How to Make an Electric Motor Produce Electricity

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An electric motor is also a generator, and it possesses two major components, which are a coil and a pair of field magnets. Discover how to take the current out of an electric motor to use it as a generator with help from a science teacher in this free video on electricity and electromagnetism.

Part of the Video Series: Physics & Electromagnetism
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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Steve Jones and I'm going to explain how we can make an electric motor produce electricity. Well it sounds a little bit difficult but actually it is very easy because an electric motor is also a generator. Let me show you how this works First of all in the electric motor you have got two components basically. You have got a coil or armature, a coil of wire and you have a pair of field magnets and these magnets produce a magnetic field in this direction. Now if I pass electric current through the wire I get another magnetic field and I get a reaction between the two magnetic fields which makes this rotate. Now I have to do something special to the current to make it rotate but it rotates. I'm not going to go into how the actual motor works but what we've got is two magnetic fields making motion because they react together like two magnets repelling. So if I were to say right instead of putting current into this coil what I am going to do is I am going to turn the coil, the whole thing stays exactly the same, it's the same field magnets it is the same armature, the same everything. The only difference is I don't have a battery to push current through, I need something to make this coil rotate so I might just physically turn it by hand or I might have another machine to make it turn. It might be a windmill to make it turn, anything to make this coil turn. As the wire of this coil cuts through the red field lines which are shown here it generates current in the coil. It is as simple as that. So all I do is I take the motor, I physically turn it by hand and where the electric wires were bringing the current in when it was a motor the electric wires can be used to take the current out when it is a generator. So there is in fact no difference in construction all I have to do is rotate it, find a way of rotating this central coil or armature and then attach it to whatever I want to power using my little generator. So that's how to use an electric motor to produce electricity.

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