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Old 26-07-2006, 10:00   #16

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Rick & Rick-
I think there's some confusion being added here by the way that the terms alternator and generator seem to have lost all meaning in recent times.

" The alternator incorporates epoxy coated neodymium magnets,...Note what the wind generator does " KISS refer to their wind unit as both an alternator and a generator. Delco even have reversed their position over the years, referring to their automotive alternators as generators and vice versa.
It used to be, a generator had magnets and produced power as it spun, period. You can't regulate that output, you can only shed the load or slow the shaft down. Versus an alternator, which uses no magnets and can be regulated by controlling the feedback to the coils, so it can run at full RPM and produce zero power.

Feel free to correct my limited understanding of those definitions.

(Sometimes I think we all need to learn Sanskrit, so we could agree to have a common language with clear meanings.<G>)

One regulator, capable of controlling both alternators and generators and solar arrays (which don't care if you load or ignore them), would have to have more options that just "regulation" in the common sense.

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Old 26-07-2006, 11:32   #17
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You're quite right about terms. Technically the KISS is an alternator which runs into a GM diode box thinghy that changes the ac to dc. My old Windbugger was a permanent magnet generator that put out dc. All these wind things seem to be commonly called wind generators although they generate no wind.

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Old 26-07-2006, 11:40   #18

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Rick I-
I dunno. Delco (hey, they pick up the phone, not many companies do that) taught me long ago that they'd have to send a man out to slap me if I called their Delcotron an alternator, much less a generator. Then they starting allowing people to use the "A" word<G> and now, shudder, they even call the new ones GENERATORS. I think, because they now look at it as a black box that supplies DC rather than AC, and that's the criteria they're using.
If it makes them happy and they keep answering the phone, I'll play along.<G>
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Old 26-07-2006, 20:13   #19
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Alternator/generator it doesn't matter what it is called

Understanding of just what an alternator or generator has been smeared over the years yet ultimately does not matter. What matters is that magnet generated fields resulting in generator outputs (generator IS a valid overall general term for a charge source created by a rotating mechanical method whereas an alternator is a more "modern" term for a generator which does not utilize brushes ...yeah, "modern" meaning in the last 60 or 70 years) are most readily regulated by shunt regulators. Shunt regulators provide loads to the generator (alternator) in parallel with the outputs whereas series regulators (like most automobile alternator regulators which have currernt forced fields as opposed to current fields forced by magnets) are most easily controlled by switching the field current out or in, fast or slow. Obviously magnet controlled fields cannot be controlled by switching anything other than the speed of the rotor else the load.

Most small wind generators as well as lighting coils of outboard motors have their fields totally controlled by the rpm of the rotor as well as the magnet field strength, that is why I "lumped" them together. Many motorcycles have magnet alternators as well and, therefore, must be controlled by shunt loads as well.

Regardless, the POINT that I have been attempting to make is that there is no rational reason to promote a lack of utilizing a regulator for ANY charge source in view that regulators exist that will ALWAYS (in today's technology) be superior to what one can do manually. Touting a manually human control of regulation is what I am referring to as "retro-tech" which denys the benefits of what exists today. Anti-technology is far more decicive in opposing the use thereof, even manual methods period.
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Old 27-07-2006, 07:53   #20

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"there is no rational reason to promote a lack of utilizing a regulator for ANY charge source in view that regulators exist that will ALWAYS (in today's technology) be superior to what one can do manually. "
One reason: Cost. If the superior technology will cost $500-1000 (?) for a semi-custom engineered product, and the budget won't allow may pay to hire a regulator on an H1B visa from China. One that can also cook and sweep.<G>
Or, to flip a switch.

Seriously, have you seen a reliable regulator/integrator that will work with all the sources Sean is looking for, in the amp capacity he is looking for? With a track record for reliability? And if so, at what price? Or, could you design and fabricate one, at what price?
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Old 27-07-2006, 08:05   #21
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Remembering my basic auto mechanics course from, oh 30 years ago (darn, I don't feel that old!). A generator had a stationary magnetic field and a coil was passed through it to generate current. An alternator had a magnetic field that was rotated around stationary coils. Maybe a outdated definition, but I have never seen any usage that violated that definition.

As Rick said there are two ways of generating the magnetic field. Permanate magnets and field coils. Permanate magnets, usually found in generators have a fixed magnetic field created by magnets. Current is varied by the speed of the coil passing through the magnetic field. As long as the coil is passing through the field, there is no way to stop current from being generated. (Usually requiring shunt regulation).

In the "coil generated field" the strength of the magetic field can be varied by passing varied amounts of current through the coils. More current, stronger magnetic field higher output current. Most regulators work by vaying this current to control the output of the alternator. If you shut it off, the alternator stops producing current.

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