how does a portable generator work unspecified 1500W portable generatorThe Simple Basics

So how does a portable generator work? Well it’s best to start at the beginning.  A Portable Generator basically consists of a power generator head, an engine, a fuel source and power outlets.  For this reason, they are sometimes known as an engine-generator set, or a gen-set by some people. That description is its simplest form and an explanation of how they work separately and together follows.

The generator head is the component that produces the electricity that supplies the power outlets.  The engine runs the generator head and the engine must be supplied by some sort of fuel, usually gasoline, liquid propane, natural gas or diesel.

Regardless of the type of fuel used, an engine, usually a 4-cycle, overhead valve type of varying horsepower will provide the mechanical energy necessary to the generator head by spinning a shaft.  A constant speed regulaor (governor) controls the speed of the spin.  There must also be a cooling system and method of lubrication of the moving parts.  The generator head then converts the mechanical energy to electrical energy and supplies the electricity to the power outlets.  An inverter type generator works a bit differently.  But just how does a generator provide electricity?

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