Sunday, October 10, 2010

How your neighbourhood transformer works

Generally as one of the most preyed upon units in the electric industry, the domestic or neighborhood transformer serves a crucial role in ensuring that we get a constant flow of electricity.In the electric industry it is commonly referred to as a Step-down transformer since it does exactly that at all times besides protecting consumers.

The main purpose of these electrical machines is to provide a step-down mechanism for the incoming voltage from the primary substation, located away from consumers.It should be noted that it steps down voltage and steps up current to feed the consumer directly.It is the last in the line of machines that modify the voltage or current before going to small consumers.

In countries that use the BS 240/415V Standard, their transfomers usually receive and incoming supply of 11kV from the overhead feeders.It is then from this 11kV is is able to step it down to 240/415V 3phase voltage.
One major drawback of these machines is the heat energy generated therefore it does not operate at full efficiency.It is also prone to vandalism, because it houses a rather rare expensive oil that is used as a cooling mechanism. One good as advantage of this machine however is that it does not require regular maintenance and can withstand the weather elements as long as the mounting is mechanically sound.

The Parts
1.The Transformer Unit
Usually rated in kVA these units have the ability    to step down large quantities of voltage.Inside this large structure are two coils known as the primary coil and secondary coil. The primary coil receives the 11kV and through magnetic induction smoothly passes it to the secondary coil at 415V.This unit is very expensive to purchase so periodic maintenance to check for oil levels is mandatory.The oil here as said earlier is for passing the heat to the casing for cooling.

2.The Porcelain Insulators
Made from a material that is a good insulator, these insulators are for holding the cable at it dives down to the transformer.

3.Outgoing Line Cables
Soon after the secondary coils of the transformer, curren flows to the fuses and then to the outgoing line for the customers.The current flowing here is very high since large cables can be seen.

4.Fuse Box
Safety for customers

5.Mechanical Switches
The mechanical switches are located up at the top of the poles so as to minimise anaouthrised operation of them.They have the ability to open the circuit under load during maintenance procedures.Some are manual while others can be automatic.

6.Incoming Switches
Used to open the two incoming power supplies.


  1. Energy is essential for running an industry and homes. We need a permanent solution for power problems. We should be very careful while choosing load banks and generators for rentals.

  2. .It is also prone to vandalism, because it houses a rather rare expensive oil that is used as a cooling mechanism. Vandalism makes us remain in darkness quiet a number of nights, making us valnerable to attacks at night, something needs to be done