Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications

Study Unit

38700801

Study Unit

Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications
By

Robert L. Cecci

All terms mentioned in this text that are known to be trademarks or service marks have been appropriately capitalized. Use of a term in this text should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.

Copyright © 1998 by Education Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to Copyright Permissions, Education Direct, 925 Oak Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18515. Printed in the United States of America
05/17/04

Transformers are very important in industry. They’re used when the rated voltage of electrical equipment differs from the voltage available at a voltage source. The increase or decrease in voltage is made possible by transformers. Some common uses of transformers are in the transmission of electric power, in control and signal circuits, and in electronic and radio equipment. This study unit will introduce you to the fundamental concepts of transformers.

Pr eview Pr eview

When you complete this study unit, you’ll be able to
• • Explain what the main parts of a transformer are Explain how mutual inductance makes it possible to change an AC (alternating current) voltage or current from one value to another Determine the turns ratio when the primary and secondary voltages or currents are known Calculate primary or secondary voltage or current when either one of these and the turns ratio are known Explain why transformer cores are laminated (layered) Explain the principle of operation of an autotransformer

• • • •

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OPERATION OF TRANSFORMERS What Is a Transformer? Mutual Inductance Step-Down and Step-Up Transformers Turns Ratio Voltage Ratio and Secondary Voltage Conditions in Open and Closed Secondary Circuits Power in Primary and Secondary Windings Load Current in Primary and Secondary Windings Transformer Losses Reducing Losses Transformer Regulation 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 11 11 12 Contents Contents TYPES OF TRANSFORMERS Transformer Construction Core-Form and Shell-Form Transformers Power Transformers Distribution Transformers Instrument Transformers Transformers with Two Secondaries Autotransformers Transformers for Radio and Electronics Specialty Transformers Inductors Saturable Reactors Magnetic Amplifiers Shielded Transformers Constant-Voltage Transformers Transformer Insulation Transformer Ratings Causes of Transformer Problems 14 14 14 16 17 18 18 19 21 21 22 23 23 25 25 29 30 30 SELF-CHECK ANSWERS EXAMINATION 33 35 v .

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an alternating voltage to a higher or lower alternating voltage. A transformer acts very much like a pump in a water system that changes the water pressure in the system. (The lower transformer symbol shown is now the most commonly used transformer symbol.Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications OPERATION OF TRANSFORMERS What Is a Transformer? A transformer changes.) 1 . These are the main parts of the transformer. The secondary voltage will therefore have one-half the value of the primary voltage. If you take a basic transformer apart. you’ll find two separate coils wound around an iron core (Figure 1). The alternating voltage from a voltage source (an alternator or a distribution power line) is FIGURE 1—The primary winding in this transformer has 16 turns and the secondary has eight turns. or transforms.

The applied voltage is also called the primary voltage. Both coils are insulated from the core. The magnetic field indicated by these lines changes with any variation in the applied voltage. but electrically isolated. The change of the magnetic field has the same effect as movement. which is an effect of electromagnetic induction. Normally the primary side of the transformer will contain a fuse in its circuit. The induced voltage is due to mutual inductance. The other coil is called the secondary winding. and an alternating current flows through the load. a voltage is induced (or produced) in the secondary winding. a group of conductors is moving in a magnetic field. such as a lamp or a motor. The transformer secondary is normally connected to an electrical load. from each other. The lines of force change in number and in direction as they pass over the turns of the secondary. The two circuits are magnetically coupled. and the induced voltage is the secondary voltage. the primary. The magnetic lines of force (or flux) created by the applied voltage are shown by broken lines through the iron core (Figure 1). The primary is in a closed circuit with an AC (alternating current) voltage source. In a transformer. but the magnetic lines of force change because the applied voltage changes. or simply. the conductors don’t move. The secondary circuit also may contain a fuse in its circuit. a voltage. and the result is mutual inductance—or a voltage induced in the secondary winding. which is called the primary winding. When a voltage is applied to the primary. and a voltage is induced in them. the secondary is in a closed circuit that includes the electrical load.applied to one coil. The secondary is used to connect to the control circuit or electronic circuit. or produce. The secondary isn’t connected in any way to the primary or to any other voltage source. or the secondary. 2 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . Mutual Inductance The relative movement between magnetic lines of force and a conductor can generate. In a generator.

an alternating current will flow through the load. the voltage in the secondary is also alternating and has the same frequency. If the secondary winding has fewer turns than the primary. the magnetic lines of force in the transformer core would be constant because the magnitude of the voltage source is constant. If the primary and secondary windings have the same number of turns. If the secondary is connected to a load and a closed path is provided for the current. the voltage on the secondary will be equal to the applied voltage on the primary windings. This means that the secondary voltage has been decreased. Step-Down and Step-Up Transformers If a transformer has more turns in the primary winding than in the secondary winding. and. the secondary voltage is greater than the primary voltage. If a battery (which is a DC voltage source) were connected to the primary winding in place of the AC voltage source shown in Figure 1. Such a transformer is called a step-down transformer. Therefore. The secondary voltage is therefore zero volts because the magnetic lines of force aren’t changing. For example. Any change in voltage magnitude and direction in the primary produces changes in the lines of force. the secondary voltage is less than the primary voltage. the secondary voltage is less than the primary voltage. in the voltage induced in the secondary. therefore. or stepped down. they can’t transform or change DC voltages. If the voltage in the primary is alternating at a certain frequency. The value of the voltage induced in the secondary depends on the ratio of the number of turns in the secondary to the number of turns on the primary winding.The voltage induced in the secondary winding is proportional to the change in the magnetic lines of force that pass through the secondary winding. if the voltage available from the distribution line is 4600 V (volts) and the Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 3 . an important transformer principle to remember is that transformers can transform or change only AC voltages. If the secondary winding has more turns than the primary.

