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Power Transformers Explained

Power Transformers

Power transformers transform electrical voltage from one level or phase to another, usually "stepping down" voltage from a higher to a lower level. This is accomplished through the principle of magnetic induction between coils to convert voltage and/or current levels. Power transformers include a broad range of electrical transformers, such as autotransformer, control transformer, current transformer, distribution transformer, general-purpose transformer, instrument transformer, isolation transformer, and potential (voltage) transformer.

There is a difference between power transformers and distribution transformers. Usually, power transformers are utilitized in electric utility transmission networks (that use higher voltages) for either step up or step down applications (400 kV, 200 kV, 110 kV, 66 kV, 33kV) and are normally rated higher than 200MVA. Utility distribution transformers are put to work in distribution networks, as a way of transforming electricity to a level (11kV, 6.6 kV, 3.3 kV, 440V, 230V) that can be utilized by an end user and are normally rated lower than 200MVA.

Power transformers can be configured as either a single-phase primary configuration or a three-phase configuration. Other important aspects to consider when specifying power transformers may include:

  • Maximum secondary voltage rating
  • Maximum secondary current rating
  • Maximum power rating
  • Output type.

Power transformers can be manufactured as either a toroidal or laminated transformer. The differnce is that toroidal transformers typically have copper wire wrapped around a cylindrical core so the magnetic flux (which occurs within the coil) doesn't escape. The coil efficiency is superior, while the magnetic flux has hardly any influence on other transformer components. On the other hand, laminated power transformers contain laminated-steel cores. This means that steel laminations are insulated with a nonconducting material, such as varnish, and then formed into a core that reduces electrical losses.

Read Our Other Utility Transformer Pages: Padmount Transformer ExplainedPole Mounted Transformers, Electrical Power Transformers, Power Transformers Explained, Transformer Manufacturers, Step Up Transformer, High Voltage Transformers Explained, What is an Auto Transformer? Three Phase Transformers Explained

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