07 Basic Difference between Alternator and Oscillator

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Today, I am writing about electrical devices alternator and oscillator and then the difference between them.

An alternator and oscillator are two different electrical devices and they have different functionality and use cases.

What is Alternator?

An alternator is the current (EMF) generating a mechanical device.

What is Oscillator?

An oscillator is a frequency generating electronic device.

Now, let’s compare two devices,

Difference between Alternator and Oscillator

Sr. No. Content Alternator Oscillator
01 What type of Device is it?  An alternator is a mechanical device. An oscillator is an electronic device.
02 Definition The mechanical device which converts mechanical energy to the AC supply electrical energy is called the ‘Alternator’. The electronic device which converts DC energy into the AC energy is known as the ‘Oscillator’.
03 Functionality Difference An alternator can produce the high-frequency (more than 50Hz) oscillations according to prime mover rpm. The oscillator can produce the high-frequency oscillations with the several MHz frequencies.
04 Nature of Device It is a rotating and energy converting device. It is a non-rotating and frequency generating device.
05 Working Principles The alternator operates on the principle of Electromagnetic Induction. An Oscillator operates on the principle of the Oscillation.

06. Symbolic Representation of Alternator and Oscillator

  • Alternator Symbol:

Symbol of Alternator

  • Oscillator Symbol:

Symbol of Oscillator

07. Circuit Diagram of Alternator and Oscillator

  • The diagram of the Alternator model:

  • The diagram of Crystal Oscillator:


This is the main difference between the alternator and oscillator and some useful symbols and diagrams.

Similarity between Alternator and Oscillator

What is the similarity between alternator and oscillator?

These alternator and oscillator devices produce the sinusoidal oscillation in Hz.


An alternator cannot be called an oscillator. Because alternator produces only the 50 -60 Hz frequency.

If you are interesting knowing more about oscillator, I have explained the crystal oscillator in the BE project “An Automatic Solar tracking system by using Micro-controller”

If you have any doubts or any points to discuss, please comment in below. And also share with your friends and students.

Related Read: 

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9 thoughts on “07 Basic Difference between Alternator and Oscillator”

  1. Good to read, all is OK

    from the alternator, we can also make high frequency more than 60 hz but having Limitations depending on prime mover rpm.


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