motors used in the plant are rated at 240 V. a step-down transformer is needed. The transformer is placed between the distribution line and the motor to step down the voltage from 4600 V to 240 V. The secondary of such a step-up transformer must have 100 times more turns than the primary.000 V. a step-up transformer is needed. Turns Ratio The change. Figure 2 shows typical step-down and step-up transformers. if a voltage generated in an alternator is 2300 V and the transmission lines carry the electric power at 230. Since the secondary voltage must be 20 times lower than the primary voltage. of voltage depends on the ratio of number of turns in the primary to number of turns in the secondary. or transformation. the secondary winding of the transformer must have 20 times fewer turns than the primary winding. The transformer is connected between the alternator and the transmission line. For example. The turns ratio is therefore a very important factor in transformer structure. FIGURE 2—The ratio of the number of turns between the primary and secondary windings determines if the transformer is a step-down or step-up transformer. A transformer can also have the secondary voltage higher than the primary voltage. If the number of turns in the primary is indicated by the symbol Np and the number of turns in the secondary by the symbol Ns. Such a transformer is a step-up transformer. the turns ratio can be written as follows: Np or Np : Ns Ns 4 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications .

the secondary voltage in the transformer is 40 times higher than the primary voltage. if a step-down transformer has 1000 turns in the primary and 20 turns in the secondary. the voltage isn’t transformed at all. Voltage Ratio and Secondary Voltage The ratio of the primary voltage and the secondary voltage is equal to the turns ratio. Here. These transformers are called isolation transformers. such as to electrically isolate two circuits without changing their voltage. If the primary voltage is indicated as Ep and the secondary voltage as Es. the primary voltage in the transformer is 50 times higher than the secondary voltage. its turns ratio is Np 10 1 = = or 1 : 40 Ns 400 40 Here. And still another example: If a transformer has 100 turns in the primary and 100 turns in the secondary. The answer is that such a transformer may be used for special applications. Isolation transformers are often used by technicians for safety reasons when they’re working on ungrounded equipment. so you might wonder why the device is even called a transformer.For example. the turns ratio for that transformer is Np 1000 50 = = or 50 : 1 (50 to 1) Ns 20 1 That is. the ratio of voltages can be expressed by the formula Ep N = p Es Ns If both the number of turns and the primary voltage are known. its turns ratio is Np 100 = = 1 or 1 : 1 Ns 100 In this transformer. the secondary voltage can be calculated by solving the voltage formula for Es as follows: N Es = s Ep Np Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 5 . the primary voltage is equal to the secondary voltage. A second example: If a step-up transformer has 10 turns in the primary and 400 turns in the secondary.

The secondary voltage is thus one-fourth of the primary voltage. you can find the secondary voltage by reasoning as follows: The turns ratio is 100 : 1200 = 1 : 12. Es = 12 Es = 600 V Answer: Es = 600 V Without using the formula. there’s no load connected to the transformer and no current flows in the secondary winding (although a voltage is induced in that winding). The turns ratio is 200 : 50 = 4 : 1. the secondary voltage will be N 50 Es = s Ep = 24 = 6 V Np 200 Again. which means that the primary has 4 times more turns and 4 times higher voltage than the secondary. if a primary voltage of 24 V is applied to a step-down transformer with 200 primary turns and 50 secondary turns. therefore. Conditions in Open and Closed Secondary Circuits Figure 3 shows transformer circuits in a schematic diagram. and Ep. It must. Np Es = 1200 100 50 50 Substitute the vaules of Ns. When the switch in the secondary circuit is open. Np.For example. Standard symbols are used to indicate the components. we’ll use a resistor connected to the transformer secondary windings to provide the electrical load. That means that the secondary has 12 times more turns than the primary. have a voltage 12 times higher. or 24/4 = 6 V. the secondary voltage will be N Es = s Ep Write the formula. In this example. 6 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . Or. or 12 50 = 600 V. this problem can be solved by reasoning. This is the no-load condition of the transformer. Multiply 12 50. Divide 1200 by 100. if a primary voltage (Ep) of 50 V is applied to a step-up transformer with 100 primary turns (Np) and 1200 secondary turns (Ns).

P=E I In a transformer. A larger primary current starts to flow in the primary. Power in Primary and Secondary Windings An ideal. is equal to the voltage (E ). times the current (I ). and the two straight lines between the scalloped lines represent the iron core. In an ideal transformer. Or. The no-load primary current is very small and is called the exciting current. in volts. This current is called the secondary load current. in watts.The primary is connected to a an AC voltage source. automatically adjusting itself to the load current in the secondary. This is expressed as a basic formula below. The two scalloped lines represent the windings of the transformer. in amperes. The switch and the resistor are also shown by their standard symbols. under load conditions. (or perfect) transformer is a transformer in which there are no losses. FIGURE 3—This schematic diagram uses symbols to indicate the components. That’s because you’ll have to know what voltage and current levels should be present when you make voltage and current measurements under these two conditions. a current flows through the secondary winding and the load. When the switch is closed. and a no-load current flows in the primary circuit. You learned earlier that electric power (P ). The sine wave enclosed by the circle is the symbol for an AC generator (or alternator). the power in the primary circuit is equal to the power delivered to the load by the secondary circuit. When working with transformers. you must be able to distinguish between no-load and load conditions. Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 7 . the product of the primary voltage (Ep) and the primary current (Ip) is equal to the product of the secondary voltage (Es) and the secondary current (Is).

