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Sep 19
Last Updated on 20 September 2019

How to Test a Transformer

Being able to measure the flow of energy is important, especially to a utility company. There is equipment for testing energy, and skilled professionals are trained to assess and collect data regarding energy systems and their consumption. When it comes to electricity, you can utilize meters to record electrical usage. These meters undergo a meter test to ensure they work properly. Transformers are important to an electrical circuit and transformer test instruments are used to test these.

Why Test a Transformer?

The main principle regarding how transformers work is that each electrical field generates a magnetic field and each magnetic field generates an electrical field. There are a variety of transformers available on the market nowadays, and transformer test instruments. Whether the transformer is big or small, it’s vital to check it so as to understand whether or not it operates well.

How to Test a Transformer

First of all, you should do a visual examination of the transformer. If the outside of the electrical device is bulging or shows any sign of burn marks, don’t use transformer testing equipment on the electrical device. The bulging or signs of burning might be a result of heating, which could be an indicator of electrical device failure. If the electrical device appears alright visually, you can then proceed to check inside. To do so, you want to check the wiring of the electrical device. Acquire a schematic of the circuit containing the transformer to know how it’s connected. The schematic can usually be found within the product documentation or on the web site of the circuit manufacturer.

Next, you want to locate the inputs and outputs of the electrical device using your transformer testing instruments. The circuit that generates the magnetic field should be connected to the primary of the transformer. The other circuit receives power from the magnetic field and should be connected to the secondary of the electrical device.

Now, verify the output filtering. You should attach capacitors and diodes to the transformer secondary to form the AC power from the output into DC power. This filtering and shaping are shown on the schematic.

Next, prepare to measure circuit voltages. To access the circuit, you should get rid of covers and panels as necessary. Use a digital multimeter. These test meters are available in electrical supply stores. They are required for voltage readings. Now, use the digital multimeter in AC mode to measure the electrical device primary, by applying power to the circuit. If it measures 80% or less of the voltage you are expecting, the problem could be either with the transformer itself or the circuit. When this happens, the primary should be separated from the input circuit. On the other hand, if the input reveals the expected voltage, then there is a problem with the input circuit.

If there’s no filtering or shaping within the secondary circuit, use the AC mode of the digital multimeter for additional transformer testing. But, if there’s filtering and shaping, use the DC scale instead. It’s obvious that if the expected voltage isn’t apparent on the secondary, there’s a fault either within the transformer or a part associated with filtering and/or shaping. So as to come to a decision, you want to take a look at the filtering and shaping parts. If this testing doesn’t show any issues, it becomes obvious that the transformer is faulty.

These instructions will help you to assess whether or not a transformer is performing adequately. With the right transformer test instruments, you can diagnose the problem with a problematic transformer or confirm that it is working as expected.

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