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Electronic Transformers

There are many types of transformers. What distinguishes an electronic transformer from other types of transformers? Electronic transformers are simply transformers used in electronic applications. This is a very broad definition; consequently there are many types of electronic transformers. Examples of types of electronic transformers include ( but not limited to ) power, pulse, instrument, current, switching ( or switch mode ), inverting, signal, step-up, step-down, impedance matching, high voltage and saturable. Some of the preceding types can be divided into more sub-types. Types of switching transformers include ( but not limited to ) flyback, feed forward converter ( also called buck ), and boost. Gate drive transformers and trigger transformers are types of pulse transformers ( depending on who you talk to). The feed forward type includes a push-pull center-tap and a half bridge configuration. It becomes apparent from the preceding type designations that the type designation of an electronic transformer is determined by its intended application. To learn more about a particular type, click on one of the available links for electronic transformer types. Electronic transformers may be further described by their basic structure and/or construction style. Many current transformers are wound on toroidal cores; hence the transformer is referred to as a toroidal current transformer. Many transformer coils are wound on bobbins ( spools ) or tubes. The transformer core is inserted into and around the coil. These transformers may be referred to as bobbin wound or tube wound structures. There are many core shapes available; E, E-I, U, U-I, Pot, RM, PQ, EP, EFD, and others. Electronic transformers may be further described by the methods of mounting and electrical terminations. Transformers mounted on printed circuit boards may be pinthru or surface mount. Transformer windings are terminated to bobbin pins or surface mount pads. The pins or pads are then soldered to the printed circuit board. Some transformers have lead wires. These wires are often referred to as flying leads. Electronic transformers may be used to supply power, transmit signals, establish voltage isolation between circuits, sense voltage and current levels, modify voltage and current levels, provide impedance matching, and filtering. Lightly loaded transformers may perform some inductor-like functions, such as storing energy and limiting current flow. Do electronic transformers have any characteristics common to all electronic transformers? Not really. Most electronic transformers can easily be held in your hand, even in a childs hand, but there are some too large to hold. Due to ever-higher operating frequencies, more electronic transformers are being made from ferrite core materials, but some specialized applications use other core materials.

Despite the many types of electronic transformers, their theory of operation does not differ. Electrical functions are usually similar but design characteristics can differ in certain ways. Some examples are; unipolar versus bipolar core utilization, saturating or not saturating, degree of energy storage, regulation, and transformer impedance. Butler Winding can make ( and has made ) electronic transformers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This includes; various standard types of core with bobbin structures ( E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U and others ), toroids, and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can ( and have done ) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link.

Toroidal Transformer
Toroidal transformers are the high performers among transformers. They offer the smallest size (by volume and weight), less leakage inductance, and lower electromagnetic interference (EMI). Their windings cool better because of the proportionally larger surface area. A 360 degree wound toroidal transformer has a high degree of symmetry. Its geometry leads to near complete magnetic field cancellation outside of its coil, hence the toroidal transformer has less leakage inductance and less EMI when compared against other transformers of equal power rating. Toroidal transformers with a round core cross section are better performers than toroidal transformers with a rectangular cross section. The cancellation is more complete for the round cross section. The round cross section also gives a shorter turn length per unit of cross sectional area, hence lower winding resistances. The toroidal transformer also has better winding to winding magnetic coupling because of its toroidal shape. The coupling is dependent on the winding being wound a full 360 degrees around the core and wound directly over the prior winding, hence sector wound windings do not couple as well and have higher leakage inductance. As winding turns are positioned further away from the core less complete coupling will occur; hence toroidal transformers with multi-layered windings will exhibit more leakage inductance. Toroidal transformers can be used in any electronic transformer application that can accommodate its shape. Although usable, toroidal transformers are not always practical for some applications. Gapped toroidal transformers usually require that the gap be filled with some type of insulating material to facilitate the winding process. This is an extra

expense. Split core current transformers can be assembled directly on a conductor while toroids must be passed over a disconnected end of the conductor. A toroid can be split in two, but a suitable clamping mechanism (difficult and costly) is required. Some printed circuit boards are space critical. Mounting a toroidal transformer flat on the board may take up too much precious board area. Some applications also have restricted height so the toroid cannot be mounted vertically. Generally speaking toroidal transformers are more expensive than bobbin or tube wound transformers. Sufficient winding wire must first be wound (loaded) onto the winding shuttle, then wound onto the toroidal transformers core. After that, the best situation, from a cost perspective, is no insulation required over the winding and the next winding uses the same wire size. If the wire is different, then the leftover wire must be removed and the wire for the next winding must be loaded. However, if the winding must be insulated, then if must either be insulated (taped) by hand or the toroidal transformer must be removed and taken to a separate taping machine, then placed back on the toroid winding machine after taping. The shuttle must then be loaded with the wire size and type for the toroidal transformers next winding. A toroidal transformer with a single winding (auto-transformer, current transformer) wound on a coated core will probably be cost competitive with an equivalent bobbin or tube wound transformer since the toroidal transformer will not require a bobbin or tube. The cost differential will then depend on the method and cost of mounting the transformers. Toroidal transformer cores are available in many materials: silicon steel, nickel iron, moly-permalloy powder, iron powdered, amorphous, ferrites, and others. Silicon steel and nickel iron are available as tape wound cores or laminated pieces. Non-magnetic toroids are also available to make air core toroidal transformers. Butler Winding manufactures toroidal transformers in a wide variety of materials and sizes. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link.

Toroidal Transformer - Ferrite Core Transformers


As today's electronic designers pack more components into less space, there is increasing demand for high performance components. Toroidal transformers with a ferrite core are in the high performance category. A 360 degree wound ferrite core toroid (and toroids in general) has a high degree of symmetry. Its geometry leads to near complete magnetic field cancellation outside of its coil, hence the toroidal transformer has less leakage inductance and less EMI when compared against other coils of equal power rating. Today's electronic devices are being operated at ever increasing high frequency. Ferrite core toroidal transformer manufacturers have developed core materials that can operate

above 1 megahertz at low gauss levels. Use of a ferrite core toroidal transformer combines the performance features of the toroidal shape and the low loss feature of the ferrite core material. . In high frequency applications a ferrite core toroidal transformer can offer smaller size (by volume & weight) and lower losses. Core materials have been developed for power applications and filtering applications. Some have a temperature coefficient designed to offset capacitor temperature drift for tuned filter applications. Core material initial relative permeability can range from 750 to 15000. Materials for the highest frequencies usually have lower permeability. Toroidal transformers with ferrite cores are commercially available in a variety of sizes ranging from one tenth to five and one half inches outside diameter. The weight ranges from a fraction of an ounce to 1.763 pounds. Larger ones exist but they are specialty items. Some larger specialty They can be purchased with or without an insulating coating. Several voltage ratings are available. Butler Winding makes toroidal transformers and ferrite core toroid coils in a wide variety of materials and sizes. Butler Winding also does "bobbin wound" and "tube wound". Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler Winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Winding's capabilities, click on our "capabilities" link.

Toroidal Transformer - Tape Wound Transformers


Tape wound core toroidal transformers are made by wrapping thin long strips of magnetic material around a winding mandrel. Originally, tape wound core toroids were developed to replace vacuum tubes. Vacuum tubes were fragile and required frequent replacement. The tape wound core toroidal transformers were more reliable. Magnetic coupling permitted the mixing of signals while maintaining electrical isolation between circuits. Tape wound core toroidal transformers also developed along another path. Early toroidal transformers used thin ring shaped laminations stamped from electrical steel. The steel from the center was waste material. A core was made by stacking these rings to the desired height. The laminated stack reduced core eddy currents. Lower eddy currents result in lower core losses. The thinner the laminations, the lower the losses were, but the more time it took to process and stack the laminations. Designers adapted the tape wound core process to general-purpose transformers as well. Winding tape wound core toroidal trsnaformers were much faster than stacking toroidal cores; hence use of thinner material became more practical. The process was then adapted to rectangular cores known as C cores.

Today, tape wound core toroidal transformers can be made with strip as thin as 0.000125. They are available in alloys of silicon steel, nickel-iron, cobalt-iron, and amorphous metals. Some materials are processed to enhance square loop properties. With appropriate gauss de-rating, the thin strip extends the useful frequency range up to 10 to 20 kilohertz depending on the type of material. Ferrite cores have lower core losses and cost less per unit weight, but their saturation levels are much lower. Low weight and minimal space are desired features for aviation and aerospace applications. Consequently tape wound core toroids are usually preferred over ferrites for these applications provided the operating frequency is not too high. Tape wound core toroids wound with nickel-iron alloys are particularly sensitive to shock and vibration. These cores need to be place in a protective box with a damping medium such as silicon oil. Silicon steel alloys are the least sensitive. Silicon steel is frequently used without a protective box. It depends on the particular application. Butler Winding produces tape wound core toroidal transformers in a wide variety of materials and sizes. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link.

Flyback Transformers Transformers

Kickback

A simple and low cost power supply is bound to be quite popular. The single ended flyback circuit topology fits this description. The flyback transformer utilizes the "flyback" action ( also known as "kickback" ) of an inductor or flyback transformer to convert the input voltage and current to the desired output voltage and current. Figures 1A and 1B show simple flyback transformer schematics for an inductor and a flyback transformer. These schematics do not show any parasitic effects ( such as leakage inductance and winding capacitance ). Modern flyback transformer and circuit design now permit use in excess of 300 watts of power, but most applications are less than 50 watts. By definition a transformer directly couples energy from one winding to another winding. A flyback transformer does not act as a true transformer. A flyback transformer first stores energy received from the input power supply (charging portion of a cycle) and then transfers energy (discharge portion of a cycle) to the output, usually a storage capacitor with a load connected across its terminals. An application in which a complete discharge is followed by a short period of inactivity (known as idle time) is defined to be operating in a discontinuous mode. An application in which a partial discharge is followed by charging is defined to be operating in the continuous mode. See figures 2A and 2B for illustration. Gapped core structures increase the magnetizing force needed to reach saturation and lower the inductance of the flyback transformer (or inductor). Consequently, a gapped

flyback transformer (or inductor) can handle higher peak current values, and thereby storing more energy, most of which is stored in the magnetic field of the gap. For these reasons almost all flyback transformers (or inductors) are gapped. The gap may be a discrete physical gap, several smaller discrete physical gaps or a distributed gap. Distributed gaps are inherently present in low permeability powdered cores. The bulk of the stored energy is stored in the magnetic field of the gap(s). Most modern flyback transformers are operated at high frequency hence gapped ferrite core materials are typically used. Butler winding can make (and has made) flyback transformers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This includes; various standard types of core with bobbin structures (E, EP, EFD, EC, ETD, PQ, POT, U and others), toroids, and some custom designs. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can (and have done) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on our capabilities, click on our "capabilities" link. How does a flyback transformer ( or inductor ) work? Flyback circuits repeat a cycle of two or three stages; a charging stage, a discharging stage, and in some applications idle time following a complete discharge. Charging creates a magnetic field. Discharging action results from the collapse of the magnetic field. The typical flyback transformer application is a unipolar application. The magnetic field flux density varies up in down in value ( 0 or larger ) but keeps the same ( hence unipolar ) direction. Charging Stage: The flyback transformer ( or inductor ) draws current from the power source. The current increases over time. The current flow creates a magnetic field flux that also increases over time. Energy is stored within the magnetic field. The associated positive flux change over time induces a voltage in the flyback transformer ( or inductor ) which opposes the source voltage. Typically, a diode and a capacitor are series connected across a flyback transformer winding ( or inductor ). A load resistor is then connected across the capacitor. The diode is oriented to block current flow from the flyback transformer ( or source ) to the capacitor and the load resistor during the charging stage. Controlling the charging time duration (known as duty cycle) in a cycle can control the amount of energy stored during each cycle. Stored energy value, E = ( I x I x L ) / 2, where E is in joules, I = current in amps, L = inductance in Henries. Current is defined by the differential equation V(t) = L x di/dt. Applying this equation to applications with constant source voltage and constant inductance value one obtains the following equation; I = Io + V x t / L , where I = currents in amps, Io = starting current in amps, V = voltage in volts across the flyback transformer winding ( or inductor ), L = inductance in Henries, and t = elapsed time in seconds. Note that increasing L will decrease the

