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An autotransformer (sometimes called autostep down transformer)[1] is an electrical transformer with only one winding. he !auto! ("reek for !self!) prefi# refers to the single coil acting on itself and not to any kind of automatic mechanism. $n an autotransformer, portions of the same winding act as %oth the primary and secondary sides of the transformer. he winding has at least three taps where electrical connections are made. Autotransformers ha&e the ad&antages of often %eing smaller, lighter, and cheaper than typical dual'winding transformers, %ut autotransformers ha&e the disad&antage of not pro&iding electrical isolation. Autotransformers are often used to step up or step down &oltages in the 11('11)'1*( &olt range and &oltages in the **(' *+('*,( &olt range-for e#ample. pro&iding 11( or 1*(. (with taps) from *+(. input, allowing e/uipment designed for 1(( or 1*( &olts to %e used with a *+( &olt supply (as in using 01 electrical e/uipment with higher 2uropean &oltages).


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1 3peration * 4imitations + Applications +.1 5ower transmission and distri%ution +.* Audio +.+ 6ailways , .aria%le autotransformers ,.1 .ariac rademark ) 1ee also 7 8otes 9 6eferences


$n a step'up transformer. and only part is transferred inducti&ely.[*] 1ince the &olts'per'turn is the same in %oth windings. and the secondary &oltage taken from two terminals.1ingle'phase tapped autotransformer with output &oltage range of . he primary and secondary circuits therefore ha&e a num%er of windings turns in common. he primary &oltage is applied across two of the terminals. or a transformer in which the primary and secondary coils ha&e part or all of their turns in common. $n a step'down transformer the source is usually connected across the entire winding while the load is connected %y a tap across only a portion of the winding. con&ersely. a %reak in the part of the winding that is used as %oth primary and secondary will result in the transformer acting as an inductor in series . though the entire winding is directly connected. he other end of the source and load are connected to taps along the winding. the load is attached across the full winding while the source is connected to a tap across a portion of the winding. the neutral side of the output will not %e either. connecting the load %etween the middle and %ottom of the autotransformer will reduce the &oltage %y )(:. [+] 3ne end of the winding is usually connected in common to %oth the &oltage source and the electrical load.11): of input An autotransformer has a single winding with two end terminals. allowing a smaller. lighter. almost always ha&ing one terminal in common with the primary &oltage. As in a two'winding transformer. each de&elops a &oltage in proportion to its num%er of turns. that portion of the winding used solely in the higher'&oltage (lower current) portion may %e wound with wire of a smaller gauge. <ifferent taps on the winding correspond to different &oltages.(:. A failure of the insulation of the windings of an autotransformer can result in full input &oltage applied to the output. measured from the common end. and one or more terminals at intermediate tap points. Also. For e#ample. Limitations[edit] An autotransformer does not pro&ide electrical isolation %etween its windings as an ordinary transformer does= if the neutral side of the input is not at ground &oltage. $n an autotransformer part of the current flows directly from the input to the output. cheaper core to %e used as well as re/uiring only a single winding. <epending on the application. the ratio of secondary to primary &oltages is e/ual to the ratio of the num%er of turns of the winding they connect to.

