# How is generator output voltage kept constant?

I read that if we increase the load at the terminals of a generator, the current driven from the generator will increase which will slow down the generator. But for this to happen the generator should output constant voltage. How does it achieved? And if there is no voltage regulation (just a generator and we increase the load step by step), what would happen?

I am going to assume you are referring to wound rotor Synchronous generators.

There are two main aspects to consider when you are dealing with such generators.

1. Field control
2. Damper Bars/Windings

To generate electricity the shaft obviously has to be rotated but there also needs to be some form of field on the rotor. This is provided by either brushes or a brushless (rotating diode) arrangement. This produces a DC excitation field on the rotor that can be controlled from the stators mechanical frame of reference (ie non-rotating)

What method is chosen is a system specific consideration but both provide means to control the rotor flux. Such a controlling system can be referred to as a Generator Control Unit (GCU)

A certain rotor field for a given rotor speed will produce a certain magnitude sinus waveforms at the stator terminals (the frequency of that is related to the speed of rotor rotation & the number of pole pairs on the stator).

The terminal voltage can thus be controlled via the strength of the excitation field. By providing a closed-loop controller that measures the terminal voltage w.r.t. a desired value, the terminal voltage can be maintained across the load range simply by varying the rotor's excitation field strength.

Damper bars/windings are a secondary means to help facilitate the terminal regulation. They are buried deep within the stator winding slots and essentially they aim to short-circuit the magnetic circuit in the event of high di/dt which may occur during load applying or shedding. This help to mitigate massive terminal over-voltage (load-shedding) or machine stalling (load applying) until the GCU control loop can "catch up"

• lest say we have a simple induction generator(no excitaiton flux) rotating from a constant wind force. and we have no voltage regulation. and it is rotating with a rated rpm (btw i'm not sure if generators have rated rpm like motors), and outputs V volts when we connect a load with R resistance to the ends and current I flows. What happens if we increase or decrease the load R here? Will the voltage regulate? Will the current increase? Will the generator slow down? – user16307 Nov 13 '14 at 21:05
• An induction generator would have to be connected to a grid so that some rotor flux could be induced, no? And in that case the stiffness of the grid helps with load changes. – John D Nov 13 '14 at 21:15
• motors<>generators... they are all "electrical machines" they can all operate as both... Induction machines acting as generators are a bit harder... They do not generate torque at sync speed so you would need to rotate the rotor above your desired speed. The only way to regulate it (once the caps are in place) is via the speed of the rotor w.r.t. terminal voltage in a crude V/f control – JonRB Nov 13 '14 at 21:41
• so voltage will not regulate? what will happen if I increase the R in that case? will the generator slow down? will the output voltage decrease? could you answer these like yes no? – user16307 Nov 13 '14 at 22:29
• It can be regulated but exactly how comes downto whether it is a squirrel-cage rotor, doubly-fed induction machine etc... Each machine topology comes with its own ... quirks as to how to interface to it. This is why sync machines are prefered for generators, they are very simple – JonRB Nov 13 '14 at 22:40

An induction wind turbine generator has to be connected to a grid to generate power. (It could be self excited with a capacitor bank, but that's beyond the scope of this answer.)

Below a speed which would generate useful power, a control system cuts the turbine off so it doesn't run as a motor. Above that range it will run near synchronous speed with the slip being proportional to the torque produced by the wind. Higher electrical loads will increase the torque load on the blades causing some slowing. The grid usually will supply most of the load and buffers the effects of varying wind speed.

In an engine driven generator the mechanical engine speed is usually regulated so that loads that would ordinarily slow the machine down only do so for the transient case while the control system brings the motor back to nominal speed.

It's also possible to take the variable speed/voltage output of a non grid-connected synchronous machine (wind turbine for example), rectify it to DC and invert it to something that can be grid attached, or convert it to charge batteries.

Other schemes are possible, such as the one described by JonRB above.

• what kind of generator would you suggest for a very small application which will store energy as dc? so that i can ask the questions more detailed. – user16307 Nov 13 '14 at 22:30
• I would think maybe a permanent magnet synchronous machine might make sense, you could use a BLDC motor as a generator. Then you could convert to DC with a 3-phase bridge and DC-DC from there, as required. – John D Nov 13 '14 at 22:46