current. Stored energy will consequently decrease because effects of the current squared decrease will more than offset the effects of the inductance increase. Also be aware that the flyback transformer ( or inductor ) input voltage is less than the source voltage due to switching and resistive voltage drops in the circuit. Discharge Stage: The current ( which creates the magnetic field ) from the source is then interrupted by opening a switch, thereby causing the magnetic field to collapse or decrease, hence a reversal in the direction of the magnetic field flux change ( negative flux change over time ). The negative flux change induces a voltage in the opposite direction from that induced during the charging stage. The terms flyback or kickback originate from the induced voltage reversal that occurs when the supply current is interrupted. The reversed induced voltage(s) tries to create ( induce ) a current flow. The open switch prevents current from flowing through the power supply. With the voltage reversed, the diode now permits current flow through it, hence current flows into the capacitor and the load across the capacitor. If current can flow, then the resulting flow of current is in the direction, which tries to maintain the existing magnetic field. The induced current cannot maintain this field but does slow down the decline of the magnetic field. A slower decline translates to a lower induced flyback voltage. If current cannot flow, the magnetic field will decline very rapidly and consequently create a much higher induced voltage. In effect, the flyback action will create the necessary voltage needed to discharge the energy stored in the flyback transformer or inductor. This principle, along with controlling the duration of the charging stage, allows a flyback inductor to increase or decrease the voltage without the use of a step-up or step-down turns ratio. In the typical flyback circuit, the output capacitor clamps the flyback voltage to the capacitor voltage plus the diode and resistive voltage drops. For a sufficiently large & fully charged capacitor, the clamping capacitor voltage can be treated as a constant value. The equations V(t) = L x di/dt, and I = Io + V x t / L can also be applied to the discharge stage. Use the inductance value of the discharging winding and the time duration of the discharging stage. The time will either be the cycle time minus the charging time ( no idle time ), or the time it takes to fully discharge the magnetic field thereby reaching zero current. The cycle time equals the period which equals 1 / frequency. Idle Stage: This stage occurs whenever the flyback transformer ( or inductor ) has completely discharged its stored energy. Input and output current ( of the transformer or inductor ) is at zero value. Other Principles of Operation Equal Ampere-Turns Condition: A magnetic field is created by the current flow through the winding(s). The current creates a magnetizing force, H, and a magnetic field flux density B. A core dependent correlation will exist between B and H. B is not usually linear with H. By definition H is proportional to the product of the winding turns and the current flowing through the winding, hence ampere-turns. In classical physics, the magnetic field flux cannot instantaneously change value if the source of the field ( the current flow ) is removed. When the source current is removed from the flyback transformer ( or inductor ) the charging stage ends and the discharge stage begins. The

value of the magnetic field will be the same for both stages at that point in time ( cannot instantaneously change to another value ). The same magnetic core is used for both stages, hence if the magnetic field is the same, then the magnetizing force, H, must be the same. Consequently the ampere-turns at the end of the charging stage must equal the ampere-turns at the start of the discharge stage. If there are multiple outputs then the total amperes turns of all outputs at the start of the discharge stage must equal the ampereturns at the end of the charging stage. The same condition applies at the start of the charging stage. The total ampere-turns of all outputs at the start of the charging stage must equal the ampere-turns at the end of the discharge stage. Note that there are zero ampere-turns at both the start and end of an idle stage when an idle stage exists.

Zero Average Voltage: During steady state operation, the average voltage across the charging winding must equal the average voltage across the discharge winding, or equivalently, the volt-seconds of the charging stage must equal the volt-seconds of the discharge stage. If not, flux density increases over time and the core saturates. Assuming a 1:1 turns ratio, then from V1 x t1 = V2 x t2 one can obtain t1 / t2 = V2 / V1 for both continuous and discontinuous modes of operation. For continuous mode operation, t1 + t2 = 1 / operating frequency. Conservation of Energy: Power out cannot exceed power in. Sum up output power ( V x I ) of each output at maximum steady state load plus allowances for parasitic output power losses ( diode and resistive losses ). Divide power in watts by operating frequency. The result is the energy in Joules that must be discharged each cycle into the output storage capacitor during steady state operation. It is also the amount of energy that must be added to the flyback transformer ( or inductor ) during the charging stage. The energy being transferred equals ( Ipeak x Ipeak Imin. x Imin. ) x L /2. If operating in the continuous mode, the stored energy will exceed the energy being transferred because the starting level of stored energy is above zero ( Imin. > 0 ). The flyback transformer ( or inductor ) must be designed to handle the peak stored energy, Ipeak x Ipeak x L / 2. The power source will have to supply the transferred energy plus the parasitic switching and resistive losses of the charging circuit, plus some power allowance for transient conditions. Take this value and divide by the power supply voltage. The result will be the average input current. Need additional information about Flyback Transformers? Contact Butler Winding. Ask for engineering assistance.

Power Transformers - Switch Mode


What differentiates a power transformer and a switch mode power transformer from other transformers? Power transformers (and inductors) are essentially A.C. (alternating current) devices. They cannot sustain transformer operation from a fixed D.C. (direct current) voltage source. However they can sustain transformer operation in a transient condition(s) that allows resetting or reversal of the transformers magnetic flux levels. An A.C. voltage source keeps reversing the polarity of the voltage being applied across the transformer. Consequently the magnetic fields keeps reversing. Voltage reversal can also be accomplished with a D.C. source such as a battery. The connections between the D.C. source and the transformers are repeatedly switched, thereby reversing the voltage polarity across the transformer, hence reversing the magnetic field. The transformer can also be switched off from the D.C. source. In this case the magnetic field simply collapses until it reaches its residual value (ideally equal to zero). This collapse resets the transformers magnetic field. Switch mode power transformers (and supplies) get their name from the switching action needed to sustain transformer operation. By controlling the amount of on time and off time of the switches, one can also control the amount of power delivered to the transformers load (or load circuit). The voltage can be fed to the switch mode power transformer in voltage pulses. The pulse duration is a portion of an overall cycle time. The cycle time is equal to the inverse of the operating frequency. The terms duty cycle and pulse width modulation arise from the control of the switching on time and off time.

Switch mode power transformers are used extensively in electronic applications, usually within a switch mode power supply. A switch mode power supply is usually powered from a D.C. source, such as a battery. The switching mode power supply converts the input D.C. source to one or more output D.C. sources. The power supplies are often referred to as DC to DC converters. In similar fashion, the switch mode power transformers are often referred to as DC to DC transformers (or DC-DC transformers). A switch mode power transformer can have several secondary windings. Consequently, the switch mode transformers permits multiple outputs which can be electrically isolated from one another. Transformer action permits one to step up or step down the voltage as needed via an appropriate turns ratio. Pulse width modulation is used to provide voltage regulation. Many electronic applications require some sort of power supply which converts power from the conventional low frequency sinusoidal A.C. wall socket (for example, 115V 60 Hz) to the necessary voltage, current, and/or waveform required by the circuit. Typically the circuits need a well-regulated D.C. voltage. Designers often choose either a rectifier type circuit (to convert A.C. voltage to D.C. voltage), a switch mode power supply, or both. For the both case, the A.C. voltage is first rectified to provide a D.C. voltage. The D.C. voltage varies as the A.C. voltage varies, hence good voltage regulation cannot be assured. One or more switching mode power supplies follow the rectifying circuitry. The switching mode power supplies provide a more tightly regulated output voltage. A.C. rectification is not a necessity. Although tricky, it is possible, through switching actions, to divide (chop) the A.C. waveform into a series of pulses, which are directly fed into the switching mode power transformer. Pulse width modulation is used to control the regulation. Butler Winding can make (and has made) switching mode power transformers (and /or inductors) for Buck, Flyback, and Boost applications (discussed below) in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This includes; various standard types of core with bobbin structures (E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U and others), toroids, and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can (and have done) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler Winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link. Switching Mode Power Transformers, Basic Application Circuits The design of a switch mode power transformer will differ depending upon the type of circuit used. There are many variations of switching mode power supplies, but they can be narrowed down to three basic circuit configurations (each also has a mirrored configuration); Buck, Boost, and Flyback. Be aware that the name for the Buck

circuit varies from industry to industry and from person to person. It may also be referred to as an inverter, D.C. converter, forward converter, feed forward, and others. There are also unipolar and bipolar (push-pull) versions. The basic Buck circuit is illustrated in Figure 1A with an inductor and in Figure 1B with both a switch mode power transformer and an inductor. A push-pull version is shown in Figure 4. The basic Flyback circuit is illustrated in Figure 2A with an inductor and in Figure 2B with a switch mdoe power transformer. The basic boost circuit is illustrated in Figure 3A with an inductor, Figure 3B and 3C with a transformer and in Figure 5 with a push-pull forward converter type of switch mode power transformer. The circuits shown in Figures 1A, 2A, and 3A, which have no switch mode power transformers, are the simplest circuits. They are useful for explaining the operating theory. The Forward Converter (Buck) Circuit The inductors in all of the buck circuits act as filtering elements to smooth out the ripple and reduce peak currents. Since they must store energy for part of a cycle they usually have a discrete air gap(s) or a distributed air gap in the magnetic core path. The switch mode power transformer in the Buck Circuit of Figure 1B couples energy from the input side (primary) to the output side (secondary). An ideal transformer does not store any energy and consequently does not provide any ripple filtering. The inductor does the ripple filtering. Ideally, a Buck circuit transformer couples energy without storing it (hence it meets the true definition of a transformer). The transformer does not need to do any ripple filtering. The transformer should have minimal air gap. The on time on the transistor (switch) controls how much energy is delivered to the capacitor hence it regulates the output voltage. Note that for the inductor circuit of Figure 1, the average capacitor voltage can never be more than the source voltage even for ideal circuit components. Real life voltage drops (diode, transistor, winding resistance) ensure that the average output voltage will be less than the source voltage. The transformer in Figures 1B remove this voltage limit and can also provide electrical isolation between input and output. The circuits of Figures 1A and 1B are unipolar applications of forward converters. Pushpull versions, such as that shown in Figure 4, are bipolar applications. Unipolar and bipolar applications are explained further below. Click on the available link for more information about push-pull switching mode power transformers.

Inductive Flyback (Kickback) in Switch Mode Power Transformers Unlike the Buck transformer; the flyback inductor, flyback transformer, boost inductor, and boost transformer intentionally store energy during the on time (charging portion) of a cycle and then discharge energy during the off time portion. (Technically, since they intentionally store energy, the switch mode flyback and boost power transformers are not true transformers.) They usually have a discrete air gap(s) or a distributed gap in their cores magnetic path. The transistor is turned on and current flows into the inductor or transformer (which has inductance). When the transistor is turned off, the input current that formed and maintained the cores magnetic field become zero. The magnetic field collapses causing a voltage reversal to occur in the inductor or transformer. The collapsing magnetic field induces sufficiently high voltage (known as inductive kickback voltage) to discharge energy into the capacitor connected to the inductor or to the switch mode power transformer secondary. Inductive discharge into the capacitor continues until the magnetic field completely dissipates or power is restored to the input. Restoring the power starts the inductive charging cycle again. The use of inductive kickback permit the output voltages of the inductor circuits of Figures 2A and 3A to be either lower, equal, or greater than the input source voltage. A transformer step up is not needed to achieve voltages higher than the source voltage. Flyback transformers are usually preferred over flyback inductors. The appropriate turns ratio can optimize current levels. The transformer can provide voltage isolation between input and output, and removes a polarity restriction that comes with a flyback inductor design.

Boost Inductor Circuits You might ask what distinguishes the boost inductor application from the flyback inductor application. One characteristic is the polarity reversal of the output capacitor due to the placement of the circuit components. Compare the circuits of Figures 2A and 3A. The diode in the flyback circuit, Figure 2A, completely blocks direct flow of current from the input source to the capacitor regardless of the capacitors voltage value. The capacitor can only be charged by the inductive kickback. The diode in the boost circuit, Figure 3A, permits current flow from the input source to the capacitor without the use of inductive kickback if the capacitor voltage is sufficiently low. Consequently it both stores energy and passes through energy during the charging portion of a cycle. Pass through current flow stops whenever the capacitor voltage approaches the value of the source

voltage minus the diode voltage drop. (Further increase requires the inductive kickback voltage.) This may be a desirable feature for rapid power supply startup Few designers are aware of the boost transformer circuit shown in Figure 3B because the circuit is not very practical. With only half-wave rectification it is either a forward (Buck) converter transformer application or a flyback transformer application depending on choice of polarity. Full wave rectification, as shown, permits it to duplicate the boost inductor actions discussed in the prior paragraph; both storing energy and passing through energy (by transformer coupling like a Buck transformer) during the charging portion of a cycle if the secondary capacitor voltage is sufficiently low. It acts likes a flyback transformer during the discharging portion of the cycle. It is rarely used with the full wave rectification as shown. It has seen some limited use as modified in the circuit shown in Figure 3C. The transformer has two secondary windings. One is used as a

Forward (Buck) converter. The other is used as a flyback. It effectively divides the fullwave rectification into two half-wave applications. A more common boost inductor application is shown in Figure 5. A boost inductor is used with a push-pull (Buck) transformer. High power power supplies might use this type of circuit. In this application both switches are not open at the same time. Both switches are closed to charge the inductor, otherwise the switches are alternated on and off with one closed and one open.

Unipolar versus Bipolar What is the difference? When a current flows through an inductor or a transformer a magnetic field is created in its core. The value of the magnetic field will be greater than zero and it will have a direction associated with it. This direction is also referred to as the polarity of the field. If the value of the current varies, then the value of the magnetic field will vary accordingly, but the field polarity (direction) will remain the same as long as the current direction does not reverse. When an inductor or transformer continually operates with the same magnetic polarity it is a unipolar application. The circuits shown in Figures 1 through 3, including A thru C versions, are all unipolar applications. Applications were the magnetic field polarity is continually reversing are bipolar applications. A.C. applications are bipolar applications. Push-Pull types of forward converters (Buck) are bipolar applications. Push-pull transformers are often used in inverter circuits to create A.C. voltage from a D.C. source. A push-pull center-tap application is shown in Figure 4. There are several types of push-pull applications. More information about push-pull transformer applications is available on this website. Click on the available link.

