A wire table provides dimensional and electrical characteristicsfor magnet wire, and is used to select appropriate wire sizes fortransformer design. There are three major wire sizing systems:AWG, SWG and metric. All wire sizes used in this applicationnote are based on AWG sizing. A wire table is provided inAppendix A with data on AWG wire sizes from 18 gaugethrough 44 gauge. SWG and metric equivalents to AWG wiresizes are also shown. A wire table is also available inreference 5. Wire tables can be obtained from some of themagnet wire manufacturers listed in Appendix A.
Transformer Construction Materials
The following paragraphs describe the basic materials neededto construct switching power supply transformers.
Appropriate ferrite materials for 100KHz flyback transformersare TDK PC40, Philips 3C85, Siemens N67, Thomson B2,Tokin 2500 or other similar materials. A wide variety of coreshapes are available. E cores are the best choice for transformercores for reasons of low cost, wide availability, and lowerleakage inductance. Other core shapes and styles such as theETD, EER and EI are also usable. A chart of suitable ferrite coretypes for various power levels and transformer constructiontypes can be found in Appendix A.
Bobbins for off-line flyback transformers should be chosenwith regard to the safety creepage distances required by theapplicable safety regulations. Particular areas of considerationare the total creepage distance from primary pins to secondarypins through the core, and the creepage distance from primarypins to the secondary winding area. With some bobbin styles,extra insulation may be necessary to meet the creepagerequirements. Bobbins should preferably be made fromthermosetting materials such as phenolic resin in order towithstand soldering temperatures without deformation.Polybutylene or polyethylene terphthalate (PBT, PET) andpolyphenylene sulfide (PPS) are also acceptable materials,though more sensitive to high temperatures than phenolicresins. Nylon should be avoided if possible, as it melts easilyat the temperatures required to effectively terminate thetransformer windings to the pins on the bobbin. If Nylonbobbins are used, they should be made with glass reinforcedresin with a temperature rating of 130˚C.
A common insulating material used in transformers is polyesteror Mylar, available in sheet or tape form. This material is alsomanufactured as an adhesive tape that is particularly useful intransformer construction. US manufacturers of this tapeinclude 3M, Tesa, and CHR. For creepage margins intransformers, it is desirable to use a thick tape so that therequired build for a margin can be achieved using relatively fewlayers. Several manufacturers make a polyester film/mat tapethat is useful for this application.
Some typical domestic manufacturers of magnet wire areBelden, Phelps Dodge, and Rea. The preferred insulation formagnet wire is a nylon/polyurethane coating. This coatingburns off in contact with molten solder, allowing the transformerto be terminated by dip tinning in a solder pot. This type of insulated magnet wire is available from almost all manufacturersunder various trade names: Solderon, Nyleze, Beldsol, etc. Theinsulating coating should be “heavy” or “double” to betterwithstand the stress of handling and the winding process.Ordinary enameled wire or polyimide wire insulation shouldnot be used, as these types of insulation must be strippedmechanically or with chemical stripping agents in order toterminate the wire to the transformer pins.
Triple Insulated Wire
Triple insulated wire can be used to simplify and reduce the sizeof transformers where safety isolation is required. The type of triple insulated wire useful for transformer construction consistsof a solid wire core with three distinct and separable layers of insulation. Three manufacturers of triple insulated wire arelisted in Appendix A.
Insulating tubing is used to insulate the start and finish leads of windings in a margin wound transformer. The tubing should berecognized by the applicable safety agencies, with a minimumwall thickness of 0.4 mm to meet thickness requirements forreinforced insulation. The tubing should also be heat resistant,so that it does not melt when exposed to the temperaturesrequired to solder the transformer lead wires to the pins on thebobbin. Materials commonly used for sleeving include Teflontubing or polyolefin heat shrink tubing.