Transformers: Functions And Benefits

Transformers come in different shapes, sizes and configurations. There are gigantic to tiny power transformers. There are also those that are designed with stubbed out wire while others come with spade or screw terminals. There are also transformers that are made for PC boards which can be mounted, bolted or screwed down. The functions and benefits of transformers vary but there are also some general advantages for each type.

Science and Function

A transformer is composed of laminated iron core complete with one or more wire windings. It is called as such because they transform current and voltage from one level to the next.

Alternating current that flows through the primary wire coil produces voltage in one or more of the secondary coils. The altering AC current induces voltage in other coils by means of the changing magnetic field. Keep in mind that DC voltage or DC power supply won’t work in transformers. Transformers work solely with AC current. The quicker the voltage is altered, the higher the frequency gets. More iron is required where lower frequencies are found.

The country uses a nominal voltage of 110 volts with a line frequency of 60 Hertz while other nations use 220 volts and 50 Hertz.

Transformers may come with the same number of primary and secondary windings. They could also be built with different windings for each. With the same number of windings, the input and output voltages are equal and the transformer is just there as a means of isolation, meaning, direct electrical connection is non-existent. With more primary windings, then you are looking at a step down transformer.

Basic transformers have no additional components so there is nothing that can protect it from overloading. If the two output wires are connected, then this will create a short circuit as more current flows in the primary and secondary wires.

Transformer Configurations

Dual output configuration makes use of two separate coils with terminals or wires coming out on both ends of the coils. This means that four wires are sticking out of the secondary side.

The dual input transformer, on the other hand, is used in countries with 120V or 240V line voltage. The primary, in this case, has two separate windings complete with terminals on each end. There are four terminals or wires on the primary side.

Using this with 110V requires the two primary windings to be connected to a parallel, just make sure that the two correct ends are joined together. Should you have them reversed, then the fields will cancel each other out.

A transformer that is linked to a 220V supply should be connected in series. Just like the former case, care must also be practiced when connecting the terminals. Parallel connections are for 110V and the series connections are for 220V.

The dual and output configuration have four wires (in and out). This setup gives transformers more flexibility.

Transformers are crucial parts of the power grids across the nation. These offer an economical way of power transmission even over long distances. These are also the very reasons why power generating companies choose AC for their generation of energy.

Many benefits come from the use of transformers including the use of audio frequency transformers in the earliest forms of telephones. Many changes have since occurred since the transformer’s first use. To this day, it remains useful which is why power companies work hard in keeping them up and running.

The American people, from the average household to the largest industrial plants make use of transformers. Many get to enjoy a steady stream of electricity because of these devices.

Now that you know the uses and benefits of transformers, don’t you have more appreciation for them?

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