Electronic Transformer Transformer

Inverter

The term "inverter" is associated with several different electronic applications. In logic circuits "inverter" may be a logic inverter, the equivalent of a "Not" gate. In analogue signal processing an inverter can be a circuit which inverts the phase of the signal being transmitted. In power conversion applications an inverter is an electronic transformer which converts power from a Direct Current (D.C.) source into Alternating Current (A.C.) power. Power conversion inverters can be divided into two sub-categories,

voltage-fed inverters and current-fed inverters. Voltage-fed inverters are more common than the current-fed inverters. The electronic transformers used in inverter circuits are often called inverter transformers. Inverters produce A.C. power by switching the polarity of the D.C. power source across the D.C. power sources load. The early inverters used mechanical switches to do the switching. Vacuum tubes replaced mechanical switches in low power applications. Eventually semiconductor based switches (diodes, transistors, F.E.T.s, S.C.R.s, etc.) replaced both mechanical and vacuum tube switches. The schematic in Figure 1A illustrates a very simple inverter circuit. The circuit does not have an inverter electronic transformer. The switches are alternated on and off (cycled), but are not on at the same time. The load will see alternating square wave pulses of voltage equal to the source voltage minus the circuits resistive voltage drops. The pulse voltage cannot be adjusted, but the average load voltage can be made less than the source voltage by holding both switches open (off) at the same time. The portion (ratio < 1) of time during a cycle that a switch is on is called the duty cycle. The inverter schematic in Figure 1B utilizes a capacitor and another switch to provide a lower load voltage. One switch controls the amount of charge delivered to the capacitor hence it also controls the capacitor voltage. The set of two switches alternately switches the polarity for the connection between the capacitor and the load. The load voltage cannot exceed the input source voltage. The inverter schematic of Figure 1C adds an electronic transformer inverter with two secondary windings. The switching action sends alternating current through the inverter transformers primary winding. This is referred to as push-pull action. The core has bipolar utilization. Bipolar utilization is discussed further below. The inverter transformers turns ratio can permit either higher or lower load voltage. The inverter transformers output is an A.C. square wave. Output filter networks can be used to obtain sine wave output. The inverter transformer can also provide electrical isolation between the inverter transformers input and output sides. Full wave rectification can be applied to the inverter transformers outputs to obtain a D.C. voltage of different value than that of the input source. This is shown in the schematic of Figure 1D. Compare the schematic of Figure 2A to the one in Figure 1D. Note in figure 2A the center-tap connections on the electronic transformer windings, a set of two switches instead of a set of four switches on the input side, the two diodes on the secondary instead of four, and the output filter inductor between the capacitor and load. The inverter transformer center-taps allow use of fewer switches and diodes. The inductors smooth out the current surges from the rectification thereby maintaining tighter output voltage regulation (less ripple voltage). The circuit in Figures 2A depicts a typical Push-Pull Forward Converter circuit. Be aware that the name for a Forward Converter circuit (and transformer) varies from industry to industry and from person to person. It may also be referred to as Buck, inverter, D.C. converter, feed forward, and others. There are also unipolar versions and there are bipolar versions that utilize saturable transformers to trigger transistor switching.

Butler Winding makes electronic transformers and inverter transformers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This includes; various standard types of core with bobbin structures (E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U and others), toroids, and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can (and have done) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link.

The Difference between Bipolar and Unipolar Applications

Since the connections of the electronic transformer "inverter" are alternated, the current direction through the electronic transformer will also alternate. Consequently the magnetic field polarity of the inverter transformers core will alternate between positive and negative flux directions. This is known as bipolar utilization of the inverter transformers core. This is graphically illustrated in Figure 2B. The B-H curve shown is also known as a hysteresis loop. The area inside the loop is related to the core loss. A thinner loop means less core loss. Also note the residual flux density point. In a Unipolar application the flux density, B, would never return to zero value. It would stop at Br when the current (hence also the magnetizing force, H) returns to zero. The applied voltage reversal (by switching action) ensures that the flux density returns to zero. Bipolar utilization permits use of a smaller core than unipolar utilization because it permits a larger change in the cores flux density. Fewer turns are needed to handle the same amount of power. Compare Figure 2B to Figures 3C, 4C, and 5C. Unipolar utilization occurs if the magnetic flux remains in one direction. The value may vary up and down but does not cross zero value. A unipolar application is illustrated in Figures 3A, 3B, and 3C. Some designers may refer to the transformer in Figure 3A as an inverter transformer, but it is not. It is serving as a pulse transformer with a resistive load. If we assume it to be an ideal transformer, then there is no core loss, no leakage inductance, does not store any energy, and the residual flux density is zero. Figure 3B shows the expected output if a rectangular voltage pulse is placed across the transformer (turn switch on, then off). The output will also be a rectangular pulse without any distortion. There will be a change in amplitude because of the transformers turns ratio. The ideal transformers lack of stored energy eliminates the possibility of an inductive kickback voltage spike. This circuit does not produce an A.C. output, hence no true inverter action.

A non-ideal electronic transformer has finite inductance hence it stores some inductive energy in its magnetic field. A lower inductance results in more stored energy. Consider the non-ideal gapped transformer in the circuit shown in Figure 4A. The gap lowers the inductance of the transformer; consequently more current can flow when the switch is closed (compared to no gap). When the switch is closed the transformer directly couples power to the load plus it stores energy in its magnetic field. The field is created by the magnetizing current. The current flow due to the load does not contribute to the stored energy. When the switch is opened the magnetic field collapses. The collapse creates an inductive kickback voltage of reversed polarity. The induced secondary voltage causes

current to flow through the load resistor in the reversed direction. (This is how a flyback transformer functions.) The load sees alternating current although it usually has an asymmetrical waveform. One could claim that the circuits and transformer have inverter action. The energy stored in the electronic transformers magnetic field is dissipated as heat produced by current flowing through the load resistor. Current of declining value will continue to flow until either all of the stored energy is dissipated or the switch is closed again. If completely dissipated, then the output shown in Figure 4B and the generalized hysteresis loop of Figure 4C apply. The transformer is said to be operating in discontinuous mode. The load voltage and load current reach zero value, and the cores flux density reaches its residual value. Note that the flux density averaged over time is greater than zero. This holds for all unipolar applications. If the switch is closed again before all the energy is dissipated, then the output shown in Figure 5B and the generalized hysteresis curve of Figure 5C applies. The transformer is said to be operating in the continuous mode. The load voltage and load current remain above zero value, and the flux density does not reach its residual value. The output waveform in Figure 5B is more rectangular than that of Figure 4B.

The circuits in Figures 4A and 5A are not very practical inverter transformer circuits. To be useful the transformer must store as much energy as it directly couples to its load. Consequently, the transformer will tend to be lightly loaded and designed to have appreciable magnetizing current. Output filters would be required to produce a more symmetrical output waveform. These circuits find little use as shown here. There are

D.C. biased unipolar applications, which function as inverters. They are not discussed here. Saturable Transformers as Inverter Transformers Figure 6A shows a Royer Inverter Circuit schematic that uses saturable transformers. The saturable transformer also functions as the inverter transformer. Figure 6B shows a Jensen Circuit which uses a saturable transformer and a power transformer. The power transformer functions as the inverter transformer. Both of these circuits make use of push-pull switching to achieve the inverter action. The feature of these two circuits is the transistor switching action that is activated by a voltage spike created when the saturable transformer enters saturation. An oscillation develops which maintains the necessary switching action. The theory of operation is not discussed here. It may be available on this website at some future date from the issue date of this website page. Check the available links.

Buck Boost Transformer - Push Pull Transformer


When it comes to power conversion, the buck boost or "push pull" transformer application is well known. The buck boost transformer configuration is widely used in converting direct current (D.C.) voltage into another value of D.C. voltage, and in inverters. Inverters convert direct current into alternating current (A.C.). The push pull transformer is usually the preferred choice in high power switching transformer applications exceeding one kilowatt. It is usually used in a circuit known as a "forward converter" circuit. Be aware that the name for the "forward converter" circuit varies from industry to industry and from person to person. It may also be referred to as an "inverter", "D.C. converter", "buck", "feed forward", and others. A basic "forward converter" transformer circuit is illustrated in Figure 1A. It is not a push pull transformer application. The output inductor reduces ripple voltage. Pulse width modulation is used to control the value of the output voltage

A center-tapped buck boost transformer application circuit is illustrated in Figure 2A. Figure 2A only shows one output. Multiple voltage outputs are possible by using either a tapped secondary winding or using multiple secondaries. Some other buck boost transformer versions are discussed further below. They are illustrated in Figures 3, 4, 5, and 6. (These include some push pull transformers without the center-taps.) The core of the transformer in Figure 1A is operated in a unipolar fashion. Unipolar operation is depicted graphically in Figure 1B. The core's magnetic "B-H" loop remains in one quadrant of the "B-H" grid. A loop occurs once every cycle. The flux density "B" and the magnetizing force "H" never cross zero hence always retain the same (or one) polarity. "H" does not have to return to zero value. The core in a push pull transformer has bipolar operation. Both "B" and "H" cross zero value and reverse polarity. Bipolar operation is depicted graphically in Figure 2B. Note that the "dB" value (change in B) in Figure 2B for the bipolar push pull transformer can be more than twice the "dB" value shown in Figure 1B for the unipolar forward converter (assuming the same core material). Push pull transformer (bipolar) operation permits one to handle the same amount of power in a smaller package than for that of a unipolar operation. There are tradeoffs. The buck boost transformer operation requires more switching elements and its control circuitry is more complicated. Consequently a push pull transformer application is more expensive. The voltage pulses must be adequately controlled to avoid phenomena known as saturation walk. Center tapped push pull transformers have winding capacitance issues at higher frequencies. Winding imbalances can contribute to saturation walk.

Power ratings for push pull or buck boost transformer can vary from a fraction of a Watt to Kilowatts. Megawatts is possible, but definitely beyond Butler Winding's capabilities. Size correlates with power hence size (and weight) can vary from a fraction of a cubic centimeter (several grams) to multiple cubic meters (thousands of kilograms). Buck boost transformers can be wound on toroids, bobbins, and tubes. Core materials vary depending on the application. Laminated or tape wound grain oriented silicon steel is common for low frequency inverter buck boost transformers. Ferrite core materials are common for high frequency switching push pull transformers. If minimal size is a requirement, nickeliron alloys may be chosen for the 1 to 20 kilohertz range. Minimal energy storage is desired so cores have minimal air gaps in their structure. Butler Winding manufactures buck boost transformers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This includes; various standard types of core with bobbin structures (E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U and others), toroids, and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can (and have done) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler Winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our

production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Winding's capabilities, click on our "capabilities" link.

Push Pull - Buck Boost Transformer Rectification The push pull / buck boost transformer in Figure 3 is the same as the push pull transformer in Figure 2A except for secondary rectification. Figure 2A achieves full wave rectification using a center-tap. It requires two diodes. Figure 3 achieves full wave rectification with a full wave bridge. It requires four diodes. Four diodes result in more power loss, but elimination of the center-tap simplifies transformer construction and reduces winding capacitance. The primary and secondary winding halves as shown in Figure 2A conduct current on alternate half cycles. Their maximum duty cycle is a 0.5 ratio (or 50%). Figure 3 requires approximately half of the secondary turns of Figure 2A, but its secondary winding may see a maximum duty cycle near 1 (or 100%), hence its wire must handle twice the r.m.s. current value. Both transformers are about the same size.

Half Bridge Push-Pull Transformers Compare figure 4 to figure 2A. Figure 4 is a half bridge push pull / buck boost transformer application. This configuration eliminates the primary center-tap and reduces primary winding capacitance. The two series connected capacitors shown in Figure 4 effectively cut the input voltage to the push pull transformer in half. Consequently, for the same power rating, the push pull / buck boost transformer requires one quarter of the total primary turns to support the halved voltage, but it must handle twice the amount of input current. The primary winding may see a maximum current duty cycle near 1, hence its wire may see 4 times the r.m.s current value as wire used in the primary winding halves of Figure 2A. Both transformers are about the same size. To achieve the same output voltage, the number of secondary turns is about the same as that of figure 2A, but the secondary over primary turns ratio is quadrupled because the primary turns of figure 4 are one quarter of that of figure 2A. The output of figure 4 is a full wave center-tap configuration. Alternately, it could be a full wave bridge configuration with approximately half the number of secondary turns.

Full Bridge Push Pull Transformers

Compare figure 5 to figure 4. Figure 5 is a full bridge push pull / buck boost transformer application. Like the half bridge configuration of figure 4, this configuration eliminates the primary center-tap, reduces primary winding capac-itance, & is about the same size. The two series connected capacitors are replaced by two additional transistors as shown in Figure 4. The voltage supplied to the input of the push pull transformer of figure 5 is the same as that for figure 2A. For the same power rating and source voltage, the push pull transformer of figure 5 requires half the primary turns as that of figure 2A and it must handle the same amount of input current. The primary winding of figure 5 may see a max current duty cycle near 1, hence its wire may see 2 times the r.m.s current value as wire used in the primary winding halves of Figure 2A. For the same output voltage, the number of secondary turns is about the same as that of figure 2A, but the secondary over primary turns ratio is doubled because the primary turns (fig. 5) are halved. The output of figure 5 is a full wave center-tap configuration. Alternately, it could be a full wave bridge configuration with approximately half the number of secondary turns.

The Boost Push Pull Transformer Application The prior push pull transformer applications utilize an inductor in the output circuit to reduce output voltage ripple. If there were more than one output, an inductor would be used with each output. An alternate would be to place one inductor in series with the primary center-tap of a push-pull center-tap transformer. This circuit is illustrated in Figure 6. To charge the inductor the two transistors are made to conduct at the same time. Charging current flow through both halves of the primary winding but in opposite directions resulting in magnetic cancellation of each other hence the transformer windings act as a short to ground. Opening one of the transistor switches results in current flow in only one of the primary winding halves. Alternate opening of the transistor switches results in a push-pull transformer action. Control circuitry is more complex.

