How Does a Generator Work in Simple Terms?

In the modern world, electricity is a must. A generator can help when access to electricity is limited, or during power outages.

Generators work by converting mechanical energy from an external source into electrical energy as an output.

Popular mechanical energy sources include diesel, petrol, natural gas, or solar power. Solar is more likely to be used on a construction site; this can reduce emissions and the use of single-use materials.

Generators work on the principle of electromagnetic induction. This is the creation of an electric current by moving an electric conductor through a static magnetic field.

In generators, this is moving a magnet around a coil or wire. The magnet moves because of the energy source.

Generators are commonly used on construction sites as a way to create electrical energy without access to mains or other power sources. They can also be linked to battery storage units to store electrical energy when needed.

You can also use generators in home and residential settings, as a backup power source or as an alternative to extension leads and other electrical accessories.

They’re available in a huge range of energy outputs and energy sources, so you can find the correct generator for your needs.


How Electricity is Generated from a Generator

Generators are linked to an external power source, such as fuel or solar power, to work.

This powers a strong and consistent mechanical force, which generates a current—and results in electricity being produced. Essentially, they convert movement into electricity.

When the magnet is moving around the wire, it produces a steady flow of electrons, and the magnet pushes these electrons along.

The number of electrons moved is called the ‘amperage’ or the ‘current’ and is measured in amps. The pressure pushing the electrons is the ‘voltage’.

The actual workings of a generator are a lot more complicated than this, and there is a lot involved in the makeup of them, but this is how a generator produces electricity in simple terms.

Fuel systems such as wind turbines also use internal generators to create electricity.


How Does a Generator Work for a House?

Small generators or portable generators may be used in a home as a backup source of electricity during power cuts, during renovation work when using mains electricity isn’t possible, or in place of extension leads.

They commonly use petrol or diesel as a fuel source and have a recoil starting system. The internal workings are the same as larger generators used on-site to produce energy on a mass scale.



When operating a generator at home, you must wear ear protection, gloves and work boots. All PPE required is available to purchase from Speedy Hire.

Just refill the fuel tank with the necessary fuel before setting up, and when the generator needs to be refuelled. Commonly, this will be unleaded petrol or diesel. Read the instructions for your specific generator before operation.

Never fill the generator when it is on or hot, as this can be dangerous.

There are often different power outlets on a generator. One will be 110v, and the other 240v. the easiest way to tell which you need is by checking the plug on your equipment, and then matching it to the required outlet.



Can I Hire Generators?

Yes. Speedy Hire, the UK's leading tool hire company, have a range of generators suitable for site work, as well as small generators for home use.

Speedy has more than 200 local service centres across the nation, hire counters in selected B&Qs and nationwide 4-hour delivery. Generator hire has never been easier and is available at low, competitive prices.

Why not open a Speedy account today online or visit us in your local depot to start hiring today?

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