the secondary voltage becomes higher than the primary voltage. and the secondary current must become lower than the primary current to keep their product the same. and the secondary current 20 A (amperes). Figure 4 shows an example of this. The primary current under load can be calculated if the primary voltage. Similarly. secondary current.) Use the formula E Ip = s Is Ep For example. Step-up and stepdown transformers have different voltages and currents in their primary and secondary circuits. but the power in each circuit is the same. Therefore. in a step-up transformer. (Remember that the power doesn’t change. the secondary voltage is lower than the primary voltage. the primary current is 8 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . if the primary voltage is 14 V. Here the secondary current (Is) will be lower than the primary current (Ip). but the secondary current is higher than the primary current to keep their product the same. the secondary voltage will be higher than the primary voltage and the secondary current will be lower than the primary current.Ep Pp = Ps or Ip = Es Is The secondary of a transformer can’t supply any more power than it receives from the primary. just as a water pump can’t pump out any more water than it takes in. in a step-down transformer. the secondary voltage 140 V. FIGURE 4—In this step-up transformer. and secondary voltage are known.

and the primary current must then be 10 times greater than the secondary current. The secondary voltage is twice the primary voltage. or the magnetomotive force. must be the same as the product NpIp. The magnetic field produced in the transformer core is the same on the primary and the secondary side of the transformer.Ip = Es Ep Is = 140 14 20 = 200 A The secondary voltage is 10 times greater than the primary voltage. The secondary current (Is). the product. is measured in ampere-turns. or E Is = s R Suppose that in a step-up transformer the turns ratio is 1 : 2. in ohms. The primary current can then be determined by the formula N Ip = s Is Np Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 9 . as shown in Figure 3. the product of the number of secondary turns. divided by the load resistance (R). the secondary current can be found by Ohm’s law. Ns. and the secondary current Is. Load Current in Primary and Secondary Windings If the load in the secondary circuit of a transformer is a resistance. The strength of the magnetic field. Since the same magnetic field exists in the entire transformer. in volts. Any quantity can be found by using the basic formula if the other three quantities are known. Np the magnetomotive force (in ampere-turns) produced in the transformer. in amperes. If the number of primary turns (Np) is Ip. or NpIp = NsIs. is equal to the secondary voltage (Es). The secondary current must then be one-half the primary current. is multiplied by the primary current (Ip). The load currents can also be determined without knowing the voltage if the turns ratio is known.

It also allows for future expansion of the circuit that’s powered by the transformer. Transformers can be purchased in standard kVA sizes from . For example. This will prevent heat buildup and transformer failure. 10 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications .4 kVA For this situation. the primary current is N Ip = s Is Np Ip = 200 100 2=4A Transformers are often rated in terms of VA (volt-amperes) or kVA (kilovolt-amperes). This rating system is used because both the secondary voltage and the current are included in the transformer’s rating. Suppose a single-phase motor rated at 12 A at 120 VAC (volts alternating current) will be attached to a 480 VAC system. if a transformer has 20 A at 120 V on the secondary. and if the secondary current is 2 A (as determined by the load resistance). Let’s try a practical example. if a primary has 100 turns and the secondary 200 turns. A transformer should always be selected that’s the next higher standard kVA rating than is calculated. a 3 kVA transformer would be used.For example. What will be the size of the transformer for this application? VA = Is Es VA = 12 A 120 V VA = 1440 VA or 1. you simply multiply the secondary voltage by the secondary current. The transformer will obviously be a step-down transformer with a turns ratio of 4 : 1. the secondary rating would be VA = Is Es VA = 20 A 120 V = 2400 VA or 2.44 kVA A 2 kVA transformer should be used. To determine the capacity of a transformer.05 kVA (small) to thousands of kVA (large).

however. Therefore. Hysteresis losses result due to the energy required to magnetize or demagnetize a magnetic material. If such a transformer were possible. however. the coils are wound with a wire large enough to keep the I2R losses low. • The magnetic core material is also a conductor of electricity and may form a closed circuit with circulating currents. keeping magnetic leakage very low. approaches the ideal in efficiency. • Most magnetic materials don’t immediately demagnetize when the magnetizing force is removed. producing what’s known as magnetic leakage. resulting in hysteresis losses. For example. known as eddy currents. a transformer whose apparent input power is 220 VA when it’s providing 210 VA to a load has an efficiency of 210 100 = 95% 220 Reducing Losses In a high-quality transformer. The sum of all losses is subtracted from the input power to give the output power. A typical transformer. The use of certain alloys Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 11 . Here are the main reasons why transformers aren’t perfect: • The resistance of the windings is never zero. there’s no such thing as an ideal transformer. present in it. the losses are very small. • The lines of force set up by the current in the windings should all pass through the iron core. and the reluctance of the iron core is low. some of them follow other paths through the air. it would have no losses. Transformer efficiency may be expressed as: output power 100 Efficiency = input power For example. there’s a power loss due to resistance (I2R). although it’s not 100 percent perfect.Transformer Losses Of course.

which is expressed as a percent is given by the following formula: % Regulation = Vs No Load – Vs Full Load Vs Full Load 100 In a perfect transformer. However. 12 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . When no load is connected to the secondary. The change in secondary voltage resulting from applying a load to a transformer divided by the full-load secondary voltage is called the regulation of the transformer. the no-load secondary voltage will be the same as the full-load voltage and the transformer will have 0% regulation. there will usually be a decrease in the secondary voltage. making the value of the secondary voltage under load different from the no-load value. Transformer regulation. Now. instead of using a solid core helps to reduce eddy current losses. when a load is connected to the secondary and current flows in the transformer windings. Special transformers known as constant-voltage transformers will be discussed later in this study unit.also reduces hysteresis losses. which has no losses. review what you’ve learned by completing Self-Check 1. Finally. Transformer Regulation The resistance and other losses in a transformer reduce the secondary voltage. All these factors are considered in the design of commercial transformers. building the core of laminations (thin sheets of magnetic iron). the ratio of primary to secondary voltage is practically equal to the turns ratio.

