generators are a low-maintenance option, they are only suitable for powering small electronics and appliances in your office. A DC generator on the other hand can run large motors and meet all of your industrial power needs.    

Choose a Trusted Provider of Industrial Generators

If you need an industrial generator for your company but aren't sure what type meets your needs, feel free to contact us. Our team comprises trustworthy industry experts to provide helpful information that will guide you toward the right backup generator for your company.

Feel free to contact us to learn more about how AC and DC generators work, as well as advice on which type of generator suits your business's needs.