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Dictionary of Electrical Engineering

Commonly used terms in the Electrical industry.

air core transformer
two or more coils placed so that they are linked by the same flux with an air core. With an air core the flux is not confined.
autotransformer
a power transformer that has a single continuous winding per phase, part of this winding being common to both the primary and the secondary sides. As a result, these voltages are not isolated but the transformer is reduced in weight and size. Autotransformers are most suited for relatively small changes in voltage. Three phase autotransformers are by necessity connected in a wye configuration.
autotransformer starter
a single three-phase autotransformer or three single phase transformer used to start induction motors at a reduced voltage.
bushing transformer
a potential transformer which is installed in a transformer bushing so as to take advantage of the insulating qualities of that bushing.
constant-current transformer
two-coil transformer with a moveable secondary coil used to provide constant output current to
a variable load. Constant current is maintained by mounting both the primary and secondary coils on the center element of a shell-type core and allowing the secondary coil to move up and down with changes in demand for load current. Increasing current demand due to a reduction in load impedance causes the secondary coil to move away from the primary coil. Increasing the coil separation increases flux leakage and reduces the secondary output voltage. The reduced output
voltage counteracts the demand for more current. Increases in load impedance reverse the process. Movement of the secondary coil is controlled automatically by attaching the secondary coil to a counterweight and pulley assembly and orienting the coil windings such that their flux directions oppose. Increases in secondary current increase the magnetic repulsion between the coils, which, aided by the counterweight, moves the secondary coil away from the primary. Reductions in secondary current produce the opposite effect.
core-type transformer
a transformer in which the magnetic circuit upon which the windings are wound takes the form of a single ring. When the coils are placed on the core, they encircle the core.
See core
current transformer (CT)
(1) a transformer that is employed to provide a secondary current proportional to primary current flowing. The primary "winding" is often created by passing the system conductor or bus bar through an opening in the device
and the secondary is typically rated at a standard value to match common meters and display units. Current transformers are used in current measurement, protective relays, and power metering applications. The load (meter) on a CT should never be removed without first shorting the secondary of the CT, otherwise dangerous voltage levels may result when the load is removed.
(2) a device which measures the instantaneous current through a conductor of an electric power line and transmits a signal proportional to this current to the power system's instrumentation. current unit a protective relay that monitors the magnitude of a power transmission line's current flow.
distribution transformer
a transformer designed for use on a power distribution system (typically 2.4 kV to 34.5 kV) to supply electrical power to a load at the proper utilization voltage.
ferroresonant transformer
a transformer that is designed to operate as a tuned circuit by resonating at a particular frequency.
grounding transformer
a transformer connected to an otherwise ungrounded three-phase system for the purpose of providing a path for ground current flow. Zig-zag transformers and grounded wye-delta transformers can be used as grounding transformers.
ideal transformer
a transformer with zero winding resistance and a lossless, infinite permeability core resulting in a transformer efficiency of 100 percent. Infinite permeability would result in zero exciting current and no leakage flux. For an ideal transformer, the ratio of the voltages on the primary and secondary sides would be exactly the same as the ratio of turns in the windings, while the ratio of currents would be the inverse of the turns ratio.
induction voltage transformer
specially constructed transformer with a rotating primary coil that is used to provide voltage regulation on individual power circuits. The secondary of an induction regulator is mounted on the stationary shell of cylindrical core, and the primary is mounted on a movable, center rotor. In the neutral position, the magnetic axes of the primary and secondary coils are oriented 90 degrees to each other, reducing the magnetic coupling to zero. In this position, energizing the primary does not induce voltage in the secondary; however, rotating the primary coil in either direction from the neutral position creates mutual flux linkage and causes a secondary voltage to appear.

Rotation in one direction causes secondary voltage to be in phase with the primary; rotation in the opposite direction causes secondary voltage to be out of phase with the primary. Voltage regulation is provided by connecting the primary coil across the line to be regulated and connecting the secondary coil in series with the load. By positioning the primary coil based on load demand in the line, secondary voltage can be used to adjust line voltage either up or down. Induction regulators are also equipped with a short-circuited coil mounted on the primary in spatial quadrature with the primary coil. In the neutral position, this coil has maximum coupling with the secondary coil, which minimizes the inductive reactance in the load line due to the secondary coil.
instrument transformer
a two-winding transformer designed and optimized for metering applications. The essential features are accurate input to output ratios for the measured parameter and minimal burden (or load) on the circuit being tested.
See current transformer
isolation transformer
a transformer, typically with a turns ratio of 1:1, designed to provide galvanic isolation between the input and the output.
oil-filled transformer
a transformer in which the magnetic core and the windings are submerged in an insulating oil. In addition to serving as an insulator, the oil provides a heat exchange medium to cool the transformer.
open-delta transformer
a connection similar to a delta-delta connection, except that one single-phase transformer is removed. It is used to deliver three-phase power using only two single-phase transformers. The normal capacity of the open-delta transformer is reduced to 57.7% of its delta rating.
pad-mount transformer
a heavily-enclosed distribution transformer mounted at grade level upon a concrete slab or pad.
pole-top transformer
generally a distribution transformer which is mounted atop a utility pole near the customer.
potential transformer (PT)
a device which measures the instantaneous voltage of an electric power line and transmits a signal proportional to this voltage to the system's instruments.
See voltage transformer
power follow transformer
a rugged, high-current power transformer used in tests of lightning arresters to test the arrester's power follow arc suppression capability.