A Transformer, as the name implies, is a device used to transform something. So, a transformer is a passive component that transfers electrical energy among AC circuits. There is a part called the core in a transformer in which any fluctuating current gives rise to magnetic flux, thereby inducing an electromotive force around the core.
More importantly, the transformers are widely used to change the levels of AC voltage and for this application, they are categorized into two types that are namely step up and step down transformers. Sometimes, there are power losses along many power distribution lines due to fluctuation in wire resistances. To prevent such problems, we put forth a transformer that can control the output voltage thereby overcoming the fluctuations. This is why step up and step-down transformers are used. Let us dive deeper into it.
What is a Step Up and Step Down Transformer?
A step-up transformer is a device which makes long-distance transmission of electrical energy economically efficient; it converts low voltage AC into high voltage AC, which decreases the loss of energy during transmission. In the process of voltage conversion, the output current is decreased so that the input and output power of the system would be equal.
Step-up transformers are mostly used in electrical equipment to create a balance between the low input voltage and required high voltage such as microwave ovens, inverters, stabilizers, and so on.
The type of transformer having output voltage less than the input voltage is called a step-down transformer. It converts high voltage AC into low voltage AC, keeping the input and output power the same. High voltage AC running in the transmission lines is converted into the Low Voltage AC by step down transformer for the successful operation of our home appliances.
For example, the doorbell operates at 16V, while our power circuit carries 230V – 110V, so this balance between input and output voltage is managed by a step-down transformer; it reduces the voltage from 220V to 16V.
Now, let us know about the construction process, working, and the difference between step and step down transformers.
Construction of Step Up and Step Down Transformers
The major construction revolves around the two parts, the core and the windings.
Core: A transformer consists of a soft iron core and two inductive windings. The core is made up of soft iron with a collection of laminated metal sheets to facilitate the windings; laminated metal sheets are used to reduce the eddy current loss.
Windings: It has two windings primary and secondary winding; primary winding is connected to the input and secondary winding is connected to the output. Proper insulation is provided between both the coils and between the coil and core. Here is the image of the primary and secondary winding of a step-up transformer.
As shown in the figure, in a step-up transformer, the number of turns in secondary windings is greater than in primary windings, therefore it steps up the voltage, i.e., converts a primary voltage into a high secondary voltage.
Meanwhile, in step down transformers, the number of turns in the primary winding is greater than in the secondary winding. Therefore, it converts the voltage in a primary coil into a low secondary voltage. This is shown in the Image 2 below.
Therefore, the step up and step down transformer diagram is discussed and now let us have a look at how to explain step up and step down transformers working.
How Do Step Up and Step Down Transformers Work?
Step up and step-down transformers work on the principle of mutual induction. According to this, the changing current in one coil induces EMF in the other coil. Alternating current flows in one direction, stops reversing its direction, and then again flows in another direction. Alternating current flowing in the primary coil will create a varying magnetic field in the core of the transformer that in turn produces the alternating current in the secondary coil. Depending on the number of turns in the primary and secondary coil, the voltage is either stepped up or down.
In the step-down transformer, the number of turns is greater in the primary coil than in the secondary coil, so the output value will be lesser than the input and it converts high voltage AC into low voltage AC. In the step-up transformer, the number of turns in the secondary coil is greater than the primary coil and it converts low voltage AC into high voltage AC.
The number of turns in coils, current and voltage can be related by the equation below
Where $V_s$ and $V_p$ are the voltages of the secondary and the primary winding of the transformer respectively. $N_s$ and $N_p$ are the numbers of turns of the secondary and the primary windings. $I_s$ and $I_p$ are the currents induced in the windings.
Step up and step down transformers neither create nor destroy the electrical power. The input and output power remain the same by changing the voltage and current at the primary and secondary coils.
Difference Between Step Up and Step Down Transformers
The below-given table can be used to distinguish between step up and step down transformers.
There are applications of step-up and step-down transformers which we can witness in our daily life.
A Step-up transformer would be applicable in power transmission, microwave ovens, inverters, and so forth. Whereas a step-down transformer is used in power distribution, electrical devices such as bells, mobile chargers etc.
Let us discuss why there is a need for these transformers in our lives with an explicit explanation.
Why Do We Need Step Up and Step-Down Transformers?
Electric poles outside our homes have a voltage of 11kv, but we get a supply to our home of 220 volts, which is then distributed to various electrical appliances. Have you ever wondered how this is possible? A voltage control device, called the transformer, is used to distribute the electrical energy by increasing or decreasing the voltage. Depending upon its operation, a transformer is divided into two types, a step up and step-down transformer. A step-up transformer is used in power transmission to convert low voltage AC into high voltage AC, to prevent power loss during transmission. On the other hand, a step-down transformer is used to convert high voltage AC into low voltage AC for the successful operation of low voltage devices.
Step up and step-down transformers are used to create a balance between the supply and required voltage in electrical appliances. Step-up transformers are mainly used to reduce the loss of electrical energy during transmission, while step-down transformers are used to distribute the high supply voltage to the devices using low voltage for their operation. Step up and step-down transformers do not create or destroy the electrical energy, but only convert it. Therefore, we discussed things like what is a step up and step down transformer, the step up and step down transformer diagram and how to distinguish between a step up and step down transformer.