Pulse Transformers
The magnetic flux in a typical A.C. transformer core alternates between positive and negative values. The magnetic flux in the typical pulse transformer does not. The typical pulse transformer operates in an unipolar mode ( flux density may meet but does not cross zero ). A fixed D.C. current could be used to create a biasing D.C. magnetic field in the transformer core, thereby forcing the field to cross over the zero line. Pulse transformers usually (not always) operate at high frequency necessitating use of low loss cores (usually ferrites). Figure 1A shows the electrical schematic for a pulse transformer. Figure 1B shows an equivalent high frequency circuit representation for a transformer which is applicable to pulse transformers. The circuit treats parasitic elements, leakage inductances and winding capacitance, as lumped circuit elements, but they are actually distributed elements. Pulse transformers can be divided into two major types, power and signal. An example of a power pulse transformer application would be precise control of a heating element from a fixed D.C. voltage source. The voltage may be stepped up or down as needed by the pulse transformers turns ratio. The power to the pulse transformer is turned on and off using a switch (or switching device) at an operating frequency and a pulse duration that delivers the required amount of power. Consequently, the temperature is also controlled. The transformer provides electrical isolation between the input and output. The transformers used in forward converter power supplies are essentially power type pulse transformers. There exists high-power pulse transformer designs that have exceeded 500 kilowatts of power capacity. The design of signal type of pulse transformer focuses on the delivery of a signal at the output. The transformer delivers a pulse-like signal or a series of pulses. The turns ratio of the pulse transformer can be used to adjust signal amplitude and provide impedance matching between the source and load. Pulse transformers are often used in the transmittal of digital data and in the gate drive circuitry of transistors, F.E.T.s, S.C.R.s, and etc. In the latter application, the pulse transformers may be referred to as gate

transformers or gate drive transformers. Signal type of pulse transformers handle relatively low levels of power. For digital data transmission, transformers are designed to minimized signal distortion. The transformers might be operated with a D.C. bias current. Many signal type pulse transformers are also categorized as wideband transformers. Signal type pulse transformers are frequently used in communication systems and digital networks. Pulse transformer designs vary widely in terms of power rating, inductance, voltage level (low to high), operating frequency, size, impedance, bandwidth (frequency response), packaging, winding capacitance, and other parameters. Designers try to minimize parasitic elements such as leakage inductance and winding capacitance by using winding configurations which optimize the coupling between the windings. Butler Winding can make (and has made) pulse transformers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This includes; various standard types of core with bobbin structures ( E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U and others ), toroids, and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can ( and have done ) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link.

PULSE TRANSFORMER OPERATING PRINCIPLES Pulse transformer designers usually seek to minimize voltage droop, rise time, and pulse distortion. Droop is the decline of the output pulse voltage over the duration of one pulse. It is cause by the magnetizing current increasing during the time duration of the pulse. To

understand how voltage droop and pulse distortion occurs, one needs to understand the magnetizing ( exciting, or no-load ) current effects, load current effects, and the effects of leakage inductance and winding capacitance. The designer also needs to avoid core saturation and therefore needs to understand the voltage-time product.

Magnetizing ( No-Load ) Current, its Effects, and Its Relation to Saturation Consider the simple pulse transformer circuit of Figure 2A and its equivalent circuit of Figure 2B. There is no source impedance, winding capacitances, or secondary leakage inductance to worry about. With both switches open, there cannot be any primary or secondary currents flowing. Now close the primary switch. Since the secondary load is not connected, the pulse transformers primary winding acts like an inductor placed across a voltage source. Primary current begins to flow. This is the magnetizing current ( no secondary current ) and is governed by the differential equation V(t) = L x d(I)/dt + Rp x I(t), with units of volts, henries, amps, and seconds. If the power supply has constant voltage, Rp = zero, & L = Lkp+Lm is constant, the differential equation can be solved for I(t), I(t) = Io + V x t / ( Lkp+Lm ), where Io = the initial current which equals zero. Notice that the current increases at a linear rate over time and that the rate in inversely proportional to the inductance. The current flows through Np turns creating Np x I(t) amount of magnetizing force ( amp-turns ) which in turns creates a magnetic flux density in the pulse transformer core. Eventually the increasing primary magnetizing current would exceed the magnetic flux capacity of the pulse transformer core and will saturate the core. Once saturation occurs the primary current rapidly increases towards infinity ( in theory ). In a real circuit the primary winding resistance ( and source impedance ) would limit the current. See Figure 3A for graphical illustration. For nonzero Rp, I(t) = Io + ( V/Rp ) x ( 1 e to the ( -Rp x t / ( Lkp + Lm )) power ). The effect of Rp is graphically illustrated in Figures 3B and 3C. Rp extends the time it takes for the unloaded transformer ( or an inductor ) to saturate. If Rp is sufficiently large, it prevents the transformer ( or inductor ) from saturating altogether. Regardless of saturation, Rp places an upper limit on the primary current value.

Voltage Droop For Rp = 0 the source voltage divides proportional across Lkp and Lm hence the voltage across Lm = V x Lm / ( Lm+Lkp ) = Vm. The induced secondary voltage becomes equal to Ns x Vm / Np. For Rp > zero a voltage drop occurs across Rp. The value of this drop increases in value as the primary current increases with time, hence Vm decrease over time and consequently the secondary voltage declines over time. Thus Rp and magnetizing current contribute to secondary voltage droop. Lkp does not contribute to the droop in the no-load case but does contribute to a lower secondary starting voltage for both the no load and under load cases. Droop is graphically illustrated in Figure 4B. Compare it against the ideal pulse shown in Figure 4A.

Voltage-time product

Pulse transformers, being typically unipolar (D.C.) applications, require the primary switch to be opened ( thereby removing the voltage source ) before saturation occurs, whereas A.C. applications reversed the applied voltage before saturation occurs. Unipolar applications require that sufficient time be allowed to pass to re-set the core before starting the next pulse. This time permits the magnetic field to collapse ( reset ). The field does not completely collapse to zero value ( unless forced to zero, or lower ) because of core material remanence. A slight air gap may be used to bring remanence closer to zero value. The gap lowers the pulse transformer inductance. The flux range between remanence and the maximum flux is referred to as dB, the maximum change in flux density during the pulse duration, dt. The dB of the typical pulse transformer is less than half for that of an A.C. application because flux in A.C. applications can go from positive Bmax to negative Bmax. Operating frequency and maximum expected temperature affect the choice of maximum usable flux density value, Bmax. Saturation can be avoided by applying the following equation; dB x Np x Ac x Sf = V x dt x 100000000, where dt is the maximum time duration of the pulse, Ac is the cores cross-sectional area and Sf is the core stacking factor ratio. Units are gausses, turns, square centimeters, volts and seconds. Be aware that dt does not include reset time, tr. Maximum operating frequency equals 1 / ( dt + tr ). The voltage-time product, V x dt is quite useful. The size and cost of a pulse transformer is roughly proportional to this product. Kickback Voltage In the foregoing discussion the primary switch was opened thereby interrupting the current flowing through the transformer primary. The resulting collapse in the magnetic field will induce a voltage reversal in the transformer windings. The more rapid the field collapse is, the higher the induced voltage. The transformer will try to dissipate the energy stored in its collapsing magnetic field. If the transformer was under load, the induced voltage would cause current to flow into the load. In the no-load case of this example, the transformer does not have any readily available place to dissipate the energy. The transformer will generate the voltage necessary to dissipate the stored energy, hence a high voltage kickback ( or flyback or backswing ) voltage will occur in the windings. In a real circuit the transformer will induce eddy currents in its core thereby dissipating the energy as core loss. In a real circuit the high voltages can damage the switching elements ( transistors, F.E.T.s, S.C.R.s, etc. ). Many designs include protective circuitry across the primary winding. Secondary Load Current Effects and Rise Time Consider again the simple pulse transformer circuit of Figure 2A and its equivalent circuit of Figure 2B. Initally, with both switches open, there cannot be any primary or secondary currents flowing. Close the secondary load switch and then close the primary switch. Current flows through the primary winding. The L x dI(t)/dt action induces a voltage in the primary winding which opposes the source voltage. A voltage, Vsi, is also induced in the secondary winding causing secondary current to flow. The ampere-turns created by the secondary current work against the induced voltage that opposes the source voltage. Consequently, the source voltage supplies more current flow through the

primary. Currents rapidly increase until either the secondary current or primary current encounters a current limitation. Examples of such limits are the secondary load and winding resistances limiting the secondary current or the source impedance and primary winding resistance and primary leakage inductance limiting the primary current. Once a limit is encountered, an equilibrium is quickly established except for the magnetizing current. The primary current has two components; Irs, the load current transformed ( reflected ) to the primary winding and Im, the magnetizing current. As in the no-load case, the magnetizing current starts at zero and increases over time. The pulse transformer must be switched off before saturation occurs. In this example the load is resistive, there is no secondary leakage inductance, and there is no secondary winding capacitance; hence a purely resistive load current is reflected to the primary winding. The primary current is larger than it was in the no-load case, hence more voltage drop is expected across the primary winding resistance. Consequently less voltage, Vm, is available across Lm which results in less induced voltage in the secondary winding. Secondary current flow through the secondary winding resistance causes another voltage drop hence lower transformer output voltage. Under load, both the primary and secondary winding resistance contribute to a lower secondary voltage. The secondary winding resistance does not contribute to pulse droop. The reflected load current, Irs, does not flow thorughthe mutual inductance, Lm, but doe flow through the primary leakage inductance, Lkp. Lkp restricts the flow of the primary current ( hence reflected load current also ). Consequently the reflected load current cannot immediately reach its full value ( nor can the secondary current ). It is effectively delayed. Until the reflected load current reaches its full value, a larger voltage drop will occur across Lkp then there was in the no-load case. This larger voltage diminishes in value over time. Consequently Vm exhibits a time delay in reaching peak voltage value. This delay is also seen in the secondary output voltage. This delay is known as rise time. Rise time is graphically illustrated in Figure 4B. Effects of Winding Capacitance, Secondary Leakage Inductance, and Core loss Now consider the equivalent pulse transformer circuit of Figure 5. The circuit has all the components of the circuit in Figure 2B, but also has primary winding capacitance, secondary winding capacitance, core loss, and secondary leakage inductance. Start with both switches open and no capacitive energy and no inductive energy. All currents are initially zero. Close the secondary switch then close the primary switch. The primary leakage inductance, Lkp, restricts the flow of primary current by opposing the source voltage. The opposing voltage is generated by Lkp x d(I)/dt action. Current flow ( from the source ) finds the uncharged winding capacitance, Cp to be a much easier path, hence a relatively large amount of current flows into the winding capacitance. This large amount of current could be called a surge current because it will diminish over time as the capacitance is charged. The surge causes a relatively large voltage drop across the primary winding resistance, Rp, thereby initially lowering the voltage available to Lkp and Lm. Over time, as the surge current diminishes, the voltage drop across Rp diminishes, and the voltage across Lkp and Lm reaches full ( peak ) value. The surge

effectively delays the peak voltage across Lm. This in turn delays peak secondary voltage. The delay contributes to rise time, hence Cp contributes to rise time. As discussed earlier, Lpk restricts flow of the reflected load current and consequently also contributes to rise

A time. similar consequence occurs with the secondary winding capacitance, Cs. Any current supplied by induced secondary voltage must charge Cs as the secondary voltage tries to rise to peak value. This delays the secondary in reaching peak voltage, hence Cs also contributes to rise time. Secondary leakage inductance, Lks, restricts secondary current flow just like Lkp restricted primary current flow. Lks also delays the secondary peak output voltage, hence it also contributes to rise time. Core loss resistance, Rc, provides a relatively small current shunt path across Lm just like the reflected secondary load current does. It has the same effect but the effect is much smaller. To summarize, Winding capacitances and leakage inductances act to increase rise time. ( They also generate trailing edges which is discussed later. ) They may also contribute to spurious oscillations. In a typical pulse transformer design, core loss does not have much effect. The Trailing Edge For an ideal pulse transformer, once the primary switch is opened the secondary pulse should immediately end. This does not happen. The pulse transformer tries to dissipate the energy stored in Lm and in the parasitic components Cp, Cs, Lkp, and Lks. The inductance will induce voltages as their magnetic fields collapse. The capacitor charge will drain, but will not drain instantaneously. The capacitances may temporarily supply current to the inductances. As a result, there is a sloped decline of the secondary output

voltage after the primary switch is opened. This sloped decline is referred to as the trailing edge. Some combinations of capactiance and inductance could produce spurious oscillations ( known as ringing ). A trailing edge is graphically illustrated in Figure 3B. Pulse Distortion Ideally the output pulse waveform should be identical in shape to the input pulse waveform except for a desired amplitude change due to the step-up or step-down turns ratio. Any other deviation is considered to be distortion. Rise time, droop, trailing edges, and spurious oscillations are all considered to be signal distortions. Figure 3B illustrates all of these distortions.

