Can You Turn a DC Motor Into a Generator? And DC To AC? Answered

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Electrical motors are very different from electrical generators, especially DC motors. The DC motor converts the electrical energy to mechanical energy; meanwhile, the electrical generators convert the mechanical energy to electrical energy. So, can you turn a DC motor into a generator?

Can You Turn a DC Motor Into a Generator?

Yes, you can turn a DC motor into a generator; you need to use a permanent magnet to turn the motor into a generator. The DC motor can be either a brushless or brushed motor; however, you will need to use a rectifier for brushless motors to convert the AC output into DC input.

Meanwhile, if there is a separate field winding in the motor instead of a permanent magnet, you can use an external source such as batteries for DC supply to energize the winding. For example, the alternator in cars doesn’t have a commutator, but it has DC slip-rings.

The slip-rings supply the rotor with a small field current and a stator winding of a three-phase. The filed winding must be energized to get any output, and the stator provides a three-phase AC; this current gets rectified and turned into DC. You can control the load placed by the AC on the shaft.

In addition to the power output by the field current modulating, the homemade or recycled brushless motor can be very effective when creating wind generators due to the absence of the brushes. However, the brushes wear out over time, and they are inefficient and expensive when you compare them to a silicon rectifier.

How Much Electricity Does a DC Motor 12V Generate?

A DC motor can generate 18W to 36W of power or even more, the power generated depending on two things; the first thing is the current passing through the rotor and much it can carry, and the second thing is the gauge or the size of the coil, the more gauge the coil has, the more it can carry, for example:

  • A 12V DC motor generates 18W of power if its maximum current capacity is 1.5 amperes.
  • A 12V DC motor generates 36W of power if its maximum current capacity is 36 amperes.

What Is the Difference Between Motor and Generator?

Differentiating Property Motor Generator
Meaning  A machine that turns electrical energy into mechanical energy is considered an electric motor. A machine that turns mechanical energy into electrical energy is considered a generator.
Rule The electric motor applies to Fleming’s left-hand rule. The generator applies to Fleming’s right-hand rule.
Working Principle The principle of an electric motor is applying a force to the conductor carrying the current inside a magnetic field. The principle of a generator is electromagnetic induction.
Shaft The magnetic force developing between the field and the armature drives the shaft of the electric motor. A mechanical force is a force that drives the rotor connected to the electric generator shaft.
The usage of current Armature winding is the part supplied by the current. Armature winding is the part that supplies the current.
Example Cars, Ceiling fans, etc. Power station to generate electricity.

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Can You Turn DC to AC?

Yes, you can turn DC to AC using an electronic device called an inverter or power inverter. The inverter is used in many applications and devices such as solar panels, batteries, and appliances that require bulk power. You can even get the required voltage or frequency from DC sources by transformers and other control circuits.

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How To Create a Cheap DC to AC Inverter?

To create a cheap DC to AC inverter at home, you need some equipment:

  • Two NPN Transistors 
  • Two Resistors (460 Ohm and 330 Ohm)
  • Transformer (12-0-12)
  • Button Holder
  • DC Source
  • Soldering Iron 

Step One

Place the two transistors on a platform and use screws and a screwdriver to fix them; connect the first resistor 460 ohm to the collector of the first transistor and the base of the second transistor. You would have to use the soldering iron to connect the terminals of the resistor to the transistors’ leads.

Step Two

Connect the second resistor 330 ohm to the base of the first transistor and the collector of the second transistor. You would have to use the soldering iron to connect the terminals of the resistor to the transistors’ leads. You have to be careful when using the soldering iron not to damage the components.

Step Three

Grab a short length of wire, connect one end of the wire to the emitter of the first transistor and connect the other end of the wire to the emitter of the second transistor. You would have to use the soldering iron to connect the terminals of the wire to the transistors’ leads.

Step Four

The transformer has three terminals the middle one is the common terminal of the transformer, and the other two are the 12 volts terminals. Connect the 12-volt terminals to the collector of the first transistor and the second transistor using the soldering iron.

Step Five

The DC source will have two terminals; the red-colored one is the positive terminal; meanwhile, the black-colored one is the negative terminal. So, first, connect the black-colored terminal, which is the negative one, to the emitter of the first transistor.

Step Six

Connect the red-colored terminal of the DC source, which is the positive terminal, to the common terminal of the transformer; it’s the middle terminal. Get a shrinkable rubber piece to cover the connection after using the soldering iron to connect them; apply some heat using a lighter to the rubber piece to shrink it.

When using the lighter to shrink the rubber piece, you have to be careful to not damage the wire’s insulation; if the wire’s insulation gets damaged, you need to use an electrical tape to cover it, so you are protected from any shocks and in some cases, you may need to replace it.

Step Seven

The other side or the back of the transformer will have another two terminals; one of them is colored red, and the other is colored black. You need to connect these terminals to the button holder’s terminals. The button holder will have two terminals that are colored red and black.

Step Eight

After connecting the terminals of the button holder to the two terminals in the back of the transformer, you need to grab two pieces of shrinkable rubber to cover the connections with them. Place the rubber pieces on the connections and apply some heat to them using a lighter to make them shrink and insulate the connections.

When using the lighter to shrink the rubber piece, you have to be careful to not damage the wire’s insulation; if the wire’s insulation gets damaged, you need to use an electrical tape to cover it, so you are protected from any shocks and in some cases, you may need to replace it.

Step Nine

Connect a light bulb to the button holder to test the inverter, turn on the DC power supply to make the current flow through the circuit, and then convert it into AC to light the bulb. If the light bulb works, you have successfully created your homemade inverter. However, if the light doesn’t work, you may have skipped a step.

You would have to check all the connections and ensure everything is well soldered and connected properly. Another thing to do is to check that everything is connected to the right place; you might have misconnected the collectors to another thing.

Conclusion

To sum up, you can turn any DC motor into a generator, but you need to use a permanent magnet to turn the motor into a generator. The DC motor can be either a brushless or brushed motor; however, you will need to use a rectifier for brushless motors to convert the AC output into DC input.

The case is the same for the DC; you can convert or turn the DC to AC easily using an electronic device called an inverter or power inverter. The inverter is used in many applications and devices such as solar panels, batteries, and appliances that require bulk power.

You can even get the required voltage or frequency from DC sources by transformers and other control circuits. Generators are used in many applications, especially power stations, to generate electricity.

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