WAZIPOINT Engineering Science & Technology: What is Difference Between Dynamo and Generator ?

Saturday, February 15, 2020

What is Difference Between Dynamo and Generator ?

DC & AC Generator
Fig: Basic idea of DC & AC generator

What is Difference Between Dynamo and Generator?

Dynamo- One of the simplest and earliest electrical generators, used to generate electrical power for industry. Dynamos were quickly replaced by other electrical generators because of the advantages of Alternating Current (AC).

The question is actually a bit confusing because the generator can be divided into two: one is DC generator and the other is AC generator or Alternator.

So if you mean alternator by generator then maybe the difference can be made that dynamo produces DC current and Alternator produces AC current.

And if the dynamo means DC and the generator means the alternator-dynamo together, then…

Dynamo is the kind of system that can only produce DC current. The generator AC current can be converted to DC via a commutator.

The dynamo is actually the old state of the generator of the era. Alternator generators are now used throughout the world. Although there are times where low power DC flow is required where dynamo is still used.

Today Dynamo means DC (Direct Current) generator and Generator means alternator or AC generator. Further details a DC generator generates AC current, but it contains a simple device called commutator to convert AC into DC. A commutator diverts the flow of electrons inside the DC generator, so that the energy that appears at the output is a pulsing direct flow. On the other hand AC generator does not need a commutator and it generates AC directly. Dynamos and Generators both convert mechanical rotation like wind, hydro, gas, waves ect. into electrical power.

Thomas Edison believed that the base of future electricity would be DC, but Nikola Tesla believed on AC. Finally Nikola Tesla proofed he is correct.

Early people used to battery for electricity, but batteries were not reliable and cost effective. However the Dynamo rapidly changed as a profitable and reliable technology in electricity.

Dynamo or Generator is made up of Stator or stationary magnets which create a powerful magnetic field, and a Rotor or rotating magnet which distorted and cuts through the magnetic lines of flux of the stator. When the rotor cuts through lines of magnetic flux it makes electricity.

Short History of Dynamos and Generators

In 1820 Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry first discovered and prepared some documents on electromagnetic induction. Faraday Disk is the first electric generator which shows that rotary mechanical power can be converted into electric power. Electric power generation race is started from here, latter on this lead to experimentation in Europe and America about Dynamos/Generators.
1832, Hippolyte Pixii & Ampère built the first hand cranked dynamo using a commutator. Latter on 1860 Antonio Pacinotti created a dynamo that provided continuous DC power. H Wilde made the commercially successful Alliance generator in 1866 for powering arc lamps in lighthouses. All of these generators employed permanent magnets.

Instead of weak permanent magnet dynamo/generator, more powerful self powered electromagnet in stator brought by Werner Von Siemens and Charles Wheatstone in 1867. Commercial revolution of electricity generation is happened by Zenobe Gramme in1871; he used an iron core to give improved and efficient path for magnetic flux which increased the power of the dynamo/generator and make wide usable for many commercial applications.

The best system for power generation, 3-phase AC generator developed during 1886 to 1891, many scientist /engineer from USA, Germany, Russia and Italy worked to improve generator.

What is the Characteristics of DC Generator?


  1. Now it is known as Generator, may be very few people known as Dynamo.

    1. Yes, you are right. Generator is very much well known.

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