How to Polarize a Generator? – Complete Guide & 3 Easy Steps

A generator is a device that produces some kind of product, generates electricity, or converts one type of energy into another. Generators produce electricity by spinning a magnet inside a coil of wire.

The north and south poles of the magnet line up with the opposite poles of the coil, and this interaction creates an electrical current. The current flows in one direction as the magnet turns, and then reverses direction when the magnet is turned the other way.

Polarizing a generator means aligning the north and south poles of the magnet so that they produce the most electricity possible. This alignment maximizes the number of times the current reverses directions, which increases the generator’s output.

If you use the generator constantly and do not take it out of the network, as a rule, polarization, in this case, will not be necessary. But if you took it out for repairs, replaced it with a new one, or if it has stood idle for a long time, we strongly recommend that you polarize the generator.

For what purposes do we need the polarization of the generator?


Polarizing a generator means connecting one of its terminals to the ground so that the generator produces a more efficient output. This is done because the generator produces electricity by spinning a magnet inside a coil of wire, and the north and south poles of the magnet produce different voltages.

By polarizing the generator, you ensure that the north and south poles are producing the same voltage, which results in a more efficient output.
If you do not polarize the generator, it may fail.

It is necessary to polarize the generator each time it is serviced and when it is not used for a long time. The main difficulty in polarization is determining the type of polarization field of your oscillator. If you determine it incorrectly, you can damage the generator.


When polarizing the generator do not forget about safety measures.

Generator is repairable

Use insulated tools as well as gloves and safety glasses. Cable with alligator clips should also be insulated. If there is a place where the insulation is torn, it should be fixed with duct tape.

When working with a polarize generator as with other electrical appliances can cause sparks. It is, therefore, necessary to prepare the workplace and remove flammable materials. Keep a fire extinguisher that is suitable for extinguishing electrical appliances near you, just in case.

Adhering to these few rules can protect yourself and your property. Don’t neglect them.

How polarization works

Generator engines typically run at a constant speed, so they can be used to power devices that require a constant stream of electricity, such as a fridge or a TV.

However, some generators have a feature that allows them to vary their speed. This is useful for devices that don’t need a constant stream of electricity, such as a power saw.

The vehicle’s alternator has similar functionality. The function of the vehicle’s alternator is based on the conversion of the mechanical energy of the crankshaft revolutions into alternating electricity.

The rotation of the armature (with magnetic field) in the stator causes the induction of the magnetic field into alternating current. It is generated in the stator windings.

To use a generator, you’ll need to connect it to the devices you want to power. Most generators have a set of outlets on the side or back. To connect a device, simply plug it into the appropriate outlet.

Tools and Materials that you will need

Starting polarization, like any other repair, is necessary to prepare all the necessary tools and workplaces.

Alligator clamp bundle

When polarizing the generator you will need:

  • Wire with alligator clips on the ends;
  • Protective gloves;
  • Safety goggles;
  • Adjustable wrench with insulation;
  • Electrical tape.

Pros and cons of a generator

Generators are a great way to provide power during an outage, but they also have some drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons of owning a generator.


  • Generators can provide power during an outage;
  • They can be used to power essential appliances like a fridge or lights;
  • They are relatively easy to set up and use;
  • They are a mandatory unit in many systems;


  • Generators can be expensive to purchase;
  • They require regular maintenance and need to be stored properly;
  • They can be noisy and produce harmful emissions;
  • Heavy and not very easy to transport.

How to polarize a generator?

The polarization of a generator is described using the example of an automobile generator.

The master is repairing a white alternator

Step 1

Prepare the generator for use with it, free access to it. For this, you may need a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench.

Step 2

In the second step, we will need a wire gauge of 14 or 16 on the end which will be clipped under the terminal. The length of the cable should be enough to stretch from the generator to the battery. The wire insulation should not be damaged as it is a fire hazard.
It is necessary to attach one clamp to the terminal with the letter “A”

Step 3

The following items should be done by knowing the polarity of your alternator. Depending on the polarity, you will need a specific approach.

