Monday, January 25, 2016

Transformer Basics

Electric transformer
(courtesy of Aftek EHS)
Transformers are composed of an iron core ring wrapped in coils. One coil is connected to an AC input voltage and is called the primary coil. The other coil is connected to an output circuit with the load resistance, and is called the secondary coil.

The two coils are well insulated from each other and do not form a physical electrical connection. This gives a transformer its unique electricity altering properties. Transformers can either step up or step down a voltage.

In a step down transformer, the number turns in the primary coil is greater than the number of turns in the secondary coil step up transformer the number of turns in the secondary coil is greater than the number of turns in the primary coil. The constantly changing current driven by an alternating voltage source induces a changing magnetic field in the core of the transformer.

The magnetic field created by the alternating current in the primary coil generates the flux in the transformer core. The secondary coil converts the flux back into current flow and produces a voltage at the load, or resistance, in the secondary circuit.

If there are fewer coil turns on the secondary then on the primary, this is called a step down transformer. The resulting voltage in the secondary circuit will be less than the primary.

In this example we have 20 turns on the primary coil and 10 turns on the secondary coil. To determine the decrease in voltage occurring in this step down transformer, we can use a simple ratio formula. This formula simply states that the secondary voltage to primary voltage ratio, is the same as the secondary coil to primary coil turn ratio. Rearranging the formula and then dividing 10 turns by 20 turns, we get .5 multiplied by 120 V. This results in a calculated step down voltage of sixty volts.