Governor Basics


  • Explain what's meant by "governing".
  • Identify major governor components.
  • Describe basic governor functions.

What Is Governing?

At its simplest, a governor is a control system that keeps a prime mover operating at a constant rate, even as the conditions around it change. Governors can be very simple, or incredibly sophisticated.

The Prime Mover

Every system has a prime mover, which is the component that converts energy from external sources into a form of energy appropriate for powering the system.

The diesel engine in a locomotive

The turbine in a hydro dam

The electric motor that powers a hydraulic pump

Many prime movers, like the turbine in the example above, are not directly controlled. Instead, they are regulated by controlling their fuel source. Combustion engines are throttled by adjusting their gasoline or diesel supply. Turbines are regulated by adjusting the amount of wind or water allowed to contact the rotors.

Common Energy Conversions

Drag and drop the pieces to complete some of these common energy conversions. Not all of the pieces will be used.

Prime Mover
Prime Mover

Chemical Energy

Electrical Energy

Electrical Energy

Electrical Energy



Electrical Motor


Solar Energy

Water Turbine

Wind Turbine

Mechanical Energy

Mechanical Energy

(Kinetic Energy)

(Kinetic Energy)

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We hope you enjoyed Governor Basics

Vacuum Pressure
Atmospheric Pressure
Low Pressure
Medium Pressure
High Pressure
Lowest Voltage
Medium Voltage
Highest Voltage
Magnetic Field
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