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Magnetorque Rotor

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A magneto is an electrical generator that uses permanent magnets to produce alternating current. Unlike a dynamo, there is no commutator and so they cannot produce direct current. They are categorised as a form of alternator, although they are usually regarded as distinct from most other alternators, which use field coils rather than permanent magnets.

Magnetos date from the earliest days of electrical engineering. Despite this, they have never been widely applied for the purposes of bulk electricity generation, for the same purposes or to the same extent as either dynamos or alternators. Only in a few specialised cases, as described here, have they been used for power generation.