Skip to Content

Which Parts of an Electric Generator are Connected?

Which Parts of an Electric Generator are Connected?

An electric generator is a complex machine that can harness energy. Many people rely on the power of a generator to see them through times when the electricity has gone out. Many parts are inside the electric generator, but not all the pieces are connected.

The parts of an electric generator connected are the armature and commutator. Without this connection, the generator is unable to produce electricity.

Read on to discover how and why certain parts are connected in an electric generator.

Connected Parts

The two parts of an electric generator that are connected are the armature and commutator. If these two parts are not connected, the generator will not work.

Armature: The armature is the main component of the engine that allows rotation to occur. When this rotation occurs, voltage is discharged, enabling the engine to fire. If the armature is damaged or not working correctly, the engine will not work.

Commutator: The armature must be connected to the commutator to allow the armature to spin. When the commutator turns, the electric current is reversed and used to power the generator.

These two parts may be small, but they are the leading players for getting your generator to work.

How Are They Connected?

The commutator and armature are connected by a series of coils soldered to the commutator from the armature. Electrical charges flow through these coils and allow the engine to start when the generator is turned to the on position, the components turn, which winds the coils onto the armature.

How to Know if the Armature is Bad

If you cannot start your generator and have ruled out all other causes, you may want to investigate the armature and commutator. A damaged or worn armature will still power the engine, but it will use more energy than usual.

  • The number of times you must attempt to turn the engine on will increase with bad armatures.
  • If you cannot tell based on the number of attempts, there are testing tools that you can use.
  • You may notice smoke or sparks coming from the back of the motor.

It is not always evident that the armature is bad or going bad. If you cannot diagnose the problem on your own, it would be wise to seek the advice of an individual experienced in engine repair.

Can You Replace the Armature?

Discovering any part of an engine is bad can be frustrating, but it may be helpful to know that you can replace just the armature and even have the current armature rebuilt. (Source: New Core Inc.) depending on the size of the armature and the amount you are willing to spend will determine the action you choose to take.

How to Know if the Commutator is Bad

The easiest way to determine if the commutator is bad is to check the individual coils that are connected. You will want to check to see if an electric current flows through the coils. If you notice inconsistent electrical flow through the coils, you will need to replace the commutator.

Can You Repair a Commutator?

Unfortunately, you cannot repair a commutator. The only way to remedy a bad part is to replace it entirely.

Do You Need to Replace the Commutator and Armature at the Same Time?

Sometimes it is recommended that you replace similar parts simultaneously to avoid future repairs. When looking at the commutator and armature, this is not necessary. You can easily repair or replace one without the other. You need to make sure you replace the part with the correct item.

Cleaning the Commutator

The commutator is a part that needs to be replaced often on an electric generator. While this may be the norm, there are some things you can do to help prolong the part’s life. With minimal supplies and a short amount of time, you can clean the commutator. Here is what you will need to do.

Gather Supplies

Before you begin the process of cleaning your commutator, you will need to gather an unused toothbrush, contact solution (in a spray can), and a clean rag. You could use a regular contact solution, but the spray can be easier to maneuver.


Once you have gathered supplies and removed the commutator for cleaning, you are ready to begin. You will need to carefully spray the solution onto the commutator and then carefully rub the toothbrush on the coils. This will loosen the dirt and debris so you can spray it away. You will then need to wipe the commutator with a soft cloth gently.

The commutator is ready to be put back into place once it has been cleaned, but sometimes people prefer to go through the process of resurfacing the part before installation.