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Transformer Basics

Transformer Basics



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Published by: api-3717958 on Oct 15, 2008
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Page 1
The purpose
of this manual is to explain

how the transformer should be installed, commissioned, operated and maintained in general. In addition to the instructions given in the manual, reference should be made to :

IEC-60076 Power Transformer

IEC-60296 Specification for unused mineral insulating oils for Transformer & Switchgear
IEC- 60137 Insulating Bushing for alternating voltage above 1000V.
IEC-60354 Loading Guide for oil immersed power transformer.
IEC-60364 Specification for Gas operated relays

Method for the determination of the electric strength of insulating oils.
Code of Practice for Installation of Transformers.
Code of Practice for Maintenance of Transformers
Code of Practice for maintenance of Transformer oil
Code of Practice for Electrical Installation
Page 2

Transformer is one of the most vital and important electrical machinery. The development of the present day power system is very much attributable to the large number and types of transformer that are in operation in the system, such as, generator transformers, step-up

transformers, step-down transformers, interlinking transformers, power transformers & distribution transformers etc. Being a static machine, it is inherently reliable compared to other machines,. Distribution transformers are a important link between the power system and millions of electricity consumers. Any failure of this important equipment, apart from adversely affecting the consumers, will also mean considerable financial loss to the electricity undertaking. It is therefore of important that utmost care is taken in the design, manufacture, testing, installation, and maintenance of transformers.

A transformer consists of a magnetic core made out of insulated silicon steel laminations. Two distinct sets of windings, one called primary and other called secondary winding, are wound on such core. The

transformer helps in converting low voltage into high voltage or visa-versa and accordingly the transformer is termed step-up or step-down. The winding to which the voltage is applied is called primary winding, where as the winding to which the load is connected is called secondary winding. The transformer works on the principle of electro-magnetic induction. Such phenomena can take place in a static device, only, if the magnetic flux is continually varying. It is therefore clear that static transformers can only be used with alternating currents only. When an alternating EMF is applied to the primary winding of a transformer with the secondary winding open circuited, a small current flows in the primary winding which serves to magnetize the core and to feed the iron losses of the transformer. As primary and secondary windings are wound on the same core, the magnetizing flux is the same for both the windings. The magnetizing flux corresponds to the magnetizing current in the primary and the number of turns of the primary winding. Primary and secondary windings are wound on the same core, hence the induced voltage per turn is the same for both primary and secondary winding. Also the absolute value of induced voltage in the primary and secondary windings is proportional to the number of turns in the respective windings.

The main parts of a transformer are;
Transformer core
Transformer Windings.
Transformer Tank and Radiators.
Transformer core

Every transformer has a core, which is surrounded by windings. The core is made out of special cold rolled grain oriented silicon sheet steel laminations. The special silicon steel ensures low hysteretisis losses. The silicon steel laminations also ensure high resistively of core material which result in low eddy currents. In order to reduce eddy current losses, the laminations are

Page 3

kept as thin as possible. The thickness of the laminations is usually around 0.27 to 0.35 mm. The transformer cores construction are of two types, viz, core type and shell type. In core type transformers, the windings are wound around the core, while in shell type transformers, the core is constructed around the windings. The shell type transformers provide a low reactance path for the magnetic flux, while the core type transformer has a high leakage flux and hence higher reactance.

The ideal shape for the section of the core is a circle, as this would mean no wastage of space between the core and windings, except the space taken by the insulation between laminations. A perfectly circular section of core would mean varying dimensions for each successive lamination, which may not be economical. A compromise is therefore struck and a stepped core (four or six steps) construction is normally preferred. The net sectional area

is calculated from the dimensions of the various sections and giving due allowance for the

insulation thickness. The yoke section is arranged similar to the limb section. To make the best use of the grain oriented silicon steel it is necessary that the flux run parallel to the direction of the rolling for as much of the magnetic path as possible. This is achieved by selecting identical cross-section and shape for core and yoke sections and having mitered corners. The materials used are such as to give low hysteretic losses, for a particular flux density. These are dependant on weight of material used and design flux density. In case a low flux density

is employed, the weight of material increases, which in turn also leads to increase in length of mean turn of transformer coil. Both these aspects result in increase in losses. Similarly, the eddy current loss depends on the quality of material thickness of laminations and the flux density employed.

The limb laminations in small transformers are held together by stout webbing tape or by suitably
spaced glass fiber bends. The use of insulated bolts passing through the limb laminations has

been discontinued due to number of instances of core bolt failures. The top and bottom mitered yokes are interleaved with the limbs and are clamped by steel sections held together by insulated yoke bolts. The steel frames clamping the top and bottom yokes are held together by vertical tie bolts.


The primary and secondary windings in a core type transformer are of the concentric type only, while in case of shell type transformer these could be of sand-witched type as well. The concentric windings are normally constructed in any of the following types depending on the size and application of the transformer

Cross over Type.
Helical Type.
Continuous Disc Type.

Cross-over type winding is normally employed where rated currents are up-to about 20 Amperes or so. In this type of winding, each coil consists of number of layers having number of turns per layer. The conductor being a round wire or strip insulated with a paper covering. It is normal practice to provide one or two extra lavers of paper insulation between lavers. Further, the

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