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I've got a question that's been bugging me for a while. Is there a "best" way to position a magnet and wire coil inside a generator? I saw a "how-to" on how to build a wind power plant and they had the windings laying down on a flat plane, positioned around a center point. From the center point of the plane a shaft poked out perpendicular to it and some arms reached out off the shaft that had magnets that passed really close to each coil. An alternative way would be to attach the magnets directly to the shaft and wrap the coil around the magnet+shaft combo.

Would one way be better than the other?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Coonsider two issues in Perm Mag (PM) motor design for Wind Power(WP). Reducing the cogging torque that affects start/stall speed and efficiency at high wind speed. Is this a PMSG design you want? or anything for DC? \$\endgroup\$ – Sunnyskyguy EE75 Nov 12 '12 at 22:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ See somewhat related: electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/45314/… \$\endgroup\$ – embedded.kyle Nov 13 '12 at 13:01
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Like most things, generator designs are complex trade-offs between different design choices. Without more details regarding a specific application and the desired design goals/targets it is not possible to say what is the "best" design.

Power, efficiency, rotor speed, electrical terminal performance (frequency, voltage, etc), torque/speed characteristic, weight/mass, ambient temperature, available cooling, material and assembly cost sensitivities, volume all drive generator designs in different directions. Depending on how these (and other) factors are weighted, very different machine designs result.

You have described two different machines, the first is an axial flux machine and the second is a radial flux machine. Most manufactured generators are radial flux machines. Axial flux generators are typically niche machines for special applications. The axial flux machines get lots of discussion, DIY videos and start-up press releases, but so far they are still niche players.

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