If the secondary has more turns. five times d. If the primary winding of a transformer has more turns than the secondary winding. Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 13 . the same as c. it’s called a step-_______ transformer. What is the primary current in the transformer of question 5 when the secondary load current is 4 A? __________________________________________________________________________ Check your answers with those on page 33. 7. 1. Please complete Self-Check 1 now. twenty-five times 4. the secondary voltage is _______ the primary voltage. A change of voltage in one coil that leads to a voltage in another nearby coil is a result of (self-. one-fifth b. find the secondary voltage if the primary voltage is 12 V. The current that flows in the transformer primary with no load connected to the secondary is called the _______ current. it’s called a step_______ transformer. The device that can change an AC voltage from one value to another is called a(n) _______. 6. a. 2. If the secondary winding has five times as many turns as the primary winding.Self-Check 1 At the end of each section of Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications. you’ll be asked to pause and check your understanding of what you’ve just read by completing a “SelfCheck” exercise. In the transformer shown below. mutual) inductance. 3. 5. Answering these questions will help you review what you’ve studied so far.

In the shell form. or return path. for the flux. mechanical bracing (or other means of holding the parts together as a unit). Any transformer can be built in either form. cooling means. It consists of an iron core. However. that is. The yoke provides a shell.) In the single-phase shell-form transformer (Figure 5B). for a given application. and each leg carries a part of the primary winding and a part of the secondary winding wound on top of it. insulation. windings surround the iron core. is relatively simple. no matter what its type or form. but. They also reduce the eddy currents (currents induced in the iron parts of the transformer). An intense magnetic field produces the rated voltage in the windings with a minimum of exciting current. In the core form. Cores are always laminated. It has two core legs. The iron core permits more lines of force to concentrate within its own volume than within the same volume of air or some other nonmagnetic material. they’re made of thin steel sheets called laminations. The laminations make transformers cost more. Core-Form and Shell-Form Transformers According to the form of core construction. The iron yoke provides a closed path for the flux. Laminations are usually rectangle-shaped. 14 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . case. one or the other form is often easier or less costly to use. both windings are wound on the center leg. An iron core is needed in a transformer to provide an intense magnetic field. primary and secondary windings. and bushings.TYPES OF TRANSFORMERS Transformer Construction A transformer. Figure 5A shows a single-phase transformer of the core form. there’s a frame (or shell) of iron around the windings. (A single-phase transformer may also be built with all of the windings on one core leg. on small transformers. a transformer may be either core form or shell form. L-shaped and E-shaped laminations are sometimes used.

each carrying one phase of the low-voltage winding and one phase of the high-voltage winding. A set of low-voltage and high-voltage windings is wound on each of the three inner legs. This reduces the possibility of a short circuit.FIGURE 5—The low-voltage winding in a transformer is usually next to the iron core. Figure 6A shows a three-phase transformer of the core form. and the high-voltage winding farther from the core. which has five core legs. Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 15 . FIGURE 6—Each of the three-phase transformers here has three sets of primary windings and three sets of secondary windings. The two outer legs don’t carry windings. as from high-voltage rupture of the conductor insulation. It has three core legs. Figure 6B shows a three-phase shell transformer.

Much of the equipment on this transformer is required for cooling the coils. and instrument transformers. Figure 7 shows a three-phase power transformer. These transformers are known as power. According to common usage. The low-voltage rating is usually between 2400 V and 345.000 V. the high-voltage and low-voltage ratings can have any value desired. distribution. 16 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . Power transformers are large transformers usually used at generating stations to step up the voltage for transmission systems. any transformer rated over 500 kVA (kilovoltamperes) is a power transformer. FIGURE 7—Transformers of this size are seldom installed inside a building. The high-voltage rating may be any value up to the highest voltage in use on transmission lines. Substations use power transformers to step down the voltage for supplying distribution systems. However.Power Transformers Industry uses some transformers for power applications.

and their low-voltage rating can be rated up to 15. Their high-voltage rating can be up to 67. FIGURE 9—An assembled distribution transformer is shown here in a cutaway view with part of the outside cover removed. Also. 600 V.000 V. FIGURE 8—Distribution transformer banks like these are commonly used to service industrial and commercial businesses. and 240 V and 120 V for residential and commercial use). According to common usage. note that there’s a surge diverter used to protect the transformer. Figure 8 shows a bank of three pole-mounted distribution transformers. This surge diverter protects the transformer and its load circuit from power surges such as lightning strikes. or 480 V for industrial plants.Distribution Transformers Distribution transformers are primarily transformers used to step down the voltage from a distribution voltage to a load voltage (2400 V. If you were to open the case of a distribution transformer. the transformer would appear as shown in Figure 9. Note that the high voltage is applied to the transformer through heavily insulated bushings and wires. such transformers are rated up to 500 kVA. Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 17 .000 V.