Electronic Transformer Transformers

Trigger

There are many types of eletronic transformers. What distinguishes a trigger transformer from other types of electronic transformers? Basically, it is application! As the word trigger implies, a trigger transformer is used in a circuit that initiates some sort of action or event. Once initiated, some applications may no longer require continued presence of a voltage to complete the action or event. Other applications may need the voltage but for a limited amount of time. Regardless, the application provides a voltage pulse to the trigger transformers primary. The trigger transformers turns ratio steps up or steps down the secondary voltage as needed. The trigger transformers secondary then supplies voltage or current to its load. The load is usually the gate of a semiconductor switch such as a transistor, F.E.T., S.C.R., etc.. The trigger transformer also provides voltage isolation between the primary side circuit and the secondary side circuit. Most circuit designers would refer to the trigger transformer as a type of pulse transformer. This website provides some explanation on pulse transformer operation. Click on the Electronic Transformers button and then select Pulse Transformer. One example of a trigger transformer application is the electronic flash in modern cameras. A basic circuit is shown in Figure 1. A charging circuit takes energy from a battery and charges two electrolytic capacitors ( approx. 300V ). The negative sides are both connected to ground. One capacitor is much larger than the other is. It is connected to the electrodes of a glass tube filled with xenon gas. This capacitor provides the energy needed to produce the flash, but lacks sufficient voltage to initiate the flash. The primary of the trigger transformer is attached to the positive side of the smaller capacitor through a switch. The trigger transformer secondary is connected to a metal plate(s) or grid(s) that partially surrounds the glass tube. The trigger transformer is designed to step up the voltage to high voltage levels. When the switch is closed the trigger transformer places high voltage across the plates. The high voltage ionizes the gas inside the tube. The gas becomes conductive. The large capacitor discharges through the gas thereby producing a

bright white flash. The capacitor rapidly discharges its energy and must be recharged to produce another flash. The switch between the trigger transformer and the smaller capacitor is opened. A small drain resistor is placed across the high voltage plates to discharge the voltage on the plates. In this example the trigger transformer aided the initiation ( or triggering ) of the flash by delivering a stepped up voltage pulse. Figure 1 shows the trigger transformer windings grounded together. With proper circuit design the trigger transformer could also provide voltage isolation. In the preceding example, the trigger transformer ( which is a pulse electronic transformer ) design does not saturate the core and usually employs unipolar core utilization. There are trigger transformer applications that use bipolar core utilization and/or intentionally saturates the core. Bipolar core utilization mean the magnetic flux alternates between positive and negative directions. Unipolar means the flux direction remains either positive or negative. Two examples of this are found in the Royer Inverter Circuit and the closely related Jensen Circuit. These are shown in Figure 2A and 2B. Operating theory will not be discussed in detail here but is briefly summarized; transformer saturation repeatedly occurs in alternating directions which in turn triggers ( switches ) the transistors on and off in alternating fashion, thereby creating an A.C. output voltage. The switching of the transistors forces the current direction to alternate which then forces the alternating direction of core saturation. For more information about saturable transformers click on the Electronic Transformers button, then select Saturable Transformers. Figure 3 is a unipolar application which shows how a trigger transformer can use core saturation can to shorten the time duration of a pulse. The trigger transformer usually has a high impedance load ( lightly loaded ) hence it acts much like a saturated inductor but with voltage step up or step down capability and voltage isolation. The primary winding of the trigger transformer has much higher impedance than the series resistor until saturation occurs. Before saturation most of the circuits voltage drop is across the trigger transformers primary. The trigger transformers turns ratio can adjust the secondary output voltage. There will be voltage droop. After saturation, most of the voltage drop is across the resistor, the secondary output voltage is substantially reduced, and the time duration of the output pulse has been reduced. The pulses time duration can be calculated from the transformers volt-second product. This website provides some explanation of the volt-second product. Click on the Electronic Transformers button and then select Pulse Transformer. Butler Winding can make ( and has made ) pulse and trigger transformers. There are a wide variety of shapes and sizes available. This includes; various standard types of core with bobbin structures ( E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U and others ), toroids, and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can ( and have done ) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum

impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link.

Gate Drive Transformers - Electronic Transformer


There are many types of transformers. What distinguishes a gate drive transformer from other types of transformers? Basically, it is application! Modern day electronic circuits utilize many gated semiconductor devices such as ordinary transistors, field effect transistors, and S.C.R.s and others. Gate drive transformers are used in some of these circuits. A signal must be supplied to ( or removed from ) the devices gate node to activate ( or deactivate ) the device. When used, gate drive transformers are located

within the circuitry driving the gate. Gate drive transformers are used to modify the voltage level to the gate, provide impedance matching, and to provide voltage isolation. Gate drive transformer may be used to deliver voltage to the grids or plates of a vacuum tube or flash tube. Some gate drive transformers simply deliver a voltage pulse or a series of voltage pulses to a semiconductor gate. A gate drive transformer functioning in this manner could also be called a pulse transformer. Most circuit designers would consider these gate drive transformers to be a type of pulse transformer. If the gate drive transformers pulse initiates some action or event, the gate drive transformer could be called a trigger transformer. Some applications require a close reproduction of the pulse. The gate transformer designer will seek to minimize winding capacitance and leakage inductance because these parasitic components distort the signal. This website includes information about trigger transformers and pulse transformers. The latter includes information on the theory of operation. Click on the available links if you want to view them. Some amplifying circuits use a gate drive transformer to deliver a signal to a semiconductor gate. Here the objective is to reproduce the signal, but with increased power and increased voltage or current. The gate transformer designer will seek to minimize winding capacitance and leakage inductance because these parasitic components distort the signal. In most amplifying circuits the signal is injected into a direct current biased transistor circuit, hence the gate transformer may have to tolerate a D.C. current bias. Even though these gate drive transformers drive a gate, circuit designers will usually refer to them as signal transformers. Gate drive transformers exist in a variety of shapes and sizes. There is also a wide variety of core materials available for use with different applications. If you need more information please contact Butler Winding and ask for Engineering. Butler Winding can make ( and has made ) gate drive transformers. There are a wide variety of shapes and sizes available. This includes; various standard types of core with bobbin structures ( E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U and others ), toroids, and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can ( and have done ) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines.

Current Transformers

What is the purpose of a current transformer? It measures alternating current flowing through a conductor. Since it is used to measure current, a current transformer is often classified as a type of instrument transformer. One could measure the voltage drop across a known resistor. This is okay for low current applications but is often impractical for high current applications. The resistor consumes a lot of power (lowering efficiency) unless the resistor is very low in value, in which case there may be very little voltage to measure. The resistor could be excessively large. The resistors heat may affect the resistor value, thereby reducing the accuracy of the measurement. A current transformer can accurately measure the alternating current and put out a reasonable voltage, which is proportional to the current, but without as much heat and size that an appropriate resistor would require. The current transformer can perform its function with very little insertion loss into the conductor current being measured. The current transformer also provides voltage isolation between the conductor and the measuring circuitry. Proper function of a current transformer requires use of a load resistor. The load resistor is often referred to as a burden resistor. The best core structure for a current transformer in terms of electrical performance is a toroidal coil. Many toroidal current transformers have only one winding. This winding is usually a high turns winding which functions as the secondary winding. In application, the toroidal current transformer is slipped over an end of a high current wire or buss bar, which conducts the primary current. Said wire or buss bar constitutes a one turn primary winding. Split core current transformers are designed so that they can be assembled around a buss bar without disconnecting the buss bar. "C"- cores and "U" core structures are commonly used for split-core current transformers because they are relatively easy to take apart and put back together around the buss bar. Historically, this has not been practical for toroidal coils, but there are now some flexible toroids, which permit the split-core feature of installing it around a buss bar. They have limited application. Some printed circuit board applications will utilize bobbin wound current transformers with two or more windings. One winding is an integral part of the circuitry, while the other winding acts the secondary. Butler Winding can make (and has made) current transformers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This includes toroids, U and C cores for split-core applications; various standard types of "core with bobbin" structures (E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, and others), and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can ( and have done ) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link. Current Transformer Theory of Operation.

In the typical current transformer application, the primary winding consists of one to a few turns of wire. The primary wire size is much larger than the secondary wire size. The number of secondary winding turns is a selected multiple of the primary turns. Figure 1 gives a circuit schematic of a current transformer application. The current transformer shown represents an ideal transformer. The ideal transformer has infinite no-load input impedance, 100% magnetic coupling between transformer windings ( hence no leakage inductance), zero winding resistance, zero core losses, and no capacitance. ( Capacitance, leakage inductance, winding resistance, and core losses are considered to be parasitic components. ) The output voltage is exactly proportional to the primary voltage times the turns' ratio. There is no regulation drop. There are no losses. Since there are no parasitic components the ideal current transformer is 100% accurate. The conservation of energy requires that the output power equals the input power, hence Vp x Ip must equal Vs x Is. Since Vs = Vp x Ns / Np, it can be shown that Is = Ip x Np / Ns. Is = Vs / RL, hence Ip = Ns x Vs / ( RL x Np ). With an ideal current transformer there is no phase shift ( except 180 degrees depending on the choice of output connections ). The ideal transformers secondary resistive load consumes power equal to Is x Is x RL. This same amount of power must be consumed at the primary terminals. The secondary load RL can be replaced ( commonly referred to as reflected ) with a resistor across the primary terminals, RLr. By applying the conservation of energy, one can show that RLr equals Np x Np x RL / (Ns x Ns), OR RLr equals RL times the turns ratio squared (where turns ratio = Np / Ns). If Np / Ns is small, then the RLr is very small. The primary voltage drop is Ip x RLr. A very small value for RLr means that the current transformer presents a low insertion loss to the primary current and a low primary voltage drop.

The reflected load impedance acts in parallel to the transformers own input impedance. The ideal current transformer has infinite input impedance. This infinite impedance would correlate to an infinite inductance inserted in series into the path of the primary conductor. Without the load (or burden) the current transformer acts like an inductor and would completely block the primary current flow. Any constant value of alternating current would, in theory, produce an infinite primary voltage drop. In reality the current transformers input inductance (hence also impedance) cannot be infinity. The current

transformer has an inductance value which acts in parallel to the reflected load. The core has losses that can be represented as a resistor in parallel with the reflected load and the transformers self-inductance (no load inductance). Without the load resistor the inductance and core loss will place an upper limit on the primary voltage, but this voltage could still be substantial. Core saturation is also a possibility. A turns ratio step-up would result in even higher secondary voltage. Any circuitry beyond the secondary load resistor could be subjected to high voltage, possibly resulting in circuit damage. Because of this potential high voltage, the load resistor should never be removed from the secondary when the current transformer is being powered. Figure 2A shows an equivalent circuit schematic for a current transformer with load RL. The ideal (induced) secondary voltage is now denoted as Vsi and Vs now denotes the voltage at the secondary terminals. Notice that the schematic contains the ideal current transformer and load as before plus transformer mutual inductance Lm, secondary winding resistance Rs, core loss resistor Rc, secondary leakage inductance Lks, and primary leakage inductance Lkp. Just like for the load resistor, the other secondary circuit components can be reflected to the primary side of the transformer. This is illustrated in Figure 2C. The parasitic components, Rs, Lkp, and Lks, all act to lower the output voltage across RL, hence the output voltage, Vout, will not equal the induced secondary voltage Vsi. Rs and Lks act in series with RL and are reflected to the primary side along with Rs. Their presence presents added impedance to the primary current hence an increase in primary voltage in proportion to the impedance. Consequently, RL still has the same voltage drop and current flow as it did without Lks and Rs even though Vs does not equal Vout. The phase shift associated with Lks will cause some slight deviation from the ideal current ratio (which equals the turns ratio). The current transformers self (no-load) inductance Lm and the core loss Rc shunt current away from the reflected load and reflected parasitic components. Their impedances act in parallel to the reflected impedances, consequently lowering the impedance seen by the primary current and the resulting primary voltage. Less primary voltage means less output voltage and less secondary current. Consequently Lm and Rc also cause deviation from the ideal current ratio. As long as Rc, Lm, Lkp, Lks, and Rs are constant in value, The actual current ratio will be some fixed ratio times the ideal (or desired) current ratio. One can compensate for the deviation from the desired current ratio by appropriate choice of secondary turns. The number of turns will be a little lower than that for the associated ideal turns ratio. For constant values accuracy could be 100% except for any turn resolution limitations (full turns versus fractional turns). Accuracy concerns arise from non-constant values for Rc, Lm, and to a lesser degree from Lkp and Lks. These values usually vary with core induction levels; hence they vary over the range of primary current being measured. (Air core transformers are stable but magnetic coupling is relatively poor hence relatively large leakage inductances.) Since Rc and Lm impedances act in parallel to the reflected load, higher Rc and Lm values have a

smaller effect and consequently increase accuracy. Cores materials with high permeability and low core loss are preferred for high accuracy applications. At higher frequencies winding capacitance becomes a concern. Figure 3 gives an equivalent circuit schematic, which includes winding capacitance. Leakage inductance and winding capacitance are actually distributed components, but are shown as lumped approximate equivalent components. Like Lm, winding capacitances shunt current around the reflected load. The inductances and capacitances can interact and consequently may produce spurious oscillations. It is also possible to develop parallel resonance. High frequency coil designs seek to minimize winding capacitances. If you need assistance with your current transformer design, please contact Butler Winding and ask for Engineering.