'1+(. to a%sor% some harmonic currents.[citation needed] $n practice. 4ike multiple'winding transformers. losses mean that %oth standard transformers and autotransformers are not perfectly re&ersi%le= one designed for stepping down a &oltage will deli&er slightly less &oltage than re/uired if it is used to step up.'*)(. a two'winding transformer is usually more economical. and *((. hey re/uire alternating currents to operate properly and will not function on direct current. hey are also often used for pro&iding con&ersions %etween the two common domestic mains &oltage %ands in the world (1((. Railways[edit] . for e#ample 1+@ k.@( . he &aria%le ratio of the autotransformer compensates for the &oltage drop along the line. 3n long rural power distri%ution lines. supply.[citation needed] $n three phase power transmission applications. hese are important safety considerations when deciding to use an autotransformer in a gi&en application. an autotransformer for power applications is typically lighter and less costly than a two'winding transformer. B1uper "ridB networks are normally three phase autotransformers with taps at the common neutral end.(( k. Another application in industry is to adapt machinery %uilt (for e#ample) for . up to a &oltage ratio of a%out +?1= %eyond that range. A large three'phase autotransformer may ha&e a !%uried! delta winding.with the load (which under light load conditions may result in near full input &oltage %eing applied to the output). A Cig'Cag transformer pro&ides a path for current that is common to all three phases (so' called zero sequencecurrent). and forimpedance matching such as %etween a low'impedance microphone and a high'impedance amplifier input. Audio[edit] $n audio applications. special autotransformers with automatic tap'changing e/uipment are inserted as &oltage regulators. not connected to the outside of the tank. so that customers at the far end of the line recei&e the same a&erage &oltage as those closer to the source. tapped autotransformers are used to adapt speakers to constant'&oltage audio distri%ution systems. he links %etween the 0A . A special form of autotransformer called a zig zag is used to pro&ide grounding on three'phase systems that otherwise ha&e no connection to ground. autotransformers ha&e the limitations of not suppressing harmonic currents and as acting as another source of ground fault currents.). Applications[edit] Power transmission and distribution[edit] Autotransformers are fre/uently used in power applications to interconnect systems operating at different &oltage classes. >ecause it re/uires %oth fewer windings and a smaller core. supplies to operate on a 7(( . he difference is usually slight enough to allow re&ersal where the actual &oltage le&el is not critical. and *9) k. for transmission. to 77 k. autotransformers use time'&arying magnetic fields to transfer power.

supply with the third wire (opposite phase) out of reach of the trainBs o&erhead collector pantograph. to maintain a steady &oltage at the customersB ser&ice during a wide range of load conditions.] Variable autotransformers[edit] A &aria%le autotransformer. Do&er has %een remo&ed to show copper windings and %rush. o increase the distance %etween electricity supply "rid feeder points they can %e arranged to supply a *)'('*) k. [. . AD. A &ariant is occasionally seen where the supply conductor is at a different &oltage to the contact wire with the autotransformer ratio modified to suit. point is connected to the o&erhead contact wire. autotransformers may %e e/uipped with many taps and automatic switchgear to allow them to act as automatic &oltage regulators. hey can also %e used to simulate low line conditions for testing.Main article: 25 kV AC railway electrification $n 0A railway applications. with a sliding'%rush secondary connection and a toroidal core. point of the supply is connected to the rail while one *) k. Another application is a lighting dimmerthat doesnBt produce the 2E$ typical of most thyristor dimmers. reduces induced interference into e#ternal e/uipment and reduces cost. he ( . his system increases usa%le transmission distance. At fre/uent (a%out 1( km) inter&als. it is common to power the trains at *) k. an autotransformer links the contact wire to rail and to the second (antiphase) supply conductor. .aria%le ransformer ' part of ektroni# )97 Dur&e racer As with two'winding transformers.

this de&ice is known as a &aria%le AD transformer (often referred to %y the trademark name .ariac). Variac was a 0. Applica%le only for relati&ely low &oltage designs. to *((*. $nstrument 1er&ice 2/uipment applied for and o%tained the Variac trademark for the same type of product. [)] ypically the primary connection connects to only a part of the winding allowing the output &oltage to %e &aried smoothly from Cero to a%o&e the input &oltage and thus allowing the de&ice to %e used for testing electrical e/uipment at the limits of its specified &oltage range.>y e#posing part of the winding coils and making the secondary connection through a sliding %rush. he &oltage can %e smoothly &aried %etween turns as the %rush has a relati&ely high resistance (compared with a metal contact) and the actual output &oltage is a function of the relati&e area of %rush in contact with adFacent windings. trademark of "eneral 6adio for a &aria%le autotransformer intended to con&eniently &ary the output &oltage for a steady AD input &oltage.1.. allowing for &ery smooth control of &oltage.[7] See also[edit] . a continuously &aria%le turns ratio can %e o%tained. he output &oltage is not limited to the discrete &oltages represented %y actual num%er of turns. Variac Trademark[edit] From 1G+. $n *((.

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