Electric Motors ‘v’ Generators

It's amazing to think about how our lives have been transformed by electricity. Electricity plays an essential role in our day-to-day activities. It brings us light, climate control, entertainment, and so much more. When it comes to electrical power, energy is usually transformed from other forms into electricity, which then powers the systems and devices that we often take for granted.

What's the difference between electric motors and generators?

Electric motors and generators have opposite functions but they also share similarities in how they work. An electric motor takes electricity and turns it into mechanical energy to power machinery, while a generator does the opposite by turning mechanical energy into electricity. Both of them rely on a scientific principle called Faraday's Law of Electromagnetic Induction. This law tells us that when there's a change in the magnetic field across a conductor, it creates a force that makes electrons flow. Electric motors use this principle to create rotational motion, while generators use it to produce electricity. Even though they have different jobs, they both play a crucial role in modern electric technology and are important for everyday devices and systems.

💡 When there's a change in the magnetic field across a conductor, it creates a force that makes electrons flow.

What is the relationship between electricity and magnetism?

The relationship between electricity and magnetism is that they are two manifestations of a single fundamental force called electromagnetism. This force is central to the universe and has existed in its current form since the big bang. When there is a change in the magnetic field across a conductor, like a wire coil, it generates electromotive force and a flow of electrons, resulting in the creation of electricity. This relationship is fundamental to understanding electric motors and generators, as they both rely on this principle to convert energy from one form to another.

💡 When there is a change in the magnetic field across a conductor, like a wire coil, it generates electromotive force and a flow of electrons, resulting in the creation of electricity.

How do you convert energy into electric energy?

You can use electric generators to convert energy into electric energy. By rotating a coil or magnet relative to each other, a continual flux variation is created, resulting in the generation of electric energy. This energy can then be harnessed and used to power electrical systems and devices.

In the case of electric motors, the process is reversed. Electric motors convert electric energy into mechanical energy, providing a power source for machinery.

💡 By applying electric current to a coil or wire within a magnetic field, a force is generated, causing the motor to rotate and produce mechanical motion.

Both electric generators and electric motors rely on the fundamental principle of electromagnetic induction, which allows for the conversion of energy between different forms.

To produce this magnetic flux, the magnets and the conductor are moved relatively close to one another, the wires will wind up into tight coils, increasing the number of wires and resulting in electromotive forces. By continuously rotating the coil or magnet, whilst keeping the other in place, it will give a continual flux variation. The rotating component is referred to as a ‘rotor’, whilst the stationary component is called a ‘stator’.

What are the different types of electric generators?

Electric generators can be divided into two types: dynamos and alternators. Dynamos produce direct current (DC), while alternators generate alternating current (AC).

Dynamos were the earliest type of electric generator used in industry. They use coils of wire and magnetic fields to convert mechanical energy into DC. Initially, dynamos were mainly used for power generation and relied on steam for mechanical energy.

Alternators are the more commonly used generators, except for a few low-power applications where dynamos are still used. Alternators convert mechanical energy into AC. They consist of a rotating magnet (rotor) and conductor coils on an iron core (stator). As the magnetic fields rotate, they produce AC voltage in the stator. The magnetic field can be created by permanent magnets or a field coil electromagnet.

Alternators are commonly found in cars and central power stations. They provide electricity to the grid and function as generators.


Electric motors and generators are two essential components of modern electric technology. While electric motors convert electricity into mechanical energy to power machinery, generators do the opposite by transforming mechanical energy into electricity. Both rely on the principle of Faraday's Law of Electromagnetic Induction, which states that a change in the magnetic field across a conductor induces a flow of electrons. This relationship between electricity and magnetism is fundamental to understanding the workings of electric motors and generators.

Electric generators, such as dynamos and alternators, play a crucial role in converting energy into electric energy. By rotating coils or magnets relative to each other, they generate a flux variation that results in the production of electric energy. On the other hand, electric motors use electric energy to create mechanical motion, enabling the operation of various machinery.

Understanding the relationship between electricity and magnetism is key to harnessing and utilising electrical power effectively. Whether it is powering our homes, providing electricity to the grid, or driving machinery, electric motors and generators continue to shape and enhance our lives in countless ways.

With the advancements in electric technology, the future holds even more possibilities for the application and development of electric motors and generators, driving innovation and progress in various industries and sectors.

Who are Powerline Electric Motors?

Powerline Electric Motors Banbury has 35 years of experience in high-quality electric motor repairs and rewinding. We follow industry-leading standards set by the Association of Electrical and Mechanical Trades (AEMT) and support the association's initiatives. Powerline focuses on energy efficiency, environmental care, and equipment lifespan through material reuse, recycling, and repair advice. Powerline Electric Motors work with businesses to repair, rwind and replace electric motors. We offer:

  1. Routine Inspections: Our team of experts can conduct regular inspections of electric motors to identify any potential issues or signs of wear and tear. This active approach allows us to address problems before they escalate and cause major disruptions.
  2. Scheduled Servicing: We offer scheduled servicing to ensure that electric motors receive the necessary maintenance and cleaning. This includes tasks such as lubrication, alignment, and electrical testing to keep motors in optimal condition.
  3. Repairs and Replacements: In the event of motor failures or malfunctions, Powerline Electric Motors has the expertise to perform repairs and replacements. Whether it's fixing faulty components or installing new motors, our technicians can get your equipment back up and running efficiently.
  4. Upgrades and Retrofits: If you're looking to improve the performance or energy efficiency of your electric motors, we can assist with upgrades and retrofits. Our team can recommend and implement the latest technologies to enhance motor performance and reduce energy consumption.
  5. Emergency Services: We understand that unexpected motor breakdowns can occur at any time. That's why we offer emergency services to provide immediate assistance and minimise downtime for your operations.

Contact us today to discuss your maintenance needs and how we can assist you.

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