You’ve seen those large cylindrical things high up on utility poles. They have wires running to your electric meter and into your home. These things are called electrical transformers but did you know many kinds of electrical powered devices use transformer applications? Let’s look at a few examples.
How Does a Transformer Work?
If you need something to run off a higher or lower voltage than the power source, you need a way to change the voltage. A transformer uses the principle of electromagnetism and electric induction with coils of wire, and depending on the wiring scheme, a transformer can take in voltage and lower it or raise it. For example, your home electric transformer takes high voltage (from 7000 to 14000 volts usually) and turns it into 120-volt standard house current. Here are some more places where transformers live and work.
When you bake a potato or heat up last night’s leftovers, it only takes a few minutes. However, after you push the button, your microwave oven needs more than 700 volts of power to run the magnetron, and there’s only about 120 volts coming in. Electrical transformers solve this problem easily.
A typical house HVAC unit runs on 230 volts of power. Each line has about 115 volts, and the control circuit from the thermostat runs on 24 volts. This is made possible by a single phase transformer that turns 115 volts into 24 volts and sends it to the compressor contactor and blower control circuit board.
Your Laptop Computer
Your laptop computer runs on battery power that’s about 19 volts. However, thanks to electrical transformers, you can plug your laptop power supply into a house current receptacle, and it will charge your battery and keep your laptop running from a 115-volt power source.