Alternator VS Synchronous Motor Difference and Similarities


Alternator VS Synchronous Motor Difference and Similarities


The main difference between Alternator and Synchronous motor is, Alternator is an electricity generating machine that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy in the form of alternating nature whereas a synchronous motor is an electricity consuming machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.

There also some similarities between Alternator and synchronous motor that are,

  1. Alternator and Synchronous motor both are AC machine and they are designed to work with AC supply.
  2. Alternator and synchronous motor both are requires a DC supply to their field winding.
  3. Alternator and synchronous motor both are rotate at synchronous speed.


The main key differences between alternator and synchronous motor are,


(1) Alternator always rotates at a constant speed as it connected to a prime mover, so when the speed of the prime mover changed, the speed of the alternator also be changed. On the other hand, synchronous motor can rotate in variable speed as its speed depends upon the supply voltage, frequency, and power factor.


(2) Synchronous motor is not self-starting. On the other hand, starting and running of the alternator both depend upon the prime mover.


(3) Synchronous motors are mainly used for power factor control or power factor correction purpose. Also somewhere they are used to drive mechanical loads. Alternators are used to generate electricity in power generation plants and automobiles for battery charging.


(4) Synchronous Motor is an electrical load that consumes electrical power whereas the alternator is an electrical power generating device that generates electrical energy by the conversion of mechanical energy.


(5) The power factor of the alternator depends upon the type of load connected to it, if an inductive load is connected then the power factor will be lagging, if a capacitive load is connected then the power factor will be leading, if a resistive load is connected then the power factor will be unity. On the other hand the power factor of the synchronous motor is depends upon the applied DC power supply to its rotor field coil.


(6) Synchronous Motor Provides a function to vary the power factor manually by varying the DC voltage applied to its rotor field coil but in the case of an alternator, there is no facility to vary the power factor manually.


(7) The operating frequency of the alternator can be changed by the changing or varying the speed of the rotation of the rotor. That is why, in every real applications of the alternator speed of the alternator is a very important factor. A constant speed is always maintain by the maintaining of speed of the prime mover. Generally, in power generating station multiple alternators are connected in parallel and they synchronized to each other. Frequency is a very important factor of the synchronization. Any changes in the frequency can disconnect the alternator from the parallel operation. On the other hand, synchronous motor always runs with a constant frequency that the input power supply have. There are no features or way to change the operating frequency of the synchronous motor.


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Alternator VS Synchronous Motor Difference and Similarities Alternator VS Synchronous Motor Difference and Similarities Reviewed by Author on 11/03/2021 Rating: 5
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