Our generator glossary is a comprehensive collection of terms, words and phrases related
to generators and generator use. If you cannot find what you are looking for, please use our search
box near the bottom of this page.
Ammeter - an instrument
that measures electric current in amperes.
Amperage (Amps) - the strength of an
electrical current measured in amperes.
Armature - the part of an electric motor or generator that consists of wire
wound around an iron core and carries an electric current. In motors and generators using direct current, the
armature rotates within a magnetic field; in motors and generators using alternating current a magnetic field is
rotated about the armature.
Automatic Voltage Regulator (AVR) -
a device that regulates (i.e.,
increases or decreases)
the output of a generator by controlling the current and voltage and providing a more linear voltage and
Brushless Design - the purpose of
the generator brush is to absorb power from the rotating armature of a generator and supply it to the stationary
part of the generator. These brushes are known to have a short lifespan. The brushless design extends generator
life, calls for lower maintenance, provides a cleaner operation and minimal heat build-up during continuous
Circuit Breaker - connects or
disconnects the generator output from the output terminals. It also protects the generator from short circuits
generator that is powered by diesel fuel. These generators
Exciter Armature - the exciter
armature or just the "exciter", generates electricity, which is used for excitation of the field coil. The field
coil makes the magnetic field required to generate electricity, which is used for the generators main power
Frequency - is the number
of complete cycles per second in alternating current direction. The standard unit of frequency is the hertz,
abbreviated Hz. If a current completes one cycle per second, then the frequency is 1 Hz; 60 cycles per second
equals 60 Hz
Gasoline Generator - a generator
that is powered by gasoline. These are the most commonly used generators in the home and at jobsites.
Gro und Fault Interrupters
(GFI's) - a safety device
that disconnects power from a circuit when a potentially dangerous electrical condition exists. A GFI protects
people while fuses or circuit breakers protect equipment.
Heat Rise – when current is
put through a conductor, the amps cause resistance and the result is heat; that temperature increase due to
resistance is the Heat Rise.
KVA - kilovolt amp
which sizes three phase loads. Can be converted to Kilowatts by multiplying the KVA by the power factor
Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) – NEMA is the
leading trade association in the US representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers of products used
in the generation
Natural Gas Generator – is a generator powered by natural
Ohm - a unit of
electrical resistance equal to that of a conductor in which a current of one ampere is produced by a potential
of one volt across its terminals.
Phase (Single Phase Power) – in
electrical engineering, single-phase electric power, depending on the country, typically refers to 120V AC or
230V AC. It is carried between two wires: live and a neutral and in many scenarios, a third ground wire for
safety. The frequency of single phase is 50 or 60 Hz depending on the country. Typically, single-phase
electricity powers most homes.
Phase (Three Phase Power) – with three
phase power, voltage is carried through three conductors. Three-phase power provides a more efficient
means of supplying large electrical loads such as, industrial plants and areas, large motors, stadiums and
Permanent Magnetic Generator (PMG) - PMGs give a
lower temperature rise in a generator.
Propane Generator – a generator
powered by propane
Rheostat - a continuously
variable electrical resistor used to regulate current.
Sizing – generator
sizing determines the size of the generator that is needed.
Voltage - the rate at
which energy is drawn from a source that produces a flow of electricity in a circuit. Expressed in volts
Voltmeter – an
instrument used for measuring the difference in voltage between two points in an electric circuit. Voltmeters
typically make use of an ammeter that measures current flow across a known resistance inside the voltmeter;
direct-current voltages can then be determined by Ohm's law. Digital voltmeters employ A/D converters to provide
the numerical value of the voltage displayed. Generators with this feature allow the operator to quickly tell if
the generator is generating the correct voltage, which prevents equipment failure and generator
A unit of power equal to one joule per second; the power dissipated by a current of 1 ampere flowing across a
resistance of 1 ohm. An example would be; a generator rated at 6 kW or 6 Kilowatts. If you attempted to use a
combination of devices with a total wattage of 10.5 kW, you would most likely cause the generator to overheat, blow
a fuse and possibly even the harm the generator.