Toroidal Current Transformers


Like other types of current transformers, the toroidal current transformer measures alternating current flowing through a conductor. Since they are used to measure current, current transformers are often classified as a type of instrument transformer. One way of distinguishing types of current transformers is by the type of cores used in their construction. The term toroidal refers to the shape of the core that the winding of a toroidal current transformer is wound on. The core is circular. Its cross-section may be rectangular or round. The round cross-section gives better electrical performance. The cores are often called ring cores. In contrast, the term split-core in split-core current transformers is used because the transformer core is split into two pieces which allow it to be assembled and disassembled around a buss bar without disconnecting either end of the buss bar. It is possible to make a split-core toroidal current transformer. Historically, it has been impractical to do so, but there are now some flexible toroids, which permit the split-core feature of installing it around a buss bar. They have limited application. Toroidal current transformers give better electrical performance than other types of current transformers. Their shape minimizes the magnetic path length, minimizes the winding turn length, produces less stray magnetic flux, and optimizes magnetic coupling, and minimizes leakage inductance. The toroidal current transformer is the most common way to measuring large amounts of alternating (or even pulsing) current. It is preferred over the measurement of the voltage drop across a known resistor and over split-core transformers. The resistor is usually impractical for high current applications. The toroidal current transformer can accurately measure the alternating current and put out a reasonable voltage, which is proportional to the current. The toroidal current transformer does so with very little insertion loss, while

an appropriate resistor would produce lots of heat and consequently produce considerable insertion loss. Like other current transformers, the toroidal current transformer also provides voltage isolation between the conductor and the measuring circuitry. Measurement over a resistor does not. Proper function of the toroidal current transformer requires use of a load resistor. The load resistor is often referred to as a burden resistor. Presence of the load resistor enables a current transformer to perform its function with little insertion loss. Without the load resistor the core could saturate and no longer have the desired current ratio, or the no-load inductance could limit primary current flow. Core materials with high permeability and low core losses give better electrical performance. Further explanation and theory about the operation of current transformers is given further below. Current transformers, including the toroidal current transformer, may have multiple windings. The typical toroidal current transformers have only one winding. This winding is usually a high turns winding which functions as the secondary winding. In application, the toroidal current transformer is slipped over an end of a high current wire or buss bar, which conducts the primary current. Said wire or buss bar constitutes a one turn primary winding. Butler Winding can make (and has made) toroidal current transformers in a wide variety of sizes and in a variety of core materials. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and some limited perfect layering. Butler Winding can (and has done) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of toroid winding machines. That includes toroid-taping machines. Butler winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link. Current Transformer Design Specifications The designer must either determine or be supplied with the information needed to design the current transformer. The needed information is listed below along with a brief description if needed. Add any additional items required by your particular application. Describe Primary Current State maximum current value and type of measurement (r.m.s. average, peak, etc.), Give type of waveform (sine wave, square wave, triangular, etc.). State either continuous current or describe the applicable duty cycle. Give Number of Primary Turns This is the number of times the primary conductor (buss bar) passes through the core window.

The Desired Current Ratio This is simply the desired secondary current value (at a specified value of primary current) divided by the primary current value that generates said value of secondary current. Alternatively, a turns ratio could be specified. but dont expect the current ratio to exactly equal the turns ratio. Define the Output Burden ( Load Resistor ) Specify the value and type of the intended secondary load. The type of load is usually resistive ( a resistor ), but could be inductive or capacitive ( which complicates things ). Alternatively, the desired output voltage per unit of primary current can be specified. The value of the load resistor can then be calculated. Required Accuracy This is usually expressed as either a maximum percentage or maximum absolute change over the entire primary current range. It includes both measurement tolerances and variations over the operating range(s). It may be expressed over a portion of the operating range or at specific operating points. Minimum Inside Window Dimensions This is the primary conductor ( buss bar ) dimensions plus any additional distance needed to clear any obstacles encountered during installation of the current transformer.. Dimensional Constraints Overall width, length, thickness.

Termination Describe how you want the secondary terminated. Some possible examples are: terminal block, lead wires ( with or without terminal lugs), or header ( with p.c.b. pins or pads ). If leads, what length, insulation type, voltage rating, etc.. Mounting - Describe how you expect it to be mounted. Will it be supported by the primary conductor ( hang on the buss bar ), or will the current transformer support the primary conductor. Voltage Isolation Requirements In many applications, the current transformers secondary winding rests on the primary conductor ( buss bar ), hence it must be adequately insulated according the expected conductor voltage potential and/or the required equipment voltage classification for the intended application. Corona Requirements, if applicable Give test criteria: maximum test voltage, minimum voltage ramping time, minimum voltage inception value, minimum voltage extinguish value. Maximum Temperatures Specify the maximum ambient temperature and the maximum expected temperature of the primary ( buss bar ) conductor. If applicable, state the maximum allowed temperature rise. Application Standards -- Application standards may exclude use of some materials and require use of some materials . Some examples of such standards are minimum

temperature ratings ( regardless if actual is less ), flame retardancy, vibration, outgassing, and required labeling. Environmental Restrictions Examples are: poor cooling due to confined space, corrosive environment, water spray, ultra-violet light, and vibration.

Current Transformer Theory of Operation. In the typical current transformer application, the primary winding consists of one to a few turns of wire. The primary wire size is much larger than the secondary wire size. The number of secondary winding turns is a selected multiple of the primary turns. Figure 1 gives a circuit schematic of a current transformer application. The current transformer shown represents an ideal transformer. The ideal transformer has infinite no-load input impedance, 100% magnetic coupling between transformer windings ( hence no leakage inductance), zero winding resistance, zero core losses, and no capacitance. ( Capacitance, leakage inductance, winding resistance, and core losses are considered to be parasitic components. ) The output voltage is exactly proportional to the primary voltage times the turns' ratio. There is no regulation drop. There are no losses. Since there are no parasitic components the ideal current transformer is 100% accurate. The conservation of energy requires that the output power equals the input power, hence Vp x Ip must equal Vs x Is. Since Vs = Vp x Ns / Np, it can be shown that Is = Ip x Np / Ns. Is = Vs / RL, hence Ip = Ns x Vs / ( RL x Np ). With an ideal current transformer there is no phase shift ( except 180 degrees depending on the choice of output connections ). The ideal transformers secondary resistive load consumes power equal to Is x Is x RL. This same amount of power must be consumed at the primary terminals. The secondary load RL can be replaced ( commonly referred to as reflected ) with a resistor across the primary terminals, RLr. By applying the conservation of energy, one can show that RLr equals Np x Np x RL / ( Ns x Ns ), OR RLr equals RL times the turns ratio squared ( where turns ratio = Np / Ns ). If Np / Ns is small, then the RLr is very small. The primary voltage drop is Ip x RLr. A very small value for RLr means that the current transformer presents a low insertion loss to the primary current and a low primary voltage drop.

The reflected load impedance acts in parallel to the transformers own input impedance. The ideal current transformer has infinite input impedance. This infinite impedance would correlate to an infinite inductance inserted in series into the path of the primary conductor. Without the load (or burden) the current transformer acts like an inductor and would completely block the primary current flow. Any constant value of alternating current would, in theory, produce an infinite primary voltage drop. In reality the current transformers input inductance (hence also impedance) cannot be infinity. The current transformer has an inductance value which acts in parallel to the reflected load. The core has losses, which can be represented as a resistor in parallel with the reflected load and the transformers self-inductance (no load inductance). Without the load resistor the inductance and core loss will place an upper limit on the primary voltage, but this voltage could still be substantial. Core saturation is also a possibility. A turns ratio step-up would result in even higher secondary voltage. Any circuitry beyond the secondary load resistor could be subjected to high voltage, possibly resulting in circuit damage. Because of this potential high voltage, the load resistor should never be removed from the secondary when the current transformer is being powered. Figure 2A shows an equivalent circuit schematic for a current transformer with load RL. The ideal (induced) secondary voltage is now denoted as Vsi and Vs now denotes the voltage at the secondary terminals. Notice that the schematic contains the ideal current transformer and load as before plus transformer mutual inductance Lm, secondary winding resistance Rs, core loss resistor Rc, secondary leakage inductance Lks, and primary leakage inductance Lkp. Just like for the load resistor, the other secondary circuit components can be reflected to the primary side of the transformer. This is illustrated in Figure 2C. The parasitic components, Rs, Lkp, and Lks, all act to lower the output voltage across RL, hence the output voltage, Vout, will not equal the induced secondary voltage Vsi. Rs and Lks act in series with RL and are reflected to the primary side along with Rs. Their presence presents added impedance to the primary current hence an increase in primary voltage in proportion to the impedance. Consequently, RL still has the same voltage drop and current flow as it did without Lks and Rs even though Vs does not equal Vout. The

phase shift associated with Lks will cause some slight deviation from the ideal current ratio (which equals the turns ratio). The current transformers self (no-load) inductance Lm and the core loss Rc shunt current away from the reflected load and reflected parasitic components. Their impedances act in parallel to the reflected impedances, consequently lowering the impedance seen by the primary current and the resulting primary voltage. Less primary voltage means less output voltage and less secondary current. Consequently Lm and Rc also cause deviation from the ideal current ratio. As long as Rc, Lm, Lkp, Lks, and Rs are constant in value, The actual current ratio will be some fixed ratio times the ideal (or desired) current ratio. One can compensate for the deviation from the desired current ratio by appropriate choice of secondary turns. The number of turns will be a little lower than that for the associated ideal turns ratio. For constant values accuracy could be 100% except for any turn resolution limitations (full turns versus fractional turns). Accuracy concerns arise from non-constant values for Rc, Lm, and to a lesser degree from Lkp and Lks. These values usually vary with core induction levels; hence they vary over the range of primary current being measured. (Air core transformers are stable but magnetic coupling is relatively poor hence relatively large leakage inductances.) Since Rc and Lm impedances act in parallel to the reflected load, higher Rc and Lm values have a smaller effect and consequently increase accuracy. Cores materials with high permeability and low core loss are preferred for high accuracy applications. At higher frequencies winding capacitance becomes a concern. Figure 3 gives an equivalent circuit schematic, which includes winding capacitance. Leakage inductance and winding capacitance are actually distributed components, but are shown as lumped approximate equivalent components. Like Lm, winding capacitances shunt current around the reflected load. The inductances and capacitances can interact and consequently may produce spurious oscillations. It is also possible to develop parallel resonance. High frequency coil designs seek to minimize winding capacitances. If you need assistance with your current transformer design, please contact Butler Winding and ask for Engineering.

Split Core Current Transformers


What is a split-core current transformer? More specifically how does a split-core current transformer differ from the typical current transformer? Just like the typical current transformer, the split-core current transformer measures alternating current flowing through a conductor. The distinguishing feature of the split core current transformers is that their design permits them to be assembled around a buss bar without disconnecting the buss bar. The typical current transformer is usually a toroidal coil, which is slipped over the end of a buss bar, hence requires disconnecting the buss bar. "C" - cores and "U" core structures are commonly used for split-core current transformers because they are relatively easy to take apart and put back together around the buss bar. Some sort of

bracketry or band clamps and holds the assembled pieces of the split-core current transformer together. Historically, this has not been as practical ( but is possible ) for toroidal coils. The bracketry is more complicated. Typically, the coil(s) must be sector wound on the toroid before cutting the core in half, whereas the U and C core structure of the typical split-core current transformer permit use of bobbin wound coils which can be wound independently of the core. There are now some flexible toroids, which permit the split-core feature of installing it around a buss bar. The electrical performance of split-core current transformers is not as good as that of the continuous toroidal coil. The circle like ( or ring like ) shape of the toroid usually offers a shorter magnetic path length than other cores. Since the toroids are continuous, they do not add any air gap to the core structure. Split-core current transformers ( including toroidal split- cores ) add some air gap to the core structure. Consequently, the split-core current transformers will draw more magnetizing ( exciting ) current than a continuous toroidal current transformer made of the same core material ( assuming comparable size and/or weight. ). The toroidal shape provides better magnetic coupling and less leakage inductance than the C and U core structures commonly used in splitcore current transformers. Split-core current transformers for lower frequency applications ( power frequencies ) typically use grain oriented silicon steel or nickel alloys for the core material. There are some more exotic materials available. The material is cut into strips and then wound on an arbor ( mandrel ) to form a core. The core is then cut in half. These are known as tape-wound cores because their construction resembles a roll of tape. Strip thickness varies from 0.025 down to 0.0005. The thinner strips have less core loss at higher frequencies hence they are used in higher frequency applications up to about 10 kilohertz. High accuracy current transformers require low core losses hence they either utilize the thinner strip thickness, the lower core loss materials such as the nickel alloys, or both. Ferrite materials are usually used for very high frequency designs, up to several megahertz. Some very specialized applications may require a core-less ( air-core ) coil. Some theory of current transformer operation is given further below Butler Winding can make ( and has made ) split-core current transformers in a variety of shapes and sizes. The "U" and "C" cores structures are the most typical, but Butler Winding is capable of producing a variety of other custom designs. Butler Winding already works with various standard types of "core with bobbin" structures ( E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, and others ), and does some custom bobbin wound designs. Usually, we can readily adapt our bobbin winding equipment to wind the split-core current transformer coils you need. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can ( and have done ) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on

these machines. For more information on Butler Winding's capabilities, click on our "capabilities" link. Current Transformer Design Specifications The designer must either determine or be supplied with the information needed to design the current transformer. The needed information is listed below along with a brief description if needed. Add any additional items required by your particular application. Describe Primary Current State maximum current value and type of measurement ( r.m.s., average, peak, etc. ), Give type of waveform ( sine wave, square wave, triangular, etc. ). State either continuous current or describe the applicable duty cycle. Give Number of Primary Turns This is the number of times the primary conductor ( buss bar ) passes through the core window. The Desired Current Ratio This is simply the desired secondary current value ( at a specified value of primary current ) divided by the primary current value that generates said value of secondary current. Alternatively, a turns ratio could be specified. but dont expect the current ratio to exactly equal the turns ratio. Define the Output Burden ( Load Resistor ) Specify the value and type of the intended secondary load. The type of load is usually resistive ( a resistor ), but could be inductive or capacitive ( which complicates things ). Alternatively, the desired output voltage per unit of primary current can be specified. The value of the load resistor can then be calculated. Required Accuracy This is usually expressed as either a maximum percentage or maximum absolute change over the entire primary current range. It includes both measurement tolerances and variations over the operating range(s). It may be expressed over a portion of the operating range or at specific operating points. Minimum Inside Window Dimensions This is the primary conductor ( buss bar ) dimensions plus any additional distance needed to clear any obstacles encountered during installation of the current transformer.. Dimensional Constraints Overall width, length, thickness. Termination Describe how you want the secondary terminated. Some possible examples are: terminal block, lead wires ( with or without terminal lugs), or header ( with p.c.b. pins or pads ). If leads, what length, insulation type, voltage rating, etc.. Mounting -- Describe how you expect it to be mounted. Will it be supported by the primary conductor ( hang on the buss bar ), or will the current transformer support the primary conductor.