The primary voltage is 120 V. and auxiliary devices differ widely. The number on a current transformer is the value of full-load primary current required for a 5A secondary current. connections. Transformers with Two Secondaries A transformer may be specially designed for a specific purpose. This voltage is usually 120 V or 115 V. and the secondary voltages are 240 V and 24 V 18 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . FIGURE 10—The potential transformer and two current transformers shown here are examples of instrument transformers. the forms. However. They permit the use of low-voltage measuring instruments such as meters and relays. Potential transformers are small transformers rated about 200 VA or 500 VA. The principle of operation is the same for all transformers.Instrument Transformers Instrument transformers are either potential or current transformers. This current is applied to measuring instruments and relays. Current transformers are small transformers of about 50 to 200 VA with low current (usually 5 A) on the secondary side. They’re built to transform the higher transmission or distribution voltage to a lower distribution voltage. Figure 10 shows two current transformers and a potential transformer. One common type of transformer is a single-phase transformer with two secondaries (Figure 11).

FIGURE 11—This transformer has two secondaries. Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 19 . Secondary No. except for some applications in electronic equipment. Figure 12B shows this same transformer used as a step-down transformer by interchanging Ep and Es. (This is a step-up autotransformer. respectively.) FIGURE 12—Figure 12A shows an autotransformer wired as a step-up transformer. The number of secondaries is usually not more than two to four. In an autotransformer. 1 has a step-up turns ratio of 1 : 2. 2 has a step-down turns ratio of 5 : 1. there’s no limit to the number of windings a transformer can have. Autotransformers The usual transformer has two windings that aren’t wired directly to each other. Theoretically. while secondary No. as shown in Figure 12A. one of the windings is connected in series with the other.

The primary voltage (Ep) is applied to the primary (or common) winding. Holes are provided for mounting the transformer on a panel. 20 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . For low-power applications. This tap will divide a single winding into a primary and a secondary of the autotransformer. or terminal. Autotransformers are less costly than conventional twowinding transformers. the windings on which the brush moves must be kept clean and smooth. The secondary (or series) winding connects in series with the primary at the junction point. They also have better voltage regulation and efficiency. which turns by means of a knob. This point may be obtained by a tap. In the variable autotransformer shown in Figure 13. must occasionally be replaced. Also. A voltage induced in the secondary winding adds to the voltage in the primary winding. They’re used in motor starters. The secondary voltage (Es) is higher than the applied voltage. as in a two-winding transformer. FIGURE 13—The variable autotransformer requires periodic maintenance: the sliding contact. the movable tap is a brush. so a voltage lower than the line voltage may be applied during the starting period. variable autotransformers are available in which the tap is a sliding contact rather than a fixed contact. which is a carbon brush. The transformation ratio depends on the turns ratio. The autotransformer shown in Figure 12B can be used as a step-down autotransformer by applying a primary voltage across both the primary and secondary windings. Autotransformers are also used economically on high-voltage power lines where the values of the primary and secondary voltages are about the same.

Other examples include arc-lamp autotransformers. Many special step-down transformers are used for small work. specially designed transformers that are used in communications. and transformers that are used to change 240 V power to 120 V for operating portable tools. such as ringing bells. Specialty Transformers Specialty transformers make up a large class of transformers used for changing line voltage to some particular value best suited to the load. Transformers for Radio and Electronics Most transformers you’ll work with in plant maintenance operate at an input power frequency of 60 Hz (hertz).000 V for the operation of neon signs.Adjustable autotransformers in which the load voltage isn’t continuously variable are also available. and other electronic equipment. where 240 V is stepped down to the voltage required for best operation of the arc. and lighting individual low-voltage lamps. Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 21 . or radio frequencies. fans. They include electronic power transformers with one primary winding and several secondaries. Instead. operating battery-charging rectifiers. running electrical toys. inductive heating. welders. or less. intermediate. Also included in this specialty class are neon-sign transformers that step the 120 V up to between 2000 and 15. A sign-lighting transformer is one example of a specialty transformer in which the 120 V is stepped down to 25 V for low-voltage tungsten sign lamps. These transformers are designed to operate at audio. They also include pulse transformers and many other types of transformers. a limited selection of voltages is available by means of movable taps operated by a selector switch. However. and other devices. there are small. The primary voltage is generally 600 V.

It always has the same polarity because it varies between zero and a positive maximum value. an inductor like the one shown in Figure 14 is usually referred to as a filter choke. In electronic equipment. Figure 14 shows a very common application of an inductor— a filter circuit. The capacitor is a low impedance to any AC voltages that might get through the inductor and it will short them to ground. You may come across other uses for inductors in your work as well. and doesn’t affect this component of the pulsating DC voltage. The inductor is a low impedance for the DC component of the pulsating DC voltage. It isn’t constant in value. which consists of an inductor and a capacitor. having pulses like the tips of an AC wave. This pulsating DC voltage is supplied to the filter circuit. FIGURE 14—Pulsating DC is the voltage output of the rectifier. Inductors are used in AC circuits and oppose any change in the current value in the circuit. This AC input is coupled through a transformer to a device called a rectifier.Inductors An inductor is a coil or winding wrapped around a magnetic core. which are present in the pulsating DC voltage and therefore resists passage of these AC voltages through the inductor. A rectifier converts an AC voltage into pulsating DC voltage. The pulsating DC voltage consists of a DC voltage and several AC voltages that have frequencies that are multiples of the frequency of the AC input voltage. The inductor is a high impedance to the AC voltages. Other names for an inductor are choke and reactor. 22 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . The result is a pure DC voltage at the junction of the inductor and capacitor. The capacitor is a high impedance to the DC voltage. which passes through the inductor easily. The input to this circuit is an AC voltage.

