Transformers, More Than Meets the Eye?


MARCH, 2016

If you are around my age, then when you read the title of this blog, you sang the cartoon song in your heard. “Transformers, more than meets the eye, Autobots rage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons.”

Most kids today know about Transformers because of the three hit blockbuster movies.  Now the electric industry has their own transformers, but you may not know as much about them.  I believe that is because the electric industry does not have Meagan Fox to help promote their version of transformers.

If that were the case, then every teenage boy would know exactly how electrical transformers work. I would argue that the average American does not know how the things the provide them electricity actually work. I also would venture to say that most people don’t realize that  there are some similarities between the alien machines in the blockbuster films and the transformers that keep your lights on and power flowing across your neighborhoods.

So for starters, we have to ask “what is an electric transformer?” A transformer is an electromagnetic device converting an AC voltage to a higher or lower voltage. A step up transformer increases the voltage to send it across power lines of a great distance, and a step down transformer lowers the voltage to be useable in your homes and businesses.

These are necessary for your daily life because the amount of power that is transmitted across high voltage long distance power lines is so high that if it was connected directly to your house and you went to plug in your toaster you would look like this.

That power has to be stepped down to a smaller voltage to make it safe and run the various items that use electricity in your home and that is what a transformer does.

Unlike the Autobots and Decepticons, an electrical transformer has no moving parts, but a metal core and two or three windings (wire wrapped around metal) one for each phase of the AC current. (AC current has three phases.) Each phase has its own windings, which can raise or lower current by having more or less windings of wrapped wire. The resulting raising or lowering of the voltage is all done through the electromagnetic field created inside the transformer. As you can imagine , this process gets very hot, so the large transformers must be cooled. They can be air cooled or oil cooled. This is why all large transformers usually are covered with cooling fans, to keep them from overheating.

So just like the movie Transformers, your electric transformers have lots of fans, are extremely powerful, and like the Autobots, they protect humans.  And if you harness their vast amount of power,  they will Allspark.

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