Voltage Isolation Requirements In many applications, the current transformers secondary winding rests on the primary conductor ( buss bar ), hence it must be adequately insulated according the expected conductor voltage potential and/or the required equipment voltage classification for the intended application. Corona Requirements, if applicable Give test criteria: maximum test voltage, minimum voltage ramping time, minimum voltage inception value, minimum voltage extinguish value. Maximum Temperatures Specify the maximum ambient temperature and the maximum expected temperature of the primary ( buss bar ) conductor. If applicable, state the maximum allowed temperature rise. Application Standards -- Application standards may exclude use of some materials and require use of some materials . Some examples of such standards are minimum temperature ratings ( regardless if actual is less ), flame retardancy, vibration, outgassing, and required labeling. Environmental Restrictions Examples are: poor cooling due to confined space, corrosive environment, water spray, ultra-violet light, and vibration. Current Transformer Theory of Operation. In the typical current transformer application, the primary winding consists of one to a few turns of wire. The primary wire size is much larger than the secondary wire size. The number of secondary winding turns is a selected multiple of the primary turns. Figure 1 gives a circuit schematic of a current transformer application. The current transformer shown represents an ideal transformer. The ideal transformer has infinite no-load input impedance, 100% magnetic coupling between transformer windings ( hence no leakage inductance), zero winding resistance, zero core losses, and no capacitance. ( Capacitance, leakage inductance, winding resistance, and core losses are considered to be parasitic components. ) The output voltage is exactly proportional to the primary voltage times the turns' ratio. There is no regulation drop. There are no losses. Since there are no parasitic components the ideal current transformer is 100% accurate. The conservation of energy requires that the output power equals the input power, hence Vp x Ip must equal Vs x Is. Since Vs = Vp x Ns / Np, it can be shown that Is = Ip x Np / Ns. Is = Vs / RL, hence Ip = Ns x Vs / ( RL x Np ). With an ideal current transformer there is no phase shift ( except 180 degrees depending on the choice of output connections ). The ideal transformers secondary resistive load consumes power equal to Is x Is x RL. This same amount of power must be consumed at the primary terminals. The secondary load RL can be replaced ( commonly referred to as reflected ) with a resistor across the primary terminals, RLr. By applying the conservation of energy, one can show that RLr equals Np x Np x RL / ( Ns x Ns ), OR RLr equals RL times the turns ratio squared ( where turns ratio = Np / Ns ). If Np / Ns is small, then the RLr is very small. The primary

voltage drop is Ip x RLr. A very small value for RLr means that the current transformer presents a low insertion loss to the primary current and a low primary voltage drop.

The reflected load impedance acts in parallel to the transformers own input impedance. The ideal current transformer has infinite input impedance. This infinite impedance would correlate to an infinite inductance inserted in series into the path of the primary conductor. Without the load ( or burden ) the current transformer acts like an inductor and would completely block the primary current flow. Any constant value of alternating current would, in theory, produce an infinite primary voltage drop. In reality the current transformers input inductance ( hence also impedance ) cannot be infinity. The current transformer has an inductance value which acts in parallel to the reflected load. The core has losses which can be represented as a resistor in parallel with the reflected load and the transformers self inductance ( no load inductance ). Without the load resistor the inductance and core loss will place an upper limit on the primary voltage, but this voltage could still be substantial. Core saturation is also a possibility. A turns ratio step-up would result in even higher secondary voltage. Any circuitry beyond the secondary load resistor could be subjected to high voltage, possibly resulting in circuit damage. Because of this potential high voltage, the load resistor should never be removed from the secondary when the current transformer is being powered. Figure 2A shows an equivalent circuit schematic for a current transformer with load RL. The ideal ( induced ) secondary voltage is now denoted as Vsi and Vs now denotes the voltage at the secondary terminals. Notice that the schematic contains the ideal current transformer and load as before plus transformer mutual inductance Lm, secondary winding resistance Rs, core loss resistor Rc, secondary leakage inductance Lks, and primary leakage inductance Lkp. Just like for the load resistor, the other secondary circuit components can be reflected to the primary side of the transformer. This is illustrated in Figure 2C. The parasitic components, Rs, Lkp, and Lks, all act to lower the output voltage across RL, hence the output voltage, Vout, will not equal the induced secondary voltage Vsi. Rs and Lks act in series with RL and are reflected to the primary side along with Rs. Their

presence presents added impedance to the primary current hence an increase in primary voltage in proportion to the impedance. Consequently, RL still has the same voltage drop and current flow as it did without Lks and Rs even though Vs does not equal Vout. The phase shift associated with Lks will cause some slight deviation from the ideal current ratio ( equals the turns ratio ). The current transformers self ( no-load ) inductance Lm and the core loss Rc shunt current away from the reflected load and reflected parasitic components. Their impedances act in parallel to the reflected impedances, consequently lowering the impedance seen by the primary current and the resulting primary voltage. Less primary voltage means less output voltage and less secondary current. Consequently Lm and Rc also cause deviation from the ideal current ratio. As long as Rc, Lm, Lkp, Lks, and Rs are constant in value, The actual current ratio will be some fixed ratio times the ideal ( or desired ) current ratio. One can compensate for the deviation from the desired current ratio by appropriate choice of secondary turns. The number of turns will be a little lower than that for the associated ideal turns ratio. For constant values accuracy could be 100% except for any turn resolution limitations ( full turns versus fractional turns ). Accuracy concerns arise from non-constant values for Rc, Lm, and to a lesser degree from Lkp and Lks. These values usually vary with core induction levels, hence they vary over the range of primary current being measured. ( Air core transformers are stable but magnetic coupling is relatively poor hence relatively large leakage inductances. ) Since Rc and Lm impedances act in parallel to the reflected load, higher Rc and Lm values have a smaller effect and consequently increase accuracy. Cores materials with high permeability and low core loss are preferred for high accuracy applications. At higher frequencies winding capacitance becomes a concern. Figure 3 gives an equivalent circuit schematic, which includes winding capacitance. Leakage inductance and winding capacitance are actually distributed components, but are shown as lumped approximate equivalent components. Like Lm, winding capacitances shunt current around the reflected load. The inductances and capacitances can interact and consequently may produce spurious oscillations. it is also possible to develop parallel resonance. High frequency coil designs seek to minimize winding capacitances. If you need assistance with your current transformer design, please contact Butler Winding and ask for Engineering.

Surface Mount Electronic Transformer


Transformers (and inductors) can be classified in several ways: by power rating, by type of application, by type of construction, by industry, and others. Surface mount electronic transformers refer to a type of construction that permits attachment of surface mount transformers to a printed circuit board (PCB). Historically, transformers and other circuit devices have been mounted on PCBs using pin-thru technology. Transformer wires are terminated to pin type terminals. Holes are drilled in the PCBs copper circuitry to accommodate the transformer pins. The transformer pins are inserted through these holes and then soldered to the copper circuitry. Engineers have developed solder pastes, adhesives, and assembly processes that permit attaching transformer terminals to PCBs

without using holes. Flat areas (known as pads) on the transformer terminals are soldered directly to copper circuitry surfaces hence the term surface mount transformer. This process eliminates the need to drill holes for the pins, thereby reducing the cost to manufacture a PCB. Surface mount electronic transformers (and inductors) are usually wound on surface mount bobbins, but are also available as toroidal coils. The toroidal coil is mounted on a header equipped with surface mount terminals. The bobbins (or headers), used with surface mount transformers, come in a variety of materials: plastics, phenolic, glass, Teflon and others. Most of these are molded. Some are fabricated. Some bobbins and headers are self leading. The winding wire is also used to form the surface mount terminal by looping the wire under a pre-formed flat edge thereby forming a reasonably flat terminal area. Surface mount electronic transformers (and inductors) are available in a variety of shapes. Surface mount electronic transformers shapes include pot cores (round), RM (square pot cores), EP, E, EI, EEM, EFD, U, UI, ER, and some others including custom shapes. Surface mount transformers in these shapes are usually only available in the smaller sizes. Designers are adapting more shapes and larger sizes to surface mount transformer applications. Designers have mechanical concerns about the larger sizes. The weight of the larger sizes may exceed the weight that soldered surface mount pads can safely handle under vibration. Over time, designers hope to develop surface mount transformers (and inductors) in larger sizes. Like other electronic transformers, surface mount electronic transformers (and inductors) can use a variety of core materials: laminated or taped wound silicon steel alloys, nickeliron alloys, cobalt alloys; powdered irons and nickels; ferrite; air core; and/or core materials processed for square loop or round loop properties; and others. Butler Winding can make (and has made) surface mount electronic transformers (and inductors) in a wide variety of materials and sizes. Butler Winding can also do a variety of custom transformers. Butler Windings upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can (and have done) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler Winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link.

Electronic Transformers | Bobbin Wound

Electronic transformers can be classified in several ways: by power rating, by type of application, by type of construction, by industry, and others. Bobbin wound electronic transformers refers to a type (or method) of construction. Toroidal coils are wound directly onto a toroidal core. The core may be coated or boxed to insulate it form the coil windings. In contrast, bobbin wound electronic transformer coils are wound independently of the core. The coil must hold its shape (or form) until the coil is assembled onto the transformer core. One common method of doing this is to wind the coil onto a bobbin (also referred to as a spool), hence the term bobbin wound transformer. The bobbin is a pre-formed reasonably rigid part. The bobbin material is usually (but not always) an insulating material, hence it can provide electrical isolation between the coil and the adjoining core material provided suitable creepage distance is used. Multi-section bobbins are available to provide increased electrical isolation between coil windings. Bobbin wound electronic transformers are used in a variety of applications, hence bobbins are made from a variety of materials: plastics, phenolic, glass, Teflon and others. Most bobbins are molded. Some are fabricated. Bobbin designs for bobbin wound transformers often provide terminals, pins, and/or surface mount pads to ease wire termination and to facilitate printed circuit board mounting. Bobbin wound transformers (and inductors) are available in a variety of shapes. Bobbin wound transformers shapes include pot cores (round), RM (square pot cores), RS (round slab pot cores) and DS (double slab pot cores), EP, PQ, E, EI, EEM, EFD, U, UI, EC, ETD, ER, EER, and some others including custom shapes. Bobbin wound transformers in these shapes are available in several different sizes. Bobbin wound electronic transformers (and inductors) can also use a variety of core materials: laminated or taped wound silicon steel alloys, nickel-iron alloys, cobalt alloys; powdered irons and nickels; ferrite; air core; core materials processed for square loop or round loop properties; and others. Butler Winding can make (and has made) bobbin wound transformers (and inductors) in a wide variety of materials and sizes with pin-thru, surface mount, and/or flying leads terminations. Butler Winding also does tube wound transformers (and inductors) and air core coils. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can (and have done) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler Winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link.

Mag-Amp Magnetic Amplifiers


Magnetic amplifiers, also called mag amps for short, provide an electro-magnetic method of amplification. Mag amps were quite common prior to the development of solid state transistors. As advances in semiconductor technology progressed, magnetic amplifiers because a relatively expensive component. Consequently the use of mag amps declined. A properly made mag amp is highly reliable, hence they are still used in some applications with demand the reliability performance criteria that a mag amp can meet. Another feature of mag amps is the high isolation voltages that can be achieved between windings with proper design. Mag amps may still be preferred over semiconductor devices in safety critical applications. A typical simple mag amp contains two identical coils, each having identical high permeability square loop magnetic cores and each wound with an identical winding not shared with the other coil. An alternating voltage source is connected to one end of these windings and a load is connected to the other end. The windings are either connected in series or in parallel such that the cores magnetic flux generated by the alternating voltage are out of phase (in opposite directions). Alternating current (A.C.) will flow through these windings. Either a shared second winding is wound on both coils or each coil is wound with a second identical winding. In the latter case the windings are series connected such that a direct current (D.C.) flowing through these windings generate magnetic flux in the cores, which are in phase (in the same direction). These windings are connected to a variable D.C. current source (which might consist of series connected D.C. voltage source and a variable resistor). The D.C. winding(s) is (are) referred to as the control winding(s). Schematic representations of two typical mag amps are given in Figures 1 and 2 further below. The mag amps shown may also be referred to in literature as a type of saturable reactor. A mag amp may also be referred to in literature as a type of transductor.