As the DC signal is decreased. However. or signal. as shown in Figure 15. Such a two-winding inductor with provision for DC control is referred to as a saturable reactor. Therefore an AC voltage is introduced into the DC control circuit. A reactor of this type can be magnetically saturated just as a sponge can be saturated with water. As the DC current. the reactance of the AC winding increases. The saturable reactor in this figure uses an iron core with three legs. Saturable reactors are used in applications similar to those of ordinary single-winding inductors. Thus. with the output from the first amplifier connected to the control input of a second amplifier. which may be a bank of lights or a motor. The path of the magnetic Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 23 . for example). Two or more magnetic amplifiers may even be cascaded. the reactance of the AC winding of the inductor will vary as the direct current through the DC control winding is varied. FIGURE 15—Saturable reactors are widely used in industrial control and processing equipment. The magnetic amplifier may consist of just the saturable reactor or the saturable reactor may be combined with other components. a saturable reactor provides a method of controlling the reactance in an AC circuit with a DC signal. one wound on each of the outer core legs. saturable reactors provide a method of varying the reactance of the reactor. and direct current is supplied to the winding. There are two AC windings. The saturable reactor shown in Figure 15 is rarely used for magnetic amplifiers because the magnetic lines of force developed by the AC winding are directly coupled into the DC control winding by normal transformer action. Magnetic Amplifiers A magnetic amplifier uses a saturable reactor to amplify a small AC or DC control voltage to control a large load. This problem is overcome using the saturable reactor shown in Figure 16. in the control winding is increased (by varying the resistor (R). unlike ordinary inductors. the reactance of the AC winding decreases. The DC control winding is wound on the center leg of the core.Saturable Reactors If a second winding is added to a inductor.

the DC output voltage across the load will now vary in a sinusoidal manner to produce an AC voltage at the load. Since none of the magnetic lines of force developed by the AC supply voltage flow in the center leg of the core.lines of force developed by the AC supply voltage is shown as a solid line in Figure 16. If a small AC control voltage is now added in series with the DC supply voltage. a small AC voltage can control a large AC voltage. The rectifier and filter shown in Figure 16 are a part of the magnetic amplifier and convert the AC supply voltage to a DC voltage. These lines of force flow in all three legs of the iron core and can saturate the outer core legs in the same manner as the saturable reactor shown in Figure 15. The magnetic lines of force developed by the DC winding are shown by the dashed lines of Figure 16. 24 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . FIGURE 16—By the use of the magnetic amplifier. This DC voltage can now be varied by adjusting the resistor located in the DC control winding circuit. there’s no AC voltage developed in the DC winding of the saturable reactor. Notice how these lines of force flow only in the outside portions of the iron core.

This capacitance will allow electrical noise or a voltage to pass directly from the primary to the secondary windings without being magnetically coupled through the transformer core. a secondary winding. Any time a small input signal produces a large change in the output signal. In a shielded transformer. The constant-voltage transformer consists of a transformer core. Figure 17A shows a side view of the transformer core before the windings and Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 25 . A special transformer. This shield is then grounded. For example. The frequency of the AC supply voltage doesn’t have to be the same as the frequency of the AC control voltage. The grounding prevents the capacitive coupling from being present. a metallic shield is placed between the primary and secondary windings. the device has effectively amplified (or strengthened) the input signal.which has the same frequency as the AC control voltage. and all but eliminates the transfer of electrical noise between the primary and secondary windings by means of the capacitance between these windings. has been designed to eliminate the passage of this noise. the primary and secondary windings are somewhat linked together by the capacitance between the windings. The overall effect of the magnetic amplifier is that a small AC signal on the control winding produces a much larger change in the AC signal in the AC winding. a resonating winding. a primary winding. electronic motor controllers contain circuitry that monitors the incoming voltage and will shut down the controller if the AC voltage becomes too high or too low. Shielded Transformers In a typical transformer. Constant-Voltage Transformers Most modern electronic equipment is very sensitive to voltage fluctuations. and two magnetic shunts. known as a shielded transformer. A constant-voltage transformer supplies a constant AC secondary voltage even if the primary winding voltage varies over a wide range.

There’s a small air gap between each magnetic shunt and the transformer core. The resonating and secondary windings are usually wound one on top of the other. (A) SIDE VIEW OF CONSTANT–VOLTAGE TRANSFORMER CORE (B) SIDE VIEW OF CONSTANT–VOLTAGE TRANSFORMER 26 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . Notice that the primary winding is separated from the resonating and secondary windings by the magnetic shunts. Note the small air gap between the magnetic shunts and the transformer core. The magnetic shunts are made from thin sheets of steel assembled in the same manner as the core.magnetic shunts are installed. FIGURE 17—A side view of a constant-voltage transformer. Figure 17B shows a side view of the completed transformer. Figure 17A shows the side view of the transformer core before the windings and magnetic shunts are installed. Notice that the magnetic shunts don’t completely touch the inner and outer core legs. The core is made up of many thin sheets of steel assembled in the same manner as an ordinary transformer. Figure 17B shows the windings and magnetic shunts installed on the core.

