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3.2: The Alternator

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    What are the parts of the alternator?


    Figure 48. Simple alternator parts


    Figure 49. Practical alternator parts

    Armature. This part is what the voltage is induced on to. It can be rotating (simple alternator) or stationary (practical alternator).

    Slip rings. Made of brass, they rotate and either bring current to the load (simple alternator) or excitation to the field (practical alternator).

    Brushes. Made of graphite carbon, they are stationary and either pass current to the load (simple alternator) or current to the field (practical alternator).

    Field poles. They are either stationary (simple alternator) or rotating (practical alternator).

    Prime mover. This part spins the armature (simple) or the field (practical). Examples include:

    • combustion engine
    • hydro dam
    • hand crank
    • windmill

    Which is better the simple or the practical?