Generators with a negative ground

Generators with a negative ground (this item should be done after making sure the polarity of the alternator).
For alternators with a negative grounding system, use the remaining clip to lightly touch the positive (+) battery terminal.

Generators with a positive grounding system

Generators with a positive grounding system (make sure the polarity of the alternator is correct)
The procedure for alternators with a positive ground system is exactly the opposite. Use the remaining clamp to lightly touch the negative battery terminal (-).

By following these three simple steps you will polarize your alternator and keep it and the whole system from breaking.

Result of polarizing a generator

This manipulation will match the polarity of your generator with the polarity of the mains. A positive result of your work will be that the alternator light on the dashboard will stop lighting (if you had it lit before) and, accordingly, the alternator will charge your battery. A generator with adjusted polarity will last longer and operate more safely.


If in doubt about whether to polarize the generator or not, I recommend polarization, as the procedure is not difficult, but the benefits it brings are not commensurate with the effort involved.

As in any job, you should not take on the job without preparation and disregard safety procedures. Although polarization of the generator is not a difficult procedure, do not neglect this advice.

It is very important to determine the exact type of generator. Using an inappropriate polarization method for the type of generator will cause short circuits, reversal of polarity, melting of brushes, and insulation of windings, i.e. generator failure. It is therefore very important to determine the type of alternator beforehand.

If you have never polarized a generator before, we recommend that you study the user manual that came with your generator.

Polarize a Generator Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about oscillator polarization.

What happens if you don’t polarize a generator?

If you don’t polarize a generator, the magnetic field lines will not be aligned, and the generator will not produce electricity and can be damaged can also damage the components of the vehicle.

Three yellow generators

Which is the terminal on a generator?

The terminal on a generator is the end of the coil where the current is produced. The generator has several terminals that require proper identification for a successful installation. Connecting the wrong wire to the wrong terminal can cause damage to the alternator as well as impact injury.

How do you check if a generator is charging?

There are a few ways to check if a generator is charging. One way is to use a multimeter to measure the voltage at the generator terminals. If the voltage is within the specified range, then the generator is charging. Another way is to start the engine and let it run for a few minutes. Then, turn on a few lights or appliances that are connected to the generator. If the generator is charging, the lights should stay on.

Do you need to polarize an alternator?

Whether or not you need to polarize an alternator depends on the model of the alternator you have. Some alternators are self-polarizing, while others require manual polarization. Consult your owner’s manual or a qualified technician to determine if your alternator needs to be polarized.

When should polarization be performed?

It should be done at every scheduled inspection, as well as when an unscheduled repair or installation of a new generator, and if the generator has not been in operation for a long time.

How do you polarize a generator with a positive ground?

You can polarize a generator with a positive ground by connecting the negative lead of a voltmeter to the ground terminal of the generator, and then connecting the positive lead of the voltmeter to the armature terminal of the generator.

Disassembled portable generator

What is polarizing voltage?

Polarizing voltage is a voltage that is applied across a capacitor in order to establish an electric field within the capacitor. This field is necessary for the capacitor to store a charge.


A generator is an electromechanical device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The process of polarization is used to create a voltage difference between the two ends of a conductor, such as a generator’s armature winding.

By polarizing a generator, we are effectively creating a voltage “magnet” within the winding that can be used to create a current when the generator is rotated. In simple words, it is the process of aligning the polarity of the generator with the polarity of the voltage regulator.

Polarizing a generator increases its efficiency because it allows the armature winding to better utilize the magnetic field created by the generator’s stator. Additionally, polarized generators tend to have less armature winding resistance, which results in less heat generation and longer lifetimes.

If you follow the instructions in this article you can easily adjust the polarity of your generator. The procedure is not difficult but it is very necessary if you want to prolong the life of your generator.

We hope that this article has helped you to understand how to polarize the generator and you have no unanswered questions

Ronnie Collins

Ronnie Collins

I’m Ronnie Collins. I’ve been passionate about gardening and woodworking all my life and even earned an MS degree in Botany from the University of Maryland. I’ve been working at a gardening company for a while, so I know the ropes about a whole lot of dedicated equipment such as the table saw, track saw, lawnmowers, chainsaws, garden hoses, and much more.

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