The ACUPWR Papers

Why Good-Quality Steel Makes a Difference in Voltage Transformers

When it comes to high-quality step up and step down voltage transformers, parts isn’t just parts. Rather, it’s the ability for a transformer to work safely under extreme conditions and without energy loss that is the measure between a model that is safe, reliable, and efficient and one that can be outright dangerous.


We noted in a recent blog how the use of copper wiring for our transformer’s primary and secondary coils enables superior electrical conductivity and performance over the aluminum wire used in low-quality, inexpensive, foreign-made transformers. With this blog entry, we will discuss the importance of the transformer’s core and the need for high-quality electrical steel toward the goal of creating a safe, highly efficient transformer. To wit, most inexpensive transformers are built overseas using cheap, poor-quality steel that are synonymous with energy loss and overheating.  


Meanwhile, better transformers such as those made by ACUPWR use the best available electrical steel for our transformer cores. This steel is always coated with silicon, which reduces heat while increasing resistivity. Why would you want resistance in a transformer when the idea is to move electrical current? It’s because no resistance will allow the electrical molecules to move too freely and hence create eddy currents and hysteresis—two factors that, without getting too deep into theory, present as excessive resistance and heat, and ultimately lost energy.


The transformer core is constructed using laminated steel plates (approximately 2 millimeters thick) rather than a solid block of steel. Using the latter would result in excessive eddy currents and hysteresis. Meanwhile, with the help of silicon to provide insulation, the laminated steel keeps eddy currents and hysteresis at a minimum and the current stays within the laminated pieces without straying everywhere and losing energy. You can observe in the illustration below how current moves in a solid core versus a laminated one.

How does a low-quality voltage transformer using an inferior core perform? Let’s just say they run excessively hot because of the eddy currents and hysteresis. Eddy currents and hysteresis, meanwhile, create a very audible 60 Hz hum that many people unfairly associate with voltage transformers in general. Actually, that notorious hum is the sound of a transformer working very hard under inefficient conditions as the result of cheap parts.


As we like to say here at ACUPWR, you get what you pay for. And paying for a high-quality voltage transformer built with premium parts like silicon steel works out financially in the end. Be safe. Buy American. And buy ACUPWR!

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