Air gaps within a mag amps core structure are detrimental to mag amp performance. Proper mag amp performance requires nearly identical symmetry in core flux excursions; hence leakage flux should be minimized. Toroidal cores have essentially zero air gaps and the toroidal geometry maximizes magnetic coupling and minimizes leakage flux. Consequently, toroids are the core shape of choice. Other variations of mag amps exist, including a single core version that has three core legs. The middle leg has a D.C. control winding. The outer legs have identical A.C. windings. In theory D.C. flux generated in the center leg divides equally and flows through both outer legs. The A.C. windings are connected such that their phases do not permit any A.C. flux flow through the center leg (in theory). There are practical difficulties (in the form of magnetic tolerances) with this type of mag amp design. More advanced mag amp circuits use rectifying elements to isolate the load from the mag amp during core reset. Core reset refers to the volt-second transition from saturation flux (top

flat portion of the B-H loop) to the flux value at the opposite side of the B-H loop (bottom flat portion of the loop). Butler winding can make (and has made) mag amps. Butler winding has several types of toroid winding machines that can be used to wind a variety of mag amp core sizes. This includes toroid-taping machines. For toroids, we can (and have done) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding also has other types of winding machines. That includes two programmable automated machines. We can wind and assemble various standard types of core with bobbin structures (E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U and others), and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. Butler winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link.

Mag Amp Theory


The following discussion is not intended to give a detailed understanding of mag amp operation. It is not intended to describe all the variations of mag amp designs or applications. It is intended to give a basic insight to how a typical simple mag amp functions. Rectifier aided mag amp circuits are not discussed. Butler Winding has some but limited experience with mag amps. If you require more information than the following discussion supplies, please contact Butler Winding and ask to speak to an engineer about mag amps. Butler Winding will provide whatever help we reasonably can. Refer to the schematic of Figure 1 bearing in mind (in theory) that the two coils have identical windings and identical cores. Because of transformer action, the A.C. voltage impressed across the mag amps A.C. windings will induce a voltage across each control winding. Because of the opposite phasing of the A.C. windings, the induced voltages in the D.C. windings will buck each other and exactly cancel each other (in theory) resulting in zero A.C. voltage induced across the D.C. source. Consequently, low impedance D.C. source will not load down the A.C. windings. Consider the impedance of the A.C. windings with no D.C. current supplied. The core and windings are designed such that; 1) the core does not saturate at the maximum intended A.C. voltage, and 2) each A.C. winding has a relatively much higher impedance than the intended load. Because of the high impedance, very little A.C. current flows. Consequently, there is very little voltage drop across the load.

Now consider the impedance of the A.C. windings with a D.C. current flowing through the control winding. Both cores have a D.C. biasing flux of equal value and the same phasing. The A.C. windings of Figure 1 are connected in parallel but with opposite phasing. The total flux in a core is the sum of the D.C. flux and the A.C. flux. Because of the opposite A.C. winding phasing, the A.C. voltage increases the core flux of one core while decreasing the core flux of the other core until saturation occurs. Eventually the alternating fashion of the A.C. voltage causes the changing flux to reverse the direction of flux change of both cores. Now apply enough D.C. current to cause one core to enter saturation. The cores flux reaches its maximum values and does not change (ideal theory) while in saturation; hence no induced voltage will oppose the applied A.C. voltage. The impedance of that cores A.C. winding drops to near zero value. There can be very little voltage drop across that A.C. winding. The other A.C. winding is connected in parallel to this A.C. winding. This A.C. winding shunts the current around the other A.C. winding hence the other A.C. winding also sees very little voltage impressed across it. Consequently the flux of the other core changes very little (essentially stays where it is). While a core is saturated there is very little impedance between the A.C. voltage source and the load impedance. Consequently significant load current flows during saturation and produces a relatively large voltage drop across the load. Because of the eventual A.C. voltage reversal, the saturated core will eventually come out of saturation, high A.C. winding impedance will occur again, and the load current will again drop to near zero value. Eventually the other core saturates resulting in high load current until the core leaves saturation. The mag amp has seen a complete A.C. cycle and will proceed to the next cycle. For mag amps, entering saturation is like closing a switch. The time spent in saturation is the turn-on time of the mag amp switch. The amount of time spent in saturation is determined by the amount of D.C. biasing current. A larger D.C. bias current causes the cores to enter saturation earlier and exit saturation later, thereby increasing the length of time current is delivered to the load, thereby increasing the average amount of current delivered to the load in a given period of time. Once a steady state condition is reached in an idealized mag amp, it can be shown that the averaged ampere-turns of the load current are proportional to the ampereturns of the control current. With appropriate choices of turns ratio, windings, and cores, one can achieve significant power amplification gain. The schematic in Figure 2 shows the A.C. windings connected in series. When one core saturates both of its winding have relatively very low impedance and can be ignored. The cores A.C. winding does not shunt the other A.C. winding, but the other A.C. winding will not maintain its high impedance level if the D.C. source has a sufficiently low impedance. With one core saturated the low impedance D.C. source becomes a transformer-coupled load to the unsaturated A.C. winding. The impedance on the unsaturated A.C. winding drops to the transformer coupled reflected value of the low impedance D.C. source. A load current flows which produces a significant load voltage.

Electronic Transformer Transformers

Power

The most common purpose of a power electronic transformer is to convert alternating current (A.C.) power from one A.C. voltage (or current) to another A.C. voltage (or current). Another common purpose is to provide electrical isolation between electrical circuits. Power is the product of voltage times current. Power transformers do not change power levels except for parasitic losses. Input power minus parasitic power losses equals output power. Ideal power transformers have no losses, hence output power equals input power. Increasing the output voltage will decrease the output current. Electric utilities prefer to transmit electricity at low current values to reduce resistive losses in the power transmission lines. Lower currents also permit smaller size transmission cables. A power transformer is used between the generating equipment and the power line(s) to step-up (increase) the transmission voltage (to high voltage) and decrease the transmission current. Distribution transformers, which are power transformers, are used to step-down (decrease) the voltage to voltage levels needed for industrial and household use. Limited discussion on the theory of power transformer operation is given further below. Power electronic transformers may be classified by their power ratings (fractional VA to mega-VA), their type of construction, and/or by their intended application. The same basic power transformer may be suitable for multiple applications hence the same power transformer may be classified under several overlapping category types. The common person associates power transformers with the electric utilities, hence they think of pole transformer and distribution transformers. The power transformers used inside their appliances and electronic devices do not readily come to mind. The two broadest categories of power transformers are the electric utility power transformers and electronic power transformers (1 & 3 phase). Utility transformers are almost entirely A.C. sinewave transformers. An electronic power transformer is essentially any electronic transformer supplying power to electronic circuits. There are many sub-categories: pulse, inverting, switching (flyback, forward converter), toroidal, square wave, isolation, and others.

Instrument transformers (example current transformers) are not considered to be power transformers. They measure voltage or current instead of supplying power. Electronic transformers / power transformers range in size from a cubic centimeter to multiple cubic meters. The weight can range from a fraction of an ounce to multiple tons. The size and weight of a power transformer is dependent on several factors. A nonexhaustive list includes; desired power rating, maximum ambient temperature, allowable temperature rise, cooling method (air or liquid cooled, natural convection or forced), transformer shape, voltage dielectric requirements, required voltage regulation, operating frequency, operating waveform, and core material. Of these, the two most limiting parameters are allowed temperature rise and required voltage regulation. Operating frequency is a major parameter in selecting core material. Low frequency applications usually utilize either tape wound or laminated silicon steel cores. Moderate frequency applications utilize tape wound or laminated nickel iron cores. High frequency applications usually use ferrite cores. Power transformers are produced in a variety of shapes. Toroidal power transformers are the high performers. They offer the smallest size (by volume and weight), less leakage inductance, and lower electromagnetic interference (EMI). Their windings cool better because of the proportionally larger surface area. Bobbin or tube wound transformers are usually more economical to build. Long thin cores are more suitable for low frequency high Q transformers. Some shapes, pot cores for example, are self shielding (reduces EMI). Butler Winding can make (and has made) electronic transformers and power transformers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This includes; various standard types of core with bobbin structures ( E, EP, EFD, PQ, POT, U and others ), toroids, and some custom designs. Our upper limits are 40 pounds of weight and 2 kilowatts of power. We have experience with foil windings, litz wire windings, and perfect layering. For toroids, we can (and have done) sector winding, progressive winding, bank winding, and progressive bank winding. Butler winding has a variety of winding machines, bobbin/tube and toroid. That includes two programmable automated machines and a taping machine for toroids. Butler Winding has vacuum chamber(s) for vacuum impregnation and can also encapsulate. To ensure quality, Butler Winding purchased two programmable automated testing machines. Most of our production is 100% tested on these machines. For more information on Butler Windings capabilities, click on our capabilities link. Power Transformers Overview of Operating Theory Power transformer design involves many interdependent parameters. It becomes very difficult to optimize a power transformer design. Most power transformer designers use an electrical model that allows them to approximate a transformer design. The preliminary approximate design will be evaluated, then adjusted as needed to achieve desired objectives. An electrical model is given further below. The Ideal Transformer

To better understand power transformers one should become familiar with the concept of and ideal transformer. An ideal transformer has no parasitic losses (no core loss, no winding resistance, and no leakage inductance). Ideal transformers are 100% efficient. An ideal transformer has infinite input impedance hence the ideal transformer does not draw any current for itself. Primary current equals zero. Figure 1A shows the schematic on an ideal transformer with primary turns Np and secondary turns Ns.

In the ideal (and the typical) electronic transformer, the primary and secondary windings share the same core and see the same amount of magnetic flux. Due to the applied alternating voltage, the magnetic flux is repeatedly changing value and the direction (polarity) of flux change is repeatedly reversing its direction. This change in flux induces a voltage in each of the transformer winding turns equal to the primary voltage, Vp, divided by the number of primary turns, Np. The total induced primary voltage equals and opposes the applied primary voltage. The induced primary voltage limits the flow of primary current. In the ideal transformer the current value is zero. In non-ideal transformers this current is greater than zero. This current is known as the magnetizing or exciting current. The induced secondary voltage, Vs equals the number of secondary turns times the induced voltage per turn. or equivalently, Vs = Ns x Vp / Np. Figure 1B shows the schematic of the ideal transformer with a resistive load placed across its secondary terminals. Since there are no transformer losses, power in equals power out. The induced secondary voltage, Vs causes current, Is, to flow through the resistive load and secondary winding. The direction of current Is acts to lower the induced primary voltage which opposes the applied input primary voltage. Consequently more primary current flows. The value of the primary current increases until it causes the opposing induced primary voltage to equal the applied input primary voltage. Conservation of energy requires that power out to equal power in hence Ip x Vp = Vs x Is, or Ip = Vs x Is / Vp. Since Vs = Ns x Vp / Np, Ip can be rewritten as Ip = ( Ns x Vp / Np ) x Is / Vp, or equivalently, Ip = Ns x Is / Np, or Ns x Is = Np x Ip. In an ideal transformer, Ip is the secondary windings load current reflected (transformed) to the primary winding. The effective primary impedance, Zp = Vp / Ip. It can be shown

that Zp = Np x Np x Zs / ( Ns x Ns ), where Zs = the secondary load impedance. This equation also holds for inductive and/or capacitive loads. The Non-Ideal Transformer Figure 2 shows an equivalent circuit schematic (electrical model) of a non-ideal power transformer. Leakage inductance and winding capacitance are actually distributed circuit elements. The schematic represents leakage inductance and capacitance as lumped circuit components. In effect, the distributed elements are transformer coupled into equivalent collective lump sum values. Bear in mind that the lumped values will only approximate real life conditions. At sufficiently low frequencies, the impedance of the capacitors become sufficiently high to permit ignoring their effect. The capacitors can be removed for low frequency designs.

The voltage drop Vm across the mutual inductance, Lm, represents the induced primary voltage. Voltage drops occur over parasitic components Rp and Lkp when current flows through them. Consequently the induced primary voltage, Vm, is less than the voltage Vp applied to the primary terminals. The secondary induced voltage, Vsi, becomes less than that of an ideal transformer. In similar fashion, voltage drops occur over parasitic components Rs and Lks when current flows through them. The secondary terminal voltage, Vs, becomes less than the secondary induced voltage, Vsi. These voltage drops are known as regulation drops. The decline in secondary output voltage from its no load voltage with increasing load current is known as transformer regulation. Percent voltage regulation equals 100% x ( no load Vs full load Vs ) / full load Vs. Magnetizing Current and Saturation Transformer designs must avoid core saturation. Saturation occurs when the applied ampere turns (Np x Im in Figure 2) generates more magnetic flux than the core can handle. The reflected secondary load current, Irs in figure 2, does not contribute to

saturation. Nor does Icp or Irc. The magnetizing current, Im, must be held below the value where Np x Im causes saturation. Np x Im is also known as the magnetizing force. Saturation can be avoided by applying the following formulae V = 4 x F x Bm x N x Ac x Sf x f where; V = r.m.s voltage in volts, F = form factor for the voltage waveform (unitless), Bm = maximum allowed flux density in Telsa, N = the number of turns, Ac = the cores cross sectional area seen be the winding in square meters, Sf is the stacking factor of the core (unitless ratio < or = to 1), and f = the operating frequency in hertz. The value of Bm depends on the saturation valve of the particular type of core material that will be used, and on the maximum heat the core can be permitted to generate. The latter is dependent on operating frequency. The theory of saturation is not discussed on this particular web page, but there is some discussion within the pulse transformer web page included with this web site. Click on the available link. Bipolar Operation The cores in A.C. power transformers are usually operated in bipolar mode, but could be operated in unipolar mode by using a D.C. biasing current through a transformer winding. Bipolar and unipolar operation is not discussed on this particular web page, but there is some discussion within the push pull transformer, inverter transformer and pulse transformers web page included with this web site. Click on the available links.