All of the magnetic lines of force that link the resonating winding also link the secondary winding (since they’re wound one on top of the other). However the magnetic lines of force in the upper part of the core. the turns ratio formula does apply to the number of turns on the resonating and secondary windings.Figure 18 shows the circuit for a typical constant-voltage transformer. Since the resonating winding voltage is fixed. doesn’t saturate this area of the core because some of the magnetic lines of force from the lower part of the core are shunted away from the upper part of the core by the magnetic shunts. electrical schematic for a constant-voltage transformer. the secondary voltage is also fixed and may be set to any desired value by adjusting the turns ratio between the secondary winding and the resFIGURE 18—This is an onating winding. Because the magnetic lines of force linking the secondary and resonating windings are greater than the magnetic lines of force that link the primary winding. Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 27 . which surrounds the primary winding. the resonating winding voltage will be independent of the primary voltage. therefore. the constant-voltage transformer doesn’t obey the rules regarding the turns ratio between the primary and secondary windings. As long as the primary winding voltage can supply enough energy to keep the lower part of the transformer core in saturation. The capacitor and the resonating winding form a tuned circuit that’s resonant at the frequency of the voltage applied to the primary winding. The voltage induced in the resonating winding depends only on the change in the magnetic lines of force (which is varying between the positive and negative saturation levels of the core) and the rate of change in those lines of force (which is fixed by the frequency of the voltage applied to the primary winding). The resonating winding increases the magnetic lines of force in the lower half of the transformer core until the core becomes saturated—first in one direction and then in the opposite direction as the voltage applied to the primary winding changes direction.

A regular transformer doesn’t have this winding. Because the primary and secondary windings are physically separated. 28 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . • The constant-voltage transformer secondary voltage will vary if the frequency of the primary voltage varies. A voltage spike on the primary winding can’t cause the core around the secondary winding to become any more saturated than it already is.There are several advantages in using the constant-voltage transformer: • Voltage regulation. • Voltage spike protection. The secondary voltage doesn’t change when the primary voltage varies over a wide range. A core in saturation has the maximum number of lines of force that are possible for the type of steel used for the core. If the primary voltage is supplied from a utility. electrical noise can’t pass from the primary winding to the secondary winding. However if a constant-voltage transformer is connected to the output of a small portable generator. this effect won’t be seen because the utility frequency is very tightly controlled by the speed of the utility’s generators. This is because a large part of the constant-voltage transformer core is always in saturation and the transformer core losses increase as the magnetic lines of force in the core increase. the resonating winding has copper losses because there’s current flowing in this winding. • Electrical noise isolation. In addition. In this respect the constant-voltage transformer is very similar to a shielded transformer. There are also several disadvantages to using the constant voltage transformer: • The constant-voltage transformer runs hotter than a similar-size regular transformer. Large voltage spikes which may appear on the primary winding can’t be passed to the secondary winding since the value of the secondary winding voltage depends on the core saturation. this effect will be seen because the generator speed can’t be tightly controlled as the generator load is changed.

they must be kept isolated from combustible materials. Transformers rated in excess of 25 kVA are provided with pressure-relief valves and require special ventilation if they’re installed in poorly ventilated areas. Oil-insulated transformers are filled with oil to provide insulation for the windings and to cool the transformer. Dry-type transformers don’t use any liquid to cool the windings. Transformers rated at less than 112 1/2 kVA or 35. They can be installed without fireproof vaults in all areas except some hazardous ones. and the oil-insulated types.• The constant-voltage transformer secondary voltage won’t be a pure sinusoidal wave. or cooled by fans that circulate the air. Several types of compensating constantvoltage transformers exist in which a small portion of the primary voltage is added to the secondary voltage to improve the output voltage waveform and make it more sinusoidal. They’re installed in vaults if the rated voltage exceeds 35. These liquids help to insulate the windings and cool the transformer. Generally. FIGURE 19—Dry-type transformers like this one are frequently used in industrial plants to step 480 V down (to 120 V or 240 V) to supply electric lights. This won’t usually be a problem for most equipment connected to the constant-voltage transformer.000 V. Oil-insulated transformers are either self-cooled by radiators exposed to the atmosphere. as shown in Figure 20. oil-insulated transformers of any voltage are placed in vaults when used within a building. Figure 19 shows a dry-type transformer. However. Askarel-insulated transformers contain special nonflammable liquids within their cases.000 V can be installed within a plant without the use of a transformer room or vault. The output voltage waveform will tend to have flat tops instead of the rounded ones in a pure sinusoidal wave. Transformer Insulation The transformers used in industrial plants include the dry. the askarel-insulated. Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 29 .

For incandescent-lamp circuits. a 10 kW (kilowatt) incandescent lamp load could be supplied by a transformer furnishing 240 V at 41. Transformer Ratings Small transformers are usually rated in terms of secondary volts and amperes. vibration. For example. Transformers that supply lighting loads shouldn’t have a capacity less than the total connected load. Excessive vibration can loosen the bolts and lock washers that hold laminations together. and dirt. 1 kVA of transformer rating is to be supplied for each horsepower. For example.008 VA) = 10 kVA. Excessive heat and moisture can cause a breakdown of insulation between turns or windings. a corrosive atmosphere.7 = 10. In practical applications. are heat. or between windings and the core. A corrosive atmosphere can cause deterioration of 30 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications . dust.FIGURE 20—These oil-cooled transformers are installed outside the building and are pad mounted. Larger transformers are rated in kilovolt-amperes. a 5 hp (horsepower) motor will be supplied by a 5 kVA transformer. the kilovolt-ampere rating of the transformer should equal the total wattage of the lamps. or kVA. Power and motor loads should be computed as being equal to the connected load.7 A (240 41. Causes of Transformer Problems The main enemies of transformers (especially larger transformers). moisture.

electronic transformers such as those used in small control circuits need little attention if the equipment they’re used in is installed in clean. take a few moments to review what you’ve learned by completing Self-Check 2. require much more maintenance. Such maintenance includes cleaning the air paths and tightening the connections during downtime periods of the plant. insulation breakdown. Small. Metallic particles carried by a ventilating system or dust can result in poor air circulation. Now.copper conductors and poor contact at terminals. dry. open locations. or both. Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications 31 . The larger transformers (some weighing up to several tons or more).

DC supply and AC control currents 32 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications .Self-Check 2 1. 5 A. Small power transformers that have one primary winding and several secondary windings are referred to as _______ transformers. signs. 100 A. Which current(s) is/are applied to the control winding of a magnetic amplifer? a. and battery-charging rectifiers are known as _______ transformers. AC signal current only d. 3. 2. DC control current only Check your answers with those on page 33. b. 4. 10 A. c. Label Ep and Es. 1 A. Output current b. In the box. d. The two forms of core construction are _______ form and _______ form. c. 5. b. power distribution electronic specialty a. Fill in each of the spaces with one of the four words from the list below. The output of a current transformer is usually a. Transformers which are used to change a primary voltage to another value for operating bells. draw the symbol for a step-down transformer.

down. shell 2. specialty 5. 12 A Self-Check 2 1. 4. b 3. d 33 . transformer 2. 36 V Es = = Ns Np Ep Answers Answers 600 12 200 =3 12 = 36 V 6. electronic b. exciting 7. mutual 3. up 5. c 4. a.Self-Check 1 1. core.

NOTES 34 Self-Check Answers .

complete the following examination. 1.6% 2. B.com When you feel confident that you have mastered the material in this study unit. What type of transformer is this? A. 20 VA B. 83. 180 VA C. C. A power transformer connected to a 120 VAC line delivers 12 VAC at the secondary. What is the efficiency of a transformer that has an input of 600 VA and an output to a load of 580 VA? A. go to http://www. Then submit only your answers to the school for grading. 96.8% D. Do not wait until another examination is ready.Examination Examination 925 Oak Street Scranton. A A A A step-up transformer step-over transformer step-down transformer step-out transformer 35 . Send your answers for this examination as soon as you complete it. For the quickest test results. D.takeexamsonline. Pennsylvania 18515-0001 Transformers for Electronic and Other Applications EXAMINATION NUMBER: 38700801 Whichever method you use in submitting your exam answers to the school. Questions 1–20: Select the one best answer to each question. using one of the examination answer options described in your “Test Materials” envelope. you must use the number above.

212. Shielded transformer D. reactance tube. varistor and resistor combination. 30 VAC B. 4.2 A? A. 120 VAC C. 12 watts D. what will be the power in the secondary of this transformer? A. What type of transformer is used to prevent electrical noise from passing from the primary winding to the secondary winding? A. 3 watts B. 240 VAC D. the secondary has A. lower current. Oil-filled transformer C. In a magnetic amplifier. B. Dry-type transformer B. What would be the power in the secondary of a transformer that has a voltage of 48 VAC and a current of 2. D. If the primary in a transformer has more turns than the secondary. autotransformer.6 watts C. This is called a(n) A. distribution transformer. An inductor for which reactance can be varied by supplying current through a separate DC winding is called a(n) A.3. current transformer. C. If the power in the primary circuit of a 4 : 1 transformer is 12 watts. D. 9. set of three batteries. C.6 watts 36 Examination . saturable reactor. If the turns ratio of a transformer is 4 : 1 and the incoming voltage is 120 VAC. You’ll work at times with a transformer that has one winding connected in series with the other to form the equivalent of a single winding. B. D.8 watts D. C. 480 VAC 6. B. electronic transformer. higher power. 48 watts 10. lower ampere-turns. 7. Delta transformer 8. 4 watts C. D. C. lower voltage. what is the secondary voltage? A. 121. autotransformer. a large AC voltage is controlled by a A.8 watts B. specialty transformer. small AC voltage. rectifier. 52. 105. 5. B.

50 A. What special installation or maintenance requirements are needed for askarel-insulated transformers? A. C. 10 A. 480 kVA D. The radiator must be installed where air can circulate and the fins must remain clean. D. C. The primary current drawn by the transformer shown below will be A. reactance.8 kVA B. Why are high-quality transformers wound with large-diameter wire? A. D. Cooling water must be supplied to the transformer core. Inductors are used in AC circuits to oppose changes in current value. iron D. 15. 16. Rectifier and reactor C. B. B. 4. To To To To lower lower lower lower the the the the hysteresis losses I2R losses eddy current losses magnetic leakage losses Examination 37 . D. 4800 kVA 12. Choke and rectifier B. inductance C. reduction. A. plastic 13. B. What is the kVA rating of a transformer in which the secondary winding is delivering 10 amps at 480 VAC? A. copper B. C. The transformer must be installed in a vault if the voltage exceeds 35. D. A basic transformer consists of two separate conductive coils wrapped around a(n) _____ core. 5 A. Choke and reactor D.11. 17. 2 A. The property that allows the change of voltage in one coil to lead to a change of voltage in another coil is called mutual A. oiled paper C. 48 kVA C.000 VAC. B. The oil must be changed at least once a year. What are two common names for inductors? A. impedance. Coil and rectifier 14.

what type of transformer is this? A. conductance. Oil-filled D. Step-down B. If 120 VAC is applied to a transformer with a turns ratio of 6 : 1. excitation. C. such as portable radios. B. Usually. 20 VAC D. what type of transformer is present and what is the output voltage of the secondary? A. seduction. D. Air-gap 38 Examination . When a load is suddenly connected to a transformer. This drop in voltage is called transformer A. Step-down. the secondary voltage will be reduced. Most small electronic devices. contain an internal 120 VAC transformer. 600 VAC C. Step-up. 20.18. regulation. Step-up. 720 VAC B. Step-up C. 60 